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Tide of Honor (GM Reference)


Jade Regent


This thread is a GM Reference thread for Part 5 of the Jade Regent Adventure Path. Links for the individual threads for each part are as follow:
The Brinewall Legacy (Part 1)
Night of Frozen Shadows (Part 2)
The Hungry Storm (Part 3)
Forest of Spirits (Part 4)
Tide of Honor (Part 5)
The Empty Throne (Part 6)


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Reading through 'Tide of Honor', there are a few places where it's suggested that the players whip out the Amatatsu Seal to help support their otherwise outlandish claims. ("Yeah, this chick who is from a far-off land, neither of her parents ever set foot in Minkai, speaks your language with a strange accent, and hasn't suffered under the Jade Regent like you all have happens to be the last blood heir to your empire and deserves your fealty. Oh, and if she dies, me --a foreign, dark-skinned, round-eyed dwarf with a CHR of 8-- has a claim to the throne. What can I say? Destiny's a harsh mistress.")

In another, to get to the treasure requires the Seal to uncork the hidden room. I read this and it caused a bit of a problem for me because according to the previous books, popping out the Seal sent out a giant:

Dear Five Storms,

Here I am. Please send ninjas.

All the best,

Amatatsu scion

And that could happen anywhere along the trek. The idea of waving the unblocked Seal around right in Minkai makes me think, "Suddenly, ninjas," and "Suddenly, armies," and "Suddenly, oni," and "Suddenly, armies of ninja oni." Basically, after being told to hide away the Seal for so long, there has to be a believable reason why uncorking it on the Five Storms doorstep doesn't lead to immediate 'scry and fry.'

What I suggest is that going back to 'Forest of Spirits,' and having Akumi (the bonzai kami) provide another service to the party. When the caravan meets the group of kami, they inform the party that the glade is a spot of tranquility in the world, and the Five Storms can not spy on what occurs there. If Akumi travels with the party, he is allowed to take a fragment of that tranquility with him, granting the same kind of cloak to the Seal, so long as it is unboxed within 10 feet of his tree. For my mind, this gives a believable reason why the party can now take the Seal out sometimes without having to deal with more ninjas than are typically hunting them.


Well, Fireballed, you've certainly come up with an excellent solution, and barring something somehow better, the Akumi method will definitely be my handwave of choice.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
The Fireballed Mage wrote:

Reading through 'Tide of Honor', there are a few places where it's suggested that the players whip out the Amatatsu Seal to help support their otherwise outlandish claims. ("Yeah, this chick who is from a far-off land, neither of her parents ever set foot in Minkai, speaks your language with a strange accent, and hasn't suffered under the Jade Regent like you all have happens to be the last blood heir to your empire and deserves your fealty. Oh, and if she dies, me --a foreign, dark-skinned, round-eyed dwarf with a CHR of 8-- has a claim to the throne. What can I say? Destiny's a harsh mistress.")

In another, to get to the treasure requires the Seal to uncork the hidden room. I read this and it caused a bit of a problem for me because according to the previous books, popping out the Seal sent out a giant:

Dear Five Storms,

Here I am. Please send ninjas.

All the best,

Amatatsu scion

And that could happen anywhere along the trek. The idea of waving the unblocked Seal around right in Minkai makes me think, "Suddenly, ninjas," and "Suddenly, armies," and "Suddenly, oni," and "Suddenly, armies of ninja oni." Basically, after being told to hide away the Seal for so long, there has to be a believable reason why uncorking it on the Five Storms doorstep doesn't lead to immediate 'scry and fry.'

What I suggest is that going back to 'Forest of Spirits,' and having Akumi (the bonzai kami) provide another service to the party. When the caravan meets the group of kami, they inform the party that the glade is a spot of tranquility in the world, and the Five Storms can not spy on what occurs there. If Akumi travels with the party, he is allowed to take a fragment of that tranquility with him, granting the same kind of cloak to the Seal, so long as it is unboxed within 10 feet of his tree. For my mind, this gives a believable reason why the party can now take the Seal out sometimes without having to deal with more ninjas than are typically hunting them.

Definitely an awesome idea. Though, considering the Five Storms do send one of the most feared assassins in Minkai after you over the course of the adventure, and the climax of the adventure is a Fire Yai, two Atamahuta, and possibly some ettins trying to tear down your new base of operations--the one place in the adventure where unboxing the Seal is absolutely required--I wouldn't necessarily say the adventure assumes you unbox it without consequence.


