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

Question-The Thistletop Briars


Rise of the Runelords


Hi there,
I need some advice, please. Up to here we had really a lot of fun with Burnt Offerings, but this session ended quite sadly. My PCs went to Thistletop, entered and fought the 10 Goblin Refugees, which alerted the Druid. I thought, the Druid would surely command the Goblindogs to attack the PCs. Together with the cougar, this was nearly a TPK, meaning, the sorceror just got away as he was entangled out of sight (besides 40ft radius, that is nearly the whole complex, entangling everyone for a duration of 4 minutes!!). The enemies would have been bad enough, but what really makes this complex a deathtrap, especially for low level chars, is the small tunnels: -4 to AC and Attack leaves the PCs with no real offensive or defensive power.
Is it meant like this or is just the entrance too small?
Unfortunately one player was missing today so I had only 3 PCs and two were still Level 2 (Rogue and Sorceror) and one was Level 3 (Barbarian). Maybe it was my fault, but this is of course very unsatisfying as the PCs feel a little bit cheated by the harsh conditions. I now ruled that the Goblin Druid might have stabilised the two PCs for torturing and they could be saved later on (if the players like to after trying some new PCs). I think it was unfairly hard on them.
Comments, suggestions?
Sorry for the whining, but after some really fun and exciting sessions this one was a real let-down.

Taldor

Ouch, that sucks :(

I remember that part being quite hard in my campaign as well. Thankfully, the PC's did all of their fighting in one of the rooms (with higher ceiling), so they didn't have the penalties.

In my games, the characters are always all there, even if a given player is absent (in which case, either another player or the DM plays him as an NPC). I can't really understand how to run it otherwise, neither from a role-playing point of view nor from an encounter balance point of view. Don't you run into that kind of problems all the time when one or more players are missing?

Do you think that it would have tipped the scales if the 4th PC had been present?

I hope things work out OK for you and that you can finish the adventure!


i'm not the be all or know all. i lost my whole party twice over in burnt offerings. most at thistletop. my suggestion to you is have the druid stabalize them and put them in the prison ( 2nd level of thistle top) and have them escape with the help of a 4th level npc rogue. get them to swim to shore , go back to town tail between their legs , reequip, then try again. hope it's better the next time round. c


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

Stabilization makes sense. Nualia has to sacrifice living creatures to Lamashtu every time she does a religious service, and when she doesn't have prisoners she uses goblins. I'm sure that the refugees in particular (who are her first choice for sacrifices) would be eager for any alternate offerings.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

The game expects the PCs to be 3rd level by the time they start in on Thistletop, and it also expects 4 PCs, so a lower level & lower number of PCs can certainly end in a grisly TPK here, alas.

That said... even if the goblin druid "wins" the battle... you have a pretty cool option...

Spoiler:
The goblin druid's kind of unsatisfied with the Thistletop leadership currently; if it's not too late in your game, if the druid defeats the PCs, I'd say that he bandages their wounds and drags them off to his lair; the other goblins who see this will of course assume he did so to eat the PCs or to feed them to his pets. But then, have the druid tie them up and then wake them up with some healing, and then have him explain to the PCs that he kept them alive so they could go ahead and deal with the obnoxious longshanks who have taken over the tribe. The druid won't want to risk his neck doing this, but he certainly could see the PCs as a tool to use against Nualia and her minions. Of course, the druid will demand the PCs not kill any goblins... or at least, kill as few as possible...


Moonbeam wrote:

Ouch, that sucks :(

In my games, the characters are always all there, even if a given player is absent (in which case, either another player or the DM plays him as an NPC). I can't really understand how to run it otherwise, neither from a role-playing point of view nor from an encounter balance point of view. Don't you run into that kind of problems all the time when one or more players are missing?

I do not like dragging characters along as mere "fight-bots" and from a RP point of view it was sensible, as the ranger was poisened to paralysis by Erylium and still a little bit shaky (like 6 Dex), so she stayed with the horses.

