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Way of the Wicked—Book #1: Knot of Thorns (PFRPG) PDF

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BE THE BAD GUY!

The Kingdom of Talingarde is the most noble, virtuous, peaceful nation in the known world. Herein is the story of how you burned this insipid paradise to the ground.

It's only fair. They burned you first.

They condemned you for your wicked deeds. They branded you. They shipped you to the worst prison in the kingdom. In three days, you die. In three days, the do-gooders pray they'll be rid of you.

They've given you three days. The fools, that's more than you need to break out. And then, it will be their turn to face the fire.

Welcome to the first chapter of the "Way of the Wicked" adventure path! Inside you'll find:

  • "Knot of Thorns," an adventure for 1st level villains compatible with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game by Gary McBride.
  • Full color art and maps by Michael Clarke
  • A gazetteer of brave, noble, doomed Talingarde
  • Advice for running a successful villainous campaign
  • Rules for creating wicked PCs
  • A 100-page full color PDF (including printer friendly version) full of vice and villainy.
  • And more!

You've saved the world plenty.

This time, the world needs saving from you.

Product Availability


Fulfilled immediately. Will be added to your My Downloads Page immediately upon purchase of PDF.

Are there errors or omissions in this product information? Got corrections? Let us know at webmaster@paizo.com.

FRM1001E


See Also:

Product Discussion (1,393)
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WhipShire wrote:


Thank you so much for the reply and the advice i truly appreciate it.

Glad to be of service!

Kevin_video,

I'll have to give Frostburn a look.

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Fire Mountain Games wrote:
You know, Frostburn is a book I never picked up, but that sounds very appropriate.

You really should. Frostburn was my favorite 3.5 supplement from Wizards. Coincidentally, it was written by some guy named James Jacobs.

Grand Lodge

Zaister wrote:
Fire Mountain Games wrote:
You know, Frostburn is a book I never picked up, but that sounds very appropriate.
You really should. Frostburn was my favorite 3.5 supplement from Wizards. Coincidentally, it was written by some guy named James Jacobs.

Sometimes fate just isn't so subtle.

Shadow Lodge

So, an update to my previous post:

Don't Peek:

So, as mentioned before, my players attempted to frame the dwarf engineers for murder. At first it was just the shop owners. Now the rogue is going around murdering people disguised as a short dwarf.

In doing so, he was discovered and a trap was laid. The town watch (modeled after the Ankh Morpork city watch from the Discworld novels, a usual model for me# lay in wait while the rogue attempted to slit the throat of a statue. Instead of being captured, he ran. I used the chase mechanics from the GMG and it was on!

Through alleys, over spilled carts and past the grasp of a drunk man trying to hug him, the rogue narrowly escaped being collared by the fuzz. All this while maintaining his disguise. So soon, the dwarf engineers were driven from town. Not the usual solution to be sure, but it was fun so we ran with it.

They also infiltrated the keep to try to kill the wizard in his sleep #Their biggest fear is this wizard. Little do they know.) They killed him, but not before he sounded the alarm. The keep will now be on high alert, and they have a long way to go, but if they lay low for a while I think they can get it done.

All in all, I am completely in love with this path. My players are only at the last act of the first book but it's some of the best fun I've had running a pre-written adventure since RotRL.


Beanish,

Thanks for the kind words. Glad you and your PCs are having a good time.

Spoiler:

That's a great solution for the dwarves. Hah! I especially like the Discworld reference!

Poor Tacitus. It seems someone else will have to join the Sons of Balentyne in book two.

Anyways, keep up the play reports! Great fun indeed!

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games

Star Voter 2013

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Highlights Pt. 3 (end of Act 2):

  • Fuego unlocks the door to Sir Balin’s room. They hear the clank of metal as the knights stands by the far wall, readying himself. Vornlyn spies him, enters, and immediately starts attempting to convert the pious man…

  • Al brandishes his unholy symbol, and the rest of the group reveal their Forsaken scars. Balin gets to say his scripted lines: “A forsaken of Iomedae! I know not what deviltry has allowed you to be free, but I swear by the Inheritor that I will see this injustice righted!” (says lines from book)

  • As usual, Jimmy then fires on the antagonist and all hell breaks loose.

  • Balin is quickly surrounded, with his back up against the wall. Flanked by Vornlyn and Imperius on either side of him, and with Al in his face, Balin strikes down Al to a state of unconsciousness in a single blow, cleaving through to Vornlyn.

  • Imperius point out to Balin that he has no chance of survival, to which the knight responds that they may kill him, but he will not go out alone. Balin cries out in rage, drops to his knees, and drives his sword into Al’s unconscious body, killing him outright.

