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Racing to Ruin (GM Reference)


Serpent's Skull

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

I run underwater combat exactly with the RAW.

The table gives you everything related to weapon damage and attack rolls and the text takes care of most spells. The bit in the end about "some spells might function differently underwater" would give you justification for just about anything but off the top of my head I can't think of a spell that I run differently underwater except for fire spells. I find it not very helpful to bog the game down with discussions about sonic speed or diluted acid.


Finally reached tazion. I have a feeling its going to be bigger than i thought

I did get to phantasmally kill something in tonights session with my witch for the first time

Are 3 stinking clouds in one room cumulative. i cast one, my mephit familiar cast one, and the mephit he managed to 25% also cast one...all in the same area!!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

Stinking cloud is a poison effect and as such you find your answer here.
A creature in the area of all three spells has its save DC raised by +4.


Nullpunkt wrote:

Stinking cloud is a poison effect and as such you find your answer here.

A creature in the area of all three spells has its save DC raised by +4.

I was mulling that over as we played, as it is now a poison effect. I didnt mention it as was unsure which DC should be the base and which adds to it, and id didnt want to slow the game down

Should the save DC be the high one, and then +2 for each subsequent one?

That would have been DC 24 from a 7th level character?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

If there are three stinking clouds in effect in a square a creature occupies it has to roll one Fortitude save against the highest 'base' spell save DC +4.
So let's say your 7th level wizard has an Int of 20 it would be a DC of 22 (10 + 5(Int)+ 3(spell lvl) + 4).


Nullpunkt wrote:

If there are three stinking clouds in effect in a square a creature occupies it has to roll one Fortitude save against the highest 'base' spell save DC +4.

So let's say your 7th level witch has an Int of 20 it would be a DC of 22 (10 + 5(Int)+ 3(spell lvl) + 4).

plus the awesomeness of 3 fold aspect (old) for 24

Andoran

My first game of Racing to Ruin went great. The RP encounters between the PCs and the various factions led to amazing play. I have to give my PCs a lot of credit for a good job. The group eventually negotiated a truce between the Sargava government and the Pathfinders. After reading some of the others accounts of similar reactions, this will open more RP opportunities.

The encounter with the Freemen went pretty cool. I also took the page from others and went to extreme effort to emphasize the terrorist aspects of the group. For example I had Umagro kill a blonde girl in front of the crowds. As a fun twist, one of the PCs are playing an Inquisitor of Gorum the war job. When he cast a heal spell I gave him a vision of Umagro eventually leading a massive rebellion against Eleder. This was a warning that the God wants him to survive. The player did his best to maneuver the party to capturing him and now he can return later as a reoccurring baddy.

Great to read the advice from the others.


I am preparing to have my Group start RtR this weekend. They will be meeting with Nkechi and going through Into the Spirit Realms. After reading this again, I am confused as to how the combat with the dream serpent is going to take place. It specifies that they fight the dream serpent in their animal forms. Do I actually give them the statistics for their forms? If so, what would those forms be? Some of them make sense... I could use a Buffalo or something for a Hoofed Mammal, a Wolf for a Canine, a Horse for an Equine, but the carnivorous vermin and small mammal have me stumped. I guess I could use a giant wasp or giant mantis for a vermin, and a dire rat for a rodent. What have other people done?

Thanks!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

It's a dream sequence so I think you shouldn't make it too technical. Just let them roll a few times and have an exceptionally good roll (maybe even a natural 20) decapitate the serpent as intended. At least that's what I did IIRC. Everyone was satisfied and it keeps the game moving.


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GM Hands of Fate wrote:
I am preparing to have my Group start RtR this weekend. They will be meeting with Nkechi and going through Into the Spirit Realms. After reading this again, I am confused as to how the combat with the dream serpent is going to take place. It specifies that they fight the dream serpent in their animal forms. Do I actually give them the statistics for their forms? If so, what would those forms be? Some of them make sense... I could use a Buffalo or something for a Hoofed Mammal, a Wolf for a Canine, a Horse for an Equine, but the carnivorous vermin and small mammal have me stumped. I guess I could use a giant wasp or giant mantis for a vermin, and a dire rat for a rodent. What have other people done?

I wrote out basic statistics of an animal for each of my players on an index card and handed them out when they went into the dream sequence. There was a rhinoceros, monkey, black panther, and a peacock. I described the dream as though they were giant spirit animals racing through the air. Then when the serpent attacked they entered combat as normal using the statistics I gave them. The combat isn't meant to be to terribly challenging and my players did really well, even with only the animal stats (except for the peacock, he got swallowed whole!). Anyway, they decapitated the serpent god and woke up from the dream. I told my players to keep the index cards, which hints that they may be used later. My players loved this whole sequence.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Companion Subscriber

I am assigning animals that fit the characters' behavior or that they had significant encounters with on the Shiv. I figure making it a little more personal will make it more memorable rather than someone randomly assigned as an elephant for no reason.

Cheliax

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Having seen this encounter coming from the start of the path, I asked the PCs directly when we first sat down and were doing character introductions "What animal best represents your character?" The party being 80% Mwangi natives figured this had something to do with animal totems but had completely forgotten about it two months later when we got to the Spirit Plane encounter. I took their choices and matched them up with the table as close as possible.

