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Shadows of Gallowspire (GM Reference)


Carrion Crown

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Silver Crusade Star Voter 2014

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I love Morrowgarth and the way her tactics are laid out. They make for a very unique encounter that my players will remember for some time. I had to alter her somewhat for when my players actually get this far (I have 10 people going through this).

The following stat block is not my final draft. It's still a work in progress, but since there are other DMs who have larger than the recommended size groups, they can use it as a start for their own changes if they feel the need to do so.

Morrowgarth for 10-person party:

Marrowgarth CR 17
Female mature adult red dragon nightmare ravener
CE Huge undead (fire)
Init +4; Senses blindsense 120 ft., darkvision 240 ft., dragon senses, smoke vision; Perception +35
Aura cowering fear, fire (5 ft., 1d6 fire), frightful presence (210 ft., DC 22)

AC 39, touch 11, flat-footed 39 (+3 deflection, +24 natural, +4 shield, -2 size)
hp 305 (19d8+133 plus false life)
Fort +17, Ref +11, Will +16
Defensive Abilities channel resistance +4, soul ward (35 hp);
DR 10/good; Immune fire, undead traits; SR 28
Weaknesses vulnerability to cold

Speed 40 ft., fly 200 ft. (poor)
Melee bite +30 (2d8+19/17-20), 2 claws +30 (2d6+13/19-20), tail slap +28 (2d6+19/19-20), 2 wings (1d8+6/19-20)
Space 15 ft.; Reach 10 ft. (15 ft. with bite)
Special Attacks breath weapon (50-ft. Cone, 14d10 fire plus 2 negative levels, Reflex DC 25 half, usable every 1d4 rounds), crush (Small creatures, DC 25, 2d8+19), deadly terror, soul consumption (DC 25), soul magic
Spell-like Abilities (CL 19th; concentration +25)
At will – detect magic, pyrotechnics (DC 18), suggestion (DC 19)
Spells Known (CL 10th; concentration +16)
5th (4/day) – waves of fatigue
4th (5/day) – dimension door, lesser globe of invulnerability
3rd (7/day) – dispel magic, haste, lightning bolt (DC 19)
2nd (8/day) – command undead (DC 18), false life, invisibility, see invisibility
1st (8/day) – grease (DC 17), magic missile, ray of enfeeblement, shield, true strike
0 (at will) – acid splash, bleed, dancing lights, detect magic, ghost sound (DC 16), mage hand, message, prestidigitation, read magic

Before Combat Morrowgarth casts false life and shield before she engages the PCs.
During Combat See Battle with Morrowgarth below for her actions during combat. If forced into melee combat, she makes full attacks with all of her natural weapons, focusing her rage on individual combatants.
Morale Unwilling to give up her unnatural existence, Marrowgarth flees when reduced to 50 hit points or fewer, continuing to plague Virlych and consumes souls until her health is restored.

Str 37, Dex 10, Con - , Int 20, Wis 21, Cha 22
Base Atk +19; CMB +34; CMD 44 (48 vs. trip)
Feats Cleave, Flyby Attack, Improved Critical (bite), Improved Initiative, Improved Vital Strike, Iron Will, Multiattack, Power Attack, Toughness, Vital Strike
Skills Appraise +25, Bluff +28, Fly +14, Intimidate +36, Knowledge (arcana) +27, Knowledge (history) +22, Knowledge (religion) +27, Perception +35, Sense Motive +25, Spellcraft +27, Stealth +22, Survival +17
Languages Common, Draconic, Dwarven, Ignan, Necril, Orc

Fire Aura (Su) Morrowgarth is surrounded by an aura of intense heat. All creatures within 5 feet take 1d6 points of fire damage at the beginning of the dragon's turn.
Smoke Vision (Ex) Morrowgarth can see perfectly in smoky condition (such as those created by pyrotechnics).
Soul Ward (Su) An intangible field of siphoned soul energy protects Morrowgarth from destruction. This ward has 38 hit points, but starts at half this amount. Whenever Morrowgarth would be reduced below 1 hit point, all damage in excess of that which would reduce her to 1 hit point is instead dealt to her soul ward. If this damage reduces the soul ward to fewer than 0 hit points, Morrowgarth is destroyed.
Cowering Fear (Su) Any creature shaken by Morrowgarth's frightful presence is cowering instead of shaken for the first round of the effect, and shaken for the rest of the duration. Any creature that is frightened by her frightful presence is instead cowering for the duration.
Soul Consumption (Su) When a living creature within 30 feet of Morrowgarth dies, that creature's soul is torn from its body and pulled into the ravener's maw if the dying creature fails a Will save. This adds a number of hit points to Morrowgarth's soul ward equal to the dead creature's Hit Dice. Creatures that have their soul consumed in this way can only be brought back to life through miracle, true resurrection, or wish.
Deadly Terror (Su) Unlike normal raveners, Morrowgarth does not inflict negative levels on a critical hit, though she retains her increased threat range. Instead, whenever Morrowgarth scores a hit with a natural weapon against a cowering, frightened, panicked, or shaken creature, she deals an additional 2d6 negative energy damage. For each such hit, Morrowgarth also adds 1 point to her soul ward ability even if the creature struck is immune to negative energy damage. This extra damage is not increased on a critical hit.
Soul Magic (Sp) Morrowgarth retains her spellcasting capability, but loses all spell slots. Instead, whenever Morrowgarth wishes to cast any one of her spells known, it consumes a number of hit points from her soul ward equal to the spell slot level necessary to cast the spell. If the soul ward has insufficient hit points, Morrowgarth cannot cast that spell. Casting a spell that reduces its soul ward to exactly 0 hit points does not harm the ravener (though Morrowgarth is not comfortable without this buffer of soul-energy and tries to replenish it quickly).

