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Sins of the Saviors (GM Reference)


Rise of the Runelords

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Hopefully others can use this thread to clarify questions arising in this adventure. If you happen to see another thread, please link post a link in this one to try and keep things tied together.

Chapter 1: Burnt Offerings
Chapter 2: The Skinsaw Murders
Chapter 3: The Hook Mountain Massacre
Chapter 4: Fortress of the Stone Giants
Chapter 5: Sins of the Saviors
Chapter 6: Spires of Xin-Shalast


In the next week or so, we're expecting to ship the next volume of your subscription.

Another fun filled adventure coming soon!

And remember, if you see anything that can help, be sure to link to it here!

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I thought the runeforged weapon property was about the right power level, but I have a few questions about Thassilon and its magic:


  • Having a Varisian tattoo doesn't count as a rune, because it's a feat, correct? Will the web enhancement have anything that builds upon this flavorful feat?
  • Is there some special benefit or penalty to a specialist wizard having the traditional Thassilonian opposition schools for his specialty?
  • Some of the runeforged weapons absorb harmful spell effects. Does this absorbtion happen before applicable saving throws, or only apply to failed saves? Likewise, does it trigger before spell resistance?
  • It appears that over the past 10,000 years, lucerne hammer technology has been lost (to the SRD). What are the stats of such weapons, or would a trident be an acceptable replacement? If not, maybe a quarterstaff?

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
logic_poet wrote:
  • It appears that over the past 10,000 years, lucerne hammer technology has been lost (to the SRD). What are the stats of such weapons, or would a trident be an acceptable replacement? If not, maybe a quarterstaff?

Lucerne Hammer is in Dragon 331. Stats are as follows:

Damage: 2d4
Critical: x4
Damage type: Bludgeoning or Piercing
Cost: 12 gp
Weight: 10 lbs
Reach Weapon, also a polearm.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

logic_poet wrote:
  • Having a Varisian tattoo doesn't count as a rune, because it's a feat, correct? Will the web enhancement have anything that builds upon this flavorful feat?
  • Correct; Varisian tattoos are not Thassilonian runes. You can have both.

    logic_poet wrote:
  • Is there some special benefit or penalty to a specialist wizard having the traditional Thassilonian opposition schools for his specialty?
  • Nothing beyond the normal benefits granted for specializing in a school. We didn't want to make Thassilonain specialists any more powerful than other specialists; they're only really different in flavor.

    logic_poet wrote:
  • Some of the runeforged weapons absorb harmful spell effects. Does this absorbtion happen before applicable saving throws, or only apply to failed saves? Likewise, does it trigger before spell resistance?
  • An absorbtion only happens when the effect affects the runeforged weapon's wielder. If SR prevents a spell from affecting you, or if you save to negate the spell, then the runeforged weapon defense wouldn't trigger. If you save and only half or otherwise lessen the effects, the defense WOULD still trigger, though.

    Cheliax

    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
    James Jacobs wrote:
    logic_poet wrote:
  • Is there some special benefit or penalty to a specialist wizard having the traditional Thassilonian opposition schools for his specialty?
  • Nothing beyond the normal benefits granted for specializing in a school. We didn't want to make Thassilonain specialists any more powerful than other specialists; they're only really different in flavor.

    That works just fine for me, but I was a little surprised to see there were no Thassilonian sin-magic feats in Pathfinder #5. Will there be feats focusing on sin magic later? It just seemed a little bland to me as the GM (though my players will probably enjoy fighting them since they won't see what is under the trunk anyway)...

    Osirion

    Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
    James Jacobs wrote:
    logic_poet wrote:
  • Is there some special benefit or penalty to a specialist wizard having the traditional Thassilonian opposition schools for his specialty?
  • Nothing beyond the normal benefits granted for specializing in a school. We didn't want to make Thassilonain specialists any more powerful than other specialists; they're only really different in flavor.

    So, could you craft a runeforged weapon if the school that's not your specialty is one of your opposition schools? For instance, any necromancer with craft magic arms & armor could craft sadistic or parasitic weapons, even necromancers with transmutation or evocation as opposition schools? With limited wish as the required spell, it seems like that's the intent, but i wasn't sure.

    After the party spellcasters divine how to power up everyone's primary weapon, what do they know? Would one know all seven properties, even if he can't craft most (or even all) of them? Does that depend on having craft MA&A? What is the suggested gp value of this knowledge, if a PC decides to try and communicate and sell it like spellbooks or spell research? Being tied to sins, would passing along this information be an evil act? Looking at the pantheon, I would dread trying to find a buyer, but you never know what PCs will come up with.


    Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

    How do PCs craft foci in order to plane shift to the Runewell demiplane? The text says that "the tuning fork material component required to travel here using plane shift is unknown outside of its walls." That's fine, but once they're inside the walls can they make one? They might want to bounce back and forth. There's a fork in F6, but can they make their own? How does that work?

    Contributor

    tbug wrote:
    How do PCs craft foci in order to plane shift to the Runewell demiplane? The text says that "the tuning fork material component required to travel here using plane shift is unknown outside of its walls." That's fine, but once they're inside the walls can they make one? They might want to bounce back and forth. There's a fork in F6, but can they make their own? How does that work?

    If it were my game, I would require the PCs to cast fabricate using metal from objects crafted in Runeforge (such as the Iron Archer or various metal weapons, etc.) and succeed on a DC 25 Spellcraft check. If successful they've reformed the raw material into the correctly attuned tuning fork needed.

