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The Empty Throne (GM Reference)


Jade Regent

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This thread is a GM Reference thread for Part 6 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)


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

regarding the enemy entry on page 32, what is the "Advanced Bestiary"?

Taldor

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Card Game Subscriber
Chernobyl wrote:
regarding the enemy entry on page 32, what is the "Advanced Bestiary"?

It's a wonderful little 3.5 resource book that has a number of templates and samples monsters using said templates put out by Green Ronin. It's out of print, but you can usually find it on Ebay for a reasonable price...at least you could a year or two ago. I highly recommend it for personal use.

FYI- The info for stuff like this is in section 15 of the OGL in the AP book too. That's where I found what it was to pick up mine when I ran RotRL.

However, the book itself wouldn't be needed to run the encounter, but I wanted the underlying information for my curiosity back then.


They still have the PDF version for sale.

http://www.greenronin.com/store/product/grr1601e.html


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

yeah, I saw it on DTRPG as well. I might pick it up, we'll see. This book is a year off at least I think though. We're nearing the end of book 1 right now and we only play bi-weekly.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Stat block question:

Spoiler:
The Jade Throne is mentioned as an artifact in of itself, but I don't see anything for it on my read-through. Did it have a write-up somewhere in the book? Otherwise I'm thinking divination, maybe some control weather abilities.

Paizo Employee Senior Developer

tremor3258 wrote:

Stat block question:

** spoiler omitted **

I'll throw my answer in a spoiler too:

Spoiler:
While the Jade Throne is an artifact, it is not detailed in the AP because it does not actually play a role in the campaign itself. Those who want to continue the campaign beyond "The Empty Throne" with Ameiko (or a PC) as empress/emperor can create the Jade Throne as an artifact that best matches the needs of their specific campaign and players.


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Any suggestions on something I could replace the suicide-causing haunt in the imperial shrine with? The issue is a massive taboo with my group, as we've lost one player's sibling to it, a few have lost close friends, and a couple have attempted at some point in their lives.

I definitely can't put that in the game...

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Possibly make it more of a compulsion haunt to make the PCs fight one another...a la confusion?. Or a sorrowful haunt that's so intense it actual inflicts psychic trauma on the victim...similar to phantasmal killer?


If you want to go by the strict rules, the haunt is just an eight-level spell, persistant (+2 CR), with a high perception check (+2 CR) and a reset of 1h (+1 CR), so, according to the haunt rules, the final CR is:

1+8+2+2+1=14

Just decide on a spell of 8th level you want to use instead of the compulsion, and replace it with a convenient descriptive text. "Symbol of Death" of "Symbol of insanity" might work in that both have a chance of damaging the party in a similar way to the one the haunt describes. Notice that all the PCs should save against a Symbol, though, and only once if they do not leave the area, so I would swap that with the original "one PC per round", and you can repeat them.

All in all, "Symbol of insanity" seems to me like a good option. It fits into the mood of the scenario quite well, and you could change the descriptive text to something like:

Original wrote:
to feel a sudden rush of sadness,loneliness, and regret
New wrote:
to feel a sudden rush of shame,loneliness, and regret

If the PCs feel like destroying the haunt, just edit the story of Yua so that it fits a grievance madness case.


I agree with Fox1212. Also, you should be commended for thinking about this ahead of time :) It seems obvious, but not everyone does.


Fox1212 wrote:


If the PCs feel like destroying the haunt, just edit the story of Yua so that it fits a grievance madness case.

Hmmm, I just noticed I used "grievance" instead of "grief". Sorry. English is not my native language (I'm from Spain)


CaptainJandor wrote:
I agree with Fox1212. Also, you should be commended for thinking about this ahead of time :) It seems obvious, but not everyone does.

Nah, this is an issue that really hits close to home for me, I couldn't not think about it, however much I may have wanted to.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

It's always touch-and-go when deciding to include or explore a topic like that in an adventure. There's a line you really don't want to cross as a designer. But, at the same time, there are circumstances in some storylines where a development like that makes perfect sense. The particular scene you're referencing was meant as an opportunity to...

Spoiler:

...highlight the Japanese ritual suicide known as seppuku, which samurai were known to perform. In Yua's backstory, she was too overcome by the grief and loss of her partner...as well as the shame inherent in slaying the sitting emperor of Minkai for his crimes...that she knew her life was forfeit. When the samurai servants of the other families came after her at the Imperial Shrine, she decided to give up her life on her own terms, performing seppuku as one last act of personal honor, giving up her life both in retribution for slaying the emperor, but also as a means of following her love to the grave.

