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Goblin Squad Member. 397 posts (1,459 including aliases). No reviews. 2 lists. 1 wishlist. 4 aliases.


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Rakshaka wrote:
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...

Tybid wrote:

I looked it up and according to a ruling Vital Strike and Spring Attack work together. Does this mean that the Colour out of Space should be doing 12d6 damage per round?

I'm concerned that my casterless party is going to get dissolved tomorrow and thought I would ask if that is what everyone else did.

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.

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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.

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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, I just read your proposed dialogue. So so awesome. In light of how the party conducted itself, that harsher approach is probably more appropriate in my campaign than Zhangar's more playful and blissful boon (detailed previously).

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 to

perform 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.

Sounds like a great fight! Like everyone else, the encounter in my campaign also turned into a battle royale. No reason all the opponents wouldn't come running to help at the sounds of battle.

Thanks all. I'm persuaded!

I think that seems sensible. I think my only concern is the PCs will soon be 11th level, so that would be 6d6 channel smite on the part of the rogue, without using up any of the cleric PC's daily channels (in contrast to the normal channel smite feat). I'm a little concerned that will be too potent against the undead in Ashes of Dawn.

On the other hand, it is only 3 times a day, and the modules are getting increasingly challenging. In fact, we almost had a TPK last night in the fight with the oracle, Mi-Go, and Gug (who really is an effective damage dealer). The wizard teleported the party out just in time, but the same challenge still awaits them when they return to the tunnels.

I agree, Zhangar. I'm making it a light mace that the rogue can wield effectively using weapon finesse and with your channel smite idea (although I haven't decided if it will be at whatever level the PC is currently at, as opposed to at some set CL). The party seems excited about it.

Thanks so much, Zhangar! Those are really interesting suggestions. The only problem is the barbarian already kicks some serious ass, so something that adds a huge number of dice of damage may be a bit much, especially where it would give the party 3 extra channels a day (which wouldn't be the case if the cleric were wielding it). Of course, as written the weapon would be disruptive in the hands of a cleric of pharasma (which the PC cleric in my game is not), which seems super powerful.

Already the rhythm of the game is everyone else messes around at the margins and then the barbarian wades in and completely smashes all the monsters. I'd like to figure out something that is cool and thematically appropriate, but not TOO potent...

Maybe it would make more sense for the party's rogue to use the mace? I'd want to switch it to a light mace, but then maybe it makes more sense that the "symbol of offce for the Bishop of Caliphas" was a light mace? Kind of heavy to hold a heavy mace as a symbol of office. I guess I could use the same special ability you suggest, which would lead to crazy damage if the rogue is also getting sneak attack damage, but the rogue's damage is not, in general, as ridiculous as the barbarian's...

A separate question: Any suggestions for an ability replacement for channel smite for the Raven's Head, if it is going to be wielded by a hard-hitting barbarian? There is no way the PC cleric or wizard in the party is going to spend time in close combat melee, so it is a waste to give them a melee weapon. I could redesign it for the rogue, but then it would need to be a light mace, which seems like an odd choice for a Prince wading into combat with the Tyrant's undead hordes...

Thanks. We played last night, and it ended up being a non-issue, because the Mi-Go had such a hard time hitting the PCs. And, even if grabbed, the PCs made pretty much all their FORT saves. I may think about adopting your compromise for next session, however, because we are in the middle of the fight and five Mi-Go are circling around to attack from the rear. And they are being smart by targeting the squishy cleric and wizard...

Can the Mi-Go, in theory, do their evisceration damage (2d6, plus 1d4 ability) 4 times per round, by hitting, grappling, releasing, then repeat, 4 times per round?

Zhayne wrote:
Failing a Knowledge check doesn't necessarily mean you never knew the information; you just can't remember it at the time. We've all forgotten things we've learned, or sat there thinking 'darn it, I know this ...'. Maybe you saw something that reminded you of the answer.

