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What Lies in Dust (GM Reference)


Council of Thieves

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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: The Bastards of Erebus
Chapter 2: The Sixfold Trial
Chapter 3: What Lies in Dust
Chapter 4: The Infernal Syndrome
Chapter 5: Mother of Flies
Chapter 6: The Twice-Damned Prince


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

As always, link back if you find something relevent.

Osirion

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber

First off, the map of Delvehavens courtyard (at least the PDF) doesn't contain any "T"s.

And what's the saving throw and DC for

Spoiler:
the verminous cannibal storm to halve the damage and negate the charisma damage located in B16?

Grand Lodge

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

In the Smite Chaos ability of the Hellknights there are a couple of instances where it says "smiting evil" instead of "smiting chaos"

Osirion

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber

I have a few questions concerning the Devildrome and the Hellcallers Cup

In the rules for the Hellcallers Cup it states that each summoner summons a type of monster, then they fight it out until one is 'killed' or one of the summoning spells ends. Then they summon again and so on.

But in the combat tactics for Mantrithor, he is summoning every round until he runs out.

Which one is it?

About the Devildrome. Are the PCs cut off from the fighting grounds? Are they locked in the smaller cages until the match is over, so the only way to get inside by teleport or similar spell?

Taldor

Cralius the Dark wrote:

First off, the map of Delvehavens courtyard (at least the PDF) doesn't contain any "T"s.

And what's the saving throw and DC for

** spoiler omitted **

+1

Where's the Ts????????????????

Taldor

Love the two translocation traps. One gives Wisdom damage, which is cool... The other one just frustrates people it seems: how do you go about handling this at the game table? When the players advance their PCs on the map, should I let them advance the PCs to the end of the hallway and draw a "false" hallway end that is symetrical to the hallway they started from??? or should I stop them halfway, change the facing of the character, and have them complete their movement on the same end they entered?


Purple Dragon Knight wrote:


Where's the Ts????????????????

No Ts by design. See this


Purple Dragon Knight wrote:
Love the two translocation traps. One gives Wisdom damage, which is cool... The other one just frustrates people it seems: how do you go about handling this at the game table? When the players advance their PCs on the map, should I let them advance the PCs to the end of the hallway and draw a "false" hallway end that is symetrical to the hallway they started from??? or should I stop them halfway, change the facing of the character, and have them complete their movement on the same end they entered?

I've been thinking about this a bit, and I think I'll continue drawing the hallway, and not turn their figures around. It's a DC 30 to notice something isn't quite right, and flipping the figures is a dead giveaway.


*Link to thread with question about the wave door*

*Link to thread regarding meeting entry requirements of the Hellknight class, including suggestions for 'corrections' to the levels of several NPC Hellknights so that they meet the pre-requisites*

*Link to thread regarding isolation sphere traps around Delvehaven*


James Jacobs:
Would it be possible to have a clearer summary of what the 'Rules' are for regular Devildrome encounters and for the Hellcaller's Cup? There are several points here where I am confused, not least becase the rules seem to imply that a caster can only summon one type of monster and only one monster to start off with, and yet Thrax opens up with a spell that brings 1d4+1 lemures - which is going to be a minimum of two?
How exactly does one side or the other 'win' at a match in the Devildrome? The only way actually stated in the text that I can find is that you win if an opponent runs out of summon spells.
Are wands or scrolls of summon monster legal in Devildrome fights?
What exactly is meant by 'round' with regard to the Devildrome rules? Is this one fight between two sets of summons (or one set of summons and a champion) one free-wheeling melee with multiple summons, or one combat round?
How does Thrax (if he loses) target the PCs in the opposing cage with a stinking cloud, since he is on the opposite side of the arena to them and there is an intervening 15 foot high platform in the way in the middle of the arena? (There was a suggestion from a poster due to concerns regarding the gradient of the ramps upto the central platform on *this thread* that it made sense if the central platform is only elevated 5ft above the arena floor.)

What reaction do the Sisters of Eiseth have to a party turning up at their door wanting to negotiate for access to Coriana's ashes? What about their response to a party disguised (or genuinely) all hellknights & clerics/monks of Asmodeus? What about a party who have researched them and ask to come in on the pretext of wanting to discuss possibly hiring them to carry out a 'hit'?

On the subject of determining the fate of the Pathfinders associated with Delvehaven, how exactly are PCs supposed to determine the fate of Loremaster Liriam? Information regarding his fate in the text seems to indicate he was attacked by the golem (later destroyed) adjacent to the teleport area and that agents of House Thrune afterwards retrieved and removed his remains; this doesn't seem likely to me to have left any clues for PCs exploring Delvehaven to go on.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Charles Evans 25 wrote:
Would it be possible to have a clearer summary of what the 'Rules' are for regular Devildrome encounters and for the Hellcaller's Cup?