I thought it was a powerful moment and emotion to draw upon. And, the echoes of that act were enough to generate the haunt which persists in that location now. That said, it's obviously not a topic to introduce at just any gaming table. I think you're wise to consider the adjustments you're making, and I hope all goes well for you.


Yeah, I agree that it could be a powerful moment for another group, and while I wish I could run it, I wouldn't be able to do it myself. Even with other players, I know that I personally would break down, so it's not the place for it.

After considering various spells based on Fox's suggestion, I think I'm likely to go with a variation on Sylmbol of Death, using the "one random target per round" targeting style of the original haunt, and replicating the likely instant-death aspect of the haunt without hitting on the taboo issue.

Contributor

Where is the island of the Imperial Shrine in relation to the city? Isao says it's in the "harbor" but it doesn't appear on the Kasai map on page 73, unless it's supposed to be Inu Island which looks very different to the map on page 15.

Assuming it's not Inu Island, I'm guessing it's off the western edge of the Kasai map, but how far from shore?

Paizo Employee Senior Developer

The Imperial Shrine island is *not* Inu island. As mentioned, it's out in the harbor, but to show it on the map would mean losing a lot of detail in the city itself, so it was decided to focus the map on the city, rather than on the city and its environs.

As for how far, since you have to take a boat to get to it, it's probably a couple of miles offshore. Visible from the city, most likely, but not close enough to get to without a boat.


I placed an island in the mouth of the river of the original map of Kasai, but was told that it was not large enough, and too close to the city itself - so that's just an island (Inu Island). The Imperial Shrine map, as Rob stated, is further in the bay off map.

The city is extemely detailed, if you haven't noticed... :D

Contributor

gamer-printer wrote:

I placed an island in the mouth of the river of the original map of Kasai, but was told that it was not large enough, and too close to the city itself - so that's just an island (Inu Island). The Imperial Shrine map, as Rob stated, is further in the bay off map.

The city is extemely detailed, if you haven't noticed... :D

I kind of expected that's what happened.

It's a lovely map! Wonderful even!

So, what goes on on Inu Island anyway? :p


Well an 'inu' is a dog in Japanese, so the island of dogs - perhaps strays are sent there, and PETA people go there to feed and administer healthcare for dogs? Just a thought.

I also wrote parts of the gazetteer - ask me about 'Setting Sun Cemetery', I can tell you lots more detail of what I wanted to include in that location, but could not due to limited word count and the needs for only providing hints of activity at a given locale. *Edit* - I'll just start a different thread... Setting Sun Cemetery.

Placing a shrine for a past emperors favorite pet on Inu Island, which subsequently has become a haven for stray dogs, while a shrine along the river bank in the city, sends food and medical aid to the free roaming dogs of loosed strays, seems a viable use for an island called 'dog'.

Contributor

gamer-printer wrote:

Well an 'inu' is a dog in Japanese, so the island of dogs - perhaps strays are sent there, and PETA people go there to feed and administer healthcare for dogs? Just a thought.

Placing a shrine for a past emperors favorite pet on Inu Island, which subsequently has become a haven for stray dogs, while a shrine along the river bank in the city, sends food and medical aid to the free roaming dogs of loosed strays, seems a viable use for an island called 'dog'.

Ha! I love it!

Sold!


So, I just looked through the module to see how the RP/combat ratio is ( if you are curious, it is pretty good, even with 30+ combat encounters in the module ) and I noticed that at best there are about 22 rebellion points to be had in the module, with the best outcome requiring 25+ points.

Given that GM's are supposed to subtract 1 rebellion point per day that the PC's do stuff like crafting or just not solving one problem in the capital, that seems kind of unfair to the players.

I am already planning adding more events that give out rebellion points, but I'd love to hear the reasoning behind the whole set-up of that sub-mechanic. Maybe Neil or someone else could explain?

Andoran

It looks like they were short on space for adding in stuff in addition to the two big dungeons. I was planning to pad this city out quite liberally using the gazetteer.


Oh, I think there is a lot of roleplaying opportunity to be had in the dungeon and in Kasai. But, same as you, I plan to pad out the plot and obtainable rebellion points by using the gazeteer.

