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Racing to Ruin (GM Reference)


Serpent's Skull

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The group I'm running is well ahead of the competition. Once they activate the pillars of light I'll have the pillars break in the 'on position'. Knowing that the other factions will get a free view of Saventh Yhi's location will help keep the pressure on.

Grand Lodge

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

The second part of the RTR has been MUCH more climatic than Part 1.
I had my second death in the party happen this weekend when the party reached the possessed Dire Ape. The Sense Motive is very high (DC 25) and no one in the party was able to sense that the poor ape was possessed.

But the ape proceeded to kick but of the party of 6 that had run into it. The shadow demon cast greater darkness, and this neutralized many of the parties ranged abilities and forced them to take a miss chance in melee with the beast. Because of this the monkey was able to put in a world of hurt onto the party's barbarian.

But when the chips finally fell, even though the party killed the ape, and then the shadow demon, they were successful in keeping it from summoning any allies and suffered no other deaths.

Access to a raise dead brings back the barbarian, though at Negative levels, one of which they are able to restore. This cursed condition looks like it will follow the barbarian for a level or so, since they are no where near any civilized area for a while.

The hippo hunt would have been avoided if it hadn't been for those darn lizzies. There was some true fear of some simple little hippos, and they would have avoided the whole encounter if they could have (Stealth and druids).

Overall it seems that almost every encounter from the Part II has been challenging and fun for the party. It has kept them on the edge of their seats, and has encouraged much 'role' playing.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The thing that has kept my group engaged throughout the trip to Tazion (which I expect them to reach this weekend) has been the knowledge that even if they can avoid things like the hippo encounter they know that there's a caravan behind them that can't.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
tbug wrote:
The thing that has kept my group engaged throughout the trip to Tazion (which I expect them to reach this weekend) has been the knowledge that even if they can avoid things like the hippo encounter they know that there's a caravan behind them that can't.

This is a very important thing to stress. I had to remind my PCs a few times that if they got more than 2 days ahead of their caravan, wandering monsters could get in between them and the expedition... and then they wouldn't be doing their job as trailblazers.

Once they got into this mentality, they did just like you said: started clearing out things in front of them that a long line of pack animals aren't going to be able to escape from.

NOTE: or in the case of a nasty random encounter roll with a T-Rex, at least led it AWAY from the caravan. A great solution in my book.


Is this what Muddy Lyza's stats should look like?

Muddy Lyza:

Muddy Lyza
N Tiny Animal
Init +6; Senses low-light vision; Perception +10

DEFENSE
AC 16, touch 16, flat-footed 12 (+4 Dex, +2 size)
hp 3 (1d8-1)
Fort +1, Ref +6, Will +2

OFFENSE
Speed 10 ft.
Melee 2 talons +5 (1d3-2)

STATISTICS
Str 6, Dex 19, Con 8, Int 2, Wis 15, Cha 7
Base Atk +0 CMB -1; CMD 13
Feats Weapon Finesse
Skills Perception +10; Racial Modifiers +8 Perception


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

I made a few modifications to the adventure and they played out very well.

I had Tazion be in an unknown location, so the PCs had to go find Keshik (½ orc pathfinder) in Bloodcove (River into Darkness module - with the river boat engines being Azlanti artifacts), as Keshik had recently brought back a wall medallion with Tazion’s emblem on it. Keshik was already dead, but they retrieved his journal that showed exactly where he had picked up the wall medallion with Tazion’s emblem.

One of the Aspis Consortium that debriefed the PCs at the end of the module was Dargan Etters.

The sage that they had hired to translate their work, had discussed his work over drinks with some of his fellow sages as he needed a bit of help on some of the passages, and thus the word had spread and the five factions were born (word was not spread by the other sages, but the serving staff). The sage had also hired a new assistant, Jeneviere (yes, it was Yarzoth in human form using the shipwrecked ship's name), after the PCs left for Bloodcove. Yarzoth tried to kill the sage the night before the PCs returned, but ended up killing the sage’s cleaning lady and Jeneviere was also presumed killed in the fiery blasts. The sage’s notes were also presumed destroyed in the fire.

The PCs have a double faction, an alliance with the Pathfinders and the Red Mantis (don’t ask).

The PCs quickly figured out that Yarzoth had again gotten the better of them and have a hate on for her. The sage said that he would be able to recreate most of what he had written, as he knew which books he had consulted.

The kidnaped NPC for the Freeman Revolt was none other than the sage, who had not finished recreating his notes at the time of the revolt - he had been chosen because his work would likely lead to the colonials being in a better position after looting what Umagro considered a Mwangi city.

Once Umagro and the other Freemen were killed on the roof, an image appeared in the sky, showing the PC’s expedition running into deadly encounter after encounter until there were no survivors, with all of the kills being done by the weather or animals - the Mwangi natives took it as a sign that Gozreh did not approve of the PCs and their expedition, but had not problem with the other expeditions. The PCs did see Dargan Etters at the back of the crowd and he appeared to stop concentrating intently as the “image” ended. The PCs now have a bone to pick with Dargan Etters.

The PCs had to go obtain Nkechi’s blessing before any of the natives would join the expedition. I decided that I didn’t need another NPC to take care of, which is why I went after the PCs getting his blessings. Nkechi’s and Gozreh’s blessing appeared as an outline of their animal totems on one side of their face, from just below the ear, going up the side of the face and finishing just over the eye (sort of like Chakotay from Star Trek Voyager), which were there once the dream quest finished.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
Sloanzilla wrote:

Is anyone else finding this to be a little easy?.

I am actually enjoying this threat level for my players. It is great that they do not need to rest up for days after each battle and this level also allows for random encounters to be used without unbalancing the target difficulty. And I also have to say that my dead Cavalier would argue with you too! The chemosit destroyed her In a couple of rounds flat and then ate her brains. She was so happy they had not used the raise dead scroll from the Shiv on one of the NPCs and N'kechi did the honors after they retrieved her brains from the Chemosit stomach and popped them back where they should be :)

We are having a great time with this module. I am using a lot of random non-creature and in some cases non-threatening encounters just to build the feel of the place. Some of these encounters have really entranced the players and help them buy into the story more. I have been using things such as totems, shrines, prayer trees and other signs of natives that have unnerved them and caused them to Barbour a great deal of respect when they meet the locals! Next session will see them move into Kalabuto to meet Cheiton and then onward.


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

If you want to add a bit to the threatened feeling, that they are in a dangerous place you may want to look at poisons.

What I mean by that is if you have say 6 natives using giant wasp poisoned arrows fire off two arrow shots from 200 feet away, then run away for a bit, to allow for the poison to start working, then come back again and do it over, you can ramp up the threatened feeling fairly easily. Add in a few pit traps in front of where they fired off their arrows to slow down the PCs and to teach them caution.

If the PCs all end up paralyzed (and perhaps their mounts too), then have the natives show up, rob them blind, and have one native, in broken common thank them for their gifts, and to feel free to return with more gifts whenever the feeling takes them.


Sloanzilla wrote:

Is anyone else finding this to be a little easy?.

I do, but there's a Summoner in the party, so it's probably that.

Between RtT and CoSS, I put them against a CR 10, a Jungle Giant. The Eidolon killed him in one round. ONE.

Today we start playing CoSS, and I'm actually raising all the CRs because of my experiences with RtR.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

OK, the party is now almost through the complete adventure. Last time I updated they were just about at Kalabuto so leg two of the journey and most of Tazion will be here. The next adventure we have will be the ziggurat which is the last that they have to face in Tazion. I have just finished reading the City of Seven Spears and can't wait to move on though this module proved to be a lot better than I had initially planned it to be.

