Paizo Top Nav Branding
  • Hello, Guest! |
  • Sign In |
  • My Account |
  • Shopping Cart |
  • Help/FAQ
About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
Pathfinder Society

Pathfinder Beginner Box

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

Pathfinder Comics

Pathfinder Legends

PaizoCon 2014!

The Varnhold Vanishing (GM Reference)


Kingmaker

151 to 200 of 462 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | next > last >>

Greetings, fellow travelers,

and thank you very much for the stat blocks, Julian! This looks like a nice challenge and a big surprise for my players - the right mixture between fun for me, but not outright doom for the players.

Concerning Vordakai's actions after waking up, I think it is mentioned in the AP, that he is quite happy to learn, that his kin is gone from the region, which gives him the opportunity to establish a lasting rulership (boy, if he would know my players...) over the lands.

Concerning APL for the confrontation with Vordakai I hope I can use the centaurs to caution the PCs, that approaching the crypt before a certain level (phrased differently ingame) would be suicidal. Hopefully, my group is not going to murder these "beastmen" outright...

I have thought about using the skeleton of the Linnorm not only as the holy site described but enhancing it to be more significant: Either I will create some real-life-material-world encounter like an ambush of sorts - other centaur raiding party, bandits - kidnapping the shaman who was to perform some "baptizing" the PCs (remember, that the shaman's daughter (?) is missing and the PCs can be seen as heaven sent help for her rescue), so that the PCs are side-tracked.

Or they encounter the rearguard of the host, which has cleared out the silver dragon's lair (hm, would need some tweeking concerning the time of the killing, concerning loot and concerning the skeleton of that beast as well), which they need to defeat/chase/deliver somewhere to side-track the PCs.

Or I can think of some First World-imaginary/dream-encounters around a "good luck and bountiful hunting" ceremony held by the centaur shaman, where they are assaulted by fey or some ghost-version of the Linnorm itself to let the players gain more experience.

I like the last option best, because my campaign is more "feyish" anyway, and that would add to the eerie feeling around certain places in my Stolen Lands (like the Temple of the Elk, the tower on the island of Candlemere Lake and so on).

Ruyan.


A few questions:
1) Before The Varnhold Vanishing commences, what happens in the event of PCs trying to claim any hexes on The Nomen Heights map? Does it escalate tensions with Varnhold, or are things sort of okay so long as they keep to hexes west of the Tors of Levenies range and Lake Silverstep?
2) The PCs can't claim Fort Serenko, but it's sitting there, unoccupied, and probably at least as close to Varnhold (which the PCs are supposed to be investigating after all) as anywhere in their own kingdom (assuming that they haven't expanded onto The Nomen Heights map before this adventure). Can the PCs temporarily 'rent' Fort Serenko from Brevoy, acknowleding the Brevoy lordship of the fort and hex (and maybe even accepting the presence of a Brevoy garrison there) but paying a BP price every month to be allowed to use it as a base to rest/restock and to be able to remotely carry out their own kingdom running business from its safety?
Of course whether the PCs get to rent the place or not, this seems likely to me to provoke tensions in Brevoy, because if they ask Rostland/Restov to rent the place, the king is going to get uppity and it's going to look to him even more like Rostland has been plotting against him in setting up these border fiefs, and if they appeal directly to the king than Rostland/Restov may well feel betrayed that after all they've done, the PCs are going over their heads to their detested overlord...
3) On page 51 it says that all that the Centaurs ask of the PCs is that they be left the Dunsward itself as their own territory. Is it reasonable to read this as that without PC diplomatic footwork, the centaurs will get unhappy if the PCs try to claim any of the Grassland hexes on the Dunsward unless those happen to be part of the 'within two hexes of Varnhold' package? Or does it mean that just the Nomen Camp (and perhaps their burial ground) is to be left out of the kingdom, or maybe just means the PCs agree to a restriction on the building of cities or farmland on the Dunsward?


Greetings, fellow travelers.

As far as I read it, on page 9 it is written, that they PCs can

"expand their nation until it reaches a respectable size of 50–60 hexes or so (perhaps even extending into the Nomen heights to the west of the Tors of Levenies) before beginning this adventure - emphasis mine.

Also, it is mentioned, that the adventure is not on a timer and the vanishing can take place, whenever you as a DM decide it should happen (meaning that some prisoners are beyond aid or are able to wait for rescue for some time) - so Varnhold can already be devoid of citizens, before the PCs start annexing hexes to the east.

I have given the Fort some thought and I will have Rostland handle the outpost over to the PCs' kingdom as a last act of friendship, with the plea to watch Rostland's back (Rostland will claim it has been over-run by bandits).

Finally, the Nomen will - according to their history - definitely get hostile, if the PCs claim hexes off of the Dunsward (see page 33, Under the Nomen).

Ruyan.


RuyanVe wrote:

Greetings, fellow travelers,

and thank you very much for the stat blocks, Julian! This looks like a nice challenge and a big surprise for my players - the right mixture between fun for me, but not outright doom for the players.

Concerning Vordakai's actions after waking up, I think it is mentioned in the AP, that he is quite happy to learn, that his kin is gone from the region, which gives him the opportunity to establish a lasting rulership (boy, if he would know my players...) over the lands.

Concerning APL for the confrontation with Vordakai I hope I can use the centaurs to caution the PCs, that approaching the crypt before a certain level (phrased differently ingame) would be suicidal. Hopefully, my group is not going to murder these "beastmen" outright...

I have thought about using the skeleton of the Linnorm not only as the holy site described but enhancing it to be more significant: Either I will create some real-life-material-world encounter like an ambush of sorts - other centaur raiding party, bandits - kidnapping the shaman who was to perform some "baptizing" the PCs (remember, that the shaman's daughter (?) is missing and the PCs can be seen as heaven sent help for her rescue), so that the PCs are side-tracked.