I also did what Grey Wind did and wrote up note cards with their basic animal stats they'd need (attacks and any special abilities). It didn't take them long to adjust their stats and figure new ACs from their. Shrug.

My 2 cp.
-J


I should have posted this here:

Question about Issilar:

spoiler:

Why does his Imunity Fire say 60 points? Shouldn't it be 72 (6x12)?
Also, why does he have four 3rd and six 2nd level spells. Shouldn't it be 3 and 5? I'm sure I am missing something, but I can't find it.

Taldor

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

I should have posted this here:

Question about Issilar:

** spoiler omitted **

Looks like you're right on the Protection from Fire. On the spells, I believe it's correct as printed. Are you counting his bonus spells from specialization?

Andoran

Im having a great time with this particular adventure. The travel across the Ngeri Plains gave me ample opportunity to add and combine various encounters into one. For example I introduced a Gnoll pack with their accompanying Hyenas. Their attacks ended up turning into a stalking across the plains that drew the attention of the Ankhegs and even the Geigers. At the pinnacle of the attacks I had them all enters the battle Gnolls first, Ankhegs second and finally the geigers. It was an exhausting combat but awesome none the less.

Ive now run 3 sessions in this module and hoping to finish them off next game.


Hi! Quick question: reading the Spirit Dancers section, the bonus they give for a +5 "once per adventure", means 'once per module' or 'once per session'?. I supposed it was the first one, but it seems to be a very small bonus considering once per module means only 5 times (at best) during the whole AP. 'Once per session' feels excessive, though, so I was considering making it about 3/per module. What do you think?

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
MajorTotoro wrote:
Hi! Quick question: reading the Spirit Dancers section, the bonus they give for a +5 "once per adventure", means 'once per module' or 'once per session'?. I supposed it was the first one, but it seems to be a very small bonus considering once per module means only 5 times (at best) during the whole AP. 'Once per session' feels excessive, though, so I was considering making it about 3/per module. What do you think?

I read it as "once per module" as well. But since my players loved the idea of their totem animals, I took a page from the Magic Item Compendium.

I give them 3 totem uses or "charges" each module. Each charge is a +2 and they can use however many charges they want on a roll. So if they want 3 uses of +2 each, that's fine. Or save it for one use of 3 charges for a +6. (Or one +4 and one +2)
Most players have been using the +2 just so they can call upon their tatoos more frequently.


My group has been having an interesting time with RtR so far. Until last night, they consited of a CAD fighter (single handidly changes the outcome of 90% of the fights), Monk, Inquisitor and Fire Oracle with tounges curse.

They reluctantly sought out Nkechi when asked by their faction leader (shackle pirates.. who their entire crew is all women.. but that's a different story). None of them clicked with Nkechi at all and he didn't bring anything to the table for them. He's currently traveling with the caravan.

They agreed to let Athyra scout for them, which is primarily just giving them the travel bonus as she's "ahead" of them and almost forgotton.

They ended up getting an NPC (rogue) pirate to tag along with them for the sole purpose of trap finding and linguistics. The downside is that she started off at level one while they were all level 5. She levels quickly though.

Their group composition has made a majority of the fights a joke. If the CAD can't disable something, the monk would just grapple it and then it's GG. So far, the only real concerns have been fights that are nigh impossible without a special item or are too high for them. I think the only encounters that have been enjoyable (for both sides) have been the random encounters of a moderate CR that end up suprising the group.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

What does CAD stand for?

Andoran

My group finally got to Taizon and entered the Ziggurat. I agree with Roanark that the battles are mostly fairly easy but would encourage you to think of them at attrition battles. By that I mean the harrasment of small battles wears down the party to the point where resource management begins to be a serious issue. Furthermore being a Jungle with a high level of random encounter pssibilites I tend not to give my PCs too many chances to have a peaceful rest. So instead of the often used dungeon grind approach of fight fight rest, fight fight rest. I give them fight, fight, interupted rest, fight fight fight. That makes those Charua-ka with their 19 hit points start to become a serious problem.


Mistwalker wrote:
What does CAD stand for?

It's an Ultimate Combat Fighter Archtype.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Roanark wrote:
Mistwalker wrote:
What does CAD stand for?
It's an Ultimate Combat Fighter Archtype.

It's actually a word, "cad", not an acronym.


My PCs are almost out of the Screaming Jungle and in a moment of inspiration, I decided I would try one last time to distract them from the race. In the Heart of the Jungle there is a map that shows a place called the Liclac Ruins along the river in the northern part of the Screaming Jungle. I described these ruins as the PCs passed by, and just as I suspected, an argument ensued as to whether the party should stop and explore or press on to Tazion.

One of my players is an Oracle of Lore and cast a divination spell with the following question: "Will investigating the pyramid help us get to Tazion quicker?"

I ended the session there and said I would answer the divination at the start of the next session. So now I have a problem. What the heck is the Liclac Ruins? There is no information about it that I can in Heart of the Jungle. Any information anywhere of what is in there? Any ideas on how to answer this divination question?

