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john wood's page

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber. Pathfinder Society Member. 68 posts (76 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 3 Pathfinder Society characters. 2 aliases.


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Reviewing the options for "Continuing Campaign" and looking at Ulunat Stirsi outlined on pages 64 & 65. Under special attacks it lists disease but no indication in the stat block or description as to what that is. Any input availabile?

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Just an update, I added the Ahkhat in the hall leading to the chamber and Mad Dog Marnn to the Scorched Hand as a cavalier 2/ranger 2 on his dog. Having pushed straight through the Sanctum the PC's were somewhat wearied and used half their resources. It was a tense combat but much more thrilling than the Scorched Hand as they are written.

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I am wondering if anyone has used a higher level Scorched Hand party? At the current levels four of these NPC's will go down in under four rounds against my current PC party of six. If so would you be willing to share and if you ran a higher level how did it go?

As a side note I get that The Scorched Hand isn't supposed to be a big challenge, and it could be a great opportunity for the party to feel heroic. Knowing my group they will be disappointed with the current stats and the subsequent fight. Thanks!

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Rob McCreaCrystalOTE="Crystal Frasier wrote:
john wood wrote:
I am looking for information on the raging shade on page 17. I understand that it is an advanced shadow, but not sure what raging has to do with it unless its just colorful descriptive text. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
"Raging" is just a descriptive term; it's not a special class of monster.
What Crystal said: "Raging Shade" is more exciting than just saying "Advanced Shadow," even if that's all it is.

Thank-you so much Crystal and Rob, I often feel silly asking questions about things like this. Your quick responses are greatly appreciated, please don't ever think your work isn't significant to our community.

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I am looking for information on the raging shade on page 17. I understand that it is an advanced shadow, but not sure what raging has to do with it unless its just colorful descriptive text. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Jim Groves wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:
Small question: would pulling the gold leaf off of the tombs be considered desecration by the Church of Pharasma? Because I notice the module includes information on how much gold could be removed by doing this... but I'm not sure if that was considered desecrating the resting places.
That's a good question. I will give you my opinion, even though I wrote it and I deliberately made it vague. I don't think there is a correct answer, other than how the GM feels about. If confronted with it: I think the Church would cringe, make a face, and consider it a minor violation. I don't the Goddess herself would mete out any punishment or withhold spells over it—that doesn't mean she won't frown at the thought while sitting on her throne. I don't think the Ruby Prince would care at all.

How refreshing Jim Groves, to hear the response "I don't think there is a correct answer, other than how the GM feels about." One of the things lost in our more current/modern format of roleplaying is that there seems to be a rule for everything, and hence the arguments ensue.

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I would have to say it's a tie so far between the encounter with Darl's party in LoLR and the first fight with Brazzamel in KoTR. I greatly buffed and optimized the red dragon.

I ran the encounter with Darl as suggested, at a moment when you're party might be at it's weakest. Not only had they spent much of their spells but the group seperated in the Den of Harrowdroth, and in wind walked Darl and his (in my opinion) coolest NPC party ever! Things turned ugly very quickly, without my using The Hand of Vecna to his utmost potential. Darl took all of the items for the required quest, plus pretty much all of the parties best gear, and left them alive. They had a whole new respect for Darl that lasts even now into 21st level when he still plays a major role.

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armnaxis wrote:
We'll see how that goes *evilgrin*

Well, how did it go? Must tell!

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Well, Lich Loved it sounds like you handled the situation brilliantly. I have a group of rather savvy players, who are crafty about spell usage and creative about resources. I have not encountered the issues you have encountered with the use of etherealness or wind walk.

Which brings me to my point, as good as the writers are at Paizo they cannot prepare for every method players might use, even if it is basic core spells. Have I met with some similar circumstances in running AoW? Absolutely! Have the players tried "signature tactics"? Yes, but only for so long before the situation, environment, or bad guys adapt and create new obstacles (as you have so deftly done) to those tactics forcing them to change their approach.

Did Necrozyte survive? I hope so, such a cool dragon! If so then he can pass on information as to the groups tactics, perhaps even taunt the party about the fact that he "knows" their tactics. Suddenly dargons are casting wind gust or other spells that foil those well laid plans.

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Turin the Mad wrote:

The Spell Compendium provides a great many nasty, nasty spells that Kyuss can make use of. One of these is Greater Consumptive Field. I would have Lashonna fire off a rod-extended time stop of her own, summoning vast hordes of low-hp mook times that are to remain at the upper edge of Kyuss' greater consumptive field. Get, say, 30 or so mooks flapping around in the air above Kyuss' noggin. Lashonna can also arrange - combined with gating in the much tougher critters that you have mentioned - to 'transport in' support critters such as various higher-end fiends, the cleric worm critters and so on.

