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PFS #3-18 - The God's Market Gamble [Spoilers]


Pathfinder Society GM Discussion

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Cheliax *** Venture-Lieutenant, England—Sheffield aka Ninjaiguana.

I've already given this one a five-star review, and this post mostly serves to reiterate that and mention the few queries and niggles I had regarding a stellar scenario.

Firstly, Act 2!

The chase is great, and the scenes you go through are a lot of fun.

My one problem is the Embassy Wall part. To pass this, you need a DC 18 Climb or a DC 12 Disable Device. Problem is, Disable Device is trained only, so most characters are stuck with a pretty tricky Climb check. The chase works best if the characters can stay on the quarry's heels, and it's no fun to be stymied on card 3 by a high wall.

Actually, looking through, this is also an issue on the Obstructive Hay Wagon card, with a DC 18 Escape Artist (a rare skill in my experience) or a DC 13 Handle Animal, which is trained only.

Unless you can use these skills untrained in a chase? I don't believe there's anything in the rules that would allow it, unfortunately.

Oh, and regarding the Pen - if you skip the encounter, you put the pen in the footlocker. Surely if Parani gets the pen, it should end up there anyway? Why isn't the pen recoverable if she steals it, but is if you skip the encounter? I'm asking from a 'making sense' point of view, I know mechanically it's because you can't be forced to fail a faction mission just because you skipped the optional encounter.

Secondly, Act 6!

In the final encounter, Parani at Tier 4-5 is hell on wheels. My group fought her in her secondary position, and were very close to a wipe. Admittedly, 4 players, including 3 humans and no 'proper' healers, but even so, her attack and damage are really good.

High initiative helped, but she missed once with her bow the whole fight. Got a bit less awesome in melee with the axe, but even so, she was giving the human barbarian distinct trouble even then. Final hp totals for the group were -6 (human inquisitor/gunslinger), -9 (dhampir inquisitor), 8 (human barbarian) and the human monk on full. Frankly, if the barbarian had gone down, Parani'd have taken the monk eventually, as his damage was awful.

Overall, these were only minor issues in the end. I really liked this scenario - the antagonist is actually sensible for a change, trying to cut her losses, silence her partners, and generally behaving like a clued-up villain whose only really mistake is to underestimate the Pathfinders.

Similarly, the Pathfinder leadership (well, Grandmaster Torch) come across as cunning and well-prepared, with a solid plan for the situation; a far cry from the usual sense of distant unconcern with a dash of general ignorance that tends to filter down from on high in the briefings.

Looking forward to more from this author!

Cheliax ***

It ties in nicely to Absalom City background and having info from the Field Guide and pictures ready should help to set the scene.

There is a great scene setting picture on Golariopedia of the God's Market and Starstone Cathedral

Qadira ** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

Hmm, I'll have to check out the official chase rules, but my intent was to allow them to be used untrained. The layout on the chase cards is very tight so it's hard to communicate a whole lot on them.

My assumption is that if she grabs the pen she is able to sell it before the final encounter. If the chase is skipped then thing happen a little differently.

Glad you enjoyed it and thanks for getting the review out there!

Shadow Lodge **

ZomB wrote:

It ties in nicely to Absalom City background and having info from the Field Guide and pictures ready should help to set the scene.

There is a great scene setting picture on Golariopedia of the God's Market and Starstone Cathedral

I used that image as a reference while writing the scenario, it's a really evocative image. The final encounter is in the tent area in the lower right of the picture.

Cheliax ***

Note there is an Easter Egg behind the chase scene page. If you cut and paste the chase background you get a usable handout map of Absalom.

EDIT: Regarding the chase. The Gamemastery guide example uses Escape Artist DC 15 and DC 25 obstacles. So those would cause you to go slow to get past those squares - choose the other obstacle and move speed 1 rather than 3. It also gives bonuses for increased mobility eg: +2 for each 10ft of speed and +10 for fly.

You could also spend prestige to get a +4 bonus to a skill check.

The minor issues GMs need to be aware of that I noticed are the tactics that call for the use of Entangle and Shrink Item. They might raise rules lawyer eyebrows where/how they are used, so plan creatively for (or around) them.

There is also a "Ghost Hand" cantrip listed - it may not come into play - but GMs may need to decide which one of the two actual cantrips this is.

Oh and of course this is not a scenario where you can complete it by just killing things. If you have an "initiative means kill everything" group, you might want to warn them.

Provisional rating 5 stars having prepped it, but not yet run it.

Cheliax *** Venture-Lieutenant, England—Sheffield aka Ninjaiguana.

Yeah, the entangle thing was an issue for me, since it needs vegetation to use and...well...they're in a street in Absalom. I merely didn't use the spell and it worked out fine anyway. As for shrink item...eh. It's cool and evocative, so I'm happy to give that one a pass. I don't think anyone's going to rules-lawyer on shrink item, of all spells.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

Ninjaiguana wrote:
Yeah, the entangle thing was an issue for me, since it needs vegetation to use and...well...they're in a street in Absalom. I merely didn't use the spell and it worked out fine anyway. As for shrink item...eh. It's cool and evocative, so I'm happy to give that one a pass. I don't think anyone's going to rules-lawyer on shrink item, of all spells.

