I was wondering what people at this list had Eligos reveal, and whether, in hindsight, he revealed too little too much.
This page has him reveal that Raknian purchased apostolic scrolls.
Checking my notes, Eligos revealed many of the plot points up to that point including:
1) What the Spawn of Kyuss were and identified the slow worm potions the party had.
2) The spawn being nearby in the Mistmarshes indicating the possible involvement of cultists of Kyuss and the fact the often hide their identities in nearby communities.
3) A possible connection/alliance between the Ebon Triad and the cultists of Kyuss.
4) The prophesy of the Age of Worms.
5) A description of what the Apostolic Scrolls were and what they did.
6) Who Loris Raknian was and some of his history including the history of the Champion Games.
7) The fact that the Champion's Games would be the best way to get close to Raknian and find out what he wants with the scrolls.
I had the purchase of the Apostolic Scrolls by Raknian revealed in the mindflayer's purchasing records.
I agree with Jenner. Eligos revealed everything mentioned above. Raknian's purchase of the Apostolic Scrolls was revealed through mindflayer notes.
Overall, though, I felt that Eligos revealed very little.
I really enjoyed this Adventure Path but my major complaint would be the "experts" in virtually every installment. I tried to rework these NPC/PC interactions more effectively and many of the adventure hooks that I felt were very weak as well. Still, the Path, IMO, spends too much time and energy directing the PCs from one person/place to another with little result. My players, who've been playing together for more than 20 years, had difficulty staying focused and understanding their character motivations. Every time the PCs met an "expert" the response seemed to be either "Let me get back to you on that" or "you should really go 'such a place' and talk to 'so & so'" only to get the same weak response in the next place. I had Allustan, Eligos, and Manozarian reveal as much as possible about the mechanations of the enemy and the import of the Age of Worms, gleaning what information I could from the backstory at the beginning of each adventure. Still, with all that, I don't believe any of us (the DM or the players) felt they knew too much.
I agree with Aurora.
With this being only the second AP that Paizo wrote, they admit they learned some lessons as they went along. With each chapter being written in isolation, several of the links between scenarios don't seem all that strong. Possibly the writers didn't want to give the whole game away, or thought that someone else would be covering that bit. Or, they were working under the original assumption that they had to allow for each instalment being able to be run as a one-off, since there were some critics at the time complaining about space taken up in the magazines on a campaign they weren't personally going to run. (to whom, I say tough luck.)
Much of the information given by Eligos should be common knowledge by that point in the campaign. Certainly, the fact that there are difficult to kill undead, who infect people with worms, that these worms can create more of the same, that they have ties to Kyuss, should not be news to anyone who's played through Blackwall Keep. The nature of the Ebon Triad, and their prophecies of the Age of Worms, should be known to any party who played Three Faces of Evil.
I also found it unrealistic that the PCs are sent on a mystery tour to the city, by Allustan, to find Eligos, a man who is supposedly his friend and former ally. Why doesn't Allustan know where Eligos lives, and just give them the address?
To cover this, I had Eligos be introduced to the PCs early on, if only in name, as the person Allustan fences their treasure to. When they first bring items from the Whispering Cairn, Allustan identifies them for free, and agrees to help them in future, on condition that they do not reveal the cairn to the public, or sell the items on the open market. He buys the items from the PCs, and sends them on to Eligos, who he tells the PCs is an old wartime companion, who can be trusted to keep safe any treasures of the Wind Dukes.
This fixes his reputation for the players as someone who can be trusted, so it is not a name pulled from the blue, when they do eventually go to see him, and he also has reason to break his privacy to welcome them to his home (something that seems awfully trusting for him to do).
So, when I ran this, I didn't have the PCs visiting Eligos to find out about the Age of Worms, since they already heard of it, and had passed onto Eligos what they knew. They were going to the city anyway, to deliver the peace treaty from the lizardfolk, warn of Ilthane wrecking Blackwall (not canon, but happened in my game), warn o fthe possibility of more Black Eggs, and retrace the steps of one PC's father (a Seeker, with a bad rep). They also need to commission some new magical gear, and Eligos' house is a sensible place to visit.
This page has him reveal that Raknian purchased apostolic scrolls.
That is one thing I totally refused to reveal at that point.
One of the big problems with running a believable game, where there are well-documented NPCs, of much higher level than the PCs, is answering the question "Why are we the ones having to do all the work? What are these supposed epic heroes doing that could be more important than saving the world?".
(I.E., the "Why the hell are Batman and Green Arrow in the Justice League, anyway?" conundrum.)
Especially when the action is taking place in the largest metropolis in the continent, ruled by a magocracy, whose leader is infamous for being a manipulative, interfering badass.
If it actually were common knowledge, or even just a rumour, among wizardly circles, that Raknian had bought (bought?!) the Apostolic Scrolls, the PCs wouldn't have to do anything about it, because he'd already be dead.
