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Story Archer's page

782 posts. Alias of Wiggz.


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I'm sure there are some published adventures out there that would suit you, but all I can offer is what we did.

When the PC's went through Thistletop they had Shalelu with them. Bruthazmus had been set up as her nemesis earlier on and he managed to escape during the confusion of the final battle, with Shalelu in hot pursuit. The PC's later had to track down Bruthazmus to his new lair and rescue the captured Shalelu... it was actually pretty intense - he had taken over a small bugbear tribe with the assistance of an Ettin thug. He had her staked out to a post and was using her for target practice, having the tribal shaman heal her periodically; she had even been healed around a couple of arrows that had her pinned to the post... the PC's had developed a positive relationship with her early on and this really drove home to them Bruthazmus' villainy.

Another thing that happened before we got to Skinsaw - the PC's hadn't cleared out Thistletop, they had failed to find the secret doors down to the Giant Hermit Crab or to Malfeshnekor's prison. They had also avoided the Bunyip and the Tentamort, thanks in part to Orik's switching sides. So I had two druids show up in town, a Dwarf and a Half-elf run like a sort of odd couple... they had designs on inhabiting Thistletop themselves, but sought the PC's aid in removing the 'evil they still sensed within its depths'. I added an encounter with some Harpies whom had taken the topmost part as their lair and the return to Thistletop became a full-fledged adventure all on its own.

Not sure if any of that helps but there it is. I also wrote up an encounter where the PC's had to guard a shipment of mithril from a Dwarven mining community to Magnimar in return for having some of it worked into chain shirts and a breastplate for the martials. One of the guards was actually a member of the local bandit group whom had set an ambush (bandit leader was a Ranger with an eagle animal companion and his second was a Sorcerer, the rest were 1st level Fighter/1st level Rogues). Having a traitor in their midst proved a challenge when he grappled the party Wizard as soon as the fight began.

I didn't think he was an appropriate fight for the PC's at that level and I had a few ideas of what I wanted to do with Thistletop. They defeated Nualia after an incredibly difficult fight (she used superb tactics) and brought her back to Sandpoint, having failed to locate the secret doors on the bottom level, missing out on the Giant Hermit Crab and Malfeshkenor. They also bypassed the Tentamort thanks to Orik and avoided the Bunyip..., later, I had a pair of Druids come to town (3rd level) who intended to use Thistletop as a home for their burgeoning order, but they sought the PC's aid in ridding the place of 'the evil they could still sense within'. So, the group returned, this time facing a couple of harpies whom had made roost in the upper level and then clearing out all of the others until they finally faced Malfeshkenor a level higher and with a little bit of assistance from the Druids. As a reward, I made sure the Druids were able to help them locate anything they may have missed.

Bennett5394 wrote:

I am currently running Rise of the Runelords, and my group is almost done with The Fortress of the Stone Giants. Recently, I was searching for a map of Ancient Thassilon, particularly a map that showed the borders of each domain of Thassilon. After reading the History of Thassilon article, I got a basic idea where each domain was, but I was still not clear.

I was also thinking of continuing the campaign after book 6, because my player seem to be having a great time. The map would be a great resource to expand on the campaign and stay with the ancient Thassilon theme.

I've been working on a Rise of the Runelords-Shattered Star mash-up which has turned out really, really well. It occurs to me that one way to continue the adventure a bit (apart from making new characters and running Shattered Star as the intended sequel), is to play book 6 of Shattered Star as a sort of epilogue. Other adventurers could have acquired the pieces of the Star, the players could hear of its re-forging and be present for when the chaos that follows goes down. Shouldn't take much adjustment at all, really.

There are some really, really good Pathfinder Society scenarios that take place in Magnimar and fit thematically. They're small, self-contained, fit thematically and are easily adaptable.

Season 4 scenarios

Particularly recommended are:

4-01 Rise of the Goblin Guild

4-02 In Wrath's Shadow

4-03 The Golemworks Incident

4-26 The Waking Rune

Special - Race for the Runecarved Key

I'm running a RotRL-Shattered Star mash-up (not all of Shattered Star, just about three volumes) and fitting nicely for me as a follow-up to the Skinsaw Murders was Curse of the Lady's Light, volume 2 of Shattered Star. You could introduce Shiela Heidmarch in Magnimar through one of the above scenarios and then have her point them towards the Light, removing the Shard motivation entirely and replacing the search for something else entirely. Its worked incredibly well for me, but as part of the larger story. Just an idea.

Haladir wrote:
One other change I made: I put in a mechanism that Koruvus could trigger that would raise up the zombies, or at least most if them. The mechanism took three rounds to complete, giving the PCs a clock to work against, and reverse before having to fight a bunch of zombies.

I made a change that was kind of similar. I had the zombie cages at regular level, and two Sinspawn tormenting them with their ransuers when the PC's came in (ransuers have reach). The battle was in moderately cramped conditions and anyone who ended their turn in a square adjacent to the cages where a zombie was kept was subject to an attack by it. Anyone including the Sinspawn. Made for a nice, dynamic little battlefield.

Eoin of Duskwood wrote:
So i was curious, what was everyone's experience with Erylium? Was it a struggle for you or your players? Whats the story?

My PC's battled her to a standstill the first time and realized they didn't have anything that could take her out (Invisible, can fly, regenerate, DR, etc. is pretty ridiculous for a 2nd level group). I had rebuilt her as a 3rd level Cleric of Lamshtu with a focus on Summoning spells and Murderous Command, incidentally.

So they backed out and sealed the door to the Cathedral, jamming it shut and went back up to town to regroup. I had Brodert all ready to give them a scroll of Glitterdust (in exchange for an escort through the lair once they had cleared it for his research), but they came up with their own ideas. After an evenings rest, they petitioned the baker for sacks of flour and conscripted two of the guardsmen to enter behind them and begin filling the air with it... the Sorcerer had five sleep spells available and the Paladin had a Smite available. They had to kill her summoned creatures but after that, it didn't take much after that.

I suppose I could have given them grief over the use of the flour but I generally prefer to reward creativity.

Aod43254 wrote:

As the title says I'm a new GM (well new to premade modules, I did a little custom made stuff about 2+ years ago but sadly haven't had a group to play with since) and I'm about to run Rise of the Runelords. I'm going to running it for 3 people who have never played any form of tabletop rpg before and one who has. I'm in the process of reading some of the threads here, the gm reference threads in particular and any others that catch my eye.

I'll be starting in about 1-2 months, and should have both the Rise of the Runelords anniversary edition and the face cards coming in the mail in about a week or two. So I plan to start reading the actual module when it arrives and trying to familiarize myself with the plot and what's going on ahead of time.

So if anyone has any helpful advice or tips I'd very much appreciate it.


Well, after playing through it once, I'm now running it for a party of three with only slight PF experience and just moderate experience with RPG's in general. Full disclosure, I'm putting together what I think will be a truly epic campaign, incorporating books from two other AP's (3 from Shattered Star and 1 from Curse of the Crimson Throne) and rewriting a bit of the overall story arc... but the Rise volumes will be run very, very close to hope they are written.

I say that because I want you to be aware that there may become differences, but we have put together a wiki for the group which includes some solid home-brew exposition and a wealth of images and background. I expand upon it after every session to update what has happened, what new people or places have been encountered and so forth. We're still fairly early on in the campaign (we had the holidays to deal with; they are at Thistletop as we speak), but it may be that you find some useful stuff in exploring the wiki.

Our RotRL wiki

If you have any specific questions, I'd be happy to address them here or you can pm me any time. :)

I don't care for how they work mechanically, so I altered them and I'd like to hear some thoughts.

The flavor description wouldn't change, but the benefit they offer is twofold.

This hideous mask resembles a patchwork, deformed face, with one bulbous eye, a grimacing mouth with long teeth, and a flat nose. When worn, the mask fills the wearer's mind with hideous whispers and images of murder and violence. It heightens the wearer's ability to sense fear. He can smell the cold sweat brought on by terror and hear the thundering beating of a frightened heart. Further, fresh blood glows brightly to him, to the extent that he can see the shimmering traceries of living circulatory systems pumping away in the bodies of those around him.