    Of course, I would also require that they came up with the idea themselves, not because the DM threw it out there or hinted at it.


    I am confused by the descriptions of the preservative properties of Runeforge/Ravenous Crypts. For instance, area F1 of the Ravenous Crypts states “- all are empty save for a few silk funeral shrouds and scented herbs, preserved by Runeforge for eternity.” This sentence makes it sound like Runeforge keeps objects/things from decaying, in effect “preserving them for eternity”.

    In area F3, it describes the appalling, cloying reek from a half-dozen brutally savaged bodies in the read-aloud text, but then goes on to say further down in the passage that “The bodies themselves are preserved from decay by the crypts aura, and although it’s been years, Kazaven works slowly and carefully.” If the bodies are magically preserved, why is there an appalling, cloying reek? You would only get that if the bodies are decaying.

    In area F4, it states that the wine in the bottles has long since spoiled, but if there is some magical preservative property in the Runeforge/Ravenous Crypts (one part says Runeforge, another says crypts) why are the shrouds and herbs preserved, but not the wine? Most players might not notice these inconsistencies, but astute/perceptive players might, and the lack of consistency could throw them off.

    My question is, is there a preservative quality active in Runeforge? Is it active in all of Runeforge, or just the Ravenous Crypts? Does it preserve some things but not others? I realize that this is kind of nitpicky, but it bothered me enough to make me wonder about this question rather than focus on the actual adventure itself.

    Osprey J.


    Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

    Is the web enhancement out yet? Either it's not, or I'm just failing my check to navigate the Paizo website.

    Paizo Employee Creative Director

    Alzrius wrote:
    Is the web enhancement out yet? Either it's not, or I'm just failing my check to navigate the Paizo website.

    The web enhancement is not out yet. Sarah's laying it out Right Now, though. After which point we do a few editing passes on it and then it'll be good to go. I suspect mid next week it'll be ready.

    Paizo Employee Creative Director

    logic_poet wrote:

    So, could you craft a runeforged weapon if the school that's not your specialty is one of your opposition schools? For instance, any necromancer with craft magic arms & armor could craft sadistic or parasitic weapons, even necromancers with transmutation or evocation as opposition schools? With limited wish as the required spell, it seems like that's the intent, but i wasn't sure.

    After the party spellcasters divine how to power up everyone's primary weapon, what do they know? Would one know all seven properties, even if he can't craft most (or even all) of them? Does that depend on having craft MA&A? What is the suggested gp value of this knowledge, if a PC decides to try and communicate and sell it like spellbooks or spell research? Being tied to sins, would passing along this information be an evil act? Looking at the pantheon, I would dread trying to find a buyer, but you never know what PCs will come up with.

    Runeforged weapons are meant to be kind of special. I'd suggest that beyond the methods presented in the adventure that they CAN'T be created by other methods, in fact. Crafting a runeforged weapon using a pool like this is something anyone can do, from a fighter to a monk to a wizard who normally has that school of magic as a prohibited school; the actual creation mojo comes from the pool itself.

    When you create a runeforged weapon, you'd learn about its abilities then and there. I'd say you could use a spell like legend lore to determine the abilities of all seven types if ya want.

    If you want to allow runeforged weapons to be created by standard Craft Magic Arms & Armor methods, I suggest you treat them no differently as regards cost and all that from any other +2 equivalent weapon enhancement, though.

    Paizo Employee Creative Director

    Runeforge's preservation effects work mostly to justify the look and feel of the dungeon, to be honest. Also... each wing of the dungeon is more or less there to preserve or enhance things as appropriate to that wing. The crypts preserve undead and dead flesh. The Iron Cages preserve beauty. The greed wing enhances apparent vaule. And so on. If the PCs DO get intrigued by these elements, you can actually use these variations between the wings to enhance the feel and theme of the area in a pretty nifty manner.

    As for the bodies in area F3... if you'd rather have unscented dead bodies, that's cool. The stink of dead bodies adds to the flavor and creepy factor of the dungeon, though, so I'd say that Kazaven needs some of them to "age properly" for certain experiments (particularly if he's creating skeletal undead or undead with stench auras like ghasts), and that he can suppress the preservation on these select body parts as he wishes.

    The wine in the crypts are not dead bodies, therefore the preservative effects of the crypts doesn't work as well (if at all) on the wine.


    James,
    Hmmm, I hadn't looked at it that way. Now it makes more sense. Thanks for the quick reply (something I love about the Paizo boards, by the way).

    Osprey J.

    Contributor

    Osprey, while gentle repose stops a body from decaying, there are things inside the human body that just don't smell very pleasant whatsoever :(
    So, while the flesh may be preserved perfectly by the preservative effects of the Ravenous Crypts, if those bodies have been opened up to get at "the creamy filling" so to speak, you can bet there's going to be some odor. And it ain't gonna smell like flowers!


    Pathfinder Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
    Steve Greer wrote:

    Osprey, while gentle repose stops a body from decaying, there are things inside the human body that just don't smell very pleasant whatsoever :(

    So, while the flesh may be preserved perfectly by the preservative effects of the Ravenous Crypts, if those bodies have been opened up to get at "the creamy filling" so to speak, you can bet there's going to be some odor. And it ain't gonna smell like flowers!

    No sir, not flowers. More like poop, barf, blood and bile. Meaty!

