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GM advice The Hungry Storm, possible spoilers


Jade Regent


Hey everyone, just wondering as GMs how you managed to keep book three, The hungry storm fresh and exciting. I haven't gotten to book three yet, however doing my homework and it just seems with all the random encounters (that I will probably turn into real combat instead of caravan) and story encounters that its going to be nothing but session after session of combat.

I run a fairly low roleplay group and do not see them conversing too much during the caravan ride, and even so with almost 3 months of travel that would even get lame.


Pre-Roll encounters as best as you can, that should give you an idea of the general 'gist' of the trip and allow you to plan yourself some idea of what is going to happen and allow you some leeway in planning them instead of just plain ol' "You walk past a river, some bears jump out... Rwar."

That is atleast my plan. I'm worried less since my group is pretty good on the RP side of things so more of my planning is to go towards character development, ect.


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I ran one session of truly "random" encounters as well as events. After that, I ran only combat events that I chose and I had the PCs roll for non-combat events only. The first two random encounters were easily bypassable, so the PCs did that.

It's more like... the encounter isn't always combat. Sometimes it can just be a whale sighting. Other times, maybe a roleplaying encounter where the monster is more interested in conversing than fighting. No need to fight all the time.


I rolled 6 months worth of random encounters in advance, rerolled the majority of repeating ones so that things stayed fresh and they'd only face the same encounter multiple times once or twice, and then I moved the likely non-combat ones around so that there were breaks between strings of combats.

If it starts to feel like session after session of random combat, perhaps set a maximum ahead of time on how many random encounters you'll have between plot points.

Liberty's Edge

I just finished The Hungry Storm, and I second what Gluttony said: roll 6 months of random encounters, then modify them to you and your party's taste. Doing the rolling ahead of time will give you a good feel on how frequent encounters are suppose to be - plus, you'll be able to just tell the party how many days pass before an encounter.

I recommend avoiding too many combat encounters, and those can really drag. You can throw in some cabins or encampments as they progress if they need to resupply. There's also a lot of random encounters that mirror later set encounters, many of which can be safely skipped (black slush, wandering herd, etc). I ended up skipping the Lonely Maiden, because SPOILER ALERT we've already got some icy ghosts surrounded by blizzards in this module.

Ultimately, I would suggest having no more than one or two sessions that are primarily travel-based. Watch your players, and if they're starting to stagnate, then moving things right along into the next big event.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4; Contributor; Publisher, Legendary Games

Hi brreitz,

Having finished the mod, which were your favorite parts of the adventure?


Jason Nelson wrote:
Having finished the mod, which were your favorite parts of the adventure?

I also just finished the module so I can answer this for you.

My party enjoyed the Path of Spirits sections, the travelogue portion of the game-- which was done very well-- and slaying Vesundvaag the dragon the most, judging on their general reactions and interest in the game.

The parts my party did not enjoy were the one-and-done encounters which made resource management moot, and the rolling of random encounters-- random encounters lend no gravity to the plot since they are by definition non-essential. Many of the events were very well written and I included my favorites as the game progressed.

My party truly disliked caravan combat and the fact that the rules were completely out of sync with reality, even after fixes.

Liberty's Edge

The biggest hits for my party included the encounter with the Cannibal Camp (they had just run out of food the two days previous), the battle with Vesundvaag (some critical hits and fumbles made it real interesting), and pretty much all of the Storm Tower (One player described it as "Metroid-iy", and no trip to an arctic climate is complete without a Remoraz).

A few players really enjoyed the caravan resource management (and actually managed to get the consumption down to 0 with spells and scouts), but no one enjoyed caravan combat (and we tried so. many fixes). The assault on Dead Man's Dome and an encounter with a group of Ice Hunters both fell flat, and we ended up ditching it soon after.

I would have liked more time for the players to explore the necropolis, but they were ready to move along to the next chapter. Looking forwards to starting Forest of Spirits tonight!


Likewise just finished it.

I loved Hungry Storm - it worked very well for us. We are doing a roleplaying-heavy PBP game, so we did not handwave any of the travel and it really had a great "epic journey" feel to it, with character relationships developing across months.

I did not alter Caravan combat rules in any way, but I had warned my group in advance that Caravan encounters were extraordinarily difficult and they decked the Caravan out in Kalsgard until it had more than 300 hit points, and took some feats which should probably be considered essential for unaltered Caravan combat (Scavengers, Increased Damage.)

I rolled encounters semi-randomly - that is to say, I rolled them as we went, but if they were too similar to recent ones I rerolled. I also altered some to keep them from being too similar (The Lonely Maiden encounter, for example, I did more as a roleplaying encounter than a combat one - I had her be just lonely and sad. She did try to fascinate a male party member out into the snow to his death, but it was an open question whether she even knew she was doing it, and when her plan got foiled she just looked sad and vanished.) Anyway, I ended up alternating fairly regularly among roleplaying encounters, combats, natural hazards, and beneficial events.