I don't have time to completely re-write the encounter now, and probably won't for a while. But some quick answers:

1) The rules limit you to one kind of monster. Thrax doesn't break those rules by summoning multiple monsters of the same kind. They're all lemures; they're all the same kind of monster. As for winning, you win if the other side runs out of spells that can summon the type of monster the caster's summoning. If that means the combat'd take too long, then the fight can end as soon as the monsters summoned by the first spell are defeated.
2) Wands and scrolls are legal.
3) "Round" means a round of combat AND a battle, in this case, I believe. Poorly written. Shoulda been fixed during edit.
4) Thrax moves into the cage and then casts his stinking cloud. He can move into the cage using his dimensional step ability.

Charles Evans 25 wrote:
What reaction do the Sisters of Eiseth have to a party turning up at their door wanting to negotiate for access to Coriana's ashes? What about their response to a party disguised (or genuinely) all hellknights & clerics/monks of Asmodeus? What about a party who have researched them and ask to come in on the pretext of wanting to discuss possibly hiring them to carry out a 'hit'?

Depends on if you, the GM, want a fight or a diplomatic encounter. If you want a fight, the Sisters attack. If you want a diplomatic encounter, let the PCs talk them out of the ashes. Make the game your own and adapt it to your player's favored style of gaming.

Charles Evans 25 wrote:
On the subject of determining the fate of the Pathfinders associated with Delvehaven, how exactly are PCs supposed to determine the fate of Loremaster Liriam? Information regarding his fate in the text seems to indicate he was attacked by the golem (later destroyed) adjacent to the teleport area and that agents of House Thrune afterwards retrieved and removed his remains; this doesn't seem likely to me to have left any clues for PCs exploring Delvehaven to go on.

The opportunity to find out what happened to Liriam is unfortunately not hard-coded into the adventure. I suggest changing that somehow; the simple way is to have his body still lodged somewhere hidden in Delvehaven somewhere. I'm sure the folks on these boards, creative as they are, will come up with other clues.


James Jacobs wrote:
...The opportunity to find out what happened to Liriam is unfortunately not hard-coded into the adventure. I suggest changing that somehow; the simple way is to have his body still lodged somewhere hidden in Delvehaven somewhere. I'm sure the folks on these boards, creative as they are, will come up with other clues.

Thanks for the answers thus far; there were a couple of spare grave candles earlier in the adventure, I think.

Is there anything in particular that Loremaster Liriam might know with regard top PF #28, #29, and #30? (Or the erinyes head for that matter?) I'm thinking of the Nessian Spiral in particular, which I gather may feature in PF #28, and the erinyes head at least has been inside Aberian's Folly.

Also, are there due to be specific details on the culling of the Hellknight orders in a later article accompanying the path? I noticed a few cryptic references to this event in the #27 article on Hellknights, but can't find any further information regarding this event in #27, or the Campaign Setting or Cheliax guide.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Charles Evans 25 wrote:
Is there anything in particular that Loremaster Liriam might know with regard top PF #28, #29, and #30? (Or the erinyes head for that matter?) I'm thinking of the Nessian Spiral in particular, which I gather may feature in PF #28, and the erinyes head at least has been inside Aberian's Folly.

Not really. Especially since the Nessian Spiral didn't exist at the time Liriam was alive.

Charles Evans 25 wrote:

Also, are there due to be specific details on the culling of the Hellknight orders in a later article accompanying the path? I noticed a few cryptic references to this event in the #27 article on Hellknights, but can't find any further information regarding this event in #27, or the Campaign Setting or Cheliax guide.

No details beyond what wasz in #27 at this point. There's another article about Hellknights in #28 that might have more info, but as far as the Council of Thieves AP is concerned, the culling of the Hellknight orders doesn't really matter, so it's not really looked in to.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I've combed through the section a few times, and I can't seem to find the DC for the save for the Verminous Cannibal Storm in B16.

I would use the default of 12+ 1/2 caster level for the DC as it mentioned, but the haunt in B15 has a DC of 17, while its caster level is only 3 (so should it be 14?)

Currently planning to have to the DC for the Verminous haunt be Will 15 DC (13+3) and hope the group can pass it. This is a rather potent, and creepy, haunt.

Taldor

DEVILDROME

During the devildrone summoning/pokemon battle royale, a player in my campaign (a conjurer, fittingly) had the rather clever idea to summon small earth elementals and had the party's cleric cast "protection from evil" on each summoned elemental...

Thraxe's lemures couldn't touch the elementals.

Sifting through the "protection" spells, I realized that nothing can protect you against elementals... (law, chaos, evil and good can be taken care of... but elementals... nope... loophole, or am I reading this wrong?)

Edit: not only that, but elementals are now one of the few PRPG creatures that are immune to sneak/crits... so why would someone NOT summon elementals? ever?

Qadira

Cutlass Cove

Spoiler:
I'm having a hard time believing that the 'Faded Shadows' are weakened enough to lower their CR to 2. Let's look at the Young template:

Quote:
Rebuild Rules: Size decrease by one category;

-1 to CMD and CMB, +1 size bonus to hit and AC. +4 to stealth as well. Considering that they are incorporeal, I'd definitely consider this a big gain.

Quote:
AC reduce natural armor by –2 (minimum +0);

Natural armor is already 0, so no change.

