Paizo Top Nav Branding
  • Hello, Guest! |
  • Sign In |
  • My Account |
  • Shopping Cart |
  • Help/FAQ
About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
Pathfinder Society

Pathfinder Beginner Box

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

Pathfinder Comics

Pathfinder Legends

Fighting the Harbinger (Spoilers)


Age of Worms Adventure Path

1 to 50 of 65 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

My party will face the Harbinger next session. (Spire of Long Shadows)

I don't generally have much faith that any single high-level caster can really survive against a group of adventurers. It usually just comes down to hp vs. damage potential.

A 15th level fighter can lay down serious damage in a round.
A 15th level caster can lay down serious (SR by-passing) damage in a round.
A summoned huge earth elemental can lay down serious damage in a round.
A 15th level rogue can do decent damage, even without sneak attack damage.

Really, if the PCs roll well and do decent damage, the Harbinger might get two rounds to act.

So, I'm curious: How did your party fare against the Harbinger? I know that the PCs can have their collective butts handed to them *if* they don't kill him in three or four rounds, but how long did the fight last in your campaigns?

Thanks,

Big Jake

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

The party won initiative. The Harbinger went down before he could act. It was terribly anti-climactic, and he was such a cool villain too. But then, destroying boss monsters in one round started to become a habit.

I hate powergamers. >_<


Brainiac wrote:
The party won initiative. The Harbinger went down before he could act. It was terribly anti-climactic, and he was such a cool villain too.

That's what I'm afraid of... lots of build up to the confrontation, only to end in a round or two. The spellweaver in my Shackled City campaign went down in one round as well, though he won initiative and got off one spell.

Brainiac wrote:
I hate powergamers. >_<

But I don't think they have to be powergamers, per se. Any 15th level fighter (other than a kobold specializing in a blunt stick... although I suppose a magical blunt stick would do well in this situation) does serious damage.

I think the problem is that the high-level casters don't make good single high-CR encounters. But, if you were to add a couple of support creatures (like two Swords of Kyuss), it might make this fight impossibly hard.

I might even bring the Harbinger out during the fight against the overworm, and force the players to divide their damage between two heavy-hitters.

Hmm. I have to say, however, that when my players in my SCAP campaign faced off against Fetor, he nearly wiped 'em out. But the scenario pretty much forced the PCs into a perfect line for him to cast a quickened lightning bolt followed up with an empowered lightning bolt.

Since the Harbinger doesn't come packing with that kind of "shock and awe," I just don't know how it's going to play out, or how best to use his powers. If he were able to quicken a spell, he might be able to launch six magic missile attacks followed by a quickened power word stun.

Or, if he should win initiative, should he separate himself with two of the PCs with a wall of force or use maze on the fighter in the first round?

I hope other DMs had better (Read: longer) encounters. I don't want a TPK (or really even to kill a player), but I hope this fight proves to be as memorable as The Faceless One, who ended up providing my campaign with the first PC death.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The Spell Weaver lasted a few rounds due to knowing he PCs were coming and had his defensive spells up and ready. With a final parting shot of prismatic ray before he recieved the killing blow, he sent the fighter and rogue to another plane and turned the wizard to stone, leaving the cleric and druid to try and rescue the others. The wizard only took one day and the other two had to wait until the PCs returned to Mage Point and enlisted aid to bring them back. >:D

Liberty's Edge

Yeah, I made sure the Harb neutralized scry spells like arcane eye wtih limtied wish.
He mazed our paladin right off, but the wizardess got up anti-magic sphere which negated a lot of the harb's abilities. The fighter with returning hammer did a number on him, before I had the lich make it to the knights rooms...not that it helped, as the wizard put up a wall of force to split the knights...they creamed the harb and one knight, then dropped the wall and went at the other two after buffing up. A lone lich against a high level party is in trouble, as its easy to grapple the scum once the party wizard runs up with anti-magic sphere....I'm amazed WOTC let that spell be mobile. Maybe I shoulda given the lich a golem or two to walk right in there and kick some party ass...

Truth be told, the fallen Eladrin was far tougher a fight then the harbringer, due to his massive armor class, improved invisibility, MAJOR spell resistance and powerful spells...my group tore their hair out trying to pin him down and finish him off, especialyl when he seperated the fighter/paladin from the group with a wall of force (turnabout is fair play against the harbrigner I guess)...the guy just shrugged off many spells from the 13th level cleric and two 13th level wizards, leaving a poor skills ftr/rogue/sorcerer to try and melee and needing 19's....the 13th level cleric got turned to stone on that one and it's only the 13th level sorcerer's ring of spell turning that stopped him dying from finger of death...which didnt affect the Eladrin either...