In Kalabuto the party got ambushed in Cheiton's house on the first night by thugs of the Aspis. Though feeling safe the party set a watch and the watch rolled a natural 1 on perception. Being a mapmaker I had him engrossed in the maps to Tazion and hence the thugs got the jump. Three of the four party members failed their saves and were paralysed. The one that didn't (Alchemist Gnome with a feral mutagen/enlarge person fetish) fought a running battle. However, 2 of the party were killed. The first was the watch (Half-orc monk) who gave swift direct answers to questions and so the assailant used a successful coup de grace attack. The second (an elven cavalier) stalled for as long as possible but when the assailant found out the orc was killed and the map to Tazion was secured he used a coup de grace and killed her) The third failed save managed to save enough for a cure and escape artist out. The battle turned into a chase and eventually the pair hunted the surviving assailants down and got the map back. Only one of the thugs survived. The other two were raised at no cost to the party on Cheiton's coin who was shocked at the attack and the effect it may have on his reputation.

The party did not tarry and as soon as they were healed they swap the horses for a carriage (which slowed them) and headed off. I was concerned that they were ahead of the game in the advancement path but I thoroughly bulked out the next 40 days with random encounters and a full dungeon, which is lucky as they will just tip 7th level when they reach Saventh-Yhi. Anyhow, they stopped and found the treasure in the Vanishing Army Lake and when one made a knowledge nature check to work out the critter was a baby you have never seen people get out of the water so quickly!

They breezed through the next couple of encounters and came to the Bodies on the Riverbank which I was sincerely worried about after having read the write ups on here. The worry turned to despair when the possessed ape used the frighten ability and the parties main damage dealer (the elven cavalier) and her unpredictable support (the gnome alchemist) turned tail and ran. That left N'Kechi, the half orc monk and the dual class rogue sorcerer with a shadowy, non combat bent). They made their sense motive and so the monk ran in with zenj token in hand, slapping it against the ape and failing the spell resistance roll by 1. I ran the battle for a little with N'kechi keeping them alive with healing but as he started to run out I allowed the frightened ones to exit the state earlier than normal so they had a chance. At this point the gnome alchemist had just taken the wings discovery and came flying back in no time while the cavalier was a little further out. The shadow demon was out and walking around largely unperturbed by attacks but as the returning cavalier started shooting cold iron arrows it got his attention. Anyway, the shadow demon was on its last legs, everyone was still standing and then the cavalier rolled a crit fumble. We use the fumble app and it came up that the arrow hits the closest ally and a critical threat. The critical threat confirmed and an awful iCrit giving triple damage, the cavalier and her composite longbow (+4) killed NKechi deader than a dead thing. The shadow demon was killed quickly thereafter but what should have been a big celebration fell flat...

I will write more in another post so as not to overwhelm...


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

They slipped NKechi into the river and made their way on. Three days later I had their faction (Pathfinders) find the scene of the battle and send another "guide"/cleric to join them (their party suffers for healing so need the support while on the road). This time a green adventurer who had only spent time in temples to Sarenrae joined the group arriving just after Amghawe's Tomb.

The party owned Itombu, sneaking up on him and getting a surprise round. That combined with the flying feral alchemist meant the encounter was practically over before it began. The gnome took the war mask adding to his conversion into a savage.

The eloko head hunters encounter was hilarious and everyone loved it. Everyone except the monk failed their save and it turned into a running battle to the bell. He managed to take down the eloko and after the effect of the extremely large bell (I had failed to read it was a small bell so had it like a church bell hung between trees LOL). They took the bell with them (it had one more ring in it) and made their way to the spirit dancers...

The spirit dancers was again hilarious. They all did not like the look of them but a suggestion from Zakiyya saw three of the four fail the save (including the NPC). The one that did not fail also resisted her dominate and several attempts at charm before a fight broke out and the party was seriously divided. Some making saves others not. It was hilarious but the monk entangled the succubus wings with a tanglefoot bag and got her on the ground. The rogue/sorceror failed every save and continued to kiss the succubus who cared little for the combat as her damage resistance was turning aside practically all damage. In the end the monk rolled a crit, confirmed and then icrit came up with a crit where the succubus lost d4 hours of her memory. After this, shocked and bewildered she teleported away, determined to track the party and destroy them, after she worked out who and why she ended up in that situation.

The road to Tazion found them come across a pregnant tribesman caught in labour, two scared tribesmen with her and a strange old woman who once was a midwife (actually the succubus). While the cleric delivered the baby the rest of the party discerned that the tribes people had no idea who she was, and they thought she was dodgy. The succubus got some information from the cavalier that settled her mind on destroying them as a minor annoyance. To do this she headed to Tazion to find a good ambush point...

I will write the Tazion section in yet another post...


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

Reaching Tazion they found the trap across one of the gaps in the wall and so sent the rogue/sorceror invisible to scout the inside to the next gap. The rogue/sorceror made its way past the well to the next gap and failed to spot the snare there and got caught. I rolled the d20 for the charau-kau and they had 4 minutes. On arriving at the gap the cavalier shot down the vines holding up the trap, although the rogue/sorceror screamed for her to stop. I allowed the game to run, with a stopwatch on as the argument built and built and built and then the charau-kau were upon them.

The charau-kau were no challenge for them (and in fact any time they encountered them they walked all over them). The alchemist got bored (as he is so prone to do) and so went flying, dropping bombs in the tar pits that existed all over the compound for fun (although later he revealed that he believed there were things living in the pits so did it as a precaution. He then went off investigating the tower of serpents where he entered flew to the roof and dropped bombs on the snakes until they were dead. He noted the stairs down in the tower and decided it was time to get the rest of the party to come and follow it down. The party had since dealt with the remaining two patrols (which I thew at them at the same time) without breaking a sweat and with no sign of the alchemist they were heading to the temple of the snake. It is there that they spotted the alchemist and flagged him down. The alchemist convinced them to head to the temple to investigate the stairs (that lead to the aqueduct) but on foot they had to head south and around the massive burning tar pits.

They destroyed the charau-kau and decapus on the way and found the treasure at the bottom of the well. The gnome spotted the hole to the aqueducts and decided to investigate (he plays his character so well gnome alchemist with wisdom of 7). He entered and triggered the huge elemental cleaner and was cut off from the group. The group saw a huge splash of water burst from the hole where the gnome had gone (they had tied a rope to him so could see where he went) and ran to his aid just in time (he was using some of his spontaneous healing as was near dead).

A massive, fitful combat ensued that ended with the huge water elemental on 1 hit point running out of duration on the spell and being sucked back to the plane of elemental water. With 5 minute reset time the party started an argument (as they were tapped out and ticked off at the gnome's disregard) so I started the stop watch. They ended the argument quickly though and decided to investigate the aqueduct for a place to rest and heal. They came to the opening, had another massive argument about if they should go get the cavaliers horse that was "guarding" at the well and then decided to do it in the morning and rested.

On returning to the well they found no sign of the horse but the cavalier found tracks and followed them to a place in the jungle. The tracks had humanoid feet with the horse and she found her horse dead, as if drained (nasty succubus LOL). They ran to their carriage and found the remainder of their beasts of burden and a pet dog they picked up slain and torn apart (this by the charau-kau.

They bee lined it to the serpent temple and waltzed their way to the shedding pit to find one of the captives to be the old midwife they did not trust (the succubus decided she would ambush them here being immune to fire). They got the drop on the charau-kau and rescued all the tribesmen and they realised something fishy was happening with the old woman so the succubus teleported into combat, saying she needed to get the taste of horse out of her mouth.