The Fireballed Mage wrote:

Dear Five Storms,

Here I am. Please send ninjas.

All the best,

Amatatsu scion

I couldn't stop laughing for about five minutes. XD

But I think what Revan said makes sense. The consequence of unboxing it in your HQ is the attack at the end of the book. The consequence of unboxing it on the road is that they've sent one of their most deadly ninja after them. At this point, the oni know you're here, and they know where you are. Stealth isn't going to work for long any more anyways, and now strength, speed, and the support of the people are your best defences.


Gluttony wrote:
But I think what Revan said makes sense. The consequence of unboxing it in your HQ is the attack at the end of the book. The consequence of unboxing it on the road is that they've sent one of their most deadly ninja after them. At this point, the oni know you're here, and they know where you are. Stealth isn't going to work for long any more anyways, and now strength, speed, and the support of the people are your best defences.

It's the scale of the response.

It's the difference between, "Hmm... I know they're out there somewhere, but I'm not sure where. Let's hire some more ninja to try and find them, although, being the independent and shadowy figures they are the ninja probably won't tell me anything until the job is done. And their previous attempts don't exactly fill me with confidence. Let's take a more personal interest in it this time and also send a few patrols of oni around: maybe they'll get lucky and find some clues to follow. Since I don't know where they are exactly, I can't use my overwhelming force unless I get some solid leads. Best to keep my forces close, ready to act if some kind of popular uprising happens."

vs.

"Oh, *there* they are. Inside *my* country. Geez, I'm really going to have to execute my Northern Border commander for letting them get past him. Let's see... what resources do they have? They just arrived, so they'll probably be busy recruiting allies for a level or two. What resources do I have?

"Oh yeah... an entire empire.

"Hey General! Send the 3rd, 4th, and 6th legions to the north. Park them here and have them detain, arrest, and murder anyone who looks like a PC. Yo! Chancellor! Hire a whole ninja clan --no, make that two-- and send them to these co-ordinates, same orders, but leave out the detain and arrest part. You! Court Wizards! Can you guys scry? Good. Can you teleport? Good. Your continued employment depends on your ability to 'scry and fry' this location.

"The one who brings me their heads --bodies most definitely not part of the deal-- gets to take the long weekend off. Okay, I'll throw in two free passes to Oni World, as well as a nice plaque to hang on your wall. Trust me, it's a very handsome plaque."


True.

Perhaps they're simply overconfident?


Hi all.

I just wanted to say this is the best of the five modules in the AP so far. The way the different subplots interlace, the absence of a big dungeoncrawl (always a minus for me), the intensity of encounters such as the last, or the magnificient NPCs, make it my favourite with difference. Kudos to Mr. Leaty for the module.

Maybe some will complain that the module is a bit short on XPs, but usually getting enough XPs is accomplished by simply adding random encounters unrelated to the history, or just extending the dungeoncrawls eternally. That's what happened in Forest of Spirits - Level after level of monsters waiting in their rooms for the PCs to get to them just to reach the XP cap. Not here, sir. A true work of art of an adventure. I sure hope the last one is half this good, at least.


Bardic Mysteries:
What's O-Sayumi's second 5th level bard spell known supposed to be? Maybe "Greater Bladed Dash" from Inner Sea Magic?

Paizo Employee Senior Developer

Scharlata wrote:

** spoiler omitted **

Whoops! I'd give her mind fog, but you can put any spell you like in there.


Thanx alot for your input. Your suggestion suits her better - regarding her inclination, profession and attitude.


I'd love to see a developer address the concerns The Fireballed Mage has raised, even if they are three months old.

Paizo Employee Senior Developer

The only time that "requires" the PCs to remove the Amatatsu seal from the warding box is to open the weapons cache in area A13. The seal is mentioned at other times as something the PCs can use to prove their claim, but it is not necessary - in most cases, having Ameiko with them serves the same purpose.

In any case, opening the warding box has the potential to alert the Jade Regent - if his seers are actively searching for the seal at that time. The seal radiates powerful magic, but it doesn't automatically set off an alarm in Five Storms HQ.

That said, some of the enemies the PCs face are sent precisely because the Jade Regent knows something is up - Kaibuninsho and the yai at the end of the adventure.