Actually, Zhayne, that isn't true under the rules as written. It is quite clear that a knowledge check represents "what you know, and thinking about a topic a second time doesn't let you know something that you never learned in the first place."

Yeah, I don't think of it in such a mystical, parallel universes way. The ability is described as very round and action oriented; it seems unreasonable to read something like that, that the cleric can do a good number of times a day, as something that causes switches between parallel universes retroactively, instead of affecting the probability of an immediate future action. If the knowledge skill was described as determining what you remember in a moment rather than what you know in an absolute sense, then it might make bit of luck make more sense, as affecting your ability to recall at that moment.

The "bit of luck" clerical domain power provides: "Bit of Luck (Sp): You can touch a willing creature as a standard action, giving it a bit of luck. For the next round, any time the target rolls a d20, he may roll twice and take the more favorable result. You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Wisdom modifier."

Can it be used on a knowledge check? Presumably not if I just tell the players, "make a knowledge check." They couldn't then say, well, let the cleric touch me first and then I'll make the check. But what if they say, "we want to make a knowledge check on this. I'll have the cleric touch me and then make the check"

This seems wrong to me. Knowledge checks aren't like other actions. First, "In most cases, a Knowledge check doesn't take an action." And, second, there are no try again's allowed: "The check represents what you know, and thinking about a topic a second time doesn't let you know something that you never learned in the first place."

While a clerical bit of luck could help someone climb a wall or hit a monster, how could it help them remember something they never learned? Also, giving bit of luck for knowledge checks seems overpowered, since such checks often have a big influence on how the plot unfolds.

Your thoughts?

Thanks, Rakshaka. That's a great help. I see that you gave mythic abilities and a mythic tier to your PCs. I see your mythic adjustment to the monster, but what did you give your PCs? You're not worried it is going to distort things going forward? Or are you going to give all encounters a mythic boost now? That would be too much work for me. Or could you just give a mythic boost for this one encounter?

Rakshaka wrote:

Some stuff from my game:

Mi-go[ I'm debating having a couple other pieces of Mi-Go technology besides the one in the Shredder room. Stuff that duplicates Hold Person, Magic Missle, and the various Cloud Spells could be helpful, especially with their Blindsight.

What did you end up doing? How many charges did the items have? I'd like to give the Mi-go more options, and I think it would be cool, but I don't want to end up giving my players too much extra loot...

Another question: The module says the Mi-go chambers are covered with sea locks, like at the entrances to the caverns. Why? Even if the caverns flooded, the Mi-go would be fine because they don't need to breathe. I can easily omit this detail, but if there's a purpose I'd like to know it...

Thanks, Ilja. I think it is a good idea for him to use a wand for things like mage armor and grease, and leave the daily slots open for spells that can take advantage of his CL, like magic missile and shocking grasp. I agree he also should be thinking about utility items, that may not be too expensive.

Zhayne wrote:
Give the crossbow the 'Precise' enchantment from 3rd, which gives it inherent Precise Shot.

Zhayne, is "precise" a weapon enhancement in RAW? I don't see it, but it would make a lot of sense in terms of making his crossbow more useful. He could probably investigate custom bolts too, which might be fun and not too costly.

VRMH, you're right that he is conducting himself as a real wizard. Your suggestions are great for lower levels, but not really at the level we're playing at. Although the net could still be cute in some situations.

Zhayne, he is higher level, but he claims wands are too expensive to make sense. At, for example, 5,250 gp for a 7th level wand of magic missile, I understand his point. But I'd love to hear more suggestions for particular wands or scrolls that have a reasonable effect without being too expensive.

Yeah, on further reflection, I think you're right about not giving him the mace because I doubt he'll use it. But I'd still like to find a solution for the dilemma. The cantrips were fine at low levels, but at higher levels the amount of damage is useless. And he has a crossbow, but the -4 for firing into melee combat is pretty prohibitive.

