|Paizo Pathfinder® Paizo Games|
|About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ|
As the vampire sorcerer's web dissolves to nothing, flames lick around the party in what used to be an elegantly appointed hallway outside a series of dressing rooms.
Quinley and Arthen see several ghouls leap into the basement through the hole in the ceiling. The Erinyes and Bralani Azata see three ghouls jump acrobatically into the basement. The first rushes the stairs, and reaches the first steps, 10 feet diagonally behind Tarcinzia (the stairs are actually 15 feet in length, not 10 feet as shown on the map). The ghoul provokes attacks of opportunity from the Erinyes (who is holding her bow) and the whirlwind Azata. The second ghoul joins the guard threatening the Azata. And the third ghoul joins the two guards threatening the Erinyes. Tarcinzia hears (and smells) their approach, and of course sees the one who ends up below her on the stairs.
Arthen's turn, and the Ion's summoned creatures' attacks of opportunity!
GM Screen NO PEEKING:
R takes 5 foot step into archway next to Quinley, takes out potion of haste, and quaffs it.
Stealth: 1d20 + 25 + 20 ⇒ (8) + 25 + 20 = 53
Three ghouls jump through the hole. One takes some nonlethal damage, but it is unimportant.
A Perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (9) + 7 = 16
Ghoul Acrobatics: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (13) + 4 = 17
Yay, Arthen is here! (Another awesome photo!) And that means she can make Ion get up here too! Especially since the Arten of that photo is very clearly used to getting people to do what she wants.
I'm pretty sure that's the right initiative order. Seems like the next step is for Ion to get on here and for me to kick off the round. I don't have what I need on me, and I have a zillion things to do, so it will need to wait. But I guess if I don't add much of descriptive frills I should be able to get something up by tomorrow. I'll e-mail to let you know when I do.
Munafiq and Tarcinzia: Could you please share your photos of the map layout via e-mail or dropbox?
Yay! I dig your image. I believe once you post to the gameplay thread you will be automatically added to the players tab. Once Lara and Victor check in, I'll do a post for the next round, and then everyone can jump into the gameplay thread -- ideally in initiative order. We'll see how it works out...
This is all pretty awesome, folks. I'm going to have to figure out how to handle Radvir's lair, which the party may reach next session.
One question: Rakshaka, how is it that a dominated party can be made to fight the PCs without the dominated party getting new saving throws to throw off the domination (and, presumably, then turning against the vampires). It seems like domination isn't a very good way to get people to fight on your behalf unless they would already be inclined to do so.
From the PRD: "Subjects resist this control, and any subject forced to take actions against its nature receives a new saving throw with a +2 bonus."
Am I missing something? This is definitely something my PCs would call me on (which is meta-gaming, but, you know, still...).
I'm planning on using these in my campaign, but I'm not sure why the stat block lists two different options for their ranged attacks:
"+1 mighty composite longbow +17/+12 (1d8+9 19/20 x3)
Thanks for pointing this out. One of my PCs is very into the Shining Crusade, so I'll probably go the stolen body route (and I'll need to change the language of the description accordingly -- maybe a high knowledge religion or local roll would reveal that his body was long ago (when?) stolen from a shrine dedicated to Pharasma...)
These are amazing. Thanks so much. I think I will locate these in a cache in the monastery. That way the PC's will turn their attention to these as they prepare for the next module. I'll have to think of some excuse for the cache to be at the monastery. Perhaps the WW had collected them and left them behind at the monastery for some reason...
Thanks, everyone! This is great food for thought! It is a good point that the memories may not emerge until triggered, so that gives me some time to work out the details, and may add an interesting bit of confusion when he remembers something down the road. The PC specifically mentioned that he wanted to discuss with the Vetala the encounter with the bestial-witch, so that would provide him the trigger to realize that he remembers more about that.
It would be great to see your list of paintings Rakshaka. My PCs will wrap up the Vampire Underground next Monday!
I look forward to your thoughts, Rakshaka!
