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Wake of the Watcher (GM Reference)


Carrion Crown

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Haunting of HarrowStone
Trial of the Beast
Broken Moon
Wake of the Watcher
Ashes at Dawn
Shadows of Gallowspire

Cheliax

Still reading through it. Of course, I went straight to the Bestiary first. Great spread.

The only thing I'm a little sad about is that the Elder Thing is mechanically a little dull. I had hoped for lots of DR/adamantine.

well, they're just my favorite lovecraft monster ever, because they're essentially PEOPLE. I have an inordinate fondness for that moment of realization that the horrible tentacle monster is a thinking, feeling being.

Regardless, I'm loving it.

Cheliax

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

Zhabh-boath p. 54

Has "Special Abilities" heading in Stat Block but no Special Abilities listed

Cheliax

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

Face of Dagon p. 58
Cost isn't half of Price

Paizo Employee Senior Developer

chopswil wrote:

Face of Dagon p. 58

Cost isn't half of Price

Actually, the price should be 27,500 gp, cost 14,000 gp.

Cost still isn't exactly half the price because both totals include the extra 500 gp required as a material component for the commune spell.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Rusty Shackleford wrote:

Still reading through it. Of course, I went straight to the Bestiary first. Great spread.

The only thing I'm a little sad about is that the Elder Thing is mechanically a little dull. I had hoped for lots of DR/adamantine.

well, they're just my favorite lovecraft monster ever, because they're essentially PEOPLE. I have an inordinate fondness for that moment of realization that the horrible tentacle monster is a thinking, feeling being.

Regardless, I'm loving it.

The elder things don't really have a lot of actual content to build rules abilities off of—in that way, they really ARE just people. As in, the way to make an elder thing have a lot of weird powers is to give it class levels. (Giving them DR/adamantine is a cute idea, but it would have made them a bit too tough, literally... instead I just gave them a pretty high natural armor bonus and called it good.)


The monsters in this AP are VERY impressive. First was great but the last two dissappointed me with pages dedicated to varying skeletons and zombies, but here these creatures are awesome.

As a collaborator there is a problem though. The first creature called "Colour Out of Space" is that really spelt Colour or Color as usually it's american I would've thought it spelt Color, however it appears to be spelt the English (UK) way with Colour.

Care to varify if that's meant to be like that for some reason or of it's a possible spelling error?

Paizo Employee Senior Developer

DM Aron Marczylo wrote:

The monsters in this AP are VERY impressive. First was great but the last two dissappointed me with pages dedicated to varying skeletons and zombies, but here these creatures are awesome.

As a collaborator there is a problem though. The first creature called "Colour Out of Space" is that really spelt Colour or Color as usually it's american I would've thought it spelt Color, however it appears to be spelt the English (UK) way with Colour.

Care to varify if that's meant to be like that for some reason or of it's a possible spelling error?

H.P. Lovecraft (who was American) called it the "Colour Out of Space," so we kept his spelling for the Pathfinder version (link).

Grand Lodge

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Rob McCreary wrote:
DM Aron Marczylo wrote:

The monsters in this AP are VERY impressive. First was great but the last two dissappointed me with pages dedicated to varying skeletons and zombies, but here these creatures are awesome.

As a collaborator there is a problem though. The first creature called "Colour Out of Space" is that really spelt Colour or Color as usually it's american I would've thought it spelt Color, however it appears to be spelt the English (UK) way with Colour.

Care to varify if that's meant to be like that for some reason or of it's a possible spelling error?

H.P. Lovecraft (who was American) called it the "Colour Out of Space," so we kept his spelling for the Pathfinder version (link).

HP was an anglophile and used "proper" spelling for much of his writing... which was edited to US spelling when published in varying places.

*You learn all sorts of great things like this on www.hppodcraft.com


ahh thanks guys, knew he was from Rhode Island in the states but never heard the term anglophile before. Heh, learn something new every day.

Cheliax

DM Aron Marczylo wrote:
ahh thanks guys, knew he was from Rhode Island in the states but never heard the term anglophile before. Heh, learn something new every day.

Lovecraft was a...odd individual. A shut-in, phobia-ridden anglophile who was very racist even for his time period.