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

If I remember correctly, the info for Liclac was under "Rastel" in the Heart of the Jungle (since they were part of the same nation). Fortunately I have my notes with me that I took from HotJ:

Liclac (Rastel, the Devouring Kingdom) (from HotJ)
A comtemporary rival of Xatramba to the north, the Rastel tribal nation dominated the Korir Plains south of the Mwangi Jungle as well as much of the northern Screaming Jungle. Rastel comprised a multiracial consortium of humans, dwarves and civilized lizardmen adn much of its legacy began adn ended with brutal warfare with its neighbors followed by its own abrupt collapse. Its remaining ruins, particularly the ruined cities of Rastel and Liclac, all display signs of warfare, fire adn cannibalism along with the deliberate destruction of their temples to a cross-species pantheon.

Rastel now serves as a shelter to a small number of Zenj tieflings but the occupants of Liclac aren't mentioned. I'd guess a mostly ruined city reclaimed by the jungle and jungle creatures. Shrug.

I can't imagine a divination of "Will we get to Tazion quicker?" coming up as anything except a big ole "NO!" since it's just a distraction off of the main route.


Wow, thanks Jenner2057! I guess I should go back and ready HotJ a little closer (and now I wish I had gotten a searchable PDF!)

Originally, I was thinking that I could drop some magic items or something that might help to speed them along, but with that description, it doesn't seem likely that there would be anything of value to their expedition.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My pleasure! I only found it by searching the PDF myself when I was preparing the journey.

If your players are dead set on exploring Liclac, you could always leave a magical gate there or something that leads up to Rastel in the north. Maybe the kingdom used it as a merchant gate or something to expedite trade before its collapse. Shrug. Would require some extra work fleshing out the city but might be fun. Also would give the PCs an extra shot at taking the lead if they're behind some of the other expeditions.

Then you could also get cryptic with your divination. "Only by leaping into the eternal jaws will your path be quickened." (Have the portal be located in the open maw of the head of a giant lion or something in one of the plazas.)

Just make sure that the gate is big enough for the entire expedition to follow them through. Otherwise the PCs will be weeks ahead and not much use as trailblazers.

Also if I remember correctly, the jungle spriggan encounter (area... uh... Q?) says they come from the ruins of Liclac. So there might be more spriggans there. And of course there's the tribe of tieflings to deal with North in Rastel. But you could always make that a diplomatic/roleplay encounter if you want (this adventure could use a few more of those IMHO.)

Just kickin' out thoughts.
-J


Hmm... Divination takes a bit of time to cast, so what I might do is have a large group of spriggans attack while the Oracle is commiserating with her deity. So I'll get a nice encounter out of it where the PCs have to fight off the spriggans while the Oracle completes the spell. Then, I'll answer the divination with something like "Avoid the fey and be on your way, or explore decay and waste a day."

Thus, I can hopefully keep them moving along to Tazion where the real fun can begin.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
PhilUMD wrote:
Quick question. For the spirit animals/tattoo once my players have earned them it says they can be use 'once per adventure for the duration of the Adventure Path" does that mean once per gaming session? Once a game week? Just looking for a little clarification. Thanks

on what page does it say this? I can't find it anywhere. Thanks.

Cheliax

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
William Bryan wrote:
on what page does it say this? I can't find it anywhere. Thanks.

Last paragraph on pg 42.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Thanks everyone for the suggestions re garding the faction recruitment for the scout mission.
The invites hit the party well and elicited a fun RPG session today.
It seems that the party had made liberal use of the fellow outcasts to collect and document the temple, so all the factions had excellent intelligence on the parties findings on the island
Since they were on decent terms with their fellow castaways, they were given the fast faternaty/sority rush by all factions. But they were able to devine who had conflicting interests and negotiated a joint venture between the Pathfinders and the government.
thanks for the suggestions.
Next week, the rebellion and the trip.


After a non-game related disruption we've finally started up again and are nearing Tazion. My guys have been slow and would be the third group to arrive, but I want to try to give them a chance to get there first. They've just exited the Screaming Jungle and I'm thinking of having the expedition leader magical communicate to them that they've been informed that another expedition is only a short distance from the outpost and are likely to beat them there.

I'm thinking of how can I boost the speed of the PCs and the expedition. One thought was the natural increase travel time and reduced rest time, but I was also thinking about having the PCs cut through the Bandu Hills to shave off a few days. Any thoughts on possible encounters to throw at them. I'm thinking Hill Giants, but I want to try for a more African flavour.

I'm also thinking of having my group encounter another adventuring group trailblazing for one of the rivals when they come out of Tazion. Has anyone done this idea at all? I'm not sure whether to make them evil or just neutral-good guys for a roleplay/diplomatic style challenge.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Just a few thoughts...

BQ wrote:
I'm thinking of how can I boost the speed of the PCs and the expedition.

One thing my PCs discovered REALLY quickly was that it's MUCH easier to slow down the other expeditions than speed up your own. :) The expedition plods along at a pretty stead rate unless you can find them shortcuts.

As far as slowing down the other groups, my players started getting darn creative. Sending herds of triceratops stampeding at them. The witch could speak with animals so he had a pride of lions harrassing pack animals on the M'Neri plains. They hired thugs of their own in Kalabuto to harrass the other groups.
All of these I had slow down the expedition that they were aimed at so the PCs could catch up.

