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PFS#3-13 Defenders of Nesting Swallow [SPOILERS]


Pathfinder Society GM Discussion

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Shadow Lodge **

I don't know if the DM calculated the defenses right. We had everything done with 2 days to spare, thanks to chelaxian organizational efficiency and some early knowledge: nature checks. (still should have used beavers to flood the river...)

The silver crusade mission is.. incredibly meta. There is no in character action for using the defense points, they rest entirely with the player. A character wouldn't even know that they're there, so what exactly is the character supposed to be avoiding?

***** Venture-Lieutenant, Massachusetts—Boston aka Rogue Eidolon

BigNorseWolf wrote:
The silver crusade mission is.. incredibly meta. There is no in character action for using the defense points, they rest entirely with the player. A character wouldn't even know that they're there, so what exactly is the character supposed to be avoiding?

As an addendum to what I said before, I had the use of defense points be a call for help from the villagers in character so it felt more connected.

@Wraith235--It wasn't clear whether a KO or a kill would count for Lantern Lodge, so especially since our group did have max defense points and thus a small number of tengu (and doing well shouldn't be punished!) I allowed the LL character to execute the unconscious and stable Tengu and have those count, no matter which PC had dropped them. This barely put her over the top.

***

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I've hashed together a player and gm excel sheet i think will help move this part along, based on a suggestion here. If you could peruse and give thoughts, I'd appreciate it. First page will go in front of players, while second is GM only.
Nesting Swallow.xlsx
hope that works.

Andoran **

Yeah, I remember saving that place. "Let's get down to business and defeat the tengu!" Problem was, every single one got the faction mission that told them to do the thing they were the worst at doing. We just barely got through it - I think a couple of guys didn't make theirs - but it turned out we didn't need it.

See, the group had two wizards and a Musket Master: thanks to webs and illusions, and that other guy blasting his weapon three times at once, I didn't even get to fight any of the first two waves up close. "This is what happens when wizards get to prepare!" one of them said.

Then that giant owlbear came smashing in, and between the musket and me getting enlarged, I think it only got one attack in. I was still big for the bird on the bigger bird, so I just yanked him off his mount and the musket master shot him. That one always seems to crit the bad guy.
Anyway, the fighting was easy but everything else was hard, probably because we were a group that was mainly good at fighting. At least I got to bring in the harvest all by myself by Day 2!

Oh, and if I didn't make it clear, yes it was fun, and yes I liked it.

Grand Lodge ****

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I ran this for my home game on Sunday. We had a blast! Or at least I had fun and my PCs paid attention for 5 hours. :)

I went all out preparing for this session as it was my birthday and the end of a 3 part series.

The PCs were in luck as the village just happened to be celebrating Je Tsun's imminent birth event with some Ice Cream Cake

I made the village of Nesting Swallow using some free papercraft resources. There were several houses, the meeting hall, a smithy and a two building barn structure.

The worker placement section of the scenario went well as I had each option written on half sheets of paper along with some hints and general guidelines. I then used 5 Minis per 10 villagers to represent the work force. The villagers were placed on the half sheets first and then the PCs decided where they were to work each day.

The Owlbear at Tier 4-5 hooted menacingly as the Fighter under the effects of Enlarge Person rolled a 27 on its CMB to trip. It then proceeded to knock the Level 4 Fighter and Level 4 Half-Orc Cleric below 0 in 3 rounds.

Good times!

Sczarni

1 person marked this as a favorite.
sveden wrote:

I ran this for my home game on Sunday. We had a blast! Or at least I had fun and my PCs paid attention for 5 hours. :)

I went all out preparing for this session as it was my birthday and the end of a 3 part series.

The PCs were in luck as the village just happened to be celebrating Je Tsun's imminent birth event with some Ice Cream Cake

Beautiful cake, sir. Too bad I could not partake. Ice cream cake is the ice cream cake of the gods.

***

shadowmage75 wrote:

I've hashed together a player and gm excel sheet i think will help move this part along, based on a suggestion here. If you could peruse and give thoughts, I'd appreciate it. First page will go in front of players, while second is GM only.