1) They grant the Sneak Attack class feature (+1d6). If the character already has the Sneak Attack class feature, their damage dice improves by +1d6.

2) The bloodlust inspired by the whispers grant a +2 bonus to Initiative in combat.

The masks only work for worshippers of Norgorber. Anyone else who puts it on must make a DC 15 Will save each round or become Sickened by the things they hear and see.

CWheezy wrote:
I think having her not use the claw and bastard sword combo is a flavor failure. Yes it is not good, BUT it is super cool and she will still do a lot of damage to the PCs anyway

I'm having her use a Flail in one hand and then her claw as a secondary attack (-5 attack) but the claw arm has a higher strength (+4 STR) to offset that somewhat.

I actually did something very similar, remade Nualia as a 6th level Warpriest. The group will probably be encountering her next session - this is how I have the battle planned out:

Lyrie (4th level Transmuter), Bruthazmus (2nd level Ranger/2nd level Barbarian) and Tsuto (4th level Monk) will be buffed, prepared and waiting to face the PC's: three very well made 3rd level characters along with a turncoat Orik (4th level Fighter) and Shalelu (4th level Ranger). That battle won't be a cakewalk, but its intended to be an appetizer for the main event.

Its my plan to have Bruthazmus break free at some point and flee with Shalelu in hot pursuit, setting up a side quest I've put together.

Nualia will be watching from down the hallway with her Yeth Hound, and will send him in to shake things up if it looks like the fight is going badly (remember it can fly so it won't trigger the blade trap). Once the PC's defeat all of her minions, she will try to lure them into springing the trap and then will 'flee' down to where the Shadows lair. There she will use cast Hide From Undead and once the PC's close with her, Darkness. Her plan is to circle out of the effect of the spell and attack PC's as they emerge, occasionally channelling negative energy to hurt the PC's and heal the Shadows. She'll self-heal as a swift action when possible and reserve a Sanctuary spell to use if she needs to flee...

I'm mildly concerned that it will be too deadly a fight, but Nualia is smart and is fighting on her home turf. My PC's will have to earn it.

Ah, one other thing... one of my PC's is a Paladin of Sarenrae and has been urged by Father Zantus to 'save Nualia if there is anything of her left to save'. To that end I've decided that any confirmed critical will sever Nualia's demonic arm and will leave her Shaken. A successful Intimidate check or anything that might worsen the Shakened condition will cause her to surrender, and likely fall back into a coma similar to the one after she lost her child. Kind of a built-in alternate victory condition for the PC's to better enhance the drama.

I customize the vast majority of treasure, and it tends to make appearances in fits and spurts, allowing me to see how the campaign adjusts to the newfound power level. My players love it, but they've never been the sort to be defined by their gear.

Moreover, a lot of the 'wealth' takes form in other ways than coin. The party donated the Everburning candles they found to Zantus' Cathedral, earning his appreciation and future aid without having to pay coin for it. He even loaned them a custom healing wand for use at Thistletop and it twice proved the difference between survival and death. I had the remains of a pre-Earthfall map found in the Catacombs showing the border between Shalast and Alanzist's realm (I forget the name off-hand). I had already determined it'd be worth 500 gp to a collector of Thassilonian lore and even had a buyer lined up for when they wanted to sell.. but instead they elected to gift it to Brodert and it has helped him tremendously in his efforts to prove his theories about the Old Light. In return he has gifted them with the odd scroll at times, has given them insight into some of the foes they've faced, and will even join them on one of their expeditions in the near future.

Wealth by level feels like a hold over from MMO's and video games and has never been necessary for me to run an effective and enjoyable campaign.

Askren wrote:

I just wanna say, I had caught wind of this idea a while back, and dropped the Shard of Wrath into the hands of the players via Erylium (obviously, in hindsight, it should have been Nualia, but whatever), and they have no clue what it is aside from it's powerful magic. They left it with Quink, who locked it away. I had originally given them this plot hook mostly as a way to give myself a lead if I ever found the group going dry or wanted to add some interest to the ongoing plot, but the group has mostly forgotten about it by now.

Currently, my Runelords game is just out of the first book where I slipped in the Chopper's Isle sidequest, and I currently have them sidetracked in Magnimar between books 1 and 2 doing the one-shot module Dawn of the Scarlet Son because I have a Sarenrae priestess who wanted some backstory and DotSS is a Sarenrae murder-mystery one-shot that fit perfectly, plus they've got 2 new players they need time to get used to.

When they get back to Sandpoint, I had made Aldern focus on Ameiko rather than a player, since there were no female characters for him, and I didn't think the jealousy/envy thing had as much impact.

I do like this mashup, and certainly am going to crib lots of ideas from it, though some may need editing obviously. Besides Nualia being dead, the most important one I see is that while I would love to do a remixed Seven Days to the Grave (I love CoCT, it's my favorite AP), one of my players has already done it and I don't know if I can get him to run it again, especially since some events of it freaked him out and he has vowed not to play that game again.

Since the original post, I've done lots refinement on the overall story arc, particularly with the Seven Days to the Grave volume. If you ever want to chat up ideas, feel free to drop me the line - and check out the wiki.


Bellona wrote:

I'm surprised that the mayor hasn't just ordered the Catacombs (as found via the Glassworks tunnel) to be collapsed by dwarven miners or some such group. Who wants an evil temple to Lamashtu right under their town, and accessible enough that anyone can just walk in?

... But yes, according to AE you're not facing a death sentence.

In both my games, the Mayor had the catacombs sealed and the tunnels barricaded with locked gates. Simple folk don't want any part of that in their town - who knows what the PC's might unleash?

the Lorax wrote:

Yes, that answered my question, thanks.

As I'm not intending on using the Shattered Star (except perhaps as the NEXT campaign) my take-away is to use some method to get them up there that feels like a continuation of the plot.

Perhaps if Orik survives he gets sentenced to join the Black Arrows.
The PCs end up being asked to escort him up there when the Black Arrows contacts never show up to pick him up? I can live with that.

Well, you have to figure the PC's, by exposing Iron Briar and unravelling the Skinsaw Cult gain some notoriety in Magnimar... the Mayor isn't over-joyed at having these quite competent corruption-exposing adventurers loose in his city and sending them off to investigate the issues at Ft. Rannick seems like a convenient way to get rid of them, killing two birds with one stone.

Orik being sentenced to join the Black Arrows just gives them another reason to go and its a good idea I've seen suggested elsewhere. I'm planning on having the PC's run into his sister (from Shattered Star) in Magnimar and then having him turn up in Turtleback Ferry, down on his luck again after having blown his share of the treasure from Thistletop (he switched sides) aboard the Paradise Barge. Eventually I expect him to serve as one of the new members of the Black Arrows once the Hook Mountain Massacre is resolved.

Ah - just remembered another one.

Torabor Gustavos:
A wealthy merchant in Magnimar who's passion is the collecting of Thassilonian artifacts. He is a colleague of sorts of Brodert Quink and fancies himself a Thassilonian scholar - the two correspond often and and travel to visit one another from time to time. He serves as a contact in Magnimar for the PC's and was introduced as a collector willing to pay them for some of the 'collectables' the group discovers during their adventures.

He has also recently been married to a young wife, both younger and prettier than most would expect of a stogy merchant and collector. Even though she expresses genuine affection towards the older man, most figure she's simply enjoying his money and the great deal of free time she finds herself with, given her husband's business dealings and Thassillonian obsession. In truth, she is actually one of Xanesha's alter egos, allowing her a safe, unassuming base of operations, ready access to funds and city gossip as well as someone who will keep her apprised of any discoveries of important artifacts or anent sites. She does not, at present, have Torabor charmed - she hasn't had any need to as yet - but will not hesitate to do so should the need arise.

Pnakotus Detsujin wrote:

I'm glad the story is evolving. If you wish, I've few suggestions in order to not make Fort Rannick or the trip at Korvosa a forced move. They regards story leads that can be easily planted in Korvosa. Text back if you are interested.