Keep Calm, that's a fantastic idea. She certainly has taken a liking to the dashing barbarian who voluntarily permitted her to drain 13 CHAR. (He has a very high CHAR because he took a dip into Oracle and is using an Oracle mystery to base his AC bonus off CHAR.) I've got 5 uses of Modify Memory left to play with, and inserting useful memories seems like a good use for 2-3 of them. I'd definitely like one to relate to Oothi. The barbarian's suppressed memory relates to an encounter with a witch who the Tyrant transformed into bestial form and who later achieved immortality and partial sanity (but that's a long story). (The bestial witch is responsible for the barbarian being haunted by the spirit of a fortune-teller slain by the WW -- his Oracle curse.) My bestial witch would probably have had run-ins with Oothi, so it may be an opportunity to tie the stories together and also provide more information about Oothi -- since it seems possible to fail to learn much about Oothi in going through the monastery.
Any particular thoughts about useful memories relating to Renchurch, Gallowspire, or the End Game of the AP? I haven't read the last module yet, so I'm not sure what would be helpful. (I know I need to read it, but I'm just barely keeping up with things!)
Hey all. I agree this forum has been amazing resource and I’m shameless about seeking help and lifting ideas!
I wanted to share something cool from my session on Monday that came out of a suggestion in this thread to add a Vetala shopkeeper to the Vampire Underground. I did so, and had the Vetala jeweler call out to the PCs as they passed her shop. I added her in game terms as a device to give the PCs information about the site where the bloodbrew dealers are -- I didn’t think it made sense to have that chamber so close to the rest of the Underground. I also thought the Underground seemed small. So I described the Underground as a much larger complex of rooms and passages with other residences, shops, etc. And I located the chamber where the dealers are some distance away -- not adjacent to the Underground at all. But I needed to give the PCs a reason to go there.
The Vetala offered to provide the players the information if the party’s highly charismatic barbarian agreed to accept a draining “kiss.” Of course, as the Vetala pointed out, he could easily be restored from the draining effect of her kiss. The fearless barbarian also has a real affinity for the dark and weird, so it turned out he and the Vetala went into a private area and he very willingly allowed her to drain 13 points of charisma (which were easily restored via a wand of lesser restoration).
It was a very fun and unusual roleplaying situation, and now I get to decide what the Vetala did with the equivalent of 6 applications of the Modify Memory spell, as that is another effect of her embrace (which she failed to mention). She can eliminate memories, restore lost or fuzzy memories (the barbarian has a big one there), change memories, or implant memories. SIX times!
Now I have to decide what to do with this opportunity. I want to reward the barbarian for his boldness by having a very important memory restored. Then the question is, how much does the Vetala want to mess with him (or help him) and in what ways. Any suggestions? A few considerations: First, I’m not a sadistic gamemaster -- I ascribe more to the PC-realization school of gamemastering. Second, I’m not sure I want to make the Vetala purely evil. I know they are Evil under RAW and “said to be spirits of children -born evil,- who never received burial rites upon their deaths.” But a different origin may be possible and I like the idea of playing intelligent monsters with naturally evil tendencies who choose not to be exactly really evil. I guess that also raises the question of what it means to be “evil” in Pathfinder. It is interesting to note that the Vetala don’t need to kill or even permanently harm their victims and their hunger reflects a level of engagement with mortal minds that also might make them interested in developing relationships with mortals. Third, I may want to make her an ongoing NPC and potential party ally, which cautions against her messing up the barbarian’s mind in obvious ways. If she wants to "feed" on him again she can’t make him regret having let her do it this first time.
I like your suggestion that hardcore addicts essentially become incapacitated by their addictions. Something that developed that the WW didn't foresee that effectively undermines their plans -- the elixir can undermine Siervage's control only so much.
I don't know about the conspiracy angle for why Siervage hasn't discovered the elixir. The inquisitor vampire would be the obvious one, since he is leading the investigation, but he doesn't seem one to conspire against Siervage, and it seems like fooling Siervage would be enormously difficult.
So far I'm inclined to rely on vampire arrogance -- sure, they have noticed that some spawn are acting strangely, but most of those are the spawn of murdered vampires, and it would just be inconceivable to them that a drug could release them from the control of their master. Also, since they are under siege they are not off exploring the other passages underground where the dealers and users hang out. Does that seem plausible?
I used Keep Calm's brawler vampires in my game last night and they were fantastic. They laid an ambush and the PCs would have been in real trouble if the wizard hadn't vaporized two of the four with the undeath to death spell. One of the funniest moments was when the barbarian charged in to save the grappled cleric and the vampire used her as a body shield and the cleric took the hit. Thanks for sharing!
