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PFS#43 The Pallid Plague [Spoilers]


Pathfinder Society GM Discussion

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Qadira **** Venture-Captain, Ireland—Belfast aka heretic

Loved the tension though a very strict interpretation of the rules around the disease would have meant a TPK!

One thing:

Spoiler Alert:
Just ran this with a party of four PCs with no knowledge skills at all and half of them were on con and chr of 2 or less before the cure DC was reached! What I wanted to mention was that the bad guy cultists' tactics were all 'fight to the death' even when interrogating them was pretty essential to the plot. Perhaps a heads up to the DM to fudge things to ensure that the PCs don't accidentally do enough dmg to kill (dead) both of the cultist rogues (& even the gardeners) and so end up having no idea of how to get to the basin and having to not only run the optional encounter but succeed at it (with rather low charisma scores at that point).

Silver Crusade **

I just bought this adventure, planning to run it as my first GM experience in PFS, and I have a few questions. Heavy spoilers ahead, but given the title of the thread, I don't feel the need to put everything in spoiler tags.

1. Silly question, but the disease says it affects fey and humanoids. Can I assume this means that companion animals are immune? My local group travels with a small zoo on most adventures. (Druid, ranger, and witch all have furry friends)

2. Speaking of how palepox will impact the oddities in my local group, one of my local players got a boon at a convention that lets him play a tiefling character in Society play. They're not in any way related to fey, are they? I'm pretty sure they're not, but I just want to make sure I don't have to treat that character like a gnome or feyblood sorcerer for the DC on the disease.

3. I'm a little confused on how Laurel is supposed to go about testing her cures for palepox. If she has to wait to see if her heal check helps the infected people (Vanick Inor or the PCs) on their next save, then wouldn't that mean waiting for the next day's saving throw? Or does her healing attempt let them try to make an extra saving throw immediately?

4. Our core local group are mostly level 4-5. My level 4 barbarian is actually behind the others by a couple of XP, so they'll probably all be level 5 when we play this. That first fight looks pretty scary at subtier 6-7, though the rest seem like they won't be too bad. Along with the disease DC, I'm thinking I should recommend that they play down if it's an all level 5 group. Overcoming the palepox DC might be challenging for them at 3-4, even if the combats are too easy.

I know I had more questions when I first looked at the scenario yesterday, but now I don't remember what they were. I'm sure I'll post more here as I remember.

Qadira ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

1. The disease is implied to only infect humanoids and fey. The NPCs believe this to be true and there's no direct evidence otherwise. There's nothing in the Palepox sidebar that states it does not affect animals however. If you read the disease section of the Core Rules, it never states "only affects creature type X". Unlike in the real world, in Pathfinder disease can spread universally. If this is true, if birds and other animals could actually spread the disease, then Mark Moreland wrote a scenario that ends life as we know it on Golarion. Any epidemiologists out there feel free to disagree. So since that was not Mark's intent feel free to assume that animals and magical beasts are safe :)

2. Tieflings are not related to fey.

Bestiary pg 264 wrote:
Tieflings are humans with demonic, devilish, or other evil outsider blood in their ancestry.

3. I would say that the save is made on the following morning after the successful heal attempt.

4. I agree, you have made a good risk assessment here. This is not a combat-intense scenario. Surviving the disease will be the goal.

Silver Crusade **

Thanks, Doug.

One other question about the undead animals in the first encounter, that are stuffed with flower petals, and explode when they get killed: Am I the only one who keeps thinking of them as "undead pinatas"? :p

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Tieflings are outsiders (native), not humanoids. You should decide if palepox can affect outsiders.

Silver Crusade **

Chris Mortika wrote:
Tieflings are outsiders (native), not humanoids. You should decide if palepox can affect outsiders.

As stated in the quote that Doug Miles provided from the Beastiary, they're humans with a small amount of outsider blood. I figure that's human enough to be affected by human diseases.