Andoran

I don't know how many groups have made it that far yet. My campaign is still in Varisia. I've been preparing for the whole Minkaian stretch of the adventure a lot though. My main move right now has been watching all of the movies recommended in the introductions to this part of the AP, and watching the films mentioned in the Dragon Empires Gazetteer. In addition to this stuff, I've been watching documentaries on Netflix on asia, japan and the forbidden city.


Damn it, that's quite a bit more than I have done so far. ^^

Paizo Employee Senior Developer

Note that 10 Rebellion Points is enough for a (mild) success. 25 Rebellion Points are only required for a Great Success - and that pretty much requires getting every Rebellion Point from this adventure and the previous one.


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Oh, there are rebellion points in the fifth module? Well, I'll look that up.

Still, requiring the heroes to solve a problem every day or lose a rebellion point kind of makes it difficult for them to do things like craft items and so on. Not that I am majorly complaining, seeing how item crafting is an utterly broken concept in PF... ^^

Paizo Employee Senior Developer

The Rebellion Points awarded for events in "Tide of Honor" are detailed in the sidebar on page 13 of "The Empty Throne." Of course, the sidebar also details deductions of Rebellion Points for not achieving certain objectives in the fifth adventure, too... :)


Thanks, Rob, that makes getting the best result possible. I'll probably still devise a few more of my own events for the last module, so that it doesn't feel as rushed, but it will keep the pressure on. :)


Gluttony wrote:

Any suggestions on something I could replace the suicide-causing haunt in the imperial shrine with? The issue is a massive taboo with my group, as we've lost one player's sibling to it, a few have lost close friends, and a couple have attempted at some point in their lives.

I definitely can't put that in the game...

Wow, that really is unfortunate. A lot of suicides in one group, an unusual number even.

That then makes some type of spell that melts you to death via acid, while the character screams horrible and takes 40 damage a round, seem less a problem and an issue.

Make it grisly, or calm it right down.


magnuskn wrote:

Oh, there are rebellion points in the fifth module? Well, I'll look that up.

Still, requiring the heroes to solve a problem every day or lose a rebellion point kind of makes it difficult for them to do things like craft items and so on. Not that I am majorly complaining, seeing how item crafting is an utterly broken concept in PF... ^^

Agreed. It is great to put them on the clock.


A CR 14 equivalent trap. Thats some serious business. Its good to swap out something like this if your group doesn't handle this sort of potential plot twist well. Another possibility would be to stretch it out. The throne makes you gradually insane and then you get a very strong push in the direction of "servant of groetus". Something to that effect.


I ran a game once where one player was terrified of leeches, but the opponent was only a giant leech, not a CR 14 leech, and leeches hadn't killed their friends and family.

Pustulent ogres causes no such problems, or misshapen bog monsters, just as long as they weren't leeches.

Running dnd is sometimes so hard!

Idea: well there is always a self-mutilation trap, but again may be sensitive territory. The party may joke at someone tearing their eyes and skin off, or they may get a flash-back or it could revive a memory. A big problem if we stop to consider it. The in game spontaneity of dnd and fun can also be hampered by being over-worried. Good luck Gluttony.


magnuskn wrote:
Thanks, Rob, that makes getting the best result possible. I'll probably still devise a few more of my own events for the last module, so that it doesn't feel as rushed, but it will keep the pressure on. :)

If you're adding more points, I would also introduce more chances to loose them. The very best end should be something that is almost impossible to reach. I'd even go so far and say it should only be reachable if the players come up with ideas on their own that you think are worth points. Only very dedicated players that take the time to understand the local people and work with them, work for them, should really be able to get a great success.

But that's just my take on it, of course.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

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Old Drake wrote:
If you're adding more points, I would also introduce more chances to loose them. The very best end should be something that is almost impossible to reach. I'd even go so far and say it should only be reachable if the players come up with ideas on their own that you think are worth points. Only very dedicated players that take the time to understand the local people and work with them, work for them, should really be able to get a great success.

I would agree. That final "stretch" goal in the end-game for "The Empty Throne" should really be something that's difficult to obtain. Remember, you're talking about a group of foreign outsiders crossing the Crown of the World and submitting themselves as the rightful rulers of one of the more powerful empires in all of Tian Xia.

