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I ran this yesterday, it took a little over five hours, there is a deceptively large amount of content here.
My group was:
They were very close to being high tier with the 4 player adjustment (one of the 5's was initially going to play a 7) but swopped around to put themselves in low tier. All told a good decision (see later).
The first encounter took about 5 minutes, it really is a complete speed bump. The high tier one is not really any better as the swarms are tiny and so can be dealt with by weapon damage as well.
The second encounter has some oomph to it. The warpriest was dead in a surprise round pounce charge until I realised that he was out of range of a single move standard action charge. He moved up and got tripped on the OA and then nearly died to the full round attack while prone as the only person in reach. A timely glitterdust put pay to any further antics and it was over soon after.
I do have an issue with the four player adjustment for this encounter. Applying sicken to the hydra is sort of useful, it isn't very accurate so any penalty is welcome, but it has no impact at all on its breath weapons which are the most dangerous element. Also, if the group ignore the snake to focus on what looks like the bigger danger then that element does precisely nothing.
Reaching the ruin the group quickly worked out that something was up. They explored the ruin, avoided the crack, saved against the haunt and only two of them drank the water. Given the importance of this element there needs to be a way for the PC's to identify what drinking the water actually does. The snakes were mildly awkward but only managed to poison one person once.
They found the "cured" archaeologist, grabbed the second disc and moved to the main room. They were a little uncertain about the puzzle but predicted the correct order but then things went south.
The final encounter is sort of a puzzle but also extremely dangerous, even for a group at the very highest cusp of low tier. Their cleric/oracle had something like a dozen channels, by the end he had none left. The tails are very accurate and utterly dominate anyone who hasn't taken a drink. Even those who have will regularly find themselves grappled. My group finished up by the very skin of their teeth with multiple people on single digit health. If it had taken them a single extra round it would likely have been a tpk.
Here is where I have my major issue with the scenario. The 4 player adjustment for this is a -2 penalty on attack and damage. Given you may actually only have 4 players and quite probably 3 of them will be grappled I struggle to see how any team of 4 is actually going to be able to complete this. Balancing this sort of encounter needs to be done with a lot more care. I would have expected maybe a reduction of one tail to give people an actual chance.
This is not one to play up with or to play with a marginal group. If mine had been pushed into high tier with the 4p I can see that the end would quite simply have been carnage with basically no chance of survival.
I ran this yesterday for a group of 5 including TOZ. Our composition was:
Sierra Heartward, level 15 life oracle, lots of spells, decent DC's, much healing
This was the same group which I ran part 2 for. They had a lot of trouble with Mr Cuddles so Dark Mask decided they needed more tanking assistance and employed greater planar ally, I gave them a Monadic Deva. He proved quite useful at soaking up various attacks and by the end of it he was the best equipped deva going with a +6 str belt, +6 cha headband and +4 chain shirt. His lesser globe aura was at times a blessing and a curse to the group.
They headed here first and met with Alexayn. There was a fairly lengthy discussion and their deva friend was unclear why they were not simply destroying the abomination. It was touch and go but they eventually agreed as a party to leave him alone and accept his deal. This was probably just as well as the session lasted nearly 7 hours as it was. I may have played up Alexayns megalomania as he demanded they erect a 50' high flaming illusion of him towering over the Aspis HQ bellowing REMEMBER ME! I may possibly have been inspired by an old Futurama episode.
Meeting the teams:
Meeting up with their teams the group reviewed their options. They made the requisite knowledge check and so had all four options available to them. They resolved to use the sewer themselves fairly quickly but their was quite a bit of discussion about how to employ the teams or even whether to use them at all. Eventually the consensus was that they shouldn't use them and instead just keep them safe doing stuff away from aspis HQ. This definitely had an impact as it meant they did not reduce their awareness pool at all.
I do like this encounter but on normal mode he has a hideous glaring weakness. Several of the group failed to spot him, he breathed on the lot of them at the outset and then his flaw was hit. He could have swallowed the angel who he grappled on an opportunity attack but a natural 1 put paid to that. Being so limited in actions he never really had a chance and mass touch attacks did for him.