The best summary/apology I've ever read for lovecraft's racism actually came off of 1d4 chan: "It's important to realize that this isn't the domineering, brutal racism of the Mississippi Klansman, but the fearful, neurotic racism of the skinny white nerd."

http://1d4chan.org/wiki/Lovecraft

Sadly, being an Anglophile has fallen out of fashion these days, what with the UK now being a Chav-infested Orwellian Nanny State.

Grand Lodge

Rusty Shackleford wrote:


The best summary/apology I've ever read for lovecraft's racism actually came off of 1d4 chan: "It's important to realize that this isn't the domineering, brutal racism of the Mississippi Klansman, but the fearful, neurotic racism of the skinny white nerd."

http://1d4chan.org/wiki/Lovecraft

Love it


Rusty Shackleford wrote:


Sadly, being an Anglophile has fallen out of fashion these days, what with the UK now being a Chav-infested Orwellian Nanny State.

Hmmm...I hope that was in jest...

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

Perhaps I missed it, but is there a way to restore sanity points? It seems likely that some or all of the party would decend into madness given the number of times checks need to be made and the "damage" they do.

I assume restoration, lesser restoration and the like would do it?

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16

All of the rules are on the sidebar on page 29. There are no rules on Sanity outside of that sidebar.

So, no, the spells you listed would not work, by the rules as written.

Osirion

Rusty Shackleford wrote:
Lovecraft was a...odd individual. A shut-in, phobia-ridden anglophile who was very racist even for his time period.

Who, strangely enough, did a lot of traveling. His travelogues were collected and printed by Hippocampus Press. His essays.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Sanakht Inaros wrote:
Rusty Shackleford wrote:
Lovecraft was a...odd individual. A shut-in, phobia-ridden anglophile who was very racist even for his time period.
Who, strangely enough, did a lot of traveling. His travelogues were collected and printed by Hippocampus Press. His essays.

Yup; it's true. He traveled EXTENSIVELY. He was hardly a shut-in.

It's pretty easy to cast judgements back through time at earlier ages. Folks who enjoy that might do well to keep in mind that 100 or so years in the future, our descendants will be doing the same to us.

Osirion

I got my copy last night and read the stuff about the Great Old Ones. I likey.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

Erik Freund wrote:

All of the rules are on the sidebar on page 29. There are no rules on Sanity outside of that sidebar.

So, no, the spells you listed would not work, by the rules as written.

Ok, then.

So what do people feel are appropriate spells to return someones partially lost sanity?


BobROE wrote:
Erik Freund wrote:

All of the rules are on the sidebar on page 29. There are no rules on Sanity outside of that sidebar.

So, no, the spells you listed would not work, by the rules as written.

Ok, then.

So what do people feel are appropriate spells to return someones partially lost sanity?

Well, per the sidebar, greater restoration, heal, limited wish, wish and miracle will restore the player's sanity completely.

If you're the GM then yeah, the spells you list are probably cool to give a couple sanity points back to your players.
If you aren't the GM then:
First- Ask your GM.
Second- Shame on you for being in this thread! :-P

Cheliax

James Jacobs wrote:
Sanakht Inaros wrote:
Rusty Shackleford wrote:
Lovecraft was a...odd individual. A shut-in, phobia-ridden anglophile who was very racist even for his time period.
Who, strangely enough, did a lot of traveling. His travelogues were collected and printed by Hippocampus Press. His essays.

Yup; it's true. He traveled EXTENSIVELY. He was hardly a shut-in.

It's pretty easy to cast judgements back through time at earlier ages. Folks who enjoy that might do well to keep in mind that 100 or so years in the future, our descendants will be doing the same to us.

I should hope so. If people 100 years from now don't consider us backwards barbarians, something will have gone very wrong.

Odd. I watched a documentary on Lovecraft a few months ago, I don't remember mention of much traveling. It wasn't the focus of the work, so perhaps it was downplayed. Or I just didn't pay close enough attention.

Osirion

Rusty Shackleford wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Sanakht Inaros wrote:
Rusty Shackleford wrote:
Lovecraft was a...odd individual. A shut-in, phobia-ridden anglophile who was very racist even for his time period.
Who, strangely enough, did a lot of traveling. His travelogues were collected and printed by Hippocampus Press. His essays.

Yup; it's true. He traveled EXTENSIVELY. He was hardly a shut-in.