As you can see, I stepped her to the next age category. I wanted to make her more of a challenge but not so much as to eclipse the encounter with Adivion Adrissant (to that end he underwent some changes as well). I also turned Morrowgarth from a regular ravener into a nightmare ravener. That particular bit resulted from twofold reasoning: 1) the presence of the Leng Spiders in the adventure and 2) to not only take into account likely negative energy protection use but to drive home to one of my players that even a dhampir's resist energy drain ability does not offer full protection from the terror that is Morrowgarth.


Blayde MacRonan wrote:

I love Morrowgarth and the way her tactics are laid out. They make for a very unique encounter that my players will remember for some time. I had to alter her somewhat for when my players actually get this far (I have 10 people going through this).

The following stat block is not my final draft. It's still a work in progress, but since there are other DMs who have larger than the recommended size groups, they can use it as a start for their own changes if they feel the need to do so.

** spoiler omitted **...

Assuming the party is full of level 13+ characters half of them could still kill her. If you really want to annoy them keep her original CR and give her some backup.

Silver Crusade Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

If I were to follow that line of logic, then leaving her as written would mean that she'd be beaten that much quicker.

With 10 people in the party, they won't be 13th level. They might be 11th at best, but given their numbers they would still be able to challenge her. They're still going through ToTB and I'm already seeing the fall off begin (5th level going into Schloss Caromarc as opposed to the recommended 6th, with them possibly being 6th when the adventure is completed).

The version I posted is not final and is still being looked over. I also posted it as a starting point for others who have the same problem in regards to number of players as I do.

Silver Crusade Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Also, adding to my previous post, I'm trying to preserve the spirit of the encounter presented: Adorak is a danger in and of itself and a weapon that Morrowgarth uses to her advantage throughout the entire encounter as she stalks the party. Assuming that you've read the section on how to use her for the battle as the PCs travel through the ruined city, you will understand that giving her minions in this instance would be a disservice to her and her tactics. I'm not looking to run a knockdown drag-out slugfest here and the encounter is not set up as one. The PCs can try to turn it into one, but a creature as seasoned as Morrowgarth wouldn't allow them the opportunity to ground her in the open so that she could be swarmed. No, she would play the patient predator and skirmish them on her terms, retreating when the encounter goes wrong to hit them at a time and place of her choosing. I'm also keeping in mind the possibility of her escaping to aid Adivion Adrissant in the final encounter as well. And the tactics given Morrowgarth are perfect in that regard.

That's what I dig about the set-up because doing that makes for a tension-filled encounter that most groups would not be accustomed to. I only made her slightly tougher so that should things go bad, she can pack a slightly bigger punch to my players without outright killing them (which even with the original incarnation she could still do) and to provide a greater physical challenge equal to what they would've faced if they had only numbered 4-5 characters as recommended.

Dark Archive

Ten people? Holy crap, you have my respect. I get antsy at six.

Silver Crusade Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

It was initially set for seven and I was running something else, but along the way our group picked up three more new players. As the campaign I was running was drawing to a close and it was unsuitable to bring in totally fresh players, I made the call to put it on hold and try something else to see how well they would do. That 'something' was Carrion Crown and my players (both old and new) love it so far.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter 2013

Luther wrote:
Ten people? Holy crap, you have my respect. I get antsy at six.

Indeed. I've DMed 10 a few times and it's tough to keep it together for a whole session. In the end I broke it into two groups which worked much better.

I can't imagine DMing 10 people at high level. The fights must take AGES.