    Andoran RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

    How does Arkhyst (Freezemaw) cast an alarm in area C1 after retreating, since it's not on his spell list? I suggest replacing ray of enfeeblement, since his listed tactics never uses that spell.

    Contributor

    JoelF847 wrote:
    How does Arkhyst (Freezemaw) cast an alarm in area C1 after retreating, since it's not on his spell list? I suggest replacing ray of enfeeblement, since his listed tactics never uses that spell.

    Good catch, but you could also add a scroll of alarm to the treasure in his lair since he does make use of the healing potions if you read the Development portion of area C5. If I had a chance to make another pass at this, I'd for sure add it there with the caveat the Arkrhyst uses it under the conditions previously mentioned.


    In Xin's Stairway, it mentions that the greater earth elementals disregard only those openly bearing the sihedron rune, but I'm curious how Arkrhyst can bypass them without one. Is there a special arrangement between the elementals and the dragon?

    (I've read most of this new installment, and it's fantastic!! I can't wait to see Valeros in the Lust section. That should be fun.)

    Contributor

    DarkArt wrote:

    In Xin's Stairway, it mentions that the greater earth elementals disregard only those openly bearing the sihedron rune, but I'm curious how Arkrhyst can bypass them without one. Is there a special arrangement between the elementals and the dragon?

    (I've read most of this new installment, and it's fantastic!! I can't wait to see Valeros in the Lust section. That should be fun.)

    Answered this question in this thread. You just need to read through my posts.


    Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

    GMs should be aware that for some PCs the dominant sin/opposing sin mechanism in Runeforge will have weird, counterintuitive results. Three strange cases (my PCs have all three!): a PC whose wizard school contradicts her sin; a PC whose magic is strongly flavored to the exact two schools that she's supposed to be opposed to; and a PC who has two nearly equally strong dominant sins, but they are opposed to each other. (In my game, this requires someone who was a ghoul in a former incarnation and still struggles with the temptation to cannibalism to feel out of place in the Ravenous Halls. This is hard to understand.)

    I struggled with this for one session and then abandoned the mechanic, because the bookkeeping was annoying the player and the results made so little sense that they didn't add any flavor. "Oh, she's supposed to be opposed to that. Huh. Well, whatever you say."

    There's also a problem that some traps are "wizard of that specialty school" and others are "person with that sin" and when those two things are contradictory, you get a very muddled, confused feel.

    We had one PC for whom the setup worked perfectly (the Halfling of Wrath, who is a battlemage and does mainly evocation anyway) so clearly there are parties where it will work, but mine wasn't one of them.

    I plan to replace this with roleplaying hints that each sector is suffused with the emotional energy of its sin. I'll add appropriate dreams if the PCs sleep there.

    Mary

    Paizo Employee Creative Director

    Mary Yamato wrote:
    GMs should be aware that for some PCs the dominant sin/opposing sin mechanism in Runeforge will have weird, counterintuitive results. Three strange cases (my PCs have all three!): a PC whose wizard school contradicts her sin; a PC whose magic is strongly flavored to the exact two schools that she's supposed to be opposed to; and a PC who has two nearly equally strong dominant sins, but they are opposed to each other.

    The sins can indeed get mixed up and overlap, as you mention. In a case like this, abandoning the mechanic is a fine solution. Alternatively, I'd suggest keeping an eye on the player's comments; if they seem to identify their character more with a different sin than the one you think they should identify with, you should probably go with what the player's interpretation of his sin should be.

    I'd also say that being aligned with a sin trumps wizardly schools. SO: If you have a lustful transmuter... Runeforge would treat that character as a lustful non-transmuter; the sin "blocks out" his character class. In fact, if all your PCs are categorized as sinful, you should ignore the comments about other classes entirely... we included non-sinful triggers as a backup plan in the case of games where there weren't sinful PCs, or in the case of games where the players and/or GM found it distasteful to have an adventure where the characters "have to sin to win."


    Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
    James Jacobs wrote:

    Alternatively, I'd suggest keeping an eye on the player's comments; if they seem to identify their character more with a different sin than the one you think they should identify with, you should probably go with what the player's interpretation of his sin should be.

    That wasn't our problem: I flat-out asked the player what sins were appropriate. The problem is that going with his conclusions just leads to a ton of confusion. I'll be interested in hearing how this works out for other GMs.

    The PC's primary sin is not such a big problem, but the opposition sins came across as completely goofy. If we consider Wren the beguiler to be Greedy, she has to be considered opposed to Enchantment and Illusion; that is, to her entire spell list. And I flatly refuse to play Aldern as uncomfortable in the Ravenous Halls of Gluttony. (I plan to have a lot of fun with Aldern chatting up the ghouls, actually; he and Xyoddin have plenty in common, they should be able to talk....)

    There's a reason the medieval church didn't treat the sins as having opposite sins...psychologically speaking, they just don't. So it's blind luck whether this will work for any given PC.

    Mary


    Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

    I'm anticipating that it'll be great with my all-goblin party. They're easily all gluttons. They took the "twelve meals a day" bit from the ten fun facts and ran with it. It'll make for a nice theme once they get to the Runeforge. I anticipate that there'll be an early with the lich.


    Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
    tbug wrote:
    I'm anticipating that it'll be great with my all-goblin party. They're easily all gluttons. They took the "twelve meals a day" bit from the ten fun facts and ran with it. It'll make for a nice theme once they get to the Runeforge. I anticipate that there'll be an early with the lich.

