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PFS#37 The Beggar's Pearl [SPOILERS]


Pathfinder Society GM Discussion

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Andoran *****

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Chris Kenney wrote:

I'm just curious - did you actually kill the final enemy?

** spoiler omitted **

Not only that, but she is immune to illusion, so Invisibility would not have worked against her. Sounds like your GM had the same problems I had, missing many things from the last fight.

Shadow Lodge ****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Dragnmoon wrote:
Chris Kenney wrote:

I'm just curious - did you actually kill the final enemy?

** spoiler omitted **

Not only that, but she is immune to illusion, so Invisibility would not have worked against her. Sounds like your GM had the same problems I had, missing many things from the last fight.

The final blow wasn't an issue. Our group has virtually every weapon under the sun available in some form or another (and our cleric keeps bless around to align weapons when needed). Our group is pretty cautious about this kind of thing and we had intended to question her, so the first thing done after she went down was to tie her up (since everything else was dead) and heal her ourselves and her with a channel positive energy burst. Once we realized what was going on, we put her down again with literally no danger with a coup de gras.

The illusion thing though is another story altogether. I'm still pretty sure it would have been a bloodbath though the first spell I got off on her was a glitterdust which she failed and between our rogue's sneak attacks and our barbarian's min damage of 23 points of damage while raging, the fight wouldn't last long while she was in that state. Our group was also nicely positioned for the ambush as I came up through the chimney while the melee types and rogue came up through the back entrance.

It didn't help that every other encounter in the dungeon was so easy both I (the wizard) and our group's sorcerer had barely touched our daily allotment of spells. The invisibility thing may have made the last fight absurdly easy, but I think we would have trivialized it pretty quickly with our group anyway.

Grand Lodge **

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber

Chalk it up to a poorly prepared dm maybe. Channeling energy was about the worst thing she could have done in those circumstances.

You could have had that first action go off- then her fear aura goes off as a free action, she shadow walks to her safety hide out, uses her scroll of lesser planar ally to call a half fiend minotaur (bartering her +1 buckler to easily pay him off), and comes back flying invisibly having cast aid just before her minotaur kicks the door in and starts spamming the room with fear effects and channeling negative energy. That sound like more of a challenge?

Shadow Lodge ****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
ithuriel wrote:

Chalk it up to a poorly prepared dm maybe. Channeling energy was about the worst thing she could have done in those circumstances.

You could have had that first action go off- then her fear aura goes off as a free action, she shadow walks to a safety spot, uses her scroll of lesser planar ally to call a half fiend minotaur (bartering her +1 buckler to easily pay him off), and comes back flying invisibly having cast aid just before her minotaur kicks the door in and starts spamming the room with fear effects and channeling negative energy. That sound like more of a challenge?

Unfortunately, having read her tactics now, what you just described isn't technically allowed. She sneaks herself in with the dero disguised if she has the jump on the party and it says she uses her channel energy power as an attack. She only retreats to her secret room if reduced to 5 or less hit points. Since GMs aren't supposed to change the outlined tactics what you just described isn't really supposed to be a possibility (the validity/benefits/problems of which is an argument for another place).

I still am with the group that honestly believes that if you get the jump on her and come up with a good plan, the encounter is very trivial.

Edit: It also doesn't address the problem that the whole dungeon is so horribly easy, that casters that have been expending spells appropriately likely have nearly their entire repertoire available. At the point we started the fight our sorcerer had used two first level spells, our cleric had used a call lightning and two channel energies (leaving all other spells available and a ton of channels), and I (the wizard) had two glitterdusts, a lightning bolt, two magic missiles, a pearl of power, a flaming sphere, a web, and a spiked pit available just to name a few spells. The ease of the rest of the dungeon is a determent to the last fight.

Grand Lodge **

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber

Do people really regard the tactics section as a concrete absolute? I go with it as the default, but if the group is having too hard of a time I consider it well within my ability as DM to lighten up on the tactics. Likewise- if they were having an unenjoyable cakewalk as you describe I would consider it okay to up the challenge by playing it tougher. I'll admit the lesser planar ally might be a bit strong, but your reading basically says a final encounter boss can't cast any spells unless the tactics section says so. Play like that and you'll have a lot of cakewalks.

Grand Lodge **

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber

Also- the two derros throwing out darkness and sneak attacks with two trolls was no challenge for your group of 5th and 6th level players?

Shadow Lodge ****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
ithuriel wrote:
Also- the two derros throwing out darkness and sneak attacks with two trolls was no challenge for your group of 5th and 6th level players?

Zero.