I ran Savage Tide for 6 players. We had great time, played it through, but afterwards agreed never to do it again. Fights lasts longer (since there's +50% of the PCs it usually means there'll be +50% of the opponents), by the time you get your turn again your attention wonders off. Also, in conversations with NPCs not everyone can get their chance to speak. Everything goes more smoothly with 4 players, IMHO. DMing for 10 players (or being one of those 10 players) sounds more like a nightmare than a game to me, but YMMV.

Silver Crusade Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Well, it helps that the seven I'm used to running for are old hands at the game (I say that in the figurative sense as the youngest is 22), but even given that, the group can be a handful. But the leader of the party is a player that the others respect, so when she speaks they pretty much settle down and get to business.

I'm planning on using two of the sinister sequels in mashup of sorts should they make it through to the end: Heirs of the Tyrant and Vampire War.

Spoiler:

In the aftermath of the PCs battle with Adivion, a skull-sage of Geir, a seraptis in service to Kaltestrua, and Quinley Basdel (who in my campaign is an agent of Malyas) will show up to investigate what happened. But instead of finding Tar-Baphon, the Whispering Tyrant, returned in all of his glory, they discover Adivion instead. Though his plan was derailed by the PCs, he still intends to follow it through.

Adivion will not be denied Tar-Baphon's resurrection and for that to take place, he still needs someone with a direct lineage to his master as a vessel. And though Count Galdana had been his choice, Adivion's near-destruction at the hands of the PCs connected him to Tar-Baphon in a way that even a genius like him can't understand. And it was through that connection that he learned that one of the PCs is also of direct lineage to the Whispering Tyrant.

Returned and invested with his master's authority, Adivion will instruct the gathered servants to prepare Ustalav for the Tyrant's return. Looking for a chance to both settle scores and reclaim his place as the top vampire, Malyas will initiate it all by unleashing his army on Caliphas. And while the PCs run around trying to deal with the Vampire War, unbeknownst to them Adivion will preparing for a final encounter with the ones that thwarted him from achieving his goal originally.

And the fact that one of them holds the very key to his victory makes achieving it all the sweeter in his mind.


Even when I read Brendon's post explaining Gallowspire I still can't grasp how does H6 area looks like and where is it on the Gallowspire tower map. Can anyone please elaborate?

Contributor , Star Voter 2013

I'll try again. Maybe I've overexplained in the past.

H6 is basically a balcony level below H7, which is the very tip-top of Gallowspire. You can reach H7 by climbing the Bone Stair from H6.

H6 has a floor and is open to the sky. It is basically the "roof" level of the sarcophagus that surrounds Gallowpire. The last remnants of the outer tower do form walls for this area.

The only thing at a higher level than H6 is the very tip-top of the tower itself, which is area H7. H7 is about 80 feet above the open floor area of H6.

Does that help this time? Let me know and I'll see how else I might put it. Don't let the description about the stairs and everything get to you. =-)

B.


Quote:
Does that help this time? Let me know and I'll see how else I might put it

It does... somewhat. :D That is, I now know what is H6 but still doesn't help me to figure out where it is on the tower picture. Let me elaborate by using the actual picture (can't really explain my question better, english is not my primary language):

http://i.imgur.com/Ad8AC.jpg

So, I'm guessing the parts marked A are H6, right (even though that it doesn't appear there isn't a balcony on the right picture)?

And what are these walls (marked as B by the right arrow)? And what is this lighter area between them (marked by the upper arrow B)? It bugs me because there doesn't seem to be a floor there...

Contributor , Star Voter 2013

Toadkiller Dog wrote:
And what are these walls (marked as B by the right arrow)? And what is this lighter area between them (marked by the upper arrow B)? It bugs me because there doesn't seem to be a floor there...

Alright! This will help me help you tremendously!

There are two things going on in this picture, and hopefully this will clear it up.

The right picture is Gallowspire. JUST the central tower. Keep in mind that the ONLY parts of Gallowspire you have access to in this adventure are the outer walls, the outer Bone Stair that winds around it, and the roof (which is area H7). That's IT.

The left picture is a cutaway view of the SARCOPHAGUS. This is the part that the adventure takes place in. I think you get that. The sarcophagus is an "outer tower" that the crusaders built trying to close off Gallowspire. But the workers kept leaping to their deaths, and the never finished.

So, this is how you get a "tower-within-a-tower" mentioned in the book and in my earlier explanation in this thread.

Now, another confusing aspect is that the map artist used to different representations of all of this on the map itself. In the picture you posted, that's Jason's Bulhman's reference drawing from Dungeons of Golarion on the left. The drawing on the right is the one I did. The artist used our original sketches, much to my dismay, when he did the map, and didn't redraw them to make them look the same, which he should have to keep the appearance consistent. SO KEEP THAT IT MIND!

As for the areas:

For this, IGNORE the picture on the right. TOTALLY IGNORE IT. For purposes of this adventure, that inner tower is off-limits, and noted by the central blacked-out areas on the main room maps.

