So my players are getting ready to take on Walcourt.
While it looks to be a well designed dungeons with lots of neat aspects to it, I have a couple of problems with the listed encounters:
-16 Thieves (4th level rogues, identically equipped with same talents and feats)
-20 Dark Creeper Footpads (Dark Creeper Rogue 2, a number of which they have already fought in Hagwood)
-5 Dark Stalker Guildsmen (Dark Stalker Rogue 4)
I hate the feeling that players have "Already killed these guys six times, so lets kill some more of them" and want to vary some of these stock badguys so Walcourt doesn't turn into a room to room sweep of mooks. This is after all THE Council safehouse, and should have the resources to protect itself against attacks from the outside by methods other than swarming the PCs with mooks and hoping some get lucky. The non-stock badguy encounters are all pretty interesting, there's just not enough of them (particularly on the first floor) to make the pacing of the dungeon very good; I could see my players getting bored after their 15th dead Dark Creeper.
I'm considering inserting different enemies in some spots, particulary ones with ties to the Plane of Shadow or theives with different abilities and gear. The Game Mastery Guide has a few alternatives to swap out for theives, but as far as shadow critters, there's not a lot out there. I've used Tenebrous Worms and Gloomwings already in Hagwood but may utilize them again in the dungeon.
For others who have run this: Were your players alright with the number of repeating badguys after going through it? Did you swap any monsters out or change anything else up in the dungeon? What worked and what didn't??
Non-stock badguys include the following: 4 Shadow MAstiffs, Shadowrat Swarm, Mohrg, Sandor the Strange ((Diviner 12), a couple of Chuuls, 4 Vampire Spawn, a Vampire (Bestiary) and 8 shadows, the Calikang, and of course, Ilnerik.
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I had much of the same complaint with this adventure, so I did some swapping out. I gave the dark folk a leader, an aberrant-blooded dark stalker sorcerer focused on touch attacks. I used some of the aforementioned alternative shadowbeasts. And my PCs found the secret way in, so they never fought anyone on the first floor. Made my job a lot easier. You might want to include a human thief leader as well, perhaps one of the Council Captains from Twice-Damned Prince or a bandit lord from the GMG.
I followed the thread on the Shadow Beasts and have incorporated a lot of them into my nighttime Westcrown street encounters. They're good alternatives, I just wish there was more out there, specifically in the CR 6-8 range.
I've always liked the Shadowgarms from The Bastards of Erebus, to the point that I've come up with sort of a progression of abilities for them based on their HD advancement, starting with lesser light sensitivity and ending with an aura of Deeper Darkness.
On the Council Captains: I'm finding I have much the same problem with them that I do with these stock encounters. They are all these unique leaders and captains of The Council of Thieves, yet they all have the same exact stats. I've already rolled up 5 different 10th level assassin types (Ranger is so much better than Rogue for Assassin) to help compliment the captains in the last module, but I may very well insert the stock one here just to see how one will fare against my party.
To be fair, our group has full access to the APG, which this path didn't have at the time of its writing, so they're just a tad overpowered against some of the encounters. (I've added lots of harder sidequests that compliment the main story, like adding a Rift to the Shadow Plane at the former Hagwood tree before it was burned down years ago, complete with an Umbral Dragon. I used this as a justification to populate Hagwwod with Tenebrous Worms and Gloomwings)
Nonetheless, I like being able to vary the stock encounters a bit. I understand the need to make the PCs feel powerful, but not to the point that the enemies don't have a chance to do anything.
I DO wish I had more rolled up Vampires to help flush out the basement encounters a little. Is anyone aware of any other modules or source materials for Pathfinder that feature fully statted up Vampires? [PLEASE NO SPOILERS FOR KINGMAKER, in which I play. Every other path and module is free game.] They've dusted every other one they've come across so far. I wanna see a Vampiric Inquisitor of Urgathoa...
My adivce is to use some of the critters from the mini-bestiaries in the backs of the modules (or at least some you haven't used yet). They tend to be varied as far as usefulness goes but I'm sure you could replace a room or two of the samey darkfolk or theives with something CR appropriate.
Also, Walcourt isn't THE Council safehouse... it is one of many. The module even says as much. I know it shouldn't make much of a difference as far as the PCs are concerned but don't feel like the Council should have all of their eggs in this basket. The idea is that even with the loss of Walcourt they are still quite powerful and a contender on the whole.
No, I haven't found too much additional creatures. I'm mainly replacing the baddies in the main and upper floor which I'm only going to do with a few groups, and mainly swap in some of the shadow monsters from the 'Monsters of Twilight' mentioned in the other thread. I particularly like the Mi-Go, but also have a few advanced Shadow Garms to throw in the mix.