  • Imperius pulls his final blow on Sir Balin, knocking him unconscious with nonlethal damage.

  • Our villains drag the knight’s body back to the torture room and tie him to the rack. They prop up Al’s lifeless corpse next to Squire Timeon’s against a nearby wall in Balin’s line of sight.

  • After bringing the knight back around, Vornlyn begins intimidating and torturing him, whispering the sweet words of Asmodeus in Sir Balin’s ears. (and rolls super high on his intimidate check). Balin begins spouting Gary’s written words from book (Iomedae will protect me, she is my refuge. Her arms will embrace me). He accuses the PCs of having no honor; he tells them to just kill him. Instead, Vornlyn occasionally spins the rack…

  • Finally, Vornlyn rips Sir Balin’s holy symbol from around his neck and smashes it on the ground. He asks Balin if Iomadae would have let him end up here, on this rack, his squire dead… (once again, he rolls crazy high on his intimidate, and I make the decision to take things into a very different direction than what is written in the book).

  • The PCs see something break in the knight’s eyes.

  • Imperius begins talking now, sort of taking on the good cop roll. He speaks calmly and rationally, telling his story to Sir Balin. Balin recognizes the story, and realizes he has heard of the legend of this particular criminal. (again my PC makes a ridiculous roll, this time diplomacy). “What made you turn?” Balin asks Imperius. “I saw the truth,” was the reply.

  • Balin asks for a moment of contemplation. The group leaves room and returns after a few moments. In the face of his dead squire, torture, intimidation, and all to sensible reason, Sir Balin has turned. Vornlyn pulls Al’s holy symbol from around his dead neck and hands it to Balin to swear on. It is done.

  • Upon heading back upstairs, Tiadora separates the PCs from Sir Balin, directing them back up to Thorn’s study. Thorn is very pleased with how things turned out. He gives them the option of whether they would like for him to resurrect their fallen comrade. He impresses upon them that this is a favor they cannot expect to have happen again. He does not suffer failure lightly, but an exception can be made this once should they so choose.

  • Al is resurrected, and Act 2 concludes with the forging of the Nessian Knot.

This plot with Balin obviously goes very far out of the way from the written assumptions, but it just felt right for the story and the way the player’s were going about things. Also, I love rewarding good roleplay (which also happens to be supplemented with really lucky roles).

One avenue I’m considering taking with Balin is actually having him be the 8th knot. Now that he’s converted (a process the PCs started and which Thorn will now carry further), I want to integrate him into the plans of the cardinal in a way that my group will see some really nice payoff from their great roleplaying. My preliminary thought is that Thorn has Barca (who has not turned against the throne) discreetly killed, and then Balin (with an iron circlet) takes his place. Of course, I’ll need to look hard at future installments that have more details on Barca’s involvement before I definitely put that into place.

Thoughts?


Joseph,

Spoiler:

WOW! Turning Sir Balin! Well done. You can tell your players that in all the play reports I've received, that is a unique achievement.

Yes, absolutely. Replace Vastenus Barca with Sir Balin. When the war begins, the king seeks out veteran officers to command his armies and who would he trust more than one of his most accomplished witch-finder?

That's brilliant and it sounds like you had one heck of a session there.

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Modules Subscriber

I'm just starting the set up to run this. It will be interesting to see how my players deal with Book 1... lots of neat things to do! :)


W. John Hare,

If you need any advice or assistance, please feel free to ask either here or on our facebook page.

And also, I'd love to hear about your game when you get it started. I for one greatly enjoy reports of actual play.

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games

Grand Lodge

Got a new player who's going to be joining us soon, and she's going to be playing a vishkanya who's not overly fond of men. So she doesn't want to worship Asmodeus, but rather Doloras or Mahathallah. I looked them up, and they're two of the whore queens that were former angels that followed Asmodeus to Hell. However, they're now essentially rivals of Asmodeus due to their size of cults, but they have no actual ill will towards him because it was him to essentially allowed to gain this power in the first place. So, yay to this?


So Im preping to DM this beasty and totally looking forward to it. However, I really really would rather play but thats my group.

My first question is what are some of the people playing as characters?

My other question to Gary is have you thought about creating hero lab data sets for Way of the Wicked??

I will post my party logs,cause I love reading them as well.

Thanks for a wicked fun AP Gary

Grand Lodge

Killian wrote:

So Im preping to DM this beasty and totally looking forward to it. However, I really really would rather play but thats my group.