I merely indicated to my players that this was a area of the Ascendant Court (being an alley and all) that was in ill repair, and thus grass was growing between the cobble stones.

Grand Lodge ****

I don't think you can use trained-only skills untrained in a chase... that's just the way it is. Gives skill-based players a nod.

However - some of the obstacles really should remain "solved" after the first character succeeds in their skill check - once you unlock the gate, other players should be able to follow you without a skill roll (still spending the movement to move through the square, though). Similarly, moving the hay wagon would remove it as an obstacle, allowing your untrained friends a way through. So, send your druid/rogue through first!

Running this next Monday, *really* like it so far!

Grand Lodge **

I was just in this scenario the other day. It was challenging, but fortunately the Society had the foresight to include a Tien on the mission.

First we were ambushed in an alley. I had to dispatch the two thugs in the rear while the rest of the "team" piddled around with the ones in front. I'll give the thugs some credit, though: once I'd dealt with the ones in back and moved toward the ones in front, they fled. Wise not to engage an arcane warrior of the great land of Tian Xia.

We set up a counter-ambush to catch some muggers, and the fools shrank the item they intended to steal! All I had to do was put the item in my pocket and play keep-away long enough for the westerners to (eventually) bring down the would-be muggers.

Later we were investigating a building (which SOMEONE managed not to notice was trapped, and so the whole place caught fire), and I had to rescue two Pathfinders who got separated from the group and trapped in a corner. Good thing I had the sense to keep air crystals with me.

Finally, we were ambushed by some unimportant western ranger. The party started dropping like flies, with only myself and one other able to engage while everyone else was either bleeding or running around playing nurse. In any case, despite the enemy's clearly superior experience, she was no match for the full fury of a Tien knight, and she fell.

All in all, the lesson to take away from all this is that the Pathfinder Society has shown great wisdom in its recent initiative to strengthen ties with the great and powerful Tian Xia. I look forward to continuing to spread Tien glory throughout the Inner Sea region.

Thanks for running this one, Andy! Had a great time, and kind of enjoyed roleplaying my first "mean" character. :D

Side note: That last fight is brutal when you're playing 4-5 with a group of 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 3. Good thing we had something like four healing-capable characters and some really lucky rolls with my alchemist's fires!

*

I greatly enjoyed playing this scenario, due to the amount of non-combat/skill-work involved, and the chase.

-Amusingly, The party I as in actually cast shrink item on the keg and switched it out for a replica before transporting it, then allowing the ambushers to waltz off with the fake and using Torch's Locate Item scroll to find the hideout. Great minds think alike.

-At tier 4-5 the final combat seemed really easy. We had predominantly lvl 3's in the party, and we took her out in about 1 round, even purposely doing non-lethal damage.

-The chase seemed too easy as well. We had a debate about the rules for running in a chase, but after settling them, it was a no-brainer to just try to run on every round, especially since we had multiple people with Expeditious Retreat up. This is more a problem with the chase rules I guess. Despite the failings of the crunch for that particular thing, I did have a very vivid and cinematic image of the chase in my mind as it was happening, so thumbs up to tee writer.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

Part of the danger of the final encounter, is if the ranger got any clue just how close the PCs were (i.e. sees black smoke from the warehouse –if 15 squares of the warehouse are on fire, this happens) then she goes to her fallback position, where she’s up on top of a tent with partial concealment. She snipes them, trying to hit obvious divine casters first… lets just say, when she knows the PCs are coming, the battle can be brutal.

Additionally, there was a moment where the characters had gone to the Graycloak main office to talk to Runewulf, and asked, “so can’t you wear something more defining than just a gray cloak? There are people out there acting like you guys and all they gotta do is throw on a gray cloak. Couldn’t you wear badges or something?”

So I failed my will save…

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Andrew Christian wrote:
(i.e. sees black smoke from the warehouse –if 15 squares of the warehouse are on fire, this happens)

15 squares, or 100 squares... but who's counting? ;)

Qadira ** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

Saint Caleth wrote:
-Amusingly, The party I as in actually cast shrink item on the keg and switched it out for a replica before transporting it, then allowing the ambushers to waltz off with the fake and using Torch's Locate Item scroll to find the hideout. Great minds think alike.

That's Awesome!

As for the chase, I suspect it depends largely on the party make-up. Monks and rogues can generally sweep the table with a chase and if you did expeditious retreat it's likewise easy... but then it should be easy to catch someone when you run twice as fast as they do!

*

The ranger was in her sniper nest, and we kicked the crap out of her all the same. Not sure what happened with that encounter then.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

Did you have archers yourself? If so, did they make their 20% miss chance? How far away did the GM start the encounter?