Favorite parts of the module for the players included seeing the Aurora and the Nameless Spires at the North Pole. Favorite scenes of mine to GM (which I believe the players also enjoyed) were Dead Man's Dome and anything involving Katiyana (who I made a truly nasty piece of work, and also the half sister of Zaiobe from The Brinewall Legacy who is still with the party, long story.)

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4; Contributor; Publisher, Legendary Games

In my mind's eye, I had a TRON-like visual for what the Storm Tower would look like. Impossibly tall, streaks of blue running up and down, that kind of thing. My artistic skeels, however, are only so-so, so I couldn't really draw it up quite as I saw it. I definitely can't complain about the art in the book, though; everything looks great!

It was a fun adventure to write, and I'm glad people are enjoying the different parts of it. Alas that the caravan rules didn't quite turn out to everyone's taste; certainly this adventure had a metric ton of stuff dealing with them, so that unfortunately will always slant perceptions of the adventure itself.


Jason Nelson wrote:
Having finished the mod, which were your favorite parts of the adventure?

In my group's case, they seemed to enjoy the first half or so. I think the general agreement among us was that the lakes region (the one they went through), the drama in Iqaliat, and then the confrontation at the storm tower made a great adventure building up to a climactic fight (And the big fight at the top of the tower was ridiculously cool).

After that the plot seemed to start falling away, the returning villain aspect of the story in this case just seemed like a way to give the players something else to do for the rest of their journey, and the final dungeon/confrontation left my players rather visibly bored.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Jason Nelson wrote:

In my mind's eye, I had a TRON-like visual for what the Storm Tower would look like. Impossibly tall, streaks of blue running up and down, that kind of thing. My artistic skeels, however, are only so-so, so I couldn't really draw it up quite as I saw it. I definitely can't complain about the art in the book, though; everything looks great!

It was a fun adventure to write, and I'm glad people are enjoying the different parts of it. Alas that the caravan rules didn't quite turn out to everyone's taste; certainly this adventure had a metric ton of stuff dealing with them, so that unfortunately will always slant perceptions of the adventure itself.

I wouldn't worry too much about the caravan stuff, seeing as many fans have already come up with creative fixes, and the battle at Dead Man's Dome was at least tense for one of us.

Our GM really liked the aesthetic of the Storm Tower, and I was appreciative because it wasn't a natural cave formation (I'm the group cartographer, so I draw all the maps). I also liked the design of the structure, and that it decided on a theme and stuck to it.

Actually, we really didn't have problems with maps, and most of them were great, except when it came to the Uqtaal Necropolis. That thing's just too big, man. I really liked some of the monsters in it though, and everyone in the group really liked the petrified Darkwood Tree (although we were all calling it "the White Tree of Gondor" by the end of the night).

But to answer Parable's question:
I think that Asurasan had the best suggestion: Pre-roll random encounters. I don't tend to think of random encounters as things that are truly random, but events that have little bearing on the main story that remind players that there is a larger world out there. I also feel that random encounters add verisimilitude to a dangerous environment- if the wilderness is teeming with monsters, then by the gods we should see some! Also, as others have said, pre-rolling the encounters gives you the right to be choosy about which ones you actually use, and when.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4; Contributor; Publisher, Legendary Games

I would absolutely suggest prerolling random encounters and handwaving long days of nothing in between. "So, five days pass and the caravan trundles along through the endless expanse of white. The days continue to grow shorter, and in the long dusk as the sun sits low on the horizon, you see [blah blah insert encounter here]."

The Uqtaal Necropolis did indeed have a partly Tolkienish inspiration, but it wasn't the White Tree of Gondor. It was the strange stone tree that Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas discover in the Paths of the Dead en route from Dunharrow to the southern lands beyond. I loved that scene as a kid and this was a perfect spot to drop something like it into an adventure.

The headless monsters, though, that was just for creepy fun! :)


Gluttony wrote:
After that the plot seemed to start falling away, the returning villain aspect of the story in this case just seemed like a way to give the players something else to do for the rest of their journey, and the final dungeon/confrontation left my players rather visibly bored.

I'm kinda curious how you would try to avoid this Gluttony if you had a 'do over', in hindsight what seemed to cause it to get stale for your players? Thematically it seems to be like a pretty strong encounter. Yeti pouring out onto the caravan, causing havoc, the PC's in a desperate struggle to fight off a powerful incorporeal opponent channeling negative energy from around a terrible altar while watching their companions struggle against waves of Yeti, sounds good!

Was it just your groups desire to be done with the Crown of the World you think, or is there something I might be missing when planning for this encounter for my party? I'm curious and advice is always appreciated!


Asurasan wrote:

I'm kinda curious how you would try to avoid this Gluttony if you had a 'do over', in hindsight what seemed to cause it to get stale for your players? Thematically it seems to be like a pretty strong encounter. Yeti pouring out onto the caravan, causing havoc, the PC's in a desperate struggle to fight off a powerful incorporeal opponent channeling negative energy from around a terrible altar while watching their companions struggle against waves of Yeti, sounds good!

Was it just your groups desire to be done with the Crown of the World you think, or is there something I might be missing when planning for this encounter for my party? I'm curious and advice is always appreciated!