My first question is what are some of the people playing as characters?

Believe me when I say you're not alone in wanting to play this. I'd give anything to play a PF converted half-elf Hexblade. Maybe even a half-drow, or full drow. Either would be fine by me. Just something fun, and could handle itself.

My group's got an infernal human cleric of Asmodeus (fire/cold resistance 5 instead of a bonus feat), an erinyes half-succubus spell-less ranger, a vishkanya slaver rogue, a whisper gnome trap-expert rogue, a tiefling flame wizard, and a samsaran metal oracle. We're about equal for powers and such. All round a fairly balanced group. A couple of the players have a back up character or two just in case they get killed off early on in the game.

Dark Archive

This is so much fun. This sunday we learned a couple of life lessons and converted a recruit to our strong faith.
I've easily changed the setting to Andoran, and Mitra has become Sarenrae. Play reports can be found here, although most of it is Dutch and only spoken dialogue is in English. (I sincerely hope you don't mind me abusing the awesome art for play reports, Gary)

I've never seen my players so psyched - the sorcerer has translated all spells to Latin* and the cleric is now probably on an FBI watchlist, as he purchased an actual satanic bible from amazon for in-game quotes.
by far the most RPG fun we've all had in many years.

*e.g. Detect Magic => per Oculis Asmodei = through Asmodeus' eyes.


Two questions one how many players was this designed for and does anyone have any music suggestions for music I can play, since I was gonna DM I wanted appropriate music to play at different parts.

Grand Lodge

Randomdonkey wrote:
Two questions one how many players was this designed for and does anyone have any music suggestions for music I can play, since I was gonna DM I wanted appropriate music to play at different parts.

If I remember correctly, the game's set up for 4-5 PCs at the appropriate levels.

As for music, I've been playing a lot of FFVI music for my group. I've also been throwing in some Castlevania music here and there for the later dungeon crawl stuff.

Gary, my tiefling player was doodling the other day...

And:
...he discovered a way to design the Asmodeus holy symbol so that he could brand over the Runic F of "Forsaken". He said that way he could become a true follower of Asmodeus. I've been charged with looking up how one could turn a brand into a real holy symbol so he could brand the cleric. He'll do it to himself first, but if all goes well, he'll do it to everyone in the party who wants it. Question though. By the end of the book, were you ever going to mention how one could get rid of the original brand? Whether by Wish, or something else?

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Modules Subscriber

Gary, my tiefling player was doodling the other day...
** spoiler omitted **

Spoiler:
Why not just remove the whole arm and graft on something better... like an undead arm via Libris Mortis! Or a tentacle!
Grand Lodge

W. John Hare wrote:
** spoiler omitted **

We're trying to stick to Pathfinder specific items. And got enough of that from another campaign in another group. He'd rather not having something useless like a graft that does very little damage or has a very low DC. Besides, who would teach him how to graft? Where's he going to get the materials for it? He's not a necromancer by any means. He'd also need the CL to do it anyways.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Randomdonkey wrote:
Two questions one how many players was this designed for and does anyone have any music suggestions for music I can play, since I was gonna DM I wanted appropriate music to play at different parts.

Randomdonkey,

The adventure is written assuming four PCs.

As far as appropriate music, I would say that various depending on you and your groups tastes. Personally, were I to use background music, I would say that "Way of the Wicked" is very metal.

Gary


I ran into this AP by accident almost a month ago and I'm hooked! I've always wanted to play in an evil pc campaign but never have. The more I've read about this AP the more this looks less like a simple evil pc campaign I originally was attracted to play but rather like it embodies the iconic grand slam of evil awesome hit clear out of the park with copious amounts of win thrown in (if all the glowing reviews/player accounts everywhere are any indication)! It has transitioned from a place of initial curiosity to a must-have experience in my gaming life. However sadly it is with a heavy heart I report my usual group isn't interested in playing this (I've tried believe me) so alas I have to locate another group to play this with.

As such I'll be breaking out the internet binoculars and magnifying glass searching for a PF WotW game near me in Jersey.

Heh.. any of you planning to run a game in Jersey/Philly by any chance?

Also any advice on how you would go about hunting such a game down online (so far I've tried meetup and rpggamefind)?

I simply must play this. My inner dark overlord is calling. ;)


Let's see, as I review this discussion group I missed a few questions...

Killian,

More than thinking about Herolab, I have a free license and intend to do an update as soon as I have some free time in my publishing schedule. No definite date yet, but it is on my radar.

Incredibelly,

Glad you're having fun. No I don't read dutch, but I did take a look at it. I think I mostly got the jist.