Quote:
Attacks decrease damage dice by 1 step;

This is the only bad part, 1d6 strength goes down to 1d4.

Quote:
Ability Scores –4 Strength, –4 Con, +4 size bonus to Dex.

They have no strength or con scores, so this is a pure +2 bonus to hit, AC, Reflex, and Initiative.

Am I doing something wrong, or does the average of -1 damage not at all make up for +3 to hit and +3 to AC?

Edit: Delvehaven

Spoiler:
I'm also wondering about opinions on a few minor changes to the Soulbound Dolls ala Chucky/Puppetmaster. See, the thing is, in movies involving possessed dolls, they have an incredible ability to latch on to a person and be nearly impossible to detach. I don't think Improved Grapple would be enough, and giving them Agile Maneuvers on top of that makes me nervous of making them too powerful. Any ideas?

I'm also appalled that these dolls don't have something like Spring Attack, for hit-and-run tactics. I know they don't meet the prerequisites, but there's too much fun to be had here for me to not do it.

The idea being that the dolls should be dropping down from a stack of boxes for a single attack and then running through a doorway or behind another object and disappearing before the PCs have much time to react. I'll be replacing Improved Initiative with Spring Attack as a feat for this affect, because I think there's a lot of potential to make the encounter with these things really creepy.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 4

Use the quick template, not the stat rebuild. +2 Dex rolls, -2 All other rolls, -2 HP/HD

Paizo Employee Developer

In the aquarium in Delvehaven, several coins are listed as coming from Ligar but I can't find another reference to this location. The closest I can find among the lost kingdoms is Lirgen. Is this a new place we haven't heard of yet, or is Ligar supposed to be Lirgen?


Purple Dragon Knight wrote:

DEVILDROME

During the devildrone summoning/pokemon battle royale, a player in my campaign (a conjurer, fittingly) had the rather clever idea to summon small earth elementals and had the party's cleric cast "protection from evil" on each summoned elemental...

Thraxe's lemures couldn't touch the elementals.

Unless the elementals touched the lemures first, of course:

"The protection against contact by summoned creatures ends if the warded creature makes an attack against or tries to force the barrier against the blocked creature."

Contributor

yoda8myhead wrote:
In the aquarium in Delvehaven, several coins are listed as coming from Ligar but I can't find another reference to this location. The closest I can find among the lost kingdoms is Lirgen. Is this a new place we haven't heard of yet, or is Ligar supposed to be Lirgen?

My error Yoda. You are correct. It should read Lirgen. Drat! (It looks like an unconscious jumbling of Lirgen and Isgar two unrelated places I am quite interested in).

P.S. Wonko: I do like the idea of working in Spring Attack with the dolls some how. It fits their hit and run style.

Taldor

In the final fight at the bottom of Delvehaven, there are four minions... and three, let us say, more POWERFUL creatures... :P

The individual creatures' entries suggest that they cooperate/fight together (and it lists a rather nasty tactic in one case). The description of the upper levels also mention that these three creatures are VERY LIKELY to be working together against the PCs.

I will run this encounter next week. My players are on these boards. Can someone who run that final fight email me at wannagameinburlington at hotmail dot com and share their experience with me? (Please enter DELVEHAVEN NASTIES in the subject line... :P )


@ Zexsudel:

I'm confused as you as the rules on haunts don't mention anything about the calculation of save DCs.

My assumption is that the effects statted with saves are calculated on a basis of their effects, or better, spells, i.e. song of discord, phantasmal killer.

Calculating the DCs as normal for a spell, it would be for the haunt on page 39: 10 + spell level 5 + minimum attribute bonus 2 = 17 (as it is written); for the haunt on page 42, it would be 10 + spell level 4 + minimum attribute bonus 2 = 16 (as it is written).

Now, for the haunt on page 40 (the one without any mentioned DC), I suggest you consider insect plague (a 5th level spell) as basis for the effect. So the calculation for the DC would be 10 + spell level 5 + minimum attribute bonus 2 = 17.

Comments?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Scharlata wrote:

@ Zexsudel:

I'm confused as you as the rules on haunts don't mention anything about the calculation of save DCs.

My assumption is that the effects statted with saves are calculated on a basis of their effects, or better, spells, i.e. song of discord, phantasmal killer.

Calculating the DCs as normal for a spell, it would be for the haunt on page 39: 10 + spell level 5 + minimum attribute bonus 2 = 17 (as it is written); for the haunt on page 42, it would be 10 + spell level 4 + minimum attribute bonus 2 = 16 (as it is written).

Now, for the haunt on page 40 (the one without any mentioned DC), I suggest you consider insect plague (a 5th level spell) as basis for the effect. So the calculation for the DC would be 10 + spell level 5 + minimum attribute bonus 2 = 17.

Comments?

The rules for creating haunts and calculating their CR scores will appear in the upcoming GameMastery Guide. There wasn't room in the adventure to show that much behind-the-scenes content, so we simply didn't include it since it's unnecessary for running the adventure.


James Jacobs wrote:
The rules ...will appear in the upcoming GameMastery Guide. ...

Thanx :o)

Qadira

1 person marked this as a favorite.