Or they encounter the rearguard of the host, which has cleared out the silver dragon's lair (hm, would need some tweeking concerning the time of the killing, concerning loot and concerning the skeleton of that beast as well), which they need to defeat/chase/deliver somewhere to side-track the PCs.

Or I can think of some First World-imaginary/dream-encounters around a "good luck and bountiful hunting" ceremony held by the centaur shaman, where they are assaulted by fey or some ghost-version of the Linnorm itself to let the players gain more experience.

I like the last option best, because my campaign is more "feyish" anyway, and that would add to the eerie feeling around certain places in my Stolen Lands (like the Temple of the Elk, the tower on the island of Candlemere...

That Centaur with druid levels is not a pushover. I was also thinking of giving her two centaurs with 2 barbarian levels as body guards to even things out.


started this tonight

lots polticals as i wanted a connection to Varn beforehand

the Duke (PC) married Varns sister

so they go for a hunt to celebrate after the wedding

1st encounter....98 the CR 14 silver dragon (3 of the party are LE)....went ok, bit of cheek from an infernal sorceror

through heavy snow they trudge home having been reprimanded by the dragon and they rolled 4 stygirans as next encounter.....they are now going to live in candlekeep for a year and a day and watch

there is nothing the LN kingdom of MagnaMare will not ally with!!


In addition to my questions of above, still awaiting official clarification:
4) Should the Mud Flats (area Q) be treated as a Resource hex instead of a Monster hex? To quote:

The Varnhold Vanishing, Page 14 wrote:
...The mud itself is very mineral rich and could be of some value to the Varnhold colony as an export...
Whilst it's true that it says of Lake Silverstep (area S):
The Varnhold Vanishing, Page 16 wrote:
...Although the lake encompasses numerous hexes, only this particular hex counts as a resource hex if claimed by a kingdom...

that seems to me to be referring to the extensive fish stocks in the lake, and not to include the natural resources of the mud flats.

As a further thought, perhaps the Mud Flats culd be considered a 'conditional resource hex' as in it only counts as a resource hex if you have a settlement in the hex or roads leading from the hex to a town in your kingdom. Moving mud around (especially in hilly/mountainous terrain) in large quantities can't be the easiest of tasks...


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Further question:
5) The boiling tar-pit in W20 and mineral springs in W20 and W26 are the result of planar rifts or other connections to Abaddon I assume. What sort of steps which PCs take in Vordakai's Tomb will impact them? Are destroying and purifying the Daemon Shrine in W12, wrecking the Occulus Focus in W19, and messing with the Oculus Chamber in W25 (perhaps with a successful high DC dispel evil in the latter case) good steps for shutting them down? Would the actual Oculus of Abaddon itself have to be destroyed too (maybe before some of these other steps could be achieved successfully)?
What sort of XP or other award would be appropriate for PCs that go out of their way to sever such planar connections?

Into the Lightless Depths (Savage Tide Path)

Spoiler:
The tar pits at W20 in Vordakai's Tomb reminded me of the scene towards the end of Into the Lightless Depths with the pool of black bile of the world, and I had to check whether that was a Vaughan adventure too, but I find that the names on it are those of Schneider and Sutter...


... then it must be an hommage *duck*


I was reading the trap in W10. What is an Iris?
I am assuming that it is just a big slab of stone that stops the entire dungeon from being flooded.


It's an open/close mechanism:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iris_(diaphragm)


Are wrote:

It's an open/close mechanism:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iris_(diaphragm)

thanks


In the sidebar about the lich's familar it says that if the PC's capture it the lich can destroy the bird or harm anyone nearby. It then references page 52, but I see no way to destroy the familiar or harm the pc's.


wraithstrike wrote:
In the sidebar about the lich's familar it says that if the PC's capture it the lich can destroy the bird or harm anyone nearby. It then references page 52, but I see no way to destroy the familiar or harm the pc's.

ditto to this. was reading last night. i thought it was something to do with his McGuffin, but i couldnt see


P. 8

The Varnhold Vanishing, Adventure Summary wrote:
...Finally, the PCs make peaceful contact with the Nomen tribe and learn the truth of Varnhold's fate. Following the directions given by the centaurs, the PCs find Vordakai's Island and must infiltrate past the ancient wards, traps, and undead guardians in order to rescue the Varnhold survivors from the clutch of the foul lich...

The adventure, as written, starts to flake here and has a number of 'Hook Mountain Moments'. The Nomen have no idea what's going on with Varnhold. The initial reaction of their leader is that she thinks that the Spriggans are responsible, and if presented with evidence to the contrary - the result of PC interrogations of Spriggans maybe? - her response is to fall silent having run out of ideas. There's practically no scripted reason for Vordakai to come up in conversation with the Nomen at all; the only place PCs searching Varnhold find that name is if they're checking the books amongst the possessions of a traveller in a room at the inn, and make a perception check to spot that the traveller had scribbled a note in a margin of a book about the travels of a Taldan Army of Exploration.

However is a lot of evidence that the Nomen centaurs are to blame for what happened to Varnhold. The quest from the Swordlords to 'deal with the Nomen problem one way or another' suggests that there have been hostilities between the colonists in the Nomen Heights and the centaurs, and the fact that the tannery has the hides of three centaurs is a pretty good clue that Varnhold and the centaurs were at war. Documents in the Master of Dispatches' quarters indicate that there had been 'a number of conflicts' between the centaurs and Varnhold. Even if the PCs find and assume there is any significance in the Vordakai note scribbled in the margin of the traveller's book, that points in the direction of the Nomen, suggesting Vordakai is a 'Nomen god'.

