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GoB's Runelords / Kingmaker mashup campaign *Spoilers for both AP's*


Rise of the Runelords

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Andoran

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Warning: there will be abundant spoilers for both Kingmaker and Rise of the Runelords in this thread. I will refrain from talking about what I have in mind too far in the future so if you're a player in Kingmaker and are in the second adventure, I won't be talking about what elements I'll be pulling from it until the PCs get to a comparable level.
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After several years of playing, we finally finished our Shackled City campaign and it's my turn for the GM's chair. I've been planning a RotR campaign for a long time and once Kingmaker came out, I saw an opportunity to move some of the kingdom-building elements from that campaign to the area around Fort Rannick. My plan is to run the Runelords campaign as an overall plot and to extract encounters from Kingmaker to inject some more sandboxiness for the PCs and to slow the pace down some. If they choose to stay on the Runelords railroad, it's up to them; if they choose to wander, that's fine too. To accomodate this, the PCs will be advancing on the Medium Track with reduced quest XP from the Kingmaker path.

We started last weekend and the characters are:

Wyndham - Human (Chelaxian) rogue from Korvosa. He is a fast-talker, a thief and is ethically on the darker side. He was recruited by Nualia to take part in the Swallowtail Festival raid and decided to betray her and play hero.

Jal - Human (Varisian) ranger from the Turtleback Ferry hinterlands. He was orphaned by a Kreeg raid and is hoping to join the Black Arrows once he gains some combat experience.

Amonon - Elf cleric of Saranrae from Meiriani. He was an herbalist before wanderlust struck and made his way south. He was asked by his order to be Saranrae's representative for the Sandpoint Cathedral consecration ceremony.

Arcanen Valdemar - Human (Chelaxian) Sorceror with water elemental bloodline (Neirid in the family tree), scion of the Valdemar family of Sandpoint. He is a bit of egotistical and a know-it-all.

Jarek - Human (Shoanti, Shirrikirri Quah) hunter with the elk totem from the Curchain Hills. He is physically fragile (4 Con) and so was unsuccessful as a warrior. He has always had a way with animals and has certain unexplained knacks (he can tell unclean from clean water, he can focus himself to hit well with his bow, he has never been bothered by warm or cold days). His totem quest led him to Sandpoint. What he, the character, doesn't know is that he has been chosen by Erastil and all these "knacks" are actually Erastil's power manefesting through him.

Abinscole - Halfling (Culturally Chelaxian) Bard from Magnimar. He is an amateur historian and is interested in the monuments that dot the lowlands of Varisia. So far he is more interested in documenting the story than being a major part of it.

Richard - Human (Chelaxian) Fighter from Cheliax. He comes from a rich and powerful family there but had a falling out and fled by ship to make his own fortune. He travels with his dog, his sword and armour and the clothes on his back. His ship landed in Sandpoint and he decided to stay for a few days for the festival.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Session 1 - Goblins at the Party

As my players put the finishing touches on their characters, I ran a pre-festival set of encounters for those who were ready, using ideas from this board. Several of the characters (Jarek, Abinscole, Jal and Amonon I think) took a job moving crates and tables the day before the festival. Part of the rewards from the job included reduced rates at the Rusty Dragon, where they went for the evening. There, they met a bunch of the locals who were also in attendance and took some time looking at the various wanted posters that were posted next to the bar.

The posters included some related to banditry along the Lost Coast Road to magnimar, comitted by an unknown group - the Stag Lord's band, one a simple bounty and one offering to pay for guard duty. One poster was looking for a pint of troll's blood, one was a bounty out on Orik Vancaskerkin for a petty theft and one was an offer from Davrien Hask of goblin squash stables of a reward if someone killed Tuskgutter, a nasty boar from Tickwood. These piqued the characters' interests but the festivities were just starting.

Several of the characters took part in the Rusty Strongman competition (an arm-wrestling contest), which Jarek won. After that, they heard that things were interesting over at the Hagfish so they went there to see that with all the festival eve excitement, people had decided to try drinking from Norah's tank. The characters all wussed out, except for Wyndham who took a 10gp offer to try a drink, which he took and intentionally spat out, pocketing the gold.

Wyndham decided he had a fun night and wanted to see if he could talk up one of the local ladies, bumping into no one less than Shayliss Vinder. They flirted and whatnot for the rest of the night until Shayliss said she had to leave, saying she hoped to see him again.

The next morning, the party went to the speeches opening up the Swallowtail festival and then spent the day participating in many of the various contests and games that so many of the DMs here have run to great enjoyment. When the sun began to set, the crowd was ushered back to Cathedral Square where the final dedication was to take place.

That dedication was interrupted by goblins that came out of barrels, wagons and down the street. While the crowd scattered (and the Priest and Town Sheriff went in a different direction after a group of goblins), the party engaged a large group of goblin warriors that Abinscole badly crippled with a Sleep spell. They barely caught their breath before they were attacked by a second, more organized group led by a warchanter and a commando who lit a pair of dangerous fires. The second battle was scattered and chaotic and ended up with the commando fleeing north towards the strangely undefended north gate. A chase ensued but the persuers were not quick (or small) enough to keep up with the commando as he fled into a tightly-packed thicket of trees. The persuers led by Jal tracked the goblin northeast and then south towards Devil's Platter for a short time before deciding to continue in the morning.

They returned to the square and joined the group that had been busy putting out fires when they heard a scream from down one of the streets. A goblin commando had killed a nobleman's dog and were closing around him. Arcanen bravely rushed in close and blasted one of the warriors with his cold ray, getting their attention. The goblins counterattacked but were quickly overpowered once the rest of the heroes got on the scene.

The nobleman identified himself as Aldern Foxglove and profusely thanked the heroes, suggesting that they meet him at the White Deer Inn in the morning so that he could properly reward him.

That night, the group asked around about what had happened while Wyndham skulked around, finding that (as he knew it would be), a grave had been dug up in the cemetary.

The next morning, the group split into several units, the largest group (Jal, Amonon, Arcanen and Richard) went to meet with Sheriff Belor, who asked them to stay in town for a few days and with whom they discussed the previous evening's events, including the grave robbing and the open north gate. They then went to meet Aldern Foxglove, who suggested that they go hunting the next morning for Tuskgutter (his treat). Aldern was obviously enchanted with anything Arcanen had to say, almost to the point where Arcanen felt that Aldern might be interested in more than friendship (yes that meant homosexual romance, which I'm sure Arcanen is not interested in). The group accepted the offer and decided to go back to the goblin commando's trail.

Wyndham went looking for Shayliss and found her to be quite receptive this time, going off to her parent's basement. Ven Vinder came down the stairs but Wyndham heard him and was quick enough to react, ducking into a corner to hide while Ven came upon Shayliss in a half-dressed state. She said that she was changing because of a spill, a somewhat improbable excuse that Ven was more than happy to accept. Wyndham was forced to wait several hours for Ven to leave the store. Shayliss and he then made a date for her to meet him at the Rusty Dragon that evening to finish what they had started.

Abinscole spent the morning chatting with Bethana Corwin (the halfling serving girl and maid from the Rusty Dragon) and found her to be quite pleasant once you got past her shyness. They talked a bunch about the town and the people in it when the conversation strayed to Abinscole's interest in the local monument, the Old Light. Bethana suggested that Abinscole go talk to Brodert Quink, which he did, getting an earfull about the monument and his theory that it was a Thassilonian fire-throwing war machine of some kind. Abinscole was quite interested in this and pressed Brodert on what he knew about Thassilonian history and culture. Brodert gave him a primer on the early history and they struck a quid-pro-quo deal where Abonscole would return with rubbings and whatnot for Brodert to study and Brodert would teach him more over time.

Jarek was sick from working in the rain the day before and stayed in bed (his player retired early).

Meanwhile, the larger group successfully followed the goblin's trail around up on to the Devil's Platter, where it terminated at a rocky cave entrance. They pressed into the cave and were immediately stopped by the goblin commando who wanted to parlay.

(This storyline is the first lifted fully from the Kingmaker AP. in this version the Birdcruncher Goblins take the place of the Kobold tribe while the Licktoad's take the place of the Mites. I may stat out goblins for the various baddies from Kingmaker or I may just describe them as goblins while using the attack stats of the Mites and Kobolds, we'll see.)

The group decided to listen to the commando, who explained that they were forced by the Licktoads into the raid because the Licktoads had managed to steal a very powerful statue that was sacred. Intrigued, the party decided to follow the commando further into the goblin warren and meet the "Big Chief" (i.e. the polymorphed gnome shaman behind all the unpleasantness), who said that they didn't want to do what the Longshanks asked and that if they could only get their holy statue back, they would go back to hunting birds and scavenging garbage from the sea shore. The PCs extracted some promises from the Shaman about never coming to town or bothering the local farmers and then pledged to see what they could do about getting their statue back. With that, the group returned to Sandpoint, joined up as a group and exchanged stories before retiring for the night, planning to go on the boar hunt the next day and then see about going after the Licktoads after that.

Next time: The Boar Hunt


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber

I really appreciated your report, I hope you and your mates will continue enjoying this double campaign, it seems a very good idea to me... and I'll continue reading your notes if you'll continue posting those.

Greycloak of Bowness wrote:
The posters included some related to banditry along the Lost Coast Road to magnimar, comitted by an unknown group - the Stag Lord's band, one a simple bounty and one offering to pay for guard duty. One poster was looking for a pint of troll's blood, one was a bounty out on Orik Vancaskerkin for a petty theft and one was an offer from Davrien Hask of goblin squash stables of a reward if someone killed Tuskgutter, a nasty boar from Tickwood. These piqued the characters' interests but the festivities were just starting.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Sneaky wrote:
I really appreciated your report, I hope you and your mates will continue enjoying this double campaign, it seems a very good idea to me... and I'll continue reading your notes if you'll continue posting those.
Greycloak of Bowness wrote:
Stuff about wanted posters

Thanks.

Since you quoted my wanted posters (an idea I took from the KM discussion) I have several more posters ready to put up in the coming weeks:
- The first is a reward from Ven Vinder for the recovery of his wife Solsta's wedding ring that was stolen at knife-point during the Swallowtail attack. This ring will be held by the Birdcrunchers, having stolen it from the Licktoads in an inter-goblin raid.
- The second will go up if the PCs ignore the banditry threat for 3 or 4 weeks. This one will name the Stag Lord specifically stating that he has been convicted of the capital crimes of murder and banditry. This one will have been issued by Judge Ironbriar, whose jurisdiction includes Sandpoint and the hinterlands within a day's ride.
- The third will be a wanted poster for a pair of Con Artists (the ones who end up being the first murders at the beginning of skinsaw). I am planning on having these swindlers target the PCs once they have some walking around money. My idea there is to have the Con Artists try to sell the PCs a house in Sandpoint that is currently furnished but unoccupied (the rightful owners are in Magnimar for a wedding).

Sczarni

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

very nice.

seems a large group, but you seem to have a handle on it.

I highly recommend some of the "Converting for 6 Players" threads kicking around on the KM boards. There are plenty of nice & nasty tricks in there.

For even more lethal goodness, I'll be posting NPC stats from time to time on my Campaign Journal, A Bandit King Arises!

I look forward to reading more of this!

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
psionichamster wrote:

very nice.

seems a large group, but you seem to have a handle on it.

I highly recommend some of the "Converting for 6 Players" threads kicking around on the KM boards. There are plenty of nice & nasty tricks in there.

For even more lethal goodness, I'll be posting NPC stats from time to time on my Campaign Journal, A Bandit King Arises!

I look forward to reading more of this!

We have a larger group so we can accomodate some transience in who shows up at any given weekend in part because we're also an older group with wives, children, jobs and all that jazz. It was a special session with everyone there and I expect more like 5-6 on average. I've been lurking and posting on these boards for quite a while and I am using the 6-player conversions to some extent though I do tend to go off script pretty readily.

We average 2 games per month so this is going to take some time.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber
Greycloak of Bowness wrote:

Since you quoted my wanted posters (an idea I took from the KM discussion) I have several more posters ready to put up in the coming weeks:

...

fantastique I'll copy those and I'll try to insert this idea, with prepared posters, in my upcoming campaign.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Sneaky wrote:
Greycloak of Bowness wrote:

Since you quoted my wanted posters (an idea I took from the KM discussion) I have several more posters ready to put up in the coming weeks:

...
fantastique I'll copy those and I'll try to insert this idea, with prepared posters, in my upcoming campaign.

I posted my posters at this site. I have a free account so they'll be up for a month.

http://www.4shared.com/document/VsML1KRh/Wanted_Posters.html

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Session 1.5 - Before the boar hunt

In the afternoon and the evening before the boar hunt, the rogue Wyndham decided to do some information gathering, specifically looking for what he could learn about his former allies (Nualia and Tsuto) as well as what he could find out about Chopper.

With a weak back story about his brother being involved with a bad crew, he decided to ask Father Zantus about some of the symbols that Nualia had worn (her Lamashtu holy symbol as well as her Sihedron medallion) and got a pretty good answer about Lamashtu as she is Desna's sworn enemy, but nothing on the Medallion. He asked about Thistletop (which name he had heard off-hand from Nualia) and some information about the town's history so Zantus suggested he try to track down Shalelu Andesona or go to the map shop for Thistletop information and he suggested that there would be nobody better to ask about history than Madame Mvashti, the oldest person in town.

Moving from the church to the taverns, he got an explicit and complete account of Chopper's story from a former guardsman and got partial information on Nualia (heard that she was an outcast, an aasimar and that she had had a relationship with a Varisian fellow in the year before the fire) and some information on Tsuto (he learned about Tsuto's childhood and how Amieko used to meet him behind her father's back, but not much more). Windham returned to the Rusty Dragon for an arranged date with Shayless, which went well - she sneaking away before dawn.

Meanwhile, Abinscole the halfling bard decided that he wanted to see if he could meet all the halfling folk who live in the area, to make some contacts and offer his services should they ever need help. He already knew Bethana from the Rusty Dragon and got the names of the Grocer, a pair of brothers who worked as sailmakers in the shipyard, a pair of halfling girls at the Pixie's Kitten and a family that farmed SE of Devil's Platter.