Silver Crusade **

yoda8myhead wrote:

I have now run this several times, and each time it's just been those money-grubbing Qadirans rifling through the tents trying to get their faction mission accomplished. The "good guys" have always been busy chatting up the lumberjacks and trying to heal them or get to the bottom of their infection. In any case, I think stealing a few hundred gold pieces from the evil Lumber Consortium isn't such a big deal. The specific lumberjacks at this camp are all gonna die of the plague anyway.

The only time I marked down players' wealth was when they set fire to the cart before checking it for treasure. Only one of the scrolls made its save, but after dividing by two and then again by six, the difference was hardly noticeable.

I was thinking the same thing in reading through the adventure - even if the players don't steal the lumberjacks' money, I'd still let them get the reward. After all, not taking it could be done for honorable RP reasons.

But if they burn the cart or don't bother to search it, I would mark them down for that. Next question as a new GM in PFS: Besides losing the money, can I assume that those items in the cart that they didn't find should also be crossed off their chronicle sheet, so they can't purchase them?

Silver Crusade **

One question that I don't think was ever answered, from the very first post in the thread:

Quote:
How many days travel is it to a town with a 5th level divine caster?

If the players fail to find a cure, how far is it to get to a town big enough for them to buy a "remove disease"?

Our group is currently debating running at tier 1-2 or 3-4 tomorrow, and this could be the deciding factor on what I (the GM) recommend. We've got 7 players, and 6 of them have level 2 characters, while the 7th has a level 3 as her lowest. Three of the players could swap out their level 2 characters for higher level characters if they want (levels 3-5). I'm not overly worried about the combat (except maybe the first fight, but I think they can handle it), but I don't want the disease to cause a TPK.

Silver Crusade **

So I'm still trying to figure out if the players will die of the plague before they can get to a big enough city to buy a "remove disease" if they fail at the main mission. The only map I've been able to find online that might be useful is this one: http://discordia.illuminatum.net/download/Andoran.jpg

But without some sort of scale, I have no idea if it's 100 miles or 1000 miles to Oregent from Falcon's Hollow. It does seem to be a big city, though, based on this: http://pathfinder.wikia.com/wiki/Oregent

For that matter, I haven't been able to find info in the Core Rulebook about travel speeds. The Core Rulebook index entry for "speed" only points to pages that talk about speed per round in combat. And the wilderness section of the Core Rulebook wasn't helpful, either, though I just skimmed it, so I may have missed something.

You'd think this type of info would be covered in a "what to do if the players fail at the mission" section at the end of the adventure. I'm sure detailed geographical info about Andoran is available in some book I've never heard of, but I was under the impression that PFS adventures were supposed to be self-contained.

Silver Crusade **

Since nobody's responded, I'm just going to claim that Oregent is 3 days journey from Falcon's Hollow by riverboat, if it comes up. That should be close enough to keep anyone from dying of the plague before they get there.

Of course, it occurs to me that a riverboat captain wouldn't want to take on sick passengers, but I guess I could claim that the captain is already sick himself, so he doesn't care about enforcing any sort of quarantine.

Silver Crusade **

Well, my players outsmarted me, and made my worrying about what to do if they're all still sick unnecessary. As soon as they heard "plague", they all went out and bought scrolls of Remove Disease. And much to my surprise, a few of them managed to avoid getting infected at all during the adventure.

The RP encounter to hunt for a cure went badly. There were 7 PCs, but they weren't the most skilled in things that could be useful. They really could have used a druid or bard along. All they had was one cleric with a good heal roll, and a few other people coming up with excuses to apply random knowledge skills, and then blowing half the rolls. I also had some of them go out to pick roots and herbs outside of town (perception checks), and a witch's cat familiar ended up being the MVP of that.

They ended up failing to come up with a cure the first two times they tried, then leaving town to finish the rest of the encounters. Then they returned to town and tried again to help Laurel find a cure, after they realized the bad guys didn't have one and Laurel was their only hope. They eventually succeeded, but it was tough.