Once Kyuss is able to act, have him zap the 30 'back ground' squid bats that are 'decorative' and not in the characters way with a quickened mass inflict of sufficient damage output as to insta-kill the lot. Slurp 30 critters' worth of bonuses from the greater consumptive field, THEN proceed to stomp on the characters. As other mini-onions buy the farm, Kyuss gets MORE bonuses. Anything that the characters slaughter while Kyuss benefits from that field is to Kyuss' benefit. If possible, have that field widened via another rod in a pocket. Combined with an anti-life shell he can pick and choose his melee targets, once he runs out of mass harms, implosions and the like to soften them up with. He and any allies should work to obliterate the support critters that the characters have - especially...

See, that's "optimizing" Kyuss! Being a rooky high level spell caster this seems a lot to keep track of, but highly effective. That could get ugly really fast. I will dig deeper into your suggestion and see what I can do with it, thank-you!

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Rathendar wrote:
My only input (because groups vary extremely with 'typical' damage output, tactics and style) is that the astral/plane shift stuff should not be used because if i recall the whole purpose of Tensor/Manzorian etc etc operating in the background was to have all planar shifting and related effects not work for Kyuss and those who worship him which is what gives the PC's the chance to kill him in the first place. So astral contingency should be right out. I know the blessed angels can still teleport/etc because they don't worship Kyuss himself, but they were listed as a specific exception.

Thanks Rathendar for your input, I thought of that too. However in the module it leads me to believe that Manzorians dimensional lock only last one week, and "Once Kyuss emerges as a god, the effects of this spell quickly become meaningless. Certainly it'll help keep his other minions form calling upon aid or escaping."

I am going to play it that once Kyuss emerges that spell is null and void.

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armnaxis wrote:

Spell Immunity only works against spells that are SR=yes; so Spell Immunity: Greater Dispel Magic is out. Kyuss biggest fear should be Mordenkainen's Disjunction, anyways. That, and pesky adventurer's gear is seriously f*ed by antimagic field, centered on self. Remember, "artifacts and deities are unaffected by mortal magic such as this", so he still could use his divine blast, his artifacts, possibly his spells, and under very liberal interpretation even his buffs.

Also, he should be able to use miracle to good effect; for instance heal himself and allies from all afflictions or such. Or infest all in Alhaster at once, so that the PCs have only 2d4 rounds to prevent total desaster when the worms reach all brains...

If you want to keep his class level, hit dice, divine rank and such, but change spell selection, you are "optimizing" him instead of "adding things". In that case, you might want to look at feats, too. He qualifies for some very nice epic feats, such as spell stowaway (time stop) and/or Multispell. Epic Spellcasting is also nice, if you want to develop your own unique signature spell for him.

Good luck and have fun! Oh, and please post your vict... err, findings.

Doh! Thanks, everyone, for clarifying the Spell Immunity for me. We've been using it wrong.

I had contemplated the anti-magic field, and will keep that suggestion in mind. I REALLY like that evil idea of using Miracle to infest all of the brains in Alhaster!

I am committed to sticking with Kyuss being stripped due to the events the party put so much energy into. Besides, if he can tan their hides without his Divine "extras" then that makes him even more fierce-some.

Yes, optimizing him is my goal. Thanks for clarifying that. I am not a player/DM who uses spell casters very often or even very effectively. So this is a big learning curve. The more I delve into the use of things outside of the 3.5 PHB the more my head spins. So, I have tried to K.I.S.S. Keep It Silly Simple.

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armnaxis wrote:

I like gating in the wormdrakes. Good, flavorful beasts. The dream larva (epic monster from SRD) might suit your taste as well.

Do not forget to buff death ward! You don't want to fail on a nat 1 to destruction or slay living, and enervation might give you headaches otherwise.


As of right now the party believes Kyuss to be undead, I can say with confidence that they haven't prepared any negative energy spells. Is there any other reason you feel I should prepare for this alternative?

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Lathiira wrote:
Kyuss looks like he's going to spend the whole fight on defense. There's some magic for support of his minions in there, but when is he going to actually kill the PCs? Nine rounds gives your party a lot of time to do in his minions and then turn around and focus on him if they have to. Sure, his defenses will be great, but when the PCs have a sphere of annihilation, even prismatic sphere isn't going to be enough to save you.

Thanks for your input. The nine rounds I have outlined are under Time Stop. The PCs won't be able to act for those nine rounds and Kyuss can't cast offensive spells in those nine rounds per the spell description. He will certainly go on the offensive once this opening salvo is done.

I am counting on that a Disjunctioned mage won't be focusing on the Sphere as much as his "Oh Sh*t!" response once all of his spells have been stripped. (And the rest of the party is losing their buffs.)

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wraithstrike wrote:

I am assuming they have the talisman of the sphere. If someone were to use Telekensis to remove the talisman and bring it over to Team Evil's side, things might get interesting, but if the holder of it has really high will saves then I would not worry about it that idea. I would however procure a rod of cancellation to get rid of the sphere itself.

If the party has 7 players and its only Kyuss and Lashonna then economy of actions still puts them in a lot of trouble. I would have some lesser bad guys there to even things out. They should not be BBEG level, but they should be enough of a threat that the party can't just ignore them. That stops the party from focusing fire on Lashonna or Kyuss because that is what I would do if I were a PC. I know you have Kyuss bringing in other monsters, but that means Lashonna is on her own for the time being. That is a waste of a really good ally.