Spoiler:
There were multiple problems with making this encounter difficult. First off for level 6 characters darkness is pretty trivial (not deeper darkness mind you). Spells like darkvision, daylight, and continual flame (levels 2-3) are easily accessible by all spellcasting classes, and when you hear that you're heading into an "underground dwarven citadel" taking at least one of those spells is pretty much a no-brainer. A group can basically negate the effect of the darkness which in turn eliminates most of the environmental problems of the fight. Even if you don't have access to those spells though, a group that practices some basic tactics (we came in through the doorway and simply moved most of the party out of LOS), and they have just as difficult a time seeing us and we would them. Just because you can move into the darkness doesn't mean that you should and just because you can stand out in the open doesn't mean you should either.

As far as creatures go, the Dero were pretty much speed bumps. At their low hit points an average attack from a reasonably built fighter or a sneak attack from the rogue can pop one in one round. In our case, since roughly 2/3 the party couldn't see through the darkness, I just used an aqueous orb to roll them to us (and they were unconscious from its subdual damage by the time they came within melee range).

The trolls were the toughest of the bunch, but it's easy enough to kill them. Again with a couple reasonable fighter types in the group, you're going to be dealing a lot more damage than their regeneration. A coup de gras when they do go unconscious will take care of a troll without the need for fire or acid, and a fighter or barbarian dealing a minimum of 20+ points of damage a round will take one out in one to two rounds of combat when you factor in any other attacks that come its way (even with regeneration). Add to that a sorcerer with acid splash or the fact that pretty much everybody carries alchemist's fire and it's pretty much dead the moment it goes down.

Shadow Lodge ****

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
ithuriel wrote:
Do people really regard the tactics section as a concrete absolute? I go with it as the default, but if the group is having too hard of a time I consider it well within my ability as DM to lighten up on the tactics. Likewise- if they were having an unenjoyable cakewalk as you describe I would consider it okay to up the challenge by playing it tougher. I'll admit the lesser planar ally might be a bit strong, but your reading basically says a final encounter boss can't cast any spells unless the tactics section says so. Play like that and you'll have a lot of cakewalks.

Yes.

As stated (in just one example) here that is the intent of the design. Sometimes it creates "cakewalks," sometimes it creates "meatgrinders," but the intent is that a lot of the time the tactics are meant to balance out the encounters, which is why the GM is supposed to follow them. There are plenty of other examples of Josh saying the same thing, but I'm too lazy to find them.

As I said though, this is a discussion for elsewhere. I don't want it to turn into a merits/flaws debate of that particular rule in a module thread.

Grand Lodge **

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber

Agreed. Conversation moved over to that thread (which I took to be more a response to all these people fabricating new challenges that aren't part of the scenario- like terrain, concealment, extra monsters, etc.) Still though- I will point out that in this thread Josh agreed that it was a fine use of GM fiat when I stopped using the tactics section during the final encounter to give the PCs a chance. It has to go both ways. The GM is there to make sure the players have a good time. I'm not advocating going evil on them just for the fun of it. In this particular instance, it sounds like your group of players were bored and unchallenged. The boss encounter has the ability to provide a better challenge for you as statted out. I don't see why you wouldn't exercise a little fluidity while still working within the printed parameters of the opponent.

This particular mod has been both demoralizing and a cakewalk fully depending on the group. Sounds like you had an optimized group of experienced players. Doesn't happen every time.

Andoran

Dragnmoon wrote:


Not only that, but she is immune to illusion, so Invisibility would not have worked against her. Sounds like your GM had the same problems I had, missing many things from the last fight.
MisterSlanky wrote:
Way, way too easy

I'm going to fully take the blame for missing the fear-aura effects and the immune to illusion abilities - those in concert would have made the last fight a good-deal more challenging for you, Mr. Slanky, all your little friends. I simply didn't apply the basic skills I learned in 1st grade - reading.

That aside, if the party does sneak-in through the stairs in area 5 (AKA the kitchen) they have a good shot at getting the jump on our Lady Morilaeth - a melee character could probably charge the throne from the secret-door - assuming they made it past the fear-aura.

Aside from that, it's worth noting that bringing 6+ PCs to any of the PFS adventures tends to make things much easier. There's more utility spells, more eyeballs looking at maps, more knowledge skills to roll, not to mention radically increased party DPR - you can start one-round-killing encounters, particularly if you get a surprise round.

Shadow Lodge ****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Quasi-Human wrote:
I'm going to fully take the blame for missing the fear-aura effects and the immune to illusion abilities - those in concert would have made the last fight a good-deal more challenging for you, Mr. Slanky, all your little friends. I simply didn't apply the basic skills I learned in 1st grade - reading.