All in all, the RP encounter of trying to help Laurel find a cure ended up being more frustrating than fun for this group, which is kinda sad, since I thought it looked like it would be lots of fun when I first read the scenario.

Grand Lodge ****

It was lots of fun for my group - the trick is to set the scene of 'CSI Golarion'. Describe Laurel's laboratory like it's the medieval equivalent of a forensics laboratory. Have Laurel brew hot coffee for the PCs and explain that they're going to pull an all-nighter until the team works out a solution.

It sucks that you had less intelligent characters trying to do science. In that scenario, maybe they could have thought outside the box to rustle members of the community who may have the knowledge required to contribute to the cure?

Shadow Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Washington—Eastern Washington aka WalterGM

KestlerGunner wrote:

It was lots of fun for my group - the trick is to set the scene of 'CSI Golarion'. Describe Laurel's laboratory like it's the medieval equivalent of a forensics laboratory. Have Laurel brew hot coffee for the PCs and explain that they're going to pull an all-nighter until the team works out a solution.

It sucks that you had less intelligent characters trying to do science. In that scenario, maybe they could have thought outside the box to rustle members of the community who may have the knowledge required to contribute to the cure?

Spoiler:
When i ran this, my group consisted of only 2 characters with knowledge skills (and low ranks at that). Playing at the 6-7 tier, I decided that if they could be creative enough, I'd let other skills help Laurel (as the scenario suggests). The best was the halfling barbarian with climb scaling Laurel's shelves to retrieve books for her.

Shadow Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Michigan—Alma

Lol. My group's paladin used acrobatics, climb, and swim to see how the effects of different forms of exercise had on the disease.

Silver Crusade **

1 person marked this as a favorite.

You know, I am actually fine with parties failing skill challenges if they do not bring PC's with skills. Players who dump int and cha because they see no good use for them should have a bit of pain when then run into these scenarios. Most scenarios come across as a batch of fights in which one may occasionally use a skill. For players who enjoy having a wide array of skills and abilities, that is a let down. If a combat optimized monster is reduced to doing "aid another" on a skill check, fair enough, as a skill monkey will be doing the same thing in combat. It all balances out.

Paizo Employee ** Developer

Eric Clingenpeel wrote:
Lol. My group's paladin used acrobatics, climb, and swim to see how the effects of different forms of exercise had on the disease.

This type of creative justification for using the skills you've got is exactly what I had in mind when I designed the encounter. Josh changed how it worked somewhat in development, but I think it works better now.

Ultimately, PCs should be encouraged to look at their character sheets and see what they're good at, and then find a way to use those skills to help Laurel. If that means they use Survival or Knowledge (nature) to go out and find rare components in the woods, or that they use Perception to help her find a particular reagent that she "just knows she has around here somwhere," or that they use Diplomacy to talk some annoying peasants away who keep coming and insisting to speak to Laurel, or that they use Sleight of Hand to help cut extremely fine slivers of a particular mushroom, or etc., etc., etc., as long as they hit the target DC, they should be able to assist. This means someone with an 8 Int and 2 skill points per level is likely going to have one shot at helping, but that's a tradeoff one makes when building a character.

Osirion *** Venture-Captain, Iowa—Iowa City

I just got done playing this scenario at Tier 6-7 and had to use a Heal spell to get rid of the disease. Remove Disease was not a much of an option for a DC 28 check. Remove Disease requires a caster level check (1d20 + caster level). Even if I purchased Remove Disease at caster level 12, someone needs to roll at 16 or higher to remove the disease. Even at level 20, there's a chance of failure for Remove Disease.

Another issue folks may want to consider is the listing of antiplague in the Armory says the antiplague does not give a +5 bonus for those infected but instead allows 2 saving throws with the PC taking the better of the two. If the antiplague Laurel crafts is somehow different from the antiplague one buys from the armory, do the antiplague's stack allowing a PC a +5 competence bonus and 2 rolls?