On another note, I've exposed the party earlier to the bloodbrew elixir -- they found broken glass with residue in the spawn chamber below the Glass House, and on their way into the underground they passed a group of starving, addicted vampire spawn and saw empty vials. I haven't quite worked out why the spawn would let themselves starve instead of going above ground to feed; I've had Siervage put a temporary ban on above-ground feeding, but I'm not sure it makes sense the addicted spawn would follow that ban. Any suggestions would be appreciated. I couldn't resist the scene for my players of walking past a group of weak, starving vamps.
I think bringing out the existence of the drug earlier will make the investigation in the underground more interesting and make the whole story more cohesive, but I'll see how it plays out. I do find it hard to explain why Siervage hasn't yet discovered the existence of the elixir -- any suggestions there would be appreciated.
I also had the PCs pass a chamber with a cage of ill-fed undead worgs the vampires used as guards. I wanted to find a way to bring out that the vampires were really suffering and under pressure and in a bit of state of siege...
(Finally, on my previous comment about the "guest" coffins. Under the RAW I guess it is possible for vampires to rest in guest coffins as long as they haven't gone to zero HP, but if they hit zero HP then only their home coffin will do.)
Thanks, folks. This is very helpful. I think the "grave dirt" explanation is great flavor, even if not RAW. It also seems like, per RAW, a vampire may only have one home coffin at a time. The Paizo module's reference to guest coffins seems like a bit of misguided flavor text/atmosphere that doesn't fly under the RAW, and for good reason (it would make it too hard to destroy vampires for good). Oh well, even Paizo authors make rules mistakes sometimes, I guess!
chaoseffect, I don't recall the exact wording, but I think it is more like below zero, rather than exactly zero. And, Human Diversion, thanks for the wording correction, which further seems to emphasize that each vampire may only have one home coffin. But, yes, it seems reasonable that the coffin could be mobile. The key thing I'm trying to figure out is if the module was right in implying that a vampire could find shelter in a "guest" coffin if it can't access its own. The answer seems to be that the module was in error.
The Bestiary says that, after being reduced to zero HP and assuming gaseous form, vampires must return to "their home coffin" within 2 hours or be destroyed. This seems to clearly indicate that a vampire has a single coffin in which it must rest and recover. However, in a Paizo module I'm running for my PCs, a vampire has a couple of "guest" coffins to give refuge to vampires who are unable to return to their own coffins. Is this just an error by the author, or am I missing something? A rule that vampires must return to a single home coffin obviously makes it much easier to destroy vampires. I suspect that it what the Bestiary intended and the author just made a mistake.
Thanks for these vampire brawlers, Keep Calm. I will definitely be using them.
Question: Is there any reason hints about the bloodbrew elixir can't be dropped BEFORE the party reaches Siervage? It seems logical the party might see some signs as they head into the underground, and I might rather have the fight with the drug dealers before Siervage. But will that mess anything up in the discussions with Siervage?
Also, an important issue came up in our game last night. The Bestiary says that vampires must return to "their home coffin" within 2 hours or be destroyed. But Merrick the druid has 2 "guest" coffins, explicitly to give shelter to vampires who are having trouble returning to their own coffins in time. I don't think that is right under the RAW. It is important, because I had to decide whether Merrick needed to go back to HER coffin (or, rather, patch of dirt) after the party reduced her to zero HP. I decided she did, but the apparent error in the module threw me off.
Right you are! I missed the headband +4 on the standard vampires. That sure seems like some major treasure that could add up quick with several of these. Of course, if they all float away to their coffins upon hitting zero HP, then the PCs don't get most of it (unless they encounter the coffins later).
Thanks! I gather Vetala are not vulnerable to sunlight. I didn't know about them.
The only potential problem I see is that these stat blocks seem to have a LOT more magic equipment than the ones in the module. I'm not sure I want to hand my PCs so much -- especially something like a belt of incredible dexterity +4 which is worth 16,000 gp alone.
Nice analysis! It occurs to me that I can be really evil and have the spawn emerge BEHIND the PCs by turning into gaseous form and coming up the concealed storm gates. Several of the PCs are maneuvering outside the greenhouse. The spawn don't appear to be restrained below, and there's no reason why they wouldn't have heard the shriekers and the sounds of battle coming through the open hole to the greenhouse. It would be cool if Merrick could summon them telepathically, but that doesn't appear to be the case. Nevertheless, I can't imagine why they wouldn't come to her aid once it is clear the battle is serious. But I think I may be risking a TPK here -- especially with the level drain and dominate abilities...