The cavalier went ballistic and buffed herself up, challenging her and receiving a bulls strength from the alchemist. The succubus smiled and attempted to dominate her, failing utterly as the cavalier got a natural 20 on the save. This combat the succubus fell quickly. With a buffed and challenge laden cavalier who seemed to get a string of criticals (she uses the +1 scimitar from the shiv crit 18-20). The succubus attempted to get away, failed concentration check after concentration check. Kept getting swept to the ground and eventually died at the point of the cavaliers blade...

Finally they swept the rest of the temple, walking all over Raogru and hi snake to claim the treasure and the moonstone. That is where we left the last game as they begin to eye the ziggurat to the North for the likely location of the pillars of light and the trip to Saventh-Yhi slightly beyond it.

The group are now all 6th level and close to 7th so they should hit the milestones at the right time. I can't wait!


Nice summation Mark.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

Wow, that last Ziggurat is a doozy! The players have been in it for two sessions now! They fought Issilar tonight which was a MASSIVE battle and lasted essentially the entire session. They still have very little idea on how to activate the pillars yet but they have all the gems. One more session and it should be all over :)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

Got a question on how to wrap this one up... The players have the gems after defeating Issilar and found the pillars but they do not know how to activate them. I will add my question behind a spoiler just in case my players are lurking...

Pillars of Light:
The players did not fully check out the ground floor of the ziggurat and hence did not meet with the idols that give the players the knowledge to activate the pillars. The players have literally cleaned nearly everything else out of Tazion (missing a couple of leech swarms only from memory).

The last two players levelled to 7th after defeating Issilar so they are in the zone for CoSS. Now my question is this... It is day 56 so today the Red Mantis arrive. As CoSS brings the ideas of factions from an almost abstract idea to a "You are sharing the city with them" level would it be worth having the Mantis assassin trailblazer group arrive at the pillars, having obtained the knowledge from downstairs and negotiate with the players to share the stones and the information? The players are Pathfinder faction so no major conflict (apart from the fact that they are all sure the Red Mantis are after them for turning them down in favour of the Pathfinders). Allows them to build on the relationship in CoSS and then when Aspis goes nuts in VoM a natural ally to hit with them. Or should I just allow them to go down stairs and kill the statuettes?

What do you think?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Mark Knights wrote:

Got a question on how to wrap this one up... The players have the gems after defeating Issilar and found the pillars but they do not know how to activate them. I will add my question behind a spoiler just in case my players are lurking...

** spoiler omitted **

What do you think?

I think anything you care to do in order to make more of a story behind CoSS is great. Politics, alliance, betrayal, lack of betrayal, etc. Basically, let them talk. The the Red Mantis would likely send scouts first - some expendable mooks (who know they are expendable - and since they're fanatics who don't care) who don't really know much about the organizations plans, goals, or pillars, but are able to - in very limited terms - create concrete agreements with the PCs.

IF you can think of a way, I'd suggest that additionally, you drop hints for one of the PCs get themselves into a position of legitimate king/queen-ship (i.e. get some native populace to declare them sovereign). This would prevent the Manits from taking that character on as a target (so preferably a cleric or other Rezzer, if you have one), and allow the PCs, as a whole, to relax and trust the Mantis more (whether this is valid or not...)

Eventually, if you and they allow negotiations to continue, the PCs might even be able to hire the Mantis to work with them in exchange for...

a spoiler!:
the Sword.

This would be a neat way to dispose of it, but also not let it go "for free" so to speak.

Make the price, say, "kill one other faction, dead" and/or (depending on how good the negotiations are) "help us conquer one district". Heck, they might not even be known to be cooperating allies! This would be great to allow the PCs to double-deal with the pirates later (if they so choose).


Question: How do you use deeper darkness?

Less specifically, I'm looking for hints on how to run Raogru. My party is rather optimized (we had only two of them last session, and the fight against Issilar was challenging, but not life-threatening!) and I'd like this fight to be difficult. His dominate animal and animal trance might take out the ranger's pet, and his ranged weapon might make him actually hit, unlike others, but until his snake's down, he'll have difficulty using his channel.

So, how have others run him? Hints and suggestions?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

I'm just starting this module, and I've decided to make Nkechi a Juju Oracle (Wendifa) instead of a cleric of Gozreh. (From the third book.) He's got the Craft Juju Fetish Revelation and the Haunted Curse, which seems to be tailor made for The Tempest. The spirits basically keep a constant, aggravating wind whipping around him. I think it adds a bit of flavor and fits his name well. He calls to the different Wendo for guidance (Mfuello is his favorite) and generally seems more exotic because of it.

In the dream scene, he associated a Wendo with each of the PC's animal totems and told the PCs that the Wendo were interested in them and were watching them. I use this as a way to occasionally hand out premonitions / info.

Just throwing it out there as an idea for anyone to snatch, if they like.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
PbemDM wrote:
I'm just starting this module, and I've decided to make Nkechi a Juju Oracle (Wendifa) instead of a cleric of Gozreh. ...

Cool idea. You know what I couldn't figure is how come he was not a cleric of Shimye-Magalla, the janiform amalgam of Desna and Gozreh the Bonuwat worship. If I had thought about it beforehand I would have done this, but alas, no.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

I'm not familiar with Shimye-Magalla. Is it stated anywhere that only the Bonumat worship this deity? That would be one explanation, I suppose, though I can't see any reason why Zenj, like Nkechi, wouldn't potentially share the same tradition. If there was such a restriction, Nkechi could be made a Bonuwat. Of course, race is problematic to retcon as well.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I don't want to be overly critical, and I've just started reading this adventure, but I can already see a lot of problems cropping up. Mainly, how important is taking Nkechi? I don't think my party is going to see any value in the man. His knowledge skills are pitiful, and his survival skill isn't going to be much higher than my PCs'. For someone to serve as a guide, you'd think he'd have a pretty decent Knowledge (Geography) or something. Especially if I've got a native Mwangi Ranger or Druid in the party who will know the area just as good and at this point be of similar level.

Not to mention the amount of time it takes to recruit the man. It's at least a day out to him, then a day for the Water test, a day to the Air test, a day back, and then a day back to town. That's a five day commitment when the expedition leaves in a week. I don't think my PCs will see the benefit of wasting all that time, which is a shame because the spirit world stuff is pretty trippy.

How do the other factions get to Tazion? Aren't the PCs the only ones with that information? Yarzoth's notes aren't going to be translated until reaching Eleder. If the PCs do all the work themselves, no one else will have access to the information, and the only reason a faction would court the PCs is to acquire it. The other factions would still be in the dark, and the only hope they would have is to follow the PCs faction or steal the notes and translate them on their own. It doesn't seem like much of a race.


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

I don't want to be overly critical, and I've just started reading this adventure, but I can already see a lot of problems cropping up.

Nkechi
Factions

Take a look a few posts above for how I handled not taking Nkechi with the group.

Selling the factions. Even with the notes that were recovered from Yarzoth and even if one of the PCs can read Azlanti, you can understand every word, but without the context, the text can be jibberish.
Without googling it or looking anything up in a book, can you translate the following (hint, they are all cowboy terms):
"Light a shuck"
"Lineback Dun"
"Ditty Bag"
"Dog House"
"Drygulch"
"Necessary"

If you can't translate them, and they are terms that are only a couple of centuries in the past (yet used a lot in cowboy books and movies), imagine how hard it would be for a language from 10,000 years ago.

You may want to take a peak at another thread in this forum, Serpent Skull, a Bad Reputation - it has a lot of ideas on how different DMs corrected what they saw as flaws.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I'm not understanding what you're saying. The PCs will be spending days, if not weeks, trying to understand the notes and using a vast library of books to aid them in their checks. That's already a given. But what does that have to do with the factions, or how the other factions obtain this information?