Finally, on the issue of travel to Almas. Looking at the map in Inner Sea Guide, Almas appears to be 240 miles from Falcon's Hollow. For movement speed of 30, one can travel 24 miles in an 8 hour day. Anything beyond 8 hours is hustle and the PC has to make Constitution checks to avoid taking non-lethal damage and becoming fatigued. Therefore it takes the PCs 10 days to make it to Falcon's Hollow.

On a light horse, travel is 40 miles per day. 6 days to Almas.

By sailing ship down the river from Falcon's Hollow to Almas, 5 days.

Got Healed with a Cha 1 and Con of 3.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

LeDon Sweeney wrote:
Another issue folks may want to consider is the listing of antiplague in the Armory says the antiplague does not give a +5 bonus for those infected but instead allows 2 saving throws with the PC taking the better of the two. If the antiplague Laurel crafts is somehow different from the antiplague one buys from the armory, do the antiplague's stack allowing a PC a +5 competence bonus and 2 rolls?

There's actually antiplague in the APG, which has this description:

"If you drink a vial of this foul-tasting, milky tonic, you gain a +5 alchemical bonus on Fortitude saving throws against disease for the next hour. If already infected, you may also make two saving throws (without the +5 bonus) that day and use the better result."

If I'm not mistaken, the APG trumps the Armory due to being a more recent source.

Cheliax ***** Venture-Captain, Nebraska—Omaha

Jiggy, is that the APG version of anti-plague? It reads exactly like AA

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Yes, that's the APG version. I've never even read the AA version (didn't know it existed, actually). So if that's what AA already says, then what was LeDon Sweeney even asking?

Shadow Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Michigan—Alma

I think he was just mis-reading the AA version.


Jiggy wrote:
Yes, that's the APG version. I've never even read the AA version (didn't know it existed, actually). So if that's what AA already says, then what was LeDon Sweeney even asking?

In the scenario, there's a description of an alchemical antiplague drink that Laurel makes. It's not clear if that's the same antiplague as is mentioned in the Adventurer's Armory and the Advanced Player's Guide. (I don't have the scenario in front of me to verify.)

It looks like PP came out in Feb 2010 and AA came out in April 2010, so PP actually premiered first.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

hogarth wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
Yes, that's the APG version. I've never even read the AA version (didn't know it existed, actually). So if that's what AA already says, then what was LeDon Sweeney even asking?

In the scenario, there's a description of an alchemical antiplague drink that Laurel makes. It's not clear if that's the same antiplague as is mentioned in the Adventurer's Armory and the Advanced Player's Guide. (I don't have the scenario in front of me to verify.)

It looks like PP came out in Feb 2010 and AA came out in April 2010, so PP actually premiered first.

Oh! Gotcha. Thanks for clearing that up. Hm, yeah, I don't have it in front of me either. But if memory serves, the then-unique antiplague that shows up on the Chronicle sheet says something like "as antitoxin, but for diseases". Antitoxin is just the +5 part, so I guess Laurel's brew is just that?


Jiggy wrote:
Oh! Gotcha. Thanks for clearing that up. Hm, yeah, I don't have it in front of me either. But if memory serves, the then-unique antiplague that shows up on the Chronicle sheet says something like "as antitoxin, but for diseases". Antitoxin is just the +5 part, so I guess Laurel's brew is just that?

Right. So then the question is: Can you also use the APG/AA version and get the bonus save as well, or do the two antiplagues not stack?

I think it's clear that you should be able to use the APG/AA version if you can find some to buy, but if you can find some available for purchase in that small town then it doesn't make much sense for Laurel to be making her own, inferior version.

Shadow Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Michigan—Alma

Pallid Plague wrote:

Once Laurel succeeds in curing the PCs (and Inor) of the

disease, she now has the recipe for an antiplague concoction
that gives anyone drinking it a +5 alchemical bonus on
saving throws against disease for 1 hour. She thanks the PCs
greatly for their help, telling them that should the disease
spread throughout the area, she now has a way to combat it,
which she wouldn’t have had without the PCs’ help.