I think it would have increased the challenge but I still stand by my belief that the module was way too easy. Between the bard song, prayer, and the eventual barbarian rage, at least one of the fighters would have gotten through, and with the wizard out of range of the aura, it wouldn't have taken much to use our crowd control abilities to deal with her (since we had barely used any spells at all at that point).

Quote:

That aside, if the party does sneak-in through the stairs in area 5 (AKA the kitchen) they have a good shot at getting the jump on our Lady Morilaeth - a melee character could probably charge the throne from the secret-door - assuming they made it past the fear-aura.

Aside from that, it's worth noting that bringing 6+ PCs to any of the PFS adventures tends to make things much easier. There's more utility spells, more eyeballs looking at maps, more knowledge skills to roll, not to mention radically increased party DPR - you can start one-round-killing encounters, particularly if you get a surprise round.

Now this I'm in agreement with (to a point). A sneaky party that does some recon work is going to do much better than the group that runs in guns a-blazin' through the front door. I've also noticed some widely varied difficulty levels and while in some cases 6 players really changes things, in others it's nothing more than creating a more target-friendly environment for the GM.

Yes, the fight would have been more difficult under different circumstances, but I honestly think the minor missteps made probably dropped it from a 4 on a 1-10 scale to a 2. Really I think the module was GMed fine, but by leaving not one, but three "back doors" two of which are very easy to find and work with, it opens up the opportunity for a smart group to dominate the last encounter.

*

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

EDIT: Teach me to read all the posts before making a statement.

**

At level 3-4, ran this with a mostly rogue and bard party, no arcane and no heavy hitters.

Fights took an excruciatingly long time. I ran the derro out of his darkness to expediate that encounter fight.

Skipped the optional encounter.

For the boss fight, the sheer number of minis slowed things town tremendously, especially as they couldn't sort out who was a real threat (I was running online, which did not help). Most of the enemy was blinded by a well placed pyrotechnics, but that also meant most of the non-combatants could not effectively flee. The party's lack of DPR, or silvered or good weapons meant they were ineffectively locked up against a single rogue and the Lady for a very long time. She became a point of fixation.

Although her damage output wasn't great, the double fear auras (frightful presence + fear aura) meant that what little front-line power there was fled right off the bat. The cleric did have a remove fear, which helped, but once the blindness wore off the rest of the mite rogues came into play and really started tearing up the party. However, she kept regenerating; being surrounded, it was easier to fight then flee. Eventually, I just had her fly up (something the party had no counter for; they also lacked effective range). She shadow walked away with a evil monologue. After the fixation point was removed for the party, they were easily able to mop of the rogues.
Nobody died, but only because of a particularly enthusiastic cleric, and the fact that I was very careful to spread damage and target higher hp/AC characters as a DM.

So, the party I ran did not find this module particularly trivial.

**

Tangaroa wrote:

At level 3-4, ran this with a mostly rogue and bard party, no arcane and no heavy hitters.

By no arcane, I of course mean no wizards or sorcerers (or witches, for that matter)

Andoran

Table-humor tip:

In Act 1, when the trip to Torvic's cave beings, there's a bit of flavor text:

After enduring weeks of relentless mountain wind and
sleeting rain...

After reading that, (or whatever equivalent you come up with) without pausing at all, ask the table to do a 'Boredom Check' - it's hilarious to see a table full of gamers all simultaneously drop their heads to their char-sheets looking for their 'boredom save'.

Andoran

Can anyone tell me where I can get the skinny on Lady Morilaeth?

I'm signed up the DM this mod next month, but I can't seem to find the Advanced Bestiary. (The mod says that there's a description of the female nightmare creature elf cleric of Lamashtu on p187.) I've gone to two games stores and can't find it and, strangely, I couldn't find it on this website either. I checked the Bestiary 2 but that doesn't seem to be it since it's not on p187.

Does this information exist online? Would it be possible for someone to send it to me? Thank you!

Andoran *****

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Moriquende wrote:

Can anyone tell me where I can get the skinny on Lady Morilaeth?

I'm signed up the DM this mod next month, but I can't seem to find the Advanced Bestiary. (The mod says that there's a description of the female nightmare creature elf cleric of Lamashtu on p187.) I've gone to two games stores and can't find it and, strangely, I couldn't find it on this website either. I checked the Bestiary 2 but that doesn't seem to be it since it's not on p187.

Does this information exist online? Would it be possible for someone to send it to me? Thank you!

All her Powers are either described in the Stat block or in the back of the Bestiary I *Except for Domain powers which you can see in the Cleric Class*

fear aura Pg 300 Under Fear
frightful presence Pg 300

The Template itself is based on one from the Advanced Bestiary Pg 187, but you don't need that.