    I am so psyched that these guys are succeeding! How far along are they now?

    We had an all-goblin party once, but not as colorful as yours. (Though I have fond memories of Ruatha the Goblin Princess.)

    Mary


    Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

    They are doing well! Thanks for asking. :)

    They're on their third trip to Thistletop, and this time they've brought more help. (They reluctantly brought Shalelu on their second trip, and she didn't make it out.) They got into the Catacombs of Wrath once, but they got scared and left. They're finding it tough, and I think that the players are feeling like they keep trying to do the same thing over and over but without success. I'm going to start the Skinsaw events soon.

    I've established the Birdcruncher quartermaster as exceedingly greedy, so she's near the top of Aldern's list. This should hopefully get them fully engaged in that plot right away.


    Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

    I've read about 2/3rds of the adventure so far and I'm loving Sins of the Saviors. However...

    Spoiler:

    The fight with the dragon seems extremely tough. I was comparing the stats and abilities of the 4 pregen characters against the dragon and wow, is that a TPK waiting to happen or what? The dragon could kill Valaros with 2 full attack rounds and Seoni or Merisiel in 1 full attack round. And the tactics given the dragon are much more effective than just land and full attack.

    Contributor

    Eric Tillemans wrote:

    I've read about 2/3rds of the adventure so far and I'm loving Sins of the Saviors. However...

    ** spoiler omitted **

    Eric, it sounds like I succeeded in what I was trying to do with Freezemaw after reading your post. Here's me quoting myself from several weeks ago on this very same topic...

    Steve wrote:

    Hopefully, this old guy'll be more than just threatening. One of my biggest pet peeves as a game designer and DM is the big dragon encounters that end in like one or two rounds kinda like this:

    DM: "From the heavens descends an anormous wyrm covered in dull red scales smoldering like hot coals. Smoke wafts from its nostrils and its foreclaws reach menacingly as it dives with alarming speed at you!"
    **Roll for Initiative**
    Player 1 (who beats the dragon on Initiative): "I cast quickened cone of cold followed by a maximized sonic orb!"
    **Rolls dice. DM rolls his eyes as the first player has already reduced the dragon to half its hit point total**
    DM: "OK. The dragon's turn. As it hurtles itself earthward it suddenly pulls out of its dive and flames erupt from its mouth engulfing the party as it soars over you so close that you can smell its draconic stench. Roll saving throws vs. its breath weapon and its aura of menace!"
    All Players: Jumbled announcements of "made it", "immune", "I have Evasion", and "Failed one, made the other, but still alive".
    Player 2: "My character is unscathed and unaffected by the dragons aura and since you said it's flying so close overhead I use my +35 Jump modifier to leap... **rolls dice"" ...Ha! Yes! I leap 8 ft. into the air and slice the foul wyrm with my dragon bane greataxe. **More dice rolling** "YES! A critical hit! **More dice rolling** "Holy crap! I just did 136 points of damage!"
    DM: "The dragon leaks entrails and viscera as it hurtles into the ground several hundred feet past your position and lies in a dead smoldering heap! It's dead."

    Yeah, I hope this kinda dragon encounter crap isn't duplicated in the encounter with Freezemaw. I wrote his tactics in a way that reflected intelligent planning, a good sense of self preservation, and a bit of vindictiveness. My aim was to draw this encounter out so that the players actually have to work to defeat Freezemaw.

    Andoran

    Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
    Eric Tillemans wrote:

    I've read about 2/3rds of the adventure so far and I'm loving Sins of the Saviors. However...

    ** spoiler omitted **

    I think it all comes down to whether

    Spoiler:
    Kyra casts that greater dispel magic fast enough.

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Mary Yamato wrote:

    There's a reason the medieval church didn't treat the sins as having opposite sins...psychologically speaking, they just don't. So it's blind luck whether this will work for any given PC.

    Mary

    I think Mary's on to something. Linking each sin to a school of arcane magic was, in my mind, a mistake. Mary points out some practical reasons in her post. For me, the reasons are more conceptual. Since sin is a moral notion and notions of morality typically concern the divine realm, shouldn't the wielders of "sin magic" have been divine rather than arcane casters? I'd have rather seen the idea of sin magic brought to life by (and I'm just making this up on the fly) the Seven Lords of Sin, evil clerics who rule Cheliax through their infernal pacts with devils.

    Conversely, when I heard the phrase "runelord", it evoked an entirely different flavor than what was eventually presented in the adventures. I was hoping for something primal, elemental, even barbaric -- certainly not as refined as what came to pass.

    Finally, I was hoping the path would have introduced mechanics that would have made the magic of the runelords -- whether based on sins or on runes -- different than standard magic. No such luck.

    That said, this is probably my favorite adventure in the path thus far. Steve really took the ball and ran with it -- and dropped a reference to Canadian metal band Voivod to boot. Nice to see another shredder on the boards.

    RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

    I have a couple questions:

    Vraxeris makes a reference to using the Master Circle to escape. He's opposed to sloth, and therefore had Conjuration as a prohibited school. How could he activate the circle, let alone have installed it or the other teleportation circles?

    Where did he get the Stone Giants he gave to Delvahine? (I do understand why he gave them away. If he didn't, they'd have aged to death anyway.)