In reply to my own post a good while ago, I am tweaking the

Spoiler:
Soulbound dolls. I'm applying the Quickling template from the Advanced Bestiary (Green Ronin) to them, to make them fast and skirmishy, as I think they should. This increases each of their CRs by 1, so I'll also probably be dividing them up. I think if two of them attack first, fight a bit, and then run away when at half health or when one of them is taken down, then the escapees return later with the others, it should make the dolls creepier, scarier, and generally more memorable.

Osirion

w0nkothesane wrote:
In reply to my own post a good while ago, I am tweaking the ** spoiler omitted **

Ouch! I've got to look at that.


w0nkothesane wrote:
In reply to my own post a good while ago, I am tweaking the ** spoiler omitted **

Done it, too. Quite genial! ;o)

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

Has anyone had their group

Spoiler:
ignore all the leads to the bodies of the dead pathfinders and go straight into Delvehaven?

They set off two bubble traps but saved both times. They went right upstairs, dropped down to the courtyard without risking the bridge, killed the wisp (2 PCs lost about half their HP), and are heading back into the main lodge from the south. I'm anticipating either a hasty retreat after they meet the shadowsaur, or else a TPK in the basement.

I almost never kill PCs. But they were told at every turn that the lodge is too dangerous to go into without following up these leads. They were given handout 1, deduced that the sisters of Eiseth was a group of monks, decided that was too dangerous, and they went straight to the lodge. At night.

Anyway, this group doesn't usually play in modules, and I only offered to run as temporary DM while our regular DM took some time off of running it (he's playing a PC in the game now) to get married. But I think this is going to end with some anger at me for "railroading" them into doing it "the way the module wants you to." I had to patch their existing characters into Golarion to run this module (no easy task) and it's costing me quite a bit of my free time to do so. But to quote the Trilogy, I have a bad feeling about this.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

You do have something of a quandary there. While it's perfectly possible for the PCs to ignore the module's hints an head straight into the last part of the adventure, the module itself is designed to challenge higher level PCs than those who start the adventure. As I see it, you basically have 3 choices.

1) Play it out as written, with the result that the PCs get in over their heads. Try not to block off their escape avenues, so that if they realize they're in over their heads, they can flee and recover. If they do this, they might decide on their own that maybe doing some information gathering before tackling the main dungeon is a good idea.

2) Nerf the encounters so that they're still challenging but not overwhelming for the PCs. The PCs will feel good about just heading right to the adventure's climax and finishing it off, and the adventure itself will have done what it needs to do to set up the next in the series. Of course... in this case, the PCs will be missing out on half of the adventure, which means (among other things) that they'll not have as much XP or gear as the next adventure expects. In this case, you should run a filler adventure for the party before moving on to "The Infernal Syndrome," perhaps using elements of "What Lies in Dust" repurposed to serve as such. Alternatively, just lower the challenges in "Infernal Syndrome," I guess...

3) Run the encounters as indicated, but add a sizable dungeon into the areas below so that before the PCs get to the actual lower levels, they have to navigate some additional encounters. You can tailor these encounters however you wish, to make them enough so that the PCs will level up to where they'll need to be to take on the end of the encounter.

Finally... if your players complain about railroading after they encounter something that's too tough, you should point out to them that you actually aren't railroading them. By letting them skip to the final dungeon without forcing them to do the preliminary investigation and other encounters, that's pretty much the opposite of railroading. In fact, in sandbox games, the threat of stumbling into an area that you can't yet handle is one of the big themes. If your players complain, just explain to them that you're not railroading them but nor are you going to lessen the threat of certain areas simply because they think they can take on tougher enemies. And then let them decide what to do next—if the last fight was too tough, a group that's playing a sandbox game and understands that will simply switch tactics to explore another area or, perhaps, undertake some side quests to learn more about the main element of the adventure that's too tough so they can gather information and clues and more gear and XP. Which more or less sets you up perfectly to run the first half of the adventure.


Christopher Dudley wrote:

Has anyone had their group

** spoiler omitted **

Anyway, this group doesn't usually play in modules, and I only offered to run as temporary DM while our regular DM took some time off of running it (he's playing a PC in the game now) to get married. But I think this is going to end with some anger at me for "railroading" them into doing it "the way the module wants you to." I had to patch their existing characters into Golarion to run this module (no easy task) and it's costing me quite a bit of my free time to do so. But to quote the Trilogy, I have a bad feeling about this.

If they're having a blast, I'd roll with it totally. I'd fudge the xp to pump them all up if needed or otherwise nerf the encounters as James suggests. I personally like daring, as long as the party doesn't become obnoxious and insufferable to the DM about an easy ride. I think having a great time is the main thing.


Christopher Dudley wrote:
Has anyone had their group...

Yes, almost...