Yup, they have the Talisman and the Sphere. I am very concerned about how this is going to play into the scene. I plan on having Lashonna working with her Pit Fiend and calling in at least three more Blessed Angels, one of them will be equipped with a rod of cancellation, (someone else on the boards use this idea and I like it.)

I am figuring the use of two Wormdrakes, a pit fiend, and the Blessed Angels will be enough to have the party needing to spread their resources. And if the need arises Darl can take advantage of the situation and turn on the party >:-)

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I am playing in one week; the final showdown with Kyuss! Anyone who can tear down and rebuild my plans that would be great! I have 4 players/4 NPC's all 20+ level, with a sphere of annihilation, and the Hand of Vecna, using the core rule books and the Spell Compendium as books. Is there a better way to prepare Kyuss, RAW?

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Wraithstrike, thank-you! The wall of force would have to come from somewhere. And since (I invoke the great name) James Jacobs has said, and I quote; "Kyuss can't cast spells out of the monolith." it would be difficult to reason the WoF in the final encounter. Thanks for saying things looked pretty tight for Kyuss thus far. I look forward to your more coherent response :)

Tip-Sniffer, Mr. Snorting, I agree about the splat books. However my group only uses the core books plus the Spell Compendium. My players are of the utmost quality (though they lack in quantity)and have up to this point played a VERY good game.

I hope you enjoy the arena half as much as we did. Part of me wishes the flavor of the game continued in this vein for the rest of the campaign. Another part of me truly appreciates the diversity the path offers. If you need any help with the arena or the adversaries I have saved everything I have done and found valuable from the boards, let me know I can forward you what I have.

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In case anyone is thinking, "Geez, is he trying to kill his players?" The answer is no. In the past I have thought that using an NPC to it's fullest potential would be somehow dangerous or result in TPK, they always seem to pull out of it. Or worse, they make it look way to easy.

If things start to go awry, and the party begins to crumble I have a back up plan. Prince Zeech sees his opportunity and comes to "save the day". By himself he won't add much to the fight but he could bring along his own "adventuring party" to solidify his position as sovereign ruler. I think this will add to the flavor of the final ecnounter with the Prince of Redhand at the end of the module.

Also, they have Darl there with them. He's not necessarily on thier side, afterall he is still a "BBG" in his own rights. So if the fight swings too far in the parties favor he could take advantage of the opportunity in his own right. Or converesely he could call in his old adventuring party from LoLR, most of them survived, if Kyuss kicks too much mortal a$$.

I just want an Epic fight with Kyuss, not the disappointment I have read about so many times on the boards.

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I have read many threads that Kyuss was pretty much whooped. I have read some where the DM has changed or fudged Kyuss to make him better. My goal is to use him as written, change a few of his spells
and make him the worst nightmare any of the players have ever met.

So first things first Kyuss won't have to be alone since the party failed to destroy Lashonna ;) That is key to him surviving more than four rounds. The module as written has him taking two rounds to emerge from the monolith before he can take any actions. With events the party has taken the writers have had him stripped of his level 1 deity status and reduced to a 0 level deity. He would be left with 660 HP Dr 10 Epic (which the party is) His AC would be 38, Spell Resistance of 40 and saves in the 30's. No special immunity's to speak of. He's not undead, (which should take the party by surprise) he is an aberration, and definitely evil.

His spell casting abilities are great! If he can get them off. His attacks were nerfed so his attacks with a +5 vorpal unholy vicious executioner's mace, for a ECL 30, are +26/+21/+16/+11, come on! He's supposed to be a God!

I am going to allow him to have a metamagic rod of maximize.

My plan as it stands now are to have him cast a maximized (rod) Time Stop!
Round 1: Cast Shapechange. He would then Shapechange into a Chronotryn for duel actions.
Round 2: Gate in two Wormdrakes (from the tabernacle of worms (these things are 20HD, have greater dispel as a spell like ability and are pretty tough)). Prismatic Sphere. Quickened Spell Immunity, (30 levels = 7.5; one 8th lvl spell) against Greater Dispel Magic
Round 3: He casts a Contingency that goes off if he is ever unable to act for any reason. This Plane Shifts him to the Astral Plane. Maximized Spell Turning reflects 10 spell lvls back at caster. Quickened Displacement 50% miss chance.
Round 4: Unholy Aura; +4 deflection to AC +4 to resist bonus to saves for all creatures (wormdrakes, lashonna and balor) w/ in 20' radius. Time Stop, (again)
Round 5: Summon Monster I (100 ft down in spire) Fiendish Monstorous Spider, small. Misdirection; misdirect information from divination spells that reveal aruas (party mage's Arcane Sight) sees Kyuss as aforementioned spider.
Round 6: Phase Door on monolith as an escape route. Permanency on Phase Door.
Round 7: Obscure Object on Monolith hides it from party mage's Arcane Sight. Moment of Prescience; +25 on any roll. Quickened Shield
Round 8: Maximized Mirror Image eight images. Iron Body DR 15/adamantine +6 to STR -6 to DEX. Quickened Divine Agility, (Spell Compendium) +10 enhancement bonus to DEX
Round 9: Haste; Wish, self and all allies go top of intitiative order next round. Shapechange back to self, Quickened Harm.

