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PFS#3-11 On Hostile Waters [SPOILERS]


Pathfinder Society GM Discussion

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Qadira ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

In encounter #3 Border Crossing, for Tier 4-5, the number of border guards appearing is not indicated. At Tier 1-2 there are 3, but at Tier 4-5 despite being referred to in the plural there does not appear to be more than one.

Also, in the same encounter, suppose the PCs have a handy haversack (or similar magic) and they conceal the artifact within it. Would it be fair to have Sun Cheyeng use detect magic + Spellcraft at the high tier so he might recognize this tactic? He would know the artifact would have a powerful aura and detect magic would speed up his searching a lot.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Illinois—Decatur aka TwilightKnight

I think Detect Magic is the very tactic he would use to scan for the object. If the PC's have a Haversack or a Bag of Holding, it would be fair to think they could hide "cargo" in it to avoid proper taxation. If that is the ruse he intends to use, then it would make sense he would require them to unload the contents.

Locate Object might have been more effective, but perhaps beyond the challenge level of the encounter/scenario.

I think, if you refer to the CRB's methods for determining CR, there should be three of the rogues. It looks like the individual CR is 1 and table 12-3 on page 398 says that three creatures is CR+3. So three guards would equal CR4. Add to that the CR of Cheyeng and it "feels" like a CR5 encounter.

I know that there is a diminishing return on adding more of the same CR to a group so the number of guards cold be slightly higher, perhaps 4-6.

Shadow Lodge * Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

I checked my notes, and it looks like there should be three guards in encounter 3. Looks like the (3) just got dropped somewhere along the line. Sorry for the confusion!

As for the other question, it's reasonable for Cheyeng to use detect magic during his search of the ship. The PCs should still be able to hide the braid from him with a good Sleight of Hand check though (I consider finding a good hiding place behind an inch of metal or a few feet of wood to be a part of that check).

Hope that helps!

**

Doug Miles wrote:
Also, in the same encounter, suppose the PCs have a handy haversack (or similar magic) and they conceal the artifact within it. Would it be fair to have Sun Cheyeng use detect magic + Spellcraft at the high tier so he might recognize this tactic? He would know the artifact would have a powerful aura and detect magic would speed up his searching a lot.

All canny Pathfinders who've done their homework and read up on the lore should be aware of an item called a Pathfinder Pouch. My gut reaction is that a tier 4-5 party will have one of these items which will overcome a detect magic.

At least, that's how my group tends to swing. One of the first items we always buy is a Wayfinder (as it's the best way to quickly prove you're a Pathfinder and only costs 250gp). One of the early items we often get is a Pathfinder Pouch (convenient to hide furtive missives from faction leaders and small trinkets that you need to carry away for an unauthorised mission).

I'm hoping my group are tier 1-2 or else they'll just bypass this encounter rather easily. On the other hand, it is nice to be rewarded for knowing the lore and buying flavourful items. After all, whoever owns a Pathfinder Pouch has quite likely given up on a +1 sword, or +1 armor.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Illinois—Decatur aka TwilightKnight

John Lynch 106 wrote:
Pathfinder Pouch

Totally forgot about that one. My Sczarni pirate is thankful for the reminder ;-)

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

(Seekers of Secrets, page 56)

*

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I like the scenario and the idea of the boat moving along and the encounters more or less "coming to the players". What I don't like so much is the challenge rating... The problem of the "15 minute work day" becomes quite evident as at most two encounters happens in the same day.

I think the challenge rating should have been "suspended" and the encounters made a bit more challenging. Our PFS group was split into two (3 players in one group and four in another , two GM's, tier 4-5) and both groups finished pretty quickly and with minimum effort or challenge. And I think that's a real shame, as I really quite like the idea behind the scenario.

I would really like to see the idea of the boat tried out again in a later scenario (maybe with a boat a bit bigger and more encounters tied to different locations on the boat) and the challenge rating "topped" up a bit :)

Qadira ***

Our group found this adventure a bit... railroady was the term. While I personally didn't have a problem with it, 2 of the other players were quite vocal about it after the mod finished.
now for my personal notes.... I've not run it, so these are from the POV of a player, and might be colored by the way my Judge ran it.

Spoilers on encounters:

Encounter with the nomads: Why did they ride close to the river bank? If I had been the nomad commander I would stay outside medium spell range and shot, take advantage of the longer range of the bows. Was this just a case of SMS (Small Mapboard Syn.)?