I will look for this other thread, though.


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

I am trying to say that the PCs will need to consult at least one sage in Eleder to be able to figure out what the Azlanti texts actually mean, even if they can read and write Azlanti. The examples that I gave above are English words, but unless you understand the context, you have no idea what they are saying (ex.: "The entrance to the vault was just past the dog house" will not make a lot of sense unless you understand what dog house means).

In my game, because the PC's sage talked over the translations with a few of his colleagues in the gentleman's club where he relaxed, word got out. But it wasn't his fellow sages that sold the fact that the a way to Savinth-Yhi may have been found, but the wait staff.

Once the information was sold, enter the other Factions. And the PCs will need to have their own faction. It's not like exploring a BBEG castle, you are talking about exploring a large ruined city. They will need sages, experts, supplies, security, transportation back and forth, etc... to be able to do a good job.

If the PCs are doing their own research, where are the PCs getting access to the vast library of books? What are the NPCs from the Shiv doing (the AP storyline is that they mention things to their faction)?

People will talk about the project that the PCs are working on, speculation may be based on the books that they are consulting or buying, and since the Shiv is only 20 miles out, someone else may pay it a visit and find the temple and make their own etchings.

Did that help or have I confused things even more?


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

What detail is the most important thing from the notes, though? I was under the impression that the notes were almost a step-by-step guide to finding Tazion. Maybe there is no problem if there are only two important bits of information from the notes:
1. Tazion and it's location.
2. Activate Pillars of Light.

I was under the impression that Tazion was a known ruin that had been explored in the past, but no one had yet used the detailed instructions in Yarzoth's notes to realize how to get to Sav-Yhi. I thought the many DETAILS in the notes was the important part. If it's a lot simpler than that, then I guess there isn't as much of a problem. But if it were simpler, and the factions gained access to the information without needing the PCs to hand it to them, why are they being courted so heavily?

Also, some other things I'm curious about:
1. What is the general size and composition of the expeditions? This is probably important to set the scale for the party. I know my players are going to be curious.

2. Can PCs ally with two factions at once? If they do, do both factions send full expeditions, and do the PCs serve as trailblazers for both expeditions at the same time? Does this mean that the two factions ally with each other or promise to stay out of each others' way?

3. Why did Feran Crinhouse camp so close to the mine's entrance? He looks like, based on the scale, to have camped within a ten minute walk to the entrance of the mine? Wouldn't it have made more sense to wait and head out the next morning, especially if he was worried about leaving the strongbox behind? Is there some sort of scale thing I'm missing?

4. What exactly was that sphere thing in the mine? What was it's original purpose, how did it get there?

5. Why does the Chemosit have a rake ability when it doesn't have the grab ability or any other real motivation to grapple? Isn't there information missing in the Rake portion of the stat block? When is the kinda cool Brain Eater ability ever going to come up during game play, or have an impact on the game? Is this for future encounters with the beast when it might already be gorging itself?

6. When the party is attacked in Kalabuto, what information, specifically, are the rival agents hoping to extract? Particularly since...

7. Aren't all the factions travelling roughly the same railroaded path? Does another faction attempt to travel along the coast and then travel to Tazion via a path north of the Bandu Hills? If not, shouldn't these five large expeditions, going to the same place at the same time along the same path, be travelling more or less on top of each other, or maybe with each other?

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
martryn wrote:

I don't want to be overly critical, and I've just started reading this adventure, but I can already see a lot of problems cropping up. Mainly, how important is taking Nkechi? I don't think my party is going to see any value in the man. His knowledge skills are pitiful, and his survival skill isn't going to be much higher than my PCs'. For someone to serve as a guide, you'd think he'd have a pretty decent Knowledge (Geography) or something. Especially if I've got a native Mwangi Ranger or Druid in the party who will know the area just as good and at this point be of similar level.

Not to mention the amount of time it takes to recruit the man. It's at least a day out to him, then a day for the Water test, a day to the Air test, a day back, and then a day back to town. That's a five day commitment when the expedition leaves in a week. I don't think my PCs will see the benefit of wasting all that time, which is a shame because the spirit world stuff is pretty trippy.

I mentioned this in another thread but I'll repeat it here.

You don't HAVE to send Nkechi with the party if you don't want but can still use this section. Even if the PCs are skilled scouts themselves, they'll be 1-2 days ahead of the main expedition. The faction leader may want a guide to travel WITH the expedition in case they run into trouble. Use Nkechi for this. Have the faction leaders send the PCs to recruit Nkechi so he can travel with the main expedition to steer them away from any trouble while the PCs are a couple days ahead taking care of big issues on the trail. This also saves you from having to run Nkechi as another character.

OR, change Nkechi's role altogether. I had several competent scouts in my party as well, so I changed things up a big. I had the Mwangi porters' spiritual advisor killed in the warehouse fire. The native porters refused to travel with the PC's expedition until they had a new spiritual leader (some of them were whispering about the expedition being cursed with bad luck). So the faction leader sent the PCs to recruit Nkechi as the new spiritual advisor for the expedition. Again, this saved me from having to run him as an NPC during combat. He just traveled with the main expedition.

martryn wrote:
How do the other factions get to Tazion? Aren't the PCs the only ones with that information? Yarzoth's notes aren't going to be translated until reaching Eleder. If the PCs do all the work themselves, no one else will have access to the information, and the only reason a faction would court the PCs is to acquire it. The other factions would still be in the dark, and the only hope they would have is to follow the PCs faction or steal the notes and translate them on their own. It doesn't seem like much of a race.

Mistwalker covered this and BQ did a great write up of possible ways word could get out in another thread.

Short answer: the other shipwrecked survivors talk that SOMETHING was found on Smuggler's Shiv. Even if the PCs don't share with them exactly what it was, they're probably going to realize it's big. They sell/share the information with the other factions.
OR the only real library in Eleder is the Colonial Archives. Archivists work there and would be doing work for the PCs getting the scrolls/books they request to research. They could sell the information to the other factions that use it to piece together where everyone is going.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
martryn wrote:

What detail is the most important thing from the notes, though? I was under the impression that the notes were almost a step-by-step guide to finding Tazion. Maybe there is no problem if there are only two important bits of information from the notes:

1. Tazion and it's location.
2. Activate Pillars of Light.

I was under the impression that Tazion was a known ruin that had been explored in the past, but no one had yet used the detailed instructions in Yarzoth's notes to realize how to get to Sav-Yhi. I thought the many DETAILS in the notes was the important part. If it's a lot simpler than that, then I guess there isn't as much of a problem. But if it were simpler, and the factions gained access to the information without needing the PCs to hand it to them, why are they being courted so heavily?

You're right in that the ruins have been found before. But no one knows that 1) these ruins are where Tazion was and 2) that Tazion holds the key to finding the route to Saventh-Yhi.

Even if the factions know that a place called Tazion holds the key to finding Saventh-Yhi, until they can place WHERE it is (using Yarzoth's notes on the geography, maybe star charts, etc), the information is nearly useless.
As for why court the PCs so heavily, well they've already proved themselves as skilled explorers/survivors. They got off Smuggler's Shiv after all and found the ruined temple. Why wouldn't a faction leader want to try and recruit them as trailblazers for the expedition?

martryn wrote:

Also, some other things I'm curious about:

1. What is the general size and composition of the expeditions? This is probably important to set the scale for the party. I know my players are going to be curious.

Was never specified, but I believe Mr. Jacobs mentioned somewhere about 60-70ish people. I went with a nice, even "about a hundred" people. About 20 guards, 30 researchers and 50 porters/animal handlers. But up to you.

martryn wrote:
2. Can PCs ally with two factions at once? If they do, do both factions send full expeditions, and do the PCs serve as trailblazers for both expeditions at the same time? Does this mean that the two factions ally with each other or promise to stay out of each others' way?