Time Stop over. Kyuss uses Mordenkainen's Disjunction centered on party mage(s). All allies hit the remaining party members with targeted Greater Dispel Magic.

Crunchy, crunchy, crunchy...

The party has about 7 PC/NPC's all level 20 or higher. Very resourceful group. They have the Sphere of Annihilation, Darl Quethos with the Hand of Vecna and a I believe two wishes left to use. They will be coming at Kyuss fresh.


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Almost two years later, but thank-you Pygon!

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Thanks Jeremy! Yes, Filge survived. The list above is only the NPC's that have survived in my campaign.

Yes, Lashonna is a given. And I had completely forgotten that Celeste makes an appearance in STAP.


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Okay, I am running Dungeon 134, Wormcrawl Fissure. I want to introduce some of the old bad guys(or good guys if needed) in this module fight with Dragotha and some in the last module fight with Kyuss. Here are a bunch that have survived...

Shag Solomon dungeon 131 p71
Vercinabex Tor Dungeon 133 p80
Necrozyte (fiendish ancient greem dragon) Dungeon 133 p61
Xyzanth (Fang dragon exiled to outer plains for a time by party) dungeon 133 p 65
Krekie (Kenku) dungeon 132 p69
Darl Quethos Dungeon (intrigue & party patron) 132 p81
Mahazar Eiled Flame "
Jalagar and Salabar Sinfire "
Nalhazzarath "
B'Kuruuss (flind captain fo the gaurd Alhaster) Dungeon 131 p58
Hemriss (Prince Xerxes daughter) Dungeon 131p68
Prince Xerxes
Kilraven (Captain of the West Alhaster; ally) Dungeon 131 p69
Professor Montague Marat Dungeon (ally)131 p70
Mizen Mitchwillow Dungeon (intrigue/lover) 131 p71
Mariss Quemp Dungeon (potenital ally)131 p71
Captan Vulras (Captain of Rangers of the North; ally) Dungeon 131 p71
Val Pur Izu (a.k.a. Manzurian) (patron)
Celeste Dungeon (ally) 130 p62
Eligos (ally) Dungeon 28/130 p62
Cymria (Manzorian confidantes; ally) Dungeon 130 p62
Edwin (Brynn's brother' associatte) (not in AoW adventure path)
Kelvos the Wormtouched (corrupted ghaele eladrin) Dungeon 130 p73
Sruggut (worm naga sorcerer SoLS) Dungeon 130 p78
Barhnos Kyuss Knight Dungeon 130 p84
Kahrdic Kyuss KNight Dungeon 130 p84
Markhath Kyuss Knight Dungeon 130 p84
Eviscerator Beetles Dungeon 130 p83
Wormcaller Dungeon 130 p87
Worm Naga Dungeon 130 p88
Flycatcher Dungeon (ally) 129 p48
Raknian Dungeon 128 p37
Ekaym (Sponsor of The Champions Belt; ally) Dungeon 128 p40
Pitch Blade members (2)
Arcane Auriga (Champions Belt team) Dungeon 128 p43-44
Badlands Revenge (Champions Belt team) Dungeon 128 p44
Sapphire Squad (Champions Belt team) Dungeon 128 p45
Hishka (lizardfolk druid from BWK; ally) Dungeon 126 p34

Anyone have any interesting thoughts on how to involve any of these folks in an ongoin story line? Perhaps ways of tyeing up lose ends?

Thanks ahead of time to any who answer!

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I've been doing some more research and though I still haven't found the answer this should help formulate some opinions or encourage some debate.

Since the doors have 90 hp and fast healing 20,and repel vermin does 2d6 damage,(and we need to consider the door a "swarm" it's safe to say at least a 12hd swarm), repel vermin won't do enough damage. I suppose you can also assume that the door is like any other "door", and you can't just walk through it. However, they're magical in nature, recognizing faithful worshippers of Kyuss.

Any more thoughts?

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Good question!

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“Doors in the The Tabernacle of Worms are in fact made of writhing sheets of Kyuss worms. To other creatures, the worm doors cannot be physically opened. Contact with a door brings the threat of infestation …
Although composed of worms. The doors are held together by magical forces as hard as iron.”

Will repel vermin work on these?

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I think that there a lot of things to consider in regards to your question. Are your players experienced? Are they using just the core rule books or are splat books allowed? Are you an experienced DM? Can you make adaptations on the spur of the moment? Is there anyway you can more effectively play the creatures as they are? Better tactics, strategies, or use of feats?

I have been running AoW for two years now with a group that shrinks and grows from 4 to 8. I have added extra creatures when necessary, improved bad guys when I needed, and fudged a few dice rolls when the occassion called for it. The overall lethality of this campaign will keep a party of six average, core rules originated, characters challenged. In my humble opinion.

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OBTW Mr V. Yank!

Consider that idea being used by yours truly.