If the PCs constantly unbox the Amatatsu seal throughout the adventure, it would likely elicit a greater response from the Jade Regent, just as it would if they loudly proclaimed that they were the true heirs to the Jade Throne in every town in Minkai. The adventure assumes the PCs are trying to maintain at least something of a low profile. If they do the opposite (such as by waving around the seal every chance they get), you'll need to modify the events in the adventure to accommodate those actions.


From what I read of the last book, the 'scry and fry' response does not seem to really in the arsenal of the Jade Regent and his closest companions. Not saying they don't have access to a super wizard to do this for them, just saying it's not part of their repertoire as it is at the moment.

I think my 'personal' cost for using the seal, will be to have the Jade Regent instead send a portion of his forces to just outright obliterate and otherwise be terrible to the settlement nearest to where the PC's use the seal. Punishing them for 'harboring a traitor' to the throne. Especially once they are in Minkai!

As an alternative, you could also reduce the 'Rebellion points' in the final book by 1 for each successive use of the seal once in Minkai, as the population is forced to suffer under an increasingly paranoid Jade Regent.

My group had to pop the cork on the seal in book 2 for a resurrection, and I subsequently increased the parties Notoriety Points for such an event. Kimandatsu also received a notice from Jade Regent to capture Ameiko, and also used it as a chance to plant some more evidence that would give the PC's some more information about the 'big bads'.


Well, there is an dissonance between the events which destroyed Brinewall ( the seal gets taken out only once and an army is sent around the world ) plus that the Oni were alerted immediately when the seal was found in The Brinewall Legacy, compared to what Rob just said about the seal being used sparingly in Minkai itself.

My best work-around is that the Oni were especially vigilant a few decades ago and mostly have grown lax... with Kimandatsu in Kalsgard being the exception. She surely sent out word of the seals reappearance to the Oni in Minkai, but the Jade Regent is young and inexperienced and Anamurumon is distracted by Renshii Meida working against him at court.


Just in case I didn't "find" those: Are they stats available for Itsuru's Nine Pawns and Seinaru Heikiko's defensive forces?

Any suggestions beyond

Stats:
Nine Pawns = ronin; Guard = Commoner/Warrior
?

Mr McCreary, did you have something in mind that was not put into the AP? :)

Thanx to all!

Cheliax

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Just about to return to Jade regent with this chapter. Looking forward to it as it seems to be a lot more involved than the previous books and really seems to be the start of the story to reclaim the throne.

Anyone run it have advice for things to look out for or change / avoid?

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

This adventure has an amazing opportunity to get very sandboxy very quick. I can very much see my players finding out about the legends of the Seven Venoms Spring up north near Mt Kumijinja to parley with the naga in order to impress upon them why it's important to favor the "new Amatatsu heir" so that when she does come into power, she'll seek to include the naga as part of the Minkai Empire.

Anyone else have any ideas of what a adventuring party could come up with within the context of "Raising the Tide" against the oppressive regime of the Jade Regent?

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Ooooo. A possible underwater alliance with the locathahs (and/or other underwater denizens) within Xidao?

Treating with the Aasimars of Tianjing? Their economy MUST be suffering with little to no imports coming from Minkai. How is that effecting their country? Tianjing is finally getting back to a self-reliant lifestyle after over a century of unprecedented support from Lung Wa. Still though, part of that self-reliant mentality has much to do with countries being WILLING to trade.


Andrew Jackson 394 wrote:

Just about to return to Jade regent with this chapter. Looking forward to it as it seems to be a lot more involved than the previous books and really seems to be the start of the story to reclaim the throne.

Anyone run it have advice for things to look out for or change / avoid?

My players just finished cleaning the bandits out of Seinaru Heikiko and loved it. They managed to find the secret entrance and fought in A4. It was fairly easy because they bottle necked everyone using the main door, but it is easy to see just how wrong it could have gone if they decided to fight in the courtyard.

Pit spells in the door creates a huge headache for most of the barbarians.


Father Tully wrote:


My players just finished cleaning the bandits out of Seinaru Heikiko and loved it. They managed to find the secret entrance and fought in A4. It was fairly easy because they bottle necked everyone using the main door, but it is easy to see just how wrong it could have gone if they decided to fight in the courtyard.

Pit spells in the door creates a huge headache for most of the barbarians.

