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Podcast - Haunting of Harrowstone


Carrion Crown

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Gamers Guide to Pathfinder.

Spoilers so be warned.


Helaman wrote:

Gamers Guide to Pathfinder.

Spoilers so be warned.

Thanks for the plug!

Grand Lodge

Sean Mahoney wrote:
Helaman wrote:

Gamers Guide to Pathfinder.

Spoilers so be warned.

Thanks for the plug!

I didn't have time to add my review - I'll rectify.

Some good feedback including a take away - I'll add a "Flashback" adventure to tie the characters to the Professor with some plot driven reason for him to have the characters do most of the heavy lifting so he's not riding to the PCs rescue. It will help forge the bond.

I remember the start of 2nd series of the West Wing had a similar trope so that the audience could get the 'origins' and feel closer to the personal motivations of each character.

I wish there was some more on the town events but as your own experience was that the characters felt compelled to finish the prison quickly you really didn't get a chance to use much of the materials, and so that could be why you glossed over it. The town is as much a 'character' as any other and some suggestions here to bring the town to life or drive plot/story would have been great.

Your review of the villains was good and I'll take your advice on the Marauder to heart.

Finally I was hoping for some actual suggestions on plot hooks and foreshadowing - it was said that it was important and while you ran it as a single adventure without the rest of the AP being out, the AP is completed now... so not sure if you were drawing on your past experience too much and not putting on the 20/20 hindsight glasses or if you haven't read the other episodes yet.

Overall it was something I've been waiting for (from any one of the podcasts) and was happy to get but I wish it could have been longer and a bit more focused on the story and possible adaptations that could take it into the other episodes. Please keep doing these from time to time - Chronicles do something similar but your flavor and approach is different and their pace won't readily allow a wide range of reviews in the next 12 months (that said, my gosh, do they ever go DEEP on their materials), whereas your twice a month plus release schedule will allow you to cover more materials.

A solid and enjoyable episode.

Grand Lodge

Can you post your thing with the book Sean?

Taldor

Nice podcast guys, I really got a guffaw about the party that not only attacked the villagers in the Restlands with lethal damage, but also chased down those that tried to run away.

I ditched the Trust mechanic from the start, and let the players earn the trust of the town organically. I am still gradually changing the village's temperment as time ticks away, but letting it happen organically, without any fixed mechanics. I find that the players are more engendered to the townsfolk this way; the Trust mechanic causes too much animosity and outright rudeness towards the PC's too early in the adventure. I was worried about the party just saying "Screw you guys, I'm going home." Instead, they're engaging the villagers, asking questions, making connections, listening to Varianna's song, and getting the sense that something is changing for the worse before their eyes.

I really enjoyed some of the alternative ways that a GM could unveil the plot. In hindsight, I think I would have had the Whispering Way move the professor's body to another location, just to cast inquiring eyes away from Harrowstone, or at least until some investigation could be conducted.


Helaman wrote:
Can you post your thing with the book Sean?

It is from Mortagon's Expanded Ravengro document... there is a link in THIS discussion.

Man, I love these boards, they really help.

Sean


Helaman wrote:
I wish there was some more on the town events but as your own experience was that the characters felt compelled to finish the prison quickly you really didn't get a chance to use much of the materials, and so that could be why you glossed over it. The town is as much a 'character' as any other and some suggestions here to bring the town to life or drive plot/story would have been great.

Your 100%, the town is as much a character as anything else and I regret I was not able to bring it to life for my players. What can I say, since I didn't get to play most of the encounters out I can't give more feedback on them than I would have just reading them over. I REALLY wish I could. Definitely my big regret with this adventure (that said, the players said they had fun, so still a success).

Helaman wrote:
Finally I was hoping for some actual suggestions on plot hooks and foreshadowing - it was said that it was important and while you ran it as a single adventure without the rest of the AP being out, the AP is completed now... so not sure if you were drawing on your past experience too much and not putting on the 20/20 hindsight glasses or if you haven't read the other episodes yet.

Part of my problem here is that I didn't want to give too much away to Barry on this one... perhaps I shouldn't worry too much about that and just let him take one for the podcast team.

Additionally much of the foreshadowing as well as the plot hooks could and should be included in character background, but it is tough to give too much advice there as it needs to be tailored to the specific character.

Anyway... thanks for the review, it is extremely helpful to me. Both the praise and constructive criticism.

Thanks!

Grand Lodge

The boards are an AMAZING resource - I've gotten a TONNE of stuff from it.

Taldor

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

Thank you Helaman for the pointer. I listened to the podcast yesterday. I have just run the second evening of HoH so it is very timely.