I'm curious thought, does the cult of Lissala plays any weight in your story?

I'm always interested in any input anyone might have. This is probably my most ambitious gaming undertaking and while I'm very pleased with how its developing it wouldn't have done so the way it has without inspiration from a lot of different sources. I'm not going in to very exhaustive detail, I know, so it may seem less well thought out than it actually is...

At present, apart from being some bit of obscure lore, I have no plans on working in the cult of Lissala in any particular role. There will be a lot of factions and moving parts as it is... however, I certainly haven't ruled it out - I expect the campaign to evolve depending on actions the PC's take, what things they express particular interest in, etc. Within the established framework, I'm open to a lot of different things happening.

As an aside, Seven Days to the Grave will be my most extensive re-write in order to make it fit into the story... the chief protagonist will be Xanesha, looking to harvest souls out from under (unknown to her) the stirring Sorshen through the plague spread among the greedy by tainted coins. The plague-bearers will be hers and the vampires will be replaced with a more expanded group of faceless stalkers. Vorel's Phage will have been cultivated by Ironbriar at her direction and the partnership with the Red Mantis Assassins will be hers. Illeosa's role will be as an agent, perhaps unwitting, of the stirring Sorshen deep beneath Castle Korvosa, and she and her Grey Maidens will play a much smaller direct role in things... in truth, I'm using her to represent the fact that more than one Runelord may be awakening and may be pulling strings in Varisia. On of the things I'm looking forward to most is the players allying themselves with the were-rats beneath the city, and a dramatic pitched battle in the sewers where a small army of were-rats rescue the party from an overwhelming force of faceless stalkers.

the Lorax wrote:

Story Archer, Definately!

The transition between Skinsaw and Hook Mountain doesn't feel organic to me.

With you doing a lot in between I'm curious how you plan to get the characters to want to be headed up to Turtleback Ferry/Fort Rannick.

Well, to be honest, I have a good, general plan to take me through all of the different volumes but i've also got two caveats: the first is that i tend to really detail how I lay things out based on what has come before... the various interactions with and potential deaths of a wide number of NPC's might change how I hook them from A to B, and the further out I get the less certain I can be as to how its going to unfold. Also, I'm blessed with PC's who really want to experience what I've put together for them, so they don't mind the occasional bit of railroading and aren't shy about taking a hook that is presented. Its payback for the subplots I write in for each character and the pains I go through to hint at things far down the road. While the flow might not always be perfect due to circumstances beyond my control, it never ever feels like a sudden 180 just to accommodate the campaign.

Having said all that, during the Skinsaw Murders the PC's are going to meet Shield Heidmarch socially and after Ironbriar is exposed and Xanesha escapes (which is what I intend), Shiela will be the one to reveal to them that they have come into possession of, by then, two of the Shards of the Shattered Star - it will be then that a quest for the remaining fragments will become sort of a background over-reaching plot and she will request that they explore the Lady's Light as a potential resting place for another (I'm doing away with the Ioun Stone roadmap thing). Brodert Quink will insist on coming with them to explore the ancient statue; I'm having he and Shiela be the PC's two primary sources of Thassilonian lore and often times the two will be in conflict, both in their priorities and in their theories.

While at the Lady's Light the PC's will encounter the Grey Maidens and also while they are there Brodert will break Ironbriar's cypher, revealing that the escaped Xanesha has terrible plans for the city of Korvosa... its those two tie-ins which I expect to lead the PC's into Seven Days to the Grave.

Once the plague and its aftermath has been dealt with and Xanesha finally defeated, Shiela will reach out to the PC's with what she believes to be another resting place for one of the Shard artifacts in and around Hook Mountain, and will have made arrangements with the Mayor of Magnimar who has had some trouble in the area (Ft. Rannick) and who, personally, would like to see the PC's and their growing influence out of the city. There will be multiple ties to what's going on of course because the group will be unknowingly in pursuit of Xanesha's sister and her machinations, all the while unwittingly interfering with Karzoug's plans. Meanwhile, their adventures in Korvosa will have drawn them to the attention of the Sorshen-possessed/influenced Illeosa (as well as the Red Mantis Assassins) and a rival party will be sent after them - Karzoug is not the only Runelord interested in reassembling the Star, and his clandestine efforts to undermine Sorshen through his agent Xanesha will need to be countered.

As you can see, its a pretty complicated web but everything works very neatly, especially as the group learns more and more and realizes all that's been going on in the background, tiring their seemingly disparate adventures together.

Did I answer your question? I hope I did, I can kind of ramble sometimes when it comes to this campaign.

the Lorax wrote:

As I'm reading Rise, I dont care for the transition between Skinsaw and Hook Mountain.

I've been keeping an eye on your threads about your expanded campaign plan, and see that you have two whole books+ in between those.

How are you planning managing that link across Skinsaw ->Hook Mountain?

I'd sort of half planned to make sure Lyrie escapes and run some of the ideas I've seen about using her in Magnimar, and that causing all sorts of legal problems that push the party out to Fort Rannick but I still dont like that either.

Was this directed towards me, or..?

Ms. Pleiades wrote:

3. Add a single raiding group of goblins that can distract from the main events. Add more as you see fit based on how well the group does in wrapping up combat quickly and efficiently. The battle of Sandpoint is all about resolving fights quickly before too much damage is done to the city and too many people are taken. The Monster Codex has lots of options for bringing new life to typically low CR enemies.

I wanted to make sure the 'Battle of Sandpoint' was a bit more epic in scope, so I included a couple of NPC's they had encountered earlier in the game to lend them aid, and I increased the number of giants in each group by 1 as well as added two roving bands of Ogre warriors that the PC's could encounter anywhere, any time I wanted to spice up that fight.

I also upped the Dragon one age category but brought him in later, when Mokmurian sent for him via Whispering Wind...

NobodysHome wrote:
The most "visceral" group I added was a Varisian caravan that showed up for the Swallowtail Festival in my prelude to Book 1, then got attacked by goblins between Books 1 and 2.

That does remind me - I had a Dwarven toymaker (retired low level adventurer - come down from Magnimar with a dozen orphans or so for the Festival. After the goblin attack on th etwn, the Sheriff didn't clear anyone to leave town until they had scouted the roads to make sure it was safe, then he and most of the town guards escorted them back to Magnimar (including Foxglove) while he was on his way to ask for additional troops. They left right after Shalelu's visit and their departure led to the PC's remaining in town to 'keep an eye on things', i.e. Glass and Wrath.

The PC's and some nice interactions with the toymaker and the orphans, holed up in the Rusty Dragon as they were, including Daverin Hosk's 'Goblin Toss' game, saving them from an add-on goblin encounter during the raid and donating a bit of coin to the toymaker to see after their maintenance.

Anzyr wrote:
Probably Magic.

No, that would be Seoni ;-P

the Queen's Raven wrote:
It almost looks as if all of the blue material would be one big set of fancy robes with a more simple white dress underneath.

Definitely think the cloak and hood are part of a larger set of robes that she wears more like a mantle...

Oh, this is a fun idea... I'm making great use of a number of the existing NPC's in my current run - an expanded campaign that includes a number of volumes from Shattered Star and one from Crimson Throne - but that didn't keep me from adding in some of my own as well.

Karackus and Ohlmin:
My PC's didn't completely clear out Thisteltop and failed for find the secret doors leading to the Malfeshnekor's prison... I had an idea that I didn't want Thistletop to go unoccupied so I introduced these two via Madame Mvashti who has known connections which druids. They expressed a desire to take over the ancient site as a residence and requested the PC's aid to 'clear the evil they sensed remained'. The PC's went back with them (two 3rd level Druids with different specialities) and they defeated the Tentamort, the Bunyip, the Giant Hermit Crab, the Shadows and the Barghest as well as some Harpies I added in whom had taken up roost on the upper level. I played the two as a sort of 'odd couple' and they remain there as relative recluses, though I plan for them to be of aid in the giant's raid on Sandpoint later on.

