Paizo Top Nav Branding
  • Hello, Guest! |
  • Sign In |
  • My Account |
  • Shopping Cart |
  • Help/FAQ
About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
Pathfinder Society

Pathfinder Beginner Box

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

Pathfinder Comics

Pathfinder Legends

Intro 2: First Steps—Part II: To Delve the Dungeon Deep [SPOILERS]


Pathfinder Society GM Discussion

Taldor ***

I figured this scenario deserves its own channel of conversation. Since I already put a spoilers tag in the title, I assume people understand most of the content here to include information that could spoil a player.

I'm going to run this scenario tomorrow so if anyone has some insight and advice on certain parts, feel free to express yourselves.

Right, so I read through the scenario and two things caught my eye. In Room 3 the giant amoeba is small size, and the grab ability doesn't have any special rulings to it, meaning the creature can only grab creatures of small size or smaller. I was just wondering if this was intentional by the scenario writer.

In Room 5 you'll encounter this pathetic skeleton. Sure, the scenario states the GM is allowed to skip some encounters if necessary. One lousy skeleton against a party of possibly 6 (plus animal companions) is a laugh. Since this scenario claims to be a more 'classical' dungeon crawl, it should house more challenging encounters that'd force the characters to rest at certain intervals. As I read the scenario through, they are all doable in a day's time, even by an average party.

The same rant applies to the encounter in room 7. Three fire beetles, each having 4 hp? Oh please. Then again you can just close the door... and do stupid tactics with open door, throw acid flask, close door.

Now, the room 9 is what I'm talking about. Blinded for 1 hour? It creates tension once a character botches the roll. It forces the characters to take a rest and wait it to wear off.

Room 11... one giant spider. Might put up a small fight, but I doubt it'll last any longer than two rounds.

I also get the feeling Fledzer gets away really quick. With his stealth checks his extremely hard to spot, and escaping on round 2 with all his abilities the characters can't track him even in their wildest dreams. Then again, the jade katana is not necessary to receive both prestige points; and it's good if the characters fail once in a while.

I'll give a more detailed report about how things actually went on.

****

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

What follows is purely my opinion:

One of the easiest ways to turn a player off of a new organized play system is to kill them in their first adventure. While this is part2 the death rate for this series should be aprox. 0%

Imagine running this for 4 players who've never played D&D before and are muddling through the whole thing. There is no way a mechanically challenging encounter is going to be balanced for them as well as 6 optimized sick nerd killers.

In general I wish the challenge level was a tad bit higher in PFS but I'm glad this series is easy.

Andoran ***** Venture-Captain, Minnesota—St. Paul

I ran this 4 times at Gen Con, so I think I have a fairly good feel for it.

Spoiler:
The module runs well under 4 hours (usually around 3.5) and only had it go long once out of 4 times, but that’s because the group wanted to go through all the rooms.

I don’t know what was intended by the amoeba, but it’s just an annoyance encounter, so I wouldn’t be overly worried about it. Run it as the size and power indicates in the RAW.

As for the skeleton, yes, it only has 4 hit points. But it also has DR 5/Bludgeoning. Unless you have a ton of bludgeoning weapons, it is likely at 1st level that you won’t actually be doing any damage to the skeleton 50% of the hits. Additionally, the skeleton is there as more of an annoyance trap than an actual creature encounter. It is hiding under the bone pile and has essentially a stealth score of +6 (+4 circumstance as added by the encounter description and +2 for dex.) It will likely get a surprise round before the characters can go to town on it.

Also remember that if they negotiated with Maurit Zergo in encounter 1, rather than just killing her outright (I actually had 3 of 4 tables negotiate and enter through the secret entrance) she might choose to attack the back of the party during any of these encounters.

I had one table where it was Maurit Zergo AND the Blindheim vs 5 PC’s. That almost resulted in at least one PC death, if not a TPK. They got some lucky rolls and all survived though.

Taldor ***

AxeMurder0 wrote:

What follows is purely my opinion:

One of the easiest ways to turn a player off of a new organized play system is to kill them in their first adventure. While this is part2 the death rate for this series should be aprox. 0%

Imagine running this for 4 players who've never played D&D before and are muddling through the whole thing. There is no way a mechanically challenging encounter is going to be balanced for them as well as 6 optimized sick nerd killers.

In general I wish the challenge level was a tad bit higher in PFS but I'm glad this series is easy.