Nesting Swallow.xlsx
hope that works.

I used this and the system went off famously. I kept end results vague, no totals or rewards. They came out with 17 defense points, which as far as I'm concerned, is average. They probably would have had more, but we had 3 players and an npc, keeping the npc out of it, though his roles might have helped. They left off the scouts, not using them until 5 days in, and failed all but one of the rolls for them.

With the sheet out in front of them, I also dumped 50 glass accent beads to further enhance their visualization, allowing them to divvy, or see materially that certain villagers were unavailable. In all, the management portion lasted 30-45 minutes, with players asking only key questions on how this action would affect the specific timelines.

Cheliax **

KestlerGunner wrote:

Sweet merciful heavens, Mr Wright, GM of Intrigue!

How on earth did your adventurers get it so wrong?!?

Well, I have made a reputation in my area as "The PC Grinder." The players have dubbed me this, but all I do is put myself in the role of the monsters and think, what would they do... And when your players want to waste time doing too much prepping for the battle or planning in between rounds, you have to step it up. I put the optional encounter in there a few rounds early to spice things up, but it was the final boss who did the killing, the optional encounter killed only one PC, a sorcerer in the rear, lol.

Shadow Lodge **

Just ran the 1-2 tier.

3 PCs (Alchemist 3, Magus 3, Cleric-Undead Lord 3) + NPC Kyra Cleric 1. Andoran and Osirion were the only 2 factions.

As expected, blew through first encounter fine--although the ride by attack by a mounted tengu gave them pause.

Village Prep: I used dice to represent villagers and placed noted cards for each activity. I had them place villagers and minis on the note cards each day as warranted. Amazingly, the Osirians got their Traps Defense points. The PCs ended up with 22 points (thanks to scouting coming through in the end), giving them each 11 to spend in the final battle. I think this took only 15 minutes.

For tengu waves, I bought some cheap pawns from the game store and stuck little colored note stickies on them with a number--not only did it look like each pawn had a flag on its back, it also allowed me to track waves by color.

Wave 1: Players loved the flavor of seeing multiple tengu riding at the town and then them dying from a pit or stray arrow or a barricade trap--showing them in a cinematic way how their their defenses paid off. PCs blew through this round. In fact, I moved up the next wave on the timeline to compensate.

Wave 2: Another wave rides in, losing riders to flavor due to high DP. Players resisted the bard spells and went out to engage the tengu who stayed at range with arrows. Again, wave was killed quickly, but now PCs were a little spread out. Again, I moved up the timeline on reinforcements to keep the intensity up.

Wave 3: Players handled the wave fine even though I fudge the tengu mooks to be slightly tougher, but now some PCs were outside and one was inside. Just as this wave was ending...

Owlbear: Owlbear busts into town and ends up chasing the alchemist around. The alchemist used his DP wisely boosting his AC and almost took out the critter with acid alone by himself. Magus runs back to town to help and they kill the owlbear. The PCs are running low on spells and abilities when...

General: ...the lone Undead Lord outside of town sees the General ride up with his 3 cronies. 2 dumb things happen: 1) I forget to remove the cronies as they ride in (because of high DP)and 2) the PCs fight out in the OPEN against 4 mounted opponents (instead of retreating to town). Now commences a pitched battle where much DP is spent, 2 PCs are dropped, Kyra is killed by a mounted charge and it all boils down to the Magus' flaming sphere burning the General and his axebeak to death right as all 4 riders are positioning for their final ride by attacks. It was an epic, memorable finish.

Aftermath: Kyra gets buried on the honored hill of ancestors and Je Tsun names the baby after her.

One awesome night over and done in 3 hours 15 minutes.

What really helped: prep, prep, prep.

I'm planning on running this again at 4-5. We'll see how those folks fare...

*

Dave the Barbarian wrote:
I should mention that the faction missions are not very clear and only 1 of 5 players at my table accomplished their faction mission. Some are easier to understand than others. You may have to explain it a little clearer for a couple of the factions when you introduce them which may help them get an idea of what they need to do. I don't mind a difficult mission as long as they have an idea of what to do.