As I said, I'm making a lot of use of existing NPC's, including those from the other volumes as well (like Sheila Hiedmarch, Oriana the Grey Maiden and the witch Maroux for instance), expanding some of them a great deal. I know that when they leave Korvosa after Seven Days to the Grave I'm going to have them pursued by a 'nemesis' party and I've got some ideas already about its make-up. I'll definitely revisit this thread when I iron out the details just in case anyone is curious.

We had a different experience that might be of use, or maybe not.

Scourge was killed by members of our group in retaliation for his rape of one of the PC's before the Man's Promise was ever taken, so he wasn't part of the final battle. Instead it was Plugg and nine level 2 warriors as well as Patch Patchsalt who took Scourge's place when he disappeared overboard. There were six Rahadoumi sailors onboard as well, but they took a neutral stance in the battle, unwilling to take sides.

The party was made up of four characters, all 3rd level, along with Rosey Cuswell and Sandara Quinn. The group chose to mutiny before they ran afoul of Bonewrack Isle, suspecting that Plugg had nefarious intentions towards them and they needed to act first. Rosey and Sandara were being kept with the officers while the PC's were sleeping belowdecks with the Rahadoumi. The group had also befriended Hartshorn who was kept chained to the foremast.

The Rogue and the Bard snuck on deck and took out one sailor and Patch without the alarm being raised (Charm Person by the Bard on Patch and then his being bull-rushed overboard by the Barbarian), and then they and the Master Summoner went to the officer's quarters - the first two threw open the door as the Summoner began spamming MSII's, filling the cabin with more than a dozen dire rats. Rosie and Sandara made it out and were armed by the PC's - Rosey and the Rogue held the door with the aid of the Master Summoner and the flanking Dire Rats while Sandara joined the Barbarian who was calling out Plugg from the captain's quarters in a long-awaited showdown.

Sandara and the Barbarian battled Plugg while the Bard tried to stay between the two groups, buffing with Inspire Courage. The fight with Plugg was a tough one until he got within reach of Hartshorn and the big man attacked him. He was ineffective and Plugg killed him for it, but the distraction was enough to allow the PC's to gain the upper hand and finish him. Only three of Plugg's men survived long enough to surrender.

The group had the aid of two NPC's (and a third when it mattered) and were a level higher than they were originally intended to be against 9 moderate opponents and 2 whom were very tough. However, they also had no magical equipment to speak of. They had a bit of luck otherwise things could have gone south quickly, but they also planned very well. Still by the end two were near death even after they had exhausted all of their healing.

The storm hit them the following night, and shorthanded as they were they were run aground on the rocks of Bonewrack Isle with Sandara and one of the men formerly under Plugg taken.

I have my own plans for Shalelu, but I thought I'd share what happened in another group I'm familiar with...

Bruthauzmus escaped Thistletop and later, unbeknownst to the PC's, captured Shalelu. When they found out they set out to rescue her, braving the lair of a group of 'renegade' Bugbears to do so. When they found her, she was bound to a tree in the center of the settlement and had been more more than two weeks... Brauthazmus had been using her for target practice, and had the bugbear's shaman heal her periodically - but he left the arrows in when they did. She had barely been fed, enough to keep her alive... it was pretty horrific and made him a truly wicked and despicable villain. It also made her incredibly sympathetic and respected by the group when they finally freed her.

When they hit the bottom level of Thistletop, everyone in the party will be 4th level, and will include:

Human 3rd level Paladin of Sarenrae / 1st level Oracle (Ancestor)
Human 4th level Oracle (Black Blood/Spellscar)

She draws spells from the Sorcerer list instead of the Oracle list.
Half-Elven 4th level Spirit Summoner
Eidolon and he both build as Falchion-wielding warriors who fight side-by-side.

In addition, the party will include Shalelu rebuilt as a switch-hitting 4th level standard Ranger and possibly Orik as a 4th level standard Fighter, depending on how they deal with him.

Now barring unforseen events, I expect the PC's to first fight a group battle with a prepared Tsuto, Lyrie and Brauthazmus at the bottom of the stairwell leading to that level while Nualia looks on from down the corridor on the other side of the trap, observing the player's tactics. At what she considers an opportune moment she will send her Yeth Hound (who flies, remember, so it won't trigger the trap) to assist in the fight.

If the group defeats the bad guys decisively, Nualia will meet them in the corridor (especially if the trap splits the group up). If brought below half her hit points she has a strategy in place: she will flee down to where the Shadows lurk and cast Obscuring Mist, hoping to draw the Shadows out and the party in. She'll be subject to the shadows attacks as well but she has a Restoration spell saved for that purpose. Her plan will be to emerge once the PC's enter and attack any who try to escape the mists, possibly augmenting the Shadows battle with the PC's using channeled negative energy. As a last resort she casts Sanctuary and flees.

That's the plan, anyway. the thing is, I rebuilt her as a solid 6th level Warpriest (20 point buy, Strength and Evil Blessings) and, statted out, she looks pretty tough. With her buffs up, she looks something like this:

AC 19 (22 w/Shield of Faith)
HP 45 (57 with Sihedron Medallion's False Life)
Fort +8
Ref +5
Will +10

w/Divine Favor, Bull’s Strength, Strength Surge, Power Attack:
+13 w/Flail for 1d8+15
+12 w/Claw for 1d6+7

Between her tactics (which I determined long before) and her statistics, do you think that's too deadly of a fight? I prefer to play my bosses smart and I want the fight to be memorable, but I abhor TPK's. What do you think?

OberonViking wrote:

One player was looking to run it himself, but now I am offering to do so.

Have you got something better for me?

Some things I did differently in Burnt Offerings:

Tsuto was obsessed/infatuated with/in love with his half-sister Ameiko - he was terrified and in awe of Nualia. His return to Sandpoint was against Nualia's orders in the hopes of rescuing the one person he thinks has ever cared about him, and to get personal revenge on Lonjiku.

At Nualia's instruction, Tsuto left a long braid of her silver hair in the Crypt in place of Father Tobyn's remains as a mocking warning to Zantus and the rest of the town.

During the raid I added an encounter at Daverin Hosk's stables with a bunch of goblins trying to burn it down. I also added a mini-encounter with two goblins that had Shayliss cornered in an alley to introduce both her and her hero-worship.

I skipped the Goblin in the Closet encounter but added additional skeletons in the Crypt.

I redrew the Catacomb map, ditched the Vargoille and added an encounter with Brown Mold in an old storeroom.

I rebuilt Elyrium as a 3rd level Cleric of Lamashtu (Trickery and Chaos domains) with a spell focus on Murderous Command and Summon Monsters.

I rebuilt Koruvus as a 2nd level Invulnerable Rager Barbarian.

I rebuilt Nualia as a 6th level Warpriest.

Our campaign Wiki is located here - I'm doing something a bit different with the overall campaign but the wiki gets updated regularly. Hope something there helps.

wally.west wrote:
I am sure that there have been hundreds of posts like this, but I just was so happy to be playing with more than two players that I just had to share what had occurred so far. Let me know what you think and I am more than happy to have some feedback or insight because this will be my first real campaign I have ran in well over ten years.

I'm running this for the second time and we just started the campaign last month. We're trying to play 3/month but during the holidays (pretty much the rest of the year) that'll probably be closer to 2/month.

I have a wiki up for my group where I detail everyone they've encountered and everything they've done; it gets updated after every session. Entries for people, places and things might change from session to session as they discover new things or find out old presumptions were incorrect. In it I detail what's happened to date (Chronicle), include any lengthy exposition (Exposition) and even the changes that I as a GM make to the campaign (under GM, the PC's know to stay out of it). I suspect there might be a lot of useful material there for you moving forward.

One important point however - this campaign is actually going to be 10 AP volumes. I'm going to be telling the Shattered Star story primarily using Rise of the Runelords (RotRL #1-6, SS #1, #5 & #6 and CotCT #2), so after we finish up with the Skinsaw Murders it'll start to deviate from what you're doing a bit. If you're interested in running such a campaign (I really think its going to be amazing the way I have it set up), obviously you can contact me at any time. In the meantime, I hope this serves as a useful resource to you...