Happy with himself, Abinscole returned to the Rusty Dragon and took the stage to play a little mandolin and had an amazing performance that wowed the crowd and earned him a little hand-on-the-arm action from the cute young Bethana (not the old maid in the book...). (He rolled a 20 for a total of 27 on his performance, I think)

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Session 2 - The Boar Hunt and a foray into Brinestump Marsh

(I had a number of late cancellations because of sickness and work emergencies so I was down from 7 PCs to 3 at the table - Amonon the Elven Cleric, Abinscole and Wyndham)

Early the next morning, Aldern Foxglove's servant arrived while the PCs were eating breakfast with a few gifts. Each hunter recieved a package of hunting attire (checkered vest, trousers, cloak and riding boots), a ram's horn on a string and a boar spear. Those without horses were given horses and those who already had them were given a small bundle of masterwork arrows (25 each). Arcanen Valdemar (the obsession target) was given a special gift of Aldern's father's spyglass (a fun but close to useless prop in Pathfinder).

They made plans on how to assault the day's hunt and headed out, divided into a number of pairs of hunters (of course Arcanen and Aldern together). Tuskgutter was spotted early in the eastern half of Tickwood and Arcanen managed to hit him with a cold ray before losing sight of the beast. They blew their horns and summoned the group and came up with a plan for a tracker to follow the beast's trail while groups would circle ahead and take positions inside the edge of the woods.

Amonon, Abinscole and Wyndham were in these leading groups and were in position when the boar was driven towards them. After a pitched battle that killed Abinscole's pony and nearly killed Wyndham (CR3 vs. 3 lvl 1 PCs...), Abinscole struck a lethal blow followed by a spear from Wyndham before the boar ran away to die a hundred yards away in the underbrush.

The other heroes arrived on the scene late and lunch was served while Aldern's servants dressed out the boar. It apparent that something had happened between Aldern and Arcanen but both were close-lipped about it. (This part is happening by email now and will end with Aldern making a pass at Arcanen which I presume he will refuse...)

The group returned back to Sandpoint while storm clouds gathered over head. They collected the reward for killing the boar (a mw longbow and a handful of animal/beast bane arrows) and had a great night eating and drinking in the Rusty Dragon. Aldern invited them to look him up the next time they were in Magnimar and bade the group farewell.

The next morning was a day of heavy rain and first thing, the group was reminded of a commitment they had made at the Mercantile League to do some guard duty along the Lost Coast Road. My 4 absent PCs' characters decided to honour that commitment, leaving the other 3 in town to do what they wished. In the Rusty Dragon, they noticed another help wanted poster up on the wall, this time from none other than Ven Vinder, looking to have his wife's wedding ring returned after it had been stolen by goblins.

Abinscole spent the day with Brodert Quink, who had agreed to start teaching him to read Thassilonian if Abinscole would collect rubbings of any Thassilonian monuments he came across in his travels. Abinscole of course agreed and Quink suggested that if this relationship went well, he could write a letter recommending the young halfling to an organization called the Pathfinders.

Wyndham went to Ven Vinder to ask him about the missing wedding ring and to tell Ven that he had planted rumours about himself and Shayliss being a couple to keep other suitors away. With a great bluff, Ven bought the story and actually offered that Shayliss and Wyndham might make a handsome couple. Wyndham went from there to Mme. Mvashti's house to ask for a fortune and about a place called Thistletop. Mme. Mvashti knew about the Thistle River but not about Thistletop but did a Harrow Reading for Wyndham to help him. (In a cold reading by me, she pulled three cards):
The Headless Warrior in the inverted position - A sign of success in battle (Clearly fortelling the statue head that is Thistletop as well as the PCs future success there, barring TPK)
The Stormy Sea - A sign of hidden danger (Speaking to the contents of the dungeon as well as its location)
The Mage's Familliar in the inverted position - A sign of betrayal of allies or allies betrayed (Clearly referring to his former allies residing there)

Wyndham went on to repeat the same thin lie he had told the priest and asked about Nualia and her Sihedron Medallion. Mvashti saw through the lie and seemed to look right through the young rogue, calling him on his dishonesty. They had a frank talk and Wyndham left feeling that Mvashti was fine either way but that she could help him if he decided to try to change his life.

Amonon saw to some personal affairs, did some shopping in the market and spent the afternoon in prayer.

That evening the trio met back at the Rusty Dragon and made plans to head into Brinestump Marsh to look into the Licktoad Goblin situation. Cyrdak Drokkus cam by the 'Dragon having heard about Abinscole's virtuoso performance the night before and asked him if he was interested in a part in his next play - The Raven and the Sparrows, a loose allegorical treatment of the Late Unpleasantness. Abinsole was interested and after a brief audition, was offered a central but non-speaking musical part of a Sparrow who gets killed by the Raven and who rises as a Phoenix to save the nest in the end. Rehearsals are to be twice a week for a month.

Overnight, the rain stopped and in the morning the three headed into Brinestump Marsh. They stealthily managed to avoid a hunting troupe of goblins and then (in a fit of PC stupidity) decided to mess around with taking down a log bridge not far from the Licktoads' home for no real good reason. I decided to have the underparts of the bridge be inhabited by a poisonous snake that attacked Amonon without doing much damage (made Fort save). They drove the snake off without killing it but then spent about 15 minutes talking about what to do next in a not-at-all quiet manner.

A couple of listen checks later and I had a 5 goblin ambush planned up the path on the treeward side of the stream they were on. Of course, they sent their scout Wyndham 100' ahead who blew both his Perception and Stealth rolls and was ambushed by net-weilding goblins. One net entangled him and then they quickly knocked him out, all the better to eat fresh later.

What could have been a really bad fight was saved by a sleep spell that felled all but the net-holder (I am rolling bad guy Saves and attacks out in the open and have yet to make a Will save for any of my goblins) who proceeded to drag Wyndham into the bush. A pitched fight ensued with the net-weilding goblin being mortally wounded, then healed by a channel heal and then escaping. His sleeping comrades all had their throats slit.

The group decided to withdraw after taking a few momentos and dumping the bodies back in the river. They disabled the snake bridge and dripped their way back to town, deciding to stop off at the Pixie's Kitten for a bath (all without happy endings). Abinscole meet the Halfling girls that work there and offered his services if they ever need help. He went on to talk to the Grocer (whose name escapes me) and made a similar offer.

Amonon went back to the Rusty Dragon and talked with Amieko a bit, telling the story of what they had done that day and asking her about whether there were any elves in the area. He was friendly and polite so Amieko suggested that he might hit it off with Shalelu if he could ever find her and mentioned that Hannah the herbalist was elven too. Shalelu interested Amonon so it was suggested that he ask some of the outlying farmers because they were most likely to see her coming and going.

That's about it. With the smaller group, we had a ton of roleplay and great face time for all the characters. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the other group that went to Magnimar and back but I may offer to play a short weeknight session for them or do something by email. The group of three is sitting at about 85% of the way to 2nd level while the absentee group is about 40% of the way there.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Session 2.5 - Updates and some time in town

The part with Arcanen and Aldern in the forest went well. They had a little play by post battle with Tuskgutter, driving him off for the other PCs to kill. Once they were alone again, Aldern suggested that Arcanen "leave these peasants behind and join me in the life you deserve" in Magnimar.

I played it as a low key potentially romantic offer that could be taken as just an offer of business partnership. Arcanen equivocated, saying he would come to Magnimar for a while but would need to return to the other PCs. Aldern did not like this, called the other PCs morons (without them being present of course) and the conversation drifted into uncomfortable silence.

Later that evening, Aldern made another, gentler offer "if you change your mind about these rubes, come stay with me."

It worked well as it played to the character's conceits (he is an aristocratic type) and pushed them past their limits. I'm not sure if the player picked up on the homosexual undertones or not but I'm really happy with how we are set up for the obsession part later. I never had Aldern be anything other than physically passive so having him flip to extreme violence should be a good shock.

****************************************

Meanwhile, Amonon the cleric rode in the countryside looking for clues about Shalelu's whereabouts, Abinscole started rehearsing for his part in the play and Wyndham decided to ask around town about the fellow he saw covertly running the room at Fatman's Feedbag (Jubrayl Vhiski).

Wyndham decided to ask Ven Vinder about Jubrayl but when he got to the store, Ven was in a froth over his eldest daughter Katrine's relationship with Banny Harker. Changing gears, Wyndham asked Ven about Harker and asked to see if he could help at all. Ven told Wyndham that he didn't approve of the relationship and that he had caught Katrine with Harker and wanted it stopped. Wyndham decided to watch Katrine and Harker for Vin because he seems to want to be in Vin Vinder's good books for some reason.

Wyndham asked around about Harker and then decided to tail him. He caught up to Harker late that evening and tailed him through town to where he met a cloaked figure who he passed something small to. Wyndham then tailed the cloaked figure who upon confrontation turned out to be Shayliss (who the rogue has a relationship with). Shayliss has been helping Katrine and Banny arrange to meet and she was carrying a note from him. Wyndham persuaded Shayliss to show him the note which was a love note saying something about needing a few months to save enough to move away from this place for ever. From what Wyndham had heard, this didn't make sense as Banny should be pretty well off.

(I am setting up a couple of things for Skinsaw here - one is Ven Vinder as a guy with a temper and motivation for a red herring murder suspect and another is foreshadowing Harker's greed because enough money isn't "enough money" for him)

Wyndham spent the next day finding out about Jubrayl Vhiski. Fortunately, he got a 20+8 on his gather information diplomacy check on the first try so he got excellent information without tipping his hand to the Sczarni that he was looking.

We play tonight - I'm hoping to get into some serious combats, hopefully the whole Licktoad side trek, the meeting with Shalelu and the Glassworks if all goes well.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Session 3 - The Red Herring Hunt (and two near TPKs)

So, the big group was together this time so we had 7 PCs and not a lot of cogent decision making ability. For some reason (chaotic PC attention drift?), the group decided to ignore the fact that they had a hostile goblin tribe's lair all scouted out (the Licktoads - aka the Mites from KM 1) and ignoring that they had agreed to look for an idol at said tribe to pacify another one, (the Birdcrunchers - aka the Sootscales from KM 1).

They instead decided to do some random scouting around the Thistle River, looking for a way to find a place called Thistletop (which is known to be a potential source of the goblin raid, but whose location is unknown). After an extreme amount of debate and discussion about what to do, they finally set out on a random romp through the trees. They went upstream for a while and found a trail that hadn't been used much and decided to turn around after an hour or so and head downstream into the Nettlewood. Since it was such a large group, I decided to let them have the full opportunity to find Thistletop by the means described in RotR 1 plus a flat 5% chance per hour of a combat encounter.

After a few hours and one severe nettle burn, they found the main goblin trail and followed it right up to the edge of the sea where the trail petered out. (i.e. they were right next to the entrance to the thorny hedge maze).

The group's scout looked around to see if there was some other path and I rolled exactly one less than what they needed to find the entrance. No one else tried and so they turned around, mere yards from a probable TPK.

The next day, they headed out to the Brinestump Marsh to assault the Licktoads. On the way in the swamp they came across evidence of a large fight between the Licktoads and the Birdcrunchers (bodies in the water stripped of valuables but still identifiable by their typical dress - feathers and bird fetishes for the BC's and Snake and Lizard skins plus shells for the LT's).

{It was here that the wedding ring (from KM, Ven Vinder's wife's, stolen during the goblin raid) was taken by the BC's from the LT's.}

Anyway, they pressed on into the sycamore tree and after a cautious approach, descended into the tunnels. {For this part, because we had the full 7 PC group, I replaced all the Mites with normal goblins, which bumped up the CR from 1/4 to 1/3 per individual and made each room challenging but not too much so}.

The party continued with the theme of the evening which was chaotic everything and no planning and managed to pretty much wake up the whole tree in a single many many round combat.

They first went towards the workshop area, which had three regular goblins in it, of which one escaped down the hole to the next area. Just as they were sorting that out and part of the group was pursuing the fleeing goblin to the next room, one PC had gone the other way in the dark and went far enough to get the fight in the hatchery started by the tender throwing a bucket of centipede slop on one PC.

I subbed out the 3 smaller centipedes with a CR1 spider swarm (that I described as centipedes), which was fun because the PCs could only really damage it with torches, leading to a good deal of running away. Meanwhile, rather than deal with one threat at a time, the group pushed on into the Chamber of Torment and found 7 goblins that were waiting in the dark for them.

Eventually, the party torched the centipede swarm and had hurt enough of the goblins that they decided to flee over the Chasm to the War Room. The PCs pushed on after the goblins and proceeded to lose their Fighter and Sorceror down the hole into the chasm where they were set upon by the Big Centipede (which I had neutered a bit because it was a one hit one kill monster against first level PCs).

This is where the idiocy really got going. Rather than totally deal with the big centipede, some of them pushed on towards the War Room after the fleeing goblins. They probed and retreated from that room, discovering that it was occupied and that its occupants were setting up defencive positions there. Retreating, they worked together to kill the Centipede but rather than help the two who had fallen in the pit (and been hurt badly in the process), they milled around, and eventually healed their fellows, while the Bard Abinscole released the Birdcruncher prisoner, who was in the torture room.

At this point, they knew there was an ambush waiting for them. A third of the group was at the bottom of the pit, a third was on the War Room side and a third was on the Torture Room side. Rather than waiting, the War Room side group ran right into the middle and were predictably attacked on all sides. They managed a poor retreat and the others took 1-4 rounds to make their climb checks, make up their minds and get across the chasm.

Having lost their main damage dealer Richard (the one who ran into the middle of the room and kept getting knocked down then healed by positive channelling), the fight looked grim. Richard's unconscious body was dragged into the dark by some of the goblins and once the tide of the battle turned the PCs way, the goblin chieftain asked to parlay.

He had a hostage and was willing to talk and asked the PCs what they were doing there. They explained that they were after the Birdcruncher's statue and the stolen wedding ring and wanted them to never bother Sandpoint again. The chieftain explained that the wedding ring had been stolen back by the birdcrunchers the day before and offered to trade Richard and a promise to never bother Sandpoint for the statue and the PCs leaving their home.

Everyone agreed with that so the PCs retreated with their freed Goblin friend (Mikmek), and the exchange happened in the entrance to the tree.

They walked out of the swamp and told Mikmek to get the ring in exchange for the statue. Mikmek, who was obviously afraid of the statue, trundled off to the Birdcruncher lair while the group waited and returned a while later with a sheepish look.