I see a lot of scripted reasons for the PCs to make a strike on the Nomen, to wipe the tribe out and speak with the dead later to try and find out exactly what they did to the colonists, but nothing pointing at Vordakai or what actually happened in Varnhold. Any interview with the cat in Varnhold (if the PCs have someone capable of doing that, and think to do so) is likely to prove inconclusive except to suggest magic was involved in wherever the colonists all went. Spotting the familiar following the PCs suggests that a spellcaster of some kind (who could be anyone) is interested in their actions, and the soul-eater attack/ambush suggests that a non-good spellcaster has it in for the PCs (who again could be anyone).

I grant that sooner or later, if the PCs expand their kingdom east to incorporate the abandoned village of Varnhold (once the PCs have evicted the spriggans) that they may well discover Vordakai's tomb at random through the means of exploring hexes in the vicinity, but finding it deliberately as part of the process of investigating what happened to Varnhold is something I have doubts over.
By the way, some information on what answers PCs (or Swordlords) get if they try to use divination magic to investigate would be handy, although I can see that the involvement of a minor artifact, the Oculus of Abaddon, in the business might give cause for divination results to be messed up. Swordlord or PC employed divinations do seem to me to be a means of getting the PCs pointing in vaguely the right direction.
Edit:
Thought: The Oculus being an artifact, if the PCs arrive at Varnhold soon enough after the abductions, the use of detect magic should clearly flag up a warning that something heavy-duty was in use, unless the Oculus has specific countermeasures to prevent detect magic from finding traces of its use. Maybe a GM could do something here, too...

Pathfinder Lead Developer, Frog God Games

Good questions here, and I think something should probably be said to the fact that things got lost in translation a bit in the editing to bring togtehr the adventure I wrote and the "nation-building" elements that hadn't been fully developed yet during my writing and ultimately affected the flow of the adventure.

That said, I think James did I really good job of putting the pieces together. I personally have no problem in regards to the adventure development as I intended for the PCs to wrongly attribute the vanishing simply to the Nomens and to fight a low-grade war with them for years even as a result before ultimately discovering the truth. I think it has a certain dark, real-world feel to it that captures some of the tragic nuances during the Age of Colonization. Lots of folks got stepped on by people who would have considered themselves to be the "good guys" all in the name of progress. I understand if folks would prefer a less morally ambiguous game than that to cater to a more escapist style of play. But I like how it plays out, and I think a GM can provide the incentive for the Nomen conflicts to escalate or be resolved as best fits that particular gaming group.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16

Greg A. Vaughan wrote:
I intended for the PCs to wrongly attribute the vanishing simply to the Nomens and to fight a low-grade war with them for years even as a result before ultimately discovering the truth. I think it has a certain dark, real-world feel to it that captures some of the tragic nuances during the Age of Colonization. Lots of folks got stepped on by people who would have considered themselves to be the "good guys" all in the name of progress.

Wow, this is really cool. I want to run with this.

How exactly were you thinking of this low-grade war playing out? Actually using the mechanics in book 5, or something more like mounting unrest and randomly losing buildings/hexes to raiders? The size of the Nomen settlement does make it seem like its not as simple as a basic attack for the PCs to drive them eastward.


Greg A. Vaughan wrote:

Good questions here, and I think something should probably be said to the fact that things got lost in translation a bit in the editing to bring togtehr the adventure I wrote and the "nation-building" elements that hadn't been fully developed yet during my writing and ultimately affected the flow of the adventure.

That said, I think James did I really good job of putting the pieces together. I personally have no problem in regards to the adventure development as I intended for the PCs to wrongly attribute the vanishing simply to the Nomens and to fight a low-grade war with them for years even as a result before ultimately discovering the truth. I think it has a certain dark, real-world feel to it that captures some of the tragic nuances during the Age of Colonization. Lots of folks got stepped on by people who would have considered themselves to be the "good guys" all in the name of progress. I understand if folks would prefer a less morally ambiguous game than that to cater to a more escapist style of play. But I like how it plays out, and I think a GM can provide the incentive for the Nomen conflicts to escalate or be resolved as best fits that particular gaming group.

Your post reminded me of a story I once read about Cochise, though think what I read might have been a slight romanticisation... :)

Did you have any specific ideas for how the skirmishes would come to end, or were you relying on the PCs to end up randomly discovering Vordakai's tomb and evidence that he had abducted the Varnhold citizens, (and was also responsible for the disappearance of Xamanthe)?


It's me again. Shouldn't the lich's paralysis ability be a DC 22 instead of a 25
19 hit die + cha 16
10+9(half of 19)+3(mod for charisma)=22

If I missed something let me know.

Pathfinder Lead Developer, Frog God Games

Erik Freund wrote:
Greg A. Vaughan wrote:
I intended for the PCs to wrongly attribute the vanishing simply to the Nomens and to fight a low-grade war with them for years even as a result before ultimately discovering the truth. I think it has a certain dark, real-world feel to it that captures some of the tragic nuances during the Age of Colonization. Lots of folks got stepped on by people who would have considered themselves to be the "good guys" all in the name of progress.

Wow, this is really cool. I want to run with this.

How exactly were you thinking of this low-grade war playing out? Actually using the mechanics in book 5, or something more like mounting unrest and randomly losing buildings/hexes to raiders? The size of the Nomen settlement does make it seem like its not as simple as a basic attack for the PCs to drive them eastward.

Thanks! I hadn't really planned it out that far, but intended it more as a development option for a GM to work with in a sandboxy kind of way that could resolve as quickly or as slowly (or maybe never) as the GM wants. Ultimately Xamanthe's plot thread and the knowledge ofthdark sorcery at work (soul eaters, wandering cyclops zombies, etc.) were the keys to getting the PCs headed towards Vordekai. Plus, hopefully eventually they'll give the books at the inn a good looking over. But, though it is certainly an option for things to be relatively friendly with the Nomen, that was never the sole intent. I wish I had more specifics for you, but I never created them. Sorry.