So, why did the crew of the fortress not simply pull back and wait on the party coming after them? After all, it's the party storming the fortress and not the other way around.


magnuskn wrote:
Father Tully wrote:


My players just finished cleaning the bandits out of Seinaru Heikiko and loved it. They managed to find the secret entrance and fought in A4. It was fairly easy because they bottle necked everyone using the main door, but it is easy to see just how wrong it could have gone if they decided to fight in the courtyard.

Pit spells in the door creates a huge headache for most of the barbarians.

So, why did the crew of the fortress not simply pull back and wait on the party coming after them? After all, it's the party storming the fortress and not the other way around.

I switched out the barbarian leader with a new one (and put the old one on a pike in the courtyard). Players did an evil one shot with new characters working for the Jade Regent. Afterwards, the barbarian from the evil party went north and seized control of the soft bandits for the Jade Regent.

The bandits were terrified of ending up on pikes in the yard with their old boss, so half of them provided covering fire with bows while the other half attempted to jump the pit with their fair jump checks (only a few failed). Chain lightning and dragon's breath handled the archers nicely while the melee guys did a good job of cleaning up the barbarians that made the jump before pulling bows themselves.


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Enjoying part one!! Party loved the riddle from Hatsue and Jiro!! Their dynamic and banter makes them very endearing (at least IMO)

Another +1 to Seinaru Heikiko, awesome design (my party snuck in at night using extended silences, cut a whole in the wall to get into the coutyard). Unfortunately (for them) they ran by the wood stacks, and so began the wood golem fight... which poured into the bath house.... which turned into a huge brawl.

Great fight, (although if the raiders use all their javelins (once the party lines up), that is some scaaarrry dmg, x10 raiders (at night) = 50d6 possibly. I do say that Gangasum seems a bit light on the damage dealing, (would be far better served to two hand that scimitar for massive damage!!) to provide a threat.

One party member (LG Cavalier wielding Suishen) Nat 1'd the fort save for Lycantrophy from Tos Katun, (who he ended up trading a few sultry words between combat roudns with). And as she ran away..... I figure she will be paying him a few 'night time visits' to ensure his were-tigerness... and for fun! (Now where did I put that ecology of weretigers book...)

The party loves the place ("We get our own mountain fortress?? And it comes with a bath house?!?! Why would we ever leave?!!?!??! It's like RavensCraeg all over again, except we are the ninja army!! "), so much that they don't even want to loot the place!!

Next session: They are wanting to hire druids/interior decorators, repairmen for the bathhouse, and bickering about who gets the cool carpets to place in their room and where to store their 'battlefield bling' and trophies.

Oh the joys on their faces as they build their 'secret hideout'.

I'm a bit afraid to run the assassin Ninja, as it will start another wave of book two paranoia; combined with their hatred of ninjas (Books two and four I'm looking at you!), I expect the three monkeys 'social' encounter to break out into a fight.

So far have gone through... twelve characters to get this far??

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'm trying to tie Yugureda Shosaito and his mercantile business to the Five Storms oni and the Jade Regent.

The questions I'm faced with is, Why do the oni need pearls? Why would they keep Shosaito alive? Why/How does Shosaito have oni under his employ?

In an extraplanar excessive mindset, I can see the oni needing the pearls somehow. But for what? My intention is to connect Shosaito to the powers-that-be by a thread not directly related. I like the separate story of the pearl merchant and O-Sayumi. I'm just looking for a LITTLE bit more.

Any ideas?


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Why oni need pearls? They want everything in the material world, feel it, own it and corrupt it. What would make them more happy than corrupting "Queen of Gems" that is also symbol of love, protection, purity and wisdom. Why need so many pearls? From historical point of view I would say that they need corrupted pearls as lucky charm that will protect them (knights in middle ages often wore pearls for good luck and protection). or they could be preparing some sort of ritual to find Amatatsu heir using pearls. As Shosaito is maybe the pearl merchant of Minkai it is pretty logical to team up with him. I don't think Shosaito really cared about his pearls, they are merchandise for him.

Pathfinder novel Master of Devils spoilers:

Spoiler:
In Master of Devils there is a dragon whose heart is one single pearl that can grant one wish. Maybe oni are trying to create their own version of this wish-granting pearl? I might use this as I presented Burning Cloud Devil to my group even thought only one player has read the book. Might be fun to watch his horror when he realizes why oni are collecting pearls..

Hopefully this helps you Bryan.


