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The players didn't clean up all the baddies. What should happen?


Shackled City Adventure Path


So, my players recently finished Life's Bazaar, and they did it fairly quickly. They only went through about a third of Jzadirune, and then when they got to the Malachite Fortress, they managed to bluff & roleplay their way into a meeting with Kazmojen- so after the final confrontation, they escaped the hold without exploring more than a couple rooms. I expected them to go back down and go treasure hunting once they'd rested & levelled up, but, after group concensus, they didn't! They went on and haven't made any motion towards returning.

I guess my question is, if they never go back, what should happen? They never encountered Yuathyb, most of the Skulks, or even a single Dark Creeper, and most of the Hobgoblins in the Malachite Fortress are still alive. Should I have the skulks come up and start kidnapping people again? They still have the keys Keygan made them*. Or should I just assume it sorts itself out (either by them disbanding due to Kazmojen being out of the picture, or by someone like the Stormblades finishing them off) and let the players move on to bigger and better things?

*-Does the Hardcover even say where the keys are? I distinctly remember the Dungeon Articles mentioning a specific skulk that had the keys, but I don't recall seeing any mention of them in the hardcover. Did I just miss it, or was it left out?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Most of the keys are mentioned in the room descriptions.

If they leave enemies below, and do nothing to seal off the entrance, you can certainly have more depredations on the city, maybe have Kazmojen's troops sneak up to exact revenge.

You could also have the Stormblades clear them out, collapse the tunnel, and gloat to anyone and everyone how the 'peasants couldn't be trusted to get the job done right'.


I would assume that, unless the PC's keeps the entire affair secret somehow, there will be a clean-up operation.

Stormblades doing it and then gloat afterwards sounds like a very good idea to me.

Lots of fun could we have with a group of leaderless skulks, creepers and goblinoids that can't really go back into the underdark...


Have the Stormblades clean it up, as Maevis suggested. Of course, they will get all the glory for defeating the enemy, whereas the PCs are the ones who ran away!


UltimaGabe wrote:
So, my players recently finished Life's Bazaar, and they did it fairly quickly. They only went through about a third of Jzadirune, and then when they got to the Malachite Fortress, they managed to bluff & roleplay their way into a meeting with Kazmojen- so after the final confrontation, they escaped the hold without exploring more than a couple rooms. I expected them to go back down and go treasure hunting once they'd rested & levelled up, but, after group concensus, they didn't! They went on and haven't made any motion towards returning.

Did they find the other prisoners in the fortress?

If they didn't, I'd have the Stormblades find them when they go down to collapse the tunnels. Have them come to the surface and accuse the PCs of being in league with the hobgoblins and generally make life hard for them.

If the PCs freed all the prisoners down there but just left the hobgoblins and dark ones alive, I'd have the hobgoblin boss (his name escapes me) take over Kazmojen's operation. Have the kidnappings continue and maybe even leave something at one of the crime scenes taunting the PCs.

However, with all of that being said, you shouldn't punish them for good roleplaying.


If the durzagon, Pyllrak, is still alive, I'd have him take over the slaving operation directly, and pull back everyone in Jzadirune into the Malachite Fortress, to defend it better.

Then after the kidnappings continue apace, and PC's are shamed into finishing the job, only the challenge just leveled up (more monsters per room and on guard).

If the PC's won't do it, the Stormblades do, and get all the treasure listed in the whole module, plus XP equal to all the remaining monsters, plus the glory of rescuing the slaves and solving the problem.

If that makes the Stormblades level up faster than the PCs, so be it. :)


TriOmegaZero wrote:
You could also have the Stormblades clear them out, collapse the tunnel, and gloat to anyone and everyone how the 'peasants couldn't be trusted to get the job done right'.

That's what I did in my first Shackled City campaign (the party skipped right over Jzadirune completely). Except in our case, the party got all of the glory of rescuing the kidnapped citizens (and making the city guard look like a bunch of bumbling idiots) and the Stormblades got all of the "fun" of being backstabbed by skulks and chewed on by grells. That was the beginning of their grudge against the party.

In the end, the city sealed up the secret entrance to Jzadirune, at any rate.


wow I can't even begin to conceive of leaving a dungeon half finished or not even explored. I made some serious money (for a 1st level character) by taking all those infected magic items. paying for the remove curse and them selling them for a very tidy profit.

Later on in the adventure selling the red dragons body parts netted me an additional 10K gold.
Not bad for an enterprising cleric of wee jas. If your party has access to the draconomicon be prepared for them to look at any dragon type as money.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Most of the keys are mentioned in the room descriptions.

Not the Jzadirune keys, but the Cauldron master keys that Keygan Ghelve made. In the Dungeon issue, one of the skulks (I don't recall where) is mentioned has having a necklace with a ring of three cauldron master keys on it. Unless I've missed it every time, it's not there.

I would have thought that would be an important detail to make the cut...


UltimaGabe wrote:

Not the Jzadirune keys, but the Cauldron master keys that Keygan Ghelve made. In the Dungeon issue, one of the skulks (I don't recall where) is mentioned has having a necklace with a ring of three cauldron master keys on it. Unless I've missed it every time, it's not there.