Encounter with customs: This devolved into a fight - but we were a combat heavy group, and not much for Dip. or Stealth. It is good to see from the other posts that this encounter can be done several different ways.
About Locate Object: It's a 2nd level cleric spell (and the Travel Domain spell) and should be easily available as a potion... but! it would require the caster to have personally seen (and be familiar) with a unique item (the artifact) to cast it.

Encounter with the ship - this should be expanded - or maybe it was poorly run by my judge. So much potential here! Combat between ships would take a long time, and be mainly done at distance. Fire arrows flying, wheel-men being shot at, etc. Unless they encounter each other in a fog perhaps. or if the PCs Junk are becalmed and the BBE are in a galley (the chance to free galley slaves should excite Andorian PCs).


wow, that was longer than I had intended!

Qadira ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Of the three parts, I liked this one the least.

My players offered no resistance to the nomads and allowed the ship to be boarded. Then after the nomads were closer they lit them up. The nomads are CN, why kill travelers when you can rob them again and again? Next time the players use this tactic I might have the nomads approach differently, since the PCs never got scratched.

The encounter with the Lingshen officers goes the same every time. The players allow their ship to be boarded, then try and take the soldiers unaware. Very little challenge.

The kijimuna likewise were not a challenge. Even the high tier opponents hit like 1st level mooks. This encounter does nothing to add to the adventure.

The optional encounter was contrived and could have been something much cooler out of the Bestiary 3. Why weren't kappa used?

The fight between the ships was the greatest challenge. This was due to the magus, who unleashed a furious attack a-la Dalsine Affair. I really don't like the class. The players had a fight on their hands, but after the magus scared the poop out of the players they unloaded on her and she was smoked in 2 rounds. Three PCs went down in the fight and it was the only significant damage out of any encounter.

Andoran ***

I have some complaints about the larger maps that have appeared in some of the season three scenarios -- but the particulars of that criticism are for another post at another time...

However, the custom maps which appear in this specific scenario were highly appreciated. Despite the able criticisms of Mr. Miles -- I liked this scenario and I look forward to running it.

In particular, well done on the developer decisions in relation to the maps in this scenario Mr. Moreland!

Silver Crusade ***

Doug Miles wrote:


The kijimuna likewise were not a challenge. Even the high tier opponents hit like 1st level mooks. This encounter does nothing to add to the adventure.

Go tell that to my Kijimuna who critted on his first spear hit and rolled 6-6-6 on the damage dice. Also, the other one survived having his gallbladder removed, and escaped.

Had a PC down on negatives on every encounter except the leech.

Andoran RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

I think I was in Nosig's group, and was one of the complaining players (not about the session as run - I had fun, GM did a good job from what I can tell), but the scenario as written/presented didn't offer a lot of challenge.

Spoiler:
1) each encounter happened on a different day, and therefore, the entire party was at full strength and had all resources each encounter. That can work, but only if it's a challenging encounter each time...which it wasn't.

2) Other than the dock/customs encounter, they all began at range. With spellcasters and archers, it was a) very easy to defeat the opposition long before it actually became a challenge at all, and b) it was really boring for characters who had no or weak ranged options (I played a magus with close or touch spells, and thrown weapons for ranged atacks). More variety would have been preferred...maybe some amphibeous creatures climbing up the side of the ship and being in melee therefore?

Taldor ****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Card Game Subscriber

As Joel's and nosig's GM for the scenario, I think there was some places I could have ran the scenario better, but overall it was definitely my least favorite of the 3 to run. Nosig, it was more the SMS than anything else on the first fight. That, and I didn't want the non-ranged folks to have nothing to do for the few rounds the scene lasted.

I've run this twice, and none of the combats have been in the slightest challenging to the parties. Each one was written to be several days apart, aside from the tribal group after the mounted raiders, but this can be resolved peacefully fairly simply by PC's that aren't blood thirsty.

I would have loved it if they dropped the Kijmuna and optional encounter and given more room for the naval combat scene to play out. It's a huge ship and there's only information for 4 people. A ship that size, with a set of oars that large has to be teeming with sailors to run it. Both times I've ran it, the first instinct of the players was to try and cripple the larger ship at range, yet there's no information as to what the stats of the boat (or her crew) should be. With the lack of ability to get an alpha strike by the enemy, due to having to move to board the PC's vessel and end up in the middle of the party on a cramped ship on the first round. A trip happy group, or a single SoS spell on the magus, and the combat is over before it begins in my (albeit limited) experience.

I understand this had to be a go from point A to point B scenario based on the arc plot line, but I really wished for something more for the encounters.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, California—Fresno aka Sarta

Sniggevert wrote:
I would have loved it if they dropped the Kijmuna and optional encounter and given more room for the naval combat scene to play out.