I loved the faction missions. To make them work the GM has to explain defense points properly. Players need to be explained WHY they're getting them, what they represent, and what they can be used for.

For example, I had no idea AC could be improved, but I knew "to hit" and "damage" could be improved. Another player didn't know they represented traps and the villagers helping him (and blew his faction mission). A handout that's explicit would really help here.

Dealing with Ranged PCs:

When I GM, like Dougdoug suggested, I'd use twilight (concealment) and limited vision so any ranged PCs don't drop the bandits before they even get to the barricades. Maybe even make it night and have torches on wall, to make the PCs vision extremely limited.

This scenario ended up being easy for my group, but it should have been a lot harder.

When it was run for me this weekend:

It was still fun, but had the following mistakes:
- Andorran mission was 20 defense points instead of 15, so he failed.
- The tengu didn't have mounts (except for boss), which would make a huge difference if the mounts were trained.
- The boss never used his ride-by-attacks. He used his mount though.
- I don't think the cavalier challenged, because he didn't hit me once in 4 rounds.
- The cavalier didn't use his Precision teamwork feat on his allies.
- Did not face a bard
- We had 1 big wave instead of 3

Although we're not supposed to modify scenarios because it will change the user experience, I feel like I had a completely different user experience compared to other players. Your experience is going to be strongly colored by your GM no matter what.

I'm also convinced that a scenario's difficulty is almost completely dependent on how well the GM prepared and how well he understands the NPCs. The same scenario could either be a cakewalk or a TPK, just because of the GM. In any case, I guess I can't complain since I still had fun.

I'm going to steal the following ideas:
- Early conception for Je, especially if it's a big group (6-7 players).
- Using defense points gets some of the peasants killed.
- Add the young defiant kid to Act 1.
- Offering a meal of rice and grubs to the PCs
- Using poker chips to represent villagers in groups of 5, and placing them on the village map

Shadow Lodge **

I've been thinking on the Lantern Lodge faction mission and I think there are potential adjustments that could be made. Three different, independent options to consider:

INCLUDE TENGU BANDITS FROM ACT 1

The faction mission as written should allow the Thundering Eclipse bandits from Act 1 to be included in the final tally for a Lantern Lodge PC. It is only on the GM's back end that there is any indication that just the tengu from Act 3 count.

PRO: This adjustment gives the PC 4 more potential chances to add to their tally. This also brings consistency to how the faction mission counts the PC's kills. Finally, this is a very simple edit to the scenario: pg 20, column 2, change "Lantern Lodge faction PCs who personally eliminate at least five tengu bandits during Act 3 earn 1 Prestige Point." to ""Lantern Lodge faction PCs who personally eliminate at least five tengu bandits earn 1 Prestige Point."

CON: 4 more chances to land a killing blow still does not mean much to a support class or combat maneuver specialist.

ALLOW ASSISTANCE TO COUNT

Instead of "personally eliminating" five tengu bandits, adjust the threshold to "directly assist in the elimination of" -- landing 5 killing blows can be mechanically difficult for a myriad of reasons (but especially so if the party earns high DP and there are fewer tengu bandits attacking).

PRO: Allows the disparate PCs that show up at PFS tables the opportunity to use their particular skill set to their best effect during the scenario (trippers can set up big hitters, buffers/debuffers can focus their efforts without compromising their playstyle, etc).

CON: May make it too easy for certain builds or classes to complete faction mission with minimum of effort (any AOE-capable PC, ranged specialists, etc). Potential disagreement about what constitutes "direct assistance."

ADJUST REQUIREMENT IN RELATION TO DP
As the party is more successful in their defense of Nesting Swallow, the less Thundering Eclipse tengu there are for a Lantern Lodge PC to fell. Instead of punishing the PC for assisting in the defense of the village, it should be reflected in lowering requirement of Tengu he needs to kill. Just like each wave is reduced by (X) bandits for (Y) DP, the Lantern Lodge requirement should also be reduced by the same (X) amount. Alternately, reduce the total of kills needed by 1 for every full 10 DP earned in preparing the village.