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I think Shosaito could be tied financially to Anamurumon, that way you don't have to decide how to handle the pearls. Possibly big A sold him some arcane secrets or information in exchange for enough money to fund his 'grandson's' rise to fame and fortune? I doubt it was cheap to propel him into the spotlight in such a manner, even psudeo-Japanese cultures have a value for money even if their personal tenants do not proscribe amassing it. The ruling caste in particular(daimyo's and high ranking/landed samurai) would see some value in it.

As for the Ja-Noi,
Oni tend to not be particularly overt until they want to be, so it may be likely that Shosaito did not realize directly he was dealing with Oni. They are relatively capable tricksters, so perhaps the Ja-Noi under his employ are actually just vassals of big A sent to guard his cash cow. Or they were knowingly 'sold' as part of said financial agreement in full knowledge of Shosaito as added 'muscle'.


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Question (and maybe this has been answered previously but..) Listed near the end of the Shadow Chess game fight, if one breaks the token they enlist the aid of Hatsue (the Sohei/Paladin of Irori) and references her nightmares/spirit talking to the pc's. And is again referenced as a possible avenue to inform the PC's to meet with Jiro again before the final attack, (or to inform them the attack is underway).

Are Hatsue's nightmares described in more detail in part of this book?? Or was it something that got cut out? Or maybe I'm just missing it...

As for Shosaito + Oni connection..

Sakkabe is mainly ruled by the yakuza (I believe I have this correct, referencing the Minkai section near the end). Maybe he is trying to set himself up as new governer de-facto ruler of the region, and the five storms would love to have another strong hand in the northern provinces.

Or you can have him be a large financier of Sikkutsu Senakka, who is the JR's main man in the north. (Looking at the lore he was very angry about missing out on some tax money and maybe Shosaito helped balance the books so Senakka gives him free reign). And the party can find some notes/records linking the two?

Paizo Employee Developer

Pallius Crispin wrote:

Question (and maybe this has been answered previously but..) Listed near the end of the Shadow Chess game fight, if one breaks the token they enlist the aid of Hatsue (the Sohei/Paladin of Irori) and references her nightmares/spirit talking to the pc's. And is again referenced as a possible avenue to inform the PC's to meet with Jiro again before the final attack, (or to inform them the attack is underway).

Are Hatsue's nightmares described in more detail in part of this book?? Or was it something that got cut out? Or maybe I'm just missing it...

Hatsue's nightmares are described in her description on page 8, though no details are given - it's just part of her background. But the shogi game and Hatsue's dream self are a plot point that ties her further into the adventure, and gives the PCs a chance to help a potential ally (as well as gain an XP award).

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'm having a metaplot story crisis.

SPOILERS

My party has just defeated the pearl merchant. Ameiko and other NPC's went to Egangoka to meet with the 3 Monkeys. Their legend is spreading. That coupled with the Jade Regent's oracle as well as the network of spies Anamurumon has, how are they not just seeking out the PC's and crushing them now?

I'll give my PCs this. They have been very careful NOT to be using the seal AND have been using anti-Scrying magic liberally. Still though. It's not the biggest country and should be obvious to the powers-that-be that rebels usually dwell to the north somewhere.

Someone sell me on why the JR and Anamueumon are NOT sending more powerful minions to destroy the PC's at the end of this book.

Thanks for any input!


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They are some pretty powerful minions - a CR 16 encounter to deal with some level 13 PCs.
I think of the oni as very disunited - they keep information from one another and work for their own advancement.
Maybe Nigankona is a rival who's grown too strong, so Anamurumon has sent him to deal with the PCs, figuring he'll either kill them or die trying; either suits his ends.


I'm a bit confused by the layout of Seinaru Heikiko. From the viewpoint of someone flying, is the courtyard all visible from high above or is it more like a cave?
What about the lookout posts - are they open from the top?
Can you walk from the platform at the main gate across the top of the adjacent rocky bits, or are those steep crags?


my guess is the courtyard is open same with the lookout towers and i'd guess that the hillside is steep crags


Hm, it seems the Dread Wraiths in the Shadow Maze are ones which are built with the Giant/Advanced template. Those versions are vastly inferior the ones which really have been advanced to 16 HD, like the Bestiary recommends. D20PFSRD.com has properly advanced statblocks from The Witchwar Legacy and those are real beasts, while the ones with templates are barely better than the standard ones (mostly because the Giant template is an actual step down for an incorporeal creature... no bonus to constitution, strength and natural armor and so mostly negative modifiers are left.).