Hey all. I'm GMing an AP that has a magical mace that I'm considering converting for use by the party's wizard, who doesn't have much to do when he needs to conserve spell resources. Any idea why wizards are proficient in clubs but not light maces? It doesn't seem like the light mace would be much harder to use, although it is one pound heavier. I suppose I could always home rule proficiency.

Anyhow, more generally, any ideas on what a wizard PC should do to get more versatility in attack options without having to devote too much gp (on wands) or feats (on becoming effective at ranged weapons into melee)? The wizard in the group I'm GMing for is burning through his spell resources, largely because he can't think of anything better to do than cast a spell every round.

Thanks all.

Thanks, all. I like your various tips for adding a sense of urgency, and I think I will plan on giving some sort of boon in the last battle. I definitely need to do more thinking about the Oogglith fight, which is coming right up.

MurphysParadox wrote:
Certainly no problem in selling the effigy from a story point of view. Of course, selling such a powerful magical item to a very not good entity... well, that's something that could go quite wrong for another stretch of coast line later, heh. Maybe a tie-in with your next group's adventure, a rumor perhaps.

Yeah, this gets to some of the hard decisions to be made. The safest thing to do would be to destroy the effigy, which has no good use, but they would lose a lot of GP that way. To sell it elsewhere or return it to Lepidstadt wouldn't stop some lunatic worshippers of the dark tapestry from getting their hands on it and one day leading to the destruction of much of Golarion. But I think it is fair to surmise that the Gutaki wouldn't be dumb enough to contact an Outer God, especially after what was witnessed with the skum. So, short of destroying it, the safest place for the effigy may be in the hands of the Gutaki, even though it may marginally strengthen Dagon's hold over the deepest waters -- but who really cares about that...?

That's an interesting take, dark warrior. It would permit frequent item switching, which is the problem Grishnackh brings up. Isn't the 24 hour rule designed to prevent that? Otherwise, isn't it meaningless? Not so hard to have the find some 24 hours to wear an item after acquisition, and then have it work forever without having to meet the 24 hours requirement again...

I agree Joex. Unless the PCs were trying to get away with something, I would probably house rule that, after the first 24 hours, the items could be removed for periods of up to 8-12 hours without loss of bonuses when the items are replaced (i.e. no need for a new 24 hour start up period).

In any event, Raymond solved my immediate dilemma. Can't believe I missed that!

I'm playing a witch with a headband of vast intelligence with the linguistics skill. The item description states, "After being worn for 24 hours, the headband grants a number of skill ranks in those skills equal to the wearer's total Hit Dice." Someone else in the party has a circlet of persuasion. Can the witch briefly take off the headband and borrow the circlet for a minute or two (to perform a discrete charisma-related task) without losing the linguistics bonuses when he puts in back on?

Thanks, Zhangar. I like the idea about using the skum cleric, and also the idea of the Raven's Head somehow communicating the hazard to the party, although making it actually able to talk probably wouldn't fit my (less-mythic) game. I had in mind your earlier thread when I thought about a (non-mythic) boon from Desna in that last battle, so thanks for the inspiration.

Did your party go through the entire period from descent to climatic battle without resting?

I have another question regarding the assault on the skum tunnels. Did any of your PCs rest midway through? The wizard PC in my players' group is pretty lousy at resource management, and there is one big fight after another, which will drain the party of spellcasting (not to mention the barbarian's rounds of rage) before reaching the final encounter. I don't want the party to leave and then come back, and would be interested to hear your ideas of how to discourage that. On the other hand, I'm a little concerned about them reaching the final battle with nothing left.

I guess one possibility might be that if they start to think about turning back they could hear human cries in common, perhaps even with a reference to the WW -- the dark rider -- coming from the last room. That should communicate the time pressure. Also, of course, if they leave they won't stop the manifestation of shub-niggurath, who will devastate Illmarsh.

I suppose if they reach the final battle with little to no resources I could give them a boon from Desna of some spell re-casting and rounds of rage.

How did you all handle this?