To the 'podcasters': many thanks for a really good product which I would recommend to anyone else DMing HoH. Guys, what I thought was really useful was the interplay between a DM and one of his players. That gave a real insight to how the mod works from both sides - well done. How to make the mod interesting for players when the DM knows so much more interesting things but has to get that across without spoon feeding is so tricky.

Can you do another one for the following mods please?

J


Fleanetha wrote:
Can you do another one for the following mods please?

Yeah, when we finish the next one.

Unfortunately we only meet once a month and then play 12 hour or so sessions.

Last time I killed the bard (Barry's character from the podcast) in the first encounter and then made a custom encounter that I used to introduce the new Magus (died in the Loper encounter) and now a new cleric.

By the end of last session we were just getting into the second module but hadn't started the first investigation.

So it will be a few months... probably 2-3 before we finish Trial of the Beast.

My first suggestion though would be to make sure there is one day between getting the mission and the day the trial starts... my players are so rushed I worry they won't have time to investigate the college.

Sean


Great podcast, as a DM currently about 1/2 way through HoH, I found it quite enjoyable to listen how it worked out for you, as well as how a player interpreted what was going on.

I chuckled a little to hear that Ol Ember Maw proved to be your party's undoing; In my game the PC afflicted with the Father Charlatan haunt (a archaeologist type bard) failed utterly on his saves vs the Poltergeist and panic-ran straight into line with the Furnace of scorching death... suffice to say, splitting the party, with that haunt going off, fighting an invisible opponent on one end and a tongue of flame on the other, proved to be rather memorable (alas, no PC deaths)

It also occurred to me re: The Charlatan haunt, the encounter was probably much more enjoyable for the DM than the players, although my players enjoyed it they were somewhat confused by my constant jumping up and running out of the room to deal with the afflicted. I did this on a round by round level. Personally, i think having a gimmick encounter devoted to keeping a DM happy is an ok thing from time to time. Too frequently we forget the DM is also playing the game.

My 2 cents on the matter anyway.


I just finished listening to the podcast. Kudos!!
I got a lot of good material out of it. My group is only 2 nights in, and currently doing research. So I can put most everything in it to use.

I hope you continue on with the rest of the AP, Lord knows I can use the help!!


I would very much like to, but the game is currently on hiatus since Christmas. We had a player not able to continue and was the one providing a place to play so we are working on getting a new location.

Once that is done, then we still meet only once per month... so it will be slow going.

That said, the number of people who seemed happy with it has Barry and I talking about ways we may be able to do more like it (with others who have run them for example).

Sean Mahoney

Grand Lodge

I just found this podcast and really enjoyed it. I'm going to start the adventure this weekend, so it was perfect timing. You gave me a lot to think about, and hopefully I can avoid some problems before they happen.

As for the trust, I'm going to try to use it, but keep it invisible to the PC's. Instead I'll show they're relationships with the townsfolk through roleplaying, and also show when they gain or lose trust in that way. I'm also going to scrap the automatically losing a point of trust every day, instead they will only lose a point of trust in that way if they spend a day without doing anything to help the town or work on the problem. I'm also going to allow any relationships they build with individual NPC's in the town to trump trust entirely. Trust will only reflect the attitude of the "average" person in the town who doesn't know the PC's personally.

As for the Charlatan scenario, I'm going to try running it without taking the haunted PC aside. I don't see the other PC's knowing what's going on really ruining it much (or the PC haunted, who will figure it out after a round or so). There will still be suspense. Besides, I'd rather lose what little mystery there might be there (which I don't really think will matter) as opposed to having the other players bored by themselves while I'm in the other room. I think that would just destroy any tension or momentum that the scene has.

I too was cracking up over the story of the group who ran down and killed all the thugs in the first encounter. Hilarious. If I had a group do that, I definitely think it would bring out my vindictive streak, and they'd be very much regretting that decision for the rest of the module. What a great way for new players to learn an important lesson! ;)

I also think the format of having a DM and player on the cast really helps and gives a nice perspective.

Taldor

I would suggest a couple of additional changes to the early part of the adventure. Some of these I was able to incorporate, others I wished I had in hindsight:
1. Have the professor's body found in a different location away from Harrowstone. This might help alleviate the giant glowing neon arrow that points to the prison early in the adventure, and may make the research the players are supposed to do early on more meaningful.
2. Have Adivion Adrissant attend the funeral, and interact with the characters. There is an entire thread about this, and it gives you the opportunity to introduce him very early in the AP.

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