Kevin_video,

Spoiler:

Getting rid of the brand was largely taken care of by the circlets. But if the PCs want to seek a more permanent solution, regeneration (which can even regrow limbs) can surely remove scars. As a 7th level cleric/oracle spell, I would imagine most PCs could deal with them by level 13th.

Ryeookin,

Thanks for the kind words and I'm glad the AP inspires you to run it. Here's hoping you can put together a group and have a great campaign. I'll be starting my own "Way of the Wicked" campaign in less than two weeks. Don't worry, I'll be sure to write about it.

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games


Cool thanks for the suggestions I am gonna go with a mix of everyone's suggestions I'm gonna use some FF music, some music from the Berserk anime, as well as music from Dethklok

Grand Lodge

Fire Mountain Games wrote:

Kevin_video,

** spoiler omitted **

Gary,

Branding:
I remembered about the circlets, but I changed the fire a little bit as per a previous suggestion you gave because so many of the prisoners in the group have fire and acid resistance. So the fire's partially holy fire. The warden, Mathias, played his part well in that aspect. They resisted the fire, but not the holy damage, and that's what branded the succubus, the infernal human, and tiefling. The tiefling was going to counteract that with hellfire, or unholy fire.


@Gary,

Well actually I want to FIND a DM as well as other players. That is I want to play this not DM it. Heh, in fact I have to not buy the books until I get a DM or I'll fail my will save and read them all (then I'd HAVE to DM). :(

Heh, if only I lived closer to Oregon, I'd attempt to bribe you with pizza and swedish fish (typical DM bribes) to allow me to play in your game. ;)

In any case the books will get purchased. I'm trying to lure a DM to run this by offering to purchase all of the books for the campaign. *sets out bait online and waits for a bite* :)

I can't help it but I have a few player questions for ya Gary:
1) I'm not sure if it would be feasible story wise but do you think it would be imbalancing game wise if players were allowed to become a vampire or lich sooner? If it was ok pre book 5, around what levels would you consider it ok/balanced?

2) Also when pcs are allowed to become a vampire or lich, do you recommend those templates added as a +2LA (as pathfinder srd lists those as CR +2) or with no LA? Admittedly I'm a bit of an optimizer so I'm wondering how that would work mechanically.

Thanks for your time!


On the keeping/getting rid of the 'Forsaken' brand, were it my character I'd keep it. It makes a great reminder for why you hate these Mitran vermin and are going to turn their precious little land of sweetness and light into Asmodeus' Kingdom on Earth.

Grand Lodge

@ Ryeookin --

Becoming undead:
In book 4, it actually tells you how you and when you can become undead. It is possible to become one before 3rd level, technically. DM's permission of course. The cost is two level adjustments instead of class levels. There's even an item you can get that was made to benefit the humans hunting vampires and undead, but as a side effect, it secretly helps vampires not burst into flames as well. The whole lich thing is a lot harder. You don't learn about how to become one until book 4.

BTW, you're not alone in wishing you could play it, not run it. I'm DMing mine, and I'm actually a little jealous of my group. As soon as I read it, I so badly wanted to play my converted half-elf hexblade. I even tried to get a couple of the players to have it in my steed. Nope. So I'm going to make him into a cohort for them instead.

@ Eric -- Oh, it's a reminder. He's a fire wizard so it's what's reminding him to burn everything to the ground, but he wants to show his oppressors that he outsmarted them, and that their branding him actually pushed him over the edge. Had they not done anything, this likely wouldn't have happened in the first place. But since they forced his hand, burn baby burn.


I want to ask how any of the DM's on here handled starting attributes? Did you follow the focus/foible (and no moving stats rolled), 25 pt buy, or some other option? I think personally I'd like the focus/foible as a player if I was able to move the rolls around.

@ Kevin
Thanks for the info!
Let me ask having DM'd this do you think its reasonably possible to become a vampire at say the end of book 1 (circa lvl 6 or so)?

If.. ahem I mean WHEN I get to play this I plan to be a human infernal sorcerer at the start maxing my cha as I lvl. When I become a vamp, I'm going to have a truly ungodly (ha pun) amount of hit points! :D

PS- Hmm, I was thinking perhaps you could spec your hexblade out and make him on the side of light.. but that could cause problems; 1) he kills the party and they call fowl play or 2) The party kills him and you're pist your character just got killed by those evil bastards. :P Good idea making him a cohort in that situation. ;)

Scarab Sages

I had my last session on Sunday (just gone). The group had met Fire Axe, and started about thinking about the final section of the book.