    If I read the Halls of Wrath correctly, they have 20 year generations: A bunch of children at 24, 20 years to raise/train the next generation, then conversion into sinspawn. Then a four-year downtime of weakened forces before breeding again. Are Sinspawn immortal? If so, why aren't there more of them, even after the war with Envy? If not, what is the point of converting the middle-agers into Sinspawn? Also, where do the Warriors of Wrath get their food? I realize they do not need to eat, but the text says they do anyway.

    Does a Simulacrum's gear disappear when they die? Or is the gear real, not part of the duplication process?


    I'm guessing maybe the Sinspawn eat/make war on each other? :)

    I have a question: I was reading through the description for the Witchfire, and noticed a slight discrepancy.

    The stat block reads:

    Stat Block wrote:
    Ranged Witchflame bolt +12 ranged touch (8d6 fire plus witchflame)

    But the witchflame description reads:

    Ability Description wrote:
    ... A witchfire can also unleash a blast of concentrated witchflame as a ranged attack. This attack deals 1d8 points of fire damage and forces the target to make a save or be affected by the withflame's persistent effect.

    I'm going for the 8d6 ranged touch ('cause it's scary) rather than 1d8.

    However, 8d6 on a touch or ranged touch, coupled with a save-or-be-sickened effect, seems a bit powerful for a CR 9 incorporeal critter. I like the concept and execution, it just seems a bit too powerful for me. I suppose maybe it's only CR 9 to take fire resistance into account (easy enough to get by level 9) but still... 8d6? Ouch.

    Ah well, the PCs can't say they weren't warned. It is described as 'afire with otherworldly green flames'.


    Ross Byers wrote:


    Does a Simulacrum's gear disappear when they die? Or is the gear real, not part of the duplication process?

    the simulacrum spell makes no mention of gear being copied, so I would guess that a simulacrums gear is real stuff that it has aquired/been given since its creation.

    Contributor

    Blue_eyed_paladin wrote:

    I'm guessing maybe the Sinspawn eat/make war on each other? :)

    I have a question: I was reading through the description for the Witchfire, and noticed a slight discrepancy.

    The stat block reads:

    Stat Block wrote:
    Ranged Witchflame bolt +12 ranged touch (8d6 fire plus witchflame)

    But the witchflame description reads:

    Ability Description wrote:
    ... A witchfire can also unleash a blast of concentrated witchflame as a ranged attack. This attack deals 1d8 points of fire damage and forces the target to make a save or be affected by the withflame's persistent effect.

    I'm going for the 8d6 ranged touch ('cause it's scary) rather than 1d8.

    However, 8d6 on a touch or ranged touch, coupled with a save-or-be-sickened effect, seems a bit powerful for a CR 9 incorporeal critter. I like the concept and execution, it just seems a bit too powerful for me. I suppose maybe it's only CR 9 to take fire resistance into account (easy enough to get by level 9) but still... 8d6? Ouch.

    Ah well, the PCs can't say they weren't warned. It is described as 'afire with otherworldly green flames'.

    Blue Eyes, the Witchfire in PF #5 is slightly (and I do mean slightly) different from the original draft. I believe that second paragraph you cited was a hold over that you should simply ignore, barring one of the editors that worked on that monster correcting me.

    On average it'll dish out 28 points of fire damage each round. However, with 4 9th level characters that aren't just your average very weak PC right outta the DMG NPC section, they should pound on her for enough damage each round even factoring in that half of those attacks will miss due to incorporeality, that a witchfire will most likely only last about 2-3 rounds. So, CR 9 is about right, but give it a test run and see how it does. If it kills 1 of the PCs before it's offed, then maybe a high CR 9 (meaning an EL 10) or perhaps a CR 10.

    Also, the Will save of DC 19 is probably going to be pretty harsh on your fighter types. Consider adjusting it to a Fort save to give them a better chance.


    OK, thanks Steve. That makes a bit more sense.

    As a side note, it's great to have such direct feedback from the writers. This is one of the reasons I love Paizo... I've posted on just about all of the PF modules so far, and have had direct feedback from the writers (with you and Nicolas Logue, almost instantly) about why this was this way, or how this should work...

    Thank you very much. It's really stimulating to have such directed, person-to-person feedback from you guys.

    Contributor

    Blue_eyed_paladin wrote:

    OK, thanks Steve. That makes a bit more sense.

    As a side note, it's great to have such direct feedback from the writers. This is one of the reasons I love Paizo... I've posted on just about all of the PF modules so far, and have had direct feedback from the writers (with you and Nicolas Logue, almost instantly) about why this was this way, or how this should work...

    Thank you very much. It's really stimulating to have such directed, person-to-person feedback from you guys.

    Hey, no problem. I love to be of help.

    BTW, after reading it again, I think I can see what happened in editing. Now, mind you, Wes or whoever did the editing can come trump me on this, but this is how I imagine this should probably read:
    Witchflame (Su) Any creature damaged by a witchfire’s touch or bolt attack takes 8d6 points of fire damage and must make a DC 19 Will save (or Fort, like I suggested) or be engulfed by an aura of eerie green flames.
    These flames deal no additional damage, but any creature affected by this effect glows as if it was the target of a faerie fire spell and is sickened. In addition, while the flames burn, the creature takes 150% normal damage from fire. These strange flames persist for 10 minutes. They can only be extinguished early by break enchantment, miracle, remove curse, or wish.

