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Ironbriar... who?


Rise of the Runelords


I just read the Skinsaw Murders and am a little bit grieved by the waste of nice story..admitted, I also see that there is only so much space in a pathfinder.
**Spoiler**
Ironbriar is a justice of Magnimar, a socially powerful villain...but who cares? Not the PCs. They will just hack him to pieces, shrug and continue.
Did anyone expand on Ironbriar, make some run-ins with him before the PCs go to the sawmill?

Andoran

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

My PCs had a run-in with a member of the city watch who claimed to be investigating some murders and disappearances in Magnimar under the authority of someone called "Justice Ironbriar." Beyond that, however, I did most of Ironbriar's exposition postmortem.

Andoran RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

My players are getting ready for this part of the path this weekend. Here is how I am introducing them to the justice system of Magnimar. Be warned, spoilers abound in the text below.

As the PCs come to the gate into Magnimar, those familiar with the city note that the city guards seems to be edger, more on alert, and nervous; at least more than usual. Drithnar Kaddren, the guard sergeant sees the Sihedron rune on the amulet that (PC) is wearing. The sergeant asks the adventurers to wait a second while he gets some paperwork. The sergeant goes into the office and comes out in about 15 seconds. He says something over his shoulder. Kaddren yells, "Now!" and guards appear with live steel and cocked crossbows. The sergeant then tells the adventures, "You are under arrest Place you weapons on the ground - slowly. Any spellcasting will be met with deadly force."

The sergeant then either takes them to Lt. Licot (if the PCs are not belligerent) or Lt. Licot appears (if it looks like combat is about to happen). The lieutenant asks the sergeant, "What in the Nine Hells is going on Sergeant Kaddren?" The sergeant says nothing (and it is obvious that the sergeant doesn't particularly like the lieutenant) but points at (PC wearing the amulet). The lieutenant looks at (PC), does a double take, and then sighs heavily. He tells the sergeant to back down as he walks over to join the sergeant and the other guards. Sgt. Kaddren begins to protest at this but Lt. Licot cuts him off and says, "You did well sergeant and you will be commended. But trust me; these people aren't what we are looking for."

Again Sgt. Kaddren protests, at this Licot gets stern and orders the sergeant to stand down. He then turns to the PCs and apologizes, "I'm sorry about that bit of confusion I hope you were not unduly troubled. The city guards have certain orders that they must obey."

If the PCs express interest, Lt. Licot appraises them carefully, then invites then to his office where he will "Discuss the matter more fully out of hidden ears."

Once the PCs and the lieutenant are away from the street and presumably in Licot's office, the lieutenant explains about the rash of murders in Magnimar. "Merchants, politicians, crooked guards, and moneylenders have been showing up dead - their bodies mutilated, faces missing, and chests carved with seven-pointed stars."

"Obviously tensions are high and Sgt. Kaddren, a young man in an influential family of Magnimar, was currying favor and attempting to make a coup to advance his career. He's a good sort," Licot says, "just quick to jump to conclusions and make rash assumptions."

If the PCs ask to become involved in the investigation, Licot will look doubtful, frown, and then saw, "Well, you would have to take that inquiry to the Halls of Virtue in the Capital District. One of the Justices there will have to make that decision."

If the PCs continue to question Licot, Licot will stop them and say, "Look. I understand that you are goodly sorts and you want to keep people from being hurt or murdered, and I applaud that. But I am under orders not to discuss these things with outsiders. What I have told you so far can be heard in any tavern or festhall in the city.

"Now, if you have other information you can tell me and I can pas that on to the city and the guard." He sits back and waits for their response.

Assuming the PCs tell them what they suspect, or about Aldern Foxglove's involvement, or anything about the Brotherhood of the Seven, Licot will start to take notes. Once this is done, Licot will excuse himself, showing the PCs out. He will then hurry off into the city to take his findings to the appropriate people.

Behind the scenes: Licot hurries to the Halls of Justice and tells the PCs' information to the first Justice he can find (Justice Ironbriar of course). Ironbriar then sets things up so that Licot is either taken captive (if the PCs were friendly with the lieutenant) or killed. His body (or his trussed form) will be found at the Seven's Sawmill.