If a scenario provides absolutely no challenge, it becomes boring. This stream of 'unchallenge' has been almost the staple of PFS. And if a player would make a ragequit after his/her character dies in the first adventure, I'd be glad that kind of a person isn't going to show up in my games in the future.

If the team consists of four spellcasters operated by four players new to Pathfinder RPG they should in their right minds understand they aren't quite as fit for dungeon crawling. I'd make sure to give them enough tips, like Major Colson Maldris telling to hit zombies with blades, skeletons with maces.

Andoran

Deussu wrote:
If a scenario provides absolutely no challenge, it becomes boring. This stream of 'unchallenge' has been almost the staple of PFS.

Season 2 really started bumping up the "oh sh!t factor" in some of the mods which was really nice to see, but this is a very valid point, one which my gaming group agrees with fully.

That said, any "First Step" modules probably should be basically pretty average on the challenge level if not slightly underpowered, in order to get people introduced to the game. I would suggest for future ones, a pattern of "Easier, Average, Challenging" be used for intro mods.

Taldor ***

Just finished the game and as I predicted, the encounters were lousy. The only one that proved to be a bit hard was the Blindheim, which was to be expected. It was the last monster they found though, so they could easily back out from the room to wait for that one hour.

Due to the skulk's awesome stealth skill, not a single PC spotted him behind the Aspect of Fire and on round 2 he fled, taking the jade katana with them. Actually the only way of getting the katana is to befriend the kobolds, and use them to lure the skulk out of his hiding place. I actually like this; the PCs shouldn't always be victorious regardless of what they do.

The amoeba was killed from range. They first threw a frog (it can be bought ... from APG I think), which the amoeba ate. Since it might be dangerous, the group shot it down from range and the amoeba didn't pose any kind of real threat.

The kobolds were a laugh. The group had a cleric concentrating on channeling negative energy, so this 1d6 points of damage easily killed all kobolds in 2 rounds. Oh, and there were other party members as well.

Fire beetles ... the cleric channeled once. 5 damage, all beetles botched their will saves. Boy what a waste.

So this scenario was inferior to the first part of the series. This wasn't a classical dungeon crawl although I wished it would be. Each of the encounters should be a lot lot lot harder to make the characters actually flee from the place and rest for a night to gather their strengths. 3/5 stars.

P.S. Oh and all those perception DCs feel useless when searching through the stuff... most groups feel they have those 2 minutes to spare when plowing through stuff, so they take 20. Only if the DC is higher than 20 should it be mentioned. Groups only taking a quick glance for stuff aren't real pathfinders at all.

**

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
AxeMurder0 wrote:
One of the easiest ways to turn a player off of a new organized play system is to kill them in their first adventure. While this is part2 the death rate for this series should be aprox. 0%

I disagree with this. One of the easiest ways to turn a player off of a new organized play system is to provide them with a boring adventure. Kill his character in a spectacular and interesting way, and he will be begging for more. Seriously. I've seen this happen a multitude of times. Many of my fondest memories of role-playing are character deaths.

Kill them all I say. No mercy.

Andoran ***** Venture-Captain, Minnesota—St. Paul

Deussu wrote:

Just finished the game and as I predicted, the encounters were lousy. The only one that proved to be a bit hard was the Blindheim, which was to be expected. It was the last monster they found though, so they could easily back out from the room to wait for that one hour.

Due to the skulk's awesome stealth skill, not a single PC spotted him behind the Aspect of Fire and on round 2 he fled, taking the jade katana with them. Actually the only way of getting the katana is to befriend the kobolds, and use them to lure the skulk out of his hiding place. I actually like this; the PCs shouldn't always be victorious regardless of what they do.

The amoeba was killed from range. They first threw a frog (it can be bought ... from APG I think), which the amoeba ate. Since it might be dangerous, the group shot it down from range and the amoeba didn't pose any kind of real threat.

The kobolds were a laugh. The group had a cleric concentrating on channeling negative energy, so this 1d6 points of damage easily killed all kobolds in 2 rounds. Oh, and there were other party members as well.

Fire beetles ... the cleric channeled once. 5 damage, all beetles botched their will saves. Boy what a waste.

So this scenario was inferior to the first part of the series. This wasn't a classical dungeon crawl although I wished it would be. Each of the encounters should be a lot lot lot harder to make the characters actually flee from the place and rest for a night to gather their strengths. 3/5 stars.