So the scenario has a lesser version of the antiplague, really. It doesn't give the ability to roll twice, just gives +5 verses the disease. I suppose if you had both hers and the AA/APG version you might get a +5 and two rolls then.

Cheliax ***** Venture-Captain, Nebraska—Omaha

Antiplague gives either the +5 or the two rolls, not both, so when I ran this I counted them as two separate entities.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

That's because you're very nice.

Not that it helped.

Shadow Lodge **

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

It's usually disheartening when the players don't ask the Venture-Captian for more information before setting out, but in this case it made for a humorous adventure. I wrote down everyone's Fort save bonuses and made all the palepox saves in secret, so their reaction to the plague zombie wolves was that they were like big, floral pinatas. This made Encounter #2 largely pointless, so it just ended up as a discussion where one of the gardeners ended up saying things like, "Hey, you saw the wolf with the small tail and the lazy eye? Heh, yeah, Fluffles was never all that scary anyway." It did let me give them more of the back story, and clue them in on how infected they were.

The only person who didn't like Act 3 was the Paladin with just two skills. He nearly refused to imagine how he could use them to help out, but after the other, fun-having players demanded that he try, he made both skills and succeeded in getting the cure made on time (I ended up playing it out like a montage). Then, they didn't take the cultist rogues seriously and all got infected again, likewise deciding to torch the cart without looking in it first. I skipped over most of the optional encounter, mainly because we were low on time but I didn't want to bilk the Andorens out of their faction mission.

The final showdown ended up being humourous, since I didn't have the minis to represent every single partygoer. What happened:

The rogue sneaks up and fires an arrow at the cleric. The paladin charges and one-shots the zombie. The wizard runs up and knocks out the backup bad guy with a colour spray. The evil cleric casts Cause Fear on the rogue, and then collapses from the ranger's arrow. Rogue: "AAAAUGH!" and runs off. Mission Complete!

I would say the scenario is low on fighting, but fighting isn't the point of it. The only confusing thing is how it has a chart to track the progress of the disease over several days, while the whole scenario, from their initial exposure to its resolution, would be one whole day. The disease just doesn't have a chance to progress, especially if they shake it off with the cure. So why is the chart there? If they take more than one day and the big celebratory party takes a long time to organize?

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

The Shifty Mongoose wrote:
torch the cart without looking in it first.

My players wanted to torch it after noticing what was in it. I kindly asked them if they knew why it was a bad idea to burn patches of poison ivy.

They decided to dump it in the ocean instead.

Quote:
The only confusing thing is how it has a chart to track the progress of the disease over several days, while the whole scenario, from their initial exposure to its resolution, would be one whole day. The disease just doesn't have a chance to progress, especially if they shake it off with the cure. So why is the chart there? If they take more than one day and the big celebratory party takes a long time to organize?

If they're still infected when they finish the mission, you have to resolve it. That means either sitting around in the village until they make enough saves naturally, or trying to survive the journey to a larger city where they can buy however many castings of remove disease it takes to cure them.

When I ran it, most of the party healed up in the village, but one unlucky soul started to accumulate enough CON damage that his Fort saves were getting dangerously low. The party managed to convince the herbalist to accompany them on the multi-day journey to [unnamed larger city] to take care of him while they carted is rapidly-deteriorating body to safety. Eventually, they reached town while he was 3 points of CON damage away from permanent death. Three castings of remove disease later, we were able to end the scenario.

Sczarni *** Venture-Lieutenant, Connecticut—Manchester aka Cpt_kirstov

Act 3 alone can take several days depending on the descriptions used for skills. Also, it took our lvl1 paladin down to 2 before he finally made the saves after the end of the module.