BQ wrote:
One thought was the natural increase travel time and reduced rest time, but I was also thinking about having the PCs cut through the Bandu Hills to shave off a few days. Any thoughts on possible encounters to throw at them. I'm thinking Hill Giants, but I want to try for a more African flavour.

The Bandu Hills west of the Screaming Jungles are some serious mountains in and around the City of Hungry Spires. That's why the planned route is up the Upper Korrir River to south of Rastel and around the mountains through the foothills. So if they're going to get their caravan through the mountains, they'll need an old abandoned mine, an ancient mountain pass that's been forgotten or even a large cave system. Something big enough to get all the pack animals through.

If you're going to do the overland/pass route, I think there's also lesser cyclops in the mountains. That might be a bit more exotic/African. Otherwise check the Mountain random encounters in Heart of the Jungle. Might give ya some more ideas. Shrug. (I'd help but don't have my books with me.)

BQ wrote:
I'm also thinking of having my group encounter another adventuring group trailblazing for one of the rivals when they come out of Tazion. Has anyone done this idea at all? I'm not sure whether to make them evil or just neutral-good guys for a roleplay/diplomatic style challenge.

There's another thread here where folks have used the Hand of Slaughter adventuring group from the Rivals Guide as opposing trailblazers. Might take a peek there.

And I did what you're thinking about and made most of the other faction guys all Neutral. The PCs had a blast trying to backstab and screw the other groups over while staying JUST below open confrontation. Everyone was really trying to keep things between the expeditions from exploding into open combat and it was a fun line to walk (even after reaching Saventh-Yhi).


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns Subscriber

Concerning the expedition, my group wanted to know if the factions would be providing alchemists for potions, arcane and divine scroll writers, and magic item crafters. I told them it was an exploring expedition and not a Mobile Magic Mart, which they accepted, but they said they weren’t looking for high-level stuff, just low level potions, scrolls, and wondrous items. I know that this AP is a little magic light, and didn’t want to tip the scales to give the PC’s an overwhelming advantage. How did other GM’s handle this?

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

During the journey, I told them the expedition could supply them with fresh horses. That was about it (and it would slow down their trailblazing if they needed to go back and get them.) Everything else was packed up or being used by the expedition members themselves.

That left Kalabuto as the only resupply stop during RtR.

Once the base camp is set up at Saventh-Yhi, it becomes a mini town with a 2500 gp limit. Anything they need there can be purchased and/or quickly made for them.

That said, if the expedition has the equipment to set up a small town, why couldn't the PCs access it earlier?

My suggestion might be that if the PCs REALLY want something from the expedition, they could go back and get it (which would slow them down) and then go into meticulous detail of how the animal handlers have to stop the pack animals, remove half a dozen sacks and crates to get to the one they want, then open and unpack it, then have it be the wrong crate... you get the idea. Hopefully this might give them the idea that bothering the expedition for supplies is going to slow them down when they should be focussed on racing the other factions to Tazion.

Shrug. Just my thoughts.


Cheers Jenner. You raised some good points and I've been mulling things over in my head for a few days and I think I may have a way to handle this. My group up until now hasn't had any sightings or news of other expeditions so I'm reluctant to make it a huge thing now. I'm thinking a magical messenging saying that a large expedition sized group had been sighted leaving Davens Hold, a settlement at the end of the little vanji river (where it meets the Bandu Hills). Estimated time to for them to reach Tazion is 15-20 days whereas the group's expidition is 20-25 days.

As always I like to give my guys a choice and let them pick the path, taking all the benefits and consequences that goes with that decision. I figure I can present to my group a choice between speeding up through forced marches or cross through the Bandu Hills.

The forced marches option will pretty much follow the script as written with the constitution checks no doubt draining a few resources as the PCs fail the odd one. No biggy there for them, but I think I'll have them make luck rolls (just a d20 roll with under 5 being unlucky) for the expedition moving at a faster pace. Not sure what I'll do if they fail a check. Maybe force them slow down to normal pace for the next two days?

For options 2, the Bandu Hills, the best thing I can come up with is the PCs and expedition going through a mountain pass the cuts through the Bandu Hills that's dominated by a Mwangi tribe. The tribe aggressively defends its territory and hates colonials. The PCs will have to do something for the tribe to buy passage through their territory. I guess the trick is why the PCs can do it and the tribe can't. Plus it would have to be something significant for the tribe to let a whole expedition through.

I'm thinking that the tribe needs a threat cleared out and the lair of the threat is in an area that they believe is severely cursed. Their superstition prevents them from clearing out the curse, but they are happy to risk dumb foreigners. I'm thinking that a couple of vampires has been picking off tribe members and then falling back to their lair knowing the tribe's superstition keeps them away. PCs go clear it out and bring back the heads of the vampies and they've got their passage. I'm leaning towards this idea as it justifies the quicker passage that wasn't initially intended on and I can use it to boost the PC's magical item stocks too.