Interesting stuff, Rakshaka and Power Word. I love how we have all gone in different directions with the druid.
The aftermath is up to the players, which should greatly affect their interaction with Ludvick.
It seems like the critical decision is whether to slay Merrick while she rests in her coffin or to allow her to recover. If Merrick were loyal to Siervage and my PCs were to slay her after the fight... it would present a huge obstacle to gaining Siervage's cooperation, at best. In my game, assuming the party defeats Merrick, Quinley will urge them to bring her staked body to Siervage for his justice. That would, admittedly, be awkward -- any way to carry a corpse inconspicuously? Can one shove a staked vampire corpse into a handy haversack?
Of course, there is a good chance Merrick may just use her tree stride to escape if things go badly. In which case they may meet her again at the Abbey.
One last question: Can the spawn from below join the fight? I guess we can assume the fly trap is trained to ignore them as they emerge from the hole, or that the fly trap would not be interested in them because they are not living?
Thanks! 150 sounds pretty good, and I guess it would make a couple dozen killings sound about right. Maybe my number is a bit high. It certainly is enough to put the terror into the vampire populace.
I'm amazed you had to make the Glass House encounter MORE challenging, since my party is having a tough time with just the druid and the fly trap. The fly trap didn't give your party a hard time?
And thanks for the note about dominate. She actually transformed back into vampire form to do some parlaying with the Dhampir. I made her a traitor to Siervage, which comes out in her responses to the Dhampir's pleas that she stand down. Then she heard the party's rogue sneaking on the roof above her tree top position and dominated the rogue when the rogue broke through the roof.
On a related note, what are her motivations in your game? Doesn't it seem strange that she would slay the Dhampir, who she is familiar with? And then also strange that Siervage would then embrace the party after the party laid waste to her and her defenses, unless the party has the excuse that she was a traitor?
I look forward to your further substitutions!
Thanks, Rakshaka -- I'll probably try to use this too. Did you have a particular place in mind where this Vampire would be?
Also, any thoughts as to how many vampires there are in the Caliphas clan and how many have been killed? I'm finding this hard to figure out and pretty important to frame things. I mentioned to my PCs a couple dozen vampires have been killed, but now I'm thinking maybe that was too many.
Also, how did your (or anyone else's) fight with the vampire druid go? We're in the middle of it, and, although I think the PCs have recovered somewhat, it could have been a TPK. That giant fly trap is basically impossible to escape the grasp of if you don't have freedom of movement or the like. It has kept the party's damage dealing barbarian locked up round after round. And it would have killed the wizard if not for a lucky dimension door. In the meantime, the druid can just hang out in a hidden position casting spells in bat form. And if someone approaches her she can dominate them -- as just happened to the party's rogue -- although the rogue may use a hero point to avoid that (it happened just as we ran out of game time).
Any thoughts on any of the above would be helpful. Thanks!
Power Word Unzip wrote:
My group just met Merrick and convinced her to introduce them to Luvick...
Interesting. I read the module as contemplating the fight with Merrick was pretty much unavoidable, because she was the guardian the PCs needed to fight through to gain access to the Underground, which had been sealed on orders of Siervage.
Admittedly, this caused me some concern, because I didn’t think Siervage would readily forgive the slaying of such an important guardian. Accordingly, I came up with an alternate scheme in which Merrick is disloyal to Siervage. This is how I envision it: Sensing it would not be possible to maintain the secrecy of his scheme much longer (as various vampire and spawn have become addicted to the Bloodbrew Elixir), Radvir Giovanni recently risked approaching Merrick, to see if he could gain a powerful ally. He convinced her to sample the bloodbrew elixir, which further awakened her savage, animalistic instincts (I’ve decided the Elixir makes vampires more savage and hungry for blood). Merrick now views Siervage’s relatively peaceful détente with the humans of Caliphas as a sign of weakness.
The PCs, led by the dhampir Quinley, will approach the Restoration Park entrance to the Underground thinking that Merrick will give them safe passage as an ally of Siervage, but she will instead attack and make comments reflecting her disloyalty. When the PCs reach Siervage, they can inform him of Merrick’s treachery. Quinley will encourage them not to slay Merrick while she is helpless in her coffin, but to instead bring her to Siervage for his judgment, presumably with a wooden stake in her heart to keep her immobilized on the way.