Taldor ***

I'm running this tomorrow and this antiplague hassle disturbs me. Pallid Plague introduced the item, so the PCs couldn't have buckled up with them beforehand. Now though I'm expecting to see the PCs carry their gold's worth of antiplagues.

Since this disease is supposed to be really special and different, it seems counter-intuitive if the PCs already have antidotes for the disease. Mark, any thoughts on this? I'm thinking of making "normal" antiplagues ineffective against the palepox. That might be a dick move, but then again proper for the scenario's mood and origin.

Of course I'm going to tell this at the start so they don't waste their gold on them... hm. Anyone have some thoughts on this in case Mark doesn't get around before the game? :)

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Antiplague that the PCs can buy ahead of time does not have the same effects as the stuff Laurel brews.

The issue I have run into is the increasing number of outsiders -- particularly Aasimar and Tieflings, which no longer require the player to have won a boon -- since they aren't subject to palepox, despite the questions raised at the beginning of the thread. It's one thing when there's only one oddball race or paladin at the table who's immune. It's another when everybodyat the table except one or two PCs is immune.

Taldor ***

They work in different ways yes, but still have a similar goal; to cure the disease. I just find that this palepox shouldn't be cured with a readily available antidote.

Actually I made a comparison and it seems the APG's version is better.

From Ultimate Equipment:
If you drink a vial of this foul-tasting, milky tonic, you gain a +5 alchemical bonus on Fortitude saving throws against disease for the next hour. If already infected, you may also make two saving throws (without the +5 bonus) that day and use the better result.

From Pallid Plague:
Once Laurel succeeds in curing the PCs (and Inor) of the disease, she now has the recipe for an antiplague concoction that gives anyone drinking it a +5 alchemical bonus on saving throws against disease for 1 hour.

or
From the Chronicle Sheet:
Antiplague (50 gp; as antitoxin, except for diseases)
Antitoxin This substance counteracts a specific toxin. If you drink a vial of antitoxin, you gain a +5 alchemical bonus on Fortitude saving throws against poison for 1 hour.

I wish I could say "normal antiplagues won't work here" and retain the fearsome atmosphere till the end.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

(shrug) If this were a home campaign, I'd recommend that the conventional antiplague is not as powerful against palepox due to the disease's mystical origins, but that Laurel's remedy not only provides a +5 against the disease but also acts as a catalyst, allowing the normal antiplague to work at full power, granting the second saving throw to those who use it.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, California—Fresno aka Sarta

Keep in mind what the DC is for the tier 6-7 -- especially gnomes. It is very easy for PC's to be exposed again before the conclusion of the scenario. DC 30 means that even with the +5 anecdote, it may take a lot of castings of Remove Disease to finally succeed.

A level 7 Gnome Sorcerer with a +2 Cloak of Resist and a 14 Con has a +6 to Fort saves. With the anecdote, this means they must roll a 19 or 20 on the fort save or enter a CON spiral.

Remove Disease purchased with gold or prestige is cast at caster level 5, which means it cannot remove this disease. 1d20 + 5 vs. DC 30.

Frankly, paying the 2 prestige for a Heal may be a character's best option.

Taldor ***

You mean that the UE's Antiplague would grant two rolls and Laurel's the +5 bonus, thus giving two rolls, both with a +5 alchemical bonus?

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Deussu, I think so. It's a GM-call whether Laurel's +5 bonus applies to both rolls or only the first, but I'd be generous: at that point, the party has won and is spending resources to save their own lives. Watching a comrade wither and die seems a downer of an ending under those circumstances.

Taldor ***

Well, the thing was I wanted to create a sense of danger. With those damn antiplagues readily available it was a nigh impossible feat to have the disease really possess a life-threatening threat.

So I just had Laurel's antiplague be the mixture of both, giving two rolls with +5 rolls. The original, only giving +5 bonus for one hour (so you need to take in the morning when it triggers) was much more tense and I've heard of characters that were 1 con away from death by disease.