Grand Lodge **

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber

Her fear aura and frightful presence are slightly different in the referenced book, but the PF Core will trump the original source.

Advanced Bestiary wrote:


Fear Aura (Su) Any creature within 60 ft of Lady M will need to make a Will save. Failure = shaken anytime the target is within 60 feet of Lady M for the next 24 hours.

Frightful Presence (Ex) When the creature charges, makes a surprise attack, or makes a DC 15 Intimidate or Perform check all creatures within 30 feet must make a Will save or become panicked for 2d6 rounds. Success = immunity for one hour.

Still- I like applying the original limiting conditions for use of Frightful Presence as it keeps her from double spamming fear effects at will in the lower tiers. Also- take some time to familiarize yourself with her special abilities. They are out of the ordinary. For example- immunity to illusions. That includes blur, mirror image, invisibility etc.

***** Venture-Lieutenant, Arizona—Tucson aka Sir_Wulf

Moriquende wrote:
Can anyone tell me where I can get the skinny on Lady Morilaeth?

For most purposes, the scenario gives all the information you'll need when the party encounters Lady Morilaeth, but you'll want to carefully comb over her stat block. He odd resistances and powers make her difficult to put down for good. I'd also recommend that you carefully go over this thread: Previous posters have discussed several concerns they had with the scenario's encounters.

Unfortunately, Beggar's Pearl was written before Pathfinder's final version was released. Some abilities originally described in Lady Morilaeth's stat block were instead referred to the versions in the Pathfinder Bestiary, which could make them overly potent. Please refer to the following information, which has also been posted earlier in this thread:

Spoiler:
As others have commented, Lady Morilaeth's fear-based abilities are both considerably more powerful than originally envisioned.

Adding confusion to the mix, the descriptions given for each ability in Green Ronin's Advanced Bestiary are quite different from the Pathfinder versions. To bring things closer to the original power level, you may wish to use the following descriptions for these abilities:

Fear Aura (Su) Any creature within 60 feet of Lady Morilaeth must succeed on a DC 14 Will save or become shaken, half-remembered nightmares rising unbidden in their minds. This condition applies whenever the creature comes within 60 feet of Lady Morilaeth within the next 24 hours. Creatures that save are immune to her fear aura for the next 24 hours. This aura is a mind-affecting fear effect.
At the high tier, the fear aura's save DC rises to 16. The "fear" description in the Pathfinder Bestiary allows that in addition to freezing an opponent or acting like the fear spell, "other effects are possible". I recommend making this an exception to the more common effects.

Frightful Presence (Ex) When Lady Morilaeth makes a surprise attack, charges, or succeeds on a DC 15 Intimidate or Perform check, her unnatural presence fills her victims with nightmarish terror. All creatures within 30 feet must succeed on a DC 14 Will save or be frightened for 2d6 rounds. Success makes the creature immune to this effect for 24 hours. Frightful presence is a mind-affecting fear effect.
At the high tier, her frightful presence's save DC rises to 16. The original effect caused victims to be panicked rather than frightened, but this version is more consistent with the description given in the Pathfinder Bestiary.

***** Venture-Lieutenant, Arizona—Tucson aka Sir_Wulf

A Roleplaying Note:

Spoiler:
The scenario's climactic battle is meant to seem nightmarish and surreal, with dozens of inebriated creatures drunkenly staggering about, illuminated only by bloody red torches swung wildly about by the revelers.

Scatter a few taller creatures in the mix: Orcish slaves ordered to join the revelry, they wear ill-fitting masks and costumes. Revolting hallucinations grip them as they thrash about to the haphazard beat of the derros' discordant music.

Morilaeth, the Lady of Nightmare, is at first only seen in glimpses, then may vanish entirely as she begins her trickery. Soon she reappears, hissing unwelcome invitations to those unwilling to join her endless nightmare dance. Remember that Morilaeth is not entirely of this world: Emphasize the way her voice whispers into the depths of one's soul, how her movements seem alien and uncanny, more like those of a preying mantis than a woman. With a casual gesture, she draws nightmare images from the hidden depths of her foes' minds, smiling at their horror with eyes as empty and cold as the void between stars...

Andoran

Thank you, Dragnmoon, ithuriel and Sir_Wulf, for the help! I think I'm almost there. In the mod there's a stat block for Tier 1-2 and Tier 6-7, but for Tier 3-4 (which is naturally the one I'm going to be running) all it says is...

Question on Tier 3-4 Stats:
"hp 16 (Tier 1-2)." However, that's the same hp as Tier 1-2. Does that mean that she exactly identical in both tiers, which would mean the only difference is that she has two more minions?