It's pretty easy to cast judgements back through time at earlier ages. Folks who enjoy that might do well to keep in mind that 100 or so years in the future, our descendants will be doing the same to us.

I should hope so. If people 100 years from now don't consider us backwards barbarians, something will have gone very wrong.

Odd. I watched a documentary on Lovecraft a few months ago, I don't remember mention of much traveling. It wasn't the focus of the work, so perhaps it was downplayed. Or I just didn't pay close enough attention.

I didn't think he did either until Robert Bloch mentioned it in his Unauthorized Autobiography. They were supposed to meet up when Lovecraft came out to Wisconsin.

Also, a lot of people don't know that the Lovecraft circle spent a lot of time killing each other off. Once you figure out which character is which writer, it becomes fun to see how the other responds.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I love this one, and am liking the Sanity rules presented - nice and simple. But I am wondering, is this like the Trust mechanic in Haunting of Harrowstone, a "fire and forget" rule for this one adventure & just for dealing with Mythos? Or will Sanity still be a relevant option later in the path?

Lantern Lodge

Finished reading most of this last night, and I fear for my players on the trip down to sea caves. The attack by the evil sorcerer squid while they are in the diving bubble has a high likelihood of lethality. I have not plans on changing it, if anything I want to play up the tentacles through the floor hole, but seriously awesome!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16

Grendel Todd wrote:
I love this one, and am liking the Sanity rules presented - nice and simple. But I am wondering, is this like the Trust mechanic in Haunting of Harrowstone, a "fire and forget" rule for this one adventure & just for dealing with Mythos? Or will Sanity still be a relevant option later in the path?

Considering that it hasn't shown up before this (and there were great oppurtunities for it in book 2 for example), I'm pretty confident this is fire-and-forget.

Paizo Employee Senior Developer

Grendel Todd wrote:
I love this one, and am liking the Sanity rules presented - nice and simple. But I am wondering, is this like the Trust mechanic in Haunting of Harrowstone, a "fire and forget" rule for this one adventure & just for dealing with Mythos? Or will Sanity still be a relevant option later in the path?

The Sanity rules were designed as an optional rule to fit the Mythos themes of "Wake of the Watcher," and as such don't reappear later in the AP. However, any subsystem or new rules element presented in an AP can be taken and expanded and used as a GM sees fit, elsewhere in the AP or in other adventures or campaign entirely.

So if you want to play around more with the Sanity rules (and you think you're payers would enjoy it as well) by all means introduce them earlier in the AP, or continue with them in "Ashes at Dawn" or "Shadows of Gallowspire."

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Erik Freund wrote:
Grendel Todd wrote:
I love this one, and am liking the Sanity rules presented - nice and simple. But I am wondering, is this like the Trust mechanic in Haunting of Harrowstone, a "fire and forget" rule for this one adventure & just for dealing with Mythos? Or will Sanity still be a relevant option later in the path?
Considering that it hasn't shown up before this (and there were great oppurtunities for it in book 2 for example), I'm pretty confident this is fire-and-forget.

That's a shame - I've enjoyed a number of these optional rules they toss out in the various APs, but they rarely get recycled. Maybe one of these days they'll bundle them up in a Gamemastery Guide 2 or something to that effect.

Grand Lodge

Grendel Todd wrote:
Erik Freund wrote:
Grendel Todd wrote:
I love this one, and am liking the Sanity rules presented - nice and simple. But I am wondering, is this like the Trust mechanic in Haunting of Harrowstone, a "fire and forget" rule for this one adventure & just for dealing with Mythos? Or will Sanity still be a relevant option later in the path?
Considering that it hasn't shown up before this (and there were great oppurtunities for it in book 2 for example), I'm pretty confident this is fire-and-forget.
That's a shame - I've enjoyed a number of these optional rules they toss out in the various APs, but they rarely get recycled. Maybe one of these days they'll bundle them up in a Gamemastery Guide 2 or something to that effect.

There is a good set on sanity under stabilty on the Carrion crown boards worth checking out...


The Colour out of Space looks real tough with the Vital Strike added to it's 6d6 disentegrating touch. So, on regular attacks(not charges, Attack of Oppty, etc.) it actually does a 12d6 touch and a fort save for half, and when it kills someone they turn into a pile of ash. That's harsh


Posting up my versions of things for this campaign now that we're past them in the game.