Pathfinder Lead Developer, Frog God Games

Charles Evans 25 wrote:
Greg A. Vaughan wrote:

Good questions here, and I think something should probably be said to the fact that things got lost in translation a bit in the editing to bring togtehr the adventure I wrote and the "nation-building" elements that hadn't been fully developed yet during my writing and ultimately affected the flow of the adventure.

That said, I think James did I really good job of putting the pieces together. I personally have no problem in regards to the adventure development as I intended for the PCs to wrongly attribute the vanishing simply to the Nomens and to fight a low-grade war with them for years even as a result before ultimately discovering the truth. I think it has a certain dark, real-world feel to it that captures some of the tragic nuances during the Age of Colonization. Lots of folks got stepped on by people who would have considered themselves to be the "good guys" all in the name of progress. I understand if folks would prefer a less morally ambiguous game than that to cater to a more escapist style of play. But I like how it plays out, and I think a GM can provide the incentive for the Nomen conflicts to escalate or be resolved as best fits that particular gaming group.

Your post reminded me of a story I once read about Cochise, though think what I read might have been a slight romanticisation... :)

Did you have any specific ideas for how the skirmishes would come to end, or were you relying on the PCs to end up randomly discovering Vordakai's tomb and evidence that he had abducted the Varnhold citizens, (and was also responsible for the disappearance of Xamanthe)?

As mentioned above. However, for more ideas to the feel and rather fatalistic outlook that I held the Nomen, you might peruse Stephen Pressfield's Last of the Amazons. I think you'll find a number of similarities between his Amazons and their slipping grasp on dominance in their region and the situation that the Nomen find themselves in.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber
Julian Neale wrote:

Here you go Ruyan, sorry the spoiler buttons didn't work for you. I spoilered them because of the length of the stat blocks!

Vordakai’s Champion CR 11

XP 12,800
Male graveknight cyclops antipaladin8 (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 52, Pathfinder #27 84, Advanced Player’s Guide 105)
CE Large undead (giant)
Init +4; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +23
Aura aura of cowardice, aura of despair, sacrilegeous aura 30 ft. (DC 28)
Defense
AC
27, touch 9, flat-footed 27 (+7 armor, +0 Dex, +11 natural, -1 size)
hp 161 (10d8+8d10+72)
Fort +16, Ref +10, Will +17
Defensive Abilities channel resistance +4, ferocity, rejuvenation; DR 10/magic; Immune cold, electricity, fire, undead traits; SR 22
Offense
Speed
30 ft.
Melee +1 greataxe +26/+21/+16 (3d6+17/×3 plus 4d6 fire) or greataxe with Power Attack +26/+17/+12 (3d6+29/x3 plus 4d6 fire)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Special Attacks channel destruction, channel negative energy (4d6, DC 17), cruelty (fatigued, staggered; DC 17), devastating blast 3/day (12d6 fire, 30-ft. cone, DC 22), smite good 3/day (+3 attack, +8 damage, +3 deflection bonus to AC while smiting), touch of corruption 7/day (4d6 negative energy), undead mastery (DC 22)
Spell-Like Ability (CL 8th)
At will- detect good
Spells (CL 5th)
2nd- corruption resistance, invisibility
1st- inflict light wounds, protection from good
Tactics
Morale
Vordakai’s champion fights until destroyed, fully expecting to rejuvenate.
Statistics
Str
32, Dex 10, Con —, Int 12, Wis 20, Cha 16
Base Atk +15; CMB +27; CMD 37
Feats Alertness, Cleave, Dreadful Carnage, Furious Focus, Great Cleave, Improved Bull Rush, Improved Initiative, Intimidating Prowess, Lightning Reflexes, Mounted Combat, Power Attack, Ride-by Attack, Toughness
Skills Handle Animal +8, Intimidate +35,...

Awesome stuff Julian, thanks. I'm running Kingmaker for 6 players (twice a month) so it'll be some time before I get to this part... but Vordakai's Champion (either version) seems like a PERFECT addition to the AP... especially with an additional 2 players. I've listed this as well... so I can refer to it as needed. :)

Regards,

Dean; The_Minstrel_Wyrm


session 20:

quite poor session

the murder of crows managed to blind 2 party members, as the group of 7 level 7 PCs seemed dumbfounded by the murder of crows.

they have holed themselves in the church, terrified and clueless what do to do about the mighty spriggans waiting outside.

everyone seemed off the ball a bit tonight

I should really have the spriggans just leave now humans are back...

on the plus side

go to use the temple, farmstead and graveyard map-packs from paizo!!


I think it has a certain dark, real-world feel to it that captures some of the tragic nuances during the Age of Colonization. Lots of folks got stepped on by people who would have considered themselves to be the "good guys" all in the name of progress. I understand if folks would prefer a less morally ambiguous game than that to cater to a more escapist style of play. But I like how it plays out, and I think a GM can provide the incentive for the Nomen conflicts to escalate or be resolved as best fits that particular gaming group.

My group was preconditioned to make an alliance with the Centaurs after successes with the kobolds and lizardfolk, but the years of distrust made it much more difficult in this case. The party managed to get over the difficult diplomacy DCs, but even then Silverfire the leader asked them to either retrieve Skybolt (a dangerous side quest I put in) or kill some marauding Cyclops (disguised ogre mages causing trouble) before she would permit them to enter the Valley of the Dead.

Of course, half the party wanted to just go to the Valley anyway, while the other half was determined to start a new era in Centaur-humankind relations. All-in-all very satisfying, especially when the "Cyclops" asked the PCs to kill Silverfire in exchange for the Dunsward lands and the party said no and shed blood for their would-be allies.