Spoiler:
My players were given handouts - even some additional hand-made papers (the ledger, Cugny's wedding, and a clue to the cipher. The party's monk was indeed very eager to get to Delvehaven - even after Ailyn told the party about the history of the lodge and reassured them that the double-sealing of the building would be too dangerous to circumvent without any further information. So my group went to the sea. The monk bought himself a nice yacht and invited his comrades, Tarvis, and Ermolos to come along on a boat trip to Cutlass Cove, just to secure the pathfinder "tools" left there.
As a side note: I was very amused *evil grin* to look into the fear-stricken eyes of my players as some of them - after getting out of their armor and swimming toward the wave door - encountered the "gloomy welcome party" from below the waves.

But, to your question here: I've told the party more than once that breaking in into Delvehaven would have severe consequences if the party wouldn't have enough information about the possible dangers within there. I'll let my players go wherever they want after telling them about the situation, even if I normally ain't after character deaths. If they want to have their way, so let them. Tell them before they do as they want that you just run the adventure as written (including respecting some of the hints Mr Jacobs wrote to you). Try to do your best to steer them toward the prequel encounters in the form of suggestions made by any NPCs involved and knowing about the dangers (Ailyn, Janiven, Arael).

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

James Jacobs wrote:
1) Play it out as written, with the result that the PCs get in over their heads. Try not to block off their escape avenues, so that if they realize they're in over their heads, they can flee and recover. If they do this, they might decide on their own that maybe doing some information gathering before tackling the main dungeon is a good idea.

This is probably what will end up happening, but I don't know if they'll get the idea to retreat. I'll see tomorrow night.

James Jacobs wrote:
2) Nerf the encounters so that they're still challenging but not overwhelming for the PCs. The PCs will feel good about just heading right to the adventure's climax and finishing it off,

I probably won't tone it down, because while I hate killing PCs, they got every warning possible that this place was DANGEROUS and they needed to follow up these clues to get in. If I hold back too much, they'll get the message that they can ignore any warnings because the GM will never put them in a place they can get hurt.

James Jacobs wrote:
and the adventure itself will have done what it needs to do to set up the next in the series. Of course... in this case, the PCs will be missing out on half of the adventure, which means (among other things) that they'll not have as much XP or gear as the next adventure expects. In this case, you should run a filler adventure for the party before moving on to "The Infernal Syndrome," perhaps using elements of "What Lies in Dust" repurposed to serve as such. Alternatively, just lower the challenges in "Infernal Syndrome," I guess...

That's not going to be an issue. I'm going to hand control back over to the original DM and he's going to "port" the group back to his campaign world. I have an exit point for this adventure that makes sense. Doesn't get into the CoT very much, but I indicate obliquely enough that they're somehow allied with the people who sent the group to this world in the first place. It's a klugey MacGuffin but it works well enough.

James Jacobs wrote:
Finally... if your players complain about railroading after they encounter something that's too tough, you should point out to them that you actually aren't railroading them. By letting them skip to the final dungeon without forcing them to do the preliminary investigation and other encounters, that's pretty much the opposite of railroading.

That's a good point, and a big help. I'll mention that if I get tarred with that brush.

Optimally, they'll retreat and investigate the SoE. I'm not too keen on the summoner fight, but I might do something with it if they go that way.

Thanks for the advice.

Qadira

IS anybody else out there bothered by the behavior of the vampires at the end of this adventure?

It seems plain old stupid for the vampires to wait for the PCs to come to them. Knowing my group, they'd seek them out anyway, if only because they tend to want to explore every nook and cranie in a dungeon, but I intend to implement a bit more interesting of tactics, based on the vampires' personalities.

Spawns:
I'm having the vampire spawn ambush the group, pretty much right when they reach the basement level. They're having hard enough time as it is, and at this point they are rushed and under pressure.

Jair:
For Jair, I think it fits his character to wait in hiding until the group has recovered the Morrowfall, and then immediately ambush them and try to mind control the bearer of the artifact. The way I'm seeing it, after defeating the spawn, the group goes straight for the artifact, and when they turn back the end of the hall has been shrouded in darkness.

Mazeflesh Man:
I'm having a hard time coming up with ideas for this character. I'm also having a hard time trying to think of in-character reasons he wouldn't rush into battle when he hears the vampire spawn fighting the PCs nearby. I'm guessing that my group will need to rest at some point between vampire battles, I may have him attack them while they rest (if they rest in Delvehaven) or on their way out (if they leave the dungeon to rest) Any other ideas for him?

Vahnwynne Malkistra:
I am envisioning her as sneaking around, watching the group fight the other vampires and vampire spawn, and then ambushing them as they try to leave Delvehaven. I'll probably have her ambush them in the Cellar level as the last battle before they escape.

Also, adding the

Spoiler:
quickling template to the Soulbound Dolls
worked FABULOUSLY. My group fought them in the courtyard with the disk, which they used to great effect and it was just overall a really interesting and creepy encounter. After one of them was defeated, the others went berserk for a couple rounds, retrieved its 'body' and fled, only to be encountered in the cellar tavern later. Very memorable.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

w0nkothesane wrote:
Stuff

I actually have a long post to write about them, but first, I gotta ask. Are there cigars in Golarion? Because I really think the Mazeflesh Man should be smoking a cigar.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

4 people marked this as a favorite.
w0nkothesane wrote:

IS anybody else out there bothered by the behavior of the vampires at the end of this adventure?