P.S. Oh and all those perception DCs feel useless when searching through the stuff... most groups feel they have those 2 minutes to spare when plowing through stuff, so they take 20. Only if the DC is higher than 20 should it be mentioned. Groups only taking a quick glance for stuff aren't real pathfinders at all.

I think you did the module a huge disservice then in the way you ran it. I hate to say that to another GM, because we all put so much time and effort into a module when we run it.

I ran it 4 times at Gen Con, and was able to make those encounters fun.

I get the feeling you didn’t pay attention to my advice on this at all.

Spoiler:
You didn’t mention the Ghoul at all. Did you at least set the stage so the Ghoul had jumped down onto the rubble before the PC’s could climb up on it, to at least allow the Ghoul to start talking to them before they obliterated it? If so, they might have allowed it to show them around, even draw them a rough map of the dungeon. As such, they might not have killed it right away, and it could have snuck up on them and proved one of the other combats to be quite a bit more difficult. The ghoul itself was no slouch by itself.

And how did they end up even knowing the amoeba was dangerous from range? It looks like an oil slick on the wall. They would have to get a might bit closer to notice it was dangerous. Otherwise its kinda silly to fire arrows at a oil slick on the wall.

The skeleton I ran more as a creepy encounter than an actual combat encounter. I allowed them to roll perception checks to notice shiny things in the bones. So they went and started poking around and the skeleton would stand up and go RAWR! And scare them. Was fun.

The key in this module wasn’t to focus on the encounters, but rather to focus on the roleplay opportunities within the encounters (you can parlay with the kobolds if you want) and to create a sense of intensity or urgency within the dungeon. Make it fun even though most of the encounters are easy.

As for the Skulk, I think you missed an important point. The skulk does not run away until its obvious he’s going to have to fight. Even to the point where he will actually come out from hiding if the female kobold leader calls him out (because the PC’s negotiated successfully with her). He shouldn’t just run automatically as soon as the kobolds are defeated without hanging out for a bit to see what’s going to happen next.

Taldor ***

Andrew Christian wrote:
*spoiler omitted*

Okay, I forgot to tell what they did to the ghoul. The ghoul did make its dramatic entrance, and noticed the odd bunch which is clearly a pathfinder group. So the PCs negotiated, and created a creative way to deal with her. They asked her why would she wish to continue her life as a ghoul if she knows the condition is irreversible. She does, after all, constantly mention about her 'horrid condition'. Since there's no real reason for her to say something "No, I want to live!", I made them roll a diplomacy check. The roll was high enough to make her consider suicide, but I ruled she could not do it herself. So they took all the help they could and obliterated the ghoul. This was just a smart move.

The negative channeling gnome hates kobolds (as per racial things) and channeled negative on first sight. This practically forbid any way to ensue diplomatic relations.

And I'm sorry, but the skeleton just didn't do it. The barbarian was encountering it, "Oh look a skelly *smash* is no more". Done, move on. Even as a 'scary and creepy' encounter it doesn't cut the mustard. It's over quickly, and it's just there to annoy. A useless resource sink without any real means of a threat or a challenge.

Even the scenario itself says there's no urgency; the PCs can take a rest in some of the rooms if they so wish to. They weren't given a time limit, the scenario isn't based on time, Fledzer doesn't leave within a day.

And skulk is SMART. I like NPCs like this. I like smart NPCs. He sees the PCs enter, and the kobolds engaging them. In two rounds he notices the kobolds are almost all dead, and without followers, what's there to lead? Nothing! So Fledzer does the smart thing and escapes. It would be eternally foolish to engage in combat against five adventurer types alone.
[Spoilers=Directly from the scenario]If the PCs were not able to gain Tarka’s help, Fledzer uses the kobold assault as a distraction for his getaway, and he slinks back into the well on the second round of combat, afer he’s sure the PCs are properly engaged with his minions.[/spoilers]

I don't the PCs should always succeed, nor should they always be given the chance to succeed. It creates this assumption the PCs can always find the missing item. This was even in this scenario illustrated by the PCs searching the place throughout for the jade katana.

Furthermore, we did have fun, but for different reasons. The cleric's negative channeling kills practically all vermins within 30ft... in the encounter with the giant spider he blasted, and they all could hear small spiders pattering on the floor.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

AxeMurder0 wrote:

What follows is purely my opinion:

One of the easiest ways to turn a player off of a new organized play system is to kill them in their first adventure. While this is part2 the death rate for this series should be aprox. 0%

Is this the right place for me to put on my crotchety old man hat and snort and bellow?