This!

The combats were very easy when I ran it at the 4-5 tier. I frankly could have doubled the number of opponents in every encounter. It was only when a boating mishap would occur that things got interesting.

The party's Druid stone called the attacking ship, so it was rather easy to justify the attack just coming from the four below decks. However, my players definitely would have loved to play out a full ship to ship combat.

*

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Hey folks,

I've been keeping an eye on the thread, and I wanted to say thanks for the feedback you've all given. I can definitely see there are some problems with this scenario, and if I get the chance to write another one, I'll keep these recommendations in mind.

**

I ran this at tier 4-5 and as Will Johnson said, I also could have doubled the number of opponents in every encounter. Granted I had a table of 7 for this one, so that was something of a factor.

The first encounter was interesting if not overly-challenging. The horsemen managed a crit on the oarsman, and the ensuing mishap caused the boat to be grounded on a sandbar. This at least allowed the non-ranged folks to wade ashore and get a bit of action in towards the end. But the biggest factor in this fight was a single spell: create pit. Four of the five horses ended up in these, and it split up the attacking force in a way that made the fight very easy.

The player of the Osirion PC was a bit confused in not knowing whether these were the nomads she needed to speak to in order to fulfill her faction mission. So some time was spent in stabilizing and questioning one of them.

The encounter with customs had some RP drama as Sun Cheyeng made his search, but the ensuing fight was over without the characters taking a scratch. I did use 3 border guards as it seemed that was the intention.

The kijimuna were colorful but completely unchallenging. And the fact that two of factions just happened to find their MacGuffins in the fishing net debris made the players roll their eyes.

The optional encounter was skipped due to time constraints, but to be honest I wasn’t crazy about it to start with.

The final encounter was completely anti-climatic, but that’s partially my fault as I think it could have been run a bit better if I thought about it more. Bad dice rolls from the NPCs were also a big factor. As with Sniggervert’s party, my player’s first instinct was to try and cripple the larger ship at range. The spell caster threw another create pit under the oarsman, but I ruled that by then the momentum of the larger ship brought it up next to the PC’s boat anyway.

A large-scale battle with all the crew of that ship could be great fun, but I can see how it would be difficult to do within the confines of a PFS adventure. I did have the players asking about the crew on that boat, and without any information in the scenario I was making it up on the fly and pushing to get the two ships together so the NPCs could attack.

The magus was almost a non-factor in our final fight. She was able to step up and cast a color spray – perhaps not the best choice of opening spells, but it caught 4 of the PCs and stunned 2 of them for a round. Then another PC successfully cast command and told her to flee. She ran below deck for a round. By the next round only one her henchmen remained. 3 of the PCs waited for her by the hatch she had run down, and with their better initiatives she was dead before she ever got to act again. One of the players actually asked “Was that supposed to be the final boss?”

All criticisms aside though, the players seemed to have fun for the most part. They liked the idea of travelling on the boat as something different. So challenging or not, overall I’d say it was a success.

Taldor ***

JoelF847 wrote:
1) each encounter happened on a different day, and therefore, the entire party was at full strength and had all resources each encounter. That can work, but only if it's a challenging encounter each time...which it wasn't.

I have yet to run this mod but I will say that if a mod plans to put encounters on multiple days then it works better if the players are stretched thin. If they have to dip into limited resources IE potions, scrolls, and once a day effects then you know its at the right challenge level.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, California—Fresno aka Sarta

Benjamin Bruck wrote:

Hey folks,

I've been keeping an eye on the thread, and I wanted to say thanks for the feedback you've all given. I can definitely see there are some problems with this scenario, and if I get the chance to write another one, I'll keep these recommendations in mind.

Benjamin,

Let me temper my above complaints with this:

I really liked the boating rules. As a former white-water river guide, it was great to see attention paid to the hazards of boating in a swift river.

At tier 1-2, the encounters look pretty well-balanced and probably are challenging. It was the tier 4-5 that seemed easy. My table also had a level 5 Druid with a +13 in Knowledge Nature and the spells entangle and stone call prepped. She was definitely the super-star of the team.

All in all, it was an enjoyable scenario in a great series. Good work!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I agree with the majority of the posters here... it was a pretty easy adventure.
I really liked some moments: desperately trying to get away from the nomad bandit guys [we had 1 ranged character], meeting the friendly nomads and having to negotiate, the boat combat

and I really disliked some moments: the unneeded ambush encounter down 'death alley' (why would anyone try to travel down a river that has a well-established ambush zone with enough death going on that bones and such are on the banks?), and the magus (first melee round - one attack w/ spell on sword took me from 18hp to -12hp...)