Traversing the stronghold:
Having got Alexayns intelligence and using the sewer they only had to deal with 1 obstacle to reach the next stage. I threw a patrol at them and The Shadow managed to bluff their way past with the rest of the group also managing to make their respective checks. I gave them the patrons plans and then gave them the chance to continue to plunder the aspis HQ or make their way upstairs. Being proper pathfinders they plundered their way through facing the gallery (several only saved by the skin of their teeth, that wayfinder clause is nasty), defeated the guards and wards (started off looking very dicey with 2 fails) and navigated the barriers (again 2 fails before pushing through to success). It was nice to see some challenging DC's for this tier, even the perception monkey failed that check. They did part of Alexayns mission here speaking with the guards and leaving various notes about.
Having hoovered up all of the loot they pushed upstairs, buffed themselves to extremes and met with Mr Khayn. I played him up as a reasonable, polite and affable man and they spent quite a bit of time trying to talk him around, nabbing themselves an extra awareness point (for a total of 6). Sadly he never got a chance to act. He took a single arrow from Silanqui and then was dropped to -1 by The Shadow. He has some decent offence but his defences are weak which, coupled with a very low initiative modifier, makes it unlikely he will do much. He also has no means of flying, something which every member of my group could do, making him effectively a non threat at this level.
His friend was, as expected, the far more dangerous element of the encounter. After two players had taken double digit con drain they unleashed everything they had on her. She took a heal and then a hail of arrows which put her down. She should have lasted an extra round but I forgot that reach heal requires a ranged touch attack which Sierra was very unlikely to make.
They got 3 Shaitans but they didn't really manage to do much. One got hit with greater bestow curse for -12 con and was dead shortly thereafter, one was forcibly planeshifted home and the last one ran away. I considered cutting the room up with walls of stone but given everyone was flying or air walking it was little more than a minor delay.
The group met up with Suliji and fairly quickly agreed to work with her with almost no prompting needed. They enquired about making sure the patrons couldn't come back and she provided them with a pair of soul trapping gems. The deva objected to this and warned them it would breach his agreement with Dark. The group persisted and he departed, wanting nothing to do with soul trapping magic.
They moved to face the Patron with 6 awareness points. This had a significant effect on the encounter at first. The wind effect would have been a real issue but it was supressed by a calm winds from The Shadow (this effect needs a CL, I assumed 20 based on the other things there) as well as suppressing one of their key buffs. This encounter took quite some time as they are powerful opponents, they had a variety of buffs and Dark Mask threw a greater dispel at the Patron first. This caused him to lose most of his key buffs and made him very vulnerable. The dragons dealt significant damage but again grapple doesn't work well at this level due to the ubiquity of freedom of movement. Things looked dicey for a bit but Silaqui eventually got buffed up and they went down.
Overall I was very pleased with this instalment. I only really have one complaint. I would have liked to see more information about Aspis HQ. We aren't given much to work with as description and I had expected a more unusual interior given it is their equivalent of Slkyreach/The Grand Lodge.
Incredible protégé says that you receive 1 free rank in the skill per character level. Does this grow as the character gains levels or is this a one off bonus? The boon can I think be read either way.
I am running this tomorrow so it would be helpful to have an answer to this question.
Also I noticed one small wrinkle while going over my prep notes.
High tier Suliji can add 4 points of weapon abilities using her legacy weapon ability but her weapon is already +7 equivalent meaning she cannot use more than 3 of them as per THIS FAQ. This makes me a little sad as I had intended to drop brilliant energy on it and go all sith lord on some luckless heavy armour types.
Lau Bannenberg wrote:
Ka, the super Snake expert hugger and Hermes, Roc of Victory concur with this view.
Having seen this in action the issue is rarely the damage, although it stacks up pretty quickly, it's more the multiple fort saves or be stunned. This was however prior to the Aasimar FCB nerf.
Also, a 10'r isn't all that tiny, you are going to catch two enemies in it in many multiple opponent combats.
Tineke Bolleman wrote:
Its not its bite. Its the 2d6+9 plus 8d6 fire, from swallow whole.