Totally up to you. I personally would say yes they could ally with two factions and they'd send one Joint expedition that traveled together. The PCs could trailblaze for both at once. This of course opens up some further RP opportunities as there's bound to be some in-fighting between the factions. You may want to force some good diplomacy checks to keep the factions from breaking back into two expeditions, but totally up to you.

I can say my own PCs didn't ally up until they reached the ruins first with the Government (their initial faction.) Once they started forming camps in Saventh-Yhi, they formed a Joint Pirate/Pathfinder camp and eventually came to a non-combat agreement with the Red Mantis.
Really the interactions with the other factions is the APs strong point. You (and the PCs) get to decide what they're going to do and how they're going to handle/react to each other. Have some fun with it based on the PCs actions. If they really push for allying with the others, I'd give them at least a chance at succeeding. Shrug.

martryn wrote:
3. Why did Feran Crinhouse camp so close to the mine's entrance? He looks like, based on the scale, to have camped within a ten minute walk to the entrance of the mine? Wouldn't it have made more sense to wait and head out the next morning, especially if he was worried about leaving the strongbox behind? Is there some sort of scale thing I'm missing?

The mine camp was established there BEFORE he discovered the sphere that destroyed the mine. It used to be a regular, productive salt mine for an unknown length of time before he tried to break through into the new section. Then he found the sphere, undead started spilling up from below and the camp was abandoned. The map shows that the camp is made up of several small buildings. It's not like it was a temporary thing. It was there a while before it was destroyed/abandoned.

martryn wrote:
4. What exactly was that sphere thing in the mine? What was it's original purpose, how did it get there?

Unknown. Up to you whether you want to flesh it out further or just leave it as an unknown artifact.

martryn wrote:
5. Why does the Chemosit have a rake ability when it doesn't have the grab ability or any other real motivation to grapple? Isn't there information missing in the Rake portion of the stat block? When is the kinda cool Brain Eater ability ever going to come up during game play, or have an impact on the game? Is this for future encounters with the beast when it might already be gorging itself?

Pounce ability also allows it to use its rake attack on a pounce. Just gives it an extra attack on a pounce.

As for Brain Eater, yeah I guess if you want to use it again or it pops up as a random encounter you could have it "pre-buffed" with brains. Otherwise it never came up in my game. Shrug.

martryn wrote:
6. When the party is attacked in Kalabuto, what information, specifically, are the rival agents hoping to extract? Particularly since...

I had them mostly just trying to slow down the PC's expedition. If the attackers can take out their competitors scouts/trailblazers, the expedition will need to recruit/send out new ones. That will give the attackers a few days lead.

Or maybe the attackers don't know where they're going... their own expedition is just following the PCs. If they want to get ahead, they'll need to find out the destination from the PCs.

martryn wrote:
7. Aren't all the factions travelling roughly the same railroaded path? Does another faction attempt to travel along the coast and then travel to Tazion via a path north of the Bandu Hills? If not, shouldn't these five large expeditions, going to the same place at the same time along the same path, be travelling more or less on top of each other, or maybe with each other?

This... is one of the shortcomings of the adventure. They really should have spelled out a bit better who leaves when and where they're going so it's kind of up to you. I assumed that everyone is traveling generally along the same path. If you want to change that you certainly can. I left it that way so that the PCs could take opportunities to try to slow down the other expeditions (set traps, send stampeding animals their way, etc).

If you look at Arrival of the Factions on Pg 43, the factions arrive in a staggered fashion. You can assume this means they leave Eleder in a more staggered fashion as well. I guess it takes some factions longer to leave than others. What I did was take the arrival day, back it up by the travel distance to get a start day. OR you could assume that they all leave at the same time and took different routes and THIS is what accounts for the difference in travel times. Totally up to you.

Hope that helps a bit.

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

Some of my players bet on Muddy Lyza, others Cornugon.

The summoner PC cast Haste on Muddy Lyza, while the cavalier challenged Muddy Lyza, thus giving Cornugon plusses.

I am surrounded by chaos! :)


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Quote:
You don't HAVE to send Nkechi with the party if you don't want but can still use this section. Even if the PCs are skilled scouts themselves, they'll be 1-2 days ahead of the main expedition. The faction leader may want a guide to travel WITH the expedition in case they run into trouble. Use Nkechi for this. Have the faction leaders send the PCs to recruit Nkechi so he can travel with the main expedition to steer them away from any trouble while the PCs are a couple days ahead taking care of big issues on the trail. This also saves you from having to run Nkechi as another character.

Fantastic idea! This is why I love posting on the forums. Wouldn't have thought of that on my own.

Quote:

You're right in that the ruins have been found before. But no one knows that 1) these ruins are where Tazion was and 2) that Tazion holds the key to finding the route to Saventh-Yhi.

Even if the factions know that a place called Tazion holds the key to finding Saventh-Yhi, until they can place WHERE it is (using Yarzoth's notes on the geography, maybe star charts, etc), the information is nearly useless.

Which brings my back to my original question: How do the other factions find Tazion or beat the PCs there? Sure, information is leaked, but it seems as if the other factions learn the information at the same time the PCs figure it out, which doesn't make sense any way you slice it. It's almost as if someone made copies of the notes and sold them to the other factions, which is what I'm probably going to have to work into my campaign.

Quote:
The mine camp was established there BEFORE he discovered the sphere that destroyed the mine. It used to be a regular, productive salt mine for an unknown length of time before he tried to break through into the new section. Then he found the sphere, undead started spilling up from below and the camp was abandoned. The map shows that the camp is made up of several small buildings. It's not like it was a temporary thing. It was there a while before it was destroyed/abandoned.

No, I'm talking about area 3, in the tunnels, where he stopped overnight on his way to check out the sphere. He was literally less than half an hour into the tunnels and decided to stop and make camp instead of waiting at the more permanent buildings where he presumably left his wife.

Quote:
Pounce ability also allows it to use its rake attack on a pounce. Just gives it an extra attack on a pounce.

Ah! Didn't know Pounce and Rake had synergy like that. Always thought Rake was just a thing to do while grappling.

Another question:
Having read through the book now, it looks like there are only two opportunities to make up ground during the trip, and one possible delay for the treasure map, and then the hold over in Kalabuto. Given that many of the travel times have partial days, and the PCs will more likely want to break for camp after an encounter in the afternoon, there are a lot of partial days that the PCs will be losing as well. How likely is it that the PCs actually have a hard time arriving first, or even in the middle of the pack, considering this? Where have your groups arrived in comparison to the rival factions?


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Just noticed another thing:

If the PCs are the first to arrive in Tazion, then they activate the pillars of light and get the information they need before the other factions get there, the other factions will have no way of following on their own without somehow obtaining that information from the PCs. First, the statues with the memories will be destroyed, and second, nothing would stop the PCs from taking the gems with them when they left.

If, on the other hand, the PCs arrive several days after other factions, the same is true in reverse. I guess the Red Mantis might have members skilled enough to make the DC 40 checks to activate the pillars without the gems and memories, but I'm under the assumption that's not the case. Obviously the gem in the skull in the temple is not going to be there any longer. The entire adventure hinges on the PCs doing everything and yet the other factions somehow keeping par.

My players are pretty smart, logical, and practical. I'm talking about engineers and economists here. They're not going to be happy if they take precautions to keep the other factions from following them, and yet the other factions managing to do it anyways. Likewise, they're going to feel cheated if they arrive after other groups, and reason that the other groups somehow got all the information they needed without needing to obtain the gems or fight the statues. Especially if three of the gems are on Issilar, and he manages to survive at least the first several factions that show up.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
martryn wrote:
How do the other factions learn the way to Saventh-Yhi?