If the PCs go to the Halls of Justice, they will either find Ironbriar or be shown to Ironbriar. Ironbriar will politely listen to their tale, ask appropriate questions, and try to figure out exactly how much the PCs know. If the PCs show Ironbriar the keys they have found, Ironbriar will immediately recognize the key's heraldry as the Foxglove family's heraldry. He will attempt to take the key from the PCs, but won't push it if the PCs refuse.

Once this is done, Ironbriar will ask where the PCs are staying in town (if they haven't arranged lodging he recommends The Scarlet Raven, an inn off Three Mast Street, near the Avenue of Sails). He will then caution them to not share this information with anyone, implying that there may be an insider in the Halls of Justice working with the murderer. Ironbriar will again thank them, politely but distantly, and show them to the door.

After the PCs leave, Ironbriar will set his merry band of murders on the PCs' trail and they will have visits in the nights by assassins. Any attempt to track down Licot will fail; even Kaddren will become worried at Licot's absence. Attempts to find Ironbriar will also fail, his seneschal (a middle-aged gnome by the name of Ivohn Windchaser) will say that he is one city business and it is unknown when he will return.

Hopefully, the PCs will then take things into their own hands and investigate Foxglove Manor on their own. However, they should be one or two more faceless stalkers at the townhouse, and all the skinsaw men at the Seven's Sawmill should be alert and ready for the PCs when they come to the sawmill.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Wow, this is nice. I hope you don't mind me yoinking this?

Andoran

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

My group ran into him after calling the city watch when the Skinsaw cultists tried to burn down Aldern's townhouse (which the PCs had moved into).

Generally though I think Skinsaw kind of falls apart after Foxglove manor. There's little connecting the townhouse, sawmill and clock tower. I'm just pushing my group through it as quick as I can to get us into Hook Mountain, I've already hinted to them that they have the chance to get their own keep and they're really excited about it.

Qadira

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

Spoiler:
I agree that Skinsaw is a bit odd - the haunted house, and then a quick run off to Magnimar to waste a few cultists. I intend to get the PCs to escort Tsuto to Magnimar for trial and execution before the murders start, and meet Ironbriar as the presiding judge. Tsuto obviously knows Ironbriar as part of the Lamashtu cult, so he will assume he will be alright. Ironbriar will condemn him to death to dispose of an inconvenient witness, Tsuto will make a quick scene in the courtroom before being silenced and dragged out for execution - nothing too incriminating, but enough to pique the PCs' interest. But before they can do much about that line of enquiry, they are summoned back to Sandpoint to deal with a ghoul infestation.


Pathfinder Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Catdragon: I'm surprised your PCs would walk around with a Sihedron rune displayed openly after all the carvings in Sandpoint.

But the idea of having Ironbriar detect the PCs before they have a chance to figure out what's going on in Magnimar is a good one. It makes sense that unless the PCs were EXTREMELY careful and lucky, Ironbriar should be "on to them" fairly quickly after they get to Magnimar. He's the one with all the resources in the city, so it should be easy for him to make life hard for the PCs before they ever get a chance to try and fight him.


Some very great ideas...keep them coming ;-)

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I just finished my second read of Skinsaw yesterday, doing final prep for this Sunday's game. While they might not meet Ironbriar for at least a session or two, I already hinted at him.

I had the Pathfinder who visits Magnimar during downtime as a courier hear about Ironbriar's strong justice and influence on the mayor. I also had news that Justice Ironbriar reviewed the case of Tsuto, and with the overwhelming evidence just allow Mayor Deverin and Sheriff Hemlock to hang him outright in Sandpoint.

It will be even neater if I can find a way for an agent to get to Tsuto just before, and convince him to have a small Sihedron rune on his body before the hanging, only to be discovered by Father Zantus later. Foreshadowing is the key to Ironbriar, methinks.

Although the gate guards scenerio above is mighty sweet. I think I shall also borrow from that.

-DM Jeff

Andoran RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Any and all of you are welcome to use what i posted. Though I would like to find out what happens in your campaigns.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16

Spoiler:
In my game, Tsuto hanged himself in the jail, but I'm tempted to have the sheriff ask the party to bring his remains to Magnimar. "There's a judge there named Justice Ironbriar. For some reason, he's taken an interest in what happened here..."

In this version of events, Ironbriar plans for a clerical ally to cast speak with dead on Tsuto. He wants to discover whether any information about the cult has been gleaned by Sandpoint authorities (or the party): With the party conveniently in Magnimar, he can easily "tie up any loose ends".


catdragon wrote:
Any and all of you are welcome to use what i posted. Though I would like to find out what happens in your campaigns.