PRO: Keeps faction mission goal challenging but realistically achievable in a high DP situation.

CON: Yet another thing for the GM to track in a scenario full of things to tally, track and note. Also may make mission too easy for front-liners.

(Note: I know PCs shouldn't expect to always finish their faction mission successfully, this was just some thinking on how to improve the Lantern Lodge mission into something more achievable but not becoming a free PP.)

*

Mr. Wright, GM of Intrigue wrote:
KestlerGunner wrote:

Sweet merciful heavens, Mr Wright, GM of Intrigue!

How on earth did your adventurers get it so wrong?!?
Well, I have made a reputation in my area as "The PC Grinder." The players have dubbed me this, but all I do is put myself in the role of the monsters and think, what would they do... And when your players want to waste time doing too much prepping for the battle or planning in between rounds, you have to step it up. I put the optional encounter in there a few rounds early to spice things up, but it was the final boss who did the killing, the optional encounter killed only one PC, a sorcerer in the rear, lol.

I was one of the players at this table. We had six PCs and played up, but IMO, two (possibly three) of them seemed to be ineffective builds. Had I realized this beforehand, I would have definitely requested we play down. After resurrecting Sir Trey, I ran through Haunting of Hinojai, GMed by Mr. Wright, and died again. Party composition was to blame, only 4 PCs and no cleric. It was a TPK. I'm quickly realizing you could have ten PCs run through a scenario and still suffer a TPK if you don't have the right classes present. The local VL is now attempting to implement balanced classes within a party, in addition to the standard level requirements. Hopefully this will cut down on the high casualty rates our local PFS group has been experiencing lately.

Sczarni **

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.
Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Does the Axe Beak boon allow someone to buy an axe beak to use as a mount? I have a player who is playing a witch who wants to buy one now.

Grand Lodge **** Venture-Lieutenant, Australia—Melbourne aka KestlerGunner

Hinojai:
Hinojai is tough no matter which way you look at it. We had a competent, balanced party that lacked a healer and we had two Pathfinders get cut down. I feel like the deadliness of this scenario would be reduced if you have an experienced player that preps Dispel Magic to deal with all the magical death that gets hurled at the party in this scenario.

More and more I feel like it's a good idea to talk party composition and tactics at the beginning of a session to ensure that your character isn't about to walk into Hell with the equivalent of Pathfinder work experience kids having your character's back. Just as long as you have party members that can do something constructive every round, you should be good.

****

CalebTGordan wrote:
Does the Axe Beak boon allow someone to buy an axe beak to use as a mount? I have a player who is playing a witch who wants to buy one now.

I've also seen a fair number of local players riding axe beaks on classes that don't get any sort of animal companions. By my reading of the boon, it simply extends the companion list to include axe beaks, it doesn't make them available to any character. Am I reading it wrong?

Sczarni **

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

The party did amazing well with gathering defense points and had an easier time facing the three waves. The party didn't understand that the bamboo barricades provided cover both ways though, and tried to fight through one for much of the fight. Eventually three of the PCs climbed the barricade. Two of them fought while the other healed. The fourth PC was a witch and she stayed on the safe side of the barricade and used spells and hexes. The bards ended up falling victim to her spells when they rode close enough to toss alchemist fire and found life very difficult after that.

We didn't do the owlbear fight.

The caviler boss fight ended after three rounds. The first round the witch (who decided to climb to the top of the barricade to gain more range,) lowered saves using evil eye and the other PCs dealt with the bandits. The second round the witch used Misfortune on the boss and he failed his save. She cackled. The PCs finished off the bandits but took some serious damage from the boss and his bird. One of the PCs fell into negative. Third round the witch hit the boss with Slumber and knocked him out. One of other PCs provoked an AoO with movement, setting things up so the last PC could coup de grace the boss. The bird was killed the round after that.

Andoran **

Somewhat confused by the boon. Being a gunslinger/inquisitor, I don't have an animal companion, so it looks like I've got two options.