What I did for my game was as follows:
As written in HoHR, the doppelgangers in the Sodden Hold were only a small part of a larger conspiracy. The PCs find evidence that the army and city council are riddled with agents. They are then supposed to hand over this info at the end of that chapter, and we hear no more of it.
In my game, I took it to the logical conclusion; when the Sodden Hold realise the PCs are in the city (alerted by the surviving kenku sorcerer), and that they are hunting the Ebon Triad, so they replace a PC, pump him for information, and lure the PCs to what they hope is an ambush. But they don't leave it there. As soon as the fake prisoners were freed, they were given directions to seek Eligos, and took several mimics with them. They turned up in cloaks, told him they had returned with some crates of magic items, and conned their way in. They attack Eligos, and tear up his house, looking for any clues to the Ebon Triad, Age of Worms, and the Apostolic Scrolls.
As the PCs prove too much for the Sodden Hold, the order is sent telepatically, to warn Zyrxog, who comes to the Hold, eats the brains of the prisoners and the dying dopplers (in front of the PCs, who are watching from a rope trick, with no resources left). He decides the time has come to blow their cover, and the PCs emerge from the sewers to find the streets in uproar, and a price on their own heads (due to crimes commited by doppler imposters). All the secret apocalyptic cults in the city have risen up, and the fight against them has been hampered by the sleeper agents kiling their superiors, and giving poor orders.
The PCs are found by the now unemployed soldiers from Blackwall, who take in the PCs, protect them from the city guard, and alow them to escape capture.
They have to take the fight to Zyrxog, again without aid from epic NPCs, and deal with him themselves. They again have to lie low, return to Eligos, and find him missing and his house burgled.
The only witness is Filge, who had been 'diverted' from being sent to jail, by Allustan, and who had been working for Eligos. He described the fake PCs killing Eligos, and throwing him inside a living chest, before looting the place. A debate ensues over whether Filge is telling the truth, when they are attacked by several dopplers and a mimic.
After this, one of the PCs, who had been dominated by the Stone Brain, absconds, and joins an illithid safe house. She starts rescuing the tadpoles from the sewers, and leads implanted hosts to the docks, to find a safer base.
The PCs realise she is missing, track her via locate object on her gear, and the map she was seen studying, and chase her to the docks. Merry hell breaks loose on a ship full of implanted spawn. The dominated PC snaps out of it, just as she is about to be executed below decks, and they all fight their way out. The fleeing spawn are cut down by Tirra, and her troops from the Thieves' Guild (aka Greyhawk secret police force), who have come for the bounty on the PCs. A standoff occurs, with the one PC friendly to Tirra explaining the situation, and handing over the evidence of the Sodden Hold's involvement in the riots.
The PCs are introduced to Celeste, by Filge, though not by that name. She tells them that she was expecting to see Eligos, but has been given reason to trust the PCs with the info she was to give him.
She tells them she had been sent by their superiors, to pursue demon cults in the southern ocean. While defeating cultists there, she found that a large black pearl had gone missing, and the holy texts of that religion (The Apostolic Scrolls). She also found out that slavers had been working the area, carrying off slaves and wild beasts.
She had tracked the ships to the mainland, and believed the cargo had been bought by Loris Raknian, for the upcoming games. She suspected that he may also have taken delivery of the scrolls and the pearl, but cannot prove it.
The PCs are told how Raknian and his gladiators played a major part in quelling the riots, saving the Mayor and many aristocrats from the mob. As soon as he arrived on the scene, he was able to coordinate the troops, who went from an incompetent response, to efficient and orderly.
The PCs describe how the sleeper agents had been ordered to cause havoc in the city's defences, and they agree that Raknian's success appears to have been contrived. However, he is now a hero of the city, and they cannot accuse him of anything without proof.
Celeste says she has attempted to infiltrate the arena, but it has been shielded from entry and all her divinations (the under-arena protected by several zones of forbiddance, with entry only allowed for those who wear a gladiator's pass and swear the prayer to Kord on entry, an extra I put in, since this has all to take place under the nose of the Wizards Guild and the Church of Boccob.).
Raknian is now a hero to the people, both for his actions in combat, and for bringing forward the date of the games, to act as a fundraiser for repairing the city. The new date just happens to be one of more occult significance, a fact Celeste finds suspect.
She then asks them to help Ekaym, by acting as his team for the games.
Ekaym relates how he had already sent in his gladiators to find evidence, but they had all disappeared.
(The PCs had by this time already found the gear of several gladiators, in Zyxog's lair, but no-one picked up on this. As written, it is rather careless of Ekaym to turn up in the city without a team, so this is again, a departure from the scenario.)
Therefore, the PCs begin the meat of The Champions Games, knowing about the Apostolic Scrolls, suspecting Raknian may have them, but unable to act on this belief without proof.