I guess I'll have to use one or two "real" Dreath Wraiths without the Spectre.


I used Moon Wraiths from the d20pfsrd though I may use just one dread wraith next time.


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Can I express how much the Karyukai Tea Set is a bad idea? :-/ This thing is really not helping with keeping my group balanced (and there is a rant about fighter archers and low monster AC's coming, oh yes. But not here) and it is extremely easy to use and its effects last the whole adventuring day.

My players already push the important skills to their limits, but this thing is helping them make skill checks beyond trivial, hitting their iterative attacks (while making the main attacks auto-hit) and make their own saves just way too easy.

Greater Heroism's weakness is that it is a single target spell and lasts only a few minutes. This item circumvents this completely. Please don't include stuff like this anymore in future AP's. :-(


The item doesn't say that the effect of Greater Heroism lasts longer than normal. Although that might be as intended because it then becomes less useful than Heroism in most circumstances where you have an hour for a tea break.
I gave the party a choice of Greater Heroism for 11 minutes or Heroism for 110 minutes.


<reads the text of the item again>

What exactly is the point of the Greater Heroism function then? "Gee, Mr. Monster, could you wait up until we've finished our one-hour tea ceremony?"

Oh, well, you are of course right and I got this one wrong. But, strange item. At least that's better than having the effect last throughout the whole day.


Well, by that level you can drink your tea in an extradimensional space or drink it and then teleport to the place you're adventuring...


That's pretty cornercase and also adds in scry-and-fry tactics. Ugh.


OK, let's say you're about to enter the Well of Demons. You have your tea ceremony, then you descend and try to get as much fighting done as possible in eleven minutes.


Yeah, that works for about one or two fights, destroys any roleplaying, because player characters are rushing from room to room SWAT-style ... seriously not a good idea. I find even the not-that-good version of this item is bad, although on differing accounts than originally.


Well, that's a problem with all minute-per-level buffs. In the Well of Demons, my group had Mirror Image and Blur and Good Hope and True Seeing all ticking away...

Heck, they could make even round-per-level spells last more than one fight. Kill an enemy in three rounds, two rounds for healing, two rounds to rush to the next room, and Blessing of Fervour is still going.

My players would still stop to talk to enemies as long as they had some motivation to do so (which they did in the Well after I stressed the importance of getting the blessings, though they wound up killing everything anyway). I wouldn't count dialogue as more than a minute or two off their durations.

The main effect of short-term buffs on my games is the players don't do much searching for treasure, secret doors or traps until they've dealt with all available monsters.


Yeah, well. I am strongly averse to the SWAT-style raids on enemy strongholds, ever since the party cleared the Arkona Mansion in CotCT that way. We'll see how the party handles only having Heroism on them all (which, honestly, is only marginally less good).

Osirion

Why have I never used a GM Reference Thread in the passed 1.5 years I've run Jade Regent?!

Anyway my group is about to finish the fight in Seinaru Heikiko tomorrow then they will be doing the sandbox exploration of Minkai. One of the PCs has a personal history to settle with Sikutsu Sennaka and will likely push the group to resolve Part 4 first.

As far as I can tell the assistance from Sennaka's brother, Itsuru, only comes after a meeting with him and O-Sayumi. If the group hasn't met and helped O-Sayumi yet, is there a feasible way to get a meeting with a high ranking samurai like Itsuru?

Knowing my group of players they really might try a direct assault on Sennaka and his hundred samurai army! They really did just storm the front gate at Seinaru Heikiko fortress...

I expect 2 characters to drop and likely die as the fight continues tomorrow.

Thank you for any help.


Hirabashi Jiro might have a family connection to the Sikutsu - maybe one that he is reluctant to call upon due to an old conflict of honor that he still feels shame about.
Or they could skip Itsuru and run into the nine pawns directly while scouting for Sennaka.
Or they could give Itsuru a really spectacular present.
Or he could meet them but refuse to help them unless they can find out what became of his beloved geisha girl.


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

Any suggestions for an additional powers for the item on page 24? I could easily see some players trying it for kicks.


My group is off to a very good start.

I went with Fireballed's idea of having a "piece of harmony" pine cone from the oldest sacred tree from the forest of Spirits that the PCs asked of the kamis.