Way too many yetis and the fact that they were strong PCs and well-suited to fighting ghosts were the main problems. The first few yeti fights were cool, after that it started turning into "What's in the next cavern? More yetis? Yawn, okay who wants to kill these ones?" followed later by "We have to kill her again? And she's supported by *no surprise* yetis? When will this end?"

When you're fighting essentially the same monsters and very little else over and over again for 4 straight sessions it gets tiring. Had I been able to do it again I'd have replaced most of the yeti caves with caverns filled with a large variety of monsters and undead and blocked the path through the catacombs in S9 to all but the most canny/powerful/lucky travellers.

I'd also move the yeti caves themselves to north of S16, the throne area so that regardless of what happens there the PCs don't have to go through hour after hour of yeti fighting. They'd face a few yetis as they neared the edge of the "undead caves", but the yeti caves would most likely be either empty (if the yetis flee) or not hostile (if they break the possession and get hailed as heroes) by the time they get to them. And it'd probably make more sense to have the throne of the yeti chief closer to the yeti caves than it is in the actual adventure anyways.

In fact I'm running Jade Regent for two different groups, so I actually will get a chance to do a do-over of sorts, just not with the further-ahead group. I'd report how the second attempt went after doing it, but unfortunately the second group is just finishing up Brinewall Legacy right now, so it'll be a long time before they get this far.

As for the adventure between the storm tower and the necropolis, I'd advice rushing through most of it. Hit the big points, but don't get bogged down in the travel aspect as much until the storm hits. I'd also suggest ensuring the oni attack/kidnapping occurs, and expanding on that a bit. Someone getting kidnapped is tense, yes, but only until they're rescued. If you make sure to use it as a strong sign that they've been tracked down by their enemies the tension lasts.

...And for gosh's sake give them a hint that Katiyana's not gone for good better than "She's back in the form of a giant storm that's following you, run away into those caves! Now she's a ghost, fight her!" In other words do it earlier. At least that's what I would say.

Liberty's Edge

Gluttony wrote:
...And for gosh's sake give them a hint that Katiyana's not gone for good better than "She's back in the form of a giant storm that's following you, run away into those caves! Now she's a ghost, fight her!" In other words do it earlier. At least that's what I would say.

In retrospect, I feel like I could have been more detailed in describing her connection to the storm sphere (when she showed up in ghost form, I did describe her cold heart as a shard of said sphere). You know, just a few lines at the end of the storm tower fight about how her soul gets sucked into the storm or whatnot. And maybe some more foreshadowing as they travel along.

Shadow Lodge

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I've been thinking about this, and so far I'm imagining the PCs seeing her face in the wind-blown snow and hearing her laughter in the howl of the storm. I expect that there will be dreams (because dreams are important in my campaign) about her in a luxurious fur coat made of yeti-skin. Some foreshadowing.

Later, the yeti tribe, instead of being aggressive, will likely be cowering in their holes, terrified by the changes in their leader. Some may come to his aid in the final fight, but there is no need for the party to slaughter the whole tribe to get to him, and the fact the giant scary yetis are cowering like goblins might strike the right note of foreboding (and also be a nice callback to the Licktoad village).


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I love this forum. This thread is going to be invaluable once my players hit this adventure. Lots of great feedback and ideas here. Thanks for sharing!

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4; Contributor; Publisher, Legendary Games

I hadn't really expected PCs to hack their way through the yeti caves on a killcrazy rampage. Most of the yeti are not immediately hostile unless PCs attack or refuse to move on when they enter a "home" cave, plus there's a schism in the tribe. So, sure there were a lot of yetis, but I guess I didn't anticipate it becoming a hack-slog through the lot of them.

Then again, that's why they play the games, right? :)

As for Katiyana and foreshadowing, I think in the turnover there was supposed to be a sort of Katiyana laughing/quick-disappearing phantom image accompaniment to the dangerous Morozko-related events/encounters between the Storm Tower and Dead Man's Dome. I'd have to give it a closer look to see if that's still in there, but I had intended for that to serve as foreshadowing that she wasn't gone.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

There is some foreshadowing at Deadman's Dome at the least. They hear her mocking laughter on the wind as the undead attack. Then again there's a brief manifestation when she brings the avalanche down to block the pass, so it's not a complete shock. I found this was enough to hint to the PCs that they weren't quite done with her.

Like the rest however, we did end up rushing through the last half. There was some fun stuff to be had on the crown, but by that point everyone was eager to get back to civilization and spend some of their loot. I almost completely skipped the spider in the pass encounter and had to rewind a few days when I remembered it :p


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Oh! Here's something important:

Spoiler:
The switch that raises the force shield against the winds isn't marked on the map in area M9! This means that if you're not reading the AP carefully you might miss it. Our GM missed this and that (coupled with the fact that he misunderstood how call lightning works) were probably the differences between having an easier time with Katiyana and the near-TPK we experienced. The switch is mentioned in one or two sentences on page 40, but it's very important not to forget about it, as it allows ranged combatants to do something.

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