Here's my version of Raven's Head.

Raven’s Head (Minor Artifact)
Aura strong divination; CL 17th
Slot none; Weight 6 lbs.
---Statistics--------------------------------------
Alignment LN; Ego 22
Senses vision and hearing 120 ft., darkvision 60 ft.
Int 18, Wis 14, Cha 15
Communication speech, telepathy (to wielder only)
Languages Common, Varisian, Celestial, Draconic, Sphinx
Powers read magic, read languages; 5 ranks in Knowledge (arcana), 5 ranks in Knowledge (religion), 5 ranks in Spellcraft
Special Purpose slay undead arcane spell casters;
Dedicated Power constant—hide from undead (DC 15)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 17th, concentration +19)
At will—detect thoughts
3/day—illusion of calm (effects wielder only), see alignment, dispel magic, searing light
1/day— extended death ward, nondetection, see invisibility
---Description----------------------------------
Holy to the faith of Pharasma and imbued with the power of all the bishops of Ustalav, this gold-plated +1 undead bane light mace has a head fashioned into the shape of a raven’s head, from which it gets its name. It was the symbol of office for the Head Inquisitor of Caliphas, Bartolomae Adella, until Prince Adamondais Virholt lost the cane in battle against the Whispering Tyrant. Raven’s Head may, once per day, mark an enemy for Pharasma’s judgment. Anytime the creature makes an ability check, attack roll, saving throw, or skill check for the next round, it must roll twice and take the worse result. A Will save (DC 22) negates this ability. The wielder of Raven’s Head is under a constant hide from undead spell effect that does not affect undead greater than the wielder’s hit dice. Raven’s Head may suppress this effect as a swift action.
---Destruction----------------------------------
If successfully used as a component in the creation of a lich, Raven’s Head’s power is broken forever.

I based this version directly off of The Mantis Blade from City of Seven Spears in power. The Mantis Blade is the perfect companion for a rogue-- Raven's Head is the perfect companion for an arcane spellcaster. The Mantis Blade steals the inquisitor bane ability and gives +1d6 sneak attack dice-- Raven's Head steals the witch misfortune hex and gives at-will detect thoughts.

So far, Raven's Head has given the arcane spellcaster in our party a lot more options-- and has let me play hardball with the PCs since they have a cohort who can dispel most harmful effects, or counterspell effects when asked to ready an action. Also, a searing light on an undead creature that's weak to sunlight (hmmmm... I wonder where those are in the Carrion Crown adventure path) is very very harsh from a CL 17 caster.

He's also been used as a melee weapon three times now... with one critical.

Fearsome, indeed.


Well my group just through the whole plot line for a loop. They get the Raven Head and finish of the Wake of the Watcher, they then decide that they are not in that much of a hurry and just want to sit and make magic items for 8 days in Thrushmoor; reasoning the WW needs the Ravens Head so the WW will come to them while they are making magic items.

Maybe I'm not reading the story line close enough but what impact does the WW not having the Raven Head have on the making of the Carrion Crown? if it's not important then why was it important enough go through so much trouble to get it?

My second issue is now in my group they have not only wasted these 8 days but 6 more days during Broken Moon. So let's say the WW has a 14 day head start from where the adventure is written how would that impact things?

I'm thinking I will have the party start Ashes to Dawn and the WW will finish their plan and have the Kidnapped Count as the main Lich just as planned and then the baddies in the 6th module get tired of the PC's meddling and strike them down in the middle of the 5th module when the party is not really high enough to really fight them. I guess as far as I'm concerned the party has failed to stop the WW already and their only hope at this point is surviving the WW revenge.


Punishing the PCs for really no reason (their reasoning is entirely sound) isn't a very good idea, I don't think.

Ultimately, the exclusion of why Raven's Head was important and why they can proceed without it means that, well, they probably have to find a replacement. In my game, they are. In other games, this probably takes a while.

In other words, 8 days is probably not a very long time, but you should probably stress that 1) the trail will go cold if they wait too long and 2) they can craft while traveling.