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I have been having Lashonna visit the party mage in his dreams. She is alluring and always sympathetic to his plight. The smell of jasmine always preceeds her. She does her best to comfort him and always sings a song, with some romantic slant to it, but still elusive enough to leave him guessing.

I have toyed with the idea of having her let him know there is a piece of her that wants out of the evil business. But how to do it without the cheesy cliche's? That's a god question.

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Well, I advanced Brazzemal one level of sorcerer and fit him with a good selection of magic items. Based on a couple of suggestions here I upped his saves and his AC. I made his "armor" (I was thinking that over time an ancient red dragon could weave magic into his own scales) the equivelant of +5 studded leather, major cold resistance, improved sonic resistance. Amulet of mighty fists +5 gave him quite the melee boost, bracers of armor +4, cube of frost resistance as one of the jewels in his hide, a vest of resistance +5, almost evert ioun stone, a ring of counterspells, a pearl of power and a stone of luck. For stats he had a headband of intellect +4, gloves of dexterity +6 and a periapt of wisdom +4.

Looks like this...

Brazzemal the Burning, Male Dragon, Red, Ancient Dragon34/Sor1: CR 24; Gargantuan Dragon (Fire); HD 34d12+340(Dragon) , 1d4+10(Sorcerer) ; hp 575; Init +7; Spd 40, Fly, Clumsy 200; AC:51 (Flatfooted:48 Touch:10); Atk +54/49/44/39 base melee, +42/37/32/27 base ranged; +57/+57/+57/+57/+59 (4d6+12, Bite; 2d8+12, 2 Claw; 2d6+12, 2 Wing; 2d8+12, Tail Slap; 1d8+20, Unarmed strike); +59 (4d6+27, Crush); +59 (2d6+27, Tail Sweep); +59 (20d10+5, Breath Weapon); +59/54/49/44 (1d8+20, Unarmed strike); +59/54/49/44 (1d8+20, Unarmed strike); +59/54/49/44 (1d8+20, Unarmed strike); +59/54/49/44 (1d8+20, Unarmed strike); +59/54/49/44 (1d8+20, Unarmed strike); SA: Breath Weapon (Su) , Spell-like Abilities Locate Object 15 10 Suggestion 15 3 Find the Path 15 1 , Frightful Presence (Ex) , Spells Sorcerer 15 , Breath Weapon Type: 120 ft. Cone of Fire , Frightful Presence DC: 34 , Frightful Presence Radius: 300 ft. ; SQ: Subtype: Fire, Immunity: Fire (Ex), Immunity: Paralysis (Ex), Immunity: Sleep Effects (Ex), Keen Senses (Ex), Blindsense (Ex): 60 ft., Darkvision (Ex): 10 ft., Vulnerability: Cold (Ex), Damage Reduction (Su): 15/Magic, Low-light Vision (Ex); AL CE; SV Fort +36, Ref +29, Will +33; STR 41, DEX 17, CON 31, INT 28, WIS 25, CHA 24.

I included Necrozyte and 2 other green dragons who occasionally breathed into the room. The Ominous Fabler did his thing, infesting the party barbarian with worms beofer being turned to a brown smudge. Vercinabex Tor freaked out and mazed himself, but didn;t return until it was too late. I also let the party run the two raam giants, since they were pretty much against the dragons anyway.

Brazzemal's breath weapon, clinging, is brutal. Second he managed to get a hld of the brabarian and the paladin with his grab feats and pin them both. After his SR and the cube of frost resistance foiled the first major attempts at tharming him the party kind of knew they were screwed. One thing led to another and it was time to hit the escape button, and the party teleported out.

I failed to strike the balance here and the party got whooped, but they did destroy the phylactery. They were waltzing through most of the module, (except mother worm) I thought for sure I needed to buff the big red guy. There's got to be a happy medium. Just hard to find in AoW 3.5.

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Thanks Crust, I think that sounds pretty cool. What I am really looking for is a classic skin of your teeth battle with the big red, who is supposed to be so drawn to the phylactery that he abandons self preservation and rips the side of the citadel off and attacks the party physically.

Doc, I will be sure to up his AC and his saves. Right now I have him with an AC of 53 without buffing spells and have his saves improved by 5.

One of the players is an archamge and has the habit of changing energy types on his spells, so I need to be ready for that. After all, I am thinking that Brazzemal has found out what the party has been doing to his dragon troops and will be at least a little prepared.

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Wow! I have wanted to do something like this with AoW all along. My hats off to you for all the thoughtful work!

Well done!

We use more atmosphere music, and trying to come up with something that will last 4 to 6 hours without geting on your nerves after a couple of weeks can be hard.

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I am preparing for the last encounter of KoTR. After handling the multiple dragon encounters, the easy giants and considering the lack of loot in this module I am contemplating equipping Brazzemal with several magic items. After all why wouldn't an ancient dragon use some of his hoard as items to enhance his abilities? Say a pearl of power embedded in his hide? An amulet of mighty fists or a cube of frost resistance?