He explained that he tried to get the ring but that Tartuk refused. Mikmek then got angry saying that things hadn't been the same since Tartuk had come to their tribe, that the raid on Sandpoint would never have happened in the old days, nor would the very damaging raid against the Licktoads, where he had got captured. He said that the only way to fix this would be to smash the statue back in the Birdcruncher caves in front of everyone to release them from its magic and then kill Tartuk.

This raised the PCs eyebrows so they pressed Mikmek some and eventually decided that his story seemed reasonable. They had some significant ability damage from poison and because they were worried about walking into an ambush, they tolk Mikmek to meet them in two days whereupon, they would go back with him to the Birdcruncher Caves, smash the statue and deal with Tartuk.

And that's where we left it. Everyone gained level 2.

I roll the vast majority of my attacks and saving throws out in the open so wasn't pulling punches but I was pretty generous with keeping the rooms as discrete encounters but the PCs still managed to almost get everyone killed. I am hoping that they have learned a lesson about organization and that a leader will step forward in the coming sessions.

(Next time - After three very sandboxy sessions, I'm going to get them on the railroad, I think. I anticipate that they will deal with Tartuk first off and return to town to claim and spend their reward.

Assuming that happens, Shalelu will return in the late afternoon and there will be a meeting between the PCs, the Ranger and the Mayor - Belor will still be out of town for a couple of days. They will learn exactly how close they were to Thistletop and will probably plan to head out the next morning.

The next morning, I will spring Tsuto and the Glassworks on them and we'll see what they decide to do with the dungeon below and the large amount of information they will get from Tsuto's journal.)

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Session 3.5 - Some trouble in town

Between sessions, my PCs have been partially active.

- Jerrik, the Shoanti hunter who is morphing into a cleric of Erastil, spent the night and next day in the wilderness pondering a vision he had in the Licktoad Warrens. I think he is going to find a post-starfall ancient cave with drawings depicting the teachings of Erastil.
- Arcanen and Richard are resting under Hannah's care to heal themselves of their poisoning.
- Abinscole (the halfling bard) is splitting his time between his Thassilonian lessons and rehearsing for a new play at the theatre.
- I'm not sure about Jal (Varisian ranger) and Amonon (elf cleric).

Wyndham (the evil rogue whose bad deeds mostly fall in play by post between sessions at my request) was the busiest by far. The night that the group returned from the Swamp, he went to see Ven Vinder to report that he had a lead on his wife's wedding ring.

He then decided to head out to watch Banny Harker (at the behest of Vinder who had asked Wyndham to intercede in Harker's relationship with daughter Katrine). He waited until after dark and took up a spot near to Banny Harker's house (which I said he shares with some of his workers - evidence of his desire to hoard money rather than spend it). Wyndham got itchy waiting out in the open and decided to climb onto Harker's roof for a more protected view. He made it up making enough noise to arouse the neighbour, who looked around and then blamed a cat. He then waited until the mill shut down well after dark when he saw Harker and his buddies leave the mill. I think he was going to head to the mill to break in and look around and do whatever evil rogues do.

That's when everything went pear-shaped. Wyndham failed his climb check on the way down (no progress, not a fall) and decided to jump the distance near enough to Harker's window to be spotted as a flashy by the window by the guys who were eating inside. He split to some shadows north of the door and watched as a couple guys came out, saw some thatch on the ground and a mark up on the roof and decided to look around.

Wyndham watched as the men came out, met with the neighbour and then began looking around the block by lamp and torchlight. He took off around the north end of the block (still unseen), dusted the thatch off and then strolled down the street, asking if the men had seen any goblins in town. Harker's bunch said that they had seen something and after identifying who he was, Wyndham suggested that he and Harker go North while the others look near the river and swing around the block to the south. The men agreed and so Wyndham headed North alone with Harker.

Once they were around the corner, Wyndham tried to extort Harker. He said he knew about his relationship with Katrine and would only shield him from Ven Vinder in exchange for a third of his wealth plus a monthly stipend, capping this threat off with a flash of his blade. I ruled the DC for the intimidate check was 10+3(Hit Dice)+2(circumstance for pressing against Harker's greedy nature). Wyndham rolled a 3+11 (astonishingly high for a 2nd level rogue)=14 and just barely failed.

Harker backed off with his torch out and shouted for his friends. Wyndham sped away and decided to write a note to Titus Scarnetti accusing Harker of skimming money from the mill that he would deliver in the morning.

Wyndham has a habit of sleeping late (due in part to his night prowling) and thus was surprised in the morning to wake to guardsmen in his room. Harker had gone to Scarnetti and they had gone to the guard to accuse Wyndham of extortion and threatening death. He argued all the way to the jail cell, accusing Harker of threatening him with his torch and asking the guards to deliver his note to Scarnetti. Scarnetti read it and asked if Wyndham had any proof, which he did not, other than the sense that Harker had a lot of money and planned to take Katrine away some day.

Scarnetti didn't buy this story as Harker is "the most frugal manager" he has ever had at his mill and that profits have never been better. Wyndham is currently sitting in a cell waiting for Sheriff Belor to arrive, which will happen later that night.


And some people say rogues are useless.. a most entertaining tale and will lead into some interesting accusations in Skinsaw no doubt.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
DM Wellard wrote:
And some people say rogues are useless.. a most entertaining tale and will lead into some interesting accusations in Skinsaw no doubt.

I'm anticipating a full-on murder accusation that gets close to trial before being saved by Shayliss Vinder who admits that they were together the night of the murders, that they are in love (whether Wyndham feels the same way or not) and that she is pregnant, in front of her father and mother, all at the same time. That'll be fun.

3.5 Continued

Wyndham made friends with the jailer and is chatting him up right now.

Last night, Jerrik had a vision that will take him closer on his quest to become a cleric of Erastil (who he sees as his Elk Totem). The vision involved a chase along a rocky beach next to a tall cliff. It led him to a large cave with a hole in the roof near a strangely round and prominent island (Thistletop). In the back of the cave on a raised tier is a blocked ancient cave that will have stone-age cave drawings that depict the earliest teachings of Erastil. This cave will be accessible through the back end of the Bunyip Lair C27.


ok, and...

Osirion

Anything new?

This was a really good read. Very interesting, and full of ideas that I hope you dont mind if I borrow, as im getting ready to start my own game of RotRL.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Session 4 - Meeting the Law and a missing bartender

(I had to split from town for a week and didn't have time to write up the synopsis right away)

I started the session by telling those PCs who were in town and not recouperating from poisoning that their rogue had been arrested. They didn't really get much and were told that he would be under lock until the Sheriff arrived back in town. They spent most of the day idle until late afternoon when they witnessed the new guard reinforcements marching into town through the windows of the Rusty Dragon. Shortly thereafter, they were invited to go to the Garrison to witness Wyndham's hearing.

The hearing was short. Basically, Sheriff Belor had reviewed the statements and decided it was a case where there were only two witnesses with conflicting stories and no other evidence. Since Wyndham had admitted to seeking the confrontation with Harker (aside - his player's a Lawyer by trade and should have known better than to keep running his mouth in front of the contabulary), Belor told Wyndham to leave Harker alone on pain of this evidence being added to some future prosecution. Harker and Scarnetti weren't pleased but accepted the ruling.

After that, Belor asked the PCs to come with him to the Town Hall to meet the mayor and talk about what had happened. There, they met the Mayor as well as Shalelu Andesona, who they had been seeking out to figure out where the mystery location called Thistletop was. The meeting went pretty much as detailed in the adventure with the exception of the PCs telling about their interactions with the Licktoad and Birdcruncher tribes. It was decided that the heroes would finish their business with the Birdcrunchers (killing their new chieftan) and then they would go to Thistletop while Shalelu returned to guard the farmhouses south of Mosswood.

(Now after weeks of choose your own adventure, the railroad was on)

Early the next morning, the PCs were woken up by Bethana Corwyn (who in my game is a cute, younger halfling - a potential love interest for our bard), who said that Amieko was gone. I gave them the note and they decided to suit up and head over to the glassworks. They got there and inspected the perimeter, finding everything locked and shuttered (I had made a paper gridded map with the exterior and layed it out for them). They were uncharacteristically cautious about breaking in until someone decided to boost Wyndham up to the roof to look in the skylights. (This could have been a problem for me if they had totally decided to punt and call in the guard - not sure what would have happened then)

Wyndham saw the carnage in the main room and worried that Amieko was in imminent danger, they busted down the door and told a neighbour to call the guard. They went straight into the main workroom and attacked the goblins (augmented with two Goblin Rangers because I had 6 PCs). At about round 3, Tsuto came up into the room that the squishy bowyers and sorceror were holed up in. The elven priest, Amonon rushed into the gap and got beaten down badly right away (crit, I think), with an extra blow going into his unconscious body, nearly killing him. Eventually, all but one of the Goblins was killed (the other one left out the seaside door) and Tsuto was driven off down the stairs without any PC deaths.

Tsuto made his escape because the PCs were super cautious descending into the basement and blew any chance to catch up that they had. Anyway, they checked all the rooms except for the one that was locked (with Amieko) and tracked Tsuto into the tunnels and all the way to the beach entrance, finding the other two passages on the way. They turned back and took the tunnel to the Catacombs of Wrath and bumped into the Sinspawn that was there. They were suitably scared and after barely missing a bunch of times, not being able to turn it as an undead and failing a spell resistance roll, they retreated.

(I gotta go. There is more to come)

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The heroes fled back to the surface and found that the town guards had secured the upper level of the glassworks and hadn't found Amieko yet. They quickly bounded down the stairs, busted down the locked door and released Amieko, who filled them in on her story.

Weakened but not beat (they were down to no spells for their cleric and only Elemental Blasts for their sorceror), they were healed up by Father Zantus and then they hurried off for their meeting with Mikmek of the Birdcruncher clan, with the plan to depose Tartuk.

**************************************
Remember, in my version, the Birdcruncher goblins were pretty much modeled after the Sootscale Kobolds from KM1 and Tartuk was the polymorphed gnome who was intentionally messing up Kobold tribes. I decided to add a little to the story and made Tartuk a Faceless Stalker who was sent by Xanesha et al. to help Nualia organise the tribes.

In the end, I made him a smaller Faceless Stalker (young template) and added a level of Sorceror (with Color Spray and Silent Image). He used Silent Image and Ghost Sounds to manipulate the Birdcrunchers.

"Tartuk"
Young Faceless Stalker Sorceror 1 (Ugothol) CR4
XP 1,200
Usually CE Medium aberration (shapechanger)
Init +7; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +2
DEFENSES
AC 18, touch 16, flat-footed 12 (+6 Dex, +2 natural)
hp 48 (5d8+1d4+24)
Fort +5, Ref +7, Will +7
DR 5/piercing or slashing
OFFENSE
Speed 30 ft.
Melee mwk shortsword +7 (1d6+3/19–20) or slam +6 (1d3+6)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Special Attacks sneak attack +2d6
STATISTICS
Str 16, Dex 22, Con 18, Int 12, Wis 13, Cha 20
Base Atk +3; CMB +10; CMD 23
Feats Combat Reflexes, Improved Initiative, Skill Focus (disguise), Step Up
Skills: Bluff +9, Disguise +11 (+31 when using change shape), Escape Artist +23, Stealth +11, Sleight of Hand +8, Spellcraft +5

Languages Aquan, Common; tongues
SQ change shape (Medium humanoid, alter self), elastic, faceless
Gear masterwork shortsword
SPECIAL ABILITIES
Change Shape (Su), Acidic Ray 30’, 1d6 x 7/day
Spells: 0th(unlimited): Detect Magic, Ghost Sound, Dancing Lights, Mage Hand; 1st (4/day): Color Spray DC 16 (15’ cone, unconscious 2d4 rounds, blinded and stunned 1d4 rounds, stunned 1 round) , Silent Image (DC16).
**************************************

The weakened PCs met Mikmek, followed him into the main part of the Goblin Warrens (I removed the manipulated chief this time because he didn't come up in their first meeting and the PCs thought of Tartuk as the Chief). Anyway, they busted the idol and with a cheer of "Death to Tartuk", a swarm of goblins hurried out of the room.

Tartuk was ready for them with a roaring Ghost Sound on the wall over a scary devil's head. I ruled it as an intimidate and soon the Goblins were peeling away, afraid to fight. The PCs rushed ahead while Wyndham indimidated the goblins (he didn't speak goblin himself) saying something like "Get back and fight or I'll kill you."

Tartuk was hiding in the shadows running the silent image, waiting for the PCs to step into the right position, which they eventually did. The illusion dropped instantly and Color spray knocked two of them out of the fight right away and it was on. I gave Tartuk the Step Up feat, which coupled with his stretchy slam attack made for a surprising second round when Jerrik the Bow hunter/Future Erastil Cleric tried to step away for a free shot. Tartuk took his free 5' step, and instantly transformed from goblin appearance back to Faceless Stalker appearance.

It was a pretty ugly fight mostly because of the PCs lack of spells. I had all but two of the PCs out at one point and had to use goblin reinforcements as fodder to draw attacks of opportunity and as flankers to help out. Eventually, the PCs carried the day.

Per the agreement, the PCs took everything that was Tartuk's for their first real treasure haul. (They blew their Spellcraft Checks to ID the magic gear they found.) The Birdcrunchers, now under Mikemek's leadership promised to return to their peaceful bird-hunting ways and the PCs left them un-slaughtered. The treasure included Solsta Vinder's wedding ring which they returned for 200gp each in store credit. I gave them all an XP award for finishing both the Birdcruncher-Statue-Quest and the find-the-wedding-ring quest. They are about 1/3 to 1/2 of the way through 2nd level and are a fair bit behind in wealth but everybody has something at this point at least so nobody is feeling hard done by.

I'm not sure what they're going to do next (this Saturday), whether they will choose the Catacombs of Wrath or Thistletop but I'm going to leave it totally up to them. If they head straight to Thistletop, I may run the upper levels as written rather than with extra gobs per the 6-player conversions because they are about a level behind but will probably be 5 or 6 players strong. I'll play that part by ear and see how it goes.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Session 5 - Into the Catacombs of Wrath (All RotR, no KM tonight)

I had 5 of 7 PCs tonight (we were missing Arcanen the Sorceror and Wyndham the Rogue). In attendance (everyone Level 2):
Abinscole - Halfling Bard, kind of an archaeologist type
Amonon - Elven Cleric of Sarenrae, pretty serious about doing the right thing and about being a healer
Jal - Varisian dual-wielding ranger, fearless to a fault
Jerrick - Shoanti proto-cleric/hunter of Erastil with a terrible Con score (Con=5?)
Richard - Chelaxian fighter, brave heavily armoured sword and board

The others got together and decided to tackle the Catacombs first so I said that Arcanen and Wyndham volunteered to watch Thistletop from a lookout that Shalelu had told them on the coast just inside the eastern edge of the Nettlewood. I'm thinking that on their second day, they will have seen the goblins dragging the unconscious horse across the bridge.