This gives the opportunity to play out the very cool Glass House fight, but still have it make overall plot sense. I’m going to try to play the Vampire community as a chaotic, confused, and paranoid group under siege -- which is how Radvir’s (and now Merrick’s) treachery and the use of the bloodbrew elixir have managed to go undetected. I really like Kalindlara’s idea of making the Vampire Underground a more crowded and complex environment. I don’t know how much I will expand the roleplaying and personalities down there, but I definitely like the atmosphere she describes.
Any thoughts on any of that? Also, how many vampires live underneath Caliphas and how many vampires have been killed? I’m not sure what seems a reasonable estimate, but I feel like I need to have a good estimate for both numbers as my PCs go underground and expand their investigations.
Thanks. The party knew that Kendra went to Caliphas to stay in Adivion's townhouse, and they have just now received notice that she has disappeared, while resting from the conclusion of Book 4 in Lepidstadt [as an aside, at the end of the climatic battle in Book 4, two were dead (the rogue and cleric), one was insane as per the spell (the barbarian), and the last was insane by sanity loss (the wizard, who is not disfunctionally insane, but his obsession with the dark tapestry is irreversible)].
Anyhow, so Kendra it is and the party is suitably motivated. I just need to make sure I can keep them on track -- to make it clear they need to go through the events of Ashes at Dawn to find Kendra. Any ideas how to do that?
I liked your write up, Zhangar. I'm wondering if you were at all bothered by the coincidence factor of the Lorrimors being related to Tar-Baphon, of the AP starting in Harrowstone -- was a necessary component just coincidentally where Lorrimor lived? I'd feel better if I could explain all that to myself.
Finally, not having read Book 6, can you tell me what the phylactery does?
I also had the same question about the Raven's Head mace, as we're just starting this volume. I'm assuming it's spelled out somewhere that I didn't read yet. Is MurphysParadox right that Adivion only wanted it because it is a potent weapon against the Way? Seems funny to devote so many resources and risks to get it in that event -- including the theft of the Seasage Effigy in Lepidstadt. Is there a good explanation for this?
A separate question: I'm intending to substitute Kendra Lorrimor for the Count, and if I do that I need to start laying the path for that now. Have others done this? Any dangers to this approach? Another question: Again, because I haven't read far enough yet, if I use Kendra does that doom her to be killed by the Way? What ends up happening to the Count?
I think Mythic might be the solution, especially since you can take their tiers away once the threat is over if you aren't comfortable continually using it. As for another solution.
Thanks, Rakshaka. I've benefited hugely from your suggestions on this thread. I'm going to see if I can study the Mythic Rules this week. My main concern is that Pathfinder is already pretty rules intensive, so adding on the Mythic rules may just lead to overload. But I'll see if I can figure it out. In any event, I don't think I'd want to give them the "Hard to Kill" aspect of the Mythic Rules...
My party was scared off from exploring the hallway where the Colour was. I'm going to have to figure out some appropriate consequence for their failure to get rid of it (any suggestions?), because I think the module specifically says something about it being released at the end if the PCs didn't get rid of it.
Your take on Desna's motivations makes sense, Zhangar.
As for whether my party knew what was at stake, I went out of the way to make it clear that stuff was about to go bad in a big way, and they couldn't count on popping in and out to Illmarsh, as they are wont to do. Among other things, Dhauggota was able to describe in detail the increasingly frequent manifestations of Shub-Niggutath. And, as if that wasn't enough: The barbarian is also an oracle with the haunted curse, and I've now and again had his body possessed by a fortune teller killed by the Whispering Way in Harrowstone. She warned them in no uncertain terms that something from the beyond was trying to manifest, that the barriers between worlds were thinning, and there was no time to waste. I may have laid it on a little thick, but I was making up for past failures to effectively communicate the urgency and my party's general attitude that they don't have to manage resources because they can pop in and out of dungeons like this is Keep on the Borderlands.
So, you can see why I kind of think it's time to kill one of them now.
My head is swimming with all the awesomeness. What an intriguing idea of the Night Monarch appearing and speaking on both of their behalf. It stands to reason Desna and the BB could instruct the Night Monarch to lay out the story -- Desna was deeply disappointed in the party (with whom she communed at the Temple of the Moon, warning them of this very encounter) and inclined to let them suffer their own consequences but the BB implored her to save Golarion from the horrors of the Dark Tapestry -- so the party understands how close they came to failure. And it also stands to reason that the rift that allowed Shub-Niggutath to manifest makes it easier for Desna and her Herald to work their influence as well.