1. I take a level dip into Cavalier, Samurai, Oracle of Nature, or Falconer (it's a bird!), and get it as an animal companion. I think those are the only classes that get it at first level.

2. I get it as a mundane mount. Ok, assuming I can do that... chronicles always list a price when you buy something, but there's no price here. Do I get it for free, or do I have to pay the 1500gp listed in ultimate equipment?

Cheliax ***

Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Modules Subscriber
KestlerGunner wrote:
We ended up with approximately 25 defence points - what I understand was a great result.

Yes that is great. I've played it twice now. First time, the group had 16 points. Second time, we had 18 points.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Elsi Ambustiana wrote:
Somewhat confused by the boon. Being a gunslinger/inquisitor, I don't have an animal companion, so it looks like I've got two options....2. I get it as a mundane mount.

I don't believe that's an option. If your PC doesn't have an Animal Companion or Mount class feature, the boon doesn't apply.

****

Chris Mortika wrote:
Elsi Ambustiana wrote:
Somewhat confused by the boon. Being a gunslinger/inquisitor, I don't have an animal companion, so it looks like I've got two options....2. I get it as a mundane mount.
I don't believe that's an option. If your PC doesn't have an Animal Companion or Mount class feature, the boon doesn't apply.

Yeah, it really isn't going to be used by most characters that get the boon. However, if there is a character you want to have it the good news is that you can get it through GM credit now (as of Guide 4.2).

Silver Crusade **

Can a small character take a diatryma instead of an Axebeak?

Pretty happy with my halfling cavaliers wolf mount but options are always good.

*** Venture-Lieutenant, Georgia—Atlanta aka Yiroep

Just ran this and had a blast doing it...however...

So, does it bother anyone else that 50 gp taken from the village savings will lead to great poverty down the line, but then they offer 4 healing potions (moderate ones in the high tier) freely to the PCs?

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32, 2011 Top 4

Yiroep wrote:

Just ran this and had a blast doing it...however...

So, does it bother anyone else that 50 gp taken from the village savings will lead to great poverty down the line, but then they offer 4 healing potions (moderate ones in the high tier) freely to the PCs?

While there are a number of things about this scenario's faction missions I'd have done differently in hindsight, including the cash value of the rather paltry Sczarni shakedown, I don't think there's as much of a disconnect between that sum and the village's cache of healing potions as you'd assume. What I had in mind was that the 50-gp extortion fee represents the skimpy supply of cash that the dirt poor villagers can cough up at a moments notice; it's not going to completely bankrupt them for all time, but will represent some short term privation on their part.

The healing potions, on the other hand, while significantly more valuable, aren't a source of liquid cash. Nesting Swallow is remote enough that there's not a lot of opportunity for high value trade; I'd imagine that more than 50 gold crossing hands in a single transaction is a once in a generation event. Maybe the potions are the last legacy of Old Mother Yueh, a village herbalist that died a few years back. Yes, the villagers could use them in trade for a considerably bigger lump of cash than is normally available to them, but to do that they'd need to travel to Mukinami and back and deal with carrying that much valuables on a bandit-infested road. Given that, they're sitting on them for emergency use, and have been for some time. Since, in this case, the PCs success in fighting off the bandits is tantamount to the village's survival, it qualifies as enough of an emergency to hand them out.

To be honest, originally I'd planned to stick an old hermit witch a day or so out from the village, and would have had negotiating with her for assistance be one of the encounters. Now, that never even made it to a draft stage before being cut for excessive space, but I'd had her in mind as being the source of the villagers bequeathed potions. She'd trade them cheap to the villagers in return for labor, rice, and other favors. With her gone, the potions don't have an in-adventure source, but it really seems minor enough that you can just handwave it with the 'dead herbalist' explantion above, if your players get really curious about the economics of Nesting Swallow.

*** Venture-Lieutenant, Georgia—Atlanta aka Yiroep

O.K., I'll keep that in mind for next time I run this (I really like this conclusion to the series!). We actually had a Szcarni at the table, and he was quite confused about how it all played out.