I like the idea of using the Hand of the Slaughter. I might even have the PCs spot them and actually have a foot race to get to Tazion first if the timelines run close. I hadn't considered the whole team up with another trailblazing group. Might be interesting to have the offer of working together in Tazion with the threat of backstab and betrayal in the PCs minds.

Cheers for your thoughts mate.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My pleasure BQ! Sounds like you got some great ideas coming together!

Another option you could use to warn them of another expedition ahead is have them run into some native scouts as a non-combat encounter (Heavens knows this adventure could use a few more of those). Maybe some Zenj tribesmen or even Bas'O nomads. If the PCs make friendly with the natives, they can get the tip that they'd better hustle and maybe they're the ones that tell them about the hidden mountain pass being guarded by another tribe (or their own tribe.)

I had looked into some Forced March rules when I was running RtR as well. Didn't end up using them but one idea I was kicking around was having the PCs make a daily hasty Survival role (DC depending on terrain). This represents how well they can trailblaze for the expedition as they're hustling through the wilderness. Each time they failed, the expedition would (permanently or temporarily - I hadn't decided) lose one of their initial camp build points once they reached Saventh-Yhi. This is to represent missing a sink hole that costs them a pack animal, or researchers getting separated and lost in the dark as they press on too long, losing guards to animal encounters the PCs missed, etc. Figured that moving at normal speed, they'd spot these things no problem. But once they started Forced Marching, they'd need to start making checks.
Just something to consider in addition (or instead of) to your luck rolls.


Well I ended up giving my guys the options and they chose to take cut through the bandu hills. I'd set it up by saying that they needed to travel to Point Q on the map and then cut across to the Bandu Hills as that was the widest pass for an expedition. Its also where the Bandu Hills is thinner and so the pass is shorter. I had them make knowledge checks so I could give them a bit of info about the pass and why it wasn't part of their original travel plan. The pass was controlled by a tribe that hated foreigners and fiercely guarded the pass. The group would need to think about a diplomatic pitch to have the expedition allowed through. I think this also serves as a means of having the PCs not shoot off to far ahead of the expedition.

With a travel time of 7 days between points P & Q I brought forward the set encounters for Q and R and made point Q a small trading settlement. Set it up as an "african" deadwood (the tv series) and used it as a chance for the guys to gather some info on the tribe and things they could use to make peaceful contact and negotiations. It was funny to see the heroes buying chickens and a cow...epic stuff...They used that for initial introductions and to get the sit down. Offered up the mask and spear from Amghawe’s Tomb to buy the passage.

The group made it to the pass and started traveling down it openly. I had them make hourly RE rolls to see when the tribe would appear. After a three hours they were surrounded and openly challenged. Talks occurred and the talkers successfully avoided hostilities. Turns out the the tribe had a problem with an undead creature that had made its lair in the cursed lands that they could not enter. The area was cursed because of medicine man that used dark magics had corrupted the land and now any of their tribe that entered it would become sick and die. It picked off their young men and women. Kill the undead and return with proof to have safe passage for them and their expedition. So I made up a vampire and a bit of backstory of an explorer that used a native guide that lead her to an ambush by a vampire. Lost and abandoned she set up in the burial mounds and now fed on those around her. Her porters and guards had become undead minions.

Worked out well and allowed me to give out some more interesting loot. Had the tribal shaman remove the negative levels.

I have a question about the succubus encounter. I can't see anywhere about what loot/treasure she has. This was one of the most fun encounters for me as my guys just went with it. Most of them have played for around 20 years and new it was a trap, but played it as though their characters where none-the-wiser. Was a blast.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Ran the first legs of the race

mine:
the group had a easy romp versus the various wights, though I actually doubled the number of wights in the encounter. The groups barbarian almost single sliced through all of the wights. The blue soldier gave them only a little spook, but mostly due to the negative energy field. Used the field to block the party's healing positive energy bombs from outside the field, but once the group cleaned up in 3 rounds,the barbarian used the barrow wight's own pick to destroy the blue orb.

gambling ring:
when threatened by the gambler thugs, the barbarian threatened to kill everyone at the party, and did one shot one of the thugs. Only introducing another 10 thugs allowed me to throw the group out of the camp without a major massecre. The parties benefactors, the pathfinders, received 'credit for the parties actions.

native village:
thing go bad for our party here, when asked to take on the raiding ape/bear. The barbarion meets his equal in the mated pair and is brought down to 1 HP from death. The intervention of the party dwarven oracle saves him, but at the cost of the oracles life. The mated beasts escape the ambush and flee since the male is mortally wounded.

Tough night

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The gambling ring was an amazing cinematic encounter for my group. First off, I redesigned Ricket's thugs to be one level higher and feats that beefed up the thug's unarmed fighting and grappling.

It all led up to the encounter just as the book describes with Rickets demanding double of what the PCs owe him for loosing. The barbarian PC got physical with Rickets and a thug jumped in the middle of them.

ROLL INITIATIVE

For the first two rounds, I described the ensuing mayhem around the cock fight to cause difficult terrain for everybody. The goblin PC was uninterested and sat out of the fight (this was my player's excuse for leveling up his character late. It worked out.). The barbarian got the smackdown by two of the thugs flanking him. Meanwhile, the alchemist PC ends up summoning a wild boar to skewer Rickets. Since Rickets is a nobody, he goes down immediately.