Did anyone have the Harbinger engage in conversation, as detailed in the encounter?

What kind of information did you give out?


In my Campaign world the Harbinger crushed the party. Please note that I play Monte Cook's Arcana Evolved so things tend to be on the high end power side. The party consisted of:

A 13th level Human Ritual Warrior

A 12th level Faen Magister

A 13th level Human Greenbond

The Harbinger appeared on the scene with his defensive buffs up including spell turning, Defense Shield and few other treats. It tried to talk to the party but after previous encounters in Kulath-Mar the warrior was in no mood to talk. He attacked the Harbinger doing enough damage to bring the Defensive Shield down and that was when all hell was unleashed.

The Harbinger hit the party with a Wave of Death Spell (save or die and even if you save 80 hp of damage) instantly killing the Ritual Warrior. While the survivors healed themseveles and used a revitization spell (a temporary raise dead spell in AE) on the warrior the Harbinger had cast an anti-life shell and began unleashing swarms of magic missiles and other diabolic treats on the party (in AE magic missiles are d6.)

The party did defeat the Harbinger but it costly them dearly. If played to maximum potential I don't see how anyone could walk over this creature.


I haven't played the Harbringer...but anti-life shell and repulsion are a must. They keep the melee guys away. Displacement and protection from arrows in the next round is a saver too.

I can see if he losses initiative, but he can still be a real tough guy!


Okay, I ran this in our last game. I had a pretty elaborate set up, but here it goes:

The harbinger used limited wish to cast major image of himself behind a wall of force at the rear of the room, then again to use fly and greater invisibility.

The Harbinger attempted to communicate with the PCs via telepathy, but they rushed into battle, quickly discovering the wall of force.

Rd 1: The lich used maze against the fighter. During the rest of the 1st round, they discovered that the figure behind the wall of force was an illusion, but couldn't find the invisible lich.

Rd 2: Mak'ar cast maze against the druid. The PCs attempted to use various area effect spells to locate the lich.

Rd 3: The rogue/psion made an incredibly amazing lucky guess, and threw a tanglefoot bag in the square with the lich and hit, including miss chance. The Lich then used maze against the rogue/psion. The others moved in on the now-outlined figure and began to do damage, ending in being grappled by the NPC fighter. The bard cast haste on the party.

Rd 4: The Harbinger cast power word stun[i] on the fighter, effectively escaping the grapple. The other PCs attempted to hit the lich, only one was able to overcome damage reduction very well. The bard cast [i]dispel magic on the lich, only dispelling his fly spell, but the goo from the tanglefoot bag still had him visible.

Rd 5: The psion/rogue escaped the maze, just in time for the lich to cast prismatic spray, killing the party bard and the NPC fighter. Afterwards the fighter and the druid escaped the maze spell.

Rd 6: The lich tried to use power word stun on the rogue/psion but again did not beat his SR. The PCs move in on Mak'ar and engaged in melee. The druid cast mass snake's swiftness, giving each mellee comabatant an extra attack.

Rd 7: The Harbinger attempted to cast defensively and failed (only a +9 to concentration?!?), losing the spell. The PCs ganged up and finally did him in.

I was happy with the fight. I was able to harrass the players and force them to use abilities they hadn't used for several levels.

Still, one of the players thought that it was too easy, and that the lich should have simply walked out during the battle with the overworm and ganged up on them.

I pointed out that I nearly killed half the party, and we had a fairly lengthy discussion on the effectiveness of the lich, his possessions, spells known, feats, and whatnot. He still left feeling that the lich encounter should have been more than it was.

Maybe he'll feel different about the next one. ;)


Seven rounds and two party deaths sounds like a pretty good climactic battle to me--and this is holding off a party of 5-6 characters. Would have lasted several rounds longer, probably, if not for the extremely lucky hit with the tanglefoot bag--so the PCs were actually lucky Makar didn't completely clean their clocks.


Peruhain of Brithondy wrote:
Seven rounds and two party deaths sounds like a pretty good climactic battle to me...

Yeah... the battle was something else. I think my favorite part was power word stun against the fighter when he was grappled. The party grappled the ghaele eladrin and stopped his spell casting completely, and they were surprised that the lich had any spells that only had a verbal component.

I intended to have the Mak'ar try to coerce information out of the party, and if he had a couple of more rounds before the tanglefoot bag, the players may have had no choice but to stand down.