I like this series of mods. I like the overall story. I also like the special benefits for playing them all.

I do not like the magus. It would not have mattered which character in our group she attacked. They would be on the deck, close to (or fully embracing) death.

Marcus

*

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

That was one of the things I really liked about the final encounter! :) The ability of the Magus to be REALLY dangerous if circumstances permits (on the higher tier a crit would result in damage of 12d6+14, if I recall correctly). That adds a sense of danger and I like that - very much like the first scenario with the very powerful barbarian yeti.

Grand Lodge ****

Have run this twice. Overall, I think it works OK, but there isn't enough guidance to take into account the consequences of player actions. One group hired a driver for the boat, and accepted my ruling that the same guy wouldn't do the whole trip. They just stopped a lot and hired new people. Really, sailing across a big lake that takes 3 days to cross, with no one aboard who knows how to sail, is insane, and most players know it.

Most combats were somewhat easy - the second group had a 5th level wizard, so one fireball wiped out 4 of the riders in the first encounter. Had the same wizard fireball the enemy ship at range... twice. This made me think that the rest of the crew wouldn't be so eager to surrender after the magus went down, but there wasn't a way to handle it legally. Thie use of long-range attacks on the ship is probably common enough that a suggestion on how to handle it should be errata'd in to guide GMs... maybe attacking the ship at range increases the number of boarders by two, or you take one round of arrows before boarding, or something. I actually recorded it as an alignment infraction (after suitable warning) - attacking a peaceful vessel with weapons of mass destruction without just cause is an evil act.

In fact, the entire mission requires the party to act non-lawful at least. The Pathfinders basically are smuggling the relic through Lingshen territory, resist arrest, and probably kill Lingshen border guards, a bureaucrat, and then some Lingshen marines during their escape. That should improve the Society's name in Tien Xia!

Cheliax ****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps, Modules Subscriber

So, I'm not so happy with the description of that as an evil act. Looking at the faction information presented in the scenario, the Liangshen is far from a Good society, so fighting them, resisting arrest by them, and killing their border guards in pursuit of the Society's goals is opposing Evil... It may even fall within Lawful guidelines for a member of the Society - you are to carry out your appointed superiors' orders, after all.

The alignment infraction section of the Guide to Pathfinder Society Organized Play does not seem to support the action of that PC as an alignment infraction. Recordable alignment infractions are those which actually change the PCs alignment, from what I see in the GTPSOP....

Andoran *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Scott Young wrote:
Had the same wizard fireball the enemy ship at range... twice. This made me think that the rest of the crew wouldn't be so eager to surrender after the magus went down,

Did the Magus go down with the ranged attacks?

Because if you look at the Tactics "Xiao waits belowdecks to avoid ranged attacks until she can board the PCs’ ship." She does not come up until they are boarding so ranged attacks should not hit her.

The same with the soldiers "Xiao’s favored crew members wait below decks to avoid ranged attacks until they can board the PCs’ ship."

All you are doing is killing crew members with ranged attacks, until the can board.

*** Venture-Lieutenant, Canada—Ontario aka Feegle

I haven't run this yet, but I'm slated to at a con this weekend. My initial readings bring up the following question:

If the PCs successfully sneak the Braid past the border guards, why would he send a ship after them anyway? He searched their ship already. They didn't have it.

Am I missing something?

(FWIW, I'll still send the ship after them in Act 3 - at that point it just happens to be a Lingshen patrol ship or something else...)

**

Jeff Mahood wrote:

If the PCs successfully sneak the Braid past the border guards, why would he send a ship after them anyway? He searched their ship already. They didn't have it.

Am I missing something?

There's an explanation given for this in the adventure. See page 14 under "Development."

*

Jeff Mahood wrote:

I haven't run this yet, but I'm slated to at a con this weekend. My initial readings bring up the following question:

If the PCs successfully sneak the Braid past the border guards, why would he send a ship after them anyway? He searched their ship already. They didn't have it.

Am I missing something?

(FWIW, I'll still send the ship after them in Act 3 - at that point it just happens to be a Lingshen patrol ship or something else...)

Basically the idea is that, whether he finds the braid or not, Cheyeng finds the PCs and their ship suspicious, so he reports his encounter with them to his superiors.

That gives someone higher up in the ranks the chance to put two and two together (possibly with the help of whoever is leaking Society secrets to the Lingshenese to begin with) and then order the Hailong to intercept the PC's on the Sea of Eels.