DM Aside:
Because we are a large group, I try my best to write PCs in and out of the story and then adjust the challenges on the fly to match the group size. To keep those who are not in attendance from falling too far behind, I have them gain 1/2 of the experience that they missed, which with Pathfinder's exponential experience table means that they are not going to be more than a level or two behind. They are not entitled to any treasure except for that which was unwanted by the guys in attendance. The reasoning is those in attendance consume resources like potions and wands and pay to be ressurected and whatnot. It seems to be working well in my older group with grown-up commitments.

They talked exploration tactics for a bit but because nobody has darkvision, they opted to have Richard, the heavily armoured and very high AC Fighter be up front with his sword having a light spell on it, rather than a scout who couldn't see. They encountered the guard Sinspawn first and the fight went much easier than the last one (last time, they were missing by 1 or 2 and were scared by the Spell Resistance and Fast Healing). They then went through the broken pottery room, into the room with the altar and then into Eryllium's sanctum. They had made enough noise that she had already made one Sinspawn before they arrived and then cursed at them and made another when they opened the door, before turning invisible.

Early in the fight, Richard charged up around the stairs while one of the sinspawn and the Quasit's summoned monsters (a wolf and a poisonous frog) hedged the other PCs in at the entrance. I swapped out Shatter (which isn't as cool as it was in 3.5) for Hold Person and she Hold Personed Richard, who got into trouble pretty quick, and Amonon hit her with a Doom spell, that totally cratered her ability to do any damage with her dagger for the rest of the fight. The sinspawn grabbed his longsword and began beating him around while the others worked on the doorway monsters, eventually clearing them. I decided that a wrath monster would more enjoy banging away than doing anything particularly tactical like coup de graces so it wailed away for a couple of rounds, hitting a lot.

Eryllium used her spittle attack against Abinscole, sickening him, then did cause fear, which caused the cleric Amonon to take off just as he was going to save Richard when she busted off a cause moderate wounds that really hurt Jerrick. Jerrick managed to heal himself (using something he had learned from his vision the day before) and Richard was knocked into negative HPs. The sinspawn turned to Jal, who had closed in and Amonon returned and started channel-healing everything in the room. He almost healed up the dying sinspawn near the door and prolonged the fight at the top of the stairs between Jal and the Sinspawn.

Abinscole was unable to do anything other than manouver so he went around the room and up the other steps, before getting to the pool. He decided to try putting some of his blood in to make a sinspawn of his own, reasoning that it would be under his control. Of course it wasn't and now they had an additional opponent and (after hedging the new sinspawn in the pool and then hitting it with a sword, spraying new blood) they had another additional sinspawn (and one in a rage and almost dead from the cold damage). At this point, Jerrick was shooting arrows at the Quasit, who was shooting back with her dagger and the Ranger, Cleric and Fighter were dealing with three sinspawn on top of the raised dias. They got the upper hand on the two wounded sinspawn and then turned their attention to Eryllium.

It was Abinscole that had the most effective attack, deciding to "trip" her with his whip. He rolled well and so I ruled that the trip was an entanglement of one of her wings, causing her to crash to the ground. She turned invisible and righted herself while everyone rushed over to attack where she had stood. Richard overran her to get to a better position, succeeding but getting stung by her poison for his troubles. This made her visible so Abinscole decided to grapple her, which worked. She turned invisible in the grapple (making her concentration roll) and then Jal and Jerrick joined the Grapple to help Abinscole hold her down. Richard impulsively decided to swing his longsword into the square that had his three medium friends and one invisible tiny quasit. He connected with a powerful blow (max damage), almost killing Jerrick instantly (I think he was 1 or 2 HP from dead for ever dead).

Amonon stabilized Jerrick while the remaining grapplers decided to drag the quasit into the water in the lower pool. She managed to break free at one point but incurred attacks of opportunity from Jal, Abinscole and Richard while trying to escape. This time, they all chose to grapple and Richard being the strongest was the primary grappler. The combination of his strength, +2BAB and +4 from the others helping made for a grapple check that Eryllium couldn't beat so they submerged her until the bubbles and kicking stopped.

Richard's poison saves did not go well and he failed all but 4, losing the maximum of 8 dex. Thus, they decided to return to the surface to rest up. They took the poisoned Richard to Father Zantus who helped with a lesser restoration and healed up for the night. That night, Abinscole took some of the pottery shards, some rubbings he had made in the Cathedral of Wrath and sketches he made of the Sinspawn to Cyrdrak Drokkus who ID'd the Sinspawn and sent him to Brodert Quink, who gave them some details of what a Sinspawn is and what its abilities are. He ID'd the pottery shards as ancient, probably pre-starfall and was extremely excited about the prospect of going into the cathedral of wrath to read the writings etched there by the Scribbler.

The next day the group headed back down, having decided to drain the pool of its power by summoning all the sinspawn they could create. This went fairly well because it was a coordinated attack from surprise so they killed the three remaining sinspawn that came out quickly. They moved on and quickly dispatched the sinspawn in the prison, explored into the Vargouille cavern (which they also had no problem with, despite me adding a second Vargouille). They were intrigued by the caved-in stairs going up, wondering where it would come out in town (I think they will be hiring an engineer or a miner and excavating).

We ran out of time having explored everything except for the mutated Goblin (Grogmurt?)/zombie room or the strange 0-Gravity room so they decided to return to rest and replenish.

I think I'm going to have the goblin have realised he was all alone and I'll move him somewhere else, perhaps as an encounter on the road to Thistletop (I'll leave evidence that there was something else in there in the form of missing flesh from some of the corpses they left behind). Another option would be to have him go out the smuggler's tunnel and climb the cliff and sneak into town for a nighttime attack. That might be fun, given Goblins' amazing stealth abilities to spring a night attack in the inn...

It was a very combat-heavy night so most of my PCs leveled up to L3, just in time before their first assault on Thistletop, which will come early in the next session.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Session 6 - Mopping up and a first foray to Thistletop

I had 5 PCs in attendance tonight (we were missing Abinscole the Halfling Bard and Wyndham the Rogue).
In attendance (everyone but Arcanen Level 3):
Arcanen - Human Water elemental bloodline sorceror
Amonon - Elven Cleric of Sarenrae
Jal - Varisian dual-wielding ranger, fearless to a fault and lightly armoured
Jerrick - Shoanti proto-cleric/hunter of Erastil with a colossally terrible Con score (Con=4)
Richard - Chelaxian fighter, brave heavily armoured sword and board

Between sessions OOC treasure division stuff:
My PCs had a long discussion about how they wanted to deal with treasure in this campaign. In the end, they decided that every single piece of treasure and gold would be pooled and priced out. That total would be divided into 8 equal shares (regardless of who was present for the session) and would be distributed to each of the 7 PCs, with the 7th share reserved to buy pooled items and Raise Dead spells and whatnot. Now, if anyone wanted a magic item or piece of treasure, they could "buy" it back from the group by subtracting the sale value from their cut of the treasure.

The first effect of this is that each character will earn exactly identical shares for the whole campaign. This equity is not without a downside though as there will be situations where marginally useful items are sold at half price because nobody really "wants" them. They already liquidated a number of perfectly good items and I expect they will continue to do the same.

Our previous campaign had every piece of treasure automatically go to whomever could use it most effectively. (i.e. the Paladin got the Holy Avenger, the Wizard got the Wand of Fireballs etc.) The downside of this system is that there were some PCs that ended up short because they had better gear already or because the treasure hauls didn't ever produce much that was useful for them. The upside is we were a richer group in total because we did less selling at half price and buying at full price. I likened it to how it's fairer to be Communist where everybody has the same amount but that the total is less.

We'll see how this pans out.

The session started off with the PCs returning to the Catacombs of Wrath to explore a handful of doors that they hadn't faced quite yet. I ran Grogmurt as described (rather than as I had mused above) and he was a bit of a pushover, despite having bumped him up a level. They had fun in the levitation room and searched fruitlessly for missed secret doors. There was some talk about coming back and excavating the collapsed passages but I trust that will fade over time.

The PCs then set their sights on Thistletop. Jerrick had previously experienced a vision about the grotto cave below the cliff in his spiritual quest so they decided to wait for low tide and head in along the beach to see what was there. I subbed out the Bunyip and inserted an aquatic Tzatzylwyrm (sic?) with the Giant template. That was a fun, if brief fight with some worries as the Wyrm grabbed Richard and proceeded to attempt to drag him back under water. Richard made a crazy wrestling check (augmented by Bull's Strength) and dragged the beast up onto dry land, where he was peppered with arrows and cut to pieces.

At the back of the grotto, (behind a mat of vegetation) Jerrick found the cave he had seen in his vision. It was a dry elevated chamber that was covered in prehistoric pictoglyphs showing a multitude of early human activities - hunting, gathering, planting, settling, building tools, watching the rhythms of nature (tides, seasons, animal migrations), it showed how to light a fire and how to butcher an animal to save the hide. Basically, it was a pictorial representation of Erastil's teachings as it was presented to the earliest peoples of Varisia. Jerrick soaked up the lessons and resolved to return as soon as was prudent.

The PCs looked into scaling the cliff or swimming to the Thistletop island but decided against it. Instead, they backtracked along the beach and went around to the Thistle river and went looking for the Goblin lair that way. They eventually found their own tracks on one of the major goblin paths and followed them back towards the seacliff. They noticed that their tracks were overprinted with goblin tracks and pushed on anyway. What they found were the bear traps (From KM#1) hidden in the middle of the path, waiting for them.

A couple of healing spells later, they moved on, with the Ranger Jal taking the traps for future use, eventually finding the way to the entrance of the hedge maze.

********************************************************
My PCs are masterful at ignoring warning signs, making incredible amounts of noise when they shouldn't and choosing to fight in exactly the wrong places. I for my part roll my attack, save and damage dice out in the open and don't fudge anything (almost), including perception checks to detect shouted conversations between PCs. This nearly led to a TPK against the goblins in the maze as they managed to wake up every sentient being at nearly the same time.

They stumbled along in the hedge maze (following the left wall) and, even after hearing voices from the goblin refugees, they continued to argue at full volume and made enough noise to alert them through the hedge wall. They even knew that they had blown their cover because they heard the gobs go silent. This didn't stop them from spreading out and sending one guy in alone to be pincushioned by ten shortbow arrows while he was standing in the 4' high can't-move-around-tunnel at the entrance of the refugee "room". The goblin refugees then shouted out for help and attacked, which Grogmurt heard.

The next round, the PCs heard the goblin dogs howling as Grogmurt herded them towards the PCs and sent his Animal companion (being unaffected by the briars, he can actually move quite quickly in there). Meanwhile, the heroes continued to work on the goblin refugees, leaving their weakest member (the 4-Con protocleric, Jerrick) to guard the rear.

The next round, (Grogmurt cast flame blade here) the goblin dogs and the cat arrived on the scene and still they chose to leave Jerrick isolated and alone (and he refused to take a double move to a much better position inside the refugee room), while choosing to fight in the tight parts of the tunnel where they had no mobility, a penalty to AC and attack. I still don't get what he was hoping for here - I hope he will start to realize just how fragile his character is and will avoid combat accordingly.

The next round, the druid appeared and entangled the lot of them (double killing everyone's movement in the tunnels) and began hit-and-run attacks against the softest PCs first. Still refusing to move to better position, Jerrick went down and nearly died right there (requiring a miraculous saving - I had him see the light before receiving simultaneous channel-healing for everyone and receive a Bear's Endurance spell individually) and the others stayed fighting in the tunnel and in the refugee room. Rather than help with the big danger coming down the hall, several of my players chose to attack entangled goblin refugees and kept the narrow passage in the hedge maze plugged.

In the mean time, the two spellcasters Amonon and Arcanen couldn't buy an entangle save or a break free check. Arcanen missed a couple of concentration checks (to cast while entangled) and missed two ranged touches with his cold ray. It looked very bad - Richard was dropped by the cat, Jal was about to be next and it seemed like this was a TPK in the making.

When it looked like all was lost (Richard was down and 2HP from death, and Jerrick was about to be killed for good), I pulled the DM-save-game-lever and had Shalelu burst on scene to pull some of the action away from the PCs, allowing the tide to shift back. With her help (and with good rolls on my part), they drove off the goblin druid on his last HP (having wasted his animal companion) and having killed most everything else (one dog fled at 2 HP).

It was an ugly end to an ugly day of adventuring.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

DM Thoughts between sessions:

I did a little reading and I realize that I misused the Entangle Spell and Woodland Stride. I should have had Gogmurt make saving throws against his own Entangle spell because of the last sentence in Woodland Stride:

Woodland Stride (Ex): Starting at 2nd level, a druid may move through any sort of undergrowth (such as natural thorns, briars, overgrown areas, and similar terrain) at her normal speed and without taking damage or suffering any other impairment. Thorns, briars, and overgrown areas that have been magically manipulated to impede motion, however, still affect her.

Mea culpa. The easiest way to make this right by my PCs would be to give Gogmurt a wand of Freedom of Movement or something. Due to numbers, my PCs may well be chronically a bit behind in terms of treasure so this isn't a terrible thing to throw them a little bone should they ever manage to waste the Druid. Now that he has narrowly escaped, I am thinking of having him do some stealthy watching of my PCs until he gets a chance to bond with another animal companion. Maybe it will be he who cuts the rope bridge once the last PC is on it. I am thinking about using him sometime when the PCs are retreating from the dungeon after a future "15-minute work day" or something.

I have talked with a couple of my players and I will be running a number of inter-session play by post sessions starting the next day or two:

1) Wyndham's player has said he wants to contact the Sczarni to see if they are interested in his services and to get them to rough someone up (I'm assuming it's Banny Harker - there is another thread on this). I'm going to RP the contact and see how it goes. The Sczarni will be unfriendly at first (him being a non-Varisian) but if made neutral, they'll agree to exchange services (but may well betray him) and if made friendly or helpful, they'll agree to exchange services and will be honest partners to start. If he badly fails his check, they will set him up to pin the blame on him for the mill arsons (or something) and if he just fails his check, they will not acknowledge that they are Sczarni at all.