In previous game sessions, it worked out nicely as A: the encounters were not that tough and B: my players were already one level ahead and I gave them 32 points for abilities.
I am afraid I was just too tired and decided wrongly (leaving out the goblin dogs, or making the druid send them ahead and attacking seperately would have given the PCs a chance). Furthermore I have to get used to PCs dying. I am rather for story than for the quick kill ;-)


tbug wrote:
Stabilization makes sense. Nualia has to sacrifice living creatures to Lamashtu every time she does a religious service, and when she doesn't have prisoners she uses goblins. I'm sure that the refugees in particular (who are her first choice for sacrifices) would be eager for any alternate offerings.

I thought about it, but the Druid does not like the "Longshanks" at all and would not deliver sacrifices to them, I thought about the Howling Hole, the druid always needs sacrifies for this.


James Jacobs wrote:

The game expects the PCs to be 3rd level by the time they start in on Thistletop, and it also expects 4 PCs, so a lower level & lower number of PCs can certainly end in a grisly TPK here, alas.

That said... even if the goblin druid "wins" the battle... you have a pretty cool option...

** spoiler omitted **

Yes, I was thinking about this and first thought, the druid would never sacrifice his tribe to adventurers, but in the end he is a goblin, I guess even he is not able to think all this through to the end, or reasons, that enough goblins will survive for the tribe to recover. I will talk to my players as they insisted on rolling for stailisation to the bitter end (although I did not insist and told them, they cannot know, what happens while they are unconscious); the rogue made it, the barbarian not. I do not want to force them into something they would not like or feel like cheating. Thanks for the advice. As I said up to here it was one of the best RPG experiences I ever had.


Pathfinder Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

In my game, the party had an easier time of it because they turned towards the druid before they met up with the other goblins. The druid cracked off his entangle to trap the PCs, but the huge radius also meant the other goblins couldn't close easily. I was sort of surprised when I realized just how much of the encounter area the spell covered. The druid is supposed to block the intruders but leave his own escape route open, which isn't easy to do if the PCs head towards the west when they first enter. Also, the dogs start out tied up, and I had the Druid start attacking instead of untying the dogs first. The PCs split up and some took advantage of the dogs while others dealt with the druid.

I agree that a good course of action for the Druid is to stabalize the PCs and attempt to use them to kill the humans without harming any of the tribe's goblins. He knows enough to give them a route to follow that would let them avoid almost all of the goblins and lead them straight to the humans.

Spoiler:
In through Tentamort hole, defeat the Tentamort (which is very vulnerable to ranged attacks if you can spot it first) then avoid the yeth hounds in the temple. Then, take on Orik and Bruthazmus first, to get them out of the way, then take Lyrie and then Nualia. Or, avoid the fighters and go straight to Lyrie, gang up on her, head downstairs, and take on Nualia.

He could explain to the PCs that if they only kill the humans (and the bugbear), they will likely save the town and still be able to get away, but if they try to take on all of the goblins again, they'll die. The Druid has good reason to think that the PCs will believe him and do as he asks, or get killed if they don't. From his point of view, if they actually do manage to kill Nualia, that's just a bonus.

Also, if the Druid knows that the PCs are about to do a sneak attack on Nualia and her crew, it would be very easy for him to watch for treachery on the part of the PCs. If he thinks they are going to start killing the tribe, he could very easily raise the alarm and crush the party between all the goblins and all the humans.


Belfur wrote:

Hi there,

Unfortunately one player was missing today ....

I've been the missing player at a TPK. That sucks. I STILL blame myself for it, especially since I knew a rule that might have mitigated the disaster. Hopefully, your missing player feels properly guilty.

A rescue attempt while Nualia waits for the moon to be in the proper phase for a special living sacrifice, perhaps?


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber
Belfur wrote:
... My PCs went to Thistletop, entered and fought the 10 Goblin Refugees, which alerted the Druid...

I had that encounter last game but I felt that a fight in the refugee area wouldn't alert the druid unless in lasted for long or a refugee got away to warn him, since the druid is fairly far away and the refugees must fight one another about three times a day.

That's the general idea I'm thinking of applying for the rest of the first level, unless a alarm is sounded. It might make for a rude awakening when they get to the lower levels but the change of decor should be a warning.