I don't recall if it mentions it anywhere but the Hailong is a patrol ship, assigned to patrol the Sea of Eels, so just having them stumble across the PCs works as well.

Qadira ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

Jeff Mahood wrote:

I haven't run this yet, but I'm slated to at a con this weekend. My initial readings bring up the following question:

If the PCs successfully sneak the Braid past the border guards, why would he send a ship after them anyway? He searched their ship already. They didn't have it.

Am I missing something?

(FWIW, I'll still send the ship after them in Act 3 - at that point it just happens to be a Lingshen patrol ship or something else...)

Don't worry, no one bothers to sneak it past the guards. They just kill everyone who gets in their way. It's spilled milk at this point, but this act needed to presented as more foreboding. The players should feel that retaliation will be overwhelming and violence is the last resort. As written, the players are like "Come on aboard and search us, we want to cooperate." Then as soon as the soldiers are bunched up, WHAMO! The slaughter commences.

Maybe the next time I run it I'll have a couple of soldiers a hundred feet away tending the horses, who then quickly mount up and ride away to report the attack at the checkpoint. That will make the final encounter a little less contrived from the players' POV.

Qadira ***

heck, what did they do with the bodies? first thing I'd do after my check point is attacked is ask one of the (dead) guards "who killed you?"

Harder to do without bodies, and kind of intact ones at that, but still possible.


Believe it or not, my group tried to avoid conflict w/ the guards. We cooperated, and not just for show. I flubbed my slight roll and the perceptive inspector found the braid... then demanded we hand it over. I tried to talk my way out of it, but the Liangshen guards were out for blood so they attacked us.

I kinda wish there was an option that allowed for a peaceable solution.... but I wasn't bright enough to expect that simply wearing the braid hidden under my clothes was enough to avoid the fight.

MSG

*****

I ran this last weekend. Overall, I think it does suffer from 15 minute work day syndrome, but it had some fun moments nonetheless.

Spoiler:

The best one for my group was during the leech attack. We were playing subtier 4-5, so there was a giant leech and a leech swarm. The giant leech didn't last long, but only one player had any kind of splash weapon (2 vials of acid), and swarms are tricky without AoE spells. It's also nasty to take automatic 2d6 damage, 1d3 STR & 1d3 CON, poison for 1d4 DEX, and distraction. The best part was when the swarm was in the centre of the ship and three party members were on the stern near the rudder. The person driving the ship failed his drive check, then rolled a collision. The three party members flew forward 20' and all three landed right in the swarm!

By the end of the fight, the cleric was down to 1 STR, 3 CON & 4 DEX. The only thing that saved them is that the swarm only moves 5' so it was fairly easy to evade.

*

The two groups I've run it for both tried to sneak the braid past the guards, with about a 50% success rate.

Shadow Lodge *** Venture-Lieutenant, California—Silicon Valley aka JohnF

When we ran this at a con last weekend our cavalier got us through it by using intimidate on the guards.

Cheliax ***** Owner - Enchanted Grounds

4 people marked this as a favorite.

I've run it three times, now, and enjoyed the adventure. I had a lot of opportunity to introduce unique elements that players don't usually get to deal with (running fights and negotiating instead of just attacking), and was able to work up some pretty fun character interaction.

To address specifics:

I had the party pre-roll 10 perception checks each, wrote them down in random order, then had them roll a non-d20 whenever I needed a perception check from them (and randomly a few times to spot odd parts of the country they were passing through). This kept them in the dark about when something was up. I also insisted on a watch schedule, as the boat couldn't drive itself, and characters couldn't survive without sleep. That made for interesting starts to combats, and somewhat alleviated the one combat per day syndrome.

The encounter on the river bank - Every group ended up making the perception check (a flock of birds lifting off the ground beyond a dune and dust kicked into the air by "something big") and I gave them two rounds to prepare as a reward. As they rounded the bend, the river narrowed and they would see a bunch of sand bars, and the riders would swoop up to the shoreline. Not one group was able to get out of this encounter without hitting a snag or obstacle, and I always turned the riders out into the river when this happened. They would get to the boat in two rounds, jump onto the deck, and engage in hand to hand. With the snag throwing PCs overboard and the arrow combat to start, this ended up more challenging than you would think.