    [emphasis mine]


    Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
    Steve Greer wrote:


    ...
    Yeah, I hope this kinda dragon encounter crap isn't duplicated in the encounter with Freezemaw. I wrote his tactics in a way that reflected intelligent planning, a good sense of self preservation, and a bit of vindictiveness. My aim was to draw this encounter out so that the players actually have to work to defeat Freezemaw.

    I think you succeeded. I foresee my typical party having to retreat and regroup in order to have a chance at defeating him.


    Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

    The morphic mist in the Vaults of Greed caused us a lot of trouble: it seems underspecified. If it is a trap, it should have a CR, detect and disarm chances. If it is a spell, it should have a caster level and some discussion of whether it can be dispelled. If it is an item, it should still have some mechanics (especially as the PCs have just been given, if they care to use it, an item of mage's disjunction). Is there a save every round if the PCs remain in the mist? Would dimensional anchor prevent the whole trap or just leave a goldfish flopping on the floor? Why doesn't gust of wind destroy the mist, as the spell description says it does?

    (My PCs ended up using gust of wind. If you look at the map, the obvious result is turning a lot of mephits to goldfish, so that's what I did. After all the annoyance this trap caused it was good to get a laugh out of it.)

    We also had a very bad time with the corridor saving-throw mechanic. Again, is it a trap or a spell? If a spell, what level and type? It matters a lot whether it's a teleport or an illusion, if area damage starts flying around while people are in it. Are they there, or not? After his first experience with this, my player said "Unless that's plot-critical, could you please not do it?" and I dropped it.

    What happens if the PCs hold hands? If one PC carries another? Passwall, teleport, dimension door? Does mind blank work? Etc., etc. It really helps to know *how* an effect is done, as this allows a clear adjucation of what defenses will work.

    The PCs don't know that there is never a fight immediately on the other side, and they do know that letting the party get split up can be fatal; they are likely to try to "solve" this trap and no support is provided for that.

    Hopefully if other GMs see this coming they can feel a bit better prepared than I did.

    Mary


    Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

    Ordiken casts his buff spells if he hears combat, but it's just about impossible that he could--there is a huge empty area between him and any other creature. I'd put some minor automata or golems in the rooms closest to his.

    My player really disliked how empty this section was; it could use a few more critters, even easy ones. Leftover metal-plated dogs, perhaps.

    Mary


    Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
    Ross Byers wrote:


    Vraxeris makes a reference to using the Master Circle to escape. He's opposed to sloth, and therefore had Conjuration as a prohibited school. How could he activate the circle, let alone have installed it or the other teleportation circles?

    I'd guess this is why he needed the alliance with Delvahine.

    Ross Byers wrote:


    Are Sinspawn immortal? If so, why aren't there more of them, even after the war with Envy? If not, what is the point of converting the middle-agers into Sinspawn? Also, where do the Warriors of Wrath get their food? I realize they do not need to eat, but the text says they do anyway.

    The text hints that the Sinspawn are combat practice for the mortal wrathlings. I suspect they get used up fairly quickly. I played Athroxis as caring about her wrathlings but being pretty indifferent to the fate of the Sinspawn.

    Ross Byers wrote:


    Does a Simulacrum's gear disappear when they die? Or is the gear real, not part of the duplication process?

    I think it's real.

    I'm now trying to get my head around the mental state of a simulacrum, as the PCs took one prisoner. Will it just be fixated on its last task even when in an environment where that task makes no sense? Or is it more flexible than that?

    Mary

    Paizo Employee Creative Director

    Mary already pretty much answered these, but I thought I'd step in and add a few more notes...

    Ross Byers wrote:
    Vraxeris makes a reference to using the Master Circle to escape. He's opposed to sloth, and therefore had Conjuration as a prohibited school. How could he activate the circle, let alone have installed it or the other teleportation circles?

    Keep in mind the nature of Runeforge. It's a place where the specialist wizards of Thassilon could work together to build things, so that when a wizard gets an idea but he can't act on it since he doesn't have access to the right spells, he can go to one of the five wizards who DO have access. He therefore had help building it. As for activating an item... he could use his cape of the montebank to trigger it, which is also a way that a party of PCs who don't have access to teleport magic can trigger it.

    Michael F wrote:
    Where did he get the Stone Giants he gave to Delvahine? (I do understand why he gave them away. If he didn't, they'd have aged to death anyway.)

    All of the runelords had armies of giants (mostly stone giants) working for them, and by extension, so did their more powerful minions. He got his stone giants from the "Boss," probably by contacting him and asking for some.

    Michael F wrote:
    If I read the Halls of Wrath correctly, they have 20 year generations: A bunch of children at 24, 20 years to raise/train the next generation, then conversion into sinspawn. Then a four-year downtime of weakened forces before breeding again. Are Sinspawn immortal? If so, why aren't there more of them, even after the war with Envy? If not, what is the point of converting the middle-agers into Sinspawn? Also, where do the Warriors of Wrath get their food? I realize they do not need to eat, but the text says they do anyway.

    Yes, sinspawn are indeed immortal, but they generally don't live that long since they're so violent. They don't overpopulate the Halls of Wrath for 2 reasons; they keep dying, and the humans only make enough to refill the ranks. The comment about them eating should probably have said "they eat when they can." I'd have to look over the text again to be sure what was the thinking there... but it's a simple matter to ignore it anyway since they don't HAVE to eat...

    Michael F wrote:
    Does a Simulacrum's gear disappear when they die? Or is the gear real, not part of the duplication process?