Rakshaka wrote:
I had it use all of its buffs except for its round/level ones once combat broke out in the Skum chambers preceding the area. Its not the far in terms of distance from its location, so in terms of alertness, it is still buffed but also curious about the interlopers.

Thanks, Rakshaka. You're absolutely right. All the buffs last at least 9 minutes and it makes sense that an intelligent, albeit mysterious, creature like the Oogglith would prepare to deal with an obvious threat, even if it isn't planning on attacking on sight.

Rakshaka wrote:
The Devilfish idea is pretty awesome. My party just curb-stomped the poor thing, so having that extra interaction is cool, especially since there's a high probability that the PCs will sell the Seasage Effigy anyways. I don't really see any problems with this; there's no other underwater stuff in the rest of the campaign and the drawbacks of the idol assure its sale. Treasure could be anything, Lake Encarthan probably holds endless treasure in its depths.

Glad you like the idea. Once the PCs mentioned the effigy, it seemed logical the Devilfish, with her devotion to Dagon, would be interested. Even if it might make more sense for her to come back with reinforcements to take it by force, I love the opportunity to deepen the complexity of the story and interactions without actually punishing the PCs for it. Also, I love the idea in my game of shades of evil. A bunch of evil Dagon worshipping Gutaki in the deepest waters are unlikely to pose much of a threat to life on land or to irresponsibly bring an outer god to Golarion (unlike the Skum). Heck, the effigy may pose less of a threat there than sitting on a shelf in a museum in Lepidstadt.

One question about the encounter with Oogglith. It's tactics require it to spend several rounds prepping for combat, yet it does not act hostile to the PCs at the outset, and it is unrealistic (and suicide) for it to spend rounds buffing once the fight is on. How did you all handle this issue?

I also want to share this: My PCs managed to parley with the devilfish (she was heavily wounded and in flight and they caught up to her with dimension door). They found out that she felt the skum had turned their backs on Dagon and the devilfish shared some information with the group, in exchange for the group sharing its information. Perhaps inadvisedly, the group mentioned the Seasage Effigy, and the devilfish became very interested in it, due to its connection with Dagon. She now wants to buy it from the group if they are able to recover it. I'm willing to have her pay them full value (I figure she can contact other Gutaki devilfish to gather the funds) and promise to leave this stretch of coast alone (the PCs have managed to start Illmarsh on a path to redemption by bringing in a priestess of Gozreh from outside town). Anyhow, the party loved interacting with the devilfish and it will be interesting to see how this plays out. Any thoughts or potential problems you perceive?

Makes sense. Thanks folks.

If an enemy is at the level of a 10 foot ceiling, could a tall barbarian with a sword attack it normally, since the barbarian could easily poke the sword 10 feet into the air? What penalties would apply in this situation?

This is a total GM (my) judgment call, but I'm curious to get other views. We ended our last session with one of the PCs about to be charged and surprised/sneak attacked by three thugs. The PC wants to use a hero point to move before she is attacked. The player referred me to this use of hero points: "Act Out of Turn: You can spend a hero point to take your turn immediately. Treat this as a readied action, moving your initiative to just before the currently acting creature. You may only take a move or a standard action on this turn."

I'm not sure that technically applies, because this is a surprise round and the PC does not technically have a turn yet. I think the PC would actually get 2 things out of the use of the hero point: (1) getting to act in the surprise round; and (2) getting to act FIRST in the surprise round.

Would you let the PC use a hero point to act before her surprise assailants? If not, perhaps a compromise would be say that the use of the hero points means the PC isn't surprised, but the PC is still flat-footed if she doesn't beat the assailants in initiative? I'd probably roll the assailants' initiatives separately in that instance.

Thanks. I guess I'll just do that, which seems a lot more straightforward.

Thanks for all this. We ended the last session with the attacks unresolved, so I may just want to revise their action to say that they charge and sneak attack the PC (or at least 3 of them do). But can a charge and attack happen in a surprise round, which is just supposed to be one standard OR move action? A charge attack is usually a full round action.