2) Jerrick's player is happy with how his character's budding spiritual awakening has transpired and is ready to move that along to the next level. He's said that Jerrick will return to Erastil's cave for the afternoon and will overnight there. I'm ready to give him full access to his Clerical abilities and I am going to give him the Birthmark Trait (reflecting a mark on his hand that he received during one of his spiritual journeys). He is also due to receive a bonded animal (once he gest 4th level) and he is a horseman type so it's going to be the horse on Thistletop and he's going to get it early as I expect they will free the horse before they level up.

3) Abinscole is very interested in archaeological research and will have been busy in the Catacombs of Wrath. I'm not sure exactly where to take this other than to name them as the Catacombs of Wrath and perhaps to identify Runelord Alaznist as its original Mistress. I'm thinking that it wouldn't hurt to give him some fragmentary clues about the lesser runewell's purpose because the metaplot is pretty thin at times in this AP. Any ideas here, readers?

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

No thoughts = no readers?

Session 6.5

Part 1: Jerrick's return to the Cave of Man.

I was happy with my prose here so even though I mean this thread to be a DM-discussion thread, I'm posting the entire post I sent to my player:

Lengthy story about Jerrick completing his Clericification Quest:

Jerrick looks at each series of pictograms in turn and studies them carefully. It is overwhelming to begin and difficult to follow but suddenly, just as the sun begins its plunge into the Western Ocean, light comes directly into the cave, illuminating the pictoglyphs in a new way.

This new light shows that there is another colour in the mix of red, black, white and yellow ochres - a silvery colour that is reserved for a figure that is central to each mini story. The figure is one of a humanoid body with an elk's head, who is always shown as the one doing the teaching.

With this central figure present, it becomes obvious that there is an order to the pictogpyphs such that it tells a tale. The story shows how the elk-figure came to a wild, disorganised and sick people taught them the use of fire and how to carve the first tools, starting with a blade to produce the first bow and arrow. The figure teaches the rhythms of nature - the march of the seasons, flooding and freezing waters, the patterns of migrating game, what foods were available when. It goes on to teach how to make clothing that will last and how to treat a broken leg and what to do if a baby is coming out backwards. It teaches that some animals can be caught and domesticated and that some plants when spread on wet soil will spring aner, and it teaches how to make shelters out of hides, wood and stone.

After that, the figure is present but it is the people who are shown building villiages, learning new crafts and developing new technologies. The figure later shown, not present but symbolized with a picture of the first tool - a symbol of a downward pointing bow made out of an elk's antler, with an arrow nocked.

The story is one of growth and gradual development but it takes a darker turn near the end. At the base, the last series of pictoglyphs show a King and seven robed Princes arriving on ships with collared and chained giant humanoid figures. The last image shows each of the Princes holding chains of both the giant figures and of the small people figures.

The sun sets but the silvery glow remains so Jerrick spends the rest of the night reading and re-reading the stories and lessons painted on the cave wall so long ago. Near midnight, a sense of peace overwhelms him and he feels a close and permanent connection with his Totem, who he knows to be the elk-man figure. Jerrick bows his head and lowers his eyes and before him, the silvery light coalesces into the form of the elk that has haunted your dreams for so many years. The elk speaks in a deep and calm voice in the tongue of your father:

"Jerrick.

"Some people can be shown the way and some are too stubborn and have to find it themselves the hard way. Communities need both kinds of people because it is the ones who take the hard road that often find new ways that can help ordinary people live better lives.

"You are one of the ones who has had to find his own way and I like that.

"You have found me. I am called Old Deadeye by some, I am called Elk Father by some, I am called the Wind in the Rice by some, and I am called Caribou Elder by others. Most people of this land know me by the name Erastil. I have always been your totem and I will always be with you if you stay with me and obey my laws.

"Make the health of your community your first priority. Help ordinary people live ordinary lives. Never choose vanity over common sense. Find a woman and have children of your own and make the world one that is safe for them to grow old in. Teach what you learn to others.

"This is my covenant. Call upon me in your time of need and find the time to remember me when the sun rises and when it sets, or if you are busy doing something worthwhile for others, as soon as you can after those times. Search out others who teach in my name but remember that whatever teachings they have, they cannot supplant the faith you have in your heart."

The elk steps forward and you know to raise your right hand, palm up. The silvery animal breathes down upon your hand and the mark of the bow and arrow that you saw before becomes a permanent golden tattoo, spread across your right palm. The elk speaks:

"You bear my mark. Others in my ministry will recognize you as one of my children and you may use this mark when calling upon my aid.

"Another one of my children is nearby and in need of help. I have found that each of his kind knows as much about real life as a city full of bankers or scholars. Find him and learn from him." The elk smiles and as he fades away, you hear a bit of a chuckle. "He's fond of apples."

My PC now has the full powers of a Cleric 3 and has the Erastil article (to be used as an OOC reference for him, reflecting what he will figure out over time). I added in a hint about the original rise of the Runelords and the "child in need of help" is the horse that the Gobbos took back to Thistletop.

**************************************************
Part 2: Wyndham's follies with the local gangsters

The Cole's Notes version is Wyndham arranged a thiefly meeting with Jubrayl, was slighted and slighted the Sczarni in return, left in a huff, returned later to find he was blackballed and then decided to pick a fight the bouncers and got thoroughly trounced. Wyndham's been a bit unlucky with his rolls so far as he's blown every critical diplomacy/intimidate to date other than those dealing with his squeeze, Shayliss Vinder. Maybe his luck will turn around and maybe not.

I posted the full account here:
http://paizo.com/paizo/messageboards/paizoPublishing/pathfinder/adventurePa th/runelords/whatToDoWithANonVarisianWhoWantsToContactTheSczarniMildBOSpoil ers&page=1#5

The full story is here.:

Well, the contact didn't go well for my PC.

He successfully asked for a meeting and was granted one. There were some cloak and dagger passphrases and he was told to return to Fatman's in an hour and "ask the barkeep about the tides". He did so and was pointed to a room that would "have a tide chart in it".

The room was at the end of a short hall with linked doors (both ends of the hall couldn't be open at the same time) and had 4 guards wearing rapiers and carrying loaded heavy x-bows plus Jubrayl sitting by a table at the far end. The Guards asked for my PC's swordbelt (and didn't frisk for hidden weapons) and he complied but then my PC demanded that the guards leave. He blew his diplomacy roll with a rolled 2 so Jubrayl said "you asked for this meeting, if you don't like the setting you are free to leave, Schavash."

Now, "Shavash" is a made-up word that I meant to be the Varisian term for something like "outsider" or whatever the opposite of "paisan" - meaning countryman - in mafia-speak is. The guards snickered a little and my PC, being an outsider who doesn't speak Varisian, assumed the worst and stormed out, making some lippy comments on the way, to which Jubrayl answered "Don't waste my time again".

Then, my PC decides to do some information gathering (at another bar of course) mostly about the Sczarni, their membership in town and heirarchy and managed to get a 25 on his roll for the big, meaty question about numbers etc. He ends up with a bunch of good intel and after doing some perimeter scouting, returns to Fatman's late at night and orders a beer, with the plan of sitting there and watching Jubrayl for some reason that I am not privy to.

I had already decided that his slight was enough to get blackballed but not enough to earn an enemy so the waitress says, "For you, a beer is 50gp." My PC refuses and says he'll wait for his friends so the waitress points to a sign that says "Patrons Only". My PC shrugs and sits still so the waitress leaves and the four thugs from earlier come over and arrange themselves around him and ask him to leave.

He refuses and they move to grab him. He decides to fight, wins initiative and tries to sneak-attack kick one in the groin (to make an escape avenue and to break the flank), rolls another poor roll and barely misses. (I am using the CR1 Street Thug from the NPC gallery from the GMG for the guards with some equipment modifications.)

The "bouncers" pull out saps and beat him down to 4 HP equivalent in nonlethal damage. He decides to try to run for the Kitchen Door (of all choices, coincidentally towards where Jubrayl is sitting), invokes AoO's to do it and gets clubbed down to 0 HP, so is staggered. He finishes his single move and then gets knocked out, right by the kitchen door.

I decided that they Sczarni would be loathe to involve the local constabulary even though they were in the right as far as witnesses are concerned. They took his walking around money as a "tip" as well as his sword belt (rapier and one dagger) and then dumped him on the nearby muddy shore below the pier between Hannah's and the Shipyard (as it is currently low but flooding tide, a detail that I know from what the other group has been up to).

Andoran

Sorry, I had planned on posting in response to your question, but couldnt think of anything more specific than "That sounds good", as I havent read the entire path yet.

I do really enjoy reading this thread though. its given me some good ideas for my own game, which is set to start this coming Saturday.


Lurker here.

I'm definitely deriving a lot of inspiration from your journal so keep it coming! You've made me want to start up a new Runelords campaign. :)

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I was asked in another thread about what I was planning with the Stag Lord. Here is what I wrote before I ripped it out of there because the thread wasn't marked with Kingmaker Spoilers:

The Stag Lord is operating along the Lost Coast road between Magnimar and Sandpoint and his fort is in the moors in the deep bend of the Yondabakari River, due south of Sandpoint. I made wanted posters (per an idea in the KM forum) and posted them in the Rusty Dragon on the help wanted board. One of those posters was the original bounty for the unnamed bandits.

It read like this:
"Wanted for Banditry:
Capture or defeat more than five of the unknown bandits operating along the Lost Coast Road to send a message that such activities are not to be tolerated. A reward of no less than 400 pieces of gold is offered to anyone who achieves this feat.

So witnessed under the authority of the High Court of Magnimar granted by Lord-Mayor Haldmeer Grobaras and the Council of Ushers, through their loyal servant, Justice Ironbriar, this 10th day of Rova in the year 4707, AR"

Other wanted posters included:
- The blood of a troll, one pint - Nisk Tander, Bottled Solutions
- Wanted for theft - Orik Vankaskerkin (the one from Nualia's band) - Sheriff Belor
- Help Wanted: Guard Duty - Sandpoint Mercantile League
- Wanted: The Head of Tuskgutter, the notorious boar from Tickwood - Davrien Hosk, Goblin Squash Stables (collected)

A later poster went up after the raid on Sandpoint:
- Reward: for the return of Solsta Vinder's wedding ring that was taken by goblins at knifepoint during the Swallowtail Raid

That wedding ring went between the Birdcruncher Goblins (a.k.a. the Kobolds) and the Licktoad Goblins (a.k.a. the mites) per KM with the same NPC players. My PCs made peaceful contact with the Birdcrunchers, razed the Licktoads and then deposed Tartuk from the Birdcrunchers and retrieved the ring.

Anyway, my PCs have not taken up the Stag Lord thread yet (except for a half-hearted plan to do the guard duty to hope to bump into the bandits, which a number of the character did when their players couldn't make it to game night).

During last night's session Shalelu Andesona said that she was planning on travelling with some farmers taking cows to slaughter in Magnimar in hopes of bumping into the bandits herself. She had just bailed the group out after their first foray into Thistletop and so I wanted her out of the picture so the PCs knew their last gimme was used up (and also to give that sense that the world goes on, regardless of what the party does). Anyway, when the time is right, she will bump into the bandits and will collect the bounty and will have gotten information that the bandits are lead by the mysterious Stag Lord. Once the authorities know that the bandit leader is called the Stag Lord, the following wanted poster will appear:

"Wanted for Banditry and Murder
It has been determined by the High Court of Magnimar that the criminal operating along the Lost Coast Road known as the Stag Lord is guilty of egregious bandit activity in defiance of the great peoples of Varisia, and as such shall be put to death by sword or rope as is the law.

Any persons seeking to execute Charter shall not be lawfully hindered in the delivery of this sentence, and operating under the authority of the High Court of Magnimar, are promised a reward of no less than 3,000 pieces of gold for the capture or proof of death of the individual known as the Stag Lord.

So witnessed under the authority of the High Court of Magnimar granted by Lord-Mayor Haldmeer Grobaras and the Council of Ushers, through their loyal servant, Justice Ironbriar, this 28th day of Rova in the year 4707, AR"

You'll note that both of the official charters came under the authority of Justice Ironbriar, the person who actually pays the bounties out on behalf of the city of Magnimar. I hope that they will go after the second bounty and have a chance to meet the good Justice well before his role in the Skinsaw affair.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Session 7 - Against the Thistletop goblins

I had 5 PCs in attendance tonight (we were missing Abinscole the Halfling Bard and Arcanen the sorceror).

In attendance (everyone Level 3):
Wyndham - Human rogue with a nasty streak
Amonon - Elven Cleric of Sarenrae
Jal - Varisian ranger, he's decided to try making a polearm ranger
Jerrick - Shoanti fully realised-cleric/hunter of Erastil with a colossally terrible Con score (Con=4)
Richard - Chelaxian fighter, brave heavily armoured sword and board

The guys started off by talking about their tactical failure last time to keep appropriate control over how loud they were talking and where they were doing it. Like I said in the post above, they chatted with Shalelu, who told them that she figured they were finally after the correct goblin tribe and so she would be splitting to go after the banditry bounty. I'm playing her as a somewhat crass, uncomfortable in civilization, against type elven woman. Naturally, Amonon has the hots for her, making him the 4th of my 7PC who have accumulated love interests:

- Wyndham - Shayliss Vinder. Fully developed secret affair that will likely save his bacon later as the plan is admission of pregnancy and that they were together the night that Banny Harker and Shayliss' sister get killed in the future.
- Richard - Amieko. Just starting but he is interested in developing something.
- Abinscole - Bethana Corwyn (the domestic girl from the Rusty Dragon, I rewrote her as young and shy but pretty). Still just flirting.
- Amonon - Shalelu. Had a nice talk with Shalelu and she shared a little of her background. I had Arkhryst from SotS be the dragon who attacked and killed her mother's village. I like having threads that connect from past to present like that.

So, the group set off for Thistletop. Last time, they had wiped out everything in the hedge maze save one goblin dog and Gogmurt (who they drove off with his companion dead) so I had to decide what to do with the Druid. I decided that he would have gone across to talk with Ripnugget and have been rebuffed yet again. He then decided to watch, hide and wait for a time when he could do the most damage (more on that later).