My group took the whole month in Ravengro, an extra week in Lepidstadt, made up the time in Ascanor and then spent almost two weeks traveling from Feldgrau to Illmarsh to Caliphas.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Biobeast wrote:

Well my group just through the whole plot line for a loop. They get the Raven Head and finish of the Wake of the Watcher, they then decide that they are not in that much of a hurry and just want to sit and make magic items for 8 days in Thrushmoor; reasoning the WW needs the Ravens Head so the WW will come to them while they are making magic items.

Maybe I'm not reading the story line close enough but what impact does the WW not having the Raven Head have on the making of the Carrion Crown? if it's not important then why was it important enough go through so much trouble to get it?

My second issue is now in my group they have not only wasted these 8 days but 6 more days during Broken Moon. So let's say the WW has a 14 day head start from where the adventure is written how would that impact things?

I'm thinking I will have the party start Ashes to Dawn and the WW will finish their plan and have the Kidnapped Count as the main Lich just as planned and then the baddies in the 6th module get tired of the PC's meddling and strike them down in the middle of the 5th module when the party is not really high enough to really fight them. I guess as far as I'm concerned the party has failed to stop the WW already and their only hope at this point is surviving the WW revenge.

Given that the WW have already skipped out on their main base of ops in Caliphas at the start of AaD, you can probably just imply that that is their fault for wasting so much time, thus necessitating all the difficult choices in dealing with the vamps in the next chapter. As for the WW not having Raven's Head, that bothered me as well - mind you, I haven't done a deep read of the final chapter yet, so I may have missed something, but yeah, that does seem like a plot-stumbler.

Of course you could also have a taunting message from big bad Adivion Adrissant to spur them on (maybe backed up by a WW retrieval team or a Simulacrum of AA, pre-lichiness to emphasis his contempt). There's a whole thread elsewhere with ideas on how to increase AA's presence, and having him harassing the players every time they start malingering sounds like a good place to start.


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IceTitan, I just read through your campaign journals and posts around this subforum, and I'm really impressed. Lots of good stuff there, I'm just sorry I didn't do that earlier, I could have used some of that in my campaign. I'll definitely use some of your AA stuff, including the part where he comes to Feldgrau to tell Auren Vrood to die. Since we actually finished the fight with AV just last session, I'll allow them to see that in the visions from his head. That should puzzle them a bit. :D

Now, I have a question for you. I see that you remade Raven's Head to better suit your PCs, and I'm thinking to do the same, since my PCs don't have a cleric. You said that you were remaking it to be a perfect weapon for an arcane caster, and I want it to be a perfect weapon for an Inquisitor. He's not an inquisitor of Pharasma, though. I've already photoshopped it into a flail and I'm thinking to make it +2 holy flail (because bane enhancement would be a waste in the hands of an inquisitor), but I have no ideas for further abilities, and I was wondering if you have any suggestions?

Cheliax

I have a question about (in)sanity.

So, when a character hits 0 sanity points they receive a random insanity from the GMG (which I have access to). Does anything else happen? They don't seem to go unconscious as it isn't ability damage.

It seems that, if cured, their sanity points are fully restored. If you only receive mental ailments from total sanity loss (barring other sources like the spell) does this mean that you can only have one random insanity from this optional sub-system?

Granted that some ailments like amnesia are enough (total loss of class abilities? Ye-ouch!). However it's equally possible to get off with a phobia of something and otherwise be fully functional despite having no sanity points.

I think stark-raving-mad when I think of 0 SAN, nothing even approaching socially functional. Further, most of the ailments have a long onset so there's no real immediate effect of seeing such horror. This is less sanity-blasting and more shruggable-but-will-get-to-you-later. Maybe this is a feature and not a bug but I honestly think it should be both lest the whole Lovecraft angle be underrepresented as more annoyance than horror.

Receiving an illness is nice but there should be something more immediate and impacting as well. Any ideas? How have you guys ran this/made an impact when the big things happen?

The obvious one:
You know, like when seeing the manifestation of Shub-Niggurath in mid-combat.


Luther wrote:

I have a question about (in)sanity.

So, when a character hits 0 sanity points they receive a random insanity from the GMG (which I have access to). Does anything else happen? They don't seem to go unconscious as it isn't ability damage.

It seems that, if cured, their sanity points are fully restored. If you only receive mental ailments from total sanity loss (barring other sources like the spell) does this mean that you can only have one random insanity from this optional sub-system?