Thanks. This is all VERY helpful.
And the black butterfly, who I had never heard of, is too perfect! A sworn enemy of the dark tapestry! I could even include some dialogue with the black butterfly explaining how she had to intervene on the party's behalf with Desna. How, the Song of the Spheres may be the patron of luck, but that she also expects her followers to create their own luck. But the Black Butterfly convinced her that the threat posed by Shub-Niggutath merited the intervention. I suppose this is sort of an images of the gods as squabbling like the Greek gods in Mount Olympus. But maybe that IS the Pathfinder vision.
Tacticslion (and Zhangar):
I have resisted the mythic approach, which is one that Zhangar mentioned as well (I, admittedly, have taken a lot of inspiration from Zhangar), mostly because I don't know anything about those rules and haven't had much time. But you seem to lay it all out for me, so it bears further investigation. My players would love it. And I like the idea of making it temporary and with negative level consequence. (Pushing the party to Caliphas with the weight of negative levels would have the additional benefit of making the encounter with the headless dark rider at the start of the next adventure harder. I'm concerned that encounter will be too easy.)
I'll probably still do the Dhauggota business, because I love that side plot, and the idea of the monster who is the lesser evil. I'll have to think about whether a mythic boon would be sufficient in itself, or if I also need to give some of the other boons I mentioned before.
Thanks again all!
Level 1 Commoner wrote:
the Mi-Go are followers of Shub-Niggurath? From my understanding they are just experimenting with the moits without knowing what will happen, because they are fascinated by their mind-shielding properties.
That's a fair question. The module summary says "the mi-go decided toperform a new experiment on the rider—infesting him with a slugspawn and manipulating its life cycle so that it spawns into a dark young of Shub-Niggurath." So they know what they are doing. They aren't followers exactly, but they intended to bring about the manifestation of at least the Dark Young.
These forums are such an amazing resource! Thank you so much. I need to respond separately to each of you.
More interesting ideas! I don't think the skum would be much help, even if I invented a clutch of skum rebels hiding out and waiting for an opportunity to attack the Mi-Go. The Croon submersible idea is dramatic and hilarious, but a little implausible and not that helpful to the party (who, anyways, have air bubbles and wouldn’t be too threatened by the flood, decreasing the overall impact). But you did give me an idea: In my campaign the party actually spoke to the devilfish Dhauggota (after battling her to a retreat). She shared information with the party and learned about the Face of Dagon (Seasage Effigy), which she is very interested in acquiring for her home devilfish community in the depths of Lake Encarthan (the Gutaki are intelligent devilfish devoted to the worship of Dagon). She could return with allies in time to see the commotion in the dome and decide to intervene on the side of the party, as revenge against the Mi-Go (who turned the Skum away from Dagon), to prevent (the manifesting) Shub-Niggutath from destroying the Gutaki way of life, and to attempt to claim the Face of Dagon (either by force or more likely by purchase from the grateful party). Dhauggota and her allies could attack and burst open the dome and then provide other assistance from there.
But what is the hardness and HP of the dome? Would the flood drive the Dark Young to the surface, since I don’t see specifically that it doesn’t need to breathe, although frankly it seems ridiculous that it could drown. And what boons should I give the PCs (I’ve all along planned to do the Desna bit -- as elsewhere suggested in this thread -- for the dramatic impact)?
An interesting thought. But the Dark Young is intelligent enough to recognize the Mi-Go as followers, and the PCs are such a tastier meal. And it manifested right next to the barbarian. Plus, I kind of liked the idea of trying to kill the wizard and cleric through Mi-Go vivisection. I suppose the dark young could use its first round to trample the barbarian, rogue, and the two Mi-Go that are nearby...
I’ve got a bit of a quandary, and I’m curious how you all would handle it. The PCs in my campaign are in the dome and the Dark Young has just manifested, and all 4 mi-go are still alive (although 2 are close to death). Although I warned the PCs in no uncertain terms that resource management was key in this stage of the module, the PCs basically have nothing left -- the cleric and wizard have basically no spells left; the barbarian is fatigued (I think) and has no rage rounds left and is significantly down in HP; the (high AC) rogue/fighter is fine.