I even pieced together a mini for the Harbinger out of three orc skeletons and some modeling clay.

I think that my player's objections to the whole setup is based on some "logic points." (Disclaimer: I hereby acknowledge that not everyone agrees on what is "logical" for a lich to do, act, use, create, or whatnot.)

Things like, having been here for a couple of thousand years, why would he have created the items he created, and why doesn't he have more? Why face the party alone when he could have ganged up on them when they fought the overworm?

After the game, due to the excessive questions about the lich, I divulged the background info on Mak'ar, as if his history were part of the visions as well. When the learned more about him and how he unwittingly got stuck, they accepted it better.


Another thought:

I think what my players will take away from this adventure, more than anything, is that they have discovered more kyuss-associated monsters and their abilities. They've learned what they need to overcome certain DR, what their immunities are, and what spells they tend to use.

They've already mentioned the have to get access to death ward, but without a party cleric, that might take some work.

But, since they just lost an NPC follower, it might be time for me to introduce a new one that suits their needs.


Big Jake wrote:

Another thought:

I think what my players will take away from this adventure, more than anything, is that they have discovered more kyuss-associated monsters and their abilities. They've learned what they need to overcome certain DR, what their immunities are, and what spells they tend to use.

They've already mentioned the have to get access to death ward, but without a party cleric, that might take some work.

But, since they just lost an NPC follower, it might be time for me to introduce a new one that suits their needs.

I'm surprised they even got to Makar without Death Ward. If my PCs are smart and do a divination before they travel to SoLS, I'm going to drop a hint that they will need lots of this spell. Maybe they'll be smart and purchase a wand or a bundle of scrolls. I'm running a cleric DMPC with 2 levels of ranger, so my party will have cleric support (assuming the DMPC makes it this far, but it's a fairly safe bet--she always seems to be the last woman standing during those frequent near-TPKs). The usual practice in running one on ones with my son is that the party cleric does divinitions before undertaking any important adventure. Then my son puzzles through the riddles and tells DMPC spellcasters what preparations should be made. That way I'm not tempted to either prepare just the spells the party needs, or forced to purposefully prepare the wrong spells--sometimes he misinterprets the divinations or makes mistakes in assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the expected foes, but this way I haven't intervened unduly in the strategic planning, and I make knowledge rolls for the DMPCs to see if they're smart enough to cast the right spells at the right times once they're prepared.


Even with all his defensive stuff up the Harbinger didn't last one round. The party (which consisted of a scout/druid, a cleric specializing in the air and travel domains, and a potato farmer) all beat him on intiative and proceeded to mop the floor with him. It was pretty sad. Got some good dialogue in before they took a crowbar to his kneecaps


Tak wrote:
Even with all his defensive stuff up the Harbinger didn't last one round...

I'm fairly sure the same thing would have happened in my game.

After weeks of thinking about the encounter, the major image/greater invisibility combo was the best thing I could think of. I threw in the wall of force so that their first attacks wouldn't show that he was an illusion.

You know, sometimes encounters just end in one round, but I didn't want that for the BBEG.


Peruhain of Brithondy wrote:
I'm surprised they even got to Makar without Death Ward.

Improved Evasion and a spread-out party saved them against the Swords of Kyuss. The party fighter did take two full-force hits, but he had the hp to take it.

Peruhain of Brithondy wrote:
That way I'm not tempted to either prepare just the spells the party needs, or forced to purposefully prepare the wrong spells...

I think I'm going to make an archivist from Heroes of Horror, which has become one of my favorite sourcebooks.

I plan on giving him some fairly basic spells so that, since he prepares spells like a wizard, the party will use their own funds to purchase wands or scrolls for him to use. That way they can determine the support that they get instead of me.

On the other hand, since he's coming into the adventure at 15th level, I could simply put together a really good build geared towards the Age of Worms, which shouldn't be too far fetched for an archivist.


Peruhain of Brithondy wrote:
Seven rounds and two party deaths sounds like a pretty good climactic battle to me--and this is holding off a party of 5-6 characters. Would have lasted several rounds longer, probably, if not for the extremely lucky hit with the tanglefoot bag--so the PCs were actually lucky Makar didn't completely clean their clocks.

You're damn right we were lucky with the tanglefoot bag. WOOT! Go IX!


Big Jake wrote:

Rd 3: The rogue/psion made an incredibly amazing lucky guess, and threw a tanglefoot bag in the square with the lich and hit, including miss chance. The Lich then used maze against the rogue/psion. The others moved in on the now-outlined figure and began to do damage, ending in being grappled by the NPC fighter. The bard cast haste on the party.