You shouldn't be able to win the local population to your cause overnight, you know? And that's regardless of how many ancient traditions you follow, how many approvals from the ancestral spirits you obtain, and how many allies you gather along the way. Despite all that, you still have to win over hundreds of thousands of people, many of whom are still going to view Ameiko and her companions as somewhat suspect until they can accept them as one of their own. Many of them are only going to learn about Ameiko and her claim to the throne via hearsay, as they won't be present in Kasai and able to witness what goes down between them and the Jade Regent. It'll take time for her reputation and "story" to spread to all corners of the empire. How quickly that happens is part of what the Rebellion mechanic is meant to facilitate.

So, the more Rebellion points the PCs gather, the faster they'll gain the acceptance they need. And you don't want to make that too easy for them. Otherwise, you'll have players with the unrealistic expectation that they'll just waltz in, wave their swords around, depose a tyrant, and everyone will immediately be happy to accept them as the next new "tyrant" on the block. That's not how mass socialization works. You can't just make individual Diplomacy rolls and say, "Okay. They all love Ameiko as the new Empress and they accept you without reservation."

It's really the difference between psychology and sociology. You can use a single Diplomacy roll to affect the psychology of a relationship between you and a single individual...or, in Pathfinder, even a small group of individuals. But, when you're talking about swaying an entire empire into not only accepting you, but also becoming inspired by you to cooperatively raise the collective whole to a greater height of civilization, you're dealing with sociology on an entirely different scale.

Moving that kind of mountain shouldn't be easy at all. And that's the heavy crown rulers have to wear. They're not as nimble as adventurers. They have a huge, massive ship to steer and can't turn it on a dime. How well they inspire their intermediaries and those they rule is what helps them speed that process. Thus, the Rebellion point system is what gives PCs an opportunity to influence that...even if they can't fully control it.

But that's just my two cents,
--Neil


3.5 Loyalist wrote:

I ran a game once where one player was terrified of leeches, but the opponent was only a giant leech, not a CR 14 leech, and leeches hadn't killed their friends and family.

Pustulent ogres causes no such problems, or misshapen bog monsters, just as long as they weren't leeches.

Running dnd is sometimes so hard!

Idea: well there is always a self-mutilation trap, but again may be sensitive territory. The party may joke at someone tearing their eyes and skin off, or they may get a flash-back or it could revive a memory. A big problem if we stop to consider it. The in game spontaneity of dnd and fun can also be hampered by being over-worried. Good luck Gluttony.

I'm going with something along the lines of a more direct death effect instead of suicide. Same save DC, same damage rolling, same potential death from massive damage, and if anyone tries to help the inflicted person they'll be lashed out at, but the effect itself will be described more as sudden, horrific pain, and perhaps the affected PC being attacked by the spirit of the haunt in her sorrow than as death by one's own hand.

Got to be honest, after the release of Skull and Shackles, this scene turned out to be nothing in comparison. Far easier to either change or gloss over issues like suicide or hanging in Jade Regent and Carrion Crown than it was to deal with that one particular scene in S&S...

Personally I'm just hoping Shattered Star (or the Rise of the Runelords anniversary printing) can manage to run the length of an AP without me having to change something to avoid trauma.


Neil Spicer wrote:
Old Drake wrote:
If you're adding more points, I would also introduce more chances to loose them. The very best end should be something that is almost impossible to reach. I'd even go so far and say it should only be reachable if the players come up with ideas on their own that you think are worth points. Only very dedicated players that take the time to understand the local people and work with them, work for them, should really be able to get a great success.

I would agree. That final "stretch" goal in the end-game for "The Empty Throne" should really be something that's difficult to obtain. Remember, you're talking about a group of foreign outsiders crossing the Crown of the World and submitting themselves as the rightful rulers of one of the more powerful empires in all of Tian Xia.

You shouldn't be able to win the local population to your cause overnight, you know? And that's regardless of how many ancient traditions you follow, how many approvals from the ancestral spirits you obtain, and how many allies you gather along the way. Despite all that, you still have to win over hundreds of thousands of people, many of whom are still going to view Ameiko and her companions as somewhat suspect until they can accept them as one of their own. Many of them are only going to learn about Ameiko and her claim to the throne via hearsay, as they won't be present in Kasai and able to witness what goes down between them and the Jade Regent. It'll take time for her reputation and "story" to spread to all corners of the empire. How quickly that happens is part of what the Rebellion mechanic is meant to facilitate.

So, the more Rebellion points the PCs gather, the faster they'll gain the acceptance they need. And you don't want to make that too easy for them. Otherwise, you'll have players with the unrealistic expectation that they'll just waltz in, wave their swords around, depose a tyrant, and everyone will immediately be happy to accept them as the next new "tyrant" on the block. That's not...