The information on the SU is very helpful and I'll go back through this entire post. I didn't see any "immunity to illusions" in the mod, but I'll go back and look some more. Thanks again for the help!

Grand Lodge **

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber

She's exactly the same in those two tiers, but you can play her a bit more strategic at 3-4 to make up for it. She has the DR and regeneration, but still might be a 1 round glass cannon if your group is good and she doesn't play smart.

Be sure to take a look at the specifics of how regeneration works in PFRPG. I think it is a little different than 3.5. I messed up running that by thinking fire or acid would stop her regen, but apparently as I look back only silver or good aligned weapons prevent her regeneration. I think that means my poor tier 1-2 would have been SoL.

prd wrote:

Regeneration (Ex) A creature with this ability is difficult to kill. Creatures with regeneration heal damage at a fixed rate, as with fast healing, but they cannot die as long as their regeneration is still functioning (although creatures with regeneration still fall unconscious when their hit points are below 0). Certain attack forms, typically fire and acid, cause a creature's regeneration to stop functioning on the round following the attack. During this round, the creature does not heal any damage and can die normally. The creature's descriptive text describes the types of damage that cause the regeneration to cease functioning.

Attack forms that don't deal hit point damage are not healed by regeneration. Regeneration also does not restore hit points lost from starvation, thirst, or suffocation. Regenerating creatures can regrow lost portions of their bodies and can reattach severed limbs or body parts if they are brought together within 1 hour of severing. Severed parts that are not reattached wither and die normally.

The immune to illusions thing is under her defensive abilities. Also being an elf she is immune to sleep effects though it doesn't mention it. Maybe worth pointing out her will save functions at 3 different values depending on the effectand alignment of the caster. Summoned creatures are unable to attack her and she is immune to mental effects like charm (when cast by good aligned PCs) from her perpetual protection from good. She's complicated ;)

Andoran

That's great info. Thank, ithuriel!

Grand Lodge *

Ran this Tier 1-2 and the end boss seemed unkillable. Just for fun, we had her fight eight and then more Bugbears (who are also CR 2 each). It took sixteen to kill her, and even that might have been a function of lucky rolls (and me stopping using her fear effects). DR in lower tiers is bad and regen on top of that was killer. How much discretion should a GM take if they think a fight is completely unwinnable?

Cheliax **

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I ran this scenario last night and was eagerly anticipating the last encounter, only to have my players completely dominate the situation.

Spoiler:
On the top of the first round, the party's 4th level Witch scans the room with a good perception check and exceed's the will save difficulty of the priestess's disguise self spell. Seeing the incoming ambush she lays down her sleep hex. The priestess botches her will save and takes a 4 round nap, which is plenty of time for the party to dispatch the four mite rogues and perform an anti-climactic coup de grace on the sleeping priestess. 30+ damage and a failed fort save later we have one dead shadow creature. No chance to get her fear effects off, no chance employ her wicked regeneration or shadow walk.

Oh well, I suppose it was retribution from nearly TPKing them last week with Voice in the Void...

Spoiler:
You know it's a bad day when the your front line fighter losses in a one sided fist fight with a gibbering mouther... Luckily his companions are the giving sort and all bucked up to have him raised. :D

Qadira *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

I botched this the first time I ran it and had her go down vs a color spray (she's immune to illusions). She's an elf, which means the sleep hex would not effect her (elves are immune to magical sleep). Also, in order to kill a creature that regenerates you must use the material she's vulnerable to as part of the coup de grace delivery (Bestiary pg 303). Until the PCs figure out what stops her regeneration she will continue to heal up. Don't feel bad, it's a very long, complicated stat block. I've run it 8 times and I still can get tripped up. The players would have kept trying different ways of killing her until they narrowed it down to silver. The only silver in the scenario are the ingots found in Act 2, unless the PCs carry their own.

Cheliax **

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Doug Miles wrote:
I botched this the first time I ran it and had her go down vs a color spray (she's immune to illusions). She's an elf, which means the sleep hex would not effect her (elves are immune to magical sleep). Also, in order to kill a creature that regenerates you must use the material she's vulnerable to as part of the coup de grace delivery (Bestiary pg 303). Until the PCs figure out what stops her regeneration she will continue to heal up. Don't feel bad, it's a very long, complicated stat block. I've run it 8 times and I still can get tripped up. The players would have kept trying different ways of killing her until they narrowed it down to silver. The only silver in the scenario are the ingots found in Act 2, unless the PCs carry their own.

Yeah I noticed my own mistake minutes after posting about the sleep effect.