For the left picture, know that the central tower "B" pointed at with the upper "B" and the arrow, is Gallowspire itself. The INNER tower. That upper "B" is pointing right at Area H7.

The lower "A" is pointing to the FLOOR of Area H6.

The lower "B" is pointing to the WALLS of area H6. There is no roof for the outer tower. I know there are lines there, but they are supposed to be showing the cutaway.

Want a 3D representation that should ultimately clear this up in a better way than words?

Get a styrofoam cup. Hold it like you are drinking from it. Stick a popsicle up THROUGH the bottom of the cup. The popsicle is the inner tower of GALLOWSPIRE. The cup is the OUTER TOWER. H6 is the bottom of the cup. H7 is the top of the popsicle.

Does that do it? =-)


It does, thank you very much Brandon. :)

Silver Crusade

Toadkiller Dog wrote:
I ran Savage Tide for 6 players. We had great time, played it through, but afterwards agreed never to do it again.

My favorite group size is 3 or 2 players, some of them running multiple PCs. A lot of my most fond memories come from 2 players games where each of us ran 2 PCs. It gives you a more tactical feel to the game, and ensures that you have something to do when your main character gets caught in an Otiluke's Resilient Sphere on the first round of combat. :D

Contributor , Star Voter 2013

Toadkiller Dog wrote:
It does, thank you very much Brandon. :)

It was the popsicle-in-a-cup reference that did the trick, isn't it? Tar-Baphon shudders in his sleep.

"They compared my dungeon of ultimate darkness to a POPSICLE??? The HORROR!"

=-)


:D

I actually wasn't sure WHERE did the inner tower end, and those outer walls confused me, but all's well now, when I learned to ignore the picture on the right. :D

Now, Brandon, since you're currently the King of Information regarding Carrion Crown and everything related to it, I'd like to take this opporunity and ask you something else. In Dungeons of Golarion it says that Tar-Baphon is (un)live and well and literally holding court and using magic to scry upon the surface wall.

How would then reincarnating him work, when he's alive? I always thought that his remains are interred in Gallowspire and that by releasing him, he'd resurrect like any lich, but the fact that he's walking around while above him somebody is trying to reincarnate him doesn't make any sense to me. Care to shed some light on that?

Contributor , Star Voter 2013

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Toadkiller Dog wrote:
How would then reincarnating him work, when he's alive? I always thought that his remains are interred in Gallowspire and that by releasing him, he'd resurrect like any lich, but the fact that he's walking around while above him somebody is trying to reincarnate him doesn't make any sense to me. Care to shed some light on that?

Certainly!

The idea behind Adivion's plan is that the magic holding Tar-Baphon's undead (and active) body is simply too strong for mortal magics to undo. I mean, if the Whispering Tyrant can't break the seals fro mhis own place of power, what hope does Adivion have, right? So, the idea that Adivion comes up with is to just remove Tar-Baphon's SOUL from the prison, and put it into a new body.

In other words, by creating a new body for the lich, which Adivion could only do with a blood relative of the Tyrant, he could sort of work some magic jar-like magic and steal the Tyrant's soul OUT of the prison, leaving his old lich body behind, and transfer it to a new body -that of Count Galdana. So, it is sort-of a jailbreak for the Tyrant in a roundabout way.

The preparation process in Renchurch, by the way, is not only to prepare Galdana for lichdom, but to drain his essence away so much that there is only just enough to keep the body alive. In other words, but draining his vitality, they leave room for the Whispering Tyrant's soul.

And it would've worked, too, if it hadn't have been for those meddling adventurers.

There's other stuff going on, too. Little fragments of Tar-Baphon's nightmares have sort of broken off in the waking world in those pesky animate dreams. Then there's the Whispers haunt, which is really the only direct influence he can have on the world anymore, but even then they have sort of taken on a life of their own.

But ultimately I think it makes good internal sense. Personally, I prefer a sort of slumbering Tyrant, and Jason likes him a bit more active, but the takes aren't irreconcilable.


Quote:
So, it is sort-of a jailbreak for the Tyrant in a roundabout way.

Ah, now it makes sense. But I still don't like it. I'm going to back you up on thise one:

Quote:
Personally, I prefer a sort of slumbering Tyrant

And make it so in my game.


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

Say, for anyone still mulling over what the Whispering Way might use as a substitute for the Raven's Head, I just had a lovely idea!

The Whispering Way forcibly calls an ancient, storied, raven-like psychopomp from Pharasma's Boneyard, and imprison it. The cultists torture it horribly over the course of days or even weeks, meticulously recording its screams and delirious ravings, either scribed into a scroll or using a magic item that stores sound.