Coincidentally, my group just finished the Manor and are moving on tomorrow.. I might try this. I'll let you know!

Andoran RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Coridan wrote:
Generally though I think Skinsaw kind of falls apart after Foxglove manor. There's little connecting the townhouse, sawmill and clock tower. I'm just pushing my group through it as quick as I can to get us into Hook Mountain, I've already hinted to them that they have the chance to get their own keep and they're really excited about it.

If the PCs don't discover the cache of papers in the study at Foxglove Townhouse, it would be extremely hard for them to find the Seven's Sawmill.

A good Gather Information/role-playing with various members of the town might be a way to point them in the right direction.

A crazed (more than usual) cultist who shouts, "I shall feed you to the saws of the Seven!" as he battles the PCs might be another way.

Alternatively, the PCs might notice someone following them around town. If they capture him and question him perhaps the NPC could give up the location of the sawmill "if y'll protect'm from that mad judge and his evil mistress!"

In my experience if a PC goes off base and is determined to investigate a blind end, let 'em. If you want to wind up the adventure or reward him for thinking (even wrong thinking if logical enough should be rewarded IMO), modify on the fly. The sawmill could be a furniture makers shop with a little work.

I need to go back and reread the connection between the sawmill and the clock tower before i can comment on that.... :)

Andoran RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Sir_Wulf wrote:
** spoiler omitted **

In my campaign Tsuto was freed from the jail by Lyrie Akenja and the two of them are on the run. So my last ditch effort to get wandering PCs back on the right path will be spotting one or both of these in town and then having one of them killed by the Skinsaw Men (with clues such as sawdust on the body's clothes).

But that is last ditch. My players are worried about Tsuto showing up in later adventures. I'm letting them worry with just a sadistic, smug smile when ever they ask me something about Tsuto.

Taldor

My campaign has an Ironbriar who wants to meet the PCs in person. He wants to know what Aldern Foxglove has told them and if they have discovered incrimating evidence (possibly left by Vorel Foxglove) at the manor. To those ends, he has Aldern's townhouse seized for tax evasion and a notice placed on the door that will lead the PCs to him requesting a warrant (he knows they're deputized and investigating at the behest of Sherriff Helmock). If the PCs choose to break in he'll have them dragged before him anyway.

He'll grant the warrant, but he'll also use suggestion to insure the PCs come to him if they discover any leads at the townhouse.

If he knows that they know about the sawmill hideout he'll likely have the faceless stalkers pose as fake cultists.

I'm still working out what happens at that point. Most likely Ironbriar will orchestrate an ambush that has the PCs at a severe disadvantage.

Contributor

I've said this before, but seeing great ideas blossom from (often necessarily) briefly detailed areas, NPCs and encounters is always great.

Rich

Andoran RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

After reading over the Skinsaw Men, specifically in regard to Ironbriar, I've come to the conclusion that Ironbriar is a complete and total coward unless something he values is on the line. In the adventure he is charmed and believe he has found "true love" with Xanesha. However, this is a magical effect. If its removed, Ironbriar will pull up stakes and run for the hills, or at least greener pastures, leaving behind his cultists and followers.

So if the PCs meet Ironbriar before the mill, they should make sense motive rolls to determine if he is under the effect of a charm spell. (Alternatively one could rule that the creature must be acting within the parameters of the charm to be able to tell that the person is charmed, but that's splitting hairs.)

Let's assume that the PCs discover that Ironbriar is charmed, and a) tell him. If so, then Ironbriar will scoff and immediately check in with the city's wizards to determine if this is true. The wizards remove it, Ironbriar realizes that things are rapidly getting too hot to hang around. So he writes a letter pointing the PCs to Xanesha and then book passage on the fastest ship out of Magnimar.

But what if (b) the PCs remove the charm? Ironbriar will attempt to play dumb (he has a Bluff of +11), tell the PCs that he has no idea what it means, thanks them for their help, and then writes the letter, and flees town.

Either way, by a dispel magic that succeeds against Xanesha's charm (which is DC 21 BTW, she's a 10th level caster), will short-circuit things. I would award the PC xp for defeating Ironbriar and his cultists if they go this route.