Granted that some ailments like amnesia are enough (total loss of class abilities? Ye-ouch!). However it's equally possible to get off with a phobia of something and otherwise be fully functional despite having no sanity points.

I think stark-raving-mad when I think of 0 SAN, nothing even approaching socially functional. Further, most of the ailments have a long onset so there's no real immediate effect of seeing such horror. This is less sanity-blasting and more shruggable-but-will-get-to-you-later. Maybe this is a feature and not a bug but I honestly think it should be both lest the whole Lovecraft angle be underrepresented as more annoyance than horror.

Receiving an illness is nice but there should be something more immediate and impacting as well. Any ideas? How have you guys ran this/made an impact when the big things happen?

** spoiler omitted **

Well, my PC (singular, solo campaign) failed that crucial fort save in Broken Moon and gets fuzzy around the full moon now. When she fails those crucial san checks I force a constitution check for her to retain shape. Her civilized mind just goes "Bwah?!" and gives up, letting the wolf take over.

Unfortunately, she has a massive will save (+14, cannot fail a DC 15). She was more sad than I about that (go figure) so I have altered the sanity rules, turning the DC into a floating point. DC 15 for most monsters, 20 for terrible knowledge, 25 for massive monsters, and DC 30 for elder gods. Sanity score and damage are unchanged. The DMPC (will save +11) and eidolon (will save +7) have started going wiggy with the revised rules but, hey, is what they're for.

No one has reached San 0 yet so I haven't decided on insanities. I should do that, I expect they'll finish Y'han-thlei, I mean, Unnamed Underwater City tomorrow.

I do, however, suggest choosing your PC's insanities. The table can be fickle, especially to smaller parties. The players don't have to know.


Quote:
Unfortunately, she has a massive will save (+14, cannot fail a DC 15)

Well, that's not entirely true... What about natural 1s? :D


Toadkiller Dog wrote:
Quote:
Unfortunately, she has a massive will save (+14, cannot fail a DC 15)
Well, that's not entirely true... What about natural 1s? :D

Yeah but the dice gods don't follow the rules of drama very well.

Also, for insanities you could try this... I have a small collection of Call of Cthulhu books and I'm using them for insanities. I suggest the Book of Broken Dreams if you wanna go all out.

Cheliax

All out could be fun, though I should remain mindful of making it too easy to wipe. I've already figured on choosing which ailments would work best with each PC (and would make the module most interesting) so I'm prepared there. I suppose my concern was with the sub-system as written.

Yeah, I guess I found the fixed DC 15 a little odd too, I think I'll be using your adjusted DCs. I also see that your campaign has overtaken mine, as last I recall I was forewarning you of Broken Moon encounters and now I'm asking you for advice :P

Well that's what happens when you have 5 players, tends to go a little slower.


Yeah, solo campaigns go fast.

Also, you may want to revise the DC of elder gods down to 25. We just played through that part and it's insanities all around. The eidolon went insane twice (twice!) after he failed the DC 25 to see the Dark Young's metamorphosis and hit san score zero, regained 1d6 for killing it thus raising his san score to 2, then failed that crucial DC 30.

long windedness:
The point of the DC 15 in the RAW is to give the PCs a chance to come out of this without straightjackets, I guess. And mine all hilariously failed that chance. It's fitting for a Call of Cthulhu game but now I gotta live with it.

Besides, a stereotypical fighter has a will save of what, ass?

My formula was to take the average will save of the party, +10, and do this:

minor monsters (gug, shantak, mi-go, others) = average save + 5

horrible knowledge = average save + 10

horrible monsters (colour out of space, dark young) = average save + 15

elder gods = average save + 20

Now, I discussed this with my player after game tonight and went over the DCs and why and she felt they represented the horror of each situation properly. But she is a hard core Cthulhu fan and therefore operates under the assumption that seeing an elder god should never leave a mortal unscathed. Not everyone has that level of devotion to an idea and not everyone is willing to sacrifice a character's sanity for someone else's idea.

You see how that DC 30 might screw over your fighter. Now, our party's low will save individual is an eidolon so no one cared but Thog the Barbarian might have the same problem of a low will save. A less sanity-blasting set of formulae might be:

minor monsters = average save + 5

horrible knowledge = average save + 10

horrible monsters = average save + 12

elder gods = average save + 15

It's still going to require some sort of herculean roll for a low-will-save character to leave Shub-Niggurath's presence unscathed. But it's still at least statistically possible.

