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Mother of Flies (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

Andoran RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

The stat block for Dog's Tongue (and other redcaps) doesn't seem to include the +4 damage bonus from the Red Cap ability. This would bring its damage up to 2d4+11 for the scythe, and 1d4+8 for its kick. I can understand if this wasn't included since it only applies while wearing the red cap, and is therefore situational if the cap is stolen, the stat block does include the fast healing 3 from the red cap, so at the very least, it should be consistent and include both abilities or exclude both.

Andoran RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

In the bestiary, is there any way to break the Vryolakas Feral Possession power once it's possessed an animal other than killing the animal, such as remove curse, break enchantment, limited wish, etc? I would imagine a party druid would be pretty unhappy after beating a Vryolakas and having to kill their animal companion if it gets possessed.

Also, for the Ghorazagh, what is the shape blood ability linked to it's claw attacks? The text of the monster mentions the ability to build structures out of blood, but not sure if that's directly linked to a claw attack as presented in the stat block. In addition, the bloodspray ability isn't listed under special attacks in the stat block.

Taldor PaizoCon Founder, Wayfinder Editor-in-Chief

JoelF847 wrote:
In the bestiary, is there any way to break the Vryolakas Feral Possession power once it's possessed an animal other than killing the animal, such as remove curse, break enchantment, limited wish, etc? I would imagine a party druid would be pretty unhappy after beating a Vryolakas and having to kill their animal companion if it gets possessed.

Hey Joel,

As the contributor for this one, my intention was that you'd have to kill the animal. I had been researching the vrykolakas, and was delighted to see animal possession in the folklore. The image of the party chasing after a small squirrel is wonderful.

The adaptation of magic jar was a Paizo addition. I knew that Paizo was working on possession rules and such, so I put the ability in, hoping that it would serve as an example of possession for them to apply the new rules. However, magic jar seems to be a better fit for the ability.

I'd say that if the special ability is to be treated as the spell magic jar then a dispel magic would probably work. Dispel Evil maybe too. It is not a curse, and not an enchantment. And, of course, Protection from Evil would likely prevent the possession.

My concern with this, is
1) Does Dispel Magic even work on Supernatural Abilities? I mean, can you Dispel Magic on a vampire that becomes mist, forcing it to assume its original form? I view it in that way...so I'd say no.
2) But, if you could...in doing this, does it effectively neuter the ability, making the CR 10 creature less challenging/menacing? For 6th level characters, the earliest lvl to have access to Dispel Magic, the vrykolakas would be nearly out of their league, anyway. For 10th level characters, though...the use of dispel magic would probably take the teeth out of Feral Possession, thus eliminating the cool factor of this aspect of the vrykolakas.

Barring a magical solution, the only way to get the vrykolakas out of the animal without killing it would be to capture it, and prevent it from returning to the gravesite. If the vrykolakas doesn't reach its resting place in time, the magic jar effect would expire, and the vrykolakas would exit and die.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Protection from evil and dispel evil should both work to end a vrykolakas's possession power.

Taldor PaizoCon Founder, Wayfinder Editor-in-Chief

James Jacobs wrote:
Protection from evil and dispel evil should both work to end a vrykolakas's possession power.

Yeah! I got one right! Oh, wait.....I said no. Damn.

Well, I am probably biased, wanting PCs to really think hard before tanglin' with the vrykolakas. ;-)

I noticed that the possession devils use basically the same mechanic, too.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

I noticed under Ilnerik's stat block that many of his skills are listed at + 0, including most of his knowledge skills and Bluff, despite high Int and Cha scores. Was this a mistake?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Joseph Jolly wrote:
I noticed under Ilnerik's stat block that many of his skills are listed at + 0, including most of his knowledge skills and Bluff, despite high Int and Cha scores. Was this a mistake?

It was a mistake; those are skills he doesn't have ranks in, and there was some sort of weird mixup when it came to generating the stats in our excel-based stat block generator and the fact that bards can make knowledge checks untrained. We've since corrected that issue with the statblock generator... but we still should have caught the error in his stat block on the page and edited out all the +0 scores.

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
Joseph Jolly wrote:
I noticed under Ilnerik's stat block that many of his skills are listed at + 0, including most of his knowledge skills and Bluff, despite high Int and Cha scores. Was this a mistake?
It was a mistake; those are skills he doesn't have ranks in, and there was some sort of weird mixup when it came to generating the stats in our excel-based stat block generator and the fact that bards can make knowledge checks untrained. We've since corrected that issue with the statblock generator... but we still should have caught the error in his stat block on the page and edited out all the +0 scores.