From talking to my players all I've had are comments on how awesome the adventure is! [That's even after a near TPK in event 3 in Aldencross]

Grand Lodge

Ryeookin wrote:

I want to ask how any of the DM's on here handled starting attributes? Did you follow the focus/foible (and no moving stats rolled), 25 pt buy, or some other option? I think personally I'd like the focus/foible as a player if I was able to move the rolls around.

@ Kevin
Thanks for the info!
Let me ask having DM'd this do you think its reasonably possible to become a vampire at say the end of book 1 (circa lvl 6 or so)?

If.. ahem I mean WHEN I get to play this I plan to be a human infernal sorcerer at the start maxing my cha as I lvl. When I become a vamp, I'm going to have a truly ungodly (ha pun) amount of hit points! :D

PS- Hmm, I was thinking perhaps you could spec your hexblade out and make him on the side of light.. but that could cause problems; 1) he kills the party and they call fowl play or 2) The party kills him and you're pist your character just got killed by those evil bastards. :P Good idea making him a cohort in that situation. ;)

We used 25 pt buy, and I allowed each non-monster PC one 3.5 template since they were a little underpowered (ex. Prodigy gives you +2 to one stat, and a +4 unnamed bonus to that stat's skills). We tried the rolling thing, but everyone's rolls SUCKED. Holy geez. I made them the deal that if they could roll higher than the 25 pts, they could keep it, but didn't get the template. They were fine with that. Yeah, they didn't even come close.

Well, DM's discretion (and if he reads the back of Book 4 on how to do it), everyone could become a vampire. It'd have to be a group decision though. However, if only one person wanted it, Book 3 lets you know how to do it another way too. Depending on what the DM's final say is, you could have it at 2nd level or at 11th level. Just depends.

Yeah, didn't really want my idolized character to die so he'll be a very good cohort. Maybe even be a replacement should one of the PCs die.


Ryeookin wrote:
I want to ask how any of the DM's on here handled starting attributes? Did you follow the focus/foible (and no moving stats rolled), 25 pt buy, or some other option? I think personally I'd like the focus/foible as a player if I was able to move the rolls around.

I set up four or five 25 pt arrays, each with an 8 and an 18 in them and let the players pick wich they wanted to use. It maintained the feel of the focus and foible method but gave the PCs the control over their character creation that they wanted.

Star Voter 2013

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ryeookin wrote:

I want to ask how any of the DM's on here handled starting attributes? Did you follow the focus/foible (and no moving stats rolled), 25 pt buy, or some other option? I think personally I'd like the focus/foible as a player if I was able to move the rolls around.

I gave my group the option of using 25 pt buy or using the Focus/Foible method that Gary presents, as written (no moving stats). To my surprise, the group (a relatively large one, at 6 players) voted overwhelmingly to take their chances with fate. Ended up with some interesting characters!


Harper101,

Glad to hear you and your players are enjoying "Way of the Wicked". That's very gratifying.

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games


So some like the focus/foible and some didn't.. guess it's left all to chance roll wise (if I rolled well I'd love it). ;)

Question about the mechanics of gaining the augmented template for vamp:

The augmented template is a bit ambiguous how it functions when it comes to Paizo's rules from what I can see. When one becomes a vamp and they gain the augmented subtype, how does that effect them? Do they loose their original race traits (for example a human turned vamp, would he loose the +2 ability bonus, extra feat and skill point per level for being human)? If a human turned vamp would they still be considered 'human' for their favored character class? Could a ranger with favored enemy human still get the bonus against them?

Hope you had your coffee so you don't yell at me for asking hard questions early in the day. ;)

Grand Lodge

Ryeookin wrote:

So some like the focus/foible and some didn't.. guess it's left all to chance roll wise (if I rolled well I'd love it). ;)

Question about the mechanics of gaining the augmented template for vamp:

The augmented template is a bit ambiguous how it functions when it comes to Paizo's rules from what I can see. When one becomes a vamp and they gain the augmented subtype, how does that effect them? Do they loose their original race traits (for example a human turned vamp, would he loose the +2 ability bonus, extra feat and skill point per level for being human)? If a human turned vamp would they still be considered 'human' for their favored character class? Could a ranger with favored enemy human still get the bonus against them?

