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The Thousand Fangs Below (GM Reference)


Serpent's Skull

51 to 86 of 86 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

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I think I'll run through and roll the # of Serpent Folk in each room in advance and see how close it comes to the magic '100'.

I might also place a couple of ancient Azlanti anti-telepathy items in the crypts with the portal crystals.

Thanks for letting us know how this is going Jenner. It's a great advantage for my planning.

Geo

Liberty's Edge

N43: Torture Chamber! Please note that the damage potential of Asaam the torturer with an improvised weapon is SOOOOOOOO over the top it's not even funny. I have never been exposed to such a blatantly BROKEN encounter as this one in all my years of playing 3.5 and Pathfinder.

Using the uber Advanced Rogue Trick "Hunter's Surprise" (EX): Once per day, a rogue with this talent can designate a single enemy she is adjacent to as her prey. Until the end of her next turn, she can add her sneak attack damage to all attacks made against her prey, even if she is not flanking it or it is not flat-footed."

Not that it does not say "until the end of their turn", rather, it is until the end of the "NEXT turn". So this would appear to give Asaam two rounds of attacks, or SIX attacks with full sneak attack going.

6d8+6d4+42d6+30= 27+15+147+30=194 hit points to one foe.

Asaam will do, (if he hits with all attacks, which is not all that unusual against Barbarians and two-handed weapon wielding fighters) an AVERAGE of 194 hit points over two rounds. Even at level 15 or 16, there are not many characters who will be able to withstand this damage -- or even know where it is coming from seeing as his first three attacks are from invisible -- and the next three might be as well.

It is a pretty clever stacking of feats to get the catch-off guard and improvised weapon mastery to turn a red hot poker into a 1d8+1d4 weapon -- all while invisible no less.

But for all its cleverness, it wasn't a whole lot of fun on the receiving end. I don't mind dying, but this one comes off as an outright assassination of a Player Character.

It didn't feel epic; rather, it felt cheesey.


Steel_Wind wrote:

N43: Torture Chamber! Please note that the damage potential of Asaam the torturer with an improvised weapon is SOOOOOOOO over the top it's not even funny. I have never been exposed to such a blatantly BROKEN encounter as this one in all my years of playing 3.5 and Pathfinder.

Using the uber Advanced Rogue Trick "Hunter's Surprise" (EX): Once per day, a rogue with this talent can designate a single enemy she is adjacent to as her prey. Until the end of her next turn, she can add her sneak attack damage to all attacks made against her prey, even if she is not flanking it or it is not flat-footed."

Not that it does not say "until the end of their turn", rather, it is until the end of the "NEXT turn". So this would appear to give Asaam two rounds of attacks, or SIX attacks with full sneak attack going.

6d8+6d4+42d6+30= 27+15+147+30=194 hit points to one foe.

Asaam will do, (if he hits with all attacks, which is not all that unusual against Barbarians and two-handed weapon wielding fighters) an AVERAGE of 194 hit points over two rounds. Even at level 15 or 16, there are not many characters who will be able to withstand this damage -- or even know where it is coming from seeing as his first three attacks are from invisible -- and the next three might be as well.

It is a pretty clever stacking of feats to get the catch-off guard and improvised weapon mastery to turn a red hot poker into a 1d8+1d4 weapon -- all while invisible no less.

But for all its cleverness, it wasn't a whole lot of fun on the receiving end. I don't mind dying, but this one comes off as an outright assassination of a Player Character.

It didn't feel epic; rather, it felt cheesey.

Wow, just wow. I think he can add his bite, twice, to that total too.

2d6+14d6+4= 7+49+4=60 +steel's 194= 254

Dust of Disappearance gets around alot of invisibility counters too.

I'm currently running VoM. They'll finish and start TTFB next Saturday.


lol, sorry you (or another player in your group) died.

evil laugh though- I need to remember to link this next time someone makes the argument that healing spells and/or defensive builds have no place in combat.

His third attack is pretty low, however, even against a medium AC. I'd imagine in most cases, a player is going to move after the first round of an unstoppable assault and not allow him a full attack during the second round (Did you get a roll to see that some combat trick was being used against you that went beyond your usual defenses?) Were you at least somewhat unlucky on his rolls?


ibayboy wrote:
Steel_Wind wrote:

N43: Torture Chamber! Please note that the damage potential of Asaam the torturer with an improvised weapon is SOOOOOOOO over the top it's not even funny. I have never been exposed to such a blatantly BROKEN encounter as this one in all my years of playing 3.5 and Pathfinder.