I don't want to unbalance the encounter, just make it last more than three or four rounds. My group has a way of springing surprises on me and brilliant use of everyday spells and feats. However if I make it too hard they will suffer greatly, and I don't want anymore unnecessary deaths in AoW, we've had a good share of those already.

Has anyone else allowed Brazzemal access to his hoard or have thoughts on great core rules magic items he might use?

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I concur! We had an awesome time with the feast. There was now ay I could have prepared all of the food nyself, so I emailed one recipe to each player who was responsible for making the food. They were sworn to secrecy and were not divulge the ingredients until after the feast. We served some mead and one of the guys made dandelion wine. A good time for all!

Many accolades to Vyvyan for the original concept and the recipes!

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Nice job Terry. I'm a big fan of intiative cards as well. I can't imagine being able to effectively manage turns without them.

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We just finished this segment. Number of deaths; 14. Number of Sundays gaming; 12. Number of original party members from the 9 to walk away from Kuluth Mar; 3. Cost of stopping the Age of Worms; priceless.

Let me start by saying my group started with 6 characters and 3 cohorts. We use only the core rule books, I have heard it said elsewhere on the boards that the accessory handbooks can throw the game balance out the window.

My experience was this. First, once you slap your players down they come back harder and more determined. I couldn't go back once they had overcome the first level and nerf the future encounters.

Second, killing player characters is exhausting. If this is your style then it should be no problem, if it's not then be prepared.

Third, for me this reperesented the place of evil rising, of Kyuss's ascension, of absolute malevolence and by measure needed to be deadly. I had to keep reminding them of that throughout the adventure. I think it made it more beleivable.

Fourth, I warned them before hand that this installment was the hardest and most deadly thing written since Tomb of Horrors, they expected the gauntlet. They tried to prepare for undead and were hit with tainted angels, or worm naga. Everytime they would prepare for one thing the challenges would change.

Fifth, spellcasters are so important. Buff spells, protection spells and dispel magic.

Sixth, as it has been said the harbringer is in need of something to help him out. I put him in a 30x60 room that had trap runes across the floor, but before they could get to him they had to pass over a bridge in an antimagic room. That really did the trick.

Seventh, I would provide a way back and forth from Kuluth Mar to Manzerian's as a regular thing, this really helps them rest, recruit and re-outfit.

Seventh, I wouldn't use the exterior encounters too much, it just drags things out. Unless you need the xp, I would skip them.

Finally this modules brutality taught me a lot about the mechanics of the game. It also taught my players a lot about how to effectively use their characters and work together as team. The only downside to that is that it could have them min/maxing if I'm not careful with future modules.

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You shouldn't feel bad, I have searched the module time and time again and I had no luck. I don't even have the excuse of glasses. Thank-you for asking this question!

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In general negative energy hurts the living, says so in the definition at the back of the PHB. The warforged whether juggernaut or not is still considerd a living creature, even though it's also a construct. I have ruled in my game that the juggernout takes half damage from negative energy, to balance the scales in their inability to utilize positive energy.

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daysoftheking wrote:
I agree with the above poster. Take the PC and add Favored Spawn abilities to it, but leave the majority of the PCs abilities intact.

This is exactly what I ended up doing, a favored spawn. Tough challenge but still not enough to stand up to the rest of the party without some support. I will try to poast how the encounter goes.

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Hagen wrote:
Here goes my first crack at a Kyuss Knight template. Any comments would be appreciated:

This looks great. It would certainly be a challenge beyond my characters at this level, essentially making a CR 19 creature from a 12th level character. Weilding two swords ranger style, one of them being a sword of speed, would be devestating.

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MrVergee wrote:
I don't think there is a template for the Kyuss knight. It is just a 'monster'. What I'd do, is take the Kyuss knight stats and use them as a base, adjusting them to the character's armor, weapons, magical items, maybe throw in some of the character's specific powers.

Thanks Mr Vergee. My hopes were to create a combination Sword of Kyuss with ranger levels, wielding two magical swords. I guess that's not going to happen. It'll have to be the Sword with the characters magic items, armor and a newly formed blade. I am assuming the blade is magical and part of the Sword of Kyuss's incarnation. Still good, but not as creepy as the full blown effect.

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I am running SoLS. Last week one of the characters failed her save against a Wormcallers suggestion. Down she went, flying into the 500 foot deep pit, getting hit with the occasional spell from a wrom naga. I had changed that the opening of the pit empties into area 11, just at the edge of the worm sea. (I thought it odd that the presence of the worms was an after effect of Kyuss's ascension and yet it was one room over from the opening of this pit.)

We roleplay her flying into the chamber, being greeted by two wormcallers over the sea of worms and then the attack by the overworm. Let's say that with awesome blow and a grapple of 40+ there wasn't much chance she was getting away. Into the worm sea the character went, failed a couple more saves and is now deceased. I am going to have her consumed by the overworm, who in the description has the ability to turn any medium sized creature into a Sword of Kyuss.

I am not familiar with a template for this transformation. And I really want to unleash this and another character on the party as Swords. Does the newly created Sword keep the character levels? Is there a template for this?

Thanks to anyone who can help!