    The gear is real. It stays around after they die. As for a simulacrum's mental state... pretty messed up, especially after such a long "life," I suspect. I'd play him as a crazy man who thinks HE'S the real deal, maybe even down to having him hallucinate phantom minions or the like. Crazy Jared from Shackled City's a good source of inspiration for this type of maniac.


    Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

    My PCs questioned the captured simulacrum, used *detect thoughts* on it, bit their lips and said, "We kill it." Mind you, this is the party that made friends with Aldern Foxglove--it takes a lot to upset them. But I played up the "lacks initiative and creativity" and they were dismayed by that.

    "Thinks that he's the original" would work in some other circumstance but didn't seem to fit here.

    The PCs also brought back the baby they found in Vraxeris' cloning equipment (an element that felt as though it had to be there, so I went ahead and added it) and current thinking is that he's going to be a PC in the next campaign, age around 15-16. I don't usually like gestalt PCs but that's such a good rationale for one--one class is the skills of his current profession, the other is re-emerging memories of Thassilon....

    Mary


    Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

    Athroxis has empowered spells but doesn't have the feat--probably just a typo in her feat list.

    (The PCs raised her, so I had to fair-copy her stat block for use in #6 and discovered this.)

    Gods only know how and why she learned to swim, too! Swimming lessons in the Runeforge itself? Or the flesh vat? Or did she somehow creep into the Vault of Greed and swim with the mephits?

    Maybe it's a racial memory of the drowning of Bakhrakan?

    Mary

    Paizo Employee Creative Director

    Replace Athroxis's Combat Expertise feat with Empower Spell; that's the easiest way to fix that problem.

    Osirion

    James Jacobs wrote:

    Mary already pretty much answered these, but I thought I'd step in and add a few more notes...

    Ross Byers wrote:
    Vraxeris makes a reference to using the Master Circle to escape. He's opposed to sloth, and therefore had Conjuration as a prohibited school. How could he activate the circle, let alone have installed it or the other teleportation circles?
    Keep in mind the nature of Runeforge. It's a place where the specialist wizards of Thassilon could work together to build things, so that when a wizard gets an idea but he can't act on it since he doesn't have access to the right spells, he can go to one of the five wizards who DO have access. He therefore had help building it. As for activating an item... he could use his cape of the montebank to trigger it, which is also a way that a party of PCs who don't have access to teleport magic can trigger it.

    Or he could do it the easy way: use the once per day planar binding aibility to bind a creature with the greater teleport spell-like ability and have it activate the portal.

    Like the demon that Athroxis has bound in the adventure.

    Taldor

    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Tales Subscriber
    Mary Yamato wrote:

    The morphic mist in the Vaults of Greed caused us a lot of trouble: it seems underspecified. If it is a trap, it should have a CR, detect and disarm chances. If it is a spell, it should have a caster level and some discussion of whether it can be dispelled. If it is an item, it should still have some mechanics (especially as the PCs have just been given, if they care to use it, an item of mage's disjunction). Is there a save every round if the PCs remain in the mist? Would dimensional anchor prevent the whole trap or just leave a goldfish flopping on the floor? Why doesn't gust of wind destroy the mist, as the spell description says it does?

    (My PCs ended up using gust of wind. If you look at the map, the obvious result is turning a lot of mephits to goldfish, so that's what I did. After all the annoyance this trap caused it was good to get a laugh out of it.)

    We also had a very bad time with the corridor saving-throw mechanic. Again, is it a trap or a spell? If a spell, what level and type? It matters a lot whether it's a teleport or an illusion, if area damage starts flying around while people are in it. Are they there, or not? After his first experience with this, my player said "Unless that's plot-critical, could you please not do it?" and I dropped it.

    What happens if the PCs hold hands? If one PC carries another? Passwall, teleport, dimension door? Does mind blank work? Etc., etc. It really helps to know *how* an effect is done, as this allows a clear adjucation of what defenses will work.

    The PCs don't know that there is never a fight immediately on the other side, and they do know that letting the party get split up can be fatal; they are likely to try to "solve" this trap and no support is provided for that.

    Hopefully if other GMs see this coming they can feel a bit better prepared than I did.

    Mary

    Any chance of an official response to these?

    Paizo Employee Creative Director

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Mary Yamato wrote:
    The morphic mist in the Vaults of Greed caused us a lot of trouble: it seems underspecified. If it is a trap, it should have a CR, detect and disarm chances. If it is a spell, it should have a caster level and some discussion of whether it can be dispelled. If it is an item, it should still have some mechanics (especially as the PCs have just been given, if they care to use it, an item of mage's disjunction). Is there a save every round if the PCs remain in the mist? Would dimensional anchor prevent the whole trap or just leave a goldfish flopping on the floor? Why doesn't gust of wind destroy the mist, as the spell description says it does?

    The morphic mist is a hazard, and the game doesn't handle hazards well. They SHOULD have stat blocks like traps. We SHOULD have gone ahead and done this, but rather than do up a stat block and take up a few more lines, I had hoped that the description listed would suffice.

    In any case, it's a CR 10 hazard, as indicated by the fact that the encounter area is an EL 10 encounter. Since it's a hazard and not a trap, it doesn't have detect or disarm chances. It's not a spell, any more than yellow mold or green slime's a spell, so it can't be dispelled any more than, say, a magical creation like a golem can be dispelled. As written, a gust of wind disperses the mist, allowing safe passage as long as the wind continues. By "disperse," that means the morphic mist is neutralized—it's not blown into other rooms. A character that remains in the mist does need to make a new save each round to avoid being polymorphed, though. Dimensional anchor would result in a goldfish flopping on the floor.