Using the uber Advanced Rogue Trick "Hunter's Surprise" (EX): Once per day, a rogue with this talent can designate a single enemy she is adjacent to as her prey. Until the end of her next turn, she can add her sneak attack damage to all attacks made against her prey, even if she is not flanking it or it is not flat-footed."

Not that it does not say "until the end of their turn", rather, it is until the end of the "NEXT turn". So this would appear to give Asaam two rounds of attacks, or SIX attacks with full sneak attack going.

6d8+6d4+42d6+30= 27+15+147+30=194 hit points to one foe.

Asaam will do, (if he hits with all attacks, which is not all that unusual against Barbarians and two-handed weapon wielding fighters) an AVERAGE of 194 hit points over two rounds. Even at level 15 or 16, there are not many characters who will be able to withstand this damage -- or even know where it is coming from seeing as his first three attacks are from invisible -- and the next three might be as well.

It is a pretty clever stacking of feats to get the catch-off guard and improvised weapon mastery to turn a red hot poker into a 1d8+1d4 weapon -- all while invisible no less.

But for all its cleverness, it wasn't a whole lot of fun on the receiving end. I don't mind dying, but this one comes off as an outright assassination of a Player Character.

It didn't feel epic; rather, it felt cheesey.

Wow, just wow. I think he can add his bite, twice, to that total too.

2d6+14d6+4= 7+49+4=60 +steel's 194= 254

Dust of Disappearance gets around alot of invisibility counters too.

I'm currently running VoM. They'll finish and start TTFB next Saturday.

Also, there's bleed damage too for another +14 if he goes first, +7 otherwise. =268 And for the cost of a mere 1d6 SA, the target is sickened (no save) for 6rnds.

Liberty's Edge

Did anyone "flesh out" this city, like the one above?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I've been trying to do that, but first I need a better feel for demographics. I'm guessing (and that's all this is) that there are about 300 morlocks, which is enough for there to be (for example) a pub or something at least. I have absolutely no idea how many there are of the other races in town, but I'm working on guesses now.

How but you, your majesty? Any fleshing out you'd like to share?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

We have just started book 5 and I thought about fleshing out Ilmurea as well, but the way it plays out so far, the PCs are rushing through the city as they are chasing Eando, who might die if they hesitate too long.

You might want to keep that in mind before you put in too much sites and people that the PCs will never reveal or meet.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber

Here's my suggestion if you want to flesh out the city more. Focus on the southern half of Ilmurea.

In part 1, the PCs did alot of exploring through the city in the far southern portion. The morlocks were all hiding in their homes with the civil war brewing between Udarra and the "Cline Followers" and those under Ixolan. They had a bit of time to poke around in the ruins while they followed their guide back to Udarra. Then they fully scouted out the ruins around the morlock area to make an underground "base camp".

In part 2, they did a little scouting through the ruins on their way to meet Izon. Mostly just enough so they could negotiate from a position of strength with the evil urdefhan. As soon as they beat up a couple patrols, they headed straight to a meeting with Izon.

I had planned on using all the additional location from the "Ilmurea" article in the lower (northern) city during part 3... but -like Nullpunkt said- the party never went down to that particular section of the city. Once Izon said "Cline is over in the giant snake palace" they made a beeline for Thousand Fangs. Especially since the northern section of the city was quite obviously in serpentfolk hands.

So I'd say if you want to flesh out the city more, focus more on the middle and southern portions. OR, if you really want the PCs to explore the northern portion, considering doing a couple things.
- Make sure the PCs are aware that the serpentfolk are ONLY concentrating around the Sanctum and the Serpent Gates. I think my party had the impression that the entire northern part of Ilmurea had awoken and was FILLED with snake-men.
- Consider giving the PCs some side quests to drive them into the northern part of Ilmurea. I tossed them some potential PA quests from their factions (locate a fully operational Serpent Gate down to Orv, find a magical sanctum strong in serpentfolk magic, etc) that will utilize the locations in the "Ilmurea" article.

Just some thoughts.

Liberty's Edge

I did not do any fleshing, and it looks like if I do, it will be a waste of my time.

As of this writing, my players see no reason to explore the city. They have the impression that all of the NPC's are hurrying them towards rescuing Eando. In our game, he has been imprisioned for over a month while the party struggled through the vaults, and they think that there is a good possibility that Eando is dead.