Hope you had your coffee so you don't yell at me for asking hard questions early in the day. ;)

No, you're still that person and have those traits and abilities. The ranger just gets whatever their better bonus is. Chances are the ranger's going to be favored against undead, not humans.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Modules Subscriber

Well I think two of my players have an idea on what they want to play... one will be going for the Master Spy prestige class (information makes the world go round!) and the other looks to be making a necromancer of some flavour (I'm allowing the Corpsecrafter feats from Libris Mortis)... should be some nasty undead as part of the minion horde! :)


I have a question one of my players is going to be a Cleric of some minor evil god, how do I handle the issue of his holy symbol since I doubt he could acquire one easily?

Grand Lodge

Randomdonkey wrote:
I have a question one of my players is going to be a Cleric of some minor evil god, how do I handle the issue of his holy symbol since I doubt he could acquire one easily?

One of two ways.

Holy symbol:
Firstly, there's a 0 level spell called Summon Holy Sumbol. Secondly, you can always add in or change up the holy symbol in the veil that the characters receive that help them escape later.


Ryeookin,

There is actually going to be a four to six page article about this very topic in Book V, so a detailed answer is coming. To answer a few of your brief questions...

Becoming a vampire makes them into undead. That means they no longer have a constitution score and they gain undead traits among other things.

No, they don't lose their human stat bonuses. The vampire template modifies their stat block in very specific ways, but otherwise their old stats remain intact.

Once a character is a vampire they are no longer human. They are now undead. A ranger would need favored enemy "undead" to get the bonuses against them. A ranger vampire hunter by the way is an excellent idea for an enemy for a vampire party.

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games


@Gary,

Thanks for the clarification! As I'm rather a fan of CO (character optimization) I'll have to read that section in book 5 before I make my character (assuming that doesn't include spoilers for players).

Also Gary, Kevin says you mentioned in your book that you suggested the group could become vampires at lvl 2 or lvl 11 (at DM discretion). My question is would you think becoming vampires at lvl 2 would cause a game power imbalance? What level's do you think are feasible for characters to be come vampires (story and game balance wise)?

I mean I love the idea of playing a vampire at even such a low level and flaunting my blood sucking vampire powers and general bad-ass-ness, however I am also afraid a DM might potentially feel a power imbalance or feel overwhelmed.. that is unless this is accounted for in your books via advice?

Thanks for your time!

Grand Lodge

Ryeookin wrote:

@Gary,

Thanks for the clarification! As I'm rather a fan of CO (character optimization) I'll have to read that section in book 5 before I make my character (assuming that doesn't include spoilers for players).

Also Gary, Kevin says you mentioned in your book that you suggested the group could become vampires at lvl 2 or lvl 11 (at DM discretion). My question is would you think becoming vampires at lvl 2 would cause a game power imbalance? What level's do you think are feasible for characters to be come vampires (story and game balance wise)?

I mean I love the idea of playing a vampire at even such a low level and flaunting my blood sucking vampire powers and general bad-ass-ness, however I am also afraid a DM might potentially feel a power imbalance or feel overwhelmed.. that is unless this is accounted for in your books via advice?

Thanks for your time!

Believe me when I say it's all explained in Book 4. I can't say much more without spoilers, and I mean that as in you're a player, and it's DM discretion because he has to choose what version of the story he wants to run. But no, it wouldn't be unbalanced. You just don't gain two class levels. And as a vampire, you have to figure out how to transport your coffin from Point A to B, etc. All those wonderful disadvantages of being a vampire.


Ryeookin,

I think kevin_video mostly has this issue nailed. There is an answer to your questions but they are deep DEEP into spoiler country.

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games


Ah, as much as I'm curious to know the answers, I need to be spoiler free to play (shoos away the devil on my shoulder telling me I could get my answers and now if I just simply DM'd this myself). Thanks Gary and Kevin. :)

*goes back to searching for a group to play this AP with in NJ*

Star Voter 2013

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Sorry, I’m a bit behind on this. It’s been about a month since we played some of this stuff, and I didn’t make notes as soon as I got home like I did in the prior weeks. As a result, this update won’t be quite as detailed as my earlier posts.

Act 3 Highlights:

  • The Blade of St. Martius: The group completely talked their way through this one. They managed to spot the vessel well enough ahead of time, and convinced Kargeld to let them do the talking. They used their circlets to take on the image of a group of soldiers heading north on a mission. Sambryl bought it more or less hook, line, and sinker. No blood shed.