I started it 100’ away, as she would have started sniping them before they got to her. 3 PCs saw her try to rehide (and shot at but missed her) and so she just started using her Many Shot, Rapid Shot, and what not to great affect. The +15/+10 is pretty darned good, and she has a +4 vs. humans for damage. She took the cleric and inquisitor out in round 1 and 2 respectively. They didn’t get up to her to try and get her out of the sniper nest until round 3. Some well placed alchemists fire did the trick and got her out though.

*

WE started out about 75-80` away. In the surprise round, she fired at my inquisitor and missed. The higlights of teh next round were that the magus killed her animal companion, then the sorcerer planted a flaming sphere next to her, my inquisitor buffed and moved to get a clear shot. She shot at the magus and did about half her HP in damage. Then our ranger hit her twice, one blunt arrow and one lethal, knocking her out.

We had two archers, but my inquisitor didn't get a shot off at all. I guess we were just lucky.

Andoran ***

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In the game Saint Caleth is describing, she had 21 points of damage and 19 points of nonlethal by the end of the first round. There was a crit somewhere in there.

In round one, she hit with Manyshot. She went down just before her turn in round two.

We had six PCs and the most horrifying axebeak the hobby has ever known. It ate the dog.

Cheliax ***

ZomB wrote:
Note there is an Easter Egg behind the chase scene page. If you cut and paste the chase background you get a usable handout map of Absalom.

That wasn't an April fools by the way, there really is a usable map behind the chase text.

Has anyone found a good paper token or mini for the donkey and small cart?

**

Saint Caleth wrote:

WE started out about 75-80` away. In the surprise round, she fired at my inquisitor and missed. The higlights of teh next round were that the magus killed her animal companion, then the sorcerer planted a flaming sphere next to her, my inquisitor buffed and moved to get a clear shot. She shot at the magus and did about half her HP in damage. Then our ranger hit her twice, one blunt arrow and one lethal, knocking her out.

We had two archers, but my inquisitor didn't get a shot off at all. I guess we were just lucky.

Just FYI, the magus was down to 5 of 23 hit points. Far more than half. Had she gotten a second round, she'd have been dangerous.

Cheliax *** Venture-Lieutenant, England—Sheffield aka Ninjaiguana.

With my group, it went something like this (tier 4-5);

- Parani gets surprise, shoots the human inqusitor/gunslinger for ~18 damage (+17 to hit; 1d8+13 with deadly aim and favoured enemy)

- Parani wins initiative and full attacks (deadly aim, rapid shot, manyshot all apply), dropping the inquistor/gunslinger with her first shot and injuring the other inquisitor (dhampir) with her other attacks (+15 on the human inquisitor, doing 2d8+26; favoured enemy and other damage bonuses explicitly apply to both arrows. Then +11/+6 against the other inquisitor, as he's not human, doing 1d8+9 per arrow)

- People rush over to Parani, possibly get an attack on her...but if so, they miss. Dhampir heals up the downed inquisitor, but not enough to get him up. The barbarian kills Parani's animal companion, who's running interference for its mistress.

- Parani downs the dhampir inquisitor and injures the human barbarian with her full attack.

- The barbarian hits Parani for ~30 damage on her primary attack, misses with her bite.

- A bit boxed in by the last two PCs, Parani switches to her axe and takes a chunk out of the barbarian (the barb is human, so +14 to hit with her one attack due to switching weapons, damage is decent too. Barbarian has an AC of about 14 in rage, so it's basically auto-hit)

- Barbarian on 8 hp now. Knows if Parani full attacks her she's basically going to drop, clubs Parani down with about ~25 damage.

*

Rubia wrote:
Saint Caleth wrote:

WE started out about 75-80` away. In the surprise round, she fired at my inquisitor and missed. The higlights of teh next round were that the magus killed her animal companion, then the sorcerer planted a flaming sphere next to her, my inquisitor buffed and moved to get a clear shot. She shot at the magus and did about half her HP in damage. Then our ranger hit her twice, one blunt arrow and one lethal, knocking her out.

We had two archers, but my inquisitor didn't get a shot off at all. I guess we were just lucky.

Just FYI, the magus was down to 5 of 23 hit points. Far more than half. Had she gotten a second round, she'd have been dangerous.

I remember, my point was that she did not get that second round, even with the element of surprise and essentially perfect positioning. Although if she had hit on the surprise round it might have gone very differently.

Cheliax ***

Looking at the subtier 1-2 Parani, she has the _same_ base melee weapon damage as the higher subtier, though with less attacks and less favored enemy bonuses.

Which means a single melee hit will drop any 1st level character and might kill non-fighters outright.

A melee crit will kill outright any first and second level characters.

Shadow Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Michigan—Alma

Andrew Christian wrote:
Did you have archers yourself? If so, did they make their 20% miss chance? How far away did the GM start the encounter?

I noticed a couple of times you mention concealment when talking about Parani. The only time she has concealment is when she drinks her Potion of Invisibility which is 50% not 20%. I believe you're confusing concealment with cover.