Yes, but the swallow whole has to actually happen. I think I can count of the fingers of one hand the number of times I have managed to swallow a PC (most recently in core Eyes of the Ten). Grapples are broken fairly easily, whether it is sufficient damage to kill the thing or something like a lesser talisman of freedom, ddoor from a non grappled person, liberating command, freedom of movement, liberation cleric or any number of other ways it can happen.
Having said that if you do actually manage to swallow whole it actually deals bite damage again when it swallows (3d6+9) plus swallow whole (2d6+9) plus 8d6 fire damage which is very likely to finish someone off.
That's why I tend to see groups bust out the big guns as soon as someone gets grappled by something like this.
Average damage 40. Maximum damage 54.
A max damage crit kills none of the core pregens and in fact only renders Seoni unconscious.
Tineke Bolleman wrote:
Also, just as a side note, a Remorhaz is totally not a level appropriate encounter.
It is CR7. It gets one moderately dangerous bite attack. Its heat ability screws over natural and unarmed strike users but it isn't likely to do that much to actual weapons given that energy damage to objects is halved and then hardness applies.
It's saves are pretty terrible apart from fort and its AC is pretty mediocre.
I give you The Terrible Tiefling Terrors, a four man demon blooded tiefling team. They are all dumb as posts but they have learned to work together well.
Mandrake the Magnificent:
Front man for the Terrible Tieflings, Mandrake is a specialist in magical control, a psychic sorcerer armed in full plate armour floating about the battlefield.
Demon-spawn tiefling sorcerer (tattooed sorcerer) 6
Feats Alertness, Fiend Sight[ARG], Fiend Sight[ARG], Noble Scion Of War[ISWG], Varisian Tattoo[Evocation]
Skills Acrobatics -3 (-7 to jump), Bluff +10, Fly +8, Perception +4, Sense Motive +4, Use Magic Device +10; Racial Modifiers +4 Fly
SQ bloodline arcana: psychic, bloodline tattoos, familiar tattoo, prehensile tail
Gear scroll of fly (x2), [i]heightened awareness, toppling metamagic rod (lesser)[UE], +1 full plate, cloak of resistance +2, headband of alluring charisma +2, ring of protection +1
Pre combat buffing: Ant Haul (keeps him within light load), Shield, scrolls of Fly and Heightened Awareness
Lothar, Killer of Dreams:
An anti-paladin in service to Norgorber, he kills without mercy and particularly despises servants of Saraenrae.
Demon-spawn tiefling antipaladin 6
Special Attacks channel negative energy 3/day (DC 16, 3d6), smite good 2/day (+3 attack and AC, +6 damage)
Feats Fiend Sight[ARG], Fiend Sight[ARG], Power Attack
Skills Acrobatics -3 (-7 to jump), Intimidate +14, Perception +3; Racial Modifiers +2 Perception
SQ cruelties (dazed, staggered), fiendish boon (weapon, +1), prehensile tail, touch of corruption 6/day (3d6)
Gear +1 full plate, heavy wooden shield, +1 bardiche, composite longbow (+4 Str), mwk longsword, amulet of natural armor +1, belt of giant strength +2, cloak of resistance +1, cracked dusty rose prism ioun stone, cracked magenta prism ioun stone (intimidate), ring of protection +1
Pre combat buffing: Lothar activates his fiendish weapon to give it keen. He looks to enter melee combat as soon as possible, prioritising good aligned clerics, paladins or other divine casters.
Narda, Queen of Chaos:
A terrifying devotee of Zon-Kuthon, Narda believes in bringing suffering to the masses in the bloodiest way possible.