Looking for feedback from anyone who has run the last encounter on how it went. Running this in a couple of weeks. Worried about the DR on the boss being too tough on the one hand, but also his missing a save and going down too early on the other. My group is 5 8th level PCs, including a necromancer (halt undead, command undead, etc. have been handy in the tomb) and an inquisitor with a holy slashing weapon (party's biggest damage dealer).


DanP wrote:
Looking for feedback from anyone who has run the last encounter on how it went. Running this in a couple of weeks. Worried about the DR on the boss being too tough on the one hand, but also his missing a save and going down too early on the other. My group is 5 8th level PCs, including a necromancer (halt undead, command undead, etc. have been handy in the tomb) and an inquisitor with a holy slashing weapon (party's biggest damage dealer).

I should be running it this weekend. I will let you know how it went. I did notice that there is nothing to stop the meleers from going directly to the BBEG. That seems like a good way to lose, and a lot of his spells are not battle winners. His thing is the paralyzing touch. I plan to change his spells out so he can cast wall of force or wall of stone. While the party is trying to get though it I will use summon monsters 5 to get 1d3(?) animals from the lower summon list, and do the same with summon monster 4.

I have to deal with: All currently level 7
1.Hi AC fighter
2.A paladin
3.Witch/sorcerer
4.warforged monk. I am playing in eberron. I think they are immune to paralysis so I have to keep him away.
5.wizard/cleric/MT.

PS: There is a magical bludgeoning weapon somewhere in the book to help you out. They also provided scrolls of freedom of movement, among other items. I have learned Paizo likes to hand out helpers.

Cheliax

I ran the final encounter a few weeks ago, and my players really enjoyed it. We had a witch, a cavalier, a sorcerer (elemental bloodline - ice) and a ranger (skirmisher), plus the cavalier's cohort, a rogue.

The boss stated out with waves of fatigue, then when he got flanked, he turned round and phantasmal killer'd the rogue, dropping her dead on the spot. Through talking to the centaur captive, they'd learnt the creature could paralyse (no-one had knowledge: religion!) so they all had freedom of movement up. They beat on one another for a while, nobody being able to break the boss's DR.

The boss eventually dispelled the freedom of movement on the cavalier, which got a nice 'oh crap' moment. They were manuvering to get the ring from the earlier area onto the cavalier's finger when the boss hit his threshold and dim doored away. They got 1 minute to poke around, used their potions of remove paralysis and lesser restoration (to fix that pesky fatigue), found the flail and the jars, acidentally broke one and had a single terrified villager cowering in a corner.

Boss came back for round 2, but he was very low on spells. Since the flail was cold iron, they tried it on him, and were delighted to find that 'cold iron' broke his DR! (:P) Between the flail and the witch spamming cure spells (mostly from scrolls by this point), he went down pretty fast.

For them, undoutably the game-winner was the sorcerer with dispel magic. He managed to take down all of the boss's buffs by the end, and dispel the ranger when she got suggested.


I didn't like the fact that the PC's had a direct line to the boss. I change out some of his spell to summon spell to harrass the casters, and I gave him wall of force, and another similar spell. They wont the first part of the fight so he left to "recharge". Before he gets back he will cast his remaining buffs, and I expect to have at least one prisoner. The 2nd half of the fight is tomorrow. I will post the results here.


My players are taking the "vanishing" very seriously and see it as a major threat to their kingdom. I am concerned though, that they will go straight to Varnhold, then to the Nomen, then to Vordakai.

With that direction, they will not be of appropriate level to deal with Vordakai. Anyone else have this problem? Any suggestions on how to deal with it?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Firstbourne wrote:

My players are taking the "vanishing" very seriously and see it as a major threat to their kingdom. I am concerned though, that they will go straight to Varnhold, then to the Nomen, then to Vordakai.

With that direction, they will not be of appropriate level to deal with Vordakai. Anyone else have this problem? Any suggestions on how to deal with it?

My players did exactly that this Sunday and have just entered room W9 (snuck past the creature in W8 with a low level summon after taking some heavy damage).

Since they have little interest in most of the quests inside the cover nor random exploration I give out story awards at various points (e.g. clearing Varnhold of Spriggans, Securing an alliance with the Nomen's, eventually successfully locating Vordakai etc.) to make up for it and they should reach lvl 9 just before meeting Vordakai. If they don't I'm sure they'll manage anyway (the party's barbarian kicks ass with enlarge, rage, bulls strength and power attack). Or worst case they'll have to escape and come back stronger.


Firstbourne wrote:

My players are taking the "vanishing" very seriously and see it as a major threat to their kingdom. I am concerned though, that they will go straight to Varnhold, then to the Nomen, then to Vordakai.

With that direction, they will not be of appropriate level to deal with Vordakai. Anyone else have this problem? Any suggestions on how to deal with it?

Let them lose, just don't kill them. After all, Vordakai wants information, not to kill everyone and everything. Have him alter his tactics to capture one (or more) party members; fodder for his one (or more) remaining soul jars.

Give the party plenty of time to realise they are overmatched - perhaps including a few rounds of villain monologuing, if necessary - and let them escape. If you have a player who's up for that sort of thing, have one of the PCs captured and let him play an NPC or replacement character for a few sessions until the inevitable rescue attempt.

In short, don't panic, but don't hold up a sign saying "You can't yet!" either. The goal is to get them to realise they need more help/levels/hirelings/expendable resources to tackle the big guy without being explicitly told.


Bigrin da Troll wrote:
Firstbourne wrote:

My players are taking the "vanishing" very seriously and see it as a major threat to their kingdom. I am concerned though, that they will go straight to Varnhold, then to the Nomen, then to Vordakai.