The Jhemulit - After my first group fumbled around a bit, then decided to use the alchemist to do a fireworks show to convince the Jhemulit that they had the power of the sky spirits, I figured out I had to have a reason for Ogokai to believe the initial storm was punishment, and at first blames the PCs, of course. I further decided that the neighboring tribe (the raiders) are known for despoiling the river through various acts, and allowed the players to key in on this while talking to him. Ogokai believes that many of the storms are the neighboring tribe's fault. When they mention the fight, this goes a long way toward convincing Ogokai. Showing the bodies (each group kept them and didn't dump them in the river, as they intended to bury them upon reaching the Jhemulit) nails the negotiation down. Other things that can help are gathering up loose livestock, helping cleanup around camp, and showing respect for the river. This worked very well. It also allowed me to create stories and customs for the missions that involve this group.

The check point - One group lured and attacked, the other two tried to sneak by (one succeeded). I didn't bunch any of the bad guys up, as their suspicions ran high. In fact, I set them up with two flanking a random party member, and another near a PC that was close to the ship's rail. When the fights broke out, the flanked PC was immediately in trouble, and the one near the rail went in the drink via bull rush. While it still was usually over quickly, it was a lot more exciting with those two things to worry about, and having Cheyeng shouting about finding the braid lent them some urgency to get away quickly.

The kijimuna - I ran this encounter at night. I described the village and the hundreds of goblins all watching them intently, being threatening enough that each group simply tried to hunker down and ride it out. After a couple rounds, random bands started following the ship, tossing dead fish and other detritus on board and taunting the "long-shanks." Soon, I had random goblins throw torches onto the boat (not relying on whether the PCs had them or not). One group was suspicious and started trying to get to the torches and throw them off. In the midst of this, one kijimuna group decides to attack, and the fun is on. I have the torches to steal flame from, and a peanut gallery to provide cheers and jeers, and things worked out pretty well. Again, no group ever doesn't hit a snag, and I had it be a kijimuna "man-fishing" net that the village tosses out at them in which the goblins laced trophies from their prior "catches." When the PCs cut their way free, they have the chance of noticing the mission objects.

I was at a convention with 4-hour time slots, so skipped the leeches each time.

The final encounter - I had the PC ship become becalmed, and pointed out the oars. Of course, the patrol ship has no issues with that, and catches the PCs quickly. No group ever thought to cover the words "Laughing Crow" on their stern, so the Lingshenese are fully aware of what this boat represents. I had the leaders stay on deck behind full cover as they guide the ship, and decided the rowers for the Lingshen ship are one deck down, negating the ability to simply kill them all off. When the PCs bunch up at one point expecting the bad guys to jump aboard, readying actions, I figure it's a simple matter to back-row, slip the ship a little further on, and jump to the Laughing Crow from there. I throw out a token piloting check to demonstrate their ability in this regard. Of my three, one group was almost a TPK, and all needed reasonably good tactics to slip free unscathed.

All in all, I really enjoyed running this module. I added in a lot of color for the NPCs, and it really gave me the chance to show off Tian Xia for the groups I was running all weekend.

*

Drogon wrote:
The kijimuna - I ran this encounter at night. I described the village and the hundreds of goblins all watching them intently, being threatening enough that each group simply tried to hunker down and ride it out. After a couple rounds, random bands started following the ship, tossing dead fish and other detritus on board and taunting the "long-shanks." Soon, I had random goblins throw torches onto the boat (not relying on whether the PCs had them or not). One group was suspicious and started trying to get to the torches and throw them off. In the midst of this, one kijimuna group decides to attack, and the fun is on. I have the torches to steal flame from, and a peanut gallery to provide cheers and jeers, and things worked out pretty well. Again, no group ever doesn't hit a snag, and I had it be a kijimuna "man-fishing" net that the village tosses out at them in which the goblins laced trophies from their prior "catches." When the PCs cut their way free, they have the chance of noticing the mission objects.

This is pretty similar to how I've been running this encounter (at night, with torches). When I was writing the scenario, the stats for the kijimuna hadn't been finished yet, so I had no idea about their Steal Fire ability. Had I known, I definitely would have set this one at night, and/or had the kijimuna throw torches onto the boat during the fight.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, California—Fresno aka Sarta

I wish I had read Drogon's post before running this scenario. My hat's off to you. I'm definitely looking forward to running this series again. I think the choices you made were very smart. They add to the difficulty and greatly add to the tone of the scenario.

***

Has anyone ran this where one of the players wants to use their own ship? (The one you can purchase with prestige in the field guide) I foresee it happening in my game next week and I am torn on what to do;

Spoiler:
On the one hand I can just say your ship is too large to navigate the river, or the trip would be to long for your ship to make. This kinda feels wrong though as there aren't many scenarios where having a boat makes a difference. If I do allow it though it brings in the issue of the crew on said ship, in addition a boat like that would surely have siege class weapons aboard. A plus would be is that it could make the final encounter much more interesting if I broke out the full vehicle and siege rules from UC.