You forgot the dragon cone : P


Since I'm terrible at rolling initiative when I DM, Mak'ar went last. The "nuclear cleric" of the party turned him, so he couldn't attack. I interpreted the "must get away as quickly as possible" description to mean "by any means possible," and thus he teleported to the Swords' room, shook off the turning, and then prepared the Swords for the PCs' arrival.

The first thing he did this time was to maze the cleric, and then proceeded to do a bit of whomping before the rest of the party overcame the Swords and destroyed him.


I played the campaign before runninng it myself. In my group, we killed him before he could act. The wizard went, the rogue went, and the fight was over. It was kind of anticlimactic, for which I feel responsible (cause I was the wizard).

When I ran the game, I knew this might happen again. I had him buff up a little and switched one of his 8th level spells to moment of prescience. That made him last a few rounds.

More importantly, to make it seem less anticlimactic, in its dialogue with the PCs, I presented the spell weaver as being completely detached, watching some grand experiment, and not really caring if it fights or not, or if it's destroyed or not. That made it seem more sinister and less "what-a-pussy-lich-that-guy-was".


I can't imagine how this guy could be a pushover. I mean, he has to know the party is coming. Consequently, he should have more than just hour per level buffs up. He should have mirror image, protection from good, and expeditious retreat up and running before they even enter the room. His durations are long enough he could probably even precast repulsion, fire shield, and displacement without them running out before the PCs get to him. If anything, he moves out and attacks them before they are finished with room 11. That should put a big damper on the damage they can do to him. Mages are rough. Anyone who thinks they are a pushover really just needs to brush up on tactics.


airwalkrr wrote:
Anyone who thinks they are a pushover really just needs to brush up on tactics.

I know... but just wait until your group gets a hold of this guy. They will mop the floor with him.

And there really is a fine line with high-level casters as the BBEG. If you give him enough rounds and some cronies to soak up hits you will have TPK, if you run his tatics to kill. Five rounds of prismatic spray will take out the entire party... but that's not really the point.


I doubt my group will "mop the floor" with him. We had a TPK against the Faceless One, and they never killed Zyrxog (who has vowed revenge btw). They have had a lot difficulty with casters as their opponents. I attribute that partially to my familiarity with them (having played them many times before). But I also believe casters are on the tougher end of their CRs. This is especially true for wizards, who are intelligent enough to outwit the PCs. I give it my A-game when the PCs are fighting wizards and I don't pull any tactical punches like I do with 10 Int creatures that wouldn't necessarily know any better.


Cool! I hope you post a short round-by-round of your encounter... it sounds like I would like to read it.

I admit that I can use help on running casters, especially as a single opponent. So throw us some tactical suggestions.

Thanks.


Sure thing. We are just wrapping up the Champions Games now, so we are two adventures away from the Harbinger, but I'll be sure to let you know how they deal with it.


Another fun thing for the Harbinger to do would be to cast magic missile 6 times. Mmmmm, 30d4+30, no save, no attack roll.


Poor, poor Harbinger.. he was truly my favorite opponent so far. He was polite, inquisitive, well-dressed, and nearly 90% of his stuff is now being worn by my wizard. Unfortunately for him, he went down in less than a round. He cast maze on our druid and then proceeded to get charged-with-a-lance-with-smite by the halfing paladin, followed by a double-empowered scorching ray by the wizard, which turned him to ash. Farewell, sweet lich... forever shall we cast commune in looking for your phylactory. You will be fondly remembered.


I guess my group falls into the parties that had little trouble with Ma'Kar.

In my game, Ma'Kar had little foreknoweldge that the PCs were coming, so when they stormed in, he had the bare minimum up in terms of buffs. He tried to negotiate, but the party (predictably) wouldn't have it. The party beat him on initiative (a death sentance for solitary BBEG spell casters) and that was all she wrote.

That said, there were numerous fights in the Spire that was more than a challenge for the heroes.


airwalkrr wrote:
I mean, he has to know the party is coming.

I liked Spire as a module; it was a tremendous amount of fun. But the set-up for how this whole module goes down makes little sense if "he knows the party is coming" like the module hints to.

If he knows they are coming, why doesn't he marshal the Spires forces and make chopped liver of the PCs instead of waiting 2nd Edition style to be killed one room at a time?

In my game, he exerts control over his forces when desired (as other Kyuss creatures do, such as worm callers), but isn't necessarily in tune with the Spire and its grounds - otherwise we are going to have a short gaming night. Ma'Kar was busy meditating and doing whatever Spell-Weaving Liches do in their infinite time of undying. My players would wonder why Ma'Kar didn't move on them earlier if they bust into a room with him waiting for them.