    Mary Yamato wrote:
    (My PCs ended up using gust of wind. If you look at the map, the obvious result is turning a lot of mephits to goldfish, so that's what I did. After all the annoyance this trap caused it was good to get a laugh out of it.)

    Cool! Not the way the hazard was intended to work, but cool nonetheless.

    Mary Yamato wrote:
    We also had a very bad time with the corridor saving-throw mechanic. Again, is it a trap or a spell? If a spell, what level and type? It matters a lot whether it's a teleport or an illusion, if area damage starts flying around while people are in it. Are they there, or not? After his first experience with this, my player said "Unless that's plot-critical, could you please not do it?" and I dropped it.

    The corridor warping mechanic is an illusion effect. It's basically a trap, I suppose... although it's probably better to think of the corridors as immense magic items rather than "traps." Caster level is 20th, in any event. Dropping it if it causes your players too much consternation is a perfectly viable choice, though. Honestly, the whole mechanic got put in to help explain some of the physical discrepancies between the map on page 22 and the individual area maps (you'll note that area F1 doesn't quite sync up with how long the tunnel looks on the map on page 22). Had we more time, I would have had our cartographer change the maps to match, but that would also require making sure that no single wing overlaps another wing. The best way to present Runeforge, honestly, would have been to incorporate all of the wings onto one huge map, I suspect. Live and learn. ANYway... ditching the warp effect doesn't hurt the adventure much.

    Mary Yamato wrote:
    What happens if the PCs hold hands? If one PC carries another? Passwall, teleport, dimension door? Does mind blank work? Etc., etc. It really helps to know *how* an effect is done, as this allows a clear adjucation of what defenses will work.

    If the PCs hold hands or one PC carries another, each PC gets a save. As long as one PC makes the save and continues to pull/push/carry the others along, all the PCs will make it through to the other side. The magic of the tunnels, again, is illusory; it has no ability to forcefully expel intruders. Passwall, teleport, and other methods to bypass the tunnel would work fine. Mind blank would indeed protect from the effects, since they're mind-affecting (Illusion [phantasm] to be precise).

    Mary Yamato wrote:
    The PCs don't know that there is never a fight immediately on the other side, and they do know that letting the party get split up can be fatal; they are likely to try to "solve" this trap and no support is provided for that.

    That's true, and that's an unfortunate omission from the text. That said... and I've said this a billion times, it seems... part of being a GM is just this. You HAVE to make judgement calls. A pre-written adventure attempts to do a lot of that work for you, but the game is insidiously complex. When we create an adventure, we do our best to make sure that everything you need is detailed, but sometimes we miss things. It happens, especially when you're trying to do something as complicated as a 96-page book on a monthly schedule AND at the same time have things like conventions or holidays or other projects competing for that time. Each time we do an adventure, each time I read these boards and see where we fail, I learn from the experience and try to BRING that experience to the next one. But in the meantime, you as the GM need to realize that there WILL be times where you need to think fast on your feet. Reading an entire adventure and studying it will help a lot; you know your PCs better than me, and you'll know what parts they'll get hung up on and thus what parts you'll need to jot down some notes for. Or post here for some help and/or clarification.


    I'm reading through Pathfinder 6 now, and have not reached the end, but I think that I may have missed a few things regarding the transitions between chapters 3 through 6

    Spoiler:
    First off, when the PCs kill Mokmurian and Karzoug speaks through him he never directly mentions his own name. At what point do the PCs realize that Karzoug is the one in control of all of the things going on? I think that my players might not entirely understand that the main villan is ideed Karzoug due to very few refences of him previously

    Spoiler:
    Second, how do the PCs know that they should go to Runeforge, aside from sheer curiosity?

    Spoiler:
    And thirdly, how should I motivate the players to seek out Xin-Shalast if they don't do it right away or at all

    Thank you in advance for the help, as you can probably tell by looking at the spoilers my PCs have a bit of difficulty make choices on their own and it leads to many problems.


    Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
    E the cleric wrote:

    I'm reading through Pathfinder 6 now, and have not reached the end, but I think that I may have missed a few things regarding the transitions between chapters 3 through 6

    I really don't think you need spoiler tags in a "GM Reference" thread.

    I had the opposite problem with my group: they knew where they were going very early, much too early, and could easily have arrived in Xin-Shalast after #3--which would of course have killed them. So my ideas for you are purely theoretical.

    Mokmurian has a diary which could give some hints about Karzoug. Conna, if the PCs befriend her, could give more. She saw the personality change when he returned from the Kodar Mountains, and may have heard Mokmurian mention Karzoug at some point. Perhaps he raves in his nightmares.

    There is a huge library of information about Xin-Shalast and Karzoug in Jorgenfist, so if the PCs have a few names, they can look them up. You may want to make the DCs easier if your PCs are bad at this sort of thing and you think they need help.

    The lamias in Jorgenfist are *from* Xin-Shalast, and if captured and charmed are excellent information sources. (Too good, in fact; I was being pressed for detailed information about the city before I had a copy of #6 and this was a problem.)

    More in a second post--my posts are getting lost if they're long.

    Mary

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