With that direction, they will not be of appropriate level to deal with Vordakai. Anyone else have this problem? Any suggestions on how to deal with it?

Let them lose, just don't kill them. After all, Vordakai wants information, not to kill everyone and everything. Have him alter his tactics to capture one (or more) party members; fodder for his one (or more) remaining <i>soul jars</i>.

Give the party plenty of time to realise they are overmatched - perhaps including a few rounds of villain monologuing, if necessary - and let them escape. If you have a player who's up for that sort of thing, have one of the PCs captured and let him play an NPC or replacement character for a few sessions until the inevitable rescue attempt.

In short, don't panic, but don't hold up a sign saying "You can't yet!" either. The goal is to get <i>them</i> to realise they need more help/levels/hirelings/expendable resources to tackle the big guy without being explicitly told.

That is what I was going to do but my players got lucky and won.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I have a few questions regarding the vanishing part before I'm sending my players through the rest of the tomb. (They are in W9)

In room W23 there are the bodies of 33 colonists with their skulls cracked and brains eaten. Were they released from their soul jars and then put in this room to be lich-dinner? (Since they all vanished from Varnhold without trace I'm assuming that's what happened).

Also it's written that Willas Gundarson in room W22 recovered from the beckoning and tried to fight his way out. Did the power of the mass charm monster effect from the oculus of Abbadon continue to work after the souls had been trapped in the soul jars and also after being released again?

And last where are the empty soul jars of the already dead colonists? (not really important considering they can't be reused, but helps explain to the players what happened).

Thanks for any help clarifying this. :-)


Leonal wrote:

I have a few questions regarding the vanishing part before I'm sending my players through the rest of the tomb. (They are in W9)

In room W23 there are the bodies of 33 colonists with their skulls cracked and brains eaten. Were they released from their soul jars and then put in this room to be lich-dinner? (Since they all vanished from Varnhold without trace I'm assuming that's what happened).

Also it's written that Willas Gundarson in room W22 recovered from the beckoning and tried to fight his way out. Did the power of the mass charm monster effect from the oculus of Abbadon continue to work after the souls had been trapped in the soul jars and also after being released again?

And last where are the empty soul jars of the already dead colonists? (not really important considering they can't be reused, but helps explain to the players what happened).

Thanks for any help clarifying this. :-)

I assumed the soul jars were of people that were still alive, just so the PC's would have someone to interact with, and to officially agree to be ruled. I really did not check to see if that is how it goes by the book. As far as charm monster it only works for hours per level so even if it is cast at level 20 it should be worn off since Varnhold stopped communicating about 3 months before the PC's are sent to investigate.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
wraithstrike wrote:
Leonal wrote:

I have a few questions regarding the vanishing part before I'm sending my players through the rest of the tomb. (They are in W9)

In room W23 there are the bodies of 33 colonists with their skulls cracked and brains eaten. Were they released from their soul jars and then put in this room to be lich-dinner? (Since they all vanished from Varnhold without trace I'm assuming that's what happened).

Also it's written that Willas Gundarson in room W22 recovered from the beckoning and tried to fight his way out. Did the power of the mass charm monster effect from the oculus of Abbadon continue to work after the souls had been trapped in the soul jars and also after being released again?

And last where are the empty soul jars of the already dead colonists? (not really important considering they can't be reused, but helps explain to the players what happened).

Thanks for any help clarifying this. :-)

I assumed the soul jars were of people that were still alive, just so the PC's would have someone to interact with, and to officially agree to be ruled. I really did not check to see if that is how it goes by the book. As far as charm monster it only works for hours per level so even if it is cast at level 20 it should be worn off since Varnhold stopped communicating about 3 months before the PC's are sent to investigate.

Yeah, I didn't think it would still be active, but to me it seems that Vordakai took them out of the soul jars while they were still alive and under the effect of charm monster before he began feasting on their brains, but he didn't finish them all yet, thus leaving 42 for the PCs to find.

With the mention of Willas having recovered from the charm monster right before the feasting (though assuming after being released from his soul jar), and no mention of empty/broken soul jars it seemed like some details were missing.

My players tend to ask all kinds of plot related questions and while I can just decide that there are lots of empty jars near the already dead colonists, it'd be nice to have some clarifications. :)


The typical soul jar can only hold creatures with 5 or less HD. Most of those being feasted upon were the highest-level creatures in Varnhold, so those were presumably never soul-jar'ed, but only came there due to the beckoning of the Oculus.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Are wrote:

The typical soul jar can only hold creatures with 5 or less HD. Most of those being feasted upon were the highest-level creatures in Varnhold, so those were presumably never soul-jar'ed, but only came there due to the beckoning of the Oculus.

My problem with that is that Vordakai captured all of them in soul jars, or so it says, and if they had walked due to the beckoning it would both leave more traces of them disappearing and the spell would likely expire before they even reached the tomb (assuming it follows normal duration rules).

edit: As Greg A. Vaughan pointed out earlier though, Maegar Varn would be a "LN male human (Taldan) aristocrat 4/bard 3 (colonial governor)", so I guess he got hit with dominate person along with up to two other high levels.

Pathfinder Lead Developer, Frog God Games

The soul jars were added when Vordekai was changed from his prior unique undead form to a lich, so some of those details got overlooked. I would say put some used soul jars in the feasting chamber and assume that he just used the occulus again when they emerged for the feast but Willas made his save and faked it or something like that.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Greg A. Vaughan wrote:
The soul jars were added when Vordekai was changed from his prior unique undead form to a lich, so some of those details got overlooked. I would say put some used soul jars in the feasting chamber and assume that he just used the occulus again when they emerged for the feast but Willas made his save and faked it or something like that.