I’ve Got Reach wrote:
airwalkrr wrote:
I mean, he has to know the party is coming.

I liked Spire as a module; it was a tremendous amount of fun. But the set-up for how this whole module goes down makes little sense if "he knows the party is coming" like the module hints to.

If he knows they are coming, why doesn't he marshal the Spires forces and make chopped liver of the PCs instead of waiting 2nd Edition style to be killed one room at a time?

In my game, he exerts control over his forces when desired (as other Kyuss creatures do, such as worm callers), but isn't necessarily in tune with the Spire and its grounds - otherwise we are going to have a short gaming night. Ma'Kar was busy meditating and doing whatever Spell-Weaving Liches do in their infinite time of undying. My players would wonder why Ma'Kar didn't move on them earlier if they bust into a room with him waiting for them.

That makes sense. After all, a lich should be able to marshal the forces around him. However, I would also go with the disjointed sense of time that any immortal creature would have. "Humn, what century is it?" That is how I would handle the lich. He is so involved with his plans that he forgets what is going on around him. Perhaps that is why he waits too long.


I'd at least have the poor undead bastard make a listen check when the party is duking it out with the uberworm next door. That's got to make at least normal battle noise, don't you think? Then you can play it by ear--let him buff for a few rounds, and if it looks like the party is walking on the uberworm, trot out the harbinger while they're still trying to finish off the already weakened worm.

Also, if the party has made one or two forays into the spire, which by this point they almost certainly have, presumably the Harbinger has gotten an inkling that these guys are snooping around. Doesn't mean he'll marshal the whole dungeon against them, but he might use a limited wish to put up some kind of magical sensor (or at least an alarm spell) to give him a bit of forewarning so he can prepare to receive his guests in proper fashion. Liches may have a skewed sense of time, but most of the ones I've met don't like getting caught with their pants down.


Peruhain of Brithondy wrote:

I'd at least have the poor undead bastard make a listen check when the party is duking it out with the uberworm next door. That's got to make at least normal battle noise, don't you think? Then you can play it by ear--let him buff for a few rounds, and if it looks like the party is walking on the uberworm, trot out the harbinger while they're still trying to finish off the already weakened worm.

I considered this scenario as well, but elected not to go this route for a few reasons:

1) The Uber-worm was one of the more difficult encounters in the Spire, leaving the party spent and badly hurt.
2) The Harbinger wasn't the only nasty surprise behind Uber-worm fight - I had three Kyuss Knights waiting to take the domes off of the PCs when they were encountered. This compounds the problem: do they make listen checks too? I just decided (based on their relative difficulty of an encounter) that they were also blissfully unaware of the fight in the middle room.

What are the accoustical properties of obsidian rock? Have you noticed how sound absorbent the sea of worms were? ;)


~grins~ Good point, the both of you!


The writhing worms probably make some background noise--I'd penalize listen checks made in the area by 5 or so. Harbinger has a listen modifier of +24. Even increasing the listen DC quite a bit for the stone doors, you still end up with about a DC of 20 or 25 for Harbinger to hear the battle. Its around 10 higher for the Kyuss knights because they are farther and have an additional door in the way. So technically, the Harbinger is almost an automatic to hear the battle, and about 50-50 for the Kyuss knights.

The attitudes of both these bad guys is almost certainly "the Uberworm will probably eat these guys--if they do get through I'll be waiting for them." But they would still do a few things to prepare--including Harbinger putting up all his 1 min/level buffs. He's a sorcerer, so he can always cast them again later if the party goes after the Knights first.

Also, the Harbinger can put most of his low-level buffs in place with one round, due to his six arms. He should also use displacement and wall of force early in the fight--between displacement and mirror image he shouldn't take many hits except from area attacks, and if he uses wall of force to shield himself from the spellcasters while he takes out the tanks, he should be able to put up a good fight. Maze should not be the first spell he uncorks, but the one he uses to knock out the primary tank once he's shaped the battlefield to his liking.


I'm prepping this adventure for our first session on sunday, and I'm also worried that the fights won't be enough of a challenge.

We have a part of 7, and they'll all be 12th level when they start. For the past several adventures the druid's min/maxed summon nature's ally ability has really ruled the battlefield. He has several feats like augment summoning that ramp up his summoned creatures, and they've just been able to mop the floor with most everything the party has encountered.