There are a few ways that that can be accomplished.

1st way, the trail that the PC's faction leaves when it heads to Saventh-Yhi could be followed.

2nd way, the other factions have bribed a few of the porters in the PC's faction expedition to mark the trail / leave notes / be scryed upon / etc..

3rd way, use divination to learn that that they need to blindly activate the pillars and then keep trying until they do so.

4th way, use all three of the above.

Alternatively, you could use the modified zuggurat that Dwtempests made, which can be found here, along with a few other suggestions.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
martryn wrote:
Which brings my back to my original question: How do the other factions find Tazion or beat the PCs there? Sure, information is leaked, but it seems as if the other factions learn the information at the same time the PCs figure it out, which doesn't make sense any way you slice it. It's almost as if someone made copies of the notes and sold them to the other factions, which is what I'm probably going to have to work into my campaign.

Ah! So your question is more about timing. Well you could look at it like this...

- PCs find notes and return to Eleder
- Require time to translate notes (probably in Colonial Archives). Locate Tazion in previously discovered ruins
- *IF* they shared information with the other castaways, they may be courted by factions just on the fact they have info on Saventh-Yhi. The other castaways are talking around town.
- If they DIDN'T share info, word probably gets out while they're researching (spies, payed off archivists, scrying, etc)
- Expedition is established by faction they're working with. Will take some time. During this time other factions are playing catch up trying to backtrack the PCs research (checking out the Shiv, finding books they checked out in the archives, etc). Other factions may be setting up their own expeditions now as well... though they might not even now exactly where they're going.

Warehouse fire could slow down PCs expedition as well as finding Nkechi. Otherwise they should have a VERY good chance of being the first ones out of the city and thus giving them a good chance of reaching Tazion first.

As you said, their having the info first should give them a good chance of getting their first unless they REALLY take their time.

Quote:
No, I'm talking about area 3, in the tunnels, where he stopped overnight on his way to check out the sphere. He was literally less than half an hour into the tunnels and decided to stop and make camp instead of waiting at the more permanent buildings where he presumably left his wife.

Oh! Yeah I have no idea why he made camp there. Maybe he left late in the afternoon/evening and didn't want to go back topside in the dark?

Quote:
Ah! Didn't know Pounce and Rake had synergy like that. Always thought Rake was just a thing to do while grappling.

Yeah it's actually under Pounce not under Rake at all.

"Pounce (Ex) When a creature with this special attack makes a charge, it can make a full attack (including rake attacks if the creature also has the rake ability)."
Easily missed.

Quote:

Another question:

Having read through the book now, it looks like there are only two opportunities to make up ground during the trip, and one possible delay for the treasure map, and then the hold over in Kalabuto. Given that many of the travel times have partial days, and the PCs will more likely want to break for camp after an encounter in the afternoon, there are a lot of partial days that the PCs will be losing as well. How likely is it that the PCs actually have a hard time arriving first, or even in the middle of the pack, considering this? Where have your groups arrived in comparison to the rival factions?

This again is one of my complaints of this book: the race doesn't feel like a race. The PCs are almost *assumed* to arrive first unless they're slowed down. Adding up the travel times you get 54 days of travel. The Red Mantis are the first out of the city behind the PCs evidently and arrive on day 56 followed by the others. Again, it never specifies that they take the same route as the PCs, but it kind of makes sense.

What I personally did was take the arrival times and back them all up the 54 days of travel time to get their assumed start times. Then assumed the PCs started a couple days ahead of them. Then backed things up a week (because that's how long it takes to get the expedition together). This gives you a good timeline.
Then -because I wanted it to be more of a race- I delayed the PCs start time by 1 day for every square destroyed in the warehouse fire. They ended up losing 5 days and starting in the middle of the pack.
Now this would have made it IMPOSSIBLE as written to arrive first (and that's just cheap and unfair) so I added in a few more opportunities to make up time.
- At the Lake of Vanishing Armies (area L) the local fishermen were being harrassed by the Spawn in the lake. If the PCs took out the Spawn in the lake, the natives would take the expedition up river by barge to the edge of Mzali territory thus cutting off another day.
- At the tomb (area P) I had some local natives show up soon after the battle. My PCs were careful to reconsecrate the gravesight and turned over Amghawe's spear to the natives. As thanks, they showed the PC's expedition a shortcut through the jungle cutting off several bends in the river they were following and shorting the trip an additional day.
- Along the way they had several random encounters with animals. They used Speak with Animal to make them friendly and sent them ahead to attack the expeditions ahead of them. I slowed the other expeditions down per attack.
- After taking out the Mzali raiders (area M) they made an agreement with one of the survivors to have his people attack the other expeditions coming through slowing them down.
- At one point they also caught up with Ishirou and the Consortium trailblazers. They took him out in an ambush and I had that slow the Consortium down a day as they had to send more trailblazers ahead.

After all that, they ended up arriving on the same day as the Red Mantis trailblazers. I gave them credit for arriving first (since it was really a tie) and made the prisoners at V4 the Red Mantis scouts.
Overall my players said it really felt like a race with the pressure being on and they played smart to make up time whenever they could.
Just how I did it. Shrug.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
martryn wrote:

Just noticed another thing:

If the PCs are the first to arrive in Tazion, then they activate the pillars of light and get the information they need before the other factions get there, the other factions will have no way of following on their own without somehow obtaining that information from the PCs. First, the statues with the memories will be destroyed, and second, nothing would stop the PCs from taking the gems with them when they left.

If, on the other hand, the PCs arrive several days after other factions, the same is true in reverse. I guess the Red Mantis might have members skilled enough to make the DC 40 checks to activate the pillars without the gems and memories, but I'm under the assumption that's not the case. Obviously the gem in the skull in the temple is not going to be there any longer. The entire adventure hinges on the PCs doing everything and yet the other factions somehow keeping par.

My players are pretty smart, logical, and practical. I'm talking about engineers and economists here. They're not going to be happy if they take precautions to keep the other factions from following them, and yet the other factions managing to do it anyways. Likewise, they're going to feel cheated if they arrive after other groups, and reason that the other groups somehow got all the information they needed without needing to obtain the gems or fight the statues. Especially if three of the gems are on Issilar, and he manages to survive at least the first several factions that show up.

As Mistwalker said, the easiest explanation is the other expeditions just follow the PC's expedition from Tazion to Saventh-Yhi.

It's only a (relatively) short distance, but it's straight through the thick jungle. A deep jungle expedition of 50-100 people with pack animals is going to have to cut a path through the underbrush that almost anyone is going to be able to follow.
And then it takes several days to clear the path up the waterfall for the pack animals as the PCs explore the first few areas in the valley. The other expeditions are probably going to catch up here anyway as everyone piles up trying to get into the valley. Good time for alliances or non-combat agreements otherwise someone could try to bottleneck the valley.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Quote:
Alternatively, you could use the modified zuggurat that Dwtempests made, which can be found here, along with a few other suggestions.

This is why I love you guys. That looks awesome. Will likely have to adjust the CRs down a bit, but other than that...

Quote:
What I personally did was take the arrival times and back them all up the 54 days of travel time to get their assumed start times. Then assumed the PCs started a couple days ahead of them. Then backed things up a week (because that's how long it takes to get the expedition together). This gives you a good timeline.