Seinaru Heikiko went very quickly as the PCs managed to find the secret entrance right from the beginning when they wanted to hide their horses. And since they went for a night assault and used fire spells against the wood spirits, the lookouts quickly noticed the commotion and alerted the fortress.

Being nighttime, the bath house was empty and the druid and weretiger were in their chambers. The main battle was nearly continuous with the common hall, Gangasum's chamber and the druid's chamber being all connected. According to my players, it was one heck of a memorable fight. Especially since all my baddies are advanced.

Now the PCs are ready for the ally gathering parts and they've managed to make it more complicated (as well as an opportunity).

They understand they need underground, merchant and military support, all detailed in the book (they chose the geisha mission first). But they also want spiritual support, i.e. get the various priesthoods to support their cause, which is unplanned. This bit I'm still uncertain as to how I'll accomplish it. The PCs want to slowly gather support with wandering priests (plus one ninja assassin) to spread word of their cause in various villages, but I'd like a more adventurous side quest to go with it.

Concerning the Karyukai Tea Set, I'll allow the greater heroism to last as long as heroism, it's silly otherwise.


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Cranky Dog: here's a very quick idea for spiritual support, you'll have to flesh it out yourself.

Party hears of a moutain temple where an honored, old --but obviously senile-- priest resides and where holy warriors train. Evil and curses have come across the land nearby and the villagers blame it all on the silent young acolyte the elder priest has recently taken under wing. People whisper the young acolyte has bewitched the old priest and befuddled his mind with dark magic, but the old priest will not believe wickedness about his young acolyte.

The old priest has long said he will give one wish to the person who travels into a swampy valley and purifies an abandonded shrine that has been corrupted. Many holy warriors have tried --so as to use the chance to demand the old priest banish the acolyte-- but all have failed.

In reality, the old priest is an oni using polymorph. He killed the real priest, took his shape and is faking senility. The acolyte is a terrifed innocent from a far-off village told by the oni to stay silent or else the acolyte's family will be brutially murdered.

The oni finds the whole situation great comedy, because he is sending legions of holy warriors to their doom, while having an innocent acolyte be shunned and hated by everyone.

If the party can free the acolyte,his/her resilence in the face of great evil is taken as evidence of their holiness and they become something of a heroic figure in the spiritual community... and can direct some of that veneration towards the party's use...


Almost finished now.

In the previous game, they rescued O-Sayumi, and I never came so close to a TPK with the shadow maze (STR damage undead rolled high). O-Sayumi and O-Kohaku gave the PCs their gifts (samisen and tea set) and recommended they visit the best tea ceremony mistress in town who is also a fortune teller, Miwa the uranaisha (normally one of Kaibuninsho's disguises).

Since the ninja side-story didn't happen yet, the "real" Miwa was assassinated and replaced by Kaibuninsho. He faked a "purify food and drink" over the poisoned tea (the PCs are *always* doing it now) and after bluffing a fortunetelling seance, he sealed the vision with a tea offering to every PC (including himself, which he only pretended). Only our sorcerer failed his save, so our ninja faked being poisoned too and collapsed. While our oracle attended the sorcerer, our cleric-monk attended the faking ninja who promptly stabbed her in the heart (assassination check). The monk survived, the ninja escaped.

We then did the Shuryo Onsen event. Since our fighter-paladin took Leadership as a feat, one of the Nine Pawns will become his cohort (and also happens to be a former participant they met at the Ruby Phoenix Tournament).

And the PCs went immediatly for the back entrance and found Sennaka and his bodyguard right of the bat. The battle was swift as I have apparently angered the dice gods (an ungodly amount of 1s, 2s and 3s). Kazuo the Yojimbo got "Touch of Serenity" in the first round and stunning fist on the second and dropped without even lifting a finger. Even Sikutsu Sennaka died promptly. The Typhoon guard didn't fare much better. One couldn't even burst through the paper walls. One got Touch of Serenity, and got a Mass Suggestion to stop say a prayer. Not a single one had time to escaped. Our paladin beheaded Sennaka and put his head on a pike, which promptly caused the arriving samurai guards to commit seppuku. I had the Benny Hill theme music in the back of my mind each time I rolled the dice.

Now only the siege is left as a major event, and looking at the Tetsubo of the Titans, there will be some nasty sundering on very expensive equipment. Suishen will be quickly recognized and ignored as an unbreakable artifact, but that magical O-Yoroi armor on the other hand...

I'll mix in some further ninja assassination attempts along the way.

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