Demon-spawn tiefling bloodrager (steelblood) 6
Special Attacks blood casting, bloodrage (16 rounds/day), claws
Str 28, Dex 12, Con 18, Int 6, Wis 12, Cha 14
Feats Eschew Materials, Fiend Sight[ARG], Fiend Sight[ARG], Power Attack, Toughness
Skills Acrobatics -3 (+5 to jump), Intimidate +11, Perception +10
SQ armor training 1, demonic bulk, fiendish sprinter, indomitable stance
Gear +1 full plate, heavy steel shield, +1 nodachi[UC], mwk composite longbow (+4 Str), mwk longsword, belt of giant strength +2, cloak of resistance +2, cracked dusty rose prism ioun stone, ring of protection +1
Pre combat buffing: Narda casts expeditious retreat and shield on herself before combat. her statistics include the benefits of bloodrage.
Theron the Black:
The secret leader of the team and the backbone of their primary tactic.
Demon-spawn tiefling oracle (dual-cursed oracle) 6
Oracle (Dual-Cursed Oracle) Spells Known (CL 6th; concentration +12)
Feats Expanded Arcana[APG], Fiend Sight[ARG], Fiend Sight[ARG]
Skills Acrobatics -4 (-8 to jump), Perception +3, Spellcraft +7, Use Magic Device +16; Racial Modifiers +2 Perception
SQ oracle's curses (haunted, tongues), prehensile tail, revelations (misfortune[UM], skill at arms, war sight)
Gear reach metamagic rod (lesser)[APG], wand of bless (50 charges), +1 full plate, +1 heavy steel shield, mwk longsword, cloak of resistance +2, headband of alluring charisma +2, lesser talisman of freedom[OA], blood-boiling pill
Pre combat buffing: Theron casts Ant Haul and Shield of Faith on himself as well as Deeper Darkness on Narda's armour. In combat he can only speak Abyssal, fortunately so can the rest of the group.
As a group of all tieflings each with double fiend sight all of them have the see in darkness quality. They take advantage of this by dropping deeper darkness as soon as possible to reduce the light level to supernatural darkness or at least regular darkness. If a party brings daylight or heightened continual flame then Theron will try dispel a couple of times before switching tactics. Each is a capable combatant in their own right regardless of the darkness effects.
Mandrake will normally drop Haste on the group in round one and then focus his control spells where they will hurt the most. Big stupid fighters and clerics get dropped in pits or greased, rogue types get glitterdusted and arcane casters get blinded assuming they have found a way around the darkness. Theron splits groups up with murderous command, often targeting people already in melee so they have to provoke to make their attack. Low will types are held, especially if they are already in melee and so can be couped. He employs his reach rod with Bestow Curse or an inflict spell to finish off badly wounded enemies.
In order to sow confusion amongst their enemies each of them wears identical looking full plate armour.
Male half-orc sorcerer (tattooed sorcerer) 6
N Small humanoid (human, orc)
Init +9 or +13; Senses see invisibility, darkvision 60'; Perception +17
AC 22, touch 13, flat-footed 20 (+4 armor, +2 Dex, +1 natural, +4 shield, +1 size)
Melee dagger +2 (1d3-2/19-20)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 6th; concentration +12)
Sorcerer (Tattooed Sorcerer) Spells Known (CL 6th; concentration +12)
Base Atk +3; CMB +0; CMD 12
Feats Alertness, Expanded Arcana[APG], Spell Focus (evocation), Spell Specialization (Fireball)[UM], Varisian Tattoo[ISWG]
Skills Bluff +15 (+17 while benefitting from concealment or cover), Fly +20, Perception +17, Sense Motive +3, Spellcraft +11, Use Magic Device +17
SQ behind the veil, bloodline tattoos, familiar tattoo, fearless, orc blood
Gear scroll of barkskin, bear's endurance, cat's grace, heroism, resist energy, see invisibility, toppling metamagic rod (lesser)[UE], wand of heightened awareness (50 charges), wand of mage armor (50 charges), wand of shield (50 charges), antitoxin, blood-boiling pill, dagger, cloak of resistance +2, cracked dusty rose prism ioun stone, headband of alluring charisma +2, talisman of freedom (lesser) masterwork tool, masterwork tool, spell component pouch (2), spell component pouch, wrist sheath, spring loaded, wrist sheath, spring loaded
Pre-Fight buffing and Tactics:
Scorchio casts fly, mirror image reduce person and dancing darkness before any fight. He applies his wands of mage armour, shield and heightened awareness. Depending on the team he is facing he may use one or more of his scrolls. He tries to make sure his dancing darkness keeps the light in the area at dim to take advantage of shadow blending's 50% miss chance. He also drinks an anti toxin and downs a blood boiling pill.