Our Campaign Wiki

Askren wrote:

I did it through roleplay.

My players loved walking around Sandpoint and interacting with people and learning new things, and it was sometimes as simple as a dropped hint in conversation or a snarky remark from a drunk, a subtle mention of how many railings and posts in Sandpoint are carved with elaborate bird sculptures, etc.

And you can even go as far as to engage them directly. My players (well, one of them) went to the Red Dog Smithy to get a sword reshaped, and after expressing his disdain for adventurers, Das Korvut refused to serve him unless the PC could bring back the remains of his son, who disappeared to the Chopper. This led the PCs to talk to everyone, especially the Sheriff, who dumped a ton of backstory and exposition about the town, and gave them a cool thing to explore.

The important part is not to force it. Make it interesting, work with what your players want to do and slip bits of information in to pique their interest. Don't dump expository dialogue for no reason, and ESPECIALLY don't hand it to them before the game and say "Here's the history of the town now pretend you all know and care about this." The idea is to give them a reason to WANT to learn more. And if their character has ties to the town already, then have that player be the one to tell the party, so their character has some use as a source of local information.

Sandpoint is a very small town. It's unlikely that anyone who lives there doesn't know pretty much every rumor there is. And everything about the Late Unpleasantness is pretty well known to all the locals, considering it's hard for a town the size of a football field to be unaware of 25 murders.

This is all good advice - I want to expound on one point: there is a LOT of story that needs to be told and even more than doesn't... meaning that when offering exposition to your players, don't make it a blinking sign pointing towards whatever's next. Pepper in other details and little red herrings based on all the other background information you have at hand. After the crypts, my PC's got all the backstory on the Chopper with casual mentions of the Kaijitsu family troubles and the church burning down... when in truth it was Lonjiku's murder of his wife and Nualia starting the fire that were by far the most important bits of information. They actually went and explored Chopper's Isle a bit, finding nothing but the remains of Stoot's shack, but later when Father Zantus told them the full story of Nualia and when Bethana presented them with Tsuto's letter, it didn't just come out of nowhere... those events had become real to the PC's as part of the town's history and all of a sudden they felt like they were part of the story rather than simply being told what to do next by the GM.

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Ceremony wrote:
There's a TON of backstory (the late unpleasantness, Nualia's history, etc) that really help to shape the adventure, but if the players dont really ask around or do anything to discover this, how would they ever know about it? I think a lot of the backstory of the town is great --- one of my players backstory is they are FROM sandpoint, but how much would they know...??

In the game I'm currently running - and we've just handled this part - Sheriff Hemlock tells them the story of the late unpleasantness (light on Nualia details) on the walk back from the crypts as part of his thanks for their aid in protecting the town when the last thing it needed was more troubles.

At the crypt, Zantus discovered a silver braid left behind by Tsuto at Nualia's request, a sort of mocking warning for the priest. He concealed the discovery from the PC's and asked them to leave... later he summoned the group to the cathedral where he apologized, told them of Nualia's story and produced the braid.

We have a wiki for our campaign and a lot of those backstory stories are included under the heading 'exposition' if you're interested. I'm still steadily adding and updating things as I get time and the party encounters new people or places, but here's a link to Sheriff Hemlock's story:

The Late Unpleasantness

The Rot Grub wrote:
Story Archer, I wouldn't mind listening in on that discussion! I would follow a thread in which you talked about expanding RotRL.

I started one here, but it kind of got thread-jacked a little, and it was just a breakdown of what I am trying to do anyway. There have already been some modifications based on recommendations from veteran players and GM's with experience from those AP's.

The truth is, I'll be telling the Shattered Star story but I'll be using the excellent Rise of the Runelords to do it, plus a few additions like Seven Days to the Grave from Curse of the Crimson Throne. I'm actually amazed at how well its all come together - I think its a marked improvement over either AP alone, story-wise. The plan is to get my PC's to level 20 by the time all is said and done.

I have chosen to build a grander campaign than that of just Rise of the Runelords, and I'm doing it by adding four books from other AP's that are thematically perfect fits. I've been working on the re-writes for more than half a year, and its becoming a very finished product. I'm not going to lie, its incredibly exciting and we started our gaming sessions just this past month.

If you're interested at all, I would be happy to discuss it with you in as much detail as you'd like, as well as to make recommendations on things to include or exclude that I've already considered at length. We can talk here or you can contact me privately - either way I'd love to help!

TriangularRoom wrote:
Story Archer - your combination of RotRL and and Shattered Star sounds awesome :)

Oh its going to be fantastic. Been working on it for years. I started a thread on it here, but it kind of got thread-jacked.

Its still on pace to unfold as I have written in the original thread, though thanks to some help on the CotCT forums, I'll be flipping Seven Days to the Grave and Curse of the Lady's Light.

If you have any insight or want to talk about it, I'd love nothing more...

I'm GM'ing a 10 volume AP campaign where I'm telling the Shattered Star story but primarily using Rise of the Runelords to do it. Using all six books of RotRL as well as Curse of the Crimson Throne #2 and Shatted Star #2, #5 and #6. There are substantial rewrites but basically shards are appearing in the possession of appropriate villains as the Sihedron seeks to be reforged. So far its going magnificently.

Alright, so I'm revisiting this after a few weeks of consideration.

I'm still planning on having Seven Days to the Grave take place after the Skinsaw Murders and the Curse of the Lady's Light, linking them through Ironbriar's journals, Vorel's Phage and a redeemed Oriana who will serve as the group's 'in' into the city. The plot will be as follows:

Xanesha, having escaped the PC's in the Shadow Clock tower and having lost key minions in Ironbriar, the Scarecrow, the Skinsaw cult and her cadre of faceless stalkers decides to oversee the plans she has set in motion in Korvosa personally and relocates there. Her intent is to use the disease developed by the Red Mantis Assassins and the Urgotha Cult to kill as many people in Korvosa as possible, spreading it through the infectious silver and thereby catching as many greedy souls as possible in her sweep.

The doctors will be in her employ, moving through the city and offering a bogus treatment which will include the branding of the sihedron rune to mark someone as having been made no longer infectious which is, of course, a complete lie. The ship will have been her machinations and I'm thinking about either replacing Lady Andaisin with her as the final boss (or making the two of them lovers and being encountered together which might be too tough a final battle, I'm still weighing all of that). Some of the encounters I won't be using and a couple I'll likely add, but I really like the idea of the wererats, of them being blamed, a potential war brewing and the PC's making allies of them by stopping the war from happening. They'll become agents/spies for the characters, offering valuable clues as to what's really going on and where people can be found.

Queen Illeosa's role in all this is going to be pretty minor if any at all. My plan is to have her under Sorshien's sway, unknown to any - including herself - and for her to have had no role in the plague. In fact, its her distraction that allowed for Xanesha to infiltrate and use her plague-carriers and her false doctors to spread the disease entirely. I do plan on having her take notice of the PC's and their quest before the end of the story however, or perhaps just at the end, which is where the rival party will be established and put on the PC's trail. Sorshien also wants to reassemble the Sihedron - it was why Illeosa sent the Grey Maidens to the Lady's Light to recover the Shard of Lust in the first place. In the aftermath of the plague that infected her city, she realizes Karzoug's (or more likely some unknown Runelord rival) machinations have already begun and she moves to thwart him as well, meaning that the PC's won't receive the full attentions of Illeosa/Sorshien and that the rival party will act as a surrogate in that matter.


mbauers wrote:
Your players captured the Dominator in Book 2? How'd they pull that off?

The Dominator was one of the best 'villains' in the AP for my group. Early on in Blood Cove they were convinced by another captain to work together to take down a Chellish convoy of ships, but were unprepared for the Dominator travelling with the convoy as an escort. Their fellow pirate pressed ahead with his attack and the PC's tried to assist, but the Dominator destroyed the other ship and came after them. A three day cat-and-mouse game took place with them finally able to give them the slip...