I'm running a game where the PCs are exploring a temple. One PC is presently in a room with doors to the North and the South. The PC is in the open North doorway, distracted and looking North. Four temple rogues are hiding in the room to the south. All four try to sneak across the room to sneak attack the PC. Three beat the PC's perception, and one fails. Which of the following is the right result?

(1) The 3 that succeeded sneak across the room and get a surprise attack (sneak attack) on the PC. The 1 that failed moves across the room but does not get to act in the surprise round.

(2) There is no surprise round because 1 of the 4 failed and thus alerted the PC. All 4 only get sneak attacks only if they beat the PC's initiative and catch her flat-footed.

Is one of those right, or is there yet another result?

Wouldn't it be possible to devise some relationship (some deal) between the Mi-go and the WW rather than eliminating the Mi-go? Maybe there is something the Mi-go needed for their experiments that the WW provided them.

What is the WW's direct involvement in the goings-on in Illmarsh? I wonder if I might like to add more of a connection in my game as well (we've just started the module).

What a mess this thread is! It seems clear to me the grab and grapple rules don't work for a creature like a giant octopus and it is silly to try to apply RAW to that monster. A giant octopus can only hold one creature in its tentacles at a time? Silliness! It needs to take -20 on every constrict check because it needs to use its whole body to effectively constrict an opponent? Silliness! This is a massive creature with powerful and long tentacles that operate pretty independently, and every depiction in fantasy has them grappling several enemies at once. This is a place for the GM to ignore the rules and just have fun. As long as the PCs don't get killed, the rule semantics don't matter. So I guess one lesson is use this monster for flavor and not as a critical combat that needs to be run in a perfectly rule-certifiable way.

Thanks for your thoughts everyone. They encountered ghasts at the Sanctuary, which have a similar but much stronger smell than ghouls. But if the PC gets a good whiff, she would probably be able to guess it was ghouls.

But I like the idea that the ghouls smeared themselves with offal. They know the party has a half-orc, so a smart opponent might have considered the possibility that the half-orc has a sensitive sense of smell.

The scent description actually states, "False, powerful odors can easily mask other scents. The presence of such an odor completely spoils the ability to properly detect or identify creatures."

Assuming the barn door is open, I guess when the half-orc gets within 30 feet (assuming strong smell, downwind) I'll say that the barn smells very strongly of manure, as if it has not been cleaned out in a long time. I'll rule that masks the ghoul's smell, especially when they pop out covered in manure, although I suspect my half-orc PC will still complain. Scent is a bit overpowered, so I think it's fair to frustrate it this way.

Yossarin wrote:

1) Sounds reasonable to me. Though you'd want to determine whether you treat Scent as a passive ability as well as active.

2) Surprisingly, no, they didn't. Best thing is that they didn't even try. I like to think I narrated the scene in just such a way as to make it not suspicious, to make it seem like it was just window dressing. They stableman trying to fix the cart was presented more or less like a simple commoner whom the players knew they would need to interrogate for information about the Dark Rider, and so helping him with the wheel seemed a great way to get on his good side and make him more pliable.

I believe under RAW, scent IS a passive ability. That is, when the PC walks within 30 feet of a scent, he notices it. It is a move action to determine direction, not to detect that there is an odor. Is there disagreement on this?

Similarly, and as to the second point, aren't perception and sense motive also passive? That is, a PC gets to make a perception check whenever a foe is trying to hide from them (use stealth) or lie to them (use bluff). I don't think PCs need to declare they are trying to look or tell if someone is lying. I think the GM should automatically make the rolls for them when appropriate. Do you all disagree?

And thanks for all your thoughts on the encounter. I want to make sure I play it right technically, because if the assassin manages to kill someone I don't want to get into debates over rules. I agree that the assassin and ghouls are mincemeat after the surprise round, which is why I was hoping there is a rationale for the ghouls to get an attack in the surprise round.

I'll consider Raith's suggestion to have the attack happen elsewhere, but I think I may want to move things along out of Thrushmoor...

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