The team snuck up on the hedge maze, explored everything and then scouted the fortress from afar. They spotted the seagull game happening outside the fortress on the far side and noticed that the gate was open. This time, they snuck in going first to the pickle goblin tower. Wyndham made stealth rolls and climbed up and killed both goblins without a peep. They then went straight to the other tower and had a brief fight with the card playing guards up there, who managed to get a yelp off before they were killed. This alerted the group outside who came around and in through the front gate and the team ate them up pretty easily as well as they had chosen a good place to make their defence. I had one of the goblins try to get help from Ripnugget and they overheard (translated from goblins):

"There are a bunch of longshanks in here!"
"So go and kill them."
"Oh. OK."

That goblin then pushed some of the dogs forward and saw his buddies get wasted pretty quickly and decided to run to the Throne Room where he was swiftly killed for insubordination.

Anyway, the PCs entered the throne room through two different doors and had a pitched fight. The warchanter was stunned by sound burst and quickly crit/sneak attacked but the rest of them, especially the Warchief with spirited charge and ride by attack, proved to be a good challenge. I had added two additional Commandos when one probably would have sufficed. Oh well, nobody was killed and the guys were really happy, even though they spent all their resources, pretty much.

They then explored the whole rest of the upper floor, leaving both boarded up rooms and finding everything except for the key to the trapped treasure chest. Wyndham was hit and contracted tetanus. They hummed and hawed about what to do with the boarded up rooms, finally releasing the Horse (who is due to be Jerrick's Animal Domain companion), after which Richard impulsively decided that he was done adventuring for the day.

Nobody really argued so he walked out onto the bridge, didn't spot Gogmurt who was waiting on the other side. Gogmurt saw his chance so when the heavily armoured Richard was in the middle of the bridge, he popped out and cut one of the ropes. Richard made his saving throw but couldn't make a climb check with all his armour and heavy shield on. While the other PCs ran to help the shouting Richard, Gogmurt cut the remaining ropes and he swung and slammed into the cliff, bouncing off (another saving throw, this time a failure) and falling into the water, where he started sinking.

Next, was a scene of great comedy while the rescuers variously were drowning themselves, finally managing to get ropes hooked up and got everyone back on the island. They decided to wait for the afternoon's low tide before lowering themselves down and swimming to the beach, to leave along the shore. They spotted Gogmurt watching them and decided to trade fire across the gulf (Gogmurt flinging Produce Flames and them shooting arrows). Gogmurt didn't manage to kill any of them by the time he was out of flames so he withdrew again and hid somewhere else.

More comedy ensued when the swimming started because of terrible rolls and I was one round from Amonon's drowning death after he slipped climbing down, smacked into the water hard and started sinking. The guys returned home and made plans for:

- How to return to the island
- How to cope with the druid
- How to rescue the horse, Shadowmist, and most importantly
- How to rescue their treasure chest and other heavy loot

In addition to getting 100's of feet of rope, blocks and tackles and a bunch of carpentry supplies and instructions for how to build a boom to lower a horse into the water, they decided to buy a barrel of oil (~200 of pints worth) and burn the hedge with it. Lucky for them, it had been dry for a couple of days and the wind was from the southwest. I had decided that Gogmurt wouldn't be around as he would be off getting himself a new animal companion to return again sometime and that the Thistletop folk wouldn't have noticed yet that all the goblins were dead.

Anyway, I had the burn work, clearing about 90% of the hedge maze and after the smoke cleared, they had one of the good swimmers go down to the beach, swim to the rope they left tied to the remains of the bridge, swim back and climb back up. They rigged a two-point rope bridge, climbed across, built their boom, lowered the horse (who swam to shore just fine after some speak with animal assurance), rescued their treasure chest and returned to Sandpoint.

They ended up still a couple thousand xp from 4th level so they are just right to level up after they clear the rest of the Thistletop dungeon.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

(Thinking for next time)

I am thinking that two (or more days) is too many for the denizens of the dungeon to go without realizing that the fort above is empty. One day was fine, a couple was a stretch, but I think that I probably need to shuffle the encounter locations around a bit now.

So, to repopulate the upstairs, I have the following relatively mobile folks:

4 x CR 1/3 (540 xp total) - Goblin Wives
1 x CR 2 ( 600 xp) - Tsuto (who escaped the glassworks)
1 x CR 2 ( 600 xp) - Orik
1 x CR 2 ( 600 xp) - Lyrie
1 x CR 3 ( 800 xp) - Bruthazmus
1 x CR 4 (1200 xp) - Nualia
3 x CR 3 (2400 xp) - Yeth Hounds

Now, if I were Nualia, I would probably fly into a rage and evict everyone but the Yeth Hounds to the upstairs.

That leaves an encounter of 3140 xp or EL 7. If I had 6-7 PCs at 3rd level, their APL would be 4th, making for an encounter of APL+3 or epic, a bit tough given the disadvantages the PCs would face approaching an alert and aware enemy through the open and inside a fort across a rickety rope bridge they made.

I guess if I dropped the Goblin Wives (or converted them into non-combatant, comic relief fodder) and left Lyrie doing her translation work, it drops to 2000 xp or EL 5.5, which is plausible if I only have 5 PCs and will be difficult enough. Then, the smart baddies may retreat or defect and the dungeon encounters go as normal for an alert situation.


Awesome!

I see you are using him as a self-made bandit lord and not tied up in the webs of the Sczarni. In a lot of ways.. I kind of prefer it like that. I respect that because a simple bandit encounter will certainly be juxtaposed to the mystery of who/what is behind what is going on in the skinsaw murders (The process of connecting Aldern to Xanesha to Karzoug).

In fact, I am planning to leave the Stag Lord open ended. What I mean is that he can help the PCs if they are having trouble connecting the dots to the main story or help tie up some personal backstory notes of a character or two.

EDIT: I saw your updates to the main story. The primary thing I enjoy as a DM (besides making players have a great time of course) is that it provides you to have an organic world.. where the actions of the PCs influence the modules and you get to do what you are doing now. So great job! I would like to see the EL 7 (the most believable) but perhaps playing it on the fly a little easier on the PCs. (Perhaps the goblins are hungry and shaken about the ruckus or some other appropriate negative modifers to make it easier).

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Eric Levanduski wrote:
(snip) EDIT: I saw your updates to the main story. The primary thing I enjoy as a DM (besides making players have a great time of course) is that it provides you to have an organic world.. where the actions of the PCs influence the modules and you get to do what you are doing now. So great job! I would like to see the EL 7 (the most believable) but perhaps playing it on the fly a little easier on the PCs. (Perhaps the goblins are hungry and shaken about the ruckus or some other appropriate negative modifers to make it easier).

Your point about them being disengaged somehow is a good one. One option would be for Bruthazmus to have moved his harem (and all their er.. activities) up into the fort somewhere, just like is described in the harem room. Because he has darkvision, he is to be the night guard so he is resting during the daytime, delaying him and the girls for some time (enough for them to prolong the fight as late-game reinforcements but not enough for them to overwhelm a sensitive encounter balance). It would certainly help back this off from TPK territory because Bruthazmus is by far the scariest opponent in that his bow and his elf-bane arrows are almost certain death for my elven cleric if he has the time to line them up for 100's of feet (remember, the new clearing where once was hedge maze) from one of the fortress towers.

I called for DC 5 climb checks to cross the rope bridge at half speed so it takes the PCs two full rounds' movement to cross, which is a huge disadvantage. Even with accelerated climbing, (incurring a DC10 check and likely tumbles into the water) it's trouble. Come to think of it I should almost add the bridge (in its current state) as a CR2 or CR3 obstacle when doing any encounter balancing. They don't have much for battlefield control magic (Obscuring Mist and the throneroom warchanter's Wand of Silent Image are about it) and I don't know if they will think that way. I expect them to be careful in their approach again so barring terrible perception rolls they'll definately notice that the door is closed and will probably see that the towers are occupied by Orik and Lyrie at least.

Andoran

I like the idea of Bruthazmus being the night guard, so he might be off napping, or perhaps even the only one awake, when the pcs come to call, depending on the time of day/night.

I know it doesnt need to be any tougher than it already is, but if all those npcs with heroic levels are just waiting for the pcs to show up, I would think they would do something with traps, or giving themselves every possible advantage, even if thats more well placed cover to hide behind, etc.
Just a thought.

I started my own 7 player RotR game Saturday, so I'll be posting about that in a bit. Id really appreciate your insight.


Bruthy on night duty sounds good. Its a shame you sent Shalelu off to Magnimar sort of. I'm sure she would love to take a shot at ol' Bruthy since they kind of have that rivalry going.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Eric Levanduski wrote:
Bruthy on night duty sounds good. Its a shame you sent Shalelu off to Magnimar sort of. I'm sure she would love to take a shot at ol' Bruthy since they kind of have that rivalry going.

I'm playing Shalelu as a bit of a jaded loner bounty hunter who works for good reasons but is keen to be paid for them. I'm going to use her to get an approximate map location for the Stag Lord's fort, which I may well make tougher than listed and have her tag along because there will be a cash bounty for that effort. The PCs didn't get recon about Bruthazmus so she had no motivation to come along to Thistletop. I figure if the PCs wait a few days, she'll return and be available to help but by then, I'll have the fort restocked with some gobbos from the Mosswood tribe or something.

Anyway, to the CR math:
Orik, Tsuto, Lyrie = Just over CR5

With the bridge as a CR2/3 obstacle, that bumps the encounter up to CR6 or APL+2, assuming 6 PCs. There will be 1 full rounds movement through the open to cross the burned hedge maze and 2 full rounds with no dex bonus to AC to climb across their rigged two point rope bridge so there will be lots of arrows and spells flying both ways at long range, assuming my PCs don't wait for a foggy day. With a fogless day, they will be at a -17 to their perception rolls to spot Orik, Tsuto and Lyrie who will be hiding in the southwestern guard tower and the baddies will have the same penalty but will auto-spot the PCs once they step into the open. The PCs will notice that the main gate is closed so they will know that they are being watched.

If the PCs engage, I'll have Bruthy and the harem be ready after 6 rounds (1 to wake up from the alarms, 5 to hastily don armour) and make their way from the outbuilding that had the horse in it (or the conference room). I figure that at that time, the PCs will have made it into the fort and repelled the NPCs who will have had a fighting retreat North through the open courtyard. Then you add:

Bruthazmus and the goblin wives = CR4

Since my PCs have been everywhere in the upper level, I digitized the map of the island, the fort and their burned area and I'm going to print it out on my 42" plotter at work and slam it down on the table once they reach the edge of the trees.

One possible result would be a stalemate/siege situation where the PCs decide that they can't cross the open safely and the NPCs come to the same conclusion and it becomes a waiting game. If they wait there for a couple of days, they will get the foggy morning they need and if they wait for much longer than that, I might have Nualia complete her search and send Malfeshnekor after them or something.


I can't wait for the next installment! I really find your game inspiring and hope to imitate your style of play in my own upcoming game.

How experienced are your players with tabletop RPGs?

Mine are COMPLETELY new to the game and I want to set the tone of my game to be not only fun for everyone, but that what you put into the game is what you will get out of it. (hopefully this encourages not only people looking up rules, and character options, but inspires the players who would want to do little side-adventures for character development)

For an odd reason, I really like Bruthy and I hated to read about him getting bested by Nualia. In my game he never fought her. Instead, he is still active in the Nettlewood and a thorn in Shalelu's side. (who I will be playing identically only including the bitter rivalry between the her and Bruthy).

Similarly to your game, if my players don't go looking for the bandits, Shalelu will. However, if the Stag Lord tires of her meddling in his affairs, he may look into hiring the notorious Bruthazmus of the Nettlewood to try and solve his elf problems.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Most of us have been playing for more than 20 years. The two of us who regularly DM started with the red boxed set back in '86.

Even with that experience, we have a range from the guy who plays the same personality skinned on a new class and race every time to a few of us who are always looking for something new and try wacky combinations with our characters and personalities.

If I had it to do over, I would be tempted to have put the Stag lord somewhere closer so his activities were on the hinterlands map. That would probably necessitate expanding the map scale by triple whIch has its own drabacks because my PCs have slept in town every night so far.


Eric Levanduski wrote:

I can't wait for the next installment! I really find your game inspiring and hope to imitate your style of play in my own upcoming game.

How experienced are your players with tabletop RPGs?

Mine are COMPLETELY new to the game and I want to set the tone of my game to be not only fun for everyone, but that what you put into the game is what you will get out of it. (hopefully this encourages not only people looking up rules, and character options, but inspires the players who would want to do little side-adventures for character development)

For an odd reason, I really like Bruthy and I hated to read about him getting bested by Nualia. In my game he never fought her. Instead, he is still active in the Nettlewood and a thorn in Shalelu's side. (who I will be playing identically only including the bitter rivalry between the her and Bruthy).

Similarly to your game, if my players don't go looking for the bandits, Shalelu will. However, if the Stag Lord tires of her meddling in his affairs, he may look into hiring the notorious Bruthazmus of the Nettlewood to try and solve his elf problems.

Have you considered replacing the Stag Lord with Bruthy? Alternately, you can replace all the human bandits with hobgoblins. This kind of keeps everything in line with the goblinoid theme presented in Burnt Offerings.

Greycloak: Your thread inspired me to start up a new Runelords campaign once I can get a group together. Would you mind sending me your maps, notes, etc. for my game? Thanks a bunch!

Email is

Spoiler:
shinwonmoon@hotmail.com

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Cesare wrote:
Have you considered replacing the Stag Lord with Bruthy? Alternately, you can replace all the human bandits with hobgoblins. This kind of keeps everything in line with the goblinoid theme presented in Burnt Offerings.

That's a cool idea. I omitted the discussion about goblin heroes when my PCs met Shalelu the first time so continuity-wise I am open to doing anything like this. Maybe Bruthazmuz could also have a Stag Lord amulet and it could be as much of a clan marking as anything else. The PCs find the amulet but have no idea what it means, if anything. Gather information checks abound but they will all end in mystery.

When Shalelu reports back from her mission, she's learned that the bandits were (hob)goblins led by a bugbear with a similar amulet and called their leader the Stag Lord but didn't learn where they were from.

If the PCs dally in going back to Thistletop, she could make this report and then say she's been told there will be a big bounty for the Stag Lord and will be scouting for their hideout, eventually returning empty handed. When she finds out that Bruthazmus had a similar amulet, she concludes they are from the same clan, she knows where Bruthy's from (but never knew the clan name etc. because she never managed to kill Bruthy) and knows where to look next.