Thus gained, the Chronicle of Raven's Tongue. While brewing the lich's elixir, the Whispering Way cultists recite or replay the litany, infusing the potion with the essence of the raven psychopomp's suffering.

Later, the party find the psychopomp's broken form in one of the Way's dungeons, its once regal raven wings pierced and pinned to the walls. Apart from the horrific tragedy of the holy servitor's torture... this is an "Oh heck," moment, when the party realizes the Way has their final component.

My original thought is putting it in Renchurch, but if there was an opportunity to slip it into the previous module, that might lend a touch of urgency for the party to strike at the Whisperers.


Drakli i dig your idea, i might have it found with most of its feathers plucked for the elixir as well, a great idea tho.


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Brandon Hodge wrote:

For this, IGNORE the picture on the right. TOTALLY IGNORE IT. For purposes of this adventure, that inner tower is off-limits, and noted by the central blacked-out areas on the main room maps.

For the left picture, know that the central tower "B" pointed at with the upper "B" and the arrow, is Gallowspire itself.

There is no "B" in the picture on the left.

Brandon Hodge wrote:


The INNER tower. That upper "B" is pointing right at Area H7.

The lower "A" is pointing to the FLOOR of Area H6.

The lower "B" is pointing to the WALLS of area H6....

All this is from the picture on the right, which you suggest we ignore. So I'm confused. I get the tower in a tower, but I don't know how to apply any of the above to the picture on the left. The picture on the left just has an "A" on it.

Contributor , Star Voter 2013

How embarrassing -I got it exactly wrong. Ignore the picture to the left. I mean, don't IGNORE it -it is a beautiful drawing by Mr. Bulmahn. But all it shows is the inner tower, without the outer tower around it.

Fun fact: I actually made a "0" on my first-grade left/right test. No kidding. All the other students were cheating with the whole "L" with their left hands, and I didn't get what they were doing. I got every question wrong. It seems I haven't learned since! =-)

Seems you've got it, though. Sorry about my mix up. I must have written too fast, and without coffee.


Here's a miniature that I'll be using for Adivion in the final encounter. Lacking a miniature of him, I thought that Tar-Baphon will be appropriate. The photos are taken by a phone camera, because I ran out of batteries for my camera, but I'll upload better ones soon. Until then:

Adivion 1
Adivion 2
Adivion 3

I'm happy with how it turned out (although I'm not satisfied with the color scheme I chose), so I thought I'd share.


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

I'll admit this is maybe a pointless question since anyone who really wanted to could come up with some kind of story based reason... but I have to wonder why the Linnorm Hagmouth's tail never healed and regrew. Dude has regeneration and is immune to curses (therefore a curse of disease-tail or never healing wouldn't stick.) Even if it did get infected, couldn't he just chew it off above the gangrene and let it grow back since regeneration repairs lost limbs?

Mostly I'd like to know if there was any story as to how that happened to stick.

Grant you, with 7 players I'm probably going to make him a full on unwounded crag linnorm anyway, but that's just part of the party/numbers game and that I don't get to toss dragons at them much.

Contributor , Star Voter 2013

Drakli, it was all just flavor. I just liked the idea of a rotten-tailed linnorm dragging his sick weight behind him through the mountain crags, and thought it was particularly appropriate for undead-infested Virlych. I liked the idea of hinting that there was a bigger, badder dragon that did it still lurking out there, hinting at Sicnavier V. Probably too much to posit that Sicnavier hacked his tail off with a cold iron blade? Hahahaha. Basic point was creepy flavor, though, and there wasn't anything more to it than that. =-)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Is it just me, or is there not enough treasure in the module to get four PCs up to their WBL from level 13 ( 140.000 GP ) to level 16 ( 315.000 ). That is 175.000 GP per PC, adding up to 600.000 GP that should be in treasure in the module, if the PC's find every single treasure in the book.

If I haven't missed some giant treasure horde, there's something like 350.000 - 400.000 GP in the entire book ( going by the standard that every type of magic item is worth 50% on sales ), which is really not that much. Normally, there is around 20% more treasure in a module than necessary to reach the desired WBL for the ending level of the module.

Given how selling items and upgrading them would be nigh difficult in Vyrlich and the Witch Gates make teleportation also impossible, I can see where the decision to cut the treasure short came from. After all, the campaign will have ended when Adivion Adrissant falls on the Gallowspire.

But given how a good number of the mook NPC are total walk-overs ( the Renchurch Novices won't even be able to hit the melee PC's, except on a 20 ), I expect I will pass out some upgrades all around. But the decision to not include some better magic stuff for the minions, so that they wouldn't be a complete waste of space seems a bit strange to me.