Ah ok, thanks for replying and clearing that up. :)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Double post.

Anyone else had their players rip out one of their eyes and put the Oculus of Abaddon in?^^

The NE Wizard of the Old Gods in one of my groups figured it was a really nice item and ripped his left eye out, then proceeded to buy/make a hat of disguise so it wouldn't look so bad.

They found the room with the Oculus focus, but didn't dare do anything and don't know what it is/does. (I found the one way teleport to the nearby room to be a bit dull though).

Does anyone have any good ideas regarding the Oculus that could increase the fun for my player and group (and me^^) regarding this item?


Leonal wrote:

Double post.

Anyone else had their players rip out one of their eyes and put the Oculus of Abaddon in?^^

The NE Wizard of the Old Gods in one of my groups figured it was a really nice item and ripped his left eye out, then proceeded to buy/make a hat of disguise so it wouldn't look so bad.

They found the room with the Oculus focus, but didn't dare do anything and don't know what it is. (I found the one way teleport to the nearby room to be a bit dull though).

Does anyone have any good ideas regarding the Oculus that could increase the fun for my player and group (and me^^) regarding this item?

I took away the connection it had to the "dungeon". I also allowed it to summon 1d3 of those things that drain wisdom 2/day. My players found the entrance on the cliff, and tried to come in through the backdoor, but they failed the dispel magic check, so I sent after them. They decided to camp again so I sent one advanced version.

PS: The owner of the Occulus has the option of using one advanced version of the soulstealers(?) instead of trying to pull 1d3. I did not like the room, because there were no knowledge checks to figure out how to get it to work.
My players sold the Occulus. They will regret that later on.


Greetings, fellow travellers.

I am currently making additional notes to #3 and I came about the abandoned lair of the Culchek spriggans.

My idea is to have some monsters occupying that space (it's a 15 rooms appartment, after all!) which is not too difficult, but I want to have more than just another random encounter in that area.
Does anybody else have toyed with that idea and would share his/her thoughts?
Also: would the cave be built for small humanoids or for large ones?
Thanks for the help!

Ruyan.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16

wraithstrike wrote:
My players sold the Occulus. They will regret that later on.

Uh, who exactly do you sell that thing to? Who buys crap like that?

I would also argue that selling an item of that type is an evil act in-and-of itself.

minor RotRL spoiler:

Spoiler:
To be fair, my group came very close to selling the masks from near the end of Skinsaw Murders before we realized "uh, wait a second" and even then it was only because they were made of human flesh.


Erik Freund wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
My players sold the Occulus. They will regret that later on.

Uh, who exactly do you sell that thing to? Who buys crap like that?

I would also argue that selling an item of that type is an evil act in-and-of itself.

minor RotRL spoiler:
** spoiler omitted **

I am pretty sure there are evil people who would buy it. There is even a villain in AoW who specializes in such transactions.

PS:It is only crap to us good aligned people. Well the dwarf has CG on his character sheet, but he is really more CN and greedy. The party is basically neutral in action, with enough good deeds sprinkled in for me to not bother making alignment changes.


Greetings, fellow travellers.

I am organizing my notes for V.'s abode, also it is a bit early, since we are still in #1.
Anyways, I am sure my group will not be able to clear the whole dungeon in one go. They will have to rest. How did you handle that? Did your group rest in the dungeon/Was your group so stupid and rested in the dungeon - and what happened? I mean, I would assume, that since V. knows they are coming after him, he would have come and finish them off (I know I would).

Spoiler:
My concern is the flood trap in W10. I want to get a feel for the situation after the group sprung the trap, escapes by moving deeper into the dungeon and have exhausted their spells. What if nobody has a means of teleportion prepared and they have to rest in the dungeon. Would you play Vordakai as arrogant awaiting them on his throne?

Thanks for your help and insight!

Ruyan.


RuyanVe wrote:

Greetings, fellow travellers.

I am organizing my notes for V.'s abode, also it is a bit early, since we are still in #1.
Anyways, I am sure my group will not be able to clear the whole dungeon in one go. They will have to rest. How did you handle that? Did your group rest in the dungeon/Was your group so stupid and rested in the dungeon - and what happened? I mean, I would assume, that since V. knows they are coming after him, he would have come and finish them off (I know I would).

** spoiler omitted **

Thanks for your help and insight!

Ruyan.

V actually has several monsters in the dungeon, and my idea was for them to be worn down by the monsters. I did play him as arrogant until he started losing, but I also changed his spell list. As written the PC have a clear shot to him. No caster fights in melee when I run them, no arcane caster that is.

I added some summon spells, and well spells. I also added invisibility. When I dimension doored away and healed up I cast haste and invisibility on before coming back into the room. Unfortunately I flubbed the stealth check and the PC have high perception modifiers so they became aware V was back in the room. I saw no reason to hold back so I charged into the fray. I used grease to lock the paladin down in one square. When the cleric started to heal people, I used the 2nd dimension door to pay her a visit. The issue, which I did not realize until it was to late was that I was basically trapped. In the end V went down, but it was a good fight.

PS: One thing I did with the Wall of Force spell was create a barrier. Then I starting summoning backup. Due to 2 lucky crits my backup did not stay around for long though.
Using mirror image is a good idea also.


Greetings, fellow travellers and thanks for your input, wraithstrike.

I know about the monsters in the dungeon, but the other big one is stationary, IMO. And the ghoul-thingies are not tough enough, I think.

So, I will add the *watchamacallit* from Julian in W23.

What I am not clear about (and I know, it's my game and ultimately I will have to decide that question):
Will V. actually send his minions (or go himself) after the party _OR_ is he really that arrogant and is awaiting them in this throne room (giving a melodramatic speech)?