I cinematically have Rickets (even though he was in the negatives) crawl his bloody mess slowly out of the fight. Meanwhile, the alchemist (more of a witch doctor actually) convinces one of the thugs that he's an innocent bystander and urges him to get Rickets to safety.

Rickets crawls until he's at the feet of the Pharasman priest. The priest says that he'll heal him if he calls off his guards. Rickets agrees. He gets healed. Rickets gets up, backs up 15 feet, then says, "Do not kill them.....DESTROY THEM!!" (greedy little bastard)

Rickets then runs toward the cock fighting cage where the guard that wants to help keep him safe helps lift up the cage so that Rickets can be shielded from the fight. Then the witch doctor eats his mutagen, orders the boar to tear up the guard, then HELPS the boar finally revealing that he summoned the boar.

Once that particular guard goes down. The witch doctor summons a enraged chicken inside the cage WITH Rickets to tear his eyes out. It was an ironic but gruesome scene that was surrounded with much laughter at the table.


Tonight, my party did Nkechi's quests and the dream combat. Two issues came up that I was was curious about:

Water Challenge The kelpie's "captivating lure" ability - is it really a single save and then the kelpie gets to go to town on the victim that fails? It says that a "victim within 5 feet of the kelpie simply stands and offers no resistance to its attacks.

Wind Challenge It's a DC 20 climb check on the easy side of the cliff, which is 500 feet tall! My party spent 30 minutes discussing whether it was possible to get anyone up there safely (best climbers in the party are +8 and +10 - so one could climb it if he took off his gear) much less the entire party and if they got one person up there could they avoid getting pummeled by what they believed would be a pretty big and unhappy bird. It struck my group as an unrealistic challenge and they were ready to chuck it (I downgraded the DC because I wanted to get the dream combat in). Did anyone else have mechanical issues with this challenge?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
BQ wrote:
I have a question about the succubus encounter. I can't see anywhere about what loot/treasure she has. This was one of the most fun encounters for me as my guys just went with it. Most of them have played for around 20 years and new it was a trap, but played it as though their characters where none-the-wiser. Was a blast.

I'm going with her having none of it with her, particularly since her current persona involves her bathing in the river (and thus less than ideally situation to protect her valuables). Her treasure listing just says "double", so I plan to generate it randomly. Last session the PCs encountered her and she teleported away. My group works for the Red Mantis and is less than a day ahead of the Aspis Consortium, so my plan is that she has teleported to her treasure hoarde, paid someone for a heal, and will join the Aspis group in order to track down the PCs and exact some revenge.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Some of my players have been heckling me to post this little snippet, so here it is.

So, the group's en route to Kalabuto and stumbles upon Rickets and his mobile cockfighting ring. Now, the party as a whole isn't too interested in this whole gambling thing, since it sounds like a good way to throw money away, so most of the PCs shrug and decide to continue on down the trail. That looks to be the end of that encounter.

But wait! The party oracle is the new guy, essentially a freelancing sightseer-for-hire always on the lookout for a fast buck, and he decides to slap down a bet on one of the chickens---Muddy Lyza, being the plucky underdog and all. And the druid decides to back him up, and slaps down another bet on Muddy Lyza.

Well, the rest of the party isn't going to take that sitting down, so the monk, wizard, fighter, and summoner all pool up a bet on Cornugon, Reigning Champion, Fighting Chicken Extraordinaire. So the oracle and druid up their bets on Muddy Lyza. And the rest of the party bets more on Cornugon. In about five minutes of real time, they've bet up around 100 gp on each bird.

And that's when it goes stupid. The two halves of the party decide to buff their chickens when nobody's looking. The druid and oracle decide to drop a few buff spells on Muddy Lyza, giving it barkskin, shield of faith, magic fang, and a couple others. The rest of the party buffs Cornugon with mage armor and bull's strength. This buff-casting escalation eventually reaches a form of Détente, and the two groups agree not to 1.) enlarge the chickens, or 2.) heal the chickens, or 3.) summon non-chicken monsters to eat said chickens.

I thought they'd be a little disappointed to find out the chickens they were buffing had but 3hp and 4hp, but no; that just made this murder-sport all the more more thrilling. Cut to critical botch on behalf of Cornugon, the Ur-Chicken, Ruler of the Henhouse, followed up by a critical hit from Muddy Lyza, Victorious Underdog. One of the most intense four-round combats I've seen in a while.

Needless to say Rickets wasn't real pleased at all this interference and refused to pay anybody; the oracle managed to talk him down and keep his thugs from attacking. Meanwhile, the druid ran off with Muddy Lyza (and is still using it as an animal messenger), and the oracle managed to save Cornugon from both bleeding out and being eaten by the eidolon.

So what looked to be a throw-away encounter turned out to be one of the most ridiculously memorable ones in the module. The entire episode took up over an hour of game time; that session was all salt mine and chickens.

Moral: No matter what you might think of an encounter as-written, it is very possible for it to become fun and memorable.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Loreg wrote:
Water Challenge The kelpie's "captivating lure" ability - is it really a single save and then the kelpie gets to go to town on the victim that fails? It says that a "victim within 5 feet of the kelpie simply stands and offers no resistance to its attacks.