Spoiler:
Parani sets up two ideal sniping locations in the God’s
Market. The first is perched in a semi-permanent tenttower
that overlooks the entire market area (marked with
an “A” on the map). If Parani sets up her sniping position
in this tent-tower, she has a clear shot at nearly every
square in this section of the God’s Market and gains the
benefits of partial cover
. Her location in the tent-tower is
20 feet above the market and she has destroyed the ladder
that normally leads up to it; creatures can ascend the
tent-tower with a DC 15 Climb check.

CRB wrote:

Partial Cover: If a creature has cover, but more than half

the creature is visible, its cover bonus is reduced to a +2 to
AC and a +1 bonus on Ref lex saving throws. This partial
cover is subject to the GM’s discretion.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

Ah, I misread that as partial concealment.

In any case, they couldn't hit her anyways.

Cheliax ****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps, Modules Subscriber

I was on Caleth's table, playing my ranger 5 (it's the first time I've been able to play him in his favored community...)

I haven't read the adventure yet, but I suspect that my ranger build looks a *lot* like Parani... except I have boon companion in my level 5 slot for my axebeak.

Despite being pretty sick, what I remember of the adventure was a lot of fun... and then I went to the hospital. (I am much better now).

Shadow Lodge ****

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

Ever since Midnight Mauler I've run a slightly modified version of chase rules.

My big change is that if somebody tries and fails both checks on the same square, I let that player spend the entire next round "looking for an alternate route". This allows that player to move to the next tile unhindered but they still tend to fall a little behind.

Putting in trained only skills, and squares with near-impossible checks for certain classes (paladins, I'm looking squarely in your direction with dual acrobatics and swim checks), does not make a chase fun. In fact it makes it not a chase if the player is never chasing the opponent.

This one change still makes chases challenging (I've beat players on a number of occasions), but keeps the pace moving. Of course, YMMV.

Taldor ***** Venture-Captain, Florida—Clearwater aka Magical_Beast

If a player spends a whole turn stuck on a square, I encourage them to come up with an alternate solution. If they can make an argument for another skill, or a spell effect, or etc (they have to make the case, I will not make it for them) I will let them make an alternate check to bypass the square.

For instance, on the square to get into the Cheliax courtyard, I had someone who completely failed the climb and could not make the disable. After a full turn of not moving forward, she said, "what about stone shape?" It seemed reasonable to me, so after making a basic spellcraft check, she opened a whole in the wall that let the one PC behind her waltz right through this square with just a 'move' action. Why not, it kept them moving forward, but did not alter the 'front of the chase' action.

No one wants to be eliminated from participating, but it is important to reward people with movement or skill advantages. The trick is to challenge, without making them throw up their hands in disgust because they have no prayer of participating.

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

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Kristie Schweyer wrote:

If a player spends a whole turn stuck on a square, I encourage them to come up with an alternate solution. If they can make an argument for another skill, or a spell effect, or etc (they have to make the case, I will not make it for them) I will let them make an alternate check to bypass the square.

For instance, on the square to get into the Cheliax courtyard, I had someone who completely failed the climb and could not make the disable. After a full turn of not moving forward, she said, "what about stone shape?" It seemed reasonable to me, so after making a basic spellcraft check, she opened a whole in the wall that let the one PC behind her waltz right through this square with just a 'move' action. Why not, it kept them moving forward, but did not alter the 'front of the chase' action.

No one wants to be eliminated from participating, but it is important to reward people with movement or skill advantages. The trick is to challenge, without making them throw up their hands in disgust because they have no prayer of participating.

Ryan Bolduan wrote:
Putting in trained only skills, and squares with near-impossible checks for certain classes (paladins, I'm looking squarely in your direction with dual acrobatics and swim checks), does not make a chase fun. In fact it makes it not a chase if the player is never chasing the opponent.

I am vastly in favor of these modifications for chases, though unfortunately in PFS, we may not be allowed to do that, technically. In my home games I always allow this, and I asked the GM if I could do this in my last PFS game with chases--I actually asked if it would be okay if I spent 5 rounds to bypass the square since I literally couldn't succeed on a natural 20. Our GM played by the rules and did not allow me to do that, and I respect that answer as well.

Midnight Mauler:
This was because Midnight Mauler has one card relatively early on, maybe the third card or so, right before the guard post, with two difficult Dex-based skill checks on the same card that a character in medium armor with 10 or 12 Dex is likely to be incapable of passing even on a natural 20, thanks to the penalty for 20 foot speed stacked on the ACP.

Since our hands as GMs may be tied, as a general suggestion for chase authors, watch out if you're putting a trained-only skill on a card along with an ~DC 15+ check that suffers from ACP. Equally bad is two ~DC 15+ checks that suffer from ACP together on a card. This is pretty likely to run into disaster with at least one PC in every group (assuming at least one character in a group is likely to be in medium or heavier armor), and playing Rules as Written can be pretty demoralizing.