Among the other teams in the games, I inserted a team of pygmies from the Isle of Dread, who were also in search of the same items, and a team of Hextorites, hunting Raknian as a suspected heretic.
The black pearl they never find, having been fed to the ulgustasta to power its rapid growth, and the necrotic wave which will kill the audience.
Not to hi-jack this thread but the question of why the tough guys aren't handling things rather than sending the PCs to do it is a problem throughout this adventure path. That's why, with alot of discussion about EaBK on these messageboards, I don't agree with changing the Allustan scenario.
As written, Allustan supports a bunch of neophytes to investigate Whispering Cairn and Three Faces of Evil. Finding more evidence of the Ebon Triad and the coming Age of Worms, he first sends them to Blackwall Keep and then to Eligos. Both of these experts (Eligos and Allustan) eventually send the PCs to their mentor, the ultra-powerful Manzorian who ... sends the PCs to Spire of Long Shadows and then chasing after Balkarde.
When IMC, I had Allustan slink off at the first sign of battle at Blackwall Keep "Um... I'll go for reenforcements" it helped the whole storyline make a lot more sense. I had the party's wizard as an apprentice to Allustan from the beginning, establishing the original connection. Allustan's obvious cowardice at EaBK explains why he sat back and let the inexperienced PCs do all the work at Diamond Lake rather than doing it himself or at least accompanying them all along. It also explains why he is not closer to Marzena or Eligos or Manzorian; physically or socially. Each of these people have already discovered in due time that Allustan has the brains but not the spine. Allustan prefers to be a big fish in a little pond in Diamond Lake rather than be where the action is either adventuring or in the Free City. It's a disappointing but poignant moment for the PCs to recognize the person they once greatly respected and admired is actually quite flawed and pitiful. (Little bit like growing up). I "fixed" the hook to HoHR by having the PCs travel to the Free City to broker a peace deal with the Twisted Branch lizardmen. They stopped by to see Eligos (introduced by name in earlier episodes) as a bit a sidetrack, not their primary goal. They return to Diamond Lake after CB because of dragon attack, not to see Allustan. Then in aGoW, they are not surprised to find themselves in a position where they must rescue their old mentor and are, quite frankly, happy to be done dealing with him.
Explaining why Manzorian, one of the most powerful wizards in the world, doesn't accompany the PCs to SoLS was more of a challenge but ... that's another story, I guess.
I'm thinking that the players find Marzena dead in the Lizard lair. They return to the keep to search her desk for clues, and find a letter addressed to Eligos. (In it, she reveals that she recently found out about the basement spawn). It's a runaround but it's more plausible than Marzena being alive and not knowing anything.
I had Marzena at Blackwall Keep when the PCs arrived. She had just returned from visiting the shaman of the Twisted Branch tribe, whom she was on good terms with, and exchanged gifts with. She explained that the leadership had changed and the new lizardfolk leader appeared hostile.
The PCs are tasked with returning the prisoner soldiers and making peace if possible.
While they are gone, Marzena (who looked haggard when the PCs arrived, a supposed result of the last few days of combat and suprise assaults) finally succumbed to the slow worm she consumed in the gift from the shaman. Then I played out the mini adventure where the PCs take on the role of soliders and fight the spawn.
It was good times and eliminated Marzena and anything she might have had to say. I did not like that Allustan said, "Go see my friend." who just so happens to be captured.
I'm using Eligos to reveal more of their gear, as well as anything they've missed along the way. The info on the Apostolic Scrolls will have to be gleaned from Zyrxog's info, if at all. My group has other reasons for going after Raknian (actually, they're going after Orokal)
I'm running AoW in Eberron, so the concept of running all over to talk to specialized experts does not face my PCs.
IMC, Manzorian is a blue dragon and a member of the Chamber. Allustan is a Brelish wizard who served during the Last War; I play up his reticence to get involved as shellshock from the horrors of the war and the players have figured out that he is incredibly smart and powerful, but too afraid to get heavily involved in anything dangerous. During EaBK, I adopted Marzena as Allustan's lover, a former comrade-in-arms during the Last War, so Allustan's motivation is less 'talking to Marzena about the worms' and more 'going to see his girlfriend for an extended vacation, oh and look what happened.'
Allustan then asked the PCs to take the evidence from WC and TFoE and EaBK to Eligos. When the party encountered Eligos, he commented on Allustan's actions - 'and this is why the Master never relied on him' - and cemented the idea that Allustan is well-intentioned but flawed.
I'm using Eligos as the NPC who puts the PCs on the track of the Age of Worms. So far, I've been interspersing the AP with other adventures, to allow the PCs to realize that there is something going on behind-the-scenes organically. When they get back to Sharn to speak with Eligos (setting up TCB), I plan on laying out what's been going on and charting a roadmap they can then rely upon once Eligos is dead.