...then later, when they had leveled a bit (7th), they encountered the Dominator again, this time moored at the mouth of a river they were about to sail down, trapping them. they anchored upriver and scouted a bit, and then our Master Summoner really got one of his moments to shine. He flew over (Fly spell) invisibly (Invisibility spell) and summoned 45 augmented small fire elementals to reign chaos aboard ship (Summon Monster IV SLA 10 times with Superior Summoning resulting in 1d4+1+1 x 10 small elementals from SMII list), giving the PC's time to slip past the Dominator with only a couple of shots fired. Sure, he blew his load going for the nuclear option, but it paid off big time.

The Dominator made a final appearance in the big sea battle that served as the climax of our campaign as part of the invading Chellish fleet. The PC's loved seeing it again and finally sinking their old nemesis for good.

I made a bunch of changes to this AP (its my favorite) which I've expounded on at length in other threads, but the two biggest and the two I'd recommend the most is that I had Aron Ivey be alive in book 1 and I switched around most of the events in books 5 and 6 so that the big sea battle against the invading Chellish fleet was the climax rather than a dungeon crawl.

Any questions about either, I'll be happy to expound upon.

Peet wrote:
If so, how did it fit in? And where did you put it?

With all the modifications I've made, looking for things to include and really round out my RotRL campaign, the Sandpoint Devil never really 'spoke' to me, and I elected not to include it. I'm actually not going to be using very much at all from the Hinterlands - I think there is an entire campaign worth of source material there, but since I've put together this 10 volume AP storyline mixing elements of RotRL and Shattered Star, too many side quests can become a distraction.

The Deverins are farmers and brewers by trade.

A large part of the 'leadership' aspect of their family history stems from the role they played in the founding of Sandpoint.

From the Rise of the Runelords Anniversary Edition:

The foundation of a new town is not a matter to be taken lightly, nor one to be funded by a single investor. Four powerful families from Magnimar had designs on the region, and rather than work against each other, they consolidated their efforts and formed the Sandpoint Mercantile League. These four families— the Kaijitsus (glassmakers), the Valdemars (shipbuilders), the Scarnettis (loggers), and the Deverins (farmers and brewers)—sailed north to claim their land after securing the rights from Magnimar. Yet when they arrived in the spring of 4666 ar, they found the place already settled by a large tribe of Varisians.

Refusing to be set back, the Sandpoint Mercantile League began a series of talks with the Varisians, promising them an important place in the new township. Unfortunately, after a week of talks that seemed to be going nowhere, an impatient man named Alamon Scarnetti took matters into his own hands. Rounding up a group of his brothers and cousins, the Scarnettis mounted a murderous raid on the Varisian camp, intent on killing them all and leaving evidence to blame local goblins for the deed. Yet the Scarnettis, too drunk and overconfident, managed to kill only five Varisians before they were themselves forced to flee, leaving behind three of their own.

The Sandpoint Mercantile League fled back to Magnimar, and in the months to follow were embroiled in the repercussions of Alamon’s assault. Magnimar’s Varisian Council demanded punishment for all four families, but the High Court arbitrated a peace between them, in no small thanks to the remarkable diplomatic skills of a young bard and member of one of the families accused—Almah Deverin. Not only did she manage to assuage the Varisians’ call for blood payment, she also managed to salvage the plans for Sandpoint by promising not only to incorporate the worship of Desna into the new town’s cathedral, but also to pay the Varisian Council a generous share of any profits made by Sandpoint businesses over the course of the next 40 years. One year later, the Sandpoint Mercantile League began construction on several buildings with the full cooperation of the Varisian people. In the years since Sandpoint’s foundation, the settlement has flourished. Although the initial term of the compact with the Varisian Council has passed, Sandpoint’s government has elected to extend the compact another 20 years, much to the consternation of a few locals.

Of course that's not to say that any of your alterations aren't as good or better - just injecting some canon history in there for those who were curious.

One of my favorite 'independent' graphic novels is Top Cow's Madame Mirage. They only did the one story as a full compilation but I found it wonderfully imaginative, beautifully drawn (and especially colored) and very clever in its story-telling and reveal. It even had a little self-parody thrown in for good measure.

For those of you who haven't read it, its highly recommended. For those of you who have, how would you cast it? A younger Monica Bellucci would have been a good fit physically, I imagine, though I don't see her being quite... vivacious... enough to pull off the lead. And for the younger sister, my first thought was Amanda Seyfried, but I don't think she'd be able to manage the pathos necessary. Usually I'm pretty good at this, but this one kind of has me stumped - which is ironic, given how archetypical these characters are, at least on the surface. Thoughts?

Dynas wrote:
On obsidian portal? Do you have a link?

Not on Obsidian Portal, just a regular wiki. We'll have individual journals for each of our players, a regularly updated compendium of people encountered, places visited and items discovered as well as a summary of each chapter as its completed. We're still getting it put together but its coming along nicely.

Let me know if you have any trouble accessing it.

RotRL Wiki

Dynas wrote:

Story ARcher, I'm just reading over Shattered Star 2. I will cut all the stuff in the Mushfens. I will cut the meeting with the witch and the shipwreck. Probably just end up doing a "random encounter" against a tribe of trogdilytes and then they will go into the cave and fight the pyrohyrda. After that have them go through the cave with a trap or two and then get into the actual lady of light dungeon. The prelude of all this just seems unnecessary for the overall story. Thoughts?

I'm probably going to do something other than the shipwreck but I'm absolutely using the witch. Some great RP opportunities there and a good chance to advance my plot with unexpected insights. Brodert Quink will be accompanying the PC's on that trip and I'm already planning for some really neat interactions between she and him. I'll probably use the warring tribes as well, but then I'm not trying to pack in as much other stuff as you are.

We started last Friday night. Our campaign wiki is already up. :)

I've definitely decided I'm going to change how the Shards function. When carried, each will grant +4 to saving throws against the school of magic they represent, and a -2 to saving throws to each of the two schools that their school of magic is opposed to (i.e. Shard of Wrath will grant +4 to saves vs. Evocation spells and a -2 to saves vs. Abjuration and Conjuration spells).

Additionally their curse will remain in effect as written. With the Shard of Wrath, for instance, the PC will be Sickened whenever he or she hasn't reduced a creature to -1 hit points in the past hour, and once they attack someone, it will take a Will 20 save to stop without killing them. However, when the circumstances of the curse have been fulfilled (if they have killed someone in the past hour, for instance), they will effectively gain 1 character level as they become flushed with power.

Theoretically, once re-forged, the Sihedron will grant +7 character levels to its wielder, +4 saves vs. all magic except Divination and none of the curses will be in effect as the re-forging sheds the shards of their individual sin magic influences. A potent artifact to be sure, though I doubt any of the PC's will ever get to wield it whole.

Ioun stones will either play no role in the Shards function, or they will completely (temporarily) nullify the Shard they are affixed to, and have their own abilities subdued as well. I haven't decided yet.

I'm going to play the Shards as semi-sentient, kind of like the One Ring. They want to be found, want to be re-forged, and with the awakening of the Runelords, each Shard has begun to resurface in the hands of someone who is particularly susceptible to their sin magic influences. They will in turn be driving many of the villains the PC's encounter - for instance the Shard of Wrath (gifted to her by Elyrium after she discovered it in the Catacombs of Wrath) will be fueling Nuali's hate towards the denizens of Sandpoint. Meanwhile the Shard of Lust (safeguarded within the Lady's Light) will be manipulating Ashamintallu's into believing herself to be Sorshen reborn, driving her indulgence in hedonistic pleasures and so on. It'll be up to the PC's to gather them, to navigate their hazards and to figure out which are best to use and which are best to keep hidden away.

UPDATE: We had our first session this week. The PC's arrived in Sandpoint and attended the Festival with the following changes:

I ran a version of Daverin Hosk's 'Goblin Toss' just for fun and played up Hosk's teasing of local children that the jerky he was handing out as prizes was, in fact, goblin meat. I also added in a couple of contests including a challenge of strength tossing large stones (not unlike the one in the wedding scene of Braveheart). There were other events I alluded to, but none the PC's felt compelled to participate in.