Lastly, what if (c) the PCs do not remove the charm? Well, Ironbriar will scoff at the notion that he is charmed and the adventure can proceed. Or you can have him act as he did in option a.

I think the key here is to play Ironbriar as a side trek rather than the main opponent of the adventure. Of course, if you and your group is having fun, it's all good.

Taldor

It's difficult to play Ironbriar as a side trek when your PCs uncover the plot. One of the city's most powerful men as the leader of a death cult whose primary target is the Lord Mayor? The city would be on fire with the news: as an elf Ironbriar is probably one of the senior Justices and directly responsible for sentencing hundreds - possibly thousands - of criminals.

I'm still trying to figure out how Ironbriar manages to keep a low profile when the 10 hour duration of Xanesha's charm monster spell requires two daily visits in the most notorious parts of town; for months. He's supposedly trying to keep this relationship secret but he'd be visiting her more often than a crazy junkie would a dealer.

Their liasons will have to be reworked in my campaign.


Pathfinder Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Selk wrote:

I'm still trying to figure out how Ironbriar manages to keep a low profile when the 10 hour duration of Xanesha's charm monster spell requires two daily visits in the most notorious parts of town; for months. He's supposedly trying to keep this relationship secret but he'd be visiting her more often than a crazy junkie would a dealer.

Their liasons will have to be reworked in my campaign.

Charm Monster is 1 Day/Level.

Charm Person is 1 Hour/Level.

So even if he only sees her once a week or so, she's covered.

Taldor

Aha! Right you are. Well that solves that. Thank you Michael F.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16

And Xanesha's a shapechanger. Who says she and Ironbriar aren't meeting somewhere a little less dreary than the tower?

Taldor

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Yeah, I suppose a booty call at a bell tower would get a little tiresome.

"Hello Mr. Terrifying Scarecrow, I'm here to see my beloved. Oh, hi there Mr. and Mrs. Faceless Stalker. How are the little stalkers? Good...good."


Pathfinder Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

"Booty Call at the Bell Tower" is now the name of my new band.

Thanks Selk, I'll be sure to mention you in the liner notes or something after we get famous.

I suppose I should learn an instrument and find some other guys to be in the band. Hey Selk, I don't suppose you can carry a tune?

Taldor

I'm built like a bassist. I'll just slouch with my bangs in my face and score all the chicks. Not that I'd want to do anything with them, but they'd be there...bedazzling our band jackets or something.
.
.
.
Xanesha, Xanesha, so glad ta' meet'cha
I'm at the alter and you're here to preach
Slither snap slide that moneymaker
Slick like oil and sweet with rancor

Lips red with the blood of lesser men
Bite me hot (HOT!) and do it again
Cuz' I ain't afraid of your freaky ways
We'll rock the nights and darken the days

Oooh yeah. Level 1 Bard, here I come! ;)


Pathfinder Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

O_o

It appears I've created a monster...

Andoran RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Selk wrote:
It's difficult to play Ironbriar as a side trek when your PCs uncover the plot. One of the city's most powerful men as the leader of a death cult whose primary target is the Lord Mayor?

Actually it is Xanesha that plans/wants to kill the mayor. Ironbriar is along for the ride 'cause he's "in love."

Selk wrote:
The city would be on fire with the news: as an elf Ironbriar is probably one of the senior Justices and directly responsible for sentencing hundreds - possibly thousands - of criminals.

Depends on how long he has been around. I got the impression (and nothing in the text backs me up. But neither does it contradict me) that Ironbriar has only been a justice for 10 years or so.

And when the city does find out that Ironbriar is a double-dealing closeted mass murderer/serial killer, then i doubt they will want to look the other way and quietly get rid of him. In fact in my campaign he will be publically drawn and quartered, while alive.

And for those with squeamish natures...

Spoiler:
this will go as follows....

The day of the execution he will be brought out dressed in nothing but a loincloth, his head shaved. One of his hands will be tied to rope leading to a horse's harness and the other hand to a different horse. Same with his feet. Then the horse will be trotted away, pulling Ironbriar taut. Then city executioners will delicately and painfully make cuts in his armpits and his groin. They will be careful not to kill him or even cause undue blood loss. Then the horses will be whipped in different directions. I imagine the pop of the different limbs coming off his body will be quite ... er, extreme.

But then I am trying to portray Magnimar as a no nonsense, serious business kind of city with a weak government.

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