It seems plain old stupid for the vampires to wait for the PCs to come to them. Knowing my group, they'd seek them out anyway, if only because they tend to want to explore every nook and cranie in a dungeon, but I intend to implement a bit more interesting of tactics, based on the vampires' personalities.

Of course, I agree that they wouldn't wait in the crypt for the PCs to come kill them one by one. But the module does say that the howling of the shadow mastiffs at the top of the stairs will alert them to the PCs' presence. From there, the clock starts ticking.

I am running them in exactly the opposite order from the way you outlined them. Since the notes explain that they don't work well together, I don't have them attack the party in unison at all. They go one at a time, but the way I see it is a little logic exercise I call:

The Vampires' Dilemma:

When the mastiffs howl, they all convene to bicker over what to do. They agree that there are intruders in the lodge. The goal for each is to be the one to kill the PCs without the other two helping. Jair and Mazeflesh know Vahnwynne, and know that she has some shred of humanity left to her. Or elfity, as the case may be. They also don't know the power level of the party, but assume if they've gotten this far, they must be reasonably strong. Therefore, it's a very real possibility that the first vampire to go will be destroyed. Jair is wise and Mazeflesh is cunning. Jair speaks of how he will destroy the intruders and create spawn to further their goals. Specifically, he is appealing to Vahnwynne's self-hatred, and Mazeflesh catches on, and speaks of how he will savor their deaths through slow torture. This causes Vahnwynne to resolve to simply kill the PCs as fast as possible, partially to gain Ilnerik's favor, and partly to keep the other vampires from prolonging their suffering. She declares she will go and confront them, and the other two give token protest, but, self-satisfied, allow her to go test the PCs' powers.

Taking one of the spawn with her, she hides in the Arrival Bay (room B20), waiting for the PCs to approach. The spawn hides in the tavern (B17), ready to flank for her. In my game, the PCs came nearly to the doorway, and turned around to go back to the door at the bottom of the stairs. Vahnwynne chose this moment to strike from hiding, gaining sneak attack on her first strike. Between her own attacks and the spawn's, they significantly damaged the party, but were defeated. The PCs were unable to follow her (and the spawn's) misty form through the door into the Summoning Chamber (B21), and she returned to her coffin to rest for the next hour and heal.

This is as far as my group has gotten. The rest is only the DM moving pieces behind the scenes.

Jair and Mazeflesh observe this. They can't know how much damage Vahnwynne managed to do, but they know that the party is at least powerful enough to defeat one of their number, which they suspected. However, now Jair and Mazeflesh have to gamble. Whoever goes up next will face a weakened group of adventurers, but are they weakened enough for one to destroy them? Are the intruders capable of destroying another vampire? Each knows that if he goes next, he might be able to kill them, but he also knows that if he does, he might be weakened enough for the remaining vampire to finish him off, eliminating all rivals. It would be an easy matter to blame the death on the adventurers when giving his report to Ilnerik. But each knows that if he waits, his rival might be able to finish off the PCs without any trouble at all.

But the adventurers are close, and getting closer every minute the vampires delay. A decision has to be made.

Jair's wisdom prevails, as the waiting game is too much for the Mazeflesh Man's chaotic nature to bear. He attempts to take two of the spawn with him, but Jair points out that if they are all defeated, they'll need the spawn to protect them in their crypt. Frustrated and angry, Mazeflesh turns to mist and rises up to the floor above to attack the PCs. When he's gone, Jair goes to the crypt, and looks at Vahnwynne's resting body. He knows that Vahnwynne hunted their kind in life, and in death would doubtless take the opportunity to destory them. If Mazeflesh and Jair are defeated, Vahnwynne will be the first to awaken, and armed with two stakes, would be very likely to finish them in their coffins. It's only reasonable, therefore, even necessary, to preempt this attack, and he takes one of her own stakes and drives it through her heart.

With time to prepare, Jair will marshall the remaining three spawn and prepare a defense against intrusion. Two spawn will hide flanking the stairwell, with the doors to the Mausoleum left open (B23), and one will act as bait in the hallway leading forward toward the artifact (B26). He will then wait in the hallway leading to his own chamber (B25), listening for the door above and watching for the misty remnant of the Mazeflesh man to come down the stairs.

Meanwhile, above, the Mazeflesh man will seep into the upper floor in gaseous form, and if the party is not in sight, he will take solid form and listen for them. He will attempt to spot them without being seen (Stealth +14, so there's a good chance he'll be seen), and will attack from hiding, catching an opponent flat-footed with a single shot from his crossbow (I figure this to be a surprise round, and anyone who made their Perception check against his stealth can take an action). He'll use Deadly Aim for the first shot and get -2 to hit and +4 damage (+13, 1d10+8). Once combat begins, if he can catch an opponent flat-footed, and no one has closed to melee, he'll fire again, two shots from the crossbow at (+13/+8, 1d10+8). Then he'll drop the bow and prepare to fight the first opponent to close with him.