YOU HAVE AN EXCEL BASED STATBLOCK GENERATOR?! All the time I've been doing these Legacy of Fire statblock updates I could have been using a formula instead of my over-worked brain?!

GIVE THIS TECHNOLOGY TO MEEEEEE.

Please.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Karui Kage wrote:

YOU HAVE AN EXCEL BASED STATBLOCK GENERATOR?! All the time I've been doing these Legacy of Fire statblock updates I could have been using a formula instead of my over-worked brain?!

GIVE THIS TECHNOLOGY TO MEEEEEE.

Please.

We don't give out all our toys. Some of them we keep to ourselves. This includes the excel-based stat block generator, our style guide, and lots of other in-house tools we've developed or maintain to help us do our jobs.

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Understandable. But sad. ;_;

Taldor

Karui Kage wrote:
Understandable. But sad. ;_;

LOL! This reminds me of a client who hired one of our competitors for a second opinion. The competitor called us and said, "Can we have your raw data?"

LOL!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

But shouldn't Ilnerik have ranks in bluff?? Especially since he's a bard with Improved Feint?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Joseph Jolly wrote:
But shouldn't Ilnerik have ranks in bluff?? Especially since he's a bard with Improved Feint?

Since he has Versatile Performance (sing), he can use Perform (sing) for all his Bluff check needs. No need for any ranks in Bluff at all. In fact, I suspect what happened in the stat block generator was that the initial build had him with ranks in Bluff, but I stripped them out and reassigned them elsewhere when I realized he didn't need them since he can use his Perform (sing) check in place of a Bluff check. But the stat block generator didn't realize it and kept it in there at +0 or something.

Pathfinder Lead Developer, Frog God Games

I'm pretty sure I was still working from the 3.5/PF Beta rules when I wrote this adventure, so all of the above mix-ups make perfect sense.

My excuses for messed up stat blocks in later adventures will require some more work, however.

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

I just noticed the Thieves in the first ambush have notes indicating some kind of fireball globe, but can't find anything on their statblocks. Meep?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

It's not listed in the stats, since later thieves use that stat block as well. Look on the opposite page for a note about it, it is a 6d6 fireball necklace bead for each rogue in the ambush.

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Ah, geez, I didn't see that blurb in the corner. Thanks for pointing it out.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

No worries, same thing happened to me first time reading through.

Taldor

James Jacobs wrote:
Joseph Jolly wrote:
But shouldn't Ilnerik have ranks in bluff?? Especially since he's a bard with Improved Feint?
Since he has Versatile Performance (sing), he can use Perform (sing) for all his Bluff check needs. No need for any ranks in Bluff at all. In fact, I suspect what happened in the stat block generator was that the initial build had him with ranks in Bluff, but I stripped them out and reassigned them elsewhere when I realized he didn't need them since he can use his Perform (sing) check in place of a Bluff check. But the stat block generator didn't realize it and kept it in there at +0 or something.

James, can I add the +2 to diplomacy checks from Persuasive feat to a versatile performance "perform oratory diplomacy check" ?

Any pointers would be appreciated. Our group is running into this question a lot lately (i.e. versatile perf. checks and their interaction with skill-boosting feats)

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

I think that was answered on a thread in the Rules Questions forum. In essence, no. Versatile Performance allows you to use your Perform score in place of the respective skills, while feats like Persuasive add to the skills being replaced, not to Perform.

Skill Focus (Perform [Whatever]) is your best bet.


Pathfinder Card Game, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Karui Kage wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Joseph Jolly wrote:
I noticed under Ilnerik's stat block that many of his skills are listed at + 0, including most of his knowledge skills and Bluff, despite high Int and Cha scores. Was this a mistake?
It was a mistake; those are skills he doesn't have ranks in, and there was some sort of weird mixup when it came to generating the stats in our excel-based stat block generator and the fact that bards can make knowledge checks untrained. We've since corrected that issue with the statblock generator... but we still should have caught the error in his stat block on the page and edited out all the +0 scores.

YOU HAVE AN EXCEL BASED STATBLOCK GENERATOR?! All the time I've been doing these Legacy of Fire statblock updates I could have been using a formula instead of my over-worked brain?!

GIVE THIS TECHNOLOGY TO MEEEEEE.