I would have thought that would be an important detail to make the cut...

They are mentioned on page 42 of the hard cover, in the list of information that Keygan reveals if captured:

"...One of the "tall ones" carries the keys on a silver ring (see area J15)."

However, the description of area J15 makes no mention of the keys, so your confusion is understandable.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps, Tales Subscriber

Could be that they didn't want the PCs to get their hands on the Master Keys... I certainly know I wouldn't trust the rogue in my group with them. He'd quit the party and begin looting the town!


TriOmegaZero wrote:

Most of the keys are mentioned in the room descriptions.

If they leave enemies below, and do nothing to seal off the entrance, you can certainly have more depredations on the city, maybe have Kazmojen's troops sneak up to exact revenge.

You could also have the Stormblades clear them out, collapse the tunnel, and gloat to anyone and everyone how the 'peasants couldn't be trusted to get the job done right'.

This.

I just finished running the SCAP a couple of months ago. The party built up a healthy rivalry with the Stormblades, so use whatever opportunity you get to build animosity through the two parties.

This is where the Cauldron Chronicle (what I called the town newspaper) proved very handy. It allowed the Stormblades to antagonise the PC's, even when they weren't in direct contact with them. In some ways this was even better as the players couldn't respond.

The Demonskar Ball (the delvesdeep's came up with) is another great opportunity to build animosity between the 2 groups.

Olaf the Stout

Silver Crusade

Recycle the bad guys. If the players didn't kill something before it made a name for itself, give it a few levels, advance it and give it minions, then have it try to take the players out itself/put it in a dungeon to broker an alliance with the Cagewrights etc.

My ebil plans:
In chapter 10 it talks about Vhalantru coming back with the smoking eye template, so I decided that if/when the players kill that, they find more and more of their old enemies (or in this case, anyone who killed a player character/the cool monsters/baddies) coming back for revenge.

Because: Adimarchus is a sore loser.


Mrs Camelot wrote:

Recycle the bad guys. If the players didn't kill something before it made a name for itself, give it a few levels, advance it and give it minions, then have it try to take the players out itself/put it in a dungeon to broker an alliance with the Cagewrights etc.

** spoiler omitted **

Because: Adimarchus is a sore loser.

That's pretty cool. Why should Vhalantru have all the fun?


OP, as soon as your players rescued Star (Keygan's familiar) and got the prisoners out, there is no story-based reason not to seal the entrance to Jzadirune up for good and leave the monsters down there to rot. I don't think there is much to worry about in the long term unless you want to be nasty and have one of the NPCs return as a recurring villain.

Spoiler:
I recycle bad guys all the time in my SCAP. My PCs rarely have a complete and total rout of every monster in a dungeon. There is always a race, a chase, and a jockeying for power going on. For example, Skaven got away in Flood Season when the PCs left the dungeon after killing Triel and Tarkilar and getting the minimum number of wands necessary. He later appeared in Secrets of the Soul Pillars as Fetor Abradius' apprentice (it seemed a good fit). Jil has also popped up several times as an antagonist before they finally stormed the Brass Trumpet and killed her off.

Just recently, Thifirane Rhiavadi teleported away to Oblivion with a handful of mercenaries after it became clear the battle was not on her side. The PCs have started to get smart and are preparing dimensional anchor more often, but sometimes these things happen.

They routinely skip out entire portions of dungeons. I often make mention when they gather rumors that the Stormblades (or some other adventuring party; there are a couple others in Cauldron I have created) went in and cleaned house afterwards. My players have complained to me that they are a bit under-equipped, but I always point out to them that if they were ransacking every dungeon along the way not only would they be higher level, but they would be raking in the loot. But they seem more interested in advancing the storyline and more the noble hero types than the greedy dungeon-looting types so I have given them a few other tangible benefits along the way to help make up for this. Jenya casts spells for them at cost (they only need provide expensive material components). One of the PCs has joined the Striders and gets assistance from them, even taking Shensen as a cohort. Another PC is a respected member of House Orien (my campaign is set in Eberron) and has all of his living expenses paid as well as the speedy messenger services of House Orien at his disposal.

So there are plenty of ways to handle things when the PCs decide to skip portions of dungeons. Truth be told there is enough loot and XP in this AP for a party of six to come out of it completely decked out in magical gear and levels (not to mention copious amounts of slippers of spider climbing which seem to pop up on every other NPC). So if they skip a little bit along the way they aren't missing out on vital components.


Marionnen wrote:
OP, as soon as your players rescued Star (Keygan's familiar) and got the prisoners out, there is no story-based reason not to seal the entrance to Jzadirune up for good and leave the monsters down there to rot.

No plot reason not to seal off Jzazidrune and Malachite Fortress, but good setting reasons not to. The Malachite Fortress under both dwarves and slavers obviously traded with the Underdark. A fortified trading entrepot with "another world" might be of great value to isolated Cauldron.

Also if you don't like hunt for the missing dwarf leader might make more sense as an Underdark trek, rather than overland to the hermit's hut and gratuitous dragon fight.

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