In combat he makes extensive use of his high fly speed and the ability to auto pass any fly check to keep enemies at range while he pounds them with area effect and direct damage.
Colonel Carnage, Hero of Lastwall:
Half-orc inquisitor (sacred huntmaster) of Gorum 6
CN Medium humanoid (human, orc)
Init +7; Senses darkvision 60 ft., see invisibility; Perception +14
AC 22, touch 15, flat-footed 20 (+7 armor, +3 deflection, +2 Dex)
Speed 60 ft. (50 ft. in armor)
Melee +1 greatsword +12 (2d6+10/19-20) or
. . mwk longspear +12 (1d8+9/×3) or
Ranged mwk composite longbow +10 (1d8+7/×3)
Special Attacks bane (6 rounds/day), rage (5 rounds/day)
Inquisitor Spell-Like Abilities (CL 6th; concentration +9)
Str 18, Dex 12/14, Con 14, Int 14, Wis 16, Cha 7
Base Atk +4; CMB +12; CMD 23
Feats Combat Expertise, Improved Spell Sharing[ACG], Outflank[APG], Pack Flanking[ACG], Power Attack
Skills Acrobatics -1 (-5 to jump), Climb +8, Handle Animal +4, Intimidate +12, Knowledge (arcana) +8, Knowledge (planes) +8, Perception +14, Ride +10, Sense Motive +15, Spellcraft +11, Stealth +3, Survival +7, Swim +5, Use Magic Device +7; Racial Modifiers +2 Intimidate
SQ animal companion (snake, constrictor named Animal Companion), animal focus (6 minutes/day), animal focuses, hateful retort, hunter tactics, monster lore +3, orc blood, stern gaze +3, track +3
Gear potion of mage armor, wand of heightened awareness (50 charges), +1 agile breastplate[APG], heavy wooden shield, +1 greatsword, mwk composite longbow (+4 Str), mwk longspear, mwk morningstar, cloak of resistance +2, cracked magenta prism ioun stone, lesser talisman of freedom[OA], 150 gp
Grabby the Giant Snake:
N Large animal
Init +3; Senses low-light vision, scent, see invisibility; Perception +1
Speed 50 ft., climb 20 ft., swim 20 ft.
Melee bite +13 (1d4+14 plus grab +22)
Str 25/27, Dex 17, Con 18, Int 1, Wis 12, Cha 2
Base Atk +4; CMB +15 (+19 grapple); CMD 29 (can't be tripped)
Feats Combat Reflexes, Extra Item Slot (shoulder), Improved Spell Sharing[ACG], Outflank[APG], Pack Flanking[ACG], Power Attack
Tricks Attack, Combat Riding, Come, Defend, Down, Guard, Heel
Skills Acrobatics +12 (+8 to jump), Climb +16, Swim +16
Gear cloak of resistance +2, exotic military saddle
Pre fight buffing:
Carnage makes plenty of use of the opportunity to buff pre fight. He always feeds Grabby a potion of mage armour before each fight and then casts a variety of spells on the both of them using improved spell sharing. Their statistics include the benefit of spell shared expeditious retreat, divine favour, shield of faith, defending bone and see invisibility.
He also taps himself with the wand of heightened awareness and if he is aware that his enemies make use of a particular energy type he will add in a shared Resist Energy. He generally gives himself a little extra dex at the start of things with Animal Focus, Grabby has a permanent +2 strength.
He likes to close with opponents as quickly as possible and focuses on finish off those grabbed by the snake. As he rides into battle on the back of the snake they both gain the benefit of pack flanking and outflank against adjacent enemies.
Kevin Willis wrote:
If he has the supercool goggles his damage jumps up to an average of around 70 a round (for 3 rounds).