Please.

http://theonlysheet.com its not free, but its a great character generator/sheet/tracker. PFRPG and D20 3.5 compatible (you can switch between the two). They have great support as well.

It's from the creator of the The Loot Divider


DMs wanting examples of The Mother's speech (kindly grandmother who would happily eat your entrails while you watch) should look at Orddu and Orwen from Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles, especially The Black Cauldron and Taran Wanderer. Nice mix of friendly and creepy-scary, which the Mother of Flies largely is in this encounter.


Looking over Ilnerik's Tactics, I find it rather odd that an Undead is inspiring courage even though he is not granted any bonuses from a morale mind-affecting effect. I think this is an error...Perhaps story has a point to this? Does the Totemrix allow him to keep the bonus?


I was looking at the Hill giant stats for the seige encounter and discovered that it does 1d8 + str with a hurled rock. Then I read rock throwing and it said that it does 2x the slam damage. Is this an error?


Aretas wrote:
I was looking at the Hill giant stats for the seige encounter and discovered that it does 1d8 + str with a hurled rock. Then I read rock throwing and it said that it does 2x the slam damage. Is this an error?

That's more than likely an error. Follow what Rock Throwing says.

My party went straight for the Dark Folk and Stiglor, rolled horrible on reinforcements. If they get Fmugwha and the Bloodcaps, that camp is enough to finish the battle.

Any ruling on that morale effect from Ilnerik? I would imagine that it works since it's in his Tactics. Perhaps an ability from the Totemrix?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Actually... go with the 1d8 base damage for the hill giant's hurled rocks. The universal monster rock hurling rules at the end of the book are the generic rules. When you go to the actual entry for the hill giant on page 150 of the Bestiary, though, it does 1d8 base damage with rocks. Basically—changes to universal monster rule expectations in a monster's stat block always overrule the "generic" version of those rules. It IS a bit awkward that all the monsters who use "rock hurling" use different dice than what the universal monster rules suggest, and if there IS an error there, it's in the universal monster rules. But it's all good, anyway.

As for the fact that Ilnerik, being undead, cannot gain the benefits of morale bonuses... undead are indeed immune to morale bonuses. The thing here is, though, that bardic inspire courage does not grant morale bonuses at all—it grants a competence bonus to attack rolls and a morale bonus to saves against charm and fear.

That said, though, he IS still immune to the effects because he's immune to mind-affecting effects and inspire courage is mind-affecting. It's basically an error; he shouldn't be using inspire courage at all, unless he has some dominated living allies handy! He's got LOTS of other options, fortunately.

Taldor

James: can't a creature drop its immunity? akin to willingly failing a save? just a thought... it seems silly that an undead bard would lose the benefits of its bardic music class feature.


Purple Dragon Knight wrote:
James: can't a creature drop its immunity? akin to willingly failing a save? just a thought... it seems silly that an undead bard would lose the benefits of its bardic music class feature.

An undead barbarian rages and loses -2 AC.

I think it's a nice complication of the system. Lets me use an undead barbarian in a game and drop his CR a bit since he rages and can only use paltry rage powers.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Personally, I have no problem at all with allowing undead barbarians and bards to gain full effects of morale bonuses, but the RAW says they're immune to morale bonuses. Rule as you wish in your games, basically.

That said, barbarian is not really a great option for undead anyway, since even if they DO get rage at full effect, they don't have a Constitution score anyway.

Taldor

WARNING: this will give you a severe headache. Here we go...

It seems to me the whole "undead are immune to mind affecting" = "undead don't have emotions" is flawed from the get go, as several undead are sentient, such as vampires and ghouls, and I would think vamps and ghouls are fully capable of showing wrath, cruelty and ferocity...

I can understand the immune to mind affecting for mindless undead like skellies and zombies, but anything with Int should be affected if they want to.

The trait section says this:

*Immunity to all mind-affecting effects (charms,
compulsions, morale effects, patterns, and phantasms).

AND

Immunity to any effect that requires a Fortitude save (unless
the effect also works on objects or is harmless).

*Case in point: the only other creatures who share the same wording are oozes, constructs and vermin... all mindless things... thus I don't think this was ever designed for non-mindless undead in general...