Pathfinder Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Slime wrote:
but I felt that a fight in the refugee area wouldn't alert the druid unless in lasted for long or a refugee got away to warn him, since the druid is fairly far away and the refugees must fight one another about three times a day.

I'm not sure I agree with that idea. The Druid is on a fairly high level of alert because he's worried that it's only a matter of time before they are attacked. The brush isn't going to do much to dampen the sound of battle, not like a door or wall would. So I figure the Druid should get a reactive listen check each round the battle is going on. He might write off a round or two as a squabble, but if the PCs engage the refugees for 10 rounds, he's going to want to take a look. Also, his pet and the dogs also have a chance of noticing any fight and getting agitated.


Of course the briars do not dampen the sound, but what I forgot was the waves crashing onto the cliffs below, which would dampen the sounds...and sure I should have left the dogs, where they were, I think that was the biggest mistake (although firepelt cougars are really nasty: bite claw claw pounce). Anyways, my players agreed to the Druids offer, I will rearrange some of the goblin guards and play on as is, alhtough I have another nasty plan: as Erylium escaped, I will change her alter self to cat and she will hide in a food barrel: "poor little kitty, should be food for nasty goblins, we take you along". Either she enters the fray on Nualyas side, if necessary, or she will take revenge on the Druid, making for a fun monster-monster fight later on, with the PCs not knowing whom to kill first...


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber
Michael F wrote:
... So I figure the Druid should get a reactive listen check each round the battle is going on. He might write off a round or two as a squabble, but if the PCs engage the refugees for 10 rounds, he's going to want to take a look. Also, his pet and the dogs also have a chance of noticing any fight and getting agitated ...

I was going to check if Gogmurt was still hearing something after 5 rounds but the fight lasted only 4 rounds.

The Howling hole worked its magic when they walked next to it and sent half the party back in Thistle Wood and into the briar patches, causing str. damage to one and dex. damage to the other. They then chose to take an 8 hour brake to get some spells back and heal from the Thistle.

Last game they were back in before sundown (their fist incursion was right after dawn) and encountered teams of goblins and goblin-dogs posted strategically in the Briar maze by Gogmurt (who ordered them from the main gate but couldn’t overrule the chief’s orders for the towers).

But they played it smart with fast strikes and a Silence spell but still, when they met up with Gogmurt they were a bit split up and they got it bad from the Entangle (Pathfinder version but still bad) and Produce Flame (sweet range touch!). The Cleric almost fell and Gogmurt proudly got the Barbarian’s Wardog in negatives (they had killed his firepelt after all).

They are now stuck between the exit to the bridge and the Entangle in the briars, no more goblins or goblin-dogs on that side but Gogmurt’s still full health and coming around. The goblins in the fort shouldn’t notice them unless they get on the bridge or an alarm is sounded. Gogmurt’ll probably send a warning to the chief and start bombarding again afterward, we’ll see how they manage.

I like Gogmurt!


Pathfinder Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Slime wrote:
I like Gogmurt!

He's pretty cool. My players went for the knighthood thing as a party theme, so all the PCs are in medium or heavy armor. They're pretty confident in their AC, because the goblin mooks have a hard time hitting them. Then along comes Gogmurt, with both ranged and melee attacks going against Touch AC. That was an upleasant surprise for the party. Heh heh.

Cheliax Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

My party saw those small tunnels, realized the implications regarding their mobility and AC, and said "Aw hell no."

They returned to Sandpoint, purchased a scroll with enough reduce persons on it to affect the entire party, returned to Thistletop and proceeded to kick ass and take names.

I was much impressed.


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber
Sebastian wrote:

My party saw those small tunnels, realized the implications regarding their mobility and AC, and said "Aw hell no."

They returned to Sandpoint, purchased a scroll with enough reduce persons on it to affect the entire party, returned to Thistletop and proceeded to kick ass and take names.

I was much impressed.

Indeed, nice strategy!

Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo Publishing / Pathfinder® / Pathfinder Adventure Path / Rise of the Runelords / Question-The Thistletop Briars All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in Rise of the Runelords

©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.