The one thing about his summoning habits are that he's usually perfectly willing to burn a lot of spells in any given encounter, counting on the party's ability to rest whenever they feel like it.

With those two things in mind, I'm going to play the adventure mostly as written, and allow them to pull out when they feel like they've had enough and want to rest for a day (probably after the battle with the corrupted archons). Once they leave, when they come back the lower level of the spire will be protected by a forbiddance spell (spoofed by Ma'kar with limited wish), which will make most of their summoning spells useless right from the start in the lower level of the dungeon. Actually, my quick and dirty examination of the area of effect makes it look like I can also cover area 3 on the upper level (Chamber of Ascension) with the spell.

I'm debating about how else I would like to see the dungeon react to PCs whe leave and return -- will the outer guardians re-appear?

Two other party members tend to disable encounters pretty quickly. One is a mageslayer/barbarian/scout who moves very fast and is very good at getting himself right next to a caster so the caster can't cast spells at all. With his spiked chain he threatens a large area, can make trip attacks as the caster tries to move away, and basically is very good at taking casters out of the action.

The other is a warlock whose ability to dispel magic every round is key for stripping away the defenses that an NPC has set up. Ma'Kar's caster level is high enough to make that less than automatic, but it's still going to drive me nuts, as usual.

I like that there are other casters and creatures in the mod that these abilities will work against -- that's gives these players a chance to be successful and enjoy their powers (as well as demonstrate them) before I show them an opponent that their powers won't necessarily defeat so easily.

One other question -- I'm not seeing any sign of an effect in the dungeon making the undead there more resistant to turning. I'm inclined to throw in an unhallow effect that covers the whole structure. I may make it something that Ma'Kar can control, uncluding recasting it (as a single casting of unhallow, something he'd again have to spoof with limited wish) so he can add effect to it -- like freedom of movement, after seeing things like the warlock's liberal use of Evard's Black Tentacles.

-rg


Banishment, dismissal, and planar ally are always useful tools in the Bad Guy Toolbox. Get rid of those pesky summoned creatures that the druid uses first, then summon your own to do your light work. :D


John Jones wrote:
Once they leave, when they come back the lower level of the spire will be protected by a forbiddance spell (spoofed by Ma'kar with limited wish), which will make most of their summoning spells useless right from the start in the lower level of the dungeon.

It's a good idea - it'd certainly curtail the summoning - but can Ma'kar actually use a Limited Wish to do this? I seem to recall it's very stringent about what spells can be duplicated, and, as Forbiddance is Cleric 6 (I think), isn't this outside the limits for the spell (...Duplicate any other spell of 5th level or lower, provided the spell is not of a school prohibited to you)?

At the very least, Ma'kar still has to find the 1,000s of gp material components (...rare incenses worth at least 1,500 gp, plus 1,500 gp per 60-foot cube) though I might assume he has a few things lying around after all that time...].


I like office_ninja's take on making The Harbringer a detached, as if watching a grand experiment. I also noticed that in his stat block that he can communicate telepathicly up to 1,000 miles away. To make him more memorable you could have him talking to the PC's the whole time they are in the the Spire of Long Shadows. Asking them questions as to their purpose being there and if they answer the pointlessness of their actions. Combined with the visions they have been having they may act with more caution or be more likely to speak with him when they do finally meet him. At the very least he'll certainly be a more memorable character.

Perhaps he's in constant telepathic contact with the Kyuss Knights and that's how he knows about the PC's. Just ideas that may make him more interesting.

In my case the PC's almost suffered a TPK when they tried to get past the worm nagas. He almost certainly knows of their intrusion now. Should be an interesting session.


MalkMark wrote:


It's a good idea - it'd certainly curtail the summoning - but can Ma'kar actually use a Limited Wish to do this? I seem to recall it's very stringent about what spells can be duplicated, and, as Forbiddance is Cleric 6 (I think), isn't this outside the limits for the spell (...Duplicate any other spell of 5th level or lower, provided the spell is not of a school prohibited to you)?

See, this is exactly why I don't read the spell descriptions very carefully -- they're full of downers like limitations and, you know, the "RAW" . . . . . crap.

All right, back to the drawing board. Thanks, MM. :)

-j


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

To be honest a big part of this is the books you let into your campaigns. If you have NPCs that are all (for the most part) based on core books and you let PC do anything from any book... they will be overpowered... BIG time. My group experienced it time and time again.