Looking back at the end of KM1, the "bandits" could be easily be hobgoblins or a few extra fodder goblins and all the named leaders (Auchs, Dovan et al) could be re-branded as bugbears with the Stag Lord being a Bugbear Rogue 3/Ranger 1 or thereabouts. Maybe I'll run the Shalelu developments simultaneously with the beginning/first half of Skinsaw.

On a similar note, I've thought about putting the Lonely Barrow from KM2 at the end of a treasure map that the PCs find somewhere in Thistletop, maybe among Lyrie's notes/possessions. The Barrow could be anywhere but I'm leaning to somewhere in the mushfens so I can use up my KM marshy encounters. Maybe the map itself has a cipher or riddle on it about a reference point. Because it's just a side-quest, I could be brutal with the riddle difficulty and leave it for the PCs to work on as they gain access to better divination resources.

Cesare wrote:
Would you mind sending me your maps, notes, etc. for my game?

My notes (such as they are) are spread between home and the office and include a bunch of Kingmaker stuff with KM hex-maps, some of whom are in Corel Draw format. Are you wanting the KM part as well or just the RotR stuff?


Greycloak of Bowness wrote:
My notes (such as they are) are spread between home and the office and include a bunch of Kingmaker stuff with KM hex-maps, some of whom are in Corel Draw format. Are you wanting the KM part as well or just the RotR stuff?

As I am currently running a solo Kingmaker game for my wife, the Kingmaker stuff would be a great help. Anyways, I just want to say thanks for everything in advance!

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Cesare wrote:
As I am currently running a solo Kingmaker game for my wife, the Kingmaker stuff would be a great help. Anyways, I just want to say thanks for everything in advance!

No problem.

Rather than let this thread become a nightmare of email requests, if anyone else is interested in my collection (about half original, the rest collected from these fora), send me an email to:

(the first word of my user name) at shaw dot ca and I'll forward on the email I sent to Cesare.

If you don't have a grown-up email account that can handle 2.5 MB in a single email, don't bother.

Andoran

My players are getting ready to go raid the Brinestump Marsh, thinking that that will somehow lead them to the person responsible for the raid, lol.

Im actually considering having Bruthazmus be encountered in the marsh with the head of the tribe. Paying off the tribe for their part in the raid, perhaps. Im hoping that will lead the pcs down a raod thinking that he is the BBEG of the book.

Anyway, i was wondering if you used something from Kingmaker for the lair, or if what you ran your players through was homebrew? id check myself, but my pc is down (posting from work lol), and I cant check the pdf for a few more days.

Advice/Suggestions?

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
godsDMit wrote:

My players are getting ready to go raid the Brinestump Marsh, thinking that that will somehow lead them to the person responsible for the raid, lol.

Im actually considering having Bruthazmus be encountered in the marsh with the head of the tribe. Paying off the tribe for their part in the raid, perhaps. Im hoping that will lead the pcs down a raod thinking that he is the BBEG of the book.

Anyway, i was wondering if you used something from Kingmaker for the lair, or if what you ran your players through was homebrew? id check myself, but my pc is down (posting from work lol), and I cant check the pdf for a few more days.

Advice/Suggestions?

I did indeed use KM for the Licktoad Goblin lair in the Brinestump Marsh.

For the Licktoad home, I used the Mite Lair pretty much as written with CR 1/3 Goblins instead of CR 1/4 mites (which balanced my larger party just fine) but describing the mites as goblins who wore snake and lizard-skin fetishes and the captive kobold as a Birdcruncher Goblin (of course wearing feathers and other avian-themed clothing). If you have a smaller party, I don't see any reason why you couldn't use the mites' abilities and call them goblins for your PCs and keep the CRs as intended. I changed the catapault scene a bit and think I described all the insects as centipedes (including the swarm and the giant tick) and I made sure to remove any reference to writing in the descriptions.

I described the swamp as a series of streams with overgrown natural levees separated by waist-deep water; the could see the old sycamore tree from the edge of the swamp. There were paths along the levees and a few precarious driftwood bridges. Having done some research about goblins, I told my PCs that goblins are most active at dawn and dusk, avoiding the dark night and the full daylight.

Anyway, my PCs went after the Licktoads after having tracked one of the escaped goblins back to the Birdcruncher lair. The Birdcrunchers claimed that the Licktoads had forced them to participate in the raid and that they were being led by a Longshanks. This was partially true. The Licktoads had forced the Birdcrunchers (because they were in posession of the Birdcruncher's sacred statue) and the Licktoads were forced to do so by Nualia but the Birdcrunchers were also helped along by Tartuk, a faceless stalker who had infiltrated the goblin tribe and was manipulating the tribe to help Nualia's plans along. This left the whole Mites-vs-Kobolds drama, which I used as well.

In the end, my PCs wiped out the "Mites", retreived the statue for the Birdcrunchers, talked to Mikmek (the captive Birdcruncher) and helped him kill Tartuk, returning the tribe to a state of relative peace (neutral to the Sandpoint people).

Andoran

That all sounds pretty good to me. Ive got about a week and a half til our next session. Hopefully thatll be enough time to get my pc fixed so I can check out the pdf again.

Thanks for the info.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Session 8 - Return to Thistletop

I had 6 PCs in attendance so it was perfect for what I had planned. In attendance (everyone Level 3, missing Amonon - Elven Cleric of Sarenrae):
Abinscole - Halfling Bard
Arcainen - Human water bloodline sorceror
Wyndham - Human rogue with a nasty streak (former memeber of Nualia's Band)
Jal - Varisian polearm ranger
Jerrick - Shoanti cleric/bow hunter of Erastil with a colossally terrible Con score (Con=4)
Richard - Chelaxian fighter, brave, heavily armoured sword and board

After rescuing the horse and their treasure from Thistletop, the team returned to Sandpoint to divvy up their treasure and re-equip for a return. I am using a slightly modified version of the what-can-I-buy-in-a-given-town rules:

House rule for buying and selling magic gear:

The PCs can get anything non-magical up to the 800gp wealth limit with minimal hassle. They have a 10-90% chance do find anything up to 800gp that is magical or special (depending on my judgment of whether something is relatively more common or more uncommon) and the list of randomly available items per the GMG (that are retired adventurer's heirlooms etc.) available after asking around town. In addition, they have an arrangement with Vorvishali Voon (sic?) whereby he can arrange sale and purchase of other more expensive items up to Magnimar's wealth limit through his contacts there. For this service he takes 50gp for each 1500gp (or fraction thereof) in the full value of the item, with the commission paid up front and the final exchange happening later. I am handwaving a bit here saying that the PCs get their money right away in the form of letters of writ that they can spend but that the cash doesn't arrive for some time. The items that they purchase will take 1d6 days per 500 gp in the item's base value, with a minimum of 2 days.

That took them the rest of the afternoon so they decided to return to Thistletop the next morning. They rose to find it foggy (a hint here) but the fog burnt off during the day. When they arrived at the burned out hedge maze (stepping totally into the open to do so), they noticed right away that the gate was closed. Looking carefully, they saw a number of humans watching them from the stockade. They withdrew into the forest to discuss what to do. One idea that was thrown out was to wait for the fog to return and cross the open that way and in the end, they decided to bolt for the bridge, bringing an oil barrel (contents used to help burn the hedge maze the day before) as cover.

I had mapped out the new hedge maze and printed it on my giant 42" plotters at work. A much-reduced resolution file is found here:
http://i751.photobucket.com/albums/xx155/greykloak/Thistletop.jpg

Because they took so long talking about their plan, Bruthazmus and the goblin wives were also summoned so the baddies were:
West Tower - Tsuto, Orik, Lyrie
East Tower - Bruthazmus, 4 gobbo-wives.
I'd decided that the baddie's plan involved an internal barricade inside the fort and with everyone retreating towards the courtyard if things got out of hand (the goblins were to retreat on the roof towards a rope that dangled into the courtyard) and the humans would retreat straight North, with the other door to the courtyard barricaded with tables and Ripnigget's Bed.

Anyway, the PC's plan didn't go as bad as I had thought it would (partly because my elven cleric's player wasn't here and he probably would have been a liability against Bruthazmus' bane arrows and ranger abilities). A large group hurried up to the edge of the bridge and one at a time made their way across it (took most of them 2 full rounds of transit time because they didn't want to hurry and do the 10DC climb). High-AC Richard went first and took most of the early fire but his AC and HP is really high so didn't get hit seriously. The only really bad part of their plan was that Arcainen the Sorcerer was the second one to cross (for some reason that escapes me, given his Magic Missile wand and spells) and he was peppered and almost killed on the ropes.

The guys fought a dynamic battle, dropping two of the goblins and badly hurting Bruthazmus and Lyrie, who both retreated to drink potions. Eventually the majority of the group managed to smash their way into the fort and engage the humans in the hallway below their tower. They got a bit of luck in that Richard was missed by Lyrie's ray of enfeeblement and so they managed to hurt Orik and Tsuto enough that they called the retreat back to the courtyard where they rendezvoused with Bruthazmus and the two remaining goblin wives.

In the courtyard, one of the fighters critted and insta-killed Tsuto (decapitiation after enough damage to take him to -Con instantly) and Arcainen dropped Lyrie with his magic missle wand and used his bleed cantrip to rather callously finish her off. Orik surrendered and Bruthazmus decided to split so he and the goblins fled into the darkness. Orik's surrender threw enough of a wrench in the PCs' plans that they didn't pursue Bruthazmus and then debated about what to do next.

After getting a bunch of recon from Orik (a crude map, some stories about Nualia and the goblins, revelation that Wyndham had been part of Nualia's band at one time and that there was a secret door that went to a lower level in the NW corner room somewhere), they decided to barricade up both sets of stairs and locked Orik up bound and gagged in the stable room.

In the mean time, I decided that Nualia would be in fits of desperation and rage. She decided that her only hope was to redouble her efforts in freeing Malfeshnekor, which she increasingly saw as her final salvation. She redeployed her 3 yeth hounds with Bruthazmus to make a last stand in the first dungeon level, where they would have the advantage of it being dark, with the plan to come up to the surface as a group after nightfall and assess the damage on the surface.

The PCs made a smart move and instead of waiting for the night or retreating and facing another battle on the rope bridge, they went down the southern stairs (not the ones that Bruthy had gone down) and explored the whole first level except for the hall and landings with the Yeth Hounds. They killed the tentamort with minimal losses (other than a 4-Con poisoning to the ranger, Jal), found the emptied cathedral and then bumped into the first Yeth Hound. That Hound went down pretty quickly (critical hit and magic missle) but he was followed instantly by the other two and Bruthazmus. This battle was pretty tight for the PCs, mostly because of the restricted space in the hallways but they finally prevailed with their resources almost totally spent.

They retreated to the surface, barricaded both stairwells, sent two of their number back to town with Orik (finding out that they would be required to testify at his trial in Magnimar - where they will meet Justice Ironbriar) and spent the night atop the southeast guard tower.

The next morning they returned to the dungeon, found the secret door, descended and Richard stumbled straight into the portcullis-ranseur-pit trap. He was bashed around a bit, managed to sunder one of the ranseurs and made his second save to avoid falling in the pit. Wyndham disabled the trap and the group proceeded toward Nualia, who spent her time getting completely buffed up. I had juggled her feats a bit and gave her Channel Smite, which gave her hardcore damage potential against a level 3 party (1 shot kill for some of my PCs). She dropped Jal (dying, not dead, unfortunately she didn't get a clear shot for a death knell and tried burst channeling to kill him instead, which didn't quite work because of poor dice on my part) and badly hurt Richard and Wyndham before Abinscole tripped her with his whip and she went down in a heap, with the final blow going to Wyndham who darted back into the room. It was a bit of an anticlimax because she had deployed all her reinforcements already and didn't have any toadies to extend the fight. For dramatic effect, I boosted her HPs so she was around for 4 rounds instead of 2 but it still felt a lot less epic than the previous day's dynamic, roaming, many-round battles.

The PCs looted Nualia's body, collected her notes and walked into the crypt where we left off with a cliff-hanger - Richard walking into the room with an effective AC of 12 and living Shadows coming out of the walls. I worry a bit for my PCs here as he is likely to take 2 or 3d6 strength damage in surprise round 1 and due to the way my group is dealing with treasure, they have sold a number of their magic weapons and so will have limited options for hitting the incorporeal baddies (they have Bruthazmus' elf-bane arrows and Nualia's Bastard Sword, both of whom are unclaimed and so will be carried by a random PC, a handful of animal and beast-bane arrows and Richard's magic longsword), and unless they make their knowledge checks, won't know what "incorporeal" means or that 0 Str = permanent undeath.

We'll see.

I didn't confirm a single critical hit all night and rolled overall pretty poorly.

Andoran

For awhile there I had misread it, thinking that Jal was your character with the 4 Con, who got 4 Con poisoning, so I was expecting something about his character's death.

Do you have plans for Orik? Scouring the boards Ive seen suggestions from having him become one of the Black Arrows at Fort Rannick to a newly dead PC taking over as him.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Jal is the Lightly armoured, low-dex Ranger who needs to get some better gear because he can't keep rushing into melee with a 14 AC. In my campaign, the smarter bad guys steer their attacks away from the guys bristling with shiny armour and shields to those who are wearing animal hides instead.

re: Orik
I put Orik in one of my wanted posters with the hopes of him being taken prisoner to set up an initial meeting with Ironbriar. That primary purpose fulfilled, I'm fine with whatever happens so I think I might leave it up to the PCs' testimony as to whether he goes to the Hells or gets exiled to Fort Rannick. The guys took a liking to Orik (especially his story about the goblins and the horse) so I expect them to ask for leniency, especially because he said he would face the music and was pretty much a model prisoner.

I've been thinking about all the threads I have connecting past encounters with future in this game and am wondering if I might strain credibility with the number of recurring events/characters.

These threads include:
- PC Wyndham and his pre-campaign connection to Nualia's band, which worked out well for an experimental idea
- Aldern/The Skinsaw Man
- Ironbriar/Cultist Ironbriar
- The Dragon who killed Shalelu's mother is Arkrhyst from SotS
- Orik and the Black Arrows, if it goes that way
- PC Jal and the Black Arrows (his mother was a member, he grew up idolizing them)
- I may have Xanesha and Leucretia be the same person, depending on whether I can get a TPK at the clocktower or at worst have her escape and promise revenge on her way out
- There is a Neirid in the 5th? book of Kingmaker, I was planning on she being Arcainen's great grandmother (from whom he gets his elemental bloodline)
- PC Jerrick's home Shoanti tribe is the one that will be filling the role of the Nomen Centaurs from Varnhold Vanishing

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

So, I'll be at a crossroads here soon.