Even a MW Fullplate is worth a -7 penalty on the check (-2 for speed, -5 for ACP), so a DC 15 Dex check is impossible without ranks or a 14+ Dex (ditto Strength skills). So in the same way you wouldn't put two trained-only skills on the same card, consider that pitfall as well. I do understand that it's not always easy to come up with checks that use Int, Wis, or Cha for a chase compared to Str or Dex, and I can see why including DCs far below 15 can make it too easy for the people who are already good at chases.

Taldor ***** Venture-Captain, Florida—Clearwater aka Magical_Beast

Agreed. I would respect a GM who took a strong stance and did not allow any options outside of the chase exactly as written in PFS play. And I would back them 100% if they made that call at one of my game days.

Functionally, allowing those at the back of the chase to waste a few turns, then think of something brilliant doesn't change the outcome, but it does keep them engaged. Only those at the front of the chase matter for resolution of the encounter.

What I observed when I ran Mauler, and hardlined the rules, was that some characters got mired on a square that they could not escape from. Pretty much ever. They got frustrated and it brought down some of the fun cinematic feel of the chase.

The chase rules in the scenario and in the Gamemastery Guide state that A character unfortunate enough to fail two obstacle checks in a turn becomes mired in his current square...A character who is mired must spend another full-round action becoming unmired and effectively loses his next turn in the chase. Depending on how you read that, it could be a built in failsafe - lose a full turn (in addition to the turn you wasted failing checks) and then move forward. There is not a clear statement that the pc must resume making the indicated checks on that card after becoming unmired.

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

Kristie Schweyer wrote:

Agreed. I would respect a GM who took a strong stance and did not allow any options outside of the chase exactly as written in PFS play. And I would back them 100% if they made that call at one of my game days.

Functionally, allowing those at the back of the chase to waste a few turns, then think of something brilliant doesn't change the outcome, but it does keep them engaged. Only those at the front of the chase matter for resolution of the encounter.

What I observed when I ran Mauler, and hardlined the rules, was that some characters got mired on a square that they could not escape from. Pretty much ever. They got frustrated and it brought down some of the fun cinematic feel of the chase.

The chase rules in the scenario and in the Gamemastery Guide state that A character unfortunate enough to fail two obstacle checks in a turn becomes mired in his current square...A character who is mired must spend another full-round action becoming unmired and effectively loses his next turn in the chase. Depending on how you read that, it could be a built in failsafe - lose a full turn (in addition to the turn you wasted failing checks) and then move forward. There is not a clear statement that the pc must resume making the indicated checks on that card after becoming unmired.

I'm pretty sure the 'mired' condition is like being dazed for a round in a chase--it's a penalty for a major failure wherein you lose an extra round and don't advance. Otherwise it actually rewards you for failing twice.

There actually is a way, using one interpretation of rules as written, to avoid an impossible card altogether--a successful attempt to make both checks on the card produces a very poorly worded result. I've seen threads on this, and most PFS GMs in those other threads run it the way I do (you have to keep making the checks on each card to continue onward through your sprint), but I think the most direct interpretation of the rules is that you actually flat-out skip one or two other cards. Of course, having your character go backwards to an easy card in order to somehow therefore bypass the impossible card makes 0 sense in character, so I didn't have my character do that when he was stuck forever in Midnight Mauler.

Being stuck in one square for a long time can actually affect the outcome if the end of the chase is a fight and the mired characters would be needed to prevent a TPK in that fight.

Qadira ***

Kristie Schweyer wrote:
Agreed. I would respect a GM who took a strong stance and did not allow any options outside of the chase exactly as written in PFS play. And I would back them 100% if they made that call at one of my game days.
Rogue Eidolon wrote:
I am vastly in favor of these modifications for chases, though unfortunately in PFS, we may not be allowed to do that, technically. In my home games I always allow this, and I asked the GM if I could do this in my last PFS game with chases--I actually asked if it would be okay if I spent 5 rounds to bypass the square since I literally couldn't succeed on a natural 20.

Man, this thread frustrates me. I can't believe that there are judges who believe in pure PFS RAW over RAI. I feel sorry for those playgroups.

Thankfully, I know that there are many judges out there whom I have complete trust to gently adjust things like this, as needed to fit their play groups without ruining the intent of the chase encounter.

I long for the day when we can have an open and honest discussion about our judging practices and what is best for our playgroups. I long for the day, Rogue and Kristie, when threads like this are full of good discussions how better to adjust mods like this to different situations and playgroups, where judges can share their passion and ideas rather than their frustrations.

I dream of a better PFS.

-Pain

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

Ideally, Painlord, you are correct.

However, there are some GM's who don't know where the line is for modification, and they take advantage of the fact that most players don't know the scenario, and beef it up so much it becomes a TPK (unappologetically), or change the scenario so drastically that it isn't the same scenario any longer.

Modifying the chase mechanics so that its actually enjoyable is not really modifying things to be easier or harder. Its admitting that the chase mechanics are wonky and not enough thought is given to the two skill checks required at each location of the chase.