Whether Mazeflesh wins or loses, Jair waits below. Any vampire that goes up to fight must come done in one form or another, so Jair is confident he'll know the outcome of the battle soon. Above all, however, he must keep the intruders from reaching the artifact. If any PCs remain alive, he may dominate one to get it for him, but he would not allow a free-willed PC to get a weapon against him as powerful as that. His undead minions have until they turn to dust, and he can always go get more. But the Morrowfall in the hands of a free-willed PC is the thing he should fear most of all.

In any case, the vampires don't sit quietly in their rooms waiting for the party to come and kill them. How you run it is up to you, but after reading their descriptions, this was the scenario that came to my mind. I hope this helps, and maybe you can alter it to suit your party's style more.

Good luck.

Grand Lodge

Nice written scenario with the vampires! I need to re-read What Lies in Dust again, but I remember bits and pieces and that sounds like exactly like what these vampires would do. My group is still going through the Asmodean Knot right now in Chapter 2, so I've got a ways to go, but I'll definitely use this scenario! Thanks!

Taldor

Christopher Dudley wrote:
I am running them in exactly the opposite order from the way you outlined them. Since the notes explain that they don't work well together, I don't have them attack the party in unison at all. They go one at a time, but the way I see it is a little logic exercise I call:

Wow, that was very interesting to read. Thanks for sharing this with us. I think I will use this when I run this adventure quite soon.


w0nkothesane wrote:

IS anybody else out there bothered by the behavior of the vampires at the end of this adventure?

It seems plain old stupid for the vampires to wait for the PCs to come to them. Knowing my group, they'd seek them out anyway, if only because they tend to want to explore every nook and cranie in a dungeon, but I intend to implement a bit more interesting of tactics, based on the vampires' personalities.

I ran this phase a bit differently.

Spoiler:
After the shadow mastiffs, the party was pretty beaten up, so they opted to rest in the hall of armor. As they rested, I had the most violent and aggressive vampire move up to attack them: Jair. After a few crits on the cleric who was on watch he attempted to escape by gaseous form. The party was having none of this, so they followed. Jair was reduced to 0 hit points so he lead the party to the tavern and the soulbound dolls before escaping into the summoning chamber.

Delayed by the dolls and the puzzle of summoning chamber (which they figured out the hard way), Jair had already escaped. Going down into the vault area the spawn immediately jumped to fight hoping this was their ticket out. The next round Vahnwynne arrived. As the party has gotten this far she hopes they can end her cursed existence and wades in with spikes. Meanwhile, one of the spawn has taken a PC by dominate.

Jair, being the wisest, uses his summon creatures of the night to call rats and waits for them to gather. Either Vahnwynne will be killed, harming some of the party or she will survive long enough for Jair to swoop in to steal the glory. By the time he emerges and arrogently attacks with a summoned monster, the party is looking very close to lost.

Only at this point does the spawn's over zealous nature cause problems. He commands the dominated PC to attack another, which is against her nature. The secondary save succeeds and with her regained wits can pull out and use the scroll of sunburst from the wave door. Barely making both the concentration and the use magic device, she ground centers the sunburst on herself. Every vampire fails their save and is is ashed. Three party members fail as well and are blinded. Then the rats attack. Blind and injured, they barely stumble their way out of the fight and retreat without retrieving Morrowfall.

This was an epic fight that used the vampires to draw the party in but was very dangerous. A few rolls different and this might have been a TPK. I liked the way it turned out but I'm not certain others should follow this as a plan.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

Moonbeam wrote:
Wow, that was very interesting to read. Thanks for sharing this with us. I think I will use this when I run this adventure quite soon.

Thanks! That's very flattering. I should point out, however, that my group didn't have the key, so they wouldn't have been able to follow through the door without taking some time to try a few knock spells or beat the thing down.


The Chelish Crux on page 10

Spoiler:
contains a wand of break enchantment. Is this a paladin or a bard-made item? (4th level spell cap on wands)

Are scrolls as a general rule not identified in provenance (divine or arcane, or even class-specific) in Pathfinder modules?

The grave candle in page 11

Spoiler:
has unlimited usage? I'm guessing not, from the amount found inside the Chelish Crux!
That seems like an expensive item for a consumable! I know, CL 10 and -4 to saves, and less limits on the state of the corpse, but still... I'm thinking most groups with a cleric would rather sell the candles for 1/2 their price, buy/make a bunch of scrolls of speak with dead with part of the proceeds, and take their chances!

What happens if the corpse saves? Is the candle used up?

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8

Nube Negra wrote:

The grave candle in page 11 ** spoiler omitted **

Well, the thing about the grave tallow is, it can communicate with not-intact bodies. Speak with dead requires that the corpse be in a complete enough state to speak, whereas the grave candle only requires that some remains be present (see, the petrified remains and the ashes).

Paizo Employee Creative Director

In general, a scroll's status of being divine or arcane is something I'd rather let the GM decide, so he can make the treasure in the adventure more usable to his particular mix of player characters.

In my home games, it doesn't matter if a scroll's arcane or divine; if the spell's on your list you can use the scroll. Doesn't break the game and makes paperwork a LOT less annoying.