I think your numbers are rather off. Where he starts is going to be more than 30' away from pretty much any PC. If he is sniping, and he must to do anything useful then he gets:
1d8+6 +4d6 sneak +3 studied target for an average of about 28 per shot if he hits and he only gets to make two shots and still snipe. If he is within 30' he gets to add an extra 9 per shot. If he has the special goggles then he gets to add +8 for 3 rounds.
This all assumes the PC's don't do something to shut him down like cast obscuring mist.
That isn't much of a challenge for a group of level 10-11 characters.
Mitch Mutrux wrote:
I should have mentioned that he had the goggles of the certain shot from someone having played Serpent's Rise with Shohiraj, along with master sniper.
The shohiraj goggles don't really add very much to his offence.
Mitch Mutrux wrote:
I am not sure how you are dropping people in a round? He will generally not be within 30' on top of the buildings so he loses the bonus damage on his sneak attack. He also cannot make full attacks while sniping. The best he gets is 2 shots with master sniper.
Kevin Willis wrote:
As for what to do the answer is "nothing." Adding any ability would change the way the encounter is balanced. And I can say from 4 tables of experience that he is a BEAST as built.
I would largely disagree with this. He is only really very effective while he can remain hidden, which is extremely difficult to do. His stealth isn't actually that high when you take into account the sniping penalty. I found I was having to give him improved cover to give him any chance at all. As soon as anyone hits about 50' elevation then he pretty much loses any cover or concealment and is automatically spotted. As per ultimate intrigue his blur potion does not allow him to stealth.
The first time I ran it the group took a while to locate him so he got to make a fair few attacks but his damage isn't that great and can easily be shut off in many different ways at this level. The second time some summoned bralani azata's found him in no time flat with their 100' fly speeds.
Overall he strikes me as a rather disappointing "leader" of the agenda. On both runs the battle in the desert has been the most dangerous (once low tier, once high with 4p adjustment). Both times the prison has also caused problems despite looking like it should be pretty easy.
I have a question about one of the boons.
Incredible protégé says that you receive 1 free rank in the skill per character level. Does this grow as the character gains levels or is this a one off bonus? The boon can I think be read either way.
James Risner wrote:
It requires no rules interpretations whatsoever. Scrolls material component costs are included when the scroll is crafted. You get to cast the spell without expending the scroll.
Whether a GM wants to include such things in the game may be a different question although Blood Money will get much the same results.
You pay the extra cost for the scroll when it is created to bake in the material component cost.
Yes this allows you to provide free restorations and raise dead but at quite a lot later than a cleric. You have to wait until level 10 for restoration, level 12 for raise dead. Another interesting option includes animate dead.
The real benefit of the archetype is being able to gain access to a wide variety of different spells outside of your spells known so that you can avoid niche stuff. Being able to access a wide range of divinations, utility and curative magic without having to clog up your spells know is very effective.
Of course, it's right here, in addition to all of the other twenty sources I need for my character I'm playing tonight. I'll just sit here while you do a full audit of my character.
As well as everyone else's I assume. No-one minds wasting the first two hours of the session while you check everything do they?
From Bestiary 1:
Army Ants: 30, Climb 30
Given that swarms can double move and run almost all of them cannot be escaped from if they are willing to pursue you.
You mean the campaign that allows players to use many of the most powerful options in the game. Hardly limiting.
Joe Ducey wrote:
Wild as with all armors usefulness will vary greatly depending on your DEX. If you're a low dex druid using a low dex form, wearing +1 Wild Dragonhide Full Plate is probably worth the expenditure over Mage Armor.
This is exactly why my core druid bought it. Mage armour on its own simply wasn't cutting it for a melee character with a dex of 12, 10 when large, even with Barkskin on top. Currently the shield isn't wild but that will probably be my next purchase.
"Yes, of course. I am a scholar of many different disciplines as well as a magician of a little skill."
Garam takes the wand from Goslan and examines it carefully. "Aah, yes, this is excellent work. Yes, I can work with this although it often takes too much time when the running and the screaming starts."