I personally only allow things from the core rule books in my AoW campaign... and the players are LOVING it. I have been allowing things in from other books on a case by case basis. For instance I allow the mage to choose one of their spells per level that they research to be from the compendium and none of the spells in there can be purchased as scrolls. I have also allowed feats to creep in when the player made a case for how it effects their character concept. For instance I have a rogue that pretty much only does thrown weapons, and he wanted to take two feats from complete warrior that had to do with throwing.

This kind of stuff does not screw up balance, but any class/PrC/feat/spell from any book to face off against villains that are almost entirely from core rules... well of course they die quickly. Want them to last longer? Give that Lich some levels of some ubber prestige class that the mage has, and then use it in the conversation... "I have seen your style of casting ... blah blah blah"

Sorry for the rant, but I will say this. My campaign where the players could only use the core books has brought the role-playing back to our game a good bit.


You know, at the end of the encounter, I had the Harbinger state that his destruction would only hasten the coming of the Age of Worms, since his destruction would destroy one of the most potent artifacts that holds back the divine power around the Spire.

So, he didn't really stave off his destruction, knowing that the Age of Worms is so close at hand. It kinda helped my players to rationalize why such an uber-bad guy wouldn't just escape and return later.

They did not kill all of the bad guys in the Spire, so they will have to face them later on in Redhand, or possibly at the Library of Last Resort or the Rift Canyon.


John Jones wrote:
MalkMark wrote:


It's a good idea - it'd certainly curtail the summoning - but can Ma'kar actually use a Limited Wish to do this? I seem to recall it's very stringent about what spells can be duplicated, and, as Forbiddance is Cleric 6 (I think), isn't this outside the limits for the spell (...Duplicate any other spell of 5th level or lower, provided the spell is not of a school prohibited to you)?

See, this is exactly why I don't read the spell descriptions very carefully -- they're full of downers like limitations and, you know, the "RAW" . . . . . crap.

All right, back to the drawing board. Thanks, MM. :)

-j

Hey, not to worry - I expect there's ways around it. Possibly just give him a scroll of Wish (a bit heavy-handed, but still...) and just assume he makes the casting check? It's only likely to be, what, DC18?

Or, maybe, Ma'kar's spent several thousand years researching an arcane version of Forbiddance, 'just in case.'


I’ve Got Reach wrote:
Peruhain of Brithondy wrote:
I'd at least have the poor undead bastard make a listen check when the party is duking it out with the uberworm next door...

I considered this scenario as well, but elected not to go this route for a few reasons:

1) The Uber-worm was one of the more difficult encounters in the Spire, leaving the party spent and badly hurt.
2) The Harbinger wasn't the only nasty surprise behind Uber-worm fight...

No offense, I've Got Reach, but it sounds like you are seriously soft-balling your PCs. The Listen DC to hear a battle is -10. You have to be really far away NOT to hear it, even if you are distracted (which imposes a -4 penalty) and taking 1 (yes, that's right, taking 1, not taking 10).

In my opinion, there is no such thing as "2nd edition style" dungeon-crawling. There are simply DMs who don't know how to run intelligent monsters. DMs who refuse to let their monsters react like rational individuals to a small cadre of pillagers breaking into their home are either lazy or don't understand the rules of the game. I don't care how the adventure is written, monsters don't just sit in rooms waiting for PCs to come kill them. The adventure describes what the monsters are doing by DEFAULT. It is up to the DM to determine a reasonable response to the actions of the PCs, and if the DM isn't doing that, he is robbing the PCs of a really memorable experience. I have no doubt that the Harbinger is an easy fight if he just sits there twiddling his thumbs like an idiot until the PCs break into the room. Duh! The reason the Harbinger has a higher CR than 5 is because he is much smarter, wiser, and reactive than that, and he should be more than capable of reacting intelligently to a situation.

I don't wish to call anyone names and I do not mean to belittle anyone. But it is a disservice to the writers to call an encounter wimpy because you don't have the energy to prepare for it properly and run the monsters the correct way. A wise man once said, "ignorance of the law is no excuse."


If the Lich knows the PCs are in the Spire as sson as they cross the obsidian wall for the first time (and he would, assuming the Kyuss Knight detects them), why wouldn't he marshal the Spires forces to destroy them as quickly and efficiently as possible?

Gaming styles vary from group to group - our groups main interest in to enjoy the game. I make modifications to each and every scenario to this end. We enjoy the game. Getting TPKd 30 minutes into game night because the DM "played the monster to its greatest capability" isn't fun.


airwalkrr wrote:
In my opinion, there is no such thing as "2nd edition style" dungeon-crawling.

World's Largest Dungeon ring a bell?

I guess we have to agree to disagree. Sad part of this is, I'm not in total disagreement with you - there is just some sort of communication barrier between you and I.