I remember GenCon three years ago, when Pathfinder Society first came out. There were PC deaths all over. Silken Caravan was killin' people virtually every time it ran. Hydra's Fang was routinely wipin' out entire parties. And were people gettin' turned off? Heck no! They were happy to risk their PCs' lives. They died, knowin' it was just an hour or so afore they could try again in some other scenario. The were fool-hearty. They were survivors!

Andoran ***** Venture-Captain, Minnesota—St. Paul

Deussu wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:
*spoiler omitted*

Okay, I forgot to tell what they did to the ghoul. The ghoul did make its dramatic entrance, and noticed the odd bunch which is clearly a pathfinder group. So the PCs negotiated, and created a creative way to deal with her. They asked her why would she wish to continue her life as a ghoul if she knows the condition is irreversible. She does, after all, constantly mention about her 'horrid condition'. Since there's no real reason for her to say something "No, I want to live!", I made them roll a diplomacy check. The roll was high enough to make her consider suicide, but I ruled she could not do it herself. So they took all the help they could and obliterated the ghoul. This was just a smart move.

The negative channeling gnome hates kobolds (as per racial things) and channeled negative on first sight. This practically forbid any way to ensue diplomatic relations.

And I'm sorry, but the skeleton just didn't do it. The barbarian was encountering it, "Oh look a skelly *smash* is no more". Done, move on. Even as a 'scary and creepy' encounter it doesn't cut the mustard. It's over quickly, and it's just there to annoy. A useless resource sink without any real means of a threat or a challenge.

Even the scenario itself says there's no urgency; the PCs can take a rest in some of the rooms if they so wish to. They weren't given a time limit, the scenario isn't based on time, Fledzer doesn't leave within a day.

And skulk is SMART. I like NPCs like this. I like smart NPCs. He sees the PCs enter, and the kobolds engaging them. In two rounds he notices the kobolds are almost all dead, and without followers, what's there to lead? Nothing! So Fledzer does the smart thing and escapes. It would be eternally foolish to engage in combat against five adventurer types alone.
[Spoilers=Directly from the scenario]If the PCs were not able to gain Tarka’s help, Fledzer uses the kobold assault as a distraction for his getaway, and he slinks back into the well on the second...

I am sure you are an excellent GM, and I’m also sure that the way you interpreted the module is a correct way to interpret it.

I also know that I interpreted it correctly, and that I ran 24 people through the module, and they all had fun with it.

If your players had fun, don’t sweat it and whether it was challenging enough or not.

If your players did not have fun with it, then perhaps look at your interpretation and mine, and see if there is a different way you could run it for experienced players that would make it more enjoyable for them. I know that as long as the players seem to be having a blast, then I have a blast. I don’t have fun if the players are not having fun, I don’t have fun. It largely doesn’t matter how challenging the modules are or not.

As for Maurit Zergo, that sounds like a rather fun resolution. Not how I would have interpreted it, but definitely memorable that your players convinced the mostly turned ghoul to essentially commit suicide.

I did have one group that wanted to try and convince her to let them kill her, but the way I read the character was that she rapidly changed back and forth between lucid mind and ghoul mind, and so when they suggested that, she just said, “I am oh so hungry”.

Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo Publishing / Pathfinder® / Pathfinder Society® / Pathfinder Society GM Discussion / Intro 2: First Steps—Part II: To Delve the Dungeon Deep [SPOILERS] All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.

©2002–2014 Paizo Inc.®. Need help? Email customer.service@paizo.com or call 425-250-0800 during our business hours: Monday–Friday, 10 AM–5 PM Pacific Time. View our privacy policy. Paizo Inc., Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, Pathfinder Society, GameMastery, and Planet Stories are registered trademarks of Paizo Inc., and Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, Pathfinder Battles, Pathfinder Online, PaizoCon, RPG Superstar, The Golem's Got It, Titanic Games, the Titanic logo, and the Planet Stories planet logo are trademarks of Paizo Inc. Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon, Dungeon, and Polyhedron are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and have been used by Paizo Inc. under license. Most product names are trademarks owned or used under license by the companies that publish those products; use of such names without mention of trademark status should not be construed as a challenge to such status.