I will definitely change his spell list according to your suggestions (I have read them in another thread already and really liked your thinking). What I want to avoid is an anti-climatic battle at the end of a tough dungeon, with the big guy down in one round due to the paladin's aura of justice (and giving the party enough rest in between to make it a sunday afternoon walk in the park).

Hm, maybe after 2/3 of the dungeon I will see how my group copes with it's inhabitants and decide ad hoc.

Ruyan.


RuyanVe wrote:

Greetings, fellow travellers and thanks for your input, wraithstrike.

I know about the monsters in the dungeon, but the other big one is stationary, IMO. And the ghoul-thingies are not tough enough, I think.

So, I will add the *watchamacallit* from Julian in W23.

What I am not clear about (and I know, it's my game and ultimately I will have to decide that question):
Will V. actually send his minions (or go himself) after the party _OR_ is he really that arrogant and is awaiting them in this throne room (giving a melodramatic speech)?

I will definitely change his spell list according to your suggestions (I have read them in another thread already and really liked your thinking). What I want to avoid is an anti-climatic battle at the end of a tough dungeon, with the big guy down in one round due to the paladin's aura of justice (and giving the party enough rest in between to make it a sunday afternoon walk in the park).

Hm, maybe after 2/3 of the dungeon I will see how my group copes with it's inhabitants and decide ad hoc.

Ruyan.

What are the ghoulie things? Do you mean the dread cyclops zombie?

Those things still have the ability to choose any one dice roll as a nat 20. They have a low intelligence, but they could have reasonably been instructed to pull the melee types out of the range of the channeling of cleric, and drop a crit on them.

Paladins are not immune to being paralyzed :). My paladin got beat up by a grease spell. Paladins don't have great reflex saves so trapping him in a wall of stone is possible. Blindness/Deafness on the arcanist is not a bad idea. Using Babau to break the paladin's weapon is not a bad idea either. When the party is outside fighting the element I am sure V knows about it. I would put up a wall of force. I know the spell is not memorized, but trading in sold gold item he does not need for a few scrolls increases the things he can do to the party. He has about 175 hit points, and a decent AC. Ray of enfeebling the paladin drops his attack rolls. Actually having him be invisible when the party walks into the room behind the wall of force is not a bad idea. They will see the summons. The wall will drop when V dismisses it, and the fun begins.Having him sneak around to the back of the party where the casters are seems like fun also.

PS: If the summoning is completer before they enter the room the summons should be on the far side of the room. Allow the paladin to go over to fight them. V then appears behind the party casters. By the time he gets back at least one of them should be paralyzed. I was not smart enough to do this for my group, but hindsight is 20/20.
After seeing the thing Julian created I can only say +1.


Awesome.
Yeah, ghoulie-things = zombies...
And I completely missed their SQ...
I can totally see an BBEG acting as you described, and I lean heavily to your side, but he is an arrogant lich, 10000s of years old.
On the other hand, their faces! I can totally see my party being flabbergasted at the tons of stuff I can unload on them!

Well, thanks again for your input, it is highly appreciated.

Ruyan.

PS: Now, they only have to survive the Stag Lord and the trolls and the owlbear... but the future for me as a maniacly grinning DM seems so much brighter.


V toasted tonight

once dispel magic had got rid of his displacement he got pretty well shredded in quick time

Party bard failed his know:arcana so they are not sure what to do with they occulum

see how that goes next time


DanP wrote:
Looking for feedback from anyone who has run the last encounter on how it went. Running this in a couple of weeks. Worried about the DR on the boss being too tough on the one hand, but also his missing a save and going down too early on the other. My group is 5 8th level PCs, including a necromancer (halt undead, command undead, etc. have been handy in the tomb) and an inquisitor with a holy slashing weapon (party's biggest damage dealer).

I finally ran this encounter last night, and both and I and the party were pleased with how it played. Thanks to those who supplied input on this capstone encounter.

I dropped his shield spell to reflect his 'arrogance' and swapped enchantment spells for necromancy, but that was about it. On round 1 he did waves of fatigue, round 2 ray of exhaustion and quickened magic missile, and round 3 'burning blood' from 3.5 to reflect his lost lore. His biggest unanticipated advantage was paralyzing reach related attacks of opportunity as party moved in for attacks.

The party's strength is spell-casting and the newly leveled Inquisitor was able to use searing light to strong effect, and the oracle had holy smite. They used 3 remove paralysis scrolls from the emergency trove in the Varnhold church to stay in the fight.

When he was down to 50 hp or so, he left and healed and party did the same; he then came back with fireball and cone of cold. Again, magic missile and sound burst chipped him down and party eventually took him down with the holy sword but not before he critted once with his touch attack.

Overall, pleased the encounter ran several rounds and his hp, dr, high will save, and undead immunity to fortitude save spells lent good staying power.

151 to 200 of 462 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | next > last >>
Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo Publishing / Pathfinder® / Pathfinder Adventure Path / Kingmaker / The Varnhold Vanishing (GM Reference) All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.

©2002–2014 Paizo Inc.®. Need help? Email customer.service@paizo.com or call 425-250-0800 during our business hours: Monday–Friday, 10 AM–5 PM Pacific Time. View our privacy policy. Paizo Inc., Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, Pathfinder Society, GameMastery, and Planet Stories are registered trademarks of Paizo Inc., and Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, Pathfinder Battles, Pathfinder Online, PaizoCon, RPG Superstar, The Golem's Got It, Titanic Games, the Titanic logo, and the Planet Stories planet logo are trademarks of Paizo Inc. Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon, Dungeon, and Polyhedron are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and have been used by Paizo Inc. under license. Most product names are trademarks owned or used under license by the companies that publish those products; use of such names without mention of trademark status should not be construed as a challenge to such status.