Neil, if that isn't what you wanted, you might have done something different than a.) bringing Ameiko directly to the capital, foregoing any more attempts at rallying the country in the thousand miles of territory they needed to cross to reach Kasai and, more importantly, b.) not put the damn adventure on such a bloody hasty timeline by substracting one rebellion point per day, no matter how heroic and diplomatic the party behaves. Seriously, that is the same mistake which was done in The Haunting of Harrowstone over in Carrion Crown.

At least here we theoretically get enough points to reach the very best result, which didn't happen in HoH, but if you think that reaching that best result should be very difficult to reach, don't put that difficulty mainly on an arbitrary and rushed passage of time, but make the actual goals difficult to hit.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

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magnuskn wrote:
...if you think that reaching that best result should be very difficult to reach, don't put that difficulty mainly on an arbitrary and rushed passage of time, but make the actual goals difficult to hit.

An arbitrary and rushed passage of time? I stand by how it's written, magnuskn. At this stage of the campaign, the entire storyline needs to come to a rushed crescendo of activity. The Jade Regent (via the divinations of Meida) will know they're in the city. His inquisitors and Typhoon Guard will eventually root out Ameiko. The PCs don't have time to lollygag and slowly win the hearts of minds of everyone in the capital (or the empire). That's the juxtaposition of everything. Do you spend valuable time righting the wrongs the Five Storms and Jade Regent committed against the people (to win their hearts and minds) but risk someone finding and assassinating Ameiko? Or, do you quickly depose the tyrant and get her on the throne, but risk taking over a country that's in shambles and less inclined to accept her? And, even if you do spend time winning over the people, you can't afford to delay very much in between each activity or the Jade Regent's forces will counteract whatever headway you made by undoing the damage and further punishing the people (which will dampen their enthusiasm for the new empress and the rebellion). It's a bit of a moral dilemma...or at least a logistical dilemma. And that's intentional. There's still room there to have your cake and eat it, too. But it won't be easy.

Thus, the Rebellion mechanic deducts points depending on long it takes the PCs solve this complicated problem. Even as the Rebellion starts to form, the Jade Regent's loyalists (and the Five Storms oni) act to stamp it out. If the PCs spend some time giving the oni other problems to deal with (hence, all the Rebellion point opportunities), they can raise the spirits of the people, draw more people to their cause, and spread Ameiko's (and their own) legend to get them to accept her when she finally assumes the throne. That approach can lead to a more successful empire at the conclusion of the adventure...but, only if they don't take too much time to do it. Otherwise, the Jade Regent's forces can tighten their control, stamp out elements of the growing rebellion, and even root out the last Amatatsu heir. That's why there's a tug-of-war between those two goals. If you want the best of both worlds, you need to balance things very carefully...or act very quickly with a high degree of success on every effort you undertake.


What most excites me about this part, is whether the players push Ameiko's claim solidly, or do they alter it and try to change the country a bit to their wishes and ends, e.g. a cleric/paladin/hellknight pushes Ameiko as the figure-head, but starts to cry to create some other political form around, the rebellion will take shape.


Neil Spicer wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
...if you think that reaching that best result should be very difficult to reach, don't put that difficulty mainly on an arbitrary and rushed passage of time, but make the actual goals difficult to hit.

An arbitrary and rushed passage of time? I stand by how it's written, magnuskn. At this stage of the campaign, the entire storyline needs to come to a rushed crescendo of activity. The Jade Regent (via the divinations of Meida) will know they're in the city. His inquisitors and Typhoon Guard will eventually root out Ameiko. The PCs don't have time to lollygag and slowly win the hearts of minds of everyone in the capital (or the empire). That's the juxtaposition of everything. Do you spend valuable time righting the wrongs the Five Storms and Jade Regent committed against the people (to win their hearts and minds) but risk someone finding and assassinating Ameiko? Or, do you quickly depose the tyrant and get her on the throne, but risk taking over a country that's in shambles and less inclined to accept her? And, even if you do spend time winning over the people, you can't afford to delay very much in between each activity or the Jade Regent's forces will counteract whatever headway you made by undoing the damage and further punishing the people (which will dampen their enthusiasm for the new empress and the rebellion). It's a bit of a moral dilemma...or at least a logistical dilemma. And that's intentional. There's still room there to have your cake and eat it, too. But it won't be easy.