-I like the Shadow Rat swarm as well, but feel like this is a mean monster to overuse, as distraction and auto-ability damage could prove nasty, especially if there was more than one swarm or multiple encounters of them. I REALLY wish there was some sort of Shadow-Plane template (Nothing in the Advanced Bestiary).
-I probably will give Sandor the addition of the Unila Devil from the Bestiary in 'Infernal Syndrome' to explain the number of Devils (particularly Assassin Devils from bestiary in 'Sixfold Trial') that have been plaguing the PCs.
-I have the further complication of having Walcourt being three blocks from one of the Noble PC's manor, where most of the party has become cornered due to assassination attempts. I'm already going to throw a Vampiric Sian Daemodus at them, and will probably utilize the Nihiloi as well and possibly the council captains. I think between that and Walcourt, the 'Monsters of Twilight' is going to get a run for its money. Sort of a dungeon/ reverse dungeon game going (the PCs manor is trapped and has other guardians as well), featuring assassins, devils, shadow beasts, and vampires.
-Regarding the Sewers connected to Ilnerik's Lair: Why is nothing guarding what could simply be the back door to the fight against the BBEG?
It seems like a resourceful party could easily figure out that there's other entrances than to the basement than going through the guildhall. and there's nothing stopping them from just waltzing into Ilnerik's Lair and end the fight then and there. How have other DM's handled this?
Stick a Vampiric Mist - CR 3 as a "guardian" in the sewers.
Here are some things from the Bestiary 2 that would be appropriate:
Dark Slayer - CR 3 (similar to the Dark Stalkers & Dark Creepers)
You could replace the spying eyes spell with an Accuser Devil (Zebub) CR 3 - it records all that it sees - takes 1 rd to replay 1 hour to another creature.
Fetchling - CR 1/2
+2 Dexterity, +2 Charisma, –2 Wisdom:
Fetchlings are quick and forceful, but often strange and easily distracted easily by errant thoughts.
Darkvision: Fetchlings see in the dark up to 60 feet.
Low-Light Vision: Fetchlings can see twice as far as
humans in conditions of dim light.
Skilled: Fetchlings have a +2 racial bonus on Knowledge (planes) and
Shadow Blending (Su) Attacks against
a fetchling in dim light have a
50% miss chance instead
of the normal 20% miss
chance. This ability does
not grant total concealment;
it just increases the miss chance.
Shadowy Resistance: Fetchlings have cold resistance 5 and electricity
Spell-Like Abilities (Sp):
A fetchling can use disguise self once per day as a spell-like ability. It can assume the form of any humanoid creature using this spell-like ability. When a fetchling reaches 9th level in any combination of classes, it gains shadow walk (self only) as a spell-like ability usable once per day, and at 13th level, it gains plane shift (self only, to the Plane of Shadow or the Material Plane only)
usable once per day. A fetchling’s caster level is equal to its total
+2 Dexterity, +2 Charisma, –2 Constitution:
Dhampirs are fast and seductive, but closer to death than most mortals.
Senses: Low-light vision and darkvision 60 feet.
Manipulative: +2 racial bonus on Bluff and Perception.
Undead Resistance: Dhampirs gain a +2 racial bonus on
saving throws against disease and mind-affecting effects.
Light Sensitivity, Negative Energy Affinity: See
universal monster rules.
Spell-Like Ability: A dhampir can use detect undead three
times per day as a spell-like ability. The caster level for this
ability equals the dhampir’s class level.
Resist Level Drain (Ex): A dhampir takes no penalties
from energy draining effects, though he can still be
killed if he accrues more negative levels then he has Hit
Dice. After 24 hours, any negative levels a dhampir takes are
removed without the need for an additional saving throw.
Rakshaka wrote:I'm already going to throw a Vampiric Sian Daemodus
Making her a vampire would severely hurt her hit points. Undead get their CHA modifier to hit points, as they have no CON score.
Don't I know it. She actually lost HP due to her CHarisma score being much lower than her Con, but from a story perspective, the price of her failure is gaining a less optimal template than she would like (at least in my game). Even with only 65 hp, her high AC and now utterly ridiculous stealth score have still made her a real threat. I think I gave her another level in Shadowdancer and Spring Attack so she could pull off the whole "Spring attack from hiding in plain sight" trick.I threw her at the party last session, and while she got misted (floated back to Walcourt), the combination of spider climb, spring attack, and a really high stealth score made for quite a memorable fight.
Thanks Deirdre for ideas!!