Contributor , Star Voter 2013

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I don't know if it's just you or not. I haven't done a thorough review to see how things were adjusted on my end from the original turnover to the finished product, but when written, I did the exact calculation you did, and awarded about 595,000 gp in treasure (looking at the recorded math from my turnover documents right now). I'll also note that I only included USABLE items in that calculation. In other words, stuff like the bone beads, bones robes, potions of cause serious, etc, weren't included in that total, because something PCs can't use isn't really treasure. So there's actually a lot more than 600K, with items used to bolster the novices as you say, but I didn't find it fair to include that stuff in the final treasure count.

Of course, Paizo has their own system and review for that sort of thing, and I can't vouch for anything that might have shifted in development. I can only vouch for what I turned over, and I'm lucky enough to have just that document to see what I did. =-)

As for the novices, I've never been scared to throw some mooks in the adventure mix for PCs to beat up on. I find that allowing the fighters to chop folks in half with one blow and the wizards to send severed limbs flying in all directions is good for morale. More importantly, such encounters help with the ebb and flow of horror writing, creating false senses of security to jar PCs more effectively when they face what lies beyond once their confidence is built up. There's a good write-up on this topic in the old WotC Heroes of Horror book worth checking out.

I think the minions are hardly a waste of space, as long as you are using them as outlined and intended. The mooks here usually have something much better and much more flavorful to do than just swing and miss. They

Spoiler:
throw racks of exploding haunts siphons, aim the Lazurite Focus to blast PCs, help awaken rejuvenating liches, and, in the Renchurch finale, ought to be using crowd tactics to overwhelm PCs. Don't underestimate the power of a cumulative +2 grapple bonus for each of those guys when they gang up on the cleric fighter and toss him into that necrotic well.

=-)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Thanks, I'll check Heroes of Horror. It's always a good idea to improve my game. :D I guess I am still a bit shaken from those six level eight NPC Fighters in Ashes at Dawn getting chopped into little pieces by one level eleven Barbarian, with minimal support from the party.

I'll re-check the treasure when I'm home in a few hours... spellbooks are tricky stuff to calculate from work. ^^


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Alright, that took a while. Good thing I already had a headache coming home from work. ^^

WBL between levels 13 to 16: 175.000 GP x 4 = 700.000

Total treasure in the module: Around 630.000 GP

Treasure the group is almost assured to get: 438.359,2 GP

Treasure the group is likely to get: 129.000

Treasure the group most likely won't get or will leave: 60.240

So the loot is either somewhat or very much below the one a group of four should get. I'll use the missing gold to spice up some otherwise pretty toothless encounters, I think. ^^

Paizo Employee Senior Developer

Treasure totals in Pathfinder AP adventures are calculated not based on wealth by level but by CR of encounters. In addition, these calculations are based on the full value of treasure and items, since it is not assumed that the PCs will sell everything. If a PC keeps a +3 longsword, it's worth 18,315 gp to that character, not the half price he would get for selling it.

For "Shadows of Gallowspire," the total GO value based on the CR of the encounters is 771,000 gp. The total treasure awarded during the adventure is 890,833 gp.

Obviously, of course, if your PCs don't find all of the treasure, or if they sell a larger proportion of the gear found, they'll get a lower total, in which case you should increase the treasure found in the module to keep their wealth by level accurate.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Given how selling gear is nigh impossible in the module ( to whom are they going to sell it, the Whispering Way? The Witch Gates and the time pressure the PC's operate under make traveling back to civilization almost impossible ), the whole question is kind of moot. The loot in the module either gets used by the PC's or saved for after the end of the AP.

In the age of easy item crafting my experience has been that most loot gets sold, except some exceptional items. I'm simply in kind of a bad mood, because I am once again discovering the vast gulf between PC's and NPC's power level, due to poor gear on part of the NPC's ( coupled with poor feat selection in many cases and tactics which don't make sense in the "two to three rounds and the combat is over" high-level environment ).

I simply would have liked to see the possible loot used to make the NPC's tougher and more able to face player characters and at least make a dent into their armor, instead of ineffectually flailing at them with their low attack bonuses of +10 or +15, which hit the frontliners on something like an 18, 19 or 20, just to do some really irrelevant damage numbers. Meanwhile every attack by one of those front liners is very likely to hit the miserable AC's of the NPC's and will do between 30 to 60 damage. If we wouldn't use the critical hit deck for fun, which many times defangs the regular crits the party frontliners do, damage numbers would be even more depressing for me.

It's not that I want the bad guys to win, but it is not very dramatic if the opponents of the party seem pathetically unable to do more than annoy and delay the player characters. :-/ Maybe future AP's could use at least the loot of the last module to dramatically enhance the opponent facing the party.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16

Sounds like your party is more powerful than the average party. (You play with 6 PCs at 20PB, correct?) Remember, the definition of "average party" is pretty weak.