(abridged version)
"Can we get 50 gp?"
"No, but here's 600 gp of potions"
"....What?"

Thanks!

**

CalebTGordan wrote:
Does the Axe Beak boon allow someone to buy an axe beak to use as a mount? I have a player who is playing a witch who wants to buy one now.

I'm also wondering this right now, as I'm GMing the series and giving my lvl 2 witch the credit.


rangerjeff wrote:
CalebTGordan wrote:
Does the Axe Beak boon allow someone to buy an axe beak to use as a mount? I have a player who is playing a witch who wants to buy one now.
I'm also wondering this right now, as I'm GMing the series and giving my lvl 2 witch the credit.

Handle Animal isn't a witch class skill. To get it to do anything would take a move action from the Witch. Not to mention Witch's aren't generally know for their charisma skills.

/edit you'd put in a one or two ranks have a +2 or maybe a +4 to Handle Animal. Then you'd have to roll a 10 or 12 depending on if your mount is injured. Not to mention trying to train those animals to know any tricks.

*

Session Results:

- 5.5 hour game with the optional encounter.

- One of the players instantly recognized this as the plot of the Seven Samurai.

- PCs were never threatened the entire scenario, but I think everyone except for the level 1 PC had a good time. Level 1 PC didn't have any relevant skills (not even a +1 BAB) and was (justly) afraid of melee.

- My players took a long time deciding how to allocate themselves each day. (I had sheets of paper, similar to Tamago's explaining everything, they were just bickering and slow, which I suppose is part of the fun).

- When building the barricades, I changed it into 160 man days of work, because I had a different amounts of villagers on each day, which made it impossible to calculate without using this method.

- With the barricades and traps (PC rolled a 38) it was hard to justify the bandits running through the traps. Besides, climbing off your horse and climbing over a barricade trapped with oil and spikes is one of the stupidest things I can think of. So their tactic was to use ranged weapons on whoever was using ranged weapons with them (and they did well considering only 1 PC was firing at them). Unfortunately, both our ranged and their ranged were so bad (and everyone else didn't want to leave the barricades), this took a lot longer than anticipated.

- The bandit's beast was a good moment, but they finished it off fairly easily.

- They finished the general off fairly easy (he had 1 attack only, his charge) since our 2H fighter had reach and the general did not. Was a little anti-climatic but the session was already too long. The general actually does good damage after you include all of his modifiers (which actually took a while to research and add).

- Only 2 out of 7 PCs accomplished their faction missions and I was allowing creative solutions. I still like them a lot and the players didn't have their thinking caps on.

Things that could be improved

- Creative mechanics and good use of rarely used skills lead to improved outcomes. I liked this.

- The defense mechanics unfairly punishes 4-man groups with no scaling offered. Bad.

- The handouts in our shared resources helped, but they had some mistakes in them. You don't roll traps and add the defense points each day, only 1 time at the end of creating the barricades (assuming the trap maker spent all their time there).

- There were no provisions made for creative solutions or for players thinking outside the box. Some ideas my players had were making alchemical items for offense and defense, going to another village for help, and assassinating tengu scouts who leave their camp. So as GMs, we're left either ignoring our players creative solutions, telling them why each creative solution won't work, or we make an adhoc defense point rules, potentially breaking PFS RAW requirements. Which puts us in a tough position and hopefully future scenarios are a little more thoughtful in this regard.

- The defense system took away too many mobs, making an already easy fight extremely easy. I can't imagine too many groups not getting 16 defense. My group had 25 defense (trap maker rolled a 38, adding 5 points helped). When it was run for me, Willow in the Storm came in a single wave (of 10 tengu + speakers) and we handled it. Sending 2, 1+speakers, and 1 tengu at them wasn't particularly inspiring. Also, there shouldn't be the option of the general (coming by himself only) the next day.

- Related to the point above, teamwork feats and sneak attack are useless abilities without significant allies, and if this is run RAW, they will not have significant allies.