It really depends on how much of a hard-nose GM you want to be. Rules-As-Written, it's a save-or-suck:

PRD wrote:
Captivating Lure (Su) Once per day, a kelpie can use a powerful mental attack to lure in a single creature within 60 feet. The target must make a DC 16 Will saving throw or become captivated by the kelpie, thinking it is a desirable woman in mortal danger or (if in hippocampus or horse form) a valuable steed. A victim under the effects of the captivating lure moves toward the kelpie using the most direct means available. If the path leads it into a dangerous area such as through fire or off a cliff, that creature receives a second saving throw to end the effect before moving into peril; the victim does not consider water a dangerous area, and will enter the water even if it cannot swim or breathe. A captivated creature can take no actions other than to move toward the kelpie and defend itself, even if it is drowning. A victim within 5 feet of the kelpie simply stands and offers no resistance to its attacks. This effect continues as long as the kelpie is alive and the victim is within 1 mile of the kelpie. This is a mind-affecting charm effect. The save DC is Charisma-based.

So, RAW, it's one save unless the PC is lead into a dangerous area, water excluded. But you could be nice and say that the PC gets a second save attempt, or that the Kelpie made the PC swim by some scary giant man-eating clams or something which would trigger the "dangerous area" clause.

Loreg wrote:
Wind Challenge It's a DC 20 climb check on the easy side of the cliff, which is 500 feet tall! My party spent 30 minutes discussing whether it was possible to get anyone up there safely (best climbers in the party are +8 and +10 - so one could climb it if he took off his gear) much less the entire party and if they got one person up there could they avoid getting pummeled by what they believed would be a pretty big and unhappy bird. It struck my group as an unrealistic challenge and they were ready to chuck it (I downgraded the DC because I wanted to get the dream combat in). Did anyone else have mechanical issues with this challenge?

I've noticed that Adventure Paths can be really hard or really easy depending on how each individual party is built. My group debated between having the druid wildshape and fly up there, or making the monk take 10 with his +11 climb, or leapfrogging up their rope of climbing (loot from the Shiv) in sixty foot intervals, but in the end just sent the eidolon since it had a climb speed.

TBH, if your group doesn't have a way around the module as written--in the case of the 500-foot drop and DC 20 climb--I'd say just change it to something more within their possibilities. If they don't have all sorts of special mobility powers, an eighty-foot drop and DC 14-16 climb check is just as intimidating, but actually something they could do.


admiral.ironbombs wrote:
A funny story

My guys loved that part too. They backed a rooster and it lost in a close battle that had the entire table on edge as one player effectively rolled off against me.

They lost, adopted the rooster and had him as a mascot for a while. Then they traded him in for one called Red Ripper who I think may have become dinner.....

Definitely a fun one and you don't really need the fight at the end. I just dropped it off as I wanted to have a non-combat encounter. I re-used the cock fighting a couple of times.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
BQ wrote:
admiral.ironbombs wrote:
A funny story

My guys loved that part too. They backed a rooster and it lost in a close battle that had the entire table on edge as one player effectively rolled off against me.

They lost, adopted the rooster and had him as a mascot for a while. Then they traded him in for one called Red Ripper who I think may have become dinner.....

Definitely a fun one and you don't really need the fight at the end. I just dropped it off as I wanted to have a non-combat encounter. I re-used the cock fighting a couple of times.

That's awesome! My guys were also on the edge of their seats when rolling for the epic chicken battle; I let each side choose a champion to roll for their chicken. The guy rolling for Cornugon had been rolling ones all night, so the immediate critical fumble shouldn't have been a huge surprise. Was still pretty intense.

I seriously considered adding in more cockfighting rings to see if they'd test Muddy Lyza's mettle again, but I never got around to it. Maybe their faction will be running them, and invite the PCs to enter their reigning champ.

I agree, the fight at the end is pretty unnecessary. That my players resorted to diplomacy made it go smoother.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

So my group of intrepid players are almost to the halfway point and they attract the attention of the wandering vultures.

Dire Vultures:
When the uber large man sized vultures join the flock and decide to attack the party, they were already forwarned and begin bow shots at long range at them. They do little damage, until the beasts get within 80 feet of the ground. One players casts hold monster, the vulture failed and dived into the ground, was stunned and bound. The other vulture is dazed by another player, allowing the remainder of the party of pelt and puncture it to death. The druid wakes the stunned vulture and talks to it "Move your hunting grounds or you are dead like your friend!" "Okey dokey said the terrified beast."


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I decided my group needed more foreshadowing, so I gave two of them dreams. First, I told them that some dreams are vivid and fresh and others are fleeting and remembered only vaguely, but that many dreams have impacts on the subconscious. They might, therefore, be able to talk of their dreams the next day, but they might not. The dreams might have effects and would probably have roleplaying effects, but as subconscious effects, those couldn't be spoken of. I handed out cards to two of the players tonight:

Foreshadowing Ydersius:
You see a giant snake and a tiny woman. The tiny woman beheads the snake. While you watch, the skull and the snake discorpulate into smoke and then reconstitute into a snake. You then see five, distinct, swarms of ants attack the snake. In a fit of rage, you stomp on the snake and lop its head off.