The party is talking about retreating, since the dark young can’t fit into the cave complex. That’s fine, but Shub-Niggurath will soon begin to fully manifest in the waters of the bay (although the PCs may not see it if they leave the dome). If they don’t defeat the Dark Young soon, Shub-Niggurath will destroy Illmarsh. And will the rift in reality at some point become uncloseable if the party doesn’t soon defeat the Dark Young?
At the opening of the next session I plan to use the previously suggested idea of having Desna stop time and speak to the party, and she can communicate the desperation of the situation and give the PCs some boons that may give them the courage to continue the fight. My main question for you all is what boons? One bit of context is that I haven’t yet killed any PCs in the AP and I kind of think there won’t be enough consequences for the lack of resource management (which has been an ongoing issue) if they all come out of this alive. So I’m reluctant to give them too much. On the other hand, I don’t want this to become a TPK.
One thought is: the cleric and wizard each get to recall one spell of their choice (but not a spell for fleeing like dimension door or teleport); the barbarian gets unfatigued and 25% of his rage rounds back (which would probably be enough for the rest of the battle); and the rogue/fighter gets a dose of Desna’s Fortune (like Good Fortune -- she can reroll any one roll). If that’s not enough I could let the cleric and wizard each recall one spell from each level (again, not defensive spells). I thought about giving everyone a hero point too, but that might just end up letting them cheat death (again), and I wouldn’t mind killing one or two of them as long as it isn’t a TPK.
Thanks for any thoughts you have.
Thanks all. I'm bummed I didn't realize all this when the party arrived in Illmarsh. I certainly didn't think Zhangar was making it up. I wish the the author had made that aspect of the Illmarsh citizenry clear. I especially wish I had more time to prepare!
I think what I may do is, when the party emerges from the skum tunnels and returns to Illmarsh, they will find that the sheriff has killed himself. His suicide note will lament his complicity in Voltiaro's dealings. He will acknowledge he should have known better as someone who spent time outside Illmarsh in the military. The note will also detail a bit of history -- stories of fishy grandfathers -- but also explain how over the last 20 years he and the Voltiaros have been drowning the infant boy-skum hybrids returned to Illmarsh -- the outside scrutiny was becoming too much to allow the deformed males to live in town.
I may also have the party discover a hidden shrine to the Piper of Illmarsh in the temple, and pick up Zhangar's idea of him as "a vigilante who came in the night with his flocks of stirges and purged outsiders and unbelievers."
Ok. Glad I didn't miss anything. I love the idea, and wish I had known before my party spent so much time in Illmarsh. They are close to finishing up the skum tunnels now. Maybe when they return I can mention it as something they hadn't really noticed before, just as a creepy end note. I should also figure out some way to wrap the Piper of Illmarsh back in...
I honestly don't remember reading any of this stuff about deformed villagers in the module! And searching for "deformed" or "fifth" in the PDF doesn't turn up any references. Anyone have a page reference for me? If it's there, either I really blew it, or the author did a lousy job of placing the information, or both...
I thought I'd share this exciting, high stakes tidbit from our game. In the skum tunnels, the last room before the dome, there is a dimensional shambler who supposedly tries to shove PCs into the body mulching machine. Instead, and in accordance with the bestiary description for the creature, I had it dimension door and grab the party's wizard. Then it spent a full round plane shifting. The PC wizard failed his will save, and then used a hero point to succeed. His terror at being transported to a scene with scores of Mi-Go attacking a planet was priceless, before he barely managed to pull back and resist the shift. Sure the shambler is now out of the battle, but it was awesome.
By the way, how, mechAnically, would it work to have someone shoved into the body mulching machine?
I don't recall the hounds being stuck in that bedroom, but the hounds don't have any allegiance to Voltiaro, et. al, so there's no reason they would show up to help. I would probably just have the hounds stay in the room upstairs; maybe they like the angles of that room for some reason. Heck, they probably previously heard Voltiaro and the others in the mansion, but didn't go downstairs to attack, so it seems like they like to stay in the bedroom upstairs.
On the other hand, no reason that ALL the evil clerics wouldn't pile on for a battle royale in the room where the giant is. The module seems to contemplate that Voltiaro will just hang out upstairs and then be stuck taking on the party all by himself. I think that doesn't make any sense for him to do that. The fights are a lot tougher for the PCs when they can't just pile on one opponent.
And be aware that there will be BIG decisions to made on this same issue once they get to the Skum tunnels. Major potential for a monster pile up there too.