- Why not go through the reed/straw houses instead of the barricade? That's exactly what I had the beast and general do (after the beast made a hole), it made sense.

Anyway, it was easily the best part of the 3 part series and definitely worth playing.

*

Oh, the preparations work out great when you give the players a table of information, but don't tell them how many points you gain with each task. Starting out, they also didn't know how much archery and combat training would be useful. In the scenario, it's not really clear on what the PCs know or do not know, and the farmers certainly didn't know anything about Profession-Soldier.

I also had the PCs decide on their actions for each day by placing minis of the players and farmers (in groups of 5) on a piece of paper each day. It's much more organic than filling out a spreadsheet for an entire week. Also, I find that people make different decisions when they go day-by-day as opposed to planning ahead of time. I wasn't going to stop them from planning ahead, but I wanted them to get that feeling that something could happen at any time (until they scouted more of course).

Anyway, I thought this part of the scenario worked out well.

*

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Doug Miles wrote:

Does anyone remember the Dungeon magazine adventure "The Siege of Kratys Freehold"? This scenario reminds me a lot of it, and if Defenders of Nesting Swallow is as fun as The Siege of Kratys Freehold then this scenario should earn some high reviews.

I have only started to read through it, but already I am frustrated with the first encounter. ...

Howdy folks I played this (tier 4-5) last night and just bought the entire Quest for Perfection series.

I have not had a chance to read the entire mod through but wanted to relay my concerns based on play experience.

Story:
======
I enjoyed the backstory and the arc.

The encounters:
===============

Bandit on the roads:
===================
The first encounter was not too difficult, though the party was a little irked that half the bandits ran off after we only downed one of their group. Plus the two that ran off were blinded and they still outran us (some of us were flying and we had a mounted paladin).

Building up the village:
========================
This I found interesting. Though I had done something similar in another adventure, it was an interesting mini-game.

Our group did okay per the GM (we managed 23 defense points).

The bandit assault:
===================
We were glad we managed 23 points because we ended up facing 3 waves of:
1) 5 mounted
2) 4 mounted and 2 controller/casters (we couldn't identify what kind they were as they didn't have any unusual abilities.)
3) 2 mounted and boss.

Combat:
========
Though no individual foe was overly difficult, the fight structure was fairly tough.

The second wave arrived while we were still fighting the first, turning into a big fight. There was a long wait before the third wave as the GM said all short-term buffs expired (5 minute ones like Enlarge Person from my 5th level witch, or the 3 minute Bless from the 3rd level cleric.) The casters spam save or lose effects (Hideous Laughter, Sleep) and are difficult to hit with Mirror Image. Good use of tactics and spells there.

Our game was running late so we skipped an optional encounter. Frankly other than giving our party a warm fuzzy, I don't see how defense points helped. In Way of the Kirin by contrast it made the waves much easier to deal with. If we had done an extra encounter it likely we would have some PC deaths as most of us had run out of consumables and spells by the time the boss showed up.

Of course a minor insult to injury was the fact that 2 in the party were Silver Crusade and so didn't use any for buffs. :)

Faction Missions:
=================
The faction missions seemed to be extremely vague. Nobody in the party could figure out what they were supposed to do and made their best guess. At the end almost half the party failed.

Overall:
========
I did enjoy the whole Seven Samurai feel, though I think I was the only player who recognized the similarity. I thought it was a nice capstone for the story arc, and plan to run the series myself soon.

Grand Lodge *

The Seven Samurai parallel is what got me interested in this Scenario! It is probably my favorite movie of all time!

I just ran it for a group online. They all seemed to enjoy themselves, despite me screwing up and accidentally sending all 15 riders at them in the first wave! I misread it, but it turned out to be okay, because they had a cleaving hulk of a fighter. Sending that many managed to keep everyone active and the barricade kept them from being overrun.

I agree with the Faction missions. I would have liked to have been given a little more leeway to decide how they fulfilled their individual missions, but as it was, only one did not succeed. (Lantern Lodge.)

Grand Lodge *

Jason S wrote:

** spoiler omitted **

Things that could be improved

- Creative mechanics and good use of rarely used skills...