Cheliax ***** Owner - Enchanted Grounds

Loveskud wrote:

Has anyone ran this where one of the players wants to use their own ship? (The one you can purchase with prestige in the field guide) I foresee it happening in my game next week and I am torn on what to do;

** spoiler omitted **

Vanities purchased in the Field Guide cannot have any in-game mechanical affect beyond the one listed in the vanity. I.E., I cannot own a Mercantile Store and therefore get access to free, or discounted goods; I can only get access to *more* goods (the 5% increase in the city GP limit listed in the vanity). Likewise, I can't have the Temple vanity and get all the free healing I want. If the ship does more than affect his day job roll, it is breaking the spirit of the vanity rule.

Vanities are meant to be little story aspects of your characters, not massive benefits that you can apply to actual game play.

If you want to handle it without feeling like a dictatorial overlord, however, remember that the river the PCs are traveling is only 15 feet deep and 50-70 feet wide in most places. That doesn't sound like warship territory, really. The ship the PC gets from his PP purchase is based out of an Inner Sea port, I would think, not a border river and interior great lake.

Also, the river doesn't go from Goka to the Sea of Eels. You have to do a little overland travel to get to the river in question. I actually had them start in Goka and be guided to the river that borders Lingshen and Shouguang by the same guides that led them to the base camp in Edge of Heaven (Hai and Ho). Incidentally, in my games these guides were also the informers that gave Lingshen its information. How the PC's ship gets to that head-water location near the Wall of Heaven would be beyond me.

Cheliax ***** Owner - Enchanted Grounds

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Will Johnson wrote:
I wish I had read Drogon's post before running this scenario. My hat's off to you. I'm definitely looking forward to running this series again. I think the choices you made were very smart. They add to the difficulty and greatly add to the tone of the scenario.

Thanks! I also did a lot of NPC work to enhance the story. If I get time, I'll post all of that, as well.

By the way, for the record: I love the kind of module that has the kind of flexibility where a GM can mess around with the story and feel of it and still leave its original intent intact. The ability to put my own personal stamp on this one is why I enjoyed it so much.

Grand Lodge ****

Dragnmoon wrote:
Scott Young wrote:
Had the same wizard fireball the enemy ship at range... twice. This made me think that the rest of the crew wouldn't be so eager to surrender after the magus went down,
Did the Magus go down with the ranged attacks?

No, I ran the tactics as written, but it just seems lame for a ship full of guys to surrender after a few of their warriors go down, after suffering a few fireballs as well...

Taldor *****

I will be running this in a week and half at a local con and I am very glad I read Drogon's post before running it. I believe this extra NPC work will really make this scenario alot more enjoyable for myself and my players. Hats off to you.

Sczarni ***

Dragnmoon wrote:
Scott Young wrote:
Had the same wizard fireball the enemy ship at range... twice. This made me think that the rest of the crew wouldn't be so eager to surrender after the magus went down,

Did the Magus go down with the ranged attacks?

Because if you look at the Tactics "Xiao waits belowdecks to avoid ranged attacks until she can board the PCs’ ship." She does not come up until they are boarding so ranged attacks should not hit her.

The same with the soldiers "Xiao’s favored crew members wait below decks to avoid ranged attacks until they can board the PCs’ ship."

All you are doing is killing crew members with ranged attacks, until the can board.

When I ran this at Tier 1-2, all of the baddies ended up dead before they could even cross to the other ship. No ranged attacks, just hack and slash. I'd really like to play this or watch this played by someone who ran a more compelling and scary battle. This final combat was a cakewalk at my table, and I think I did it wrong.

Sczarni ***

Drogon wrote:
The final encounter - I had the PC ship become becalmed, and pointed out the oars. Of course, the patrol ship has no issues with that, and catches the PCs quickly. No group ever thought to cover the words "Laughing Crow" on their stern, so the Lingshenese are fully aware of what this boat represents. I had the leaders stay on deck behind full cover as they guide the ship, and decided the rowers for the Lingshen ship are one deck down, negating the ability to simply kill them all off. When the PCs bunch up at one point expecting the bad guys to jump aboard, readying actions, I figure it's a simple matter to back-row, slip the ship a little further on, and jump to the Laughing Crow from there. I throw out a token piloting check to demonstrate their ability in this regard. Of my three, one group was almost a TPK, and all needed reasonably good tactics to slip free unscathed.

One of these days I'm coming up to your store from Albuquerque. Hopefully I'll be able to convince you to run this and a number of other players to join me as you do.