Slap a the simple advanced template on all of the badguys to compensate. And increase the quantity of mooks by 1.5x to make up for action-economy.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Six PC's at 15 point buy ( with some extra freebie points allocated by me to Intelligence or Charisma, to round out the characters in a non-combat way ).

The thing which set me off on this "NPC's are way too bad against PC's" rant was, however, the way in which our new female players lvl 11 Barbarian cleaned the clock of six lvl 8 Fighters. Alone. With one party buff on her ( Blessing of Fervor ). And I had re-written those NPC Fighters to not totally suck against the high AC's of the other frontliners, by giving them either Greater Trip or Disarm. Didn't matter, she ripped them apart.

Advanced templates will be liberally used, especially in my next campaign, where we'll have the same amount of players but a 20 point buy ( because I want people to have the chance to play a decent Monk, if they'd like to ). But even an advanced template would do exactly nothing to give the Renchurch Novices with their pathetic +10 attack bonus a chance to hit the PC's. I mean, what are those guys supposed to do, besides being a speedbump? Their attack bonus is maybe just enough to give the guys in my party a gentle backrub at this point.

Contributor , Star Voter 2013

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magnuskn wrote:
I mean, what are those guys supposed to do, besides being a speedbump? Their attack bonus is maybe just enough to give the guys in my party a gentle backrub at this point.

Ditto Erik on party makeup. You know by now that APs are made for 4 PCs at 15-point buy, so you're already pushing the envelope on this thing by 50%.

But I not only gave you a reminder of "what those guys are supposed to do" in my post above, but the adventure itself outlines their tactics, which should at least make their encounters memorable, if not mathematically challenging for your group. I mean, you've got

Spoiler:
a group turning a guy into a ghoul with lazurite, and blasting the first PC they see with its ray, another group smoking frikkin' ectoplasmic spirit essences when the PCs interrupt them, and they should be able to at least make their rack of haunt siphons go *kaboom* before PCs can stop them. Another group acts as meat shields for a rejuvenating lich they just woke up, and I believe the only other mook encounter is the finale, where you've got a TON of them, the danger of area spells that would knock them out also accidentally killing the guy you are there to save, and the very real possibility of cumulative Aid Another actions that's stacking a whopping +2 for each one who participates in dragging a PC down or grappling them. Surround a PC who thinks they're invulnerable and toss their arrogant butt into the necrotic well. It's totally possible. Do the math.

Ultimately, the novices KNOW they can't stand up to the PCs, and they act and fight like it. I knew that when I wrote it, and I wrote them to act accordingly, and as best they're able. You could make the best of it as written (maybe increase their numbers by 50% and add the Advanced template), or just replace them all with mohrgs or revenants or another NPC statblock or something. But don't give me the "what are these guys supposed to DO" bit, because the text explains it once pretty succinctly, and I've explained it twice. They're smart little necromancers, so make the most of them and don't be afraid to just make them fun encounters, even if the math doesn't make them a tremendous challenge! =-)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Ah, you're probably right. I'll just have to roll with it. Believe me, Brandon, I am pretty happy already that you put that many spellcasters into this module.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

BTW., I wonder if the Mirror of Life Trapping got counted into the GP total, given that it is very likely to be broken. ^^

Working now on building up the module to challenge my players, who are pretty okay at optimizing. With six characters and an excellent mix of ranged/melee/spellcasting, I figure I got to combine some encounters to challenge them ( and make that whole slugfest through so many encounters just a tad shorter. We only got three hours a week and I am hankering to begin Jade Regent ).


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Oh, and I'll leave this here, if you want the Renchurch Novices to pose an actual challenge. No, these are not completely statted out as far as skills go, but who is going to know that Mook X and Mook Y didn't have their Knowledge: Arcana straight?