I expect that next session will involve the PCs mopping up in Thistletop with the Shadows, Giant Crab plus or minus the Barghest left in the dungeon. Add to that a trip to Magnimar for Orik's trial and that's still a pretty small number of challenges for my group for an evening's adventures, especially because we are starting right in the Shadow combat which will get things rolling fast. I could see the possibility of my PCs getting bogged down in buying and selling loot in Magnimar and in leveling up (the majority will attain level 4 but some may not) but I'm guessing that I'll still have lots of time to fill at the end of the evening.

My choice boils down to:
- Starting Skinsaw right away (or right away after the PCs have some down time, especially if they loiter in town for too long)
- Adding an extended side-trek to go after the Stag Lord and then running Skinsaw
- Some hybrid - maybe Mr. Skinsaw attacks the Mill when the PCs happen to be in town to restock supplies, leaving them a dilemma about what to pursue next.

As it stands right now, my PCs are aware of bandit activity along the Lost Coast Road (the Stag Lord's men) and Shalelu is out to try after the initial bounty which will in time name the Stag Lord as the one responsible and create a new bounty for his capture or proof of death.

To that end (and to give my PCs a chance for some horseback exploration for one PC who spent feats and skills to be good at this), I have been mapping and hexing out the Mushfens south of Sandpoint and populating it with KM1 and KM2 encounters, making it a longer search - finding the Bandit Camp will be easy enough but finding the Stag Lord's keep will be tougher and will take them through a number of populated hexes along the way (spawning other potential quests etc.). I decided that the term Mushfens will be a bit of a misnomer as only the southern, coastal band is swampy and near impenetrable, with the rest being mixed hills, forest and moors. (Maybe it gets swampier to the East south of Wartle and if they push too far, they run into swampy Boggard trouble from later in the KM series...)

I've also thought of tying the Stag Lord into the Runelords metaplot. He'll have a Sihedron medallion too or maybe his Helm is marked with the symbol (as well as being tattooed, along with his allies) and was helped along the way by Xanesha's agents. In addition to her own activities, maybe X has made contact with a number of potential troublemakers in the region - someone especially wrathful that could be twisted to serve them in time (Nualia), someone who they have in a compromised position (Aldern) and someone who is motivated only by greed (The Stag Lord). In the Stag Lord's case they equip him, send him potential allies (via Justice Ironbriar) and because banditry isn't a long-term profession, probably dies because of his greed at the hand of some hero.

I like this because I could identify Xanesha early, could implicate someone in the government in Magnimar but leave no solid clues about their identities or their location and would reinforce the rune marking and ritual slayings for later. I might make the Stag Lord less of a drunk to properly challenge my larger party.

Breakdown of encounters and earnable XP in my revised mushfen sidequest:

From KM1:
- Rickety Bridge (the far away crossing, SW of Sandpoint, SE of Magnimar, near where the attacks on the road have been happening and where the river runs NE-SW)
- CR4 Thorn River Camp (South of the rickety bridge)
- CR3 Nettle's Crossing (which shall be the crossing that is close to Sandpoint, SE of town)
- Bokken's Hut (along the riverbank somewhere)
- Fairy Nest (near the Rickety Bridge so the encounter happens early)
- Dead Trapper (sometime after the Fairies are encountered, before they are befriended)
- CR3 Frog Pond (southern swamp)
- CR4 Boggard Lair (southern swamp)
- CR9 Equiv. Stag Fort (SE of Nettle's Crossing, SE of Sandpoint)

and from KM2:
- CR4 Mad Hermit
- Swamp Witch (she's in the pinch point South of Sandpoint where the river swings south so the PCs are likely to encounter her, she gives them a quest that leads to the Mud Bowl if they accept)
- CR5 Hodag Den (SW of the Rickety Bridge)
- CR10.5 Lair of the Lizard King (this is out of the way, 2 hexes south of the Stag Lord so an optional one)
- CR6 Mud Bowl (SW of the Rickety Bridge)
- CR7 Lonely Barrow (I'm going to have a treasure map somewhere in here for the PCs to find and put the Barrow somewhere they haven't been to yet)

I'm saving the series of encounters relating to the Fey, the Loggers, the Explorers and the Scythe tree from KM2 as well as the Trolls and the Owlbear to fill hexes around Turtleback Ferry as many of them are non-combat encounters and will work well from a higher level standpoint.

If they kill everything (which I doubt will happen), they will earn somewhere near 5000xp each which should put them to where they are straddling 5th level, which isn't too bad because all of Skinsaw wouldn't get them to 7th on the Medium track. XP will depend in part on whether the PCs dally and Nova every encounter. If they do, I'll have to start hitting them with random encounters which might up the totals.


If there's interest, I'll post my hex map once I have the final version completed.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Greycloak of Bowness wrote:
If there's interest, I'll post my hex map once I have the final version completed.

I have the final written version done (in case we get that far on Saturday) but need to make a digital version now.

I was talking to one of my players and he said something about wanting to get out of Sandpoint to do a little exploring so I expanded my map to have almost all of the KM1 and KM2 hex encounters less the ones I have already used and a few that I am saving for the future (the Temple of Erastil and the fey and troll-related ones from KM2).

My PCs will quickly be at the point where they will be travelling to Magnimar for Orik's trial. I'm thinking that they will meet Shalelu on the road having collected the first bounty and ID'd someone called the Stag Lord as the one behind the attacks. She'll tell the PCs that as best as she could tell, the bandits came from across the river and that there are two river crossings - one near Sandpoint and one about halfway.

Then, at the trial I am thinking that the Mayor's steward (whose name escapes me) will be present during one of the recesses posting a wanted poster for the Stag Lord. If the PCs talk with him, he'll arrange for the PCs to get an exploration charter to map the non-swamp lands south of the River, granting the party autonomy under the law provided they map the lands completely and report back. He'll provide a blank map showing what you can see from the river and from the southern coast (trees and hills for the former and swamp for the latter). I won't be granting exploration XP (because that blows my medium-track budget) but I will be using this as a primer for when my PCs have their own lands to pacify and govern in the future.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Here is the link for the blank exploration map I made for my PCs.

http://s751.photobucket.com/albums/xx155/greykloak/?action=view&current =WesternMushfensExplorationMap.jpg

On my master map (which I'll likely not get around to digitizing), there is a pocket of trees south of Magnimar containing (S* is for KM1: Stolen Land, R* is for KM2: Rivers Run Red):
SW - The fangberry thicket
RF - The lonely Barrow
RS - The Forest Drake
ST - The Dead Unicorn

The Lady's light is RO: Candlemere

On the right side of the map is another large forest starting from straight south and one hex east of Sandpoint and going to the edge containing:
SS - Nettle's Crossing
SH - Spider's Nest
SL - Gold Mine
SZ - Stag Lord
RM - Hodag Den

The southern edge is all swamp, containing the following hexes from west to east:
RP - Mud Bowl
SO - Boggard
SM - Forgotten Cache
SI - Frog Pond
SW - (another) Fangberry thicket
RN - Lizard King (in the SE corner)

The middle is hills going west to east:
SD - Bokken's Hut (forest/hill border hex)
SQ - Rickety Bridge
SK - Bandit camp (inside the river bend SSW of Sandpoint)
SF - Faery Nest
SE - Dead Trapper
RJ - Swamp Witch (South of the bend south of Sandpoint, near the swamp)
RI - Mad Mermit
SV - Trapped Thylacine

I'll post a summary of last weekend's game when I get a chance.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I did end up finishing my GM's map. It can be found here:
http://i751.photobucket.com/albums/xx155/greykloak/WesternMushfensDMMap.jpg

Both versions are sized to print on 24" paper but the resolution will have been downsized by photobucket.

I also gave my PCs a charter for exploration in this region similar to the one in KM1. It reads like this:
[quote=]
Be it so known that the bearer of this charter has been charged by Lord-Mayor Haldmeer Grobaras, acting upon the greater good and authority vested within him by The Council of Ushers of Magnimar, has granted the right of exploration, mapping and travel within the wilderness region known as the Western Mushfens.

Exploration should be limited to the area of contiguous dry lands south of the Yondabakari River and west of the Mushfens proper. The carrier of this charter should also strive against banditry and other unlawful behavior to be encountered. The punishment for unrepentant banditry remains, as always, execution by sword or rope.

So witnessed under the authority of the High Court of Magnimar granted by Lord-Mayor Haldmeer Grobaras and the Council of Ushers, through their loyal servant, Justice Ironbriar, this 24th day of Lamashan in the year 4707, AR

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Session 9 - New beginnings

I had all 7 PCs in attendance for the first time in a long time. It was a good one because everyone had business to attend to and we were ending one chapter and starting a new one.

The group ended the previous session in a cliffhanger with the fighter Richard being beset by shadows in the crypt of Thistletop. The good thing about having a fighter be the first one in the room is that when normal enemies attack, they have their best AC up front. The bad thing is when those enemies are incorporeal shadows. Because they totally ignored his armour and shield, Richard was very easy to hit. With 7 PCs in the group, including two clerics, the shadows didn't last long but they almost killed good Richard but for a 3 rolled on my last attack.

They went on to find the helmet-crab in the treasure room and enjoyed my description of the treasure there as a cemented mess of gold and badly oxidized silver coins. The group went back to the gold pillar (the entrance to the rooms that include Malfeshnekor) and decided to return to town to get proper tools to remove the gold.

When back at town, they spent a bunch of money and decided to split into two groups, one to return to Thistletop to mine the pillar and one to head to Magnimar for Orik's trial (and to buy more expensive gear there like full plate etc.).

The Magnimar group went to the trial and testified, saying that Orik had shown remorse and was helpful after surrendering. Judge Ironbriar sentenced him to 5 years exile to be served with the Black Arrows in the Magnimarian Outpost of Fort Rannick.

The Thistletop group, consisting of Wyndham (who refuses to talk to anyone in a position of authority), the ranger Jal and Arcainen, hired a team of local workers to rebuild the Thistletop rope bridge and bought some pickaxes to extract the column. They descended into the dungeon and once they really interacted with the column, they made their Will saves and saw the illusion for what it was, eventually figuring out how to get past the pillar. This brought them into the hallway with three doors, the quiet one (the medical lab), one with a voice (the control room with the looping illusion) and one with a crackling fire. They talked about it and went to the silent room first, the control room second and the fire room third.

Wyndham went into the corner of Malfeshnekor's Prison to retrieve the candles there and was beset upon by the invisible Barghest. If the initiative order had gone differently or if it had been anyone other than Wyndham (with an acrobatics score enough to escape and hit points enough to withstand the initial attack), there would have been a death. As it was, the Barghest nearly killed Wyndham with a surprise and then a full attack, Wyndham then sprung back out of the room and right before M's turn, Jal slammed and locked the door. M slammed against the door in futile rage.

They decided to leave the Barghest alone and not make Thistletop their private fortress for now, returned home and waited for the Magnimar group to return. In the mean time, Shalelu returned to town saying she had claimed the banditry bounty (buying a set of mithril chain mail with the proceeds), had identified the man called the Stag Lord as the leader and said that there would be a new bounty and an offer from the officials in Magnimar for their group in the coming week.

The Ranger, Jal was in town and bought a house at a very reduced price. Little did he know, the house he bought was not owned by the people who "sold" it to him. The people who sold it were a pair of Varisian Con Artists who are destined to be murdered by the Skinsaw Man while my PCs are away exploring. They had identified a vacant house, broken in, made a new key and sold it to Jal while the rightful owners were away in Magnimar. Jal has not learned this yet but will be mad when he does.

Once the party was reunited, they waited for another day for opening night of the Play that Abinscole was starring in (all in all, they took about ten days off from adventuring) and then waited for the Magnimarian official to arrive. He arrived with a new, much more lucrative bounty for the Stag Lord as well as an exploration charter for their group based on their work helping the people of Sandpoint and for bringing Orik to justice.

The group decided to accept the charter and decided to go after the Stag Lord right away. They talked with Shalelu, who agreed to come along for the trip and who said that there she knew of only two crossings of the Yondabakari River outside Magnimar. They equipped themselves, bought a cart for supplies (horse and human feed mostly) and headed south towards the river, deciding to head towards Nettle's Crossing first and follow the river all the way to Magnimar on the North Bank of the river to ensure that there were really only two crossings. From the north side of the river, they noticed smoke and a hut (the Mad Hermit) and made their way around to the Ferry. There, they met the undead ferryman and talked with him, deducing that he had been murdered by the Stag Lord and was a restless spirit because of that. They returned westward along the river all the way to Magnimar, noticing a second hut across the canyon at the edge of the western forest (Bokken's Hut). Restocking in Magnimar, they headed back to the rickety bridge, crossed and resolved to head towards Bokken's Hut to commandeer it to store their supplies and serve as a local base for exploration (I requested they operate from a forward base like this so they could easily swap PCs in and out between sessions).

They met Bokken and couldn't bring themselves to kick the crazy dude out of his house (I played him as wild eyed, distracted, self-talking and speaking with a pretty sever stutter). They talked with him for a while and decided to move on into the forest to set their camp up.

In the mean time, they started getting pranked by a couple of mischevious and invisible Fey. First, the horse lines were all retied into a tangle, resulting in giggles from a nearby treeline. The next day, a saddle was loosened at lunch and someone almost fell off when the owner climbed on, and at the end of the next night, Abinscole's riding dog was coloured pink and made to speak in a comically fake dog voice about dumb bigginses. Abinscole decided to Enthrall the pranksters with his music, which worked and he earned himself invisible cheers and an illusion of tiny blackbirds circling and clapping for him.

Arcainen, my sorceror and the object of Aldern Foxglove's attentions, has had a couple of objects stolen from him so far - a cufflink and a dagger. He has wrongly concluded that the thief was the Fey all along, much to my delight.

At this point, Abinscole is the only party member who has made peace with the Fey. I expect that about half of my PCs will make peace through bribery and the other half may not be great sports about it. We'll see.

My PCs have about four weeks supplies at this point and my plan is to start the Skinsaw Murders in earnest the next time they return to Sandpoint, whenever that is.

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