The dream has given you a sense of clarity. Today, you have a +1 bonus to will saves, reflex saves and initiative.

Role-playing: Today, you are more likely to charge forward, to be bold and take action, even if you'd otherwise think it reckless.

You can (but do not have to) share the dream. You CANNOT share the effects of the dream.

Foreshadowing the Paranoia of the Vaults:
You dream that each member of the party has taken up arms against each other. [Fighter] cut down [Wizard] with his polearm. [Ranger] shot [Druid] with his longbow, [Bard] got [Fighter] around the neck with his whip and then [Ranger] and [Bard] stabbed each other. As your lifeblood seeps out of you, you see a pale green mist rise out of each party-member's corpse and tiny mushrooms or lichen start to grow on each body.
The dream has shaken your confidence in the party. Today, you are under the effects of paranoia - You take a -4 penalty to Will saves and Charisma-based skill checks. You cannot receive benefit from or attempt the Aid Another action. You cannot willingly accept aid (INCLUDING HEALING) unless you make a DC 17 will save.

Role-playing: You are distrustful of the party today.

You cannot share either the dream or the effects with the party.

The first one ended up being a little too "on the nose" since I rolled a random encounter with an Army Ant Swarm the next morning, but it worked great. The wizard got the first dream and since it told him that he was more likely to be bold and rush into battle, that's just what he did. "I don't have any way of damaging a swarm, but, I KNOW! I'll light myself on fire and that will do more damage to the swarm than to me!"

Since the second dream wasn't shared with the group, I think I'll reuse it for each member of the party, in turn.

I'm going to have them dream about several of the major plot-points, plus a few of the things they experienced on Smuggler's Shiv (one character really hated the Shocker Lizards, so they'll make an appearance in his dreams). Nobody's asked yet, I guess they just take vivid, reality-affecting dreams at face value, but if they do, I'm blaming it on the hallucinogenic paste that Nkeshi gave them. Must have side effects, I guess.

Oh, and Nkeshi took care of the swarm for the party before the wizard could kill himself with his human-torch interpretation.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns Subscriber
Loreg wrote:

Tonight, my party did Nkechi's quests and the dream combat. Two issues came up that I was was curious about:

Water Challenge The kelpie's "captivating lure" ability - is it really a single save and then the kelpie gets to go to town on the victim that fails? It says that a "victim within 5 feet of the kelpie simply stands and offers no resistance to its attacks.

Wind Challenge It's a DC 20 climb check on the easy side of the cliff, which is 500 feet tall! My party spent 30 minutes discussing whether it was possible to get anyone up there safely (best climbers in the party are +8 and +10 - so one could climb it if he took off his gear) much less the entire party and if they got one person up there could they avoid getting pummeled by what they believed would be a pretty big and unhappy bird. It struck my group as an unrealistic challenge and they were ready to chuck it (I downgraded the DC because I wanted to get the dream combat in). Did anyone else have mechanical issues with this challenge?

For the water challenge, my group had the Inquisitor and the Barbarian split a potion of water breathing. The Barbarian failed his save and the Inquisitor went 'mano-a-mano' with the kelpie. He reduced her to one hit point and she fled, with the Barbarian standing there wondering where the 'beautiful woman' went to. He took the Barbarian back up to the surface with the party in a boat and they restrained him. He went back down and since he kept his gauntlets on he did not have to worry about getting cut. He soon found the pearl and back to shore they went. After some time (and distance) had passed as they headed back to Nkechi, the Barbarian forgot all about the 'Beautiful Woman'

For the wind challenge, the Inquisitor casted tongues on the Barbarian and they used a scroll of spider climb on him as well. He easily climbed to the nest and managed to convince Chirok (albeit clumsily) to give him the feather. Chirok agreed as long as he left immediately and didn't go anywhere near her eggs. They told the Ijo warriors what happened and after confirming, they let the party go. Both challenges were smartly played.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

I'm wondering how certain factions that might arrive before the PCs do what the adventure says they do:

Racing to Ruin wrote:

Red Mantis: The Red Mantis are the first to arrive, on the 56th day. They stealthily infiltrate the ruins, find the information they need without disturbing the status quo, and leave again as quickly as they came.

Aspis Consortium: The Aspis Consortium arrives on the 59th day. Using their extensive diplomatic experience, they offer a bribe to the charau-ka to access the pillars of light and leave again. If the PCs arrive after the Consortium, they may find the chest containing the bribe (2,000 gp) in the Serpentine Shrine (area V6).

As none of the groups obviously have access to all four crystals, how do they activate the pillars of light? Are we to assume these faction successfully use the DC 40 Disable Device and Use Magic Device checks? Or am I missing something?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

Yes, that is probably what they'll do. I don't think it's too impropable that the Red Mantis have a bunch of rogues aiding each other to beat the Disable Device and the Aspis are led by a sorcerer who might be able to succeed on the UMD check after quite some time of tinkering.
You could of course have one of the factions wait for the PCs to figure out the pillars and then have them ambush the group. That's what I did with the Red Mantis.

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