Not only that, but they completely diplomicized, then intimitaded the Urdefhan guards and wound up bypassing all the fights in the city of fiends. Again, they felt that exploring the city would be against their characters' nature if this army of snake men is rising up and they need to rescue the one man who can stop it. I couldn't disagree with them.

It looks like they are going to miss about 1/2 of this book. What I wound up doing was giving them all the XP they would have received from the encounters had they fought the urdefhans because of their extremely successful encounter with the guards. Otherwise they would have definately wiped in the fort.

Our group has not assulted the fortress yet, and I appreciate all of the advice about what to expect and plan for. I went ahead and assumed that there were 150 serpentfolk guards including those in the fort, partols, and guards stationed at important locations in the city. I am not planning on our group walking into the fortress and clearing it out without going to rest, so what I plan to do is when the party leaves (if the alarm has been raised), have the serpentfolk replinish some of the fortress numbers with the wandering partols, focus the partols in more strategic places, and redistribute the remaining troops in more strategic places within the fort.

I agree that when the king snake and most of his officers die, the rest will most likely retreat to book 6. If not, then the freed morlocks could do the rest.

My players did not run into any partols before discovering the barbican, and though they managed to overcome the guards there pretty easily, I think they realized that these guys en mass will be a problem given that they communicate via telepathy and have a +21 to hit. Their plan for taking down the barbican was to pretty much run strait at it, and take it by brute force. Fortunately there was not a wandering patrol within 100ft.

I think they are planning on teleporting back to the surface to rest. If so, I am going to have the barbican remanned by a passing/returning patrol. At this point the serpentfolk will assume that this was an urdefan assualt.

I will let you know how it goes.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My players took the barbican by force as well and were also lucky not to run in another patrol. They also successfully kept everyone from fleeing the scene (thanks to the incredibly annoying hungry pit). They tried teleporting into the mouth of the serpent but (of course) failed. Next they tried to enter the fortress invisible but were ambushed through the murder holes and barely made it out via dimension door. I'm really curious how they'll tackle the fortress next time...

Love the fortress by the way. Obvious, but warded, possible entry points, a very well guarded front entrance and a lot of patrols inside. Will be fun!

Liberty's Edge

Our group took the summer off, and recently has restarted playing this adventure.

As expected, the party went in the side of the snake fort that was wide open, explored until they were spent, then teleported to safety. During this time, I thought it unrealistic that serpentfolk in adjoining rooms would ignore the telepathic calls from a fight on the other side of the door, so I had them attack the party as the fight unfolded.

They raised numerous alarms during their foray and when they returned, I had the serpentfolk actually reinforce the opening in the side with an officer and a platoon of guards. This almost proved too much as the party teleported directly in the middle of them. The wandering Nagas who showed up invisibly didn't help matters either.

When they teleported back, then returned, the force guarding the hole in the side was a little smaller, especially with the missing Nagas. They were able to over come this fight with spells to spare, so they will push through the fortress some more during our next adventure.

Rather than having an endless and unrealistic number of guards, I put the number at 150 initially scattered all over the fort as noted in the book. When the third alarm was raised I followed the directions in the book as well, but when the PC's left, I had the serpentfolk realize that there were more strategic locations to mass their forces (gaping hole in the side of the fortress).

This makes it harder for the PC's to fight the defenders in each fight, but with each attack they reduce the total number of guards, so when positions are reinforced they are weaker or abandoned outright. Ultimately I am planning on a last stand with the snake general, the snake wizard, and the remaining troops in the bottle neck on the top floor map.

I like the fort, especially the size, but this book as a whole is not well thought out as it assumes the PC's want to explore rather than try to immediately save Eando and prevent the serpentfolk invasion.

Liberty's Edge

As I figured, my guys got tired of hurriedly looking for Eando, whom they have very little connection to. They decided to go back to camp and upgrade their gear, which is going to take a long time (20 days) to craft. That is fine as they were getting pounded by the serpentfolk company stationed in the fortress.

However, this leads me to a question, how long is it feasible to allow Eando to survive in the dungeon? Not only must the time exploring these darklands be taken into account, but the months that were spent slogging through the Vaults of Madness. By this time, all of the players assume that Eando is dead, and I don't disagree that he would have died as well.

Which leads me to another question, have any of you run this adventure where Eando died? If so what did you do. If not do any of you have any ideas as to how to do that, or how to justify him living through months of Serpentfolk torture?