Note how the immunity vs. Fort save effects is worded: immune unless harmless (referring to buffing spells). So a vamp can buff itself with a Haste or Protection from Energy, which are Fortitude negates (harmless), for example. It appears that similar wording should be appended to the mind-affecting effects blurb (something like "immune unless willing to be affected by the effect")

Moreover, I don't want to split hairs, but the only definition of mind-affecting in the Core book is this (correct me if I'm wrong), which clearly only refers to spells (basically, mind-affecting is a descriptor, like fire, evil, sonic, etc.):

[Descriptor]
Appearing on the same line as the school and subschool, when applicable, is a descriptor that further categorizes the spell in some way. Some spells have more than one descriptor.
The descriptors are acid, air, chaotic, cold, darkness, death, earth, electricity, evil, fear, fire, force, good, language-dependent, lawful, light, mind-affecting, sonic, and water.
Most of these descriptors have no game effect by themselves, but they govern how the spell interacts with other spells, with special abilities, with unusual creatures, with alignment, and so on.
A language-dependent spell uses intelligible language as a medium for communication. If the target cannot understand or cannot hear what the caster of a languagedependant spell says, the spell fails.
A mind-affecting spell works only against creatures with an Intelligence score of 1 or higher.

Also: (splitting hair some more... if anyone thinks this may be the loophole we are looking for let me know but I doubt myself thoroughly with this... :P)

RAGE: is not a morale effect... it is an Extraordinary ability that grants morale bonus to STR and CON... there's nothing in the undead trait that they are immune to a morale bonus.

INSPIRE COURAGE: 1) is referred to as a mind-affecting "ability", not "effect," which tends to suggest that non-hostile mind-affecting powers are purposefully not referred to as "abilities" so as to not be categorized into the immunity wording and 2) like rage, this provides morale and competence bonii, and nothing says undead can't benefit from a bonus. The bard suggestion ability don't fit my nice little bubble of logic here, but Dirge of Doom does (i.e. Dirge of doom is a mind-affecting fear effect, and it relies on audible and visual components), so does Frightening Tune and Deadly Performance (both referred to as "effect")


That's a lot of nitpicking.

Mind-affecting abilities result in mind-affecting effects. A construct can still make intimidate checks, but it can't be effected by intimidate.

That's pretty much all there is to that. Or can I cast spells on constructs now because they're immune to the effects of magic but not immune to the abilities of magic?

Taldor

Ice Titan wrote:

That's a lot of nitpicking.

Mind-affecting abilities result in mind-affecting effects. A construct can still make intimidate checks, but it can't be effected by intimidate.

That's pretty much all there is to that. Or can I cast spells on constructs now because they're immune to the effects of magic but not immune to the abilities of magic?

I told you I didn't really believe in my own conclusions... I'm just fishing here in case any of the nitpicks ring true with James... but I'm not expecting they are. :P

The bottom line of what I'm trying to say is that these things provide a bonus to something. Creatures cannot be "immune to a bonus." I think the fact that some abilities are listed as mind-affecting does not mean that creatures immune to mind-affecting effects are barred from a bonus these abilities provide. I think that in fact they are listed as mind-affecting so they can be categorized for the purposes of knowing how to deal with them with other effects (say, if a bard's enemies have an ability that generates a field that suppress all mind-affecting abilities and effects...)


The Vrykolakas statblock lists "horrid visage" in the Special Attacks section and "feed" in the Special Qualities section, but there is no explanation for what either ability does. Were they in an early draft and cut from the final monster?


Right, I miss the corresponding entries, too. ;)


Maybe Green Ronin's Advanced Bestiary's Poltergeist's "Terrifying Image" (p. 130) could be a good start for developing the vrykolakas' "Horrid Visage" ability.

And for the "Feed" ability you can perhaps read Necromancer's Tome of Horrors I Revised Boggart's "Feed" (p. 44) for fleshing out the vrykolakas' ability.

:) Good luck!


I've been looking the attack bonus for Ilnerik over quite a few times now. Isn't it off by a few points?

His BaB should be +9
Add his str bonus of +6
Weapon Focus(Slam) +1
Amulet of mighty fists +2
And we end up with +18, but the stats say +15.

And how do you get +12 to damage?
As I see it it would be +9 from str (Single slam=1½*6)
+2 from amulet of mighty fists
+2 from arcane strike
And we end up with +13

Then we can always discus whether his inspire courage would work on himself or not, I'm personally inclined to let it work, but I need all the help I can get to scratch my players ;)

Am I missing something?


Gworeth wrote:
...Ilnerik...

I see it as you do. :)

...and for Inspire Courage: "...(including himself)..." Core Rules p. 37

Taldor PaizoCon Founder, Wayfinder Editor-in-Chief

Are wrote:

The Vrykolakas statblock lists "horrid visage" in the Special Attacks section and "feed" in the Special Qualities section, but there is no explanation for what either ability does. Were they in an early draft and cut from the final monster?