It has the same feel of a sliding scale and is less likely to have your players throwing dice at you. Because there's always that chance that they'll be okay... It's a small chance but it's just enough to give them hope. And once they have hope you can crush them and drive them insane.

Sorry. I get long-winded when I'm tired. But, yeah, you're welcome to use what you will.


Not sure if anyone else saw this, but sanity for a fighter is a killer. Fighter in my group now has psychosis(he went CE) then he gained a mania towards children (because of um...spoilers) and at level 11 which they will be at the end of the chapter, a CE fighter could potentially kill the group.

Cheliax

Right, seeking a little advice here... once again on the whole sanity loss thing. I have a good framework set out now I just need to address the whole believability issue.

For the various things that offer possible sanity loss I'm gonna have to think of how to describe what is happening in a way that makes it more acceptable to them. What angle should I approach instead of just "it looks horrible". I'd like to be able to give them something more than the old cop-out of saying: "too horrible for words!" and handwaiving it.

Otherwise I'm going to get the inevitable "but we've been fighting crazy monsters all the time, what makes -this- so bad?". And they'd be right. Look at all the crazy stuff in Schloss Caromarc they've been through.

Sanity loss in games like Call of Cthulhu is often for the normal Joe who has never seen a monster. It isn't for adventurers who (at this point) have been around the block.

I have something ready for the shambler but that's about it. Any thoughts?

@Dubiousnessocity

Yeah, that's the reason I'm going to be striking psychosis from the list of possible insanities they can contract... maybe amnesia too. Too much potential for catastrophic derailment/party-wipe. It's one thing to have a wipe, another entirely for it to be caused by another PC. I have a Fighter/Barbarian in my own group who I'm fairly certain can finish off at least one or two other PCs real quick.


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Remember, Luther, quite a few of the sanity losses are for horrible realizations. Like when the Fostering Pact is discovered. Or the brains in jars. I used the idea of horrible realization to cover for the expected "but I fight monsters all the time!" Two examples...

The Colour...:
The colour out of space wasn't scary because it was an incorporeal space ooze, it was scary because of what it had done to the women and children. I played up the piles of dust around the caves and had that dust kicked up during exploration and the realization that the dust you've been inhaling, the dust scattered all around, the empty cradles, the missing people, and what happened to them... That's the sanity-breaking realization, not the monster itself.

The mi-go...:
The mi-go are just weird looking monsters, right? But look at their deeds, look at what they've done, the deep ones with their brains exposed, the missing children, all the people were moved to the caves to protect them and now they're dead, dust, fine dust all kicked around and inhaled and oh holy hell you breathed them in! The mi-go started this! They did it all!

See? Physical descriptions of monsters are not the only way to justify sanity damage.


My group does not like playing CofC becaue of the sanity metric and argued against using it for this campaign for the exact reason mentioned above; that they run into scary stuff all the time why suddenly does this scary stuff cause sanity hits. So I dropped it and the AP still went great.

But the funny thing is the player who was most adamanet against sanity losses also was the same player who said "wow, that's something you don't see everyday" right after the evil clerics head blew off and the tentacles grew out of his neck and took control of his body.

So if you are going to use sanity I think that scene speaks for itself.

Cheliax

Yeah, horrible realizations are one thing... until you think about all the horrible realizations that have been made in the past.

Trial of the Beast:
Like the fact that it was a skin-stealer behind a lot of stuff for example. Finding the cabinet of skins of faces, seeing Vorkstag "in the nude", and the realization that they could have been talking with this thing while it was wearing someone's skin like a suit might have been appropriate for sanity loss if they were in WotW.

It isn't that I'll have problems convincing them that WotW events could be sanity breaking. The problem will be that I have to convince them of that while the rest of the stuff in the AP somehow isn't.

Sanity loss for monsters doing horrible things? Please. Welcome to Ustalav, how long have you been here? Evil monsters do horrible things all the time, that's what makes them evil monsters and yet at no other point in the AP as written does it break someone's mind for it.

For you or me, yes, that would be pretty mentally rattling to find out. For jaded players (and jaded adventurers) I'm afraid it's just too late in the game to try and pull this. I mean, look at what they've been through by now. Maybe if the sanity rules were brought out in the first or second module it would explain why the PCs are doing all this. "Adventurer" seems like an apt name for a disorder.