As for the spoiler buttons...

Chelish Crux Contents:

Spoiler:
The wand was created by a bard. The only reason this would matter, of course, is if you're trying to work out the price of the item, I guess; wands don't care if their users are divine or arcane.

Grave Candle:

Spoiler:
A grave candle is a one-use item. It's consumed when it is used. That's why we gave out several of them in the adventure. It's expensive because it can communicate with non-intact bodies, which is a pretty huge advantage over speak with dead, which can be defeated by mutilating the corpse or simply by letting it decay into dust.


James Jacobs wrote:

In general, a scroll's status of being divine or arcane is something I'd rather let the GM decide, so he can make the treasure in the adventure more usable to his particular mix of player characters.

In my home games, it doesn't matter if a scroll's arcane or divine; if the spell's on your list you can use the scroll. Doesn't break the game and makes paperwork a LOT less annoying.

As for the spoiler buttons...

Chelish Crux Contents: ** spoiler omitted **

Grave Candle: ** spoiler omitted **

Thank you very much!

One question remains. Is the candle used up if the corpse makes its save?


I'm prepping to start What Lies in Dust this weekend, and I have a question about the Wand of Restoration in the Wave Door cache. Is it capable of removing negative levels (that is, was it crafted with 50 x 1000 gp in diamond dust)?

Just added up the value of the cache, and it is over 34k if that's the case. Seems like a really big haul for 5th level characters when you consider the total party wealth should be around 42k for the group.

I can completely understand why all of the items are present, but I also wouldn't put it past my players to sell a bunch of that either, so I'm trying to keep a lid on things.

Has anyone tweaked the cache contents, or had their players skip it outright? How'd the group fare?


FarmerBob wrote:
Has anyone tweaked the cache contents, or had their players skip it outright? How'd the group fare?

Giving this more thought, I think I'll reduce the charges in the wand to match the number of PCs, since it can only remove 1 neg level/PC/week. They'll be swimming in lesser restoration potions and scrolls, so they won't use the wand to cure ability damage anyway.

To spice it up a bit, I will throw in a burned out ioun stone that counteracts a negative level when placed in a wayfinder. They already have one of these stones and a wayfinder as part of the backstory of a PC, so they'll be able to figure out what it is. That drops the value by a good 10k and still provides all of the immediate benefit they'll need when facing the final encounters in Delvehaven. If they survive, there are NPCs available who'll be able to remove subsequent negative levels between adventures, for a fee, of course.

[ Edit: I now see that they'll likely get temp negative levels, which makes more charges in the wand useful, and the wand doesn't need to be juiced to remove permanent negative levels. I need to think about this more. ]

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

FarmerBob wrote:

I'm prepping to start What Lies in Dust this weekend, and I have a question about the Wand of Restoration in the Wave Door cache. Is it capable of removing negative levels (that is, was it crafted with 50 x 1000 gp in diamond dust)?

Just added up the value of the cache, and it is over 34k if that's the case. Seems like a really big haul for 5th level characters when you consider the total party wealth should be around 42k for the group.

I can completely understand why all of the items are present, but I also wouldn't put it past my players to sell a bunch of that either, so I'm trying to keep a lid on things.

Has anyone tweaked the cache contents, or had their players skip it outright? How'd the group fare?

Actually the wave door was one of the things that bugged me about this adventure. Apart from the key to the doors, the contents of the wave door cache make no sense. They seem to be the perfect items to fight and recover from the fight with the vampires in the vault. Only, when the items were placed there, there were no vampires in the vault. And given the story is that those items were placed in a secret place so that someone can get into Delvehaven at a later date, it seems pretty silly that nothing in the cache actually helps the party get into Delvehaven the way the last Pathfinders left it.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Christopher Dudley wrote:
... Only, when the items were placed there, there were no vampires in the vault. ...

But the Pathfinders (and especially Donatalus) feared that a missing ex-dear friend (you know who I mean) would end up as a vampire - sooner or later. And in the confusion of the beginning war in Cheliax he and his fellows pushed the solution of this "special problem" to a later date - making arrangements and putting those things into the Wave Door.

Kind regards

Grand Lodge

3 people marked this as a favorite.

I created some player hand outs which can be used to construct a physical Chelish crux. Just cut along the pentagon lines. I riffed off the above ideas, changes mostly due to me hunting for images that looked cool / embossed well.

Hellhound

Tiefling
Fates
Bone Devil
Unicorn
Skull
Angel wings
Spider
Layers of Hell
Devil star
Marilith
Asmodeus

Key:

Spoiler:

1 = Unicorn (one horn)
2 = Tiefling (two horns)
3 = The Fates (3 of 'em)
4 = Hellhound (4 legs)
5 = Bone devil (4 appendages, one weapon)
6 = Skull head (the 6 little squid legs)
7 = Devil star (7 negative spaces)
8 = Spider (8 legs)
9 = Layers of Hell (9 layers)
10 = Asmodeus ( 5 points, 5 lines)
11 = Angel Wings ( each Wing is the number one)
12 = Marilith (6 arms, 6 weapons)

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