Yeah, good catch there. Those were from my draft that got cut in the process. Not sure if it was because of space, or that the extra specials made it far too powerful or just too complicated.....

Anyway, Scharlata has the gist of it. My inspirations were actually folklore, but I took a little from the mummy and the barghest.

Horrid Visage (Su): At the mere sight of a vrykolakas, the viewer must succeed on a DC 20 Will save or be paralyzed with fear for 1d4 rounds. Whether or not the save is successful, that creature cannot be affected again by the same vrykolakas's horrid visage for 24 hours. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Feed (Su) When a person dies due to a vrykolakas' pestilence, the vrykolakas steals some of their lifeforce. For every 5 victims, it gains 1 Hit Die, but only once per week, when it must spend a day of repose at its burial site.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

P. 46 says that there are three chuuls in the water, the stat block is for 2, and they give the CR of 1.

I'm also not sure what stairs are supposed to lead to F1. Is it the stairs that are unlabeled between D14 and D7. Where do the stairs in D16 lead to?

Pathfinder Lead Developer, Frog God Games

The chuuls are a change from the original manuscript, so I'm not sure what is intended. I'd say pick the one that works for you.

The stairs at D16 (and continuing down between C12 and C13--they have no First Floor egress) are what lead to F1.

The stairs between D7 and D14 lead down to C16.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Also, I couldn't figure out who to get to the D floor from the C floor. There's that weird passage behind the secret door that's by the from door, is that it?

Pathfinder Lead Developer, Frog God Games

Preston Poulter wrote:
Also, I couldn't figure out who to get to the D floor from the C floor. There's that weird passage behind the secret door that's by the from door, is that it?

Spoiler:
The secret passage is the primary way, though it leads into a trap. The old house behind Walcourt that leans against it actually has a secret door on the second floor that leads into into D15, so PCs could climb the stairs int hat house and then enter the second floor of the guildhall. And then it they're already inside, the PCs can take the stairs between C16 and the stairs beside D7.

Can someone please explain to me how...

Spoiler:
...Sandor the Strange manages to send out greater prying eyes (8th level) [p. 30] when he can only cast 6th-level spells [p. 44]?

He should prepare prying eyes two times/day to cover a double-11-hour-shift, shouldn't he?

How does Sandor cover the entire Walcourt interior area on all levels including the caretaker's house with just one false vision? The duration is only 1 hour/level and the area is only a 40-ft. emanation.

Do I miss some explanatory text or should I ignore the "petty details"? ;)

Thanx for your input.


The "greater" is probably a typo.

False vision could work if there was a 70ft-version, but with the actual 40ft-version you'd need two to cover the entire building.

You could give him the Extend Spell feat or a metamagic rod of extend to fix the duration issue.


Are wrote:

The "greater" is probably a typo.

False vision could work if there was a 70ft-version, but with the actual 40ft-version you'd need two to cover the entire building.

You could give him the Extend Spell feat or a metamagic rod of extend to fix the duration issue.

Thanx for your input.

1. "Greater" is probably a typo.
2. I should have written "double-12-hours-shift" as he is 12th level (my fault).
3. Does a metamagic rod of "widen" exist (to double the area)?

Spoiler:
4. I'll probably give his telescope those magical properties (extend and widen) to make sure that he is able to do what the text states and to make it a little difficult for the PCs to carry a potent magic item away.

What do you think?


By the way...

Spoiler:
... what caster level does Sandor's staff of the blue dragon have? Should it be 8th (minimum for any staff)?

Just curious


Timitius wrote:
vrykolakas

Thanx for your descriptions.

Pathfinder Lead Developer, Frog God Games

Scharlata wrote:

By the way...

** spoiler omitted **

Just curious

8th is probably about right if the wielder has a lower caster level than that. However, the adventure is for 9th-level and up, so it should most likely be the wielder's caster level.


Greg A. Vaughan wrote:
8th is probably about right ...

Thank you for the clarification.

By the way, me (and my group, I hope) enjoyed the little excursion into the Hagwood. Particularly, I enjoyed the possibilty (over) acting as Dog's Tongue.

Spoiler:
I was always a little shy to include fey into my campaigns, but you managed to smoothly incorporate such an option, which was an even deeper experience because the adventure path consists mostly of human and outsider interaction.

Thank you.

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