  • The Hope of the Haunted: This encounter started out pretty daunting. They were suddenly surrounded by water elementals, and they only have one viable ranged specialist who could aim out at the tritons in the water. Meanwhile, Narianus taunted them in an ethereal voice that sounded annoyingly like the priest from The Princess Bride. It all turned, however, when Kyrin managed to charm person Narianus and convinced him to leave. (I have since realized I’m an idiot, and charm person should not have worked on Narianus as he’s an outsider. Ah well…) Slowly, the other tritons began to retreat, being without their leader. However, after all seemed silent, as if possessed of another entity entirely, Narianus suddenly flung himself out of the water and clung to the side of the boat, eyes glazed and sightless. He then pronounced the prophetic words as written, and then released the boat, sliding back into the water…

  • Seal Isle: After a brief spat in which Kargeld loudly reminded the group of his authority on board the Frosthamar, they ultimately agreed to stop at Seal Isle for a couple days of hunting. On the first day, Vornlyn decided to accompany Kargeld on his boat while the rest of the PCs took their own hunting boat. Vornlyn failed at “helping” Kargeld while Jimmy King managed to catch one seal. On the second day, no seals at all were caught. However, both boats were tipped over by the Bunyips. The PCs and crew ultimately managed to dispatch the beasts, but not before their mighty roar sent both Vornlyn and Kyrin swimming equipmentless (weapons dropped to the ocean floor) as fast as they cook back towards the Frosthamar.

  • The Whale-Hunters: Another bloodless encounter. The group reluctantly agreed to speak with the Yutak. I really played up White Tusk’s hubris, and played Joseph as the reluctant translator who’s exacerbated by his young chief’s eccentricities. I loved that Gary had made note of White Tusk’s admiration of fine clothing, as Kyrin is obsessed with fine clothing himself and is always wearing the very best. White Tusk went straight to him when allowed to board, and they ended up doing a trade which resulted in White Tusk changing into his new finery right there on the spot. The group also had taken the mithral from the cobras, so ultimately they traded that as well, and ended up with all of the tusks and the narwhal horn. In the end, they caught a glimpse of White Tusk giving Joseph a knowing wink (obviously, White Tusk got the better of them… :-P)

  • The Laughing Storm: This one was pretty straight forward. It was a quick fight, which ultimately ended with Kiliketz running away. I started it out with him shrieking out in laughter from atop the mast, casting chill metal on the anti-paladin’s full plate. Unfortunately, the anti-paladin happens to be an aasimar, so he has cold resistance 5. From there, thing’s when downhill pretty quickly for the ice mephit and his elemental cronies.

  • The Bugbear Camp: After nearly getting into a fight with the greeting party on the dock, Fire-Axe arrived. I ran this whole scene pretty straight, as-written, utilizing the dialogue right out of the book.

  • A Private Audience: I really wanted to play up the disarming intelligence that this particular bugbear has. Kargeld’s line, “Look in that one’s eyes. He’s smart – always plotting. Bugbears should not be smart,” really struck a chord with me. As such, I wanted a distinctive voice for him that would raise him above the riffraff. Having just watched The Dark Knight Rises, I ended up using a voice/accent/inflection heavily inspired by Tom Hardy’s Bane. Nobody picked up on my sub-par impression, but the approximation had the effect I was going for. I coupled that with having his tent be lavishly decorated with finery and scholarly texts. By the end of their private chat with the bugbear (which went well enough, though nothing really beyond what’s written), they were convinced that he is more than meets the eye. In fact, they came to the conclusion that he is actually a red dragon. Love the way players’ minds work sometimes!

  • Loose Ends: Again, this one went more or less as written. The only hairy moment came when Al found himself alone and surrounded by most of the crew still aboard the ship, while most of the other party members were on shore with Kargeld. He channeled negative energy and seriously hurt them, but I thought for sure he was a goner for good this time. Luckily, Fuego and Imperius were able to come to his aid in time.

Grand Lodge

Gary,

There's no chance there you've got more crime traits that just didn't make the cut, is there? Got a player who's looked through all of the crime traits and found absolutely none of them gain him the least bit of benefit for his character. He was going to be a pyromancer wizard, but the arsonist trait only gives extra damage on crits. Most fire spells don't have any sort of roll to them whatever. So if he's spamming fireballs or burning hands, he gains zero benefit from it.

Did you have anything else kicking around?


Anyone thinking of running this AP as a pbp?

If so colour me interested


Joseph,

That's a heck of an update. It sounds like your players are preceding well into the adventure.

Spoiler:

I especially like your handling of Sakkarot Fire-Axe. Yes, he should be terrifying -- a bugbear genius at the head of a massive humanoid horde. He is Talingarde's nightmare and you will help hone him into the unstoppable monstrosity he must become.

Anyways, another great update! Keep 'em coming!