I added some NPC's staying at the Rusty Dragon Inn for flavor, most notably a Dwarven toy maker down from Magnimar whom had brought some orphans with him for the festival.

When the Goblin Raid took place, I had the first goblin encounter play out as normal, while setting up the second immediately after with goblins menacing Father Zantus and the toy maker as they protected several of the children in the shelter of a doorway. The PC's interceded, dealing with those three while two more pelted them with sling stones from a nearby rooftop. When the encounter ended, I had Ameiko show up to usher the children away while Zantus healed up the PC's.

I added some additional encounters during the raid, one on Hosk's stables (since I had just introduced him), made up of three goblins attacking him while five more attempted to set fire to the stables with the horses inside. It played out as two back-to-back encounters as the second group was wholly distracted by their fun until the PC's engaged them.

I also added a second encounter - two goblins had Shayliss Vinder cornered in an alleyway while she attempted to fend them off with a stool. I wanted to introduce her and set up a more direct involvment between she and one of the PC's before her attempt at seduction later on.

Finally, the showdown at the gate with the mounted Goblin Commando and his gang went as written, with Shayliss and Aldern together to witness the PC's heroics. I wanted to introduce those two NPC's to one another in order to set up the Lust/Envy triangle I'm going to use in the Skinsaw Murders.

Once everything calmed down, there was a gathering at the Rusty Dragon, Sheriff Hemlock showed up to make sure everyone was alright (his guardsmen were doing a door-to-door sweep) and Ameiko and Aldern directed his attentions to the PC's for their heroics. He walked over to thank them when one of the guard rushed up to tell him Father Zantus was requesting his presence at the crypts. Hemlock invited the PC's along to get a measure of them.

Naffer Vosk and Father Zantus were at the Crypts - the stone door to the Mausoleum had been moved and wedged back into place. There were goblin tracks (and one set of 'human') with the sounds of rustling coming from within. The PC's forced the door and faced four skeletons (animated from the remains of past priests of the town laid to rest in this communal crypt). They made sure it was safe before Father Zantus entered and noticed the removal of Father Tobyn's body - he also found something else which caused him to thank the PC's and politely but firmly send them on their way. They and the Sheriff were suspicious but acquiesced and along the way back to the Dragon, Hemlock filled the PC's in on the Late Unpleasantness, focusing more on Stoot and Lonjiku and leaving most of the Nualia story for Zantus to tell, should he wish to.

The next day Ameiko told the PC's they could stay as long as they liked, Aldern invited them on a Boar Hunt the following morning in Tickwood and Shayliss made her play for one of the PC's who was all too eager. I rebuilt Ven as a 3rd level Brawler (Fighter archetype) / 3rd level Commoner with a history of being an accomplished wrestler in his intemperate youth. He pretty much drug the PC in question up the stairs and physically threw him out of the house, banging the wall with his head a few times on the way for good measure. I skipped the Goblin the Closet encounter completely.

The following day the PC's went on the hunt (each having been bought horses and tack as a gift by Aldern), bagging a boar and rescuing the fop a second time in the process. Aldern was effuse in his appreciation but used the trip to subtly feel the PC out over his intentions toward Shayliss. That night Ameiko had the pig roasted as a sort of unofficial feast in the 'heroes' honor and her father Lonjiku showed up to cause his scene. The PC's thought to intercede but Ameiko would have none of it, whirling on the one in particular and asking loudly 'didn't he have enough Daddy issues already?' (his drubbing at Vinder's hands had become public knowledge by then).

The next morning they were summoned to the Cathedral by Father Zantus who wanted to apologize for his curtness the previous day and took the time to tell them Nualia's story in detail, finally revealing what had been left in the crypts for him to find - a long silver braid.

That's where we left off. The PC's are torn between thinking Nualia was behind the raid or has become the victim of foul play by someone wanting to harm the town. Visitors to Sandpoint for the festival have remained holed up while Hemlock's men scouted the roads to Magnimar and beyond to make certain it was safe to travel. The following morning Shalelu will arrive to give her report (reuniting with Ameiko and meeting the PC's in the process) and the day after Hemlock will ride in convoy, escorting a group back to Magnimar with the intention of asking for more troops while there; the PC's will be asked to 'keep a visible presence' in the meanwhile and it'll be after they depart that Ameiko will disappear and her letter be found. Aldern will leave with the convoy, Shayliss giving him a fond farewell with the obvious intent of making the PC she was interested in jealous - this will be the last hint of a relationship between the two NPC's while I try to lay a red herring for the Skinsaw Man's eventual infatuation.


I ~really~ appreciate you taking the time to think it all through and then illuminate your thoughts - your experience will no doubt be invaluable once I reach that part of the campaign and I may well resource you if you don't mind.

Let me tell you what I think I'm going to do (nothing etched in stone at this point) and maybe address some of those points you made and possibly raise some others.

The plot line will go like this:

Sorshein is stirring to semi-consciousness and has begun influencing Queen Ileosa, accentuating her innate wickedness and hijacking it for her own purposes. She was the indirect inspiration for the creation of the Grey Maidens and their eventual perversion as the Queen's personal bodyguards/playthings/gestapo. In response to strange dreams she had, she sent Oriana and a squad of Maidens to the Lady's Light in the hopes of seeking out the Shard of Lust - the only Shard Sorshein actually knew the whereabouts of.

Around the same time Xanesha has put her plans into motion in Magnimar and its surrounding environs and is beginning to make arrangements for Korvosa - her Master, Karzoug, sees the strategic value of reaping souls from Korvosa, undermining Sorshein should she awaken and disrupting her power base. Xanesha clandestinely facilitates the transfer or Vorel's Phage to the Red Mantis Assassins and the Cult of Urgosa via Ironbriar as alluded to in his journals.

The PC's upset the Skinsaw Cult and defeat Ironbriar, discovering his coded journal which must be deciphered (a simple spell prevents the use of magics like Comprehend Languages), a task likely to fall to Brodert Quink. Meanwhile, Sheila Heidmarch contacts the PC's and begins to inform them of what they actually have in their possession (at that time, the Shard of Wrath and the Shard of Envy). As an avid student of Thassillonian and especially Sihedron lore, she suspects another Shard may rest within the Lady's Light. Quink, who's always wanted to see the famous Thassillonian monument requests to tag along, eventually being left with the witch Maroux as the PC's advance to make sure things are safe.

Within the Lady's Light the Grey Maidens have fallen under the sway of the Alu-Demon Ashamintallu who believes herself to be Sorshein reincarnated. The PC's defeat her and liberate Oriana in the process, both from the demon's influence and that of her empowered Queen. When the group reunites with Quink, I will have had him break the cypher (with Maroux's help) and they will be able to deduce that Xanesha has something awful planned for Korvosa, centering around the Phage. Oriana will want to protect her city and save her fellow Maidens, those that can be saved - that alone should be enough for the PC's to head to Korvosa. Heidmarch herself has had some involvement with that city in her past as well and will understand their desire if not encourage them to do just that.

As far as running the actual volume goes, its becoming apparent to me how much of it I'm actually going to have to change though I intend to keep the spirit of its original intent alive. The PC's will basically sneak in, not wanting to be recognized by Xanesha's agents and Oriana not wanting to be recognized by her brethren. Somehow during their investigations I'm going to tie them into the little girl who gets sick and the priest's reaction to their efforts. The plague is going to strike the city via the silver that washes ashore and will spread much as it is written in the books. How the Sihedron brand makes its way onto the dead is something I've yet to fully explore - possibly by the 'doctors' using a magical rune disguised as part of their healing efforts? In this version, the Queen does in fact want the plague to stop, but she is so removed from the trials of her city by Sorshein's influence that her efforts are distracted and half-hearted at first, which allows Xanesha to get her agents into position. Upon realizing her ancient enemy is behind these machinations, Sorshein/Ileosa will move quickly and decisively at the end, likely just on the group's heels. The PC's will come to her attentions by the end of it and it will be she who sets the rival party after them when they depart the city, leaving Oriana behind to continue her personal struggle to free her sisters from their unrealized bondage.