There are many ways to spin the Harbinger to justify his not simply turning all of his minions out on PCs as soon as he detects them. Simple insanity being the best excuse. A spellweaver becoming a lich is certainly strange, add to that his obsession with old prophesies, untold centuries of undeath and now centuries of confinement that would make a lot of sense. Also there is little information as to where exactly he got those little green worms from. Who's to say that he isn't little more than a "lens" for an even more alien being?

I like that his motives are left vague, it give the DM plenty of leeway on how he wants to run his game.


I'm not saying that you have to run a monster in the most optimized manner or that you have to TPK your players, I've Got Reach. I identify completely with the sentiment that we play the game to have fun; that should always be the priority. But it seemed like you were complaining that the monster wasn't hard enough, and I wanted to point out that this is patently untrue. The first time I looked at the Harbinger I said to myself, "This is one of the toughest encounters in the campaign," and it is. He has huge advantages that should be available to him not only as a spellcaster but also as a fortified villain. How you choose to use these advantages should be up to you and the environment of your campaign to challenge your players properly. But it is simply incorrect to assert that casters are weak or that the writers created a weak foe in this case. Casters are the most powerful opponents in the game and this baddie is no exception. If there was a problem on your end, it was operator error, not an inherent flaw in the campaign or the game system.


airwalkrr wrote:
Casters are the most powerful opponents in the game and this baddie is no exception. If there was a problem on your end, it was operator error, not an inherent flaw in the campaign or the game system.

"Operator error?" I don't agree.

Spellcaster in tiny room + party of 4-5 15th level characters = instant spellcaster frappe'. I'm not saying there aren't workarounds, but the situation as written is very much in the PCs' favor.
He's still cool as hell, though.


office_ninja wrote:
Spellcaster in tiny room + party of 4-5 15th level characters = instant spellcaster frappe'.

That's exactly what I am talking about. This room isn't insulated from outside events. The harbinger is going to hear the PCs making noise battling monsters outside. Sure, he is distracted by his work, so he has a -4 to his Listen check to hear that, but a battle is DC -10! He's gonna hear it, and he's gonna react unless the PCs use a lot of stealth. If a DM doesn't have the bad guys react properly to stimuli, then there is definitely "operator error." The Harbinger isn't just going to sit and twiddle his thumbs in the tiny room waiting to get ganked. If he hears the PCs fighting outside, he will prepare to fight them. And if the PCs don't bring the fight to him, he will bring it to them and try to finish them off. He hasn't become a powerful lich by being so foolish.


airwalkrr wrote:
That's exactly what I am talking about. This room isn't insulated from outside events. The harbinger is going to hear the PCs making noise battling monsters outside. Sure, he is distracted by his work, so he has a -4 to his Listen check to hear that, but a battle is DC -10! He's gonna hear it, and he's gonna react unless the PCs use a lot of stealth. If a DM doesn't have the bad guys react properly to stimuli, then there is definitely "operator error." The Harbinger isn't just going to sit and twiddle his thumbs in the tiny room waiting to get ganked. If he hears the PCs fighting outside, he will prepare to fight them. And if the PCs don't bring the fight to him, he will bring it to them and try to finish them off. He hasn't become a powerful lich by being so foolish.

By that rationale, the entire dungeon's inhabitants should all attack the PCs at once as soon as they enter the spire. Or at the very least, as soon as they traverse the shaft. I guess that's feasible, but kind of renders the dungeon irrelevant. I mean, you'd have one overwhelming fight followed by a bunch of empty rooms. Kind of screws with the pacing of the adventure.

1 to 50 of 65 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo Publishing / Older Products / Dungeon Magazine / Age of Worms Adventure Path / Fighting the Harbinger (Spoilers) All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.

©2002–2014 Paizo Inc.®. Need help? Email customer.service@paizo.com or call 425-250-0800 during our business hours: Monday–Friday, 10 AM–5 PM Pacific Time. View our privacy policy. Paizo Inc., Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, Pathfinder Society, GameMastery, and Planet Stories are registered trademarks of Paizo Inc., and Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, Pathfinder Battles, Pathfinder Online, PaizoCon, RPG Superstar, The Golem's Got It, Titanic Games, the Titanic logo, and the Planet Stories planet logo are trademarks of Paizo Inc. Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon, Dungeon, and Polyhedron are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and have been used by Paizo Inc. under license. Most product names are trademarks owned or used under license by the companies that publish those products; use of such names without mention of trademark status should not be construed as a challenge to such status.