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber

Well the way I understood it was that Eando was being kept alive until Vyr Azul can get back there to fully question him. This won't be until AFTER the high priest completes the ritual in Book 6 and raises Ydersius... thus after the AP is done.
Until then, Eando's being kept tortured and weak, thus ready for questioning.
So really, there's no time limit on when the PCs can rescue Eando. Unless of course you say that the PCs have taken too long and Vyr Azul finishes the ritual. But that's a whole other story as they'll have to deal with the Vyr Azul, Ydersius and a whole army of pumped up serpentfolk ready to take the surface world all at once and could be a VERY ugly situation. :)

Dark Archive

Okra.King wrote:
Which leads me to another question, have any of you run this adventure where Eando died? If so what did you do. If not do any of you have any ideas as to how to do that, or how to justify him living through months of Serpentfolk torture?

I assumed the Eando did not under talk this journey with just Juliver. I put a group of about 10 other adventurers with him. The serpentfolk will be spending the time torturing and killing them slowly, before getting to Eando.


If we are inside the fort, is it possible to greater scry / greater teleport to Eando.....after fighting 20 serpentfolk and 4 Naga in one fight we have decided a change of tactic may be needed to speed the game up

Dark Archive

thenovalord wrote:
If we are inside the fort, is it possible to greater scry / greater teleport to Eando.....after fighting 20 serpentfolk and 4 Naga in one fight we have decided a change of tactic may be needed to speed the game up

No, two spells Mage's Private Sanctum and Dimensional Lock prevent scrying and any travel into or out of dungeon area. You have to be lucky to find the entrance and fight your way in.


Ech. Back to the grind. Wonder if we could sneak about under wind walk and invis. sphere?

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

something i thought of today, after dealing with my party on Saturday, are the serpentfolk's telepathy blocked by anything? In the case of the serpentfolk, 100' is the range limitation.

But do door's block it?
3' of stone?
antimagic field?
wall of force?

Anyone have any ideas and how did you handle it in your game?

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber

The only limitation in the entry was range, so I said nothing blocked it. Thousand Fangs is so big that 100 feet was enough of a limiting factor anyway. In practice it really only went 2-3 rooms or so (or the guards had to take time to "chain" telepathy to get ranges beyond that).

Anything that blocks SU abilities would also block telepathy. SUs are blocked by an antimagic field if the sender or receiver are within the field (as long as they are in range, you can still draw line of effect around it).

I didn't want to limit it too much because that was a large part of what made the serpentfolk so scary: their organization. It forced my PCs to learn to hit hard and fast and then move quickly to avoid counterattacks. Made for a fun assault (four assaults actually) through Thousand Fangs.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

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Telepathic control is blocked across and within a Prot/Evil 10'r edge. If you Widen it to a 20'r, it should sever telepathic sendings across the bubble's boundary. Extend the duration, and you've a decent way of 'silencing' the enemy's alarms...they'll think they are screaming for help, but nobody will hear them outside the bubble.

==Aelryinth

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber

As you pointed out, Prot Evil (and Circle Against Evil) block telepathic CONTROL. It would be great against the serpentfolk dominate abilities but questionable whether it works against their regular telepathy. I guess that would be a DM call, but I wouldn't label their normal telepathy (used for communication) as "telepathic control" (and thus blocked by Prot Evil and Circle).
But that's just me. *shrug*


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Jenner2057 wrote:

As you pointed out, Prot Evil (and Circle Against Evil) block telepathic CONTROL. It would be great against the serpentfolk dominate abilities but questionable whether it works against their regular telepathy. I guess that would be a DM call, but I wouldn't label their normal telepathy (used for communication) as "telepathic control" (and thus blocked by Prot Evil and Circle).

But that's just me. *shrug*

No, you're entirely right, Jenner. By RAW, there's nothing there that would block the telepathy. But it's an amazing mental image to have the PCs become the boogymen that make it so that the serpentfolk suffer from a "no one can hear you scream" effect.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Hmm, let me put it this way.

If they dominate you, you're still dominated. But the telepathic control, the commands they give you, cannot reach you. In other words, the projected telepathy isn't reaching its source.

If you walk outside the circle, wuzzah, suppressed spell and telepathic contact re-establish together.

So, I'm of the opinion that non-controlling telepathic projection, which should be LESS powerful then that of an actual spell, is going to stop at the bubble, too, especially if you want it to be.

but only for the evil critters, of course.

:) Hell, they modified it in the story with the serpent skull AP that it blocked a link to a magical menagerie thousands of miles away, I think it rendering you deaf to some telepath should be okay.