My gut told me that the coup de grace would have needed silver. (The PC was using a cold iron scimitar, but had a silver one in his pack) In fact, I had her play dead and then shadow walk away behind the warded door, but then a player and I had a debate about the result of the failed fort save from the coup de grace and also due to the hour being late, I caved... Now I know for sure. Lesson learned.

Grand Lodge **

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber

Yeah- as long as the regen is active she is incapable of dying- fort save or no.

Qadira ****

Or just have a Paladin Smite Evil the BBEG. :)

Grand Lodge **

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber

Would cut through DR, but not the regen. Still need the silver or a good aligned weapon to cut it off and make her killable. Granted- I'm not very familiar with paladins, but I don't think smite makes their weapon count as good aligned.

Andoran

ithuriel wrote:
Would cut through DR, but not the regen. Still need the silver or a good aligned weapon to cut it off and make her killable. Granted- I'm not very familiar with paladins, but I don't think smite makes their weapon count as good aligned.

What would be an inconspicuous way of finding out what types of weapons the players are using? Obviously asking if they're using silver or good would give it away, but asking the question generally would also tip off everyone that there's a DR or that they need to pick their weapons carefully. Any suggestions?

Qadira *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Moriquende wrote:
ithuriel wrote:
Would cut through DR, but not the regen. Still need the silver or a good aligned weapon to cut it off and make her killable. Granted- I'm not very familiar with paladins, but I don't think smite makes their weapon count as good aligned.
What would be an inconspicuous way of finding out what types of weapons the players are using? Obviously asking if they're using silver or good would give it away, but asking the question generally would also tip off everyone that there's a DR or that they need to pick their weapons carefully. Any suggestions?

The mites have DR/cold iron. I'd have the conversation with the players well before the last encounter so they don't make the connection. Maybe casually ask them when they fight the mites what other special material weapons they carry. Most players are rather proud of their assorted equipment and their eagerness to boast could tip you off early if they are savvy enough to carry silver.

Andoran

Doug Miles wrote:
The mites have DR/cold iron. I'd have the conversation with the players well before the last encounter so they don't make the connection. Maybe casually ask them when they fight the mites what other special material weapons they carry. Most players are rather proud of their assorted equipment and their eagerness to boast could tip you off early if they are savvy enough to carry silver.

Interesting! I hadn't noticed that, but that seems like a great tactic. Thank you very much.

Somewhat off topic, but if you wouldn't mind, how would one generally go about indicating (or not) to players that an enemy has DR. Is this something they have to actively try to perceive or use knowledge (skill checks?), or can they generally tell when a weapon doesn't do full damage.

Something tells me that I can find this information elsewhere on the messageboard, so apologies if this is inappropriate.

***** Venture-Lieutenant, Arizona—Tucson aka Sir_Wulf

Moriquende wrote:
...How would one generally go about indicating (or not) to players that an enemy has DR? Is this something they have to actively try to perceive or use knowledge (skill checks?), or can they generally tell when a weapon doesn't do full damage.

In my experience, most GMs will say something like, "You notice that your sword didn't bite as deeply as you expected it to, as if the creature's flesh were strangely resistant to its touch," or "The beast barely seemed to notice your mace striking. Its gelatinous mass seemed to absorb much of the weapon's force".

Andoran

Sir_Wulf wrote:
Moriquende wrote:
...How would one generally go about indicating (or not) to players that an enemy has DR? Is this something they have to actively try to perceive or use knowledge (skill checks?), or can they generally tell when a weapon doesn't do full damage.
In my experience, most GMs will say something like, "You notice that your sword didn't bite as deeply as you expected it to, as if the creature's flesh were strangely resistant to its touch," or "The beast barely seemed to notice your mace striking. Its gelatinous mass seemed to absorb much of the weapon's force".

Thank you. That makes a lot of sense. Given that Lady Morilaeth also has DR I suppose that it would make sense to do the same for her.

Qadira *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

When a PC with a pertinent knowledge skill (see below) sees a creature on their turn they may make a knowledge check (DC = 10 + monster's CR) to identify it. For common monsters, such as goblins, the DC of this check equals 5 + the monster’s CR. For particularly rare monsters, such as a "Nightmare Creature" like Lady Morilaeth, you may raise the DC of this check (15 + the monster’s CR). A successful check also allows them to remember a bit of useful information about that monster. For every 5 points by which their check result exceeds the DC, they recall another piece of useful information. Generous GMs may allow the players direct questions about vulnerabilities. As part of scenario prep I have usually prepared of a description of the 'lore' known about the creature and that's all they get.

If there was more word count space in the scenarios, I am sure that authors like Mr. MacKenzie would love to put in a table on the lore by DC for all the monsters in their scenarios.