I'll likely have to do something similar. Maybe I'll make a new timeline where the PCs have the information about getting to Tazion and the other factions have to figure out different ways to get that information, the acquisition of which is what slows down their departure times. I can't image my party taking minimum time on the journey, especially with all these partial days. I imagine they would have an encounter and depending how it goes, might want to stop for the night, especially if the encounter is scheduled for sometime in the afternoon. But at the same time, I want all the times to be competitive, and love the dynamic of the different factions.

Did you guys use some sort of random encounters in Tazion itself? The distances between locations is a bit larger, and I imagine that there are charau-ka all over the place, and if the party isn't quiet...? If so, did you just have generic charau-ka patrols and the occasional giant wasp, or...?

I did pregenerate all of my random encounters for the trip. I came up with 20 freakin' encounters. I tried to come up with a bit of a backstory for all of them so they'd at least be interesting for the PCs. I'm a bit worried because the first encounter I rolled was the triceratops, which would absolutely decimate a party of 4th or 5th level PCs, especially if they didn't know what they were getting into. I'm going to give them three options, here:
1. Wait until it finishes grazing and moves on without disturbing it, which will delay the party half a day.
2. Attempt Animal Empathy or other forms of primal diplomacy.
3. Attack.

Four encounters later I rolled a Dire Tiger, which will ambush a random party member using the high grass as camouflage. Also worried about that encounter, but these are two encounters the party really can go nova on and expend all their resources, so I'm hoping that'll make them manageable.

I also have a few random encounters that will lead into the actual scripted encounters. For example, I've got a giant dragonfly which will attempt to carry off one of the PCs. The dragonfly lairs close to where the lizardfolk are hunting hippos, so as the PCs chase the dragonfly, they'll run into the Hippo Hunt encounter, which should make an easier encounter a little bit more difficult and certainly more memorable.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
martryn wrote:
I'll likely have to do something similar. Maybe I'll make a new timeline where the PCs have the information about getting to Tazion and the other factions have to figure out different ways to get that information, the acquisition of which is what slows down their departure times.

That's a great idea. Allows you to fiddle with the results of the warehouse fire to start the PCs off wherever you want them to ahead of the pack if you want.

martryn wrote:
I can't image my party taking minimum time on the journey, especially with all these partial days. I imagine they would have an encounter and depending how it goes, might want to stop for the night, especially if the encounter is scheduled for sometime in the afternoon. But at the same time, I want all the times to be competitive, and love the dynamic of the different factions.

Well if you want to push them a little harder, do it through their faction leader. If they have an encounter and stop to rest in the afternoon, have their faction leader nearly catch up to them with the expedition. It's a race after all. The faction is going to want to travel from dawn to dusk to maximize their time. They can't be held up by their trailblazers "taking it easy." :)

Yeah the PCs are 1-2 days ahead of the expedition, but if they stop hours before dark, maybe they see the expedition behind them on the plains. The faction leader could ride ahead to talk to them that evening to push them on a bit harder.
I had to do this a couple times because with the long travel times, the PCs wanted to have one encounter a day, go nova on it and then rest. I pushed them a bit harder so they were forced to manage their resources.
Just something to consider if you want to keep the pressure on the PCs to keep moving.

martryn wrote:
Did you guys use some sort of random encounters in Tazion itself? The distances between locations is a bit larger, and I imagine that there are charau-ka all over the place, and if the party isn't quiet...? If so, did you just have generic charau-ka patrols and the occasional giant wasp, or...?

I didn't really use random encounters in Tazion. What I did was use the charou-ki camps (area S2) as scouts/lookouts. The first one tried to tangle with the PCs and got walked on. It wasn't even a challenging encounter. So I started using the others to run off to the northeast and northwest jungles to get gangs of charou-ki brutes... leveled charou-ki barbarians. This gave the party MUCH more of a sweat. So if they started making too much noise I had more patrols of charou-ki show up to scout out the commotion and potentially get more barbarians.

Basically a bit more of an organized defense than random encounters.

martryn wrote:
I did pregenerate all of my random encounters for the trip. I came up with 20 freakin' encounters.

The random encounters you touched on looked great. Really liked how you fleshed them out a bit more. Fantastic ideas!

I had a jungle witchdoctor (witch with Speak with Animal hex) and a jungle ranger (with max'd wild empathy) so they pretty much used diplomacy passed every animal encounter... especially the herbivores (like the triceratops) that wouldn't have much of a desire to fight.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I don't understand the Salt Mines. How can a caravan come through such a crowded location? Once the party is warned that there's trouble in the mines, should they avoid them? If so, what's the alternate route?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Preston Poulter wrote:
I don't understand the Salt Mines. How can a caravan come through such a crowded location? Once the party is warned that there's trouble in the mines, should they avoid them? If so, what's the alternate route?

The route through the salt mines will save a day by not having the expedition spend a day going around the point that sticks out from the badlands.

In my game, the expeditions are using mules and porters to carry all of their gear, so they would have no trouble going through the mine. None of the expeditions are using wagons - they will be impossible to get through the jungle.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Well the "caravan" is a deep jungle expedition. Think mostly porters with gear and heavily laden pack animals. Heavy wagons and such just wouldn't make it very far once they get into the Screaming Jungles and the Mwangi Expanse. The vast majority of the expedition is probably on foot with some scouts/guards on horseback and the PCs/trailblazers on horseback.

So if they can get mine carts down into the mine, a person can lead a horse down there.

The alternate route is around the southern spur of the Bandu Hills. This is why cutting directly UNDER the mountains here (through the mines) is shorter than going to the south AROUND the mountains. Up to the PCs whether they want to turn around after finding trouble in the mines, but they should know that if they can clear the path for their expedition to cut through they'll be saving time in the race to Tazion.

EDIT: and beaten by Mistwalker! :)


As far as taking a caravan through, the salt mines also have a scale large rthan 5 feet per square. I don't remember for sure, but I think it was 20 per square.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Does Nkechi add anything to the story. It seems like he's not mentioned much once the players secure his service.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

As written he adds NOTHING to the story. You either get him and get the reduced travel time to Tazion or you don't. He's pretty much left out of the story from that point on to account for both possible results.

Of course you can add him as much to the story as you want. He's a fun NPC and my own group had him as the spiritual leader of the native Mwangi porters/animal handlers with the expedition. Essentially he was the "go between" for the camp leader and the natives.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I'm thinking of converting Umagro to a Fighter (Gladiator) and running his encounter as a performance combat. If I do, I'll post the modified stats here. How did the Umagro fight go with those of you that have already run it?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Actually, for us it was really easy. One player used some spell scrolls to fly really high up from far away (fly) gain super damage reduction (iron body), and fell from the sky, slamming through the ex-gladiator (though he didn't die), the roof, and the chimney. Also Aeris got healed, free, and, with encouragement from the players, kicked the Gladiator's rear so hard that he didn't have much time to even blink.

(Our group took a great shine to Aerys.)

You know, I think I'm spelling her name wrong. I don't remember right now, though.


Tacticslion wrote:

Actually, for us it was really easy. One player used some spell scrolls to fly really high up from far away (fly) gain super damage reduction (iron body), and fell from the sky, slamming through the ex-gladiator (though he didn't die), the roof, and the chimney. Also Aeris got healed, free, and, with encouragement from the players, kicked the Gladiator's rear so hard that he didn't have much time to even blink.

(Our group took a great shine to Aerys.)

You know, I think I'm spelling her name wrong. I don't remember right now, though.