MInd Blank would probably work, too, but only for yourself.

==Aelryinth


Sloanzilla wrote:

any problem with making the molochs CN instead of CE? I want to give the poor paladin someone he doesn't utterly hate.

As written, they (the non mind controlled ones) don't even seem that evil.

Curious to hear GMs' experiences running this chapter with Lawful Good characters - particularly Paladins - given the need to work with evil NPCs and monsters, especially the Urdefahns.

Lantern Lodge

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long-staff sixpenny striker wrote:
Sloanzilla wrote:

any problem with making the molochs CN instead of CE? I want to give the poor paladin someone he doesn't utterly hate.

As written, they (the non mind controlled ones) don't even seem that evil.

Curious to hear GMs' experiences running this chapter with Lawful Good characters - particularly Paladins - given the need to work with evil NPCs and monsters, especially the Urdefahns.

As someone familiar with this story line and a Paladin player, I can say it wouldn't have to be a significant issue, assuming you knew about the impending rise of the serpent god. In that situation, I think this would fall under the Paladin's, "under exceptional circumstances, you can ally with evil associates, but only to defeat a greater evil" clause.

It would be very player dependent though, and so as a GM you should be ready either way (a lot of extra encounters or an alliance) and not try to "punish" the Paladin if they don't do what you wanted. I don't recall actually needing to form any alliances with the morlochs or urdefahns to progress.

As player, I (or at least my current paladin) would balk at taking in any of the morlochs or urdefahns as a party member, but forming some sort of "alliance" or "treaty" for their assistance wouldn't be unfathomable, depending on the circumstances and details of any treaty. Would I bargain with minor magic items or loot, maybe, but other things would go too far.

It would be the same with allying with the Red Mantis or the Aspis Consortium as well. After Ydersius' death, though, all bets would be off.

Dark Archive

Well I changed the Morlocks to Mongrelmen to be more Paladin friendly. As long as the Paladin is not forced to do "Evil," I don't see the ethical issue working with an evil race for a common good.


Did you treat the Vemerak's earthquake effect 1.) as if in a Cave, Cavern, or Tunnel OR 2.) as if on Open Ground - per the Earthquake spell description - when in the canyons in Ilmurea?


I would use 1) Cave.


So, the group allied the Morlocks and the Urdefhans in pretty quick manner. I had to give out all the Urdefhan XPs as well in one session just so that they could stand a chance in the Fortress. They never did receive 100 000 xps each before..

Anyway, they simply scried Belkor, teleported in and gutted him. They tried looking for Eando, but teleported back when a patrol encountered them. Rest, rinse and repeat - take out one patrol but realize that the serpentfolk here really kick ass. Rest, rinse and repeat with optimalized spells and boosts. Clears out a couple of guard rooms and some officers.
Teleport away.

I mean, they have just been in, what, six rooms, and have already set off the alarms three times. I'm not the biggest fan of this strategy, and feel that intelligent opponents as the serpentfolk should eventually strike back preemptively. Maybe Khavith can scry and teleport back at the characters? Or the succubus may be sent to deal with the characters in some fashion. The characters did also snub the drow assassin. I am thinking of having her stir up some troubles by killing off some urdefhans and framing the PCs.

Any other ideas for how the serpentfolk might react to this hit and run tactics? Which will take forever.. and really epitomizes the 15 minute workday I so abhor.


Did anyone's game grind to a halt when they characters discovered the serpentfolk in stasis? I'm pretty sure my players will try every conceivable idea for wakening and then killing every single serpentfolk. A Temporal stasis spell can be dispelled by a dispel magic.. It doesn't say explicitly that such a spell can dispel the effect in the Fortress though. I'm pretty sure they have an Ioun stone though.

I can see why the encounter is as it is, but the players will have no way of knowing that these will not be awakened until Ydersius is brought back, so they will use every resource they have to kill them before they bring down the armies.


Curious to know how other DM's handled mapping the Fortress? It's a beast!


Digital map all the way. It's an awesome map.


Has anyone expanded on the city or used the expansion article about other Ilmurea locations ?


I have created a good intelligence network for Selaxasp to use to gather information on the PC's as they maneuver through the city. I also have established that Belkor was subverted by Selaxasp. Did anyone else use the Master Spy to her full effect?


My PC's subdued the fortress and completed the two goals and are on to Sanctum. Overall this was a fun chapter for everyone with almost every battle creating a heart-stopping moment for the heroes. Excellent job Mr. Davis.

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