Qadira ***

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I have played two different mods with chases and in both cases the adventure was great, one of the best - except for the chase. In both cases the chase ruined the game for me, converting it from
"We are a group of adventurers, striving to solve this together" to
"We are a group of individuals, trying to get high dice rolls."

Other than the chases - both God's Market and Mauler were great, expecially God' Market. With them, I don't think I would be comfortable running either scenario for someone.

Andoran *****

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
nosig wrote:

I have played two different mods with chases and in both cases the adventure was great, one of the best - except for the chase. In both cases the chase ruined the game for me, converting it from

"We are a group of adventurers, striving to solve this together" to
"We are a group of individuals, trying to get high dice rolls."

Other than the chases - both God's Market and Mauler were great, expecially God' Market. With them, I don't think I would be comfortable running either scenario for someone.

I agree, I would really like to not see Chase scene put in scenarios anymore, not as the rules are at least.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

I am inclined to agree. (I've run GMG twice now; in both cases, Barnel easily evaded the party and made his escape. The abstract nature of the chase was an additional frustration for the players.)

Well, what can we do, to make it better? The encounter is optional: we can just throw the chase sequence away and have the players notice Barnel on the streets and nab him. Is there any better option?

Oh, by the way: How do you guys get the last two or three acts to hang together? One of my parties foiled Tesula and Durnil during their attempt to steal the keg, running the sorcerers off. They then used the scroll of locate object to hone in on Parani's arrows. So they just traced the villain, found her in the marketplace, and killed her. They never got a chance to recover most of the treasure, because there are no leads to point them to the warehouse.

The other team fell victim to the fire at the warehouse, recovering none of the treasures or clues. They were stumped as to how to proceed. How are they supposed to encounter Parani? Am I supposed to assume they have to walk through the God's Market, and must walk right past Parani's ambush site?

Andoran *****

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Chris Mortika wrote:

Oh, by the way: How do you guys get the last two or three acts to hang together? One of my parties foiled Tesula and Durnil during their attempt to steal the keg, running the sorcerers off. They then used the scroll of locate object to hone in on Parani's arrows. So they just traced the villain, found her in the marketplace, and killed her. They never got a chance to recover most of the treasure, because there are no leads to point them to the warehouse.

The other team fell victim to the fire at the warehouse, recovering none of the treasures or clues. They were stumped as to how to proceed. How are they supposed to encounter Parani? Am I supposed to assume they have to walk through the God's Market, and must walk right past Parani's ambush site?

I most likely would have not let the Locate Object work, just say she was too far away, the range is only 480 feet. Quick question why did you let it work? Did you forget the limited range? Or did they just happen to cast it near her? Why did they not try to catch the sorcerers when they ran and capture them like they where supposed to? Sounds like your group screwed up the ambush if they let them get away with no way of tracking them down.

Yeah, and on the Fire, sounds like your group just failed that part. I think the scenario already assumes they have to walk through the God's Market, nothing I see in it specifically leads them to the God's Market after the Warehouse. It is not clear in the scenario, but I think the location of the Warehouse makes that inevitable.

Would they have had enough evidence for the success anyway?

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

Painlord wrote:
Kristie Schweyer wrote:
Agreed. I would respect a GM who took a strong stance and did not allow any options outside of the chase exactly as written in PFS play. And I would back them 100% if they made that call at one of my game days.
Rogue Eidolon wrote:
I am vastly in favor of these modifications for chases, though unfortunately in PFS, we may not be allowed to do that, technically. In my home games I always allow this, and I asked the GM if I could do this in my last PFS game with chases--I actually asked if it would be okay if I spent 5 rounds to bypass the square since I literally couldn't succeed on a natural 20.

Man, this thread frustrates me. I can't believe that there are judges who believe in pure PFS RAW over RAI. I feel sorry for those playgroups.

Thankfully, I know that there are many judges out there whom I have complete trust to gently adjust things like this, as needed to fit their play groups without ruining the intent of the chase encounter.

I long for the day when we can have an open and honest discussion about our judging practices and what is best for our playgroups. I long for the day, Rogue and Kristie, when threads like this are full of good discussions how better to adjust mods like this to different situations and playgroups, where judges can share their passion and ideas rather than their frustrations.

I dream of a better PFS.

-Pain

Some day, Pain. Some day. I'm with you. But until that day, Andrew is right when he says

Andrew Christian wrote:

Ideally, Painlord, you are correct.

However, there are some GM's who don't know where the line is for modification, and they take advantage of the fact that most players don't know the scenario, and beef it up so much it becomes a TPK (unappologetically), or change the scenario so drastically that it isn't the same scenario any longer.

It's worth it to lose out on positive modifications to protect against these sorts of dangerous edits that Andrew describes which could ruin the experience for new players and turn others off the hobby. When it comes to having the rules just the way I like 'em, there's always home games. In order to live in the world you dream of, Pain, we'd need to find a way to have oversight on the modifications to prevent disaster. One example would be to allow 5 Star GMs / VCs only to modify scenarios since there's oversight on those positions.