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games


kevin_video wrote:

Gary,

There's no chance there you've got more crime traits that just didn't make the cut, is there? Got a player who's looked through all of the crime traits and found absolutely none of them gain him the least bit of benefit for his character. He was going to be a pyromancer wizard, but the arsonist trait only gives extra damage on crits. Most fire spells don't have any sort of roll to them whatever. So if he's spamming fireballs or burning hands, he gains zero benefit from it.

Did you have anything else kicking around?

He would gain benefit with fiery rays like scorching ray. But regardless, I would be very careful about using traits to let wizards buff their spells further. Fireball and its ilk are already great spells. Buffing them sounds like a path to seriously overpowered characters.

No I have no more crime traits made up. That said, if he's unimpressed with his selection, I would start with a crime that makes sense for his character concept and discuss which skills he might have learned from that criminal enterprise. a +2 skill bonus or a +1 to two skills is always a good fallback and is useful to any build without being overpowering.

Hope that helps,
Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games

Grand Lodge

Fire Mountain Games wrote:
He would gain benefit with fiery rays like scorching ray. But regardless, I would be very careful about using traits to let wizards buff their spells further. Fireball and its ilk are already great spells. Buffing them sounds like a path to seriously overpowered characters.

He knew about the rays, it's just he didn't want to be a specialist for that. As for his crime, he's already come up with an extensive background. He's a tiefling, and people made fun of him because of his heritage. So, he burned them. He burned them all. And because everyone's obviously so racist against devil born, he's going to continue to burn them all until there's nothing left except those that accept him for what he is. Until then, the fire will continue to burn. This is why arson seemed like a good idea at the time. Murder would also work, but wizards never flank. They stay way in the back.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Cards, Companion, Maps Subscriber

A thought I had was changing the Arsonist up a bit and maybe giving your Pyromaniac Tiefling a +1 Caster Level with Fire spells.

I don't see that being overly powerful.

(If you want to keep it useful at higher levels you might allow the CL bonus to let the Pyro exceed the maximums on the spells ... i.e. max 11d on a Fireball, rather than 10d.)

Grand Lodge

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Geistlinger wrote:

A thought I had was changing the Arsonist up a bit and maybe giving your Pyromaniac Tiefling a +1 Caster Level with Fire spells.

I don't see that being overly powerful.

(If you want to keep it useful at higher levels you might allow the CL bonus to let the Pyro exceed the maximums on the spells ... i.e. max 11d on a Fireball, rather than 10d.)

There's actually a feat that does that, and traits are half feats. As Gary said, you have to be careful about making traits too powerful and giving too much benefit to a caster.

I was thinking about adding these:

Firebug
You're not quite an arsonist, but you are still a person who deliberately sets fire to property. Sometimes just to watch something burn for the sake of burning. It's a compulsion some say you can't help. However, you were sent to Branderscar, meaning something went wrong with your little trash fire. It got out of hand, and did something you can never take back. Now you can watch the fire up close and personal.
Punishment: Death by burning.
Benefit: Gain +1 damage to a magical fire based attack or +2 to a nonmagical one, including Alchemist Fire. This can not go above the maximum amount of damage rolled.

Stalker
Someone caught your eye, and you couldn't leave well alone. You have an uncanny ability of learning everything there is to know about your victim. You bring a whole new meaning to the term, creepy. For you to be in Branderscar though, you didn't just stalk any one particular person. You stalked someone of high caliber, or someone related to one of grand stature.
Punishment: Life at hard labor in the salt mines.
Benefit: You gain a +1 trait bonus to Diplomacy and Stealth checks, and one of them is always a class skill for you.

Pusher
You're the reason why there's drugs on the streets. You've caused multiple children and adults to gain an addiction to various kind of supplements that you've either created yourself, or got from a supplier. To be in Branderscar, your poison has likely killed people due to an overdose.
Punishment: Death by beheading.
Benefit: Gain a +1 trait bonus to Craft (alchemy), and Profession (herbalist). Also gain a +1 to Survival when looking for ingredients.

Swindler
You've cheated many people out of their finances on an account of your greed, all the while pretending to actually helping them. You've possibly pretended to be a false healer, a salesman with inferior products, or maybe you were a charlatan lover of an older person. For you to be in Branderscar, you cheated the wrong person, possibly the mother of an official, or the young son of friends to a lord. Regardless, your days of being a mountebank are over. No amount of lying and cheating is getting you out of this one.
Punishment: Death by hanging.
Benefit: Gain +1 trait bonus to Bluff and any one Knowledge skill, and Bluff is always a class skill for you.

Grand Lodge

And for those that don't know, yes there are drugs in Pathfinder.

There's a 3rd Party set as well.

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