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Cuchulainn wrote:

I was thinking, however, that nature-oriented, neutral dieties as well as true neutral druids might actually side with Kyuss. Here is the reasoning.

Worms, in nature, break-down dead animal and plant-matter into nutrient-rich soil, which then allows for new life to spring forth. The Neutrals could see the Age of Worms as a necessary transitional phase to restore the world to a purer, more natural state.

Kyuss and his minions will spread the worm-plague, eventually killing everyone and everything and turning them into zombies. The zombies will decay and rot, and the worms will consume them. The worms will then be forced to consume each other when nothing else remains.

All that will be left of the material world will be nutrient rich earth and water. The Neutral Dieties of Nature will then cause things to grow anew.

Whatchya think? Too wacky?

I think that idea may go to far to the ideal fo worms and their purpose in nature. First these worms don't really break-down dead material, they just infest the living and turn them into servants of Kyuss. They don't act like earth worms.

Second the balance of nature relying on so many living things to keep that balance in harmony would require that nature centered believers and deities keep some semblence of nature other than just dirt, water and air.

Finally Kyuss would take over the entire planet in my opinion, then set his eyes across the multiverse looking for his next target with his newly formed armies. What's to stop him from entering in to other prime material planes? He worked this hard to bring the AoW about in this campaign, it would only be 100 fold worse the second time.

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I am currently running AoW, have been for nearly two years on and off. We are only at The Spire of Long Shadows, also known as the hardest module since The Tomb of Horrors, and with good reason. We have had a blast thus far with AoW.

We are also running the STAP when I run out of DM fuel, another member takes over the chair. I mentioned the other night that we would be switching over to the STAP after SoLS (this module is exhausting), and was met with disapproval from several members of our group. They favor AoW, though we are only into the third module of STAP.

I would suggest combing the boards here for suggestions and ideas if you choose AoW. There is an indispensable wealth of information here that helps make the adventure path completely enjoyable.

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Like Hastur, I have used initiative cards faithfully from first level to, unlike Hastur, the current 12th in Spire of Long Shadows. They were a free download from game mechanics dot com, and I adore them. I have one for each character, one for each group of similar monsters and one end of round card. Roll intitiatives, put them in order and start flipping. I usually fill out the cards to reflect all of the boosts, make notes about the extra abilites or unique powers and I'm good. Like Jeremy though I usually end a game session realizing I missed something and wind up kicking myself.

Thanks for all of the ideas here. Its great to hear how other DM's prep and balance a game. If anyone else has non-computer based tools that make running high level games easier that would be awesome.

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CapriciousFate wrote:

Glen, please don't read this thread. ;)

I know that the temple of Hextor is likely going to give my group trouble, especially the trap in the room with the balconies. Oh, and were any other parts of this adventure that your group found particularly dangerous, or were most of those deaths all in that single room?

My group had a heck of a time with the labyrinth. Between darkness (whihc I ruled was part of the ancient magics of the temple), kenku mimicry (crying out in other party members voices), and being split up they nearly had to head back out.

The cliffs in the caves of the grimlocks were also tough. Having to climb down one side and back up another to get to your opponent is a serious tactical hinderance.

All in all I had a good time with this module, it was the beginning of the groups true heroic status.

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I let it take the party down. However they were taken prisoner rather than finished off. Theldrick being who he is, and the Faceless One being one who needs to know, wanted information as to how the party found out about the hidden cult. After the Faceless One was satisfied with the information Theldrick had the party healed back up and deposited them into the grimlocks caves (without the Faceless Ones knowledge). His way of settling scores with the grimlocks, though the party didn't readily have their gear. The party loved this twist and carefully began to face off against the grimlocks.

Oh by the way, I brought Theldrick back for The Champions Belt. He convinced Raknian to have him be a part of Auric's war band for the final battle. The party got to extract vengance that day, (ironicaly with Auric's help).

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MrVergee wrote:
Nice dream description there, JW.



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Hastur wrote:
I've never had players that can hang onto a detail for that length of time, so I'd recommend something that's going to come up in the next few weeks, rather than months or possibly years. In fact, fore-shadowing can be probematic full stop - fine for a novel, but in D&D you can never really predict what players will do, how you'll need to adapt things as you go along, etc, so your plans may all change by the time you get there anyway. And some don't like to be shoe-horned into a course of action or told what's going to be happening in x adventures time.

Dreams are a great device to use, and as is the nature of dreams they don't need to be specific. Don't predict what the players are going to do, but forshadow what is going to happen. IMOC I have used a couple of dreams to put the party on edge, make them pay closer attention...