But in any case, that's a topic for another place.

Given the way things are, the best hope is for scenario authors who hope to use chases to pay close attention to the arrangement of the two checks on each card. The two mentioned by the thread's OP are particularly bad due to the DC 18 on an ACP skill as your only choice if you don't have the trained-only skills--those cards are probably impassable for most gnomes, dwarves, and medium to heavy armor wearers.

Another alternative is to get them to officially errata chases to allow an escape clause like Kristie and Ryan's excellent suggestions. That might not be a bad idea regardless, as PFS has provided a good post-playtest of the chase rules that indicate the revision would be beneficial. This could help Pathfinder players of all sorts, PFS or no, particularly homebrew groups with new players and GMs who buy the GMG, see the shiny rules, and don't as easily realize the pitfalls presented by the as-written chase rules--I mean, if even skilled PFS authors who have written some of my favorite scenarios can wind up designing these impassable cards, a newish GM might have no chance at avoiding it and wind up frustrated when the PCs fail.

Is it my imagination, or did the original incarnation of these Chase Rules from Curse of the Crimson Throne actually have an escape clause like Ryan And Kristie suggest (if I remember that chase right, you can leave the rooftops and avoid the challenges, but you take two rounds per card to progress down there and you have to climb back up if you want to stop taking that route).

Shadow Lodge ****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Rogue Eidolon wrote:
Is it my imagination, or did the original incarnation of these Chase Rules from Curse of the Crimson Throne actually have an escape clause like Ryan And Kristie suggest (if I remember that chase right, you can leave the rooftops and avoid the challenges, but you take two rounds per card to progress down there and you have to climb back up if you want to stop taking that route).

I don't remember the specifics, but I believe it did.

Qadira ** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

nosig wrote:
Other than the chases - both God's Market and Mauler were great, expecially God' Market. With them, I don't think I would be comfortable running either scenario for someone.
Dragnmoon wrote:
I agree, I would really like to not see Chase scene put in scenarios anymore, not as the rules are at least.

A big part of the reason the chase scene is the optional encounter in this scenario was due to the mixed reviews the chase in Mauler received. If you think your group isn't going to enjoy the chase, then feel free to skip it. Based on the feedback so far, there are a fair number of GMs and groups who really enjoy them. It's also worth mentioning that failing the chase is not a roadblock.

Qadira ** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

Chris Mortika wrote:
Oh, by the way: How do you guys get the last two or three acts to hang together? One of my parties foiled Tesula and Durnil during their attempt to steal the keg, running the sorcerers off. They then used the scroll of locate object to hone in on Parani's arrows.

I'm not sure locate object works that way.

Quote:
The other team fell victim to the fire at the warehouse, recovering none of the treasures or clues. They were stumped as to how to proceed. How are they supposed to encounter Parani? Am I supposed to assume they have to walk through the God's Market, and must walk right past Parani's ambush site?

That wasn't as clear as I'd have liked it to be. The idea is they are supposed to meet with the commander of the graycloaks and on their way there they are attacked.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Dragnmoon wrote:


I most likely would have not let the Locate Object work, just say she was too far away, the range is only 480 feet. Quick question why did you let it work? Did you forget the limited range? Or did they just happen to cast it near her?

They had narrowed down the location pretty tightly. (I'm assuming that her ambush was very close to the warehouse, since she could see the fire without difficulty.) They had a few of her arrows, so they knew what to look for.

Quote:
Why did they not try to catch the sorcerers when they ran and capture them like they where supposed to? Sounds like your group screwed up the ambush if they let them get away with no way of tracking them down.

Well, something of the opposite. Somewhere along the way, the pathfinders lost track of the fact that they were supposed to let the bad guys steal the keg. Their security was tight enough that the sorcerers could never get a good shot at it. As soon as the sorcerers tried to steal the keg, they realized that it would be much more difficult than they realized. Rather than die in the attempt, they fled. The PCs didn't know what to think, but weren't going to be "tricked" into chasing down the "decoy" spellcasters. They did set a bunch of chickens on fire, though.

Quote:
Yeah, and on the Fire, sounds like your group just failed that part. I think the scenario already assumes they have to walk through the God's Market, nothing I see in it specifically leads them to the God's Market after the Warehouse. It is not clear in the scenario, but I think the location of the Warehouse makes that inevitable. Would they have had enough evidence for the success anyway?

That group was doing very well. They had contacted the captain of the greycloaks to accompany them to the warehouse. Pretty much, they had it nailed. Then the player running the rogue got bored and deliberately set off the fires, just to see what would happen.

Andoran *****

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Chris Mortika wrote:
They had narrowed down the location pretty tightly. (I'm assuming that her ambush was very close to the warehouse, since she could see the fire without difficulty.) They had a few of her arrows, so they knew what to look for.