Cheliax ***** Owner - Enchanted Grounds

Matthew Pemrich wrote:
Drogon wrote:
The final encounter - I had the PC ship become becalmed, and pointed out the oars. Of course, the patrol ship has no issues with that, and catches the PCs quickly. No group ever thought to cover the words "Laughing Crow" on their stern, so the Lingshenese are fully aware of what this boat represents. I had the leaders stay on deck behind full cover as they guide the ship, and decided the rowers for the Lingshen ship are one deck down, negating the ability to simply kill them all off. When the PCs bunch up at one point expecting the bad guys to jump aboard, readying actions, I figure it's a simple matter to back-row, slip the ship a little further on, and jump to the Laughing Crow from there. I throw out a token piloting check to demonstrate their ability in this regard. Of my three, one group was almost a TPK, and all needed reasonably good tactics to slip free unscathed.
One of these days I'm coming up to your store from Albuquerque. Hopefully I'll be able to convince you to run this and a number of other players to join me as you do.

If you get a group together for a Saturday run, I'd be happy to run this (or the series) for you.

Just let me know (-:

Andoran **

Hey there.

I'm trying to figure out what happens to the mast at the back of the Hailong.

The crew quarters should have the mast going right through the middle of the hallway but it's not there.

Check the map on page 18.

If the mast was there, it would make it very hard to use this floor. If the mast is not there...it's a bit odd. :)

Shadow Lodge ***

This one didn't go so well for me, but I don't think it was the senario's fault or the GM's. This was a while back for me, but three things stand out to me. First, we determined my gunslinger somehow had the best rolls for piloting the ship. That was fine, until combat started - and the piloting shot my ability to reload to pieces. That's just my cost for playing the class though.

Second was customs. We didn't think of detect magic, but neither did the GM. We put the braided belt at the bottom of a barrel of rope (sorry, Line. We're on a ship). Blended in perfectly. Customs never found anything, and we went on our way with no combat.

Third was the final battle. I was up in the rigging this time, using stealth sniping to take potshots at the magus. Eventually failed the stealth, and the magus got a crit on me with something (scorching ray?). Dropped me from full health into negatives. The GM gave me a ref save to tangle myself in the rigging before I fell to the deck. Our magus finished her off wonderfully.


A link to a jpg image for the Laughing Crow if anyone is interested...

http://marcryser.deviantart.com/art/Laughing-Crow-385032814


A link to the Hailong...

http://marcryser.deviantart.com/art/HailongHailong-385036000

Cheliax **

Pathfinder Companion, Modules Subscriber

Salutations all. I have a quick question regarding act 1.

Okogai:
Depending on how things go for the PCs, they may decide to attack a group of NPCs for not giving them what they want. This is certainly a chaotic act. If the PCs were to attack and kill these folk, I would think that qualifies as an evil act. These are good people that are simply honoring their religious beliefs in not giving the PCs what they want.

Should I warn the PCs before they attack, if they go that route, that killing these people is an evil act? Should I note it on Chronicle sheets if they do? Am I over-analyzing this encounter?

Qadira ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

You are over-analyzing it. There are a hundred different directions the PCs could go in. Cross that bridge when you come to it. Just be ready for anything.

It's supposed to be a role-playing encounter, not a battle. Give the players the impression that there are a lot of Jhemulit warriors in the camp. That should dissuade them from getting hostile. If it turns into a fight, the PCs only face the numbers given in the encounter. The rest of the warriors are out hunting, sleeping or hurrying to put their armor on. Make sure the players understand if they start a fight, they need to grab what they need and get out of town fast.

One time I ran it the players couldn't roll squat on their dice. They resorted to spending the night and stealing the herbs. The female PC druid wildshaped into a eagle and distracted Okogai's companion while the rogue (who had no idea what he was looking for) rooted through the tent. Everything went hilariously wrong. Sometimes you have got to give the players a break when the dice go cold.

*

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Pawns Subscriber

It might not be a terrible idea to mention that as the fight begins, because I would agree - simply attacking and killing these peaceful, helpful tribesfolk would be a pretty straightforward and chaotic evil act. I'd hope though that any PFS group would at least do some talking first.

I had a quick rules question myself regarding the Ride check DC given for the Kogendu Basin Ambush - the scenario gives DC 10, the DC for fighting with a war-trained mount, but I thought that only applied if you were trying to get the mount to attack a target as well; shouldn't it just be a DC 5 Ride check, to guide with their knees? Minor quibble really, but I may have been reading the Riding skill rules wrong before if the DC 10 check is correct.

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