Thus, the Rebellion mechanic deducts points depending on long it takes the PCs solve this complicated problem. Even as the Rebellion starts to form, the Jade Regent's loyalists (and the Five Storms oni) act to stamp it out. If the PCs spend some time giving the oni other problems to deal with (hence, all the Rebellion point opportunities), they can raise the spirits of the people, draw more people to their cause, and spread Ameiko's (and their own) legend to get them to...

And I still maintain that one day per rebellion point lost is arbitrary and random. I know that lecturing after the fact is easy, so I will at least give a comparison to what would have been, IMO, a better method.

A much better solution would have been a variation on the notoriety point system we had in Night of Frozen Shadows. The more Ameiko and the group do in Kasai, the more notoriety they attract to the growing rebellion in the city and the more severe the reprisals of the Jade Regent and his junta of advisors get. The players can counteract this with more good deeds for the population and more preparation, but in the end it is clear that the time to move on the palace is *now*.

I think that fanning a rebellion in the capital should not be done so hastily that most groups will feel the need to rush through the last module, but rather in a way that they must keep up a good pace but can do some realistic negotiations and planning before running off to the palace. Furthermore, this will forestall many groups from feeling pressured to leave those preparatory sidequests on the wayside and immediately set off for the palace.

And one more factor which, to me, screams for a longer time scale: The idea of sowing dissent between the different people in the Jade Regents party absolutely requires a time scale which gives the party time to do just that. Players will come up with impressive ideas on their own if you give them the time to do so, rushing them into the palace will cut that factor away.


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magnuskn wrote:


I still maintain that one day per rebellion point lost is arbitrary and random.

Just to play Oni's advocate here. It's not 'random' exactly, its one per day. :)

Seriously though, I think the 'arbitrary loss' should be explained by the DM in a way that makes it seem much less arbitrary. With each passing day, more atrocities occur in the name of the Jade Regent will make the dissident members of the population wonder what the heck is taking the hero's so long!

The first day it is suspect that Ameiko and company are in town, he starts home invasions with his loyal oni, taking 'hostages' from families, children, wives, ect seemingly at random. As time goes on he may start publicly executing said hostages in an effort to draw the Scion's out into a very one sided ambush. Perhaps as the PC's build up rebellion points with a major/public success snf some public supporters rally together and hold a peaceful protest asking the Jade Regent to step down. The Jade Regent rounds up the traitors and places their heads on spikes at every street corner and intersection to remind the people who is in charge and what happens to those who stand against him.

As things get even more desperate and it seems like an attack against him is inevitable, he may start having his men kill every single woman between the age of 20-30 they can find, declaring it is a crime for anyone to remove the bodies from the streets.

This is Big Bad Guy territory we are talking about here, he should be dangerous in ways just beyond his combat stats. The losses don't have to be 'arbitrary', you can explain them in a way that makes sense to you and your players.

I know you've said before that you really like to be able to run the games directly from the books as much as possible due to time constraints and what-not and I can respect that but it is a pretty decent proposal you are putting forward about having a similar system to Book 2, if you bring the subsystems of the various books to the forefront and let your players know when and how they are 'gaining points' I think it would accomplish changing the feel of the book from 'gotta hurry' to 'Take that you oppressive jerk!'. I would probably go ahead and design about 3 combat encounters and then 3 social/background encounters to happen at certain stages of Rebellion point gain and call it a done deal if I was looking to make a similar change.

You can most likely make the changes you are suggesting easily enough before your group gets to book 6, and if you do, be sure to share them with everyone here :)


Basically Neil and I only disagree on the time scale. He thinks things should move very fast, I wanted things more drawn out. Also more explanations on why rebellion points are lost so fast, but I can guess that up by myself ( although I want to say that Neil laid out those reasons quite well in his post ).

So there is no real conflict. I'll just draw things out so it fits more into my vision of how the endgame should play out. :)


As for me wanting to run things as much as possible directly from the books, that's true ( although I don't like to do so... I just don't have as much time as I want to run things with more customization ). However, in this case I will have to change up things anyway, since I got six players. If I absolutely have to rework the encounters, I might as well change up the plot a bit towards the end. I think it's pretty likely that I am out of my exam phase anyway when we hit that point.