When you hit the same group of characters with horror after horror eventually they're not going to be quite as affected by it anymore. To -now- have things start affecting them on this level seems... ham-fisted.

I'll talk to them and see how they feel about it. I might just have to do as Biobeast did and scrap sanity rules entirely because I could easily understand where they're coming from at this point in the game. It's hard to pretend that everything now "gets to you" when the horrible stuff before didn't. I think a few things in WotW might surprise them (such as exploding head action) but it wouldn't quite be reality shattering.


Biobeast wrote:

My group does not like playing CofC becaue of the sanity metric and argued against using it for this campaign for the exact reason mentioned above; that they run into scary stuff all the time why suddenly does this scary stuff cause sanity hits. So I dropped it and the AP still went great.

But the funny thing is the player who was most adamanet against sanity losses also was the same player who said "wow, that's something you don't see everyday" right after the evil clerics head blew off and the tentacles grew out of his neck and took control of his body.

So if you are going to use sanity I think that scene speaks for itself.

I'll just be replacing the sanity "mechanic" with wisdom damage and the existing sates of fear. That's pretty much what insanity is represented by in the game anyway, no need to complicate things further with a redundant mechanic.

Not to mention I find the armchair psychiatrist "Types of Insanity" from the GMG to be a bit modern for my fantasy game tastes. Where do the PCs get Prozac in Golarian anyway? Schizophrenia? Come on now, everyone has a diagnosed schizophrenic in the family somewhere, is it really necessary to make this debilitating and heart breaking illness a game mechanic? Why not add Alzheimer's while we're at it, you can get it with the "old" template.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

That's what Heal is for.

Silver Crusade

Of course, if we were going to stick to the way HPL envisaged it, we wouldn't be losing san for head-explosions or other material manifestations but for rubbing up against the outre nature of things from beyond our comprehension of how the universe works. Unfortunately, those sensations are very hard to portray in an RPG, so it usually goes down to head explosions. :D

Cheliax

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Nathonicus has hit the nail square on the head. If you want to go the way HPL would then don't try to ooga-booga them to insanity or even fridge-horror them to it with implications. Instead, you'd attack their understanding of how the universe works and turn everything on its head. Since that is very difficult to show the best you can do is abstract it and convey the idea to the players.

They leave a room, take two lefts, and wind up back in the same room.

They enter a square room. There is a pentagram in the center with an arm stretching to each corner.

The other people they've been chasing around the circular dungeon and can never seem to catch are actually them. The people that also seem to be chasing them but never catch up are also actually them.

Usually in these stories it's when their minds try to make sense of such things that they break.

At least you could do that if it wasn't for pre-existing (and known) magic, outsiders, and crazy supernatural stuff subverting the natural laws. Put next to all that, it sort of loses its punch when everything can be rationalized with "a wizard did it". Considering how often wizards (and other casters) do crazy things in APs, it wouldn't be an unreasonable assumption. I'm starting to think that Pathfinder (and fantasy in general, especially high magic fantasy) is ill-suited to this flavor of horror.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Actually it's not the characters that make doing such things difficult, but rather the players of said characters. Magic exists in HPL's books, as do outsiders and crazy supernatural stuff subverting the laws of nature whether the characters in a given story knew it or not. The real problem is the fact that players have a hard time separating what they know from what their characters know. Even the best roleplayers allow certain aspects of what they know outside of the game to influence their decisions and reactions in a game. The trick is getting them to accept that just because the player understands that the creature with the bulbous head, insectlike legs and diaphanous wings is a mi-go doesn't necessarily translate to the character knowing the same thing. This becomes especially true when you have players that have more than just a passing familiarity with HPL's writing (I have at least two in my group).

I asked my players to separate player knowledge from character knowledge for this portion of the adventure path. And while I told them that a sanity mechanic is in play, they don't know what their scores are and they cringe whenever I ask for a Will save and see me make notations afterward. They don't know if its because the character's sanity is being affected or if I'm just messing with them to see what they will do (for the record, I've not read HPL's writing, but I have read REH's Conan so I'm familiar with Cthulhu mythos in a fantasy setting). Regardless, they're having fun with it and they're dreading the day when their characters start losing it.

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