Although I'm happy to say that every critter i saw at gencon had Druids local 704 approved barding on
We really need to petition the local armourers to make something which works for our serpentine companions. Mage Armour wands really don't cut it after a while and you sometimes end up at a table where no-one can activate the damn thing.
Nathan Goodrich wrote:
That spider killed a level 2 Con 10 bard who ran into melee when I ran it. It is really quite dangerous.
Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
Just a bit although I checked after seeing the clarification and I don't think it actually made a difference. You rolled a 19 for the task where you sent two teams. The first team, even if we had rolled, had so many bonuses adding to them that it would have been at a minimum a regular success (+4 for sending the right team, +4 for showering them with stuff, +2 or 4 for the skill checks, +2 for the boon) and you had a reroll left. Success was about your minimum result.
Also, I think that is probably small compensation for the trouble which the qlippoth caused you.
I would say that the boon as written does not make it at all clear that it only applies once total for the table no matter how many people have it.
Gronk de'Morcaine wrote:
c. Lore spirit guide gives a few arcane spells known. Can I choose different spells each day or do they have to stay the same?
If you pick the Lore spirit as your wandering spirit as a shaman then yes you can change each time.
Trying to do this as an Oracle does nothing as the lore spirit hex adds spells to the list you can prepare, not your spells known.
Fred Strauss wrote:
In a three player game, if the pregen the GM runs gets killed, does the GM's PC die as well?
The GM isn't getting player credit for running the pregen. Their GM credit is not dependant on the pregen surviving as it has nothing to do with whether there is a pregen there or not.
I am just going to repeat this question about the Part 1 Boon as it didn't get answered in that thread in the hopes I can get an answer before running part 3.
For the next two parts, do the bonuses from True to the Mission stack? I imagine a lot of people will run this series with the same group which could lead to a very large bonus in subsequent parts if everyone has it.
All five of my players today had the true to the mission boon which brings a +10 bonus to each teams roll, making success pretty much guaranteed.
I ran this today at high tier. My group was:
Level 15 Caster/Tank Cleric/Hellknight
We ran well over time, mostly due to the encounter with Mr cuddles. The group sent their teams to the other sites, they were reluctant to bring them to the island in case they exposed them to too much risk. As such they didn't take any of the actions which would result in delay as they didn't want to take the time themselves. It is a bit of a stretch to expect people to spend a lot of time hunting down what might seem like fairly peripheral information when blaring claxons are going off.
Entry to the place was made, traps were located largely by stepping on them and setting them off but the Vigilante had decent Disable and Aram Zeys Focus so could deal with magic traps. They found and located the room to level 2 before anything else but chose not to trigger things until they searched the rest of the place.
Then they encountered Mr Cuddles. The winter witch could see him but the rest of the group was largely hosed by the environmental effects. Unfortunately nothing she through at him had any real effect. The tanky cleric jammed up the door and took massive damage while a bunch of summoned Bralani's kept him alive. It is the first time I have ever seen a greater restoration cast during combat. They took quite a while to deal with the environmental issues (cuddles was just living with a miss chance) and then they found people had real trouble hitting or dealing with his DR. He has a wide ranged of immunities and resistances. They finally got him down to 1hp and he dimension doored away and slaughtered all the scientists. Fortunately the group didn't bring any of the teams...
The found the God Fount room and, similarly to every else had to deal with it as a puzzle monster. Fortunately the Witch had the right elemental damage types and the Vigilante could do similar effects. It landed a few hits but its damage output really isn't high enough for it to present much of a threat. Also its tactics assume the PC's are ground bound, something extremely unlikely at this tier. My group had a mixture of fly, overland flight and communal air walk available.
Overall I enjoyed running this but that first fight looks like it can be extremely challenging, even for a well prepared group with lots of options available. I think it took something like 3 hours to finally resolve.
After they rescued the Professor they word of recalled back so missed the Council of Shadows. Given how long things took I certainly would not have run the optional.
At some point this month I will run for group 2 which is a low tier 4p adjust group with 3 martials and a wizard.
If I was to have a complaint it would be that the space for the first combat is just much too small. There is little real way for the enemy at high tier to use his tactics as there isn't very much space to move.