When I played through it the first time, we were 2nd level. We did not get over 16, I believe. Bad skill rolls, and lacking in appropriate skills plus having a 4 man group really put us at a disadvantage.

Shadow Lodge **

Rerednaw wrote:

Our group did okay per the GM (we managed 23 defense points).

The bandit assault:
===================
We were glad we managed 23 points because we ended up facing 3 waves of:
1) 5 mounted
2) 4 mounted and 2 controller/casters (we couldn't identify what kind they were as they didn't have any unusual abilities.)
3) 2 mounted and boss.

....

I don't see how defense points helped.

The net effect of those 23 DP should have been:

1) Wave 1: 5 mounted approach and 3 are killed on the way in thanks to high DP by traps/villager's arrows/etc (i.e. cinematically with no effort by the PCs), meaning you should face 2 mounted bandits net.

2) Wave 2: 4 mounted and 2 casters approach, 3 of the non-casters are killed on the way in, meaning you face 1 mounted and 2 casters net.

3) Wave 3: 4 mounted approach and 3 are killed on the way in, meaning you face 1 mounted net.

4) Optional: no effect from DP

5) Boss and 3 riders approach. 3 are killed on way in leaving just boss and his axe beak. This encounter should take place the next morning.

Also, you each get an individual pool of personal DP (I believe it's 1/2 of the Total DP you earned for the village). You can spend DP from that pool as an immediate action to add +1 to:
• Attack rolls
• Damage rolls
• Ability checks
• Skill checks
• Saving throws
• Armor class (until the start of your turn)

So the DP lowers the number of foes you fight and you can spend it to make rolls better while fighting. If the GM did not run the scenario with either of those factored in, then it obviates the efforts of the entire first 2/3rds of the scenario...

*

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Sammy T wrote:
Rerednaw wrote:

Our group did okay per the GM (we managed 23 defense points).

The bandit assault:
===================
We were glad we managed 23 points because we ended up facing 3 waves of:
1) 5 mounted
2) 4 mounted and 2 controller/casters (we couldn't identify what kind they were as they didn't have any unusual abilities.)
3) 2 mounted and boss.

....

I don't see how defense points helped.

The net effect of those 23 DP should have been:

1) Wave 1: 5 mounted approach and 3 are killed on the way in thanks to high DP by traps/villager's arrows/etc (i.e. cinematically with no effort by the PCs), meaning you should face 2 mounted bandits net.

2) Wave 2: 4 mounted and 2 casters approach, 3 of the non-casters are killed on the way in, meaning you face 1 mounted and 2 casters net.

3) Wave 3: 4 mounted approach and 3 are killed on the way in, meaning you face 1 mounted net.

4) Optional: no effect from DP

5) Boss and 3 riders approach. 3 are killed on way in leaving just boss and his axe beak. This encounter should take place the next morning.

Also, you each get an individual pool of personal DP (I believe it's 1/2 of the Total DP you earned for the village). You can spend DP from that pool as an immediate action to add +1 to:
• Attack rolls
• Damage rolls
• Ability checks
• Skill checks
• Saving throws
• Armor class (until the start of your turn)

So the DP lowers the number of foes you fight and you can spend it to make rolls better while fighting. If the GM did not run the scenario with either of those factored in, then it obviates the efforts of the entire first 2/3rds of the scenario...

Yes I just finished reading the module and said "what the heck?" On the plus side our group won anyway (well except for the faction missions) so looks like it was a few GM flubs.

Also it seems all of our minute/lvl buffs should have been in effect. The module has a strict time line and either our buffs would have still been up OR it would have been the following day. Granted ruling the buffs expiring made for a tougher fight which felt more challenging and added to the "oh crap are we going to die?"

Yeah the GM didn't mention that the Defense Points Pool could be used for damage...believe me we would have used them.

Still I like this adventure. Lots of fun :)

Shadow Lodge **

Rerednaw wrote:
Still I like this adventure. Lots of fun :)

Yeah, it's still one of my faves.

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