That's the plan, anyway. How many of the actual encounters I'll be able to use from the volume remain to be seen, and this will definitely be the biggest re-write I have to do. There's just too many good things in Korvosa not to make the attempt. That part of the campaign is a full half-AP away at this point, so I feel comfortable that I'll have time to iron things out by the time it comes up, especially with such splendid assistance as I'm getting.

Fromper wrote:
Maybe I'll edit the letter to take out the references to specific locations, so they don't know where to go to follow up on the letter, but still get lots of plot info. I could just take out the reference to Turtleback Ferry, and change "Fort Raddick" to "the fort" in the letter, so they'll be worried about a fort, but have no idea what fort. A month later, when the mayor receives word that Turtleback Ferry has lost contact with Fort Raddick, they'll jump on it.

That sounds like an ideal solution. Players generally love to be able to tie in things happening now with things that happened in the past, especially if they get to think that they 'figured something out'.

Ashkar wrote:
I had the same question, and after some considerations, removed the letter. My party was in need of some downtime, and I decided that only after some side quests (Dawn of Scarlet Sun, The Feast of Ravenmoor), Grobaras will choose them for expedition to Fort Rannick. Only saving his life from a potential (from his point of view) hit, wasn't enough for him. Even for choosing them as expandable assets.

I'm going to remove the letter as well. The first time I ran it the PC's were out the door to turtleback Ferry almost immediately... this time around I'll be running Curse of the Lady's Light and Seven Days to the Grave as part of the larger campaign before having them head up to Ft. Rannick anyway, so the mayor coming in should work just fine.

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Dynas wrote:

All that extra will powers will make them high enough I imagine. I've been looking and I dont really see how to incorporate seven swords(at least the dungeon part) though you may be able to add the items. I've also tinkered with your plot line a little for my own story.

Waking Rune is a module. The hollow mountains in Dungeons of Golarion aka Wrath Runelord.

I just found a number of Season 4 PFS scenarios (including Waking Rune) which may or may not make for nice inserts here and there:

4-01 Rise of the Goblin Guild
4-02 In Wrath's Shadow
4-03 The Golemworks Incident
4-04 King of the Storval Stairs
4-08 The Cultist's Kiss
4-10 Feast of Sigils
4-12 The Refuge of Time
4-26 The Waking Rune
(Special) The Rune-carved Key

As I said before, its already going to be a long campaign and I'm looking for things to cut - anything I add is going to be very carefully considered.

I expect both Shiela Heidmarch (who I'm going to run as a major Machiavellian NPC) and Magnimar to figure prominently in the campaign, and while I don't expect the PC's to become members of the PFS, they may be convinced to act on their behalf from time to time.

Shiela is going to be a driving force behind the reforging of the Star, almost to the point of obsessiveness, driven by the very real fear of the re-awakening of the Runelords as well as a powerful desire to see the PFS rise in influence and her along with it. She and Brodert Quink will be competing sources of information (and misinformation) which should make for some fun role-play. One thing I'm going to do is have her supply the PC's with a special chest for carrying the Shards, one that if opened appears to be normal, but if opened with a special command word will open an extra-dimensional space where the Shards can be safely stored - unbeknownst to them, she has a similar chest that allows her access to the same space, meaning that she can withdraw the Shards at any time as well. In her mind its a reasonable safety precaution with the PC's traipsing all over Varisia, facing death and destruction at every turn. I plan on having that 'deception' throw an interesting twist at the group later in the campaign.

Dynas wrote:

You have shard of sloth under ROtRL 3 and SS 5, I assume mama Garul is Gluttony perhaps?

Have you considered trying to put in the Krune from the Waking Rune? What abou the Hollow Mountain dungeon and adding wrath?Have you looked at incorporating the 7 Swords? im working on stating them out.

I like your ideas on changing the shards. With 3 PC's it is going to be difficult. You may want to consider always giving max HP each level. They also will have more wealth than their level beginning fairly early and that may compensate for it.
What race/classes are they?

I like the idea of a rival party though I don't know where/how you will fill that in with all the AP stuff. How were you planning to do this?

As a quick update, after chatting with someone in the CotCT forum, I've decided I'm going to do Lady's Light before Seven Days to the Grave - I've got a much smoother flow that way.

Mammy Graul is indeed supposed to be the Shard of Gluttony, thanks for pointing that out.

I haven't looked into Waking Rune (scenario or module?) nor Hollow Mountains. The group isn't a particularly trap-happy bunch so I'm not going to be doing Seven Swords either. With 10 AP volumes already I'm going to be giving anything I think to add in a very critical eye.

The party is made up of a Half-elven Spirit Summoner who's being built as a melee type, his eidolon almost like his mentor and trainer in the combat arts in addition to being his guardian, a reformed Sczarni thug (human) who now serves as a very non-traditional Paladin of Sarenrae and a teenaged girl (also human) living under a curse (Blackblooded Oracle, spellscar Curse with some reworks who draws her spells from the Sorcerer/Wizard list instead of the Cleric/Oracle). At any given time they will have between 0 and 2 NPC's adventuring with them, most notably in the early going Shalelu, Oriana and a rebuilt Brodert Quink (non-combatant Archivist Bard).

To compensate for just being three of them, I've given them a 25 point build and 2 extra skill ranks per level. As standard house rules, all characters gain Power Attack, Combat Expertise and Point Blank shot for free if they meet the pre-requisites. All casters gain the feats Eschew Materials and Heighten Spell for free as well. Plus, if I keep my changes to the Shards, once they get at least three of them they'll all have the opportunity to operate as if they were one level higher.

As far as the rival party goes, these are some of my thoughts on that:

The young Chelaxian Cavalier is seeking to increase his own power and influence by working in concert with a Sorshien-influenced Queen Ileosa (allies in his mind, a pawn in hers) to seek out these Shards which Sorshien in turn wants to use for the same reason as Karzoug, to reforge the Sihedron and hasten her return to power. The Inquisitor will be his mentor and advisor (kind of the Rasputin in his ear, and one who might have his own agreements with Ileosa or perhaps be seeking the artifacts for his own purposes). The two Hellknights were intended to be kind of nameless, as I want them to be replaceable from time to time by other hirelings or henchmen should the PC's slay them. The Red Mantis Assassin I figured would be the tracker of the group, seeking them out in revenge for foiling their plan in Korvosa and exposing their involvement - I'm also going to work in some personal angle so that the Assassin will want revenge on the PC's (or one specific PC) that will push him to go above and beyond even the Assassin's mandate. Driven by hate, that kind of thing.

The role of the group would be to sort of act as a foil for the PC's. Sometimes the knowledge that they might be on their heels will put a sense of urgency into their actions and keep them on track, while sometimes trying to catch up with them can serve as a hook to the next area/encounter. Ideally I'd like there to be at least 2-3 direct confrontations over the course of the campaign, enough that the PC's will be intimately familiar with their adversary.

I think I'm going to alter the way the Shards work. I'm going to eliminate the benefits they provide and instead cause each of them to grant an additional effective level/HD to any creature that wields them, so long as they satisfy the conditions of the curse. If they do not satisfy them (eating every hour, sex every 12 hours, killing every hour, etc.) then they do not gain the bonus level and are sickened. The Ioun Stones, once placed, eliminate both the curse and the benefit, 'subduing them', so to speak. Carrying multiple Shards does not increase the character level/HD beyond +1, but does stack the curses/requirements for the character to benefit.

Those curses/limitations will reflect the infuence of the various Runelords and their Sin Magic. Once re-forged, the Sihedron's power effectively elevates a creature's level/HD by 7 levels without any negative side-effects (making it a mighty artifact indeed).

The campaign is going to be played by 3 PC's - any thoughts as to potential problems making these changes?

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