The only problem I see with your version is that once things start happening in the capital, the Jade Regent and his terror troops won't care if the PCs show themselves in the public, but will start extremely harsh measures against any suspected rebel. While it does incite more hate, it also leaves those most able to oppose the Oni dead. Or worse, replaced, be it by oni, shapechangers, wizards, or whatever. All the time Ameiko's name will be all over the city; of course those that use it in a positive fashion when the Oni aren't distracted by something the party did, tend to disappear the same day.

What you are assuming is that the Jade Regent uses reasonable measures of reprisal and terror. You discount the fact that the final goal has precious little to do with a prosperous or healthy country and that humans and other races are to be about to become slaves, badly treated slaves at that, should Ameiko die and the seal be captured. The Jade Regent is literally willing to raze the city and slaughter all the people to find and kill the party. There are enough slaves elsewhere in the country, after all.

I wouldn't be surprised if 1% of the population was killed every day once the Regent realizes that the party has entered the capital. But maybe I see the situation a bit harsher than it truly is.

On another note, I'm not sure I would share the exact mechanics of Rebellion Points (or any other points in the AP) with players. The daily point loss would simply be the party seeing the bodies of sympathizers being burned on public squares and the smell of burning flesh thick in the air. But again, that image is probably harsher than what you imagine.


Quite harsher, yes. The Jade Regents description says that the guy is getting more and more into debauchery and being a wastrel. For that you need a population to sustain you, even if you are incompetent in administrating said population for long-term sustainability.

As such, I see the Jade Regents motivation at first in supressing the population via intimidation and from that starting point he ( and the Oni behind the throne ) begin to escalate their counter-strategy from intimidation to violent supression towards the situation you describe.

You don't start from 100%, you build up to it. It is not in the initial interest of the Jade Regent to burn down Kasai around him, but if it looks increasingly like this rebellion has a chance of succeeding against him, he will resort to the methods you described, which in the end forces the party to leave long-term plans unfinished and storm the palace with what they got. But I want them to be able to come up with their own ideas and go around having some time to implement those ideas.

That being said, from one of the two groups I'm going to GM this for, I suspect that they might go straight for the castle. The other one will want to build up things. At least that's my current interpretation of how things will play out when we come to this point.

Andoran

So I had an idea for the final chapters of this AP, which could fit anytime after the Forest of Spirits. Essentially the idea is that "Invading Mongol Hordes" is one of the standard plots in Asian high adventure stories. The PC's travel through Hongal, which is essentially Fantasy Mongolia, and have a fairly significant encounter with the prince there. I was thinking that if the PCs talk about their plans in Minkai, which the Prince is likely to ask them about, then the Hongal horde might realize that Minkai is at an opportune moment for invasion. I was thinking about throwing in a prophecy that the Hongal didn't understand about 'wooden horses' so I could get the Horde to Minkai on ships. This would make Minkai considerably more messy when the PC's arrive, but it would add opportunities for a lot of adventure. Also, it would give the high level PCs a chance (potentially) to face off against a low level army of mooks, which is always fun.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

I could really use some help coming up with an alternative to Meida's pregnancy as something to undermine her teamwork score.

I thought about leaving it as is; letting the players find out and then work out a way to capture her instead of killing her, until after the baby was born. But the PCs themselves have absolutely no motivation to feel the way I and my players do, and the whole thing would involve metagaming that I'd rather avoid if possible.

I also thought about having Anamurumon kill Meida himself when he finds out, but that would (a) take away from the final battle and (b) still make the PCs indirectly responsible for Meida's death.

Ideas, Please?

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Marriage. Have it so that Meida is making arrangments behind the scenes to marry the Jade Regent so she can become Empress. Anamurumon would frown on this because if anything happened to the Jade Regent, he knows Meida would be much more difficult to control since she isn't of oni blood. Meida is also a powerful enough spellcaster to both anticipate and counter Anamurumon. If she gathers the backing of the people of Minkai, she could supplant the Five Storms as the power controlling the Jade Throne.


Hmm well having JR marry Media might not be the problem but getting pregnant before Anamumumumumumu(silly) makes all the arrangements to work out to his favor.

"Sure you can knock her up but whe I say so."

Plus it sounds rather bizzare for the PCs to capture Meida and wait to kill her after the baby is born. Meida would need to be tied down and gagged 24/7 in order to keep from doing something awful to the PCs or herself out of spite.

"If you behave yourself, we will wait until the baby is born before killing you. Don't worry, we will make sure the baby has a good life"

*Meida lightning bolts her face*

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