• Arcana (constructs, dragons, magical beasts)
• Dungeoneering (aberrations, oozes)
• Local (humanoids)
• Nature (animals, fey, monstrous humanoids, plants, vermin)
• Planes (outsiders)
• Religion (undead)

The reason I will not give creature information prior to the appropriate PC's turn is that the other players will common act on that out-of-character information (AKA metagame) before the knowledge monkey acts. Being stingy with the monster lore prevents (as much) metagaming.

Andoran

Thank you, Doug. That's a very nifty tactic that I haven't seen before. I'm going to print that out and use it.

Andoran

I've read the mod for the 3rd time and I'm grinding through the rules, including doing a lot of research on d20, but I've still got questions.

Derro darkness - When this ability is used, will the derro be in dim light (20% miss) or darkness (50% miss)? I suppose that depending on the initial lighting in the room, so based on descriptions I'd say darkness.

If it's the former I assume the players will be able to know the position of the derro on the board. If it's the latter, however, is this similar to the derro being invisible?

By the way, I'm assuming that "at will" means that the derro can drop darkness and then move and/or attack in the same round. Perhaps also use a little ghost sound to throw off the players. Let me know if I'm wrong here.

Also, why no use of the Akyls? Having one of the derro trip from range seems like a fun enhancement.

Thanks for the help!

Grand Lodge **

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber

"At will" means he has unlimited castings.

The duration entry for Darkness is marked with a (D) which means it is dismissible. Dismissing a spell requires a standard action. Its casting time is still 1 standard action.

Darkness is going to lower the ambient lighting by 1 level on this chart.

Bright
Normal
Dim
Dark

If I recall the default lighting level in the area of all that luminescent fungal growth is dim. The derro would be stupid to allow himself to be in range of the PCs light sources before using darkness so he is probably going to lower it from dim to dark. If part of their light source is within his area of effect at the time of casting, that overlap area may go from normal to dim. Remember that the target is an object he has to touch. If he casts it on his crossbow the AoE becomes mobile. If he casts it on a tool or one of the jars on the table, it will be stationary if he leaves it there.

Some relevant rules to keep in mind here:

Spoiler:

prd/Combat wrote:

Total Concealment: If you have line of effect to a target but not line of sight, he is considered to have total concealment from you. You can't attack an opponent that has total concealment, though you can attack into a square that you think he occupies. A successful attack into a square occupied by an enemy with total concealment has a 50% miss chance (instead of the normal 20% miss chance for an opponent with concealment).

You can't execute an attack of opportunity against an opponent with total concealment, even if you know what square or squares the opponent occupies.

Ignoring Concealment: Concealment isn't always effective. An area of dim lighting or darkness doesn't provide any concealment against an opponent with darkvision. Characters with low-light vision can see clearly for a greater distance than other characters with the same light source. Although invisibility provides total concealment, sighted opponents may still make Perception checks to notice the location of an invisible character. An invisible character gains a +20 bonus on Stealth checks if moving, or a +40 bonus on Stealth checks when not moving (even though opponents can't see you, they might be able to figure out where you are from other visual or auditory clues).

prd/Rogue+Sneak Attack wrote:
A rogue cannot sneak attack while striking a creature with concealment.

And this section is too long to quote, but be familiar with the methods of pinpointing invisible creatures and groping into 2 squares with touch attacks as a standard action to pinpoint a target's location in case PCs want to do that.

If the PCs have no means to deal with the darkness (darkvision, blinsight, blind fighting, scent, continual flame cast by a cleric as a light source- not a counterspell, summoned creatures with darkvision, etc) this is going to be a frustrating grind of a fight. Others have suggesting using Todrick (who has darkvision) to aid help the PCs here. If he charges in and makes a lot of noise while fighting the PCs can hear where they need to be.

I have also used ghost sound to throw off or just annoy the players during this fight while giving them a round as a breather at the same time. Keep in mind that it too requires a standard action.

***** Venture-Lieutenant, Arizona—Tucson aka Sir_Wulf

Some parties may have trouble dealing with Tnarat. This issue was brought up in a previous thread on the topic:

Spoiler:
To make this encounter move more quickly for a 1st-level party, you may want to have Torvic yelling his fool head off as he attacks the derro, giving away Tnarat's position. Also, Darkness is cast on an object: I'd let the PCs spot Tnarat casting, so they may be able to move or cover the item and shut down the spell.

Alternatively, Tnarat has little love for Morilaeth. If a party is ill-equipped to fight him, you could encourage them to parley with the disgruntled derro. Tnarat has no burning desire to battle an entire party of armed surface-dwellers and might be convinced to betray his nightmarish leader. Of course, such negotiations would require the party to restrain Torvic from assaulting his former tormenter.