The fight with Umargro was a real comedy of errors for our group. First, he had Jask captive. When the front-line fighters (me-as monk; and sowrd-and-board fighter) approached, Jask saw that we were beat up from making it that far to rescue him, so he channled energy to heal us. Umargro then cut Jask's throat and threw him from the roof! I asked my buddy "You got this?" and he replied 'I GOT THIS!", so I ran off the 30' building, stuck the landing, and got to Jask to stablize him. Umargro, meanwhile proceeded to beat down my fighter friend into a fine paste. Anyone else who approached Umargro would just bull-rush them back down to the floor. The fire mage thought it would be a good idea to set fire to the whale. It took a while, but we finally managed to beat him into submission, only to nearly be arrested by the city watch for destruction of property. Oy veh! "I got this!" has now become our team's catch-phrase for "We're about the get our butts handed to us."


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Heh, we've had stuff like that before, too.

Actually, I was really pleased with how the fight turned out, because until the PCs came up with that strategy, I was pretty sure that they weren't going to be able to do anything, and end up like your party did.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
mbauers wrote:
I'm thinking of converting Umagro to a Fighter (Gladiator) and running his encounter as a performance combat. If I do, I'll post the modified stats here.

That's a really neat idea. Makes sense too since Umagro is really trying to impress and stir up the natives to revolt in Eleder. If he can win them over with performance combat, maybe he can get them to rise up against their Chelaxian masters. Very nice!

mbauers wrote:
How did the Umagro fight go with those of you that have already run it?

I have a very ranged-heavy party, so once the rogue got to the top and Umagro slit Jask's throat, he had ranged attacks coming at him from all sides (a flying witch and sniping archers). I think Umagro managed to knock the rogue and the cavalier both off the roof, but the ranged attacks from the rest of the party took him down.

Still a very fun fight.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Jenner2057 wrote:
mbauers wrote:
I'm thinking of converting Umagro to a Fighter (Gladiator) and running his encounter as a performance combat. If I do, I'll post the modified stats here.

That's a really neat idea. Makes sense too since Umagro is really trying to impress and stir up the natives to revolt in Eleder. If he can win them over with performance combat, maybe he can get them to rise up against their Chelaxian masters. Very nice!

mbauers wrote:
How did the Umagro fight go with those of you that have already run it?

I have a very ranged-heavy party, so once the rogue got to the top and Umagro slit Jask's throat, he had ranged attacks coming at him from all sides (a flying witch and sniping archers). I think Umagro managed to knock the rogue and the cavalier both off the roof, but the ranged attacks from the rest of the party took him down.

Still a very fun fight.

That's what I was thinking, that Umagro starts out with the crowd on his side (he's been lecturing them the whole time the PCs are fighting through his lackeys) and he feeds off the crowds' approval. His goal is to get the natives to rise up against the colonials. Right now I'm leaning towards Fighter (Gladiator) 4/ Barbarian (Urban Barbarian) 2. I think the controlled rage ability fits well with Umagro's flavor.

And I had planned on lowering his kukri +1 to a masterwork kukri to free up some cash for some potions for him, so maybe I'll make one of those protection from arrows or entropic shield or something. Thanks for the heads up ;-)

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My pleasure!
The other option you can go for, is if you're running this as a performance combat and the party starts nuking him from range, describe the natives as booing and getting very angry. If they don't take him in "honorable" combat, they might be doing more harm to their cause.
Are they going to risk driving the natives into a revolutionary frenzy (thus hurting their expedition's chances of getting out of the city in one piece) or are they going to beat Umagro in man-to-man combat and prove that he's weak and revolting isn't the way to go?
Even if they DO support the downtrodden natives against the colonials, a city in chaos is a great way to ensure their caravan DOESN'T leave any time soon. Heh.
Man I wish I'd thought of this angle when I ran this encounter! Very nicely done, mbauers!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Companion Subscriber

In our Umagro fight, the Druid shapechanger and the Summoner's 6-legged cat with a climb speed easily made it onto the roof. Umagro fled after damaging the eidolon, but not wanting to face the multi-attack monster and the Druid's Flaming Sphere alone. So he ducks down the hole in the roof, the eidolon plays cat and mouse, sticking it's paw through the hole trying to reach him, until the Druid runs up and drops his flaming sphere through the hole....which goes through the grate and down into the humongous fat of whale oil. Talk about destruction of property.

It became a memorable fight in an inferno, but Umagro spent most of the fight trying to put himself out (some horrible rolls there). The Rebels in the office burst out at the noise, saw the inferno and went back in and bolted the doors. Umagro knocked the Druid into negatives but then burned up into negatives the same turn.

A picture of a whale (from the whale oil casks) is now the universal symbol of danger.


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Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Here's the tentative stats for Umagro redone. You could swap out combat reflexes for Intimidating Prowess and swap one of his skill ranks over to give him 3 in acrobatics so he can fight defensively for -4/+3 instead of the -2/+2 for combat reflexes.

Umagro:

Umagro CR 5
XP 1,600
Male human barbarian (urban barbarian) 2/ fighter (gladiator) 4
CN Medium humanoid (human)
Favored Class: Fighter (4 skills)
Init +2; Senses Perception +7
Defense
AC 21, touch 13, flat-footed 18 (+7 armor, +2 Dex, +1 natural, +1 Dodge)
hp 72 (2d12 + 4d10 +31)
Fort +11, Ref +3, Will +2
Defensive Abilities crowd control 1

Offense
Speed 30 ft.
Melee +12/+7 mwk kukri (1d4+7/18-20) and mwk kukri +12 (1d4+4/18–20)
Special Attacks controlled rage (8 rounds/day), rage powers (knockback), combat expertise -2/+2 (not included above)

Tactics
Before Combat Before going onto the roof, Umagro applies the war paint of the terrible visage. During his time addressing the crowd, as the PCs are fighting their way to the roof, Umagro drinks his potions of aid, bear’s endurance, and eagle’s splendor (included in his stats). The crowd starts out with a friendly attitude toward Umagro and an unfriendly attitude toward the PCs.

During Combat Umagro rages on the first round, prompting a free action performance check to increase the crowd to “helpful” (he can use his starting victory point from the fame power to automatically succeed). Umagro uses his bull rush rage power, charging, or multiple hits from a full attack to trigger swift action performance checks and his Hero’s Display feat to demoralize opponents (his performance check is +9 base, +10 when crowd is friendly, +11 when crowd is helpful). At first, with the crowd on his side, he uses Combat Expertise with his attacks. If he successfully reduces the number of opponents by dropping them or bull rushing them off the building he will only use Combat Expertise when very hurt. Umagro uses his war paint cause fear ability on a demoralized, heavily armored opponent.

Morale Umagro is a martyr and eagerly fights to the death.

Base Statistics hp 47; Fort +9 Melee +9/+4 mwk kukri (1d4+5/18–20) and +9 mwk kukri (1d4+3/18–20); Str 16, Con 14, Cha 10; CMB +9

Statistics
Str 20, Dex 15, Con 18, Int 8, Wis 12, Cha 14
Base Atk +6; CMB +12 CMD 23
Feats Performance Weapon Mastery, Weapon Focus (kukri), Dazzling Display, Hero’s Display, Combat Expertise, Two-Weapon Fighting, Weapon Specialization (kukri), Dodge
Skills Acrobatics +5 (2 ranks), Diplomacy +6 (1 rank), Handle Animal +6 (1 rank), Intimidate +10 (+11 vs crowds) (5 ranks), Knowledge (Local) +3 (1 rank), Linguistics +3 (1 rank), Perform (Act) +6 (1 rank), Perception +7 (3 ranks), Profession (miner) +5 (1 rank), Profession (soldier) +5 (1 rank), Survival +7 (3 ranks)
Languages Common, Polyglot
SQ fame, armor training 1, crowd control 1
Gear breastplate +1, masterwork kukri x2, amulet of natural armor +1, potion of aid, potion of bear’s endurance, potion of eagle’s splendor, war paint of the terrible visage

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