"Outside your window the city burns, the light of the orange and yellow flames light the black clouds. The Mimir floating next to you looks as if it is intently watching the fires below. It won't be long until the inn is another casualty, somehow it hasn't caught fire yet. You scan the room and find it odd that your party isn't doing anything, as if the raging inferno is somehow to be doused by being ignored. They sit cheerfully around a table drinking ale and playing games of chance, coins jingling as they bet on the next round or as the winner collects his take. Smidgeon continues to fill each of the mugs with ale from a flask, intricately carved silver encasing a green glass, you see the worms spill forth in the ale. Johan repeats, "Taint me!" as he is dealt another card, his skin turning grey. Masog seems paler dressed in all black, skulls and sickles stitched into her cloak, she smiles wickedly as she picks each of the worms out of her drink tossing them in the air and catching them in her mouth. Bruttelheimer sits with his arms crossed obviously angry with the losing streak he is on, "Can't I catch a break?!"
'That's ironic' the skull quips, its voice in your head. 'I thought I had." The voice takes on a haunting tone and you turn to see the face of Okaral, the assassin suspected of killing Bruttleheimer. You shrink away from the floating skull.
"Good to see you could make it old friend!" cries out Mumcougolu putting his arms around the imaginary shoulders of the Mimir. "It seems we have missed the ascension, but I have carefully hidden some powerful items in the Wind Dukes halls. Come look at my map." The two lean over a table with a large bird stretched across it, carved into it's naked featherless flesh is a map of chaotic design. As you approach to get a closer look you recognize the wingless creature as Tade Dee, who sings a funeral dirge with Clementine. "Spread the word all over town, you can't keep the worm god down, no use in trying to get up and dance, the powers of Law haven't got a chance, the whole world's gonna burn with the mighty Kyuss's return!"

You awake to hear a soft lullaby being sung by Clementine in a very dark room, you feel soaked through to the bone and the chill of the night air makes you shiver. Never have you had a dream so real, so vivid. "Did you have a bad dream?" Clementine asks from the darkened room.
"Yeah, but it's over now." Or is it?
You think to yourself, it's actually just begun."

This is a forshadowing of both the Gathering of Winds and of Spire of Long Shadows. And yes my players remembered, one actually made the connection between the map on the bird and the map of Icoisol's Tomb. Hope this helps with any ideas.

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The real enjoyment on my part as a DM came that night. When one of the party members had decided that the party was causing so much trouble for the bad guys, no one was safe. They decided to send the half celestial ranger to warn Eligos of potential reprecussions. The ranger arrived about the same time Okaral was planning to assasinate the sage. Outside in the courtyard one of the remaining dwarven barbarians awaited his opportunity to revenge his loss in the arena. After a fantastic fight the badly hurt ranger entered the house only to be back stabbed by Okaral. As the assassin stepped over the dying ranger, the ranger reached up and grabbed a corner of Okaral's cloak.
THe party returned to Eligos's house two days later to find not only the sage dead, but also a beloved party member. The dead ranger still clutched a torn piece of fabric from Okaral's cloak.

I plan to have this assassin haunt their steps all the way to Alhaster.

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I have often found that some NPC's go unused to their fullest potential, take for instance Captain Okaral. This guy seemed to be the quiet, steely assassin waiting to do the party in. The module never used him in that aspect though, leaving it up to the DM to use him later. After defeating the Ulgurstra my party had a taste of lawful evil with the captain of Raknian's gaurd.

"The damage done to the service level was extensive, leaving much of the center nearly impassable. This required a longer route to the room that housed the secret entrance to the level below. As they made their way through the rooms Okaral carefully scanned each of the rooms, it's contents and it's former inhabitants, now deceased in the party's wake. These were the eyes of a well trained and astute man, Masog could tell there was no detail that went unnoticed by the captain.

Upon reviewing the chambers in their entirety he turned back to the two party members and flatly stated, "I had no knowledge of these passages or their contents; as embarrassing as that might be for me to say. It reflects poorly on the overall effectiveness of my job." He drew a deep breath and continued, "You have taken items and information from here already I assume? I would like very much to see them." He looked intently at Johan.

Tha paladin felt slightly uncomfortable under his gaze and the thought
occurred that this man could be lying. Unable to truly determine if that was the case Johan fell back on what he could discern. He carefully concentrated on Okaral's aura, looking for the signs of darkness around the man. It was clear, Okaral was evil. He smiled wryly at Johan, the hairs standing up on the back of the paladin's neck.

Just then the sounds of many voices came from the hall, the city officials had arrived, escorted by the remainder of the party.

"As you can see this wasn't a one day operation, we can trace this back several months, perhaps up to a year in the making." Tesservet was telling the clerics.

The city guard commander entered right behind, "Gentlemen, ladies." He
nodded in the direction of Masog, Johan and Okaral's entourage. "I trust there will be full cooperation amongst all interested parties. This is going to be one mess we're all going to have to answer for."

Okaral strode forward, "I am at your disposal, anything my men or I can do we would more than willing to help. In regards to my employer that is where I will have to draw the line, not good for business you see. I will be sure to see to it that no one in this employ stands in your way or inhibits your investigation. We will not be able to assist in the apprehension of Raknian if that is your intent." He turned his cloak about him, it's purple hue and embroidered trim denoting his privileged position in Raknian's roster. As he made his way out of the room he made the proper respectful acknowledgements of each of the city officials. He paused near Johan, leaned in and said,
"That was rather rude of you, you could have just asked you know." With that he gave Johan a smirk and a sideways glance and left the room."

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