Andoran

Thank you, ithuriel and Sir_Wulf, for your help! I'm very new to GMing so I really appreciate the help. I'm continuing to crank along (this is all very complex) and still have more questions. I hope people don't mind me posting them here.

In the Forges and Workrooms the wooden planks are considered under a grease spell. Can Tifer fall in his own workshop? I noticed that he doesn't have any Acrobatics, so if he moves he's in trouble. Having him fall would be somewhat anticlimactic.

***** Venture-Lieutenant, Arizona—Tucson aka Sir_Wulf

Moriquende wrote:

Thank you, ithuriel and Sir_Wulf, for your help! I'm very new to GMing so I really appreciate the help. I'm continuing to crank along (this is all very complex) and still have more questions. I hope people don't mind me posting them here.

In the Forges and Workrooms the wooden planks are considered under a grease spell. Can Tifer fall in his own workshop? I noticed that he doesn't have any Acrobatics, so if he moves he's in trouble. Having him fall would be somewhat anticlimactic.

Give Tifer a free pass there.

The grease effect as meant to simulate the decaying and unstable floor, obscured by heaps of scrap and rubbish. Since Tifer knows which areas are prone to collapse, he nimbly dodges past them. Pursuers are prone to fall as debris shift underfoot or their leg punches through rotting floorboards.

Andoran

Sir_Wulf wrote:
Give Tifer a free pass there. The grease effect as meant to simulate the decaying and unstable floor, obscured by heaps of scrap and rubbish. Since Tifer knows which areas are prone to collapse, he nimbly dodges past them. Pursuers are prone to fall as debris shift underfoot or their leg punches through rotting floorboards.

Yes, I like this very much. Thanks!

By the way, I had questions about the pit trap in that room, but since I felt the questions were more general in nature, and not necessarily confined to this scenario, I posted here: http://paizo.com/paizo/messageboards/paizoPublishing/pathfinder/pathfinderR PG/general/pitTripDuringCombat. I thought you might be interested to see my thinking.

***** Venture-Lieutenant, Arizona—Tucson aka Sir_Wulf

Moriquende wrote:
Thank you, ithuriel and Sir_Wulf, for your help! I'm very new to GMing so I really appreciate the help. I'm continuing to crank along (this is all very complex) and still have more questions. I hope people don't mind me posting them here.

You may want to review the previous thread that discussed the adventure.

Also, feel free to use discretion as GM if things go haywire. As an example, Lady Morilaeth has defensive abilities and immunities that can make her very frustrating to put (and keep) down. Her armor class was made high enough that parties without a strong melee character may find it hard to finish her off. (One group even suffered through a hellish slog lasting over 50 rounds! Don't let that happen to your party: That scene should be surreal and bizarre, not grim and boring.)

Don't forget that Lady Morilaeth is a priestess of madness, the child of living nightmare. If the fight drags out, you may want her to use bizarre or suboptimal tactics, sacrificing combat effectiveness while ramping up the creep factor. If she is out of offensive options and suspects the party is likely to eventually finish her off, you could have her fake her own death when someone soundly strikes her, shadow walking away while the party gloats over their victory.

Her body seems to dissolve in front of you, evaporating into black mist. In the back of your mind, you hear her voice fading away. "You shall dance to the pallid measure!"

Taldor ***

I disliked this scenario. Ran it today.

While in the beginning it felt promising and the atmosphere was nice, the mission briefing was ... lacking. The players never understood why they were sent there, and had trouble understanding when they are good to leave the place. The whole scenario felt as if there were multiple occasions clarification would have been in order.

Party composition:
* Human Paladin 4
* Human Barbarian 1/Cleric 4
* Human Wizard 7
* Pregenerated cleric 7 (Kyra)

The scenario was very easy. I skipped the 3 mite rogues because the paladin could solo them, really. The first fight was practically over when the wizard cast stinking cloud, although I doubt the monsters could have hit anyone with their poor attack bonus.

The last fight was just frustrating. High AC, DR, regeneration, yet Lady M doesn't really have any real means of damaging the PCs.

For future reference Tier 3-4 is Tier 1-2, and Tier 6-7 is Tier 4-5. Forget Tier 1-2.

Taldor ***

I'm giving this scenario another chance, at Tier 1-2. I might concentrate on atmospherical aspects and just somehow disregard the fights, give them some otherworldly aspects just to make the players rethink their approach.

This scenario needs horror elements badly. I intend to imply them.

(Lady Morilaeth still has no means of damaging the PCs. Why not, say, trap them inside the gallery, forcing them to sleep, and then infiltrating their dreams? Hm.)

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