Renchurch Novice
Human Alchemist 8
NE Medium humanoid (human)
Init +5;
Senses Perception +13
Defense
AC 30, touch 16, flat-footed 25 ( +5 dex, +5 armor, +5 natural, +1 deflection, +4 shield), Displacement
hp 77 each (8d8+24+14 false life)
Fort +10, Ref +14, Will +7 ( Reroll possible )
Defensive Abilities
Offense
Speed 30 ft.
Melee +9 dagger ( 1d4+1 )
Ranged bomb +14/+9 (4d6+7 fire)
Special Attacks bomb 13/day (4d6+7 fire, DC 19)
Alchemist Extracts Prepared (CL 8th)
3rd—displacement, heroism
2nd—barkskin, false life, fire breath (DC 17), see invisibility, vomit swarm
1st—crafter’s fortune, identify, shield (2), expeditious retreat
Special Attacks
Tactics: WITH ALCHEMY! Prepare defense+offense, long term buffs, kill kill kill
During Combat: MORE ALCHEMY! AHAHAHA!
Morale These devout novices fight until killed.
Statistics
Str 12, Dex 20, Con 12, Int 20, Wis 10, Cha 7
Base Atk +6; CMB +7; CMD 19
Feats Throw Anything, Brew Potion, Point-Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Rapid Shot, Iron Will, Greater Iron Will
Skills Craft (alchemy) + 24, Perception +14, Acrobatics +13
Languages Common, Necril, Varisian, Aklo
SQ alchemy (alchemy crafting +8, identify potions), discoveries ( dispelling bombs, precise bombs, frost bomb, fast bombs), mutagen (+4 DEX/–2 WIS, +2 natural, 80 minutes), poison use, swift alchemy, swift poisoning
Combat Gear
Other Gear headband of vast intelligence +2 (acrobatics), belt of incredibly dexterity +2, chain shirt +1, ring of protection +1, cloak of resistance +1, masterwork dagger

Why do some classes suck and others, with not much better gear and the same level and same point buy, totally rock faces?


The artwork for the Morrigna Psychopomp makes it look like she should be able to fly (with those spider-web-like wings), but she doesn't have a fly speed listed. Should she have had a fly speed?


I like the cool teleport trap option and the anti-fly death cloud, but can I dimension door from the bottom of the tower to the top, or will one of the undead field things keep me from doing so?

Contributor , Star Voter 2013

If you're asking for yourself, that implies you are a player. If that's the case, all I can tell you is "you'll have to try it to find out." And then smirk diabolically.

If you are a GM, however, the information you seek is in the section on Witchgates. =-)


GM that plans on running this adventure path after we finish Serpent's Skull. Doing first read-through this week.

Actually, it says dimension door is exempt.

Contributor , Star Voter 2013

Correct. Note that Marrowgarth takes advantage of this loophole as well. Of course, I can't vouch for the safety of PCs once they appear on top. Heheheh.


my players are gonna love this one. I look forward to it.

Sovereign Court

Has anyone's PCs used a travel method other than Teleportation effects or overland travel to get through Virlych? Say windwalk spells or flying mounts? If so what encounters would you use? Only the Poltergeist Storm or the lightning of the Mortuary Tempest would seem to be able to effect creatures in gaseous form.

--Vrocky Horror

Shadow Lodge

King of Vrock wrote:

Has anyone's PCs used a travel method other than Teleportation effects or overland travel to get through Virlych? Say windwalk spells or flying mounts? If so what encounters would you use? Only the Poltergeist Storm or the lightning of the Mortuary Tempest would seem to be able to effect creatures in gaseous form.

--Vrocky Horror

My players used wind walk and I let them fly right into Renchurch. It actually worked out better than I thought it would. The fighting got a little ugly for the PCs and one tried to teleport away and that's when things got really interesting. After finding the waylaid PC, the players walked a couple of miles away from Renchurch and tried to teleport again. They ended up doing most of the encounters they skipped with wind walk. Once they figured out the teleport issues, they tried wind walk again, but this time I played up the storms in Virlych. They soon realized that the random surges in the winds and in unpredictable storms could be very dangerous for creatures in a gaseous form. I played up the idea that Virlych itself was beginning to become unstable due to very powerful magics at work. The PCs got the hint and returned to Renchurch to finish what they began, saving Kendra (I changed the count to Kendra Lorrimor, since my PCs had a stronger connection to her) and stopping Adivion. I know I may have rail roaded them a bit to return, but they did use the wind walk initially which why I think I didn't get any grumbling about sort being stuck in Virlych.

Contributor , Star Voter 2013

Well played!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My players teleported to Vigil in Lastwall*, before riding to Renchurch with about a 100 knights as support.

The battles have a bit more participants now than as written. ^^;

*Vigil is close and houses many of the knights who are supposed to be on guard preventing the Whispering Tyrant from returning. My players and I wonder why this was not even mentioned in AP. With Lastwall being so close it was rather illogical to not go there for help.

edit: I know they have one small patrol currently in Virlych, but if the threat of the Tyrant returning was real, then they would likely do what they could to prevent it from happening.


Hey guys. I am looking forward to GM'ing this book but i have to ask you. How did you run the majority of it? It is one long dungeon grind. Did you make huge changes with fewer monsters or did you go as the book wants? How did it turn out?
My players thought the dungeons in book 1 and 2 were too long (prison and castle) so i think they will be sad when they play this one if I don't make a lot of changes.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I cleared out a lot of the encounters at Rencurch because every single room does not need one. Look at which ones you think are fun and keep those (including haunts).

If you play with XP, be sure to add bonus story xp. :)

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