Again, however, the skill challenge was fun and the combats really dull and forgettable. The antiplague hassle further eases the scenario making it a cakewalk.


A bit off topic, I am adjusting this for a home game. NPC dark druids will send my players (party 4, lvl 2) to go fetch some firebloom seeds or perhaps a starter plant to grow this field.

My question is, before I pick a random spot on a random map to send my players....Is there any lore about this plant? or was it something created just for this module. If there is lore, I would like to follow it.

Thanks!

*

I feel weird necro-ing this- but i have a question, maybe i just dont know much about diseases.

you need 2 consecutive saves to stop palepox.

What happens if you make just one? do you not advance the disease that day, but advance it if they fail the next day?

is the stat damage permanent or gone after they make their saves?

i plan on running this scenario this weekend, figure i should know the basics

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

You can find the rules both for ability damage in general and for afflictions (including diseases) in the Core Rulebook, or HERE.


minor necro >.> Sorry, but seems a fair place... the zombies do NOT have DR 5/slashing? Am I correct in this?

Qadira ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

Correct. They have a variant template that replaces their DR with the plague ability.

Silver Crusade

The Pallid Plague scenario has been justly criticized as unreasonably dangerous to low-level characters. Simply put: a beginning first level character has very little chance of saving against the plague and NO CHANCE to obtain spell-casting services to remove it. One of the most frustrating aspects of the danger is that it ultimately hinges on a woeful lack of detail in the applicable rules on spending prestige points. Neither the rules, nor the scenario provide for any means of obtaining the services of a faction member while waiting immediately outside the gates of the nearest large city (even though this is the most obvious and economical solution to the problem). Consequently, unsympathetic interpretations of the relevant rules are likely to deny characters the realistic benefits of creative problem solving skills in a way that leads directly to character death. These circumstances are so likely to frustrate and kill characters that they directly conflict with Paizo’s stated policies in favor of avoiding character death, encouraging creative solutions, using common sense, and not being a jerk.
Although it seems that the rules do not specifically prohibit characters from securing the service of their faction from the city gates, the only provision that appears to allow it is one that locates the character inside a distant, smaller settlement. The relevant passage reads as follows:
“A character’s ability to spend Prestige Points is dependent on her being in contact with other members of her faction, and unless noted otherwise, most factions tend to have agents, contacts, or headquarters in settlements that are at least the size of a large city. To reflect the difficulty of contacting a faction agent in a smaller settlement, Prestige Point costs increase by 5 in communities with fewer than 5,000 people.” (emphasis added)
The loophole in this language allows uncharitable GM’s to assess the prestige cost of obtaining faction services while standing at a large city’s gates at the same exact rate as the services would command if the character were 7,000+ miles away (a bizarrely unrealistic and unjustifiable ruling). A simple and reasonable supplement to existing rules (or use of GM discretion) can resolve this conflict by allowing for the prestige purchase of heal spells using the scenario’s prestige points from the gates of the nearest large city. This interpretation does not actually contradict any existing rules but, rather, can be applied as a supplement to them or added to the instructions for the scenario, itself.
A brief survey of GM’s reactions to this scenario above reveals that (in some cases) the danger absolutely demands adjustment by GM’s in order for it to be brought within the limits of reason. Many of the solutions applied by GM’s have been direct violations of the rules and definitions from the scenario and the books. Given that the scenario is already found to require compromises of the rules, I suggest that it would be wise to address the problem as stated above; By specifically allowing for a 5 day journey by boat to the nearest large city, where characters are permitted to communicate their need for a heal spell to their faction from outside the gates. This is perfectly realistic and is not specifically prohibited by the rules. The CRB, itself says that circumstances where rules do not directly address a proposed action merit the use of GM discretion. Furthermore, GM discretion, itself, is modified by the stated policies of Paizo, as detailed above. Therefore the solution offered herein should be considered acceptable in relation to every single one of the community’s material goals and values.

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