I don't think it was, and even if it was, doubtful within 480'. anyway that is done. Sounds like many mistakes by the group, sometimes groups make mistakes, and if you can't help them out of it, it is not your fault.

Grand Lodge *** Venture-Captain, New Mexico—Alburquerque aka Digitalsabre

Chris Mortika wrote:

I am inclined to agree. (I've run GMG twice now; in both cases, Barnel easily evaded the party and made his escape. The abstract nature of the chase was an additional frustration for the players.)

Well, what can we do, to make it better? The encounter is optional: we can just throw the chase sequence away and have the players notice Barnel on the streets and nab him. Is there any better option?

Oh, by the way: How do you guys get the last two or three acts to hang together? One of my parties foiled Tesula and Durnil during their attempt to steal the keg, running the sorcerers off. They then used the scroll of locate object to hone in on Parani's arrows. So they just traced the villain, found her in the marketplace, and killed her. They never got a chance to recover most of the treasure, because there are no leads to point them to the warehouse.

The other team fell victim to the fire at the warehouse, recovering none of the treasures or clues. They were stumped as to how to proceed. How are they supposed to encounter Parani? Am I supposed to assume they have to walk through the God's Market, and must walk right past Parani's ambush site?

My players were brilliant. They mixed with the crowd, set two players to drive the cart, and let Tesula and Durnil "steal" the MacGuffin, all but playing completely dumb at the commotion caused by the overturned chicken cart. They tailed the thieves back to the warehouse, made short work of the fire traps (two by accidentally tripping them and then putting out the resulting fires) and one by noticing and disabling it. However, I noticed that it doesn't actually say where the players come into the next map. I assumed that they came in from the east end. Because the fires didn't cause enough smoke to raise Parani's alarm, had I not assumed that the market was directly along their path back to return the keg, Parani would never have seen them coming.

Cheliax *** Venture-Captain, Finland—Tampere aka NiTessine

I ran this today. An excellent scenario; my only real criticism is that Parani's tactics don't mention what she's going to do once she's taken down the entire group... In my table, she dropped the last of the six PCs with her final arrow and I figured that no matter how much she hates the religious types, she's not going to hang around at the market and start coup de gracing Pathfinders with an axe. As it stands, one of the PCs died to a critical hit. 1st-level PCs come and go, though.

I enjoyed running the chase, though I'm not entirely sure if I ended up cutting some corners on the rules since I was originally supposed to be a player, until the GM announced that he was sick three hours before the game and sent me the module. I can't find a mention prohibiting assistance rolls in the GameMastery Guide, though. I allowed the party's cleric to give other PCs boosts over the wall into the Cheliax garden party, since his own ACP made it effectively impossible to hit the Climb DC.

Good stuff. Requires the players to operate intelligently. Clever villain - indeed, her deployment in the final encounter is tremendously effective and manages to counter the action economy that usually makes solo enemies pushovers. Excellent tactics, here.

Osirion ***

Jukka Särkijärvi wrote:
my only real criticism is that Parani's tactics don't mention what she's going to do once she's taken down the entire group

When I ran this, I luckily didn't have to deal with this situation as my party (barely) managed to take her down. But I would say that she would in fact kill the party, if there's still some alive. She's trying to keep her cover so she doesn't get arrested/killed, and the party is trying to expose her. She can shoot up to 4 arrows a turn (depending on tier played), which is more than enough to finish off a bunch of unconscious party members in 1-2 rounds. Then I assume she spins some lie to the greycloaks that show up about how the party is the one that is robbing and killing people in the God's Market.

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

I believe her plans after dropping the party involve some sacks, some bricks, and a deep moat.
My sympathies to your players.

Qadira ** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

2 people marked this as a favorite.
KestlerGunner wrote:

I believe her plans after dropping the party involve some sacks, some bricks, and a deep moat.

My sympathies to your players.

There is a bottomless pit nearby...

.

.

...Just sayin.

Cheliax *** Venture-Captain, Finland—Tampere aka NiTessine

Mourne wrote:
When I ran this, I luckily didn't have to deal with this situation as my party (barely) managed to take her down. But I would say that she would in fact kill the party, if there's still some alive. She's trying to keep her cover so she doesn't get arrested/killed, and the party is trying to expose her. She can shoot up to 4 arrows a turn (depending on tier played), which is more than enough to finish off a bunch of unconscious party members in 1-2 rounds. Then I assume she spins some lie to the greycloaks that show up about how the party is the one that is robbing and killing people in the God's Market.

Fortunately for the PCs, she only has 20 arrows.

Though she did manage to take out the entire party (except for the one halfling who fled), it emptied her quiver and the unconscious party members were pretty evenly spread out over the marketplace. Chopping up unconscious Pathfinders with an axe in broad daylight would've been rather suspicious so I was merciful and had her make herself scarce, especially since she doesn't even have Heal ranks to see if the guy doing a porcupine imitation behind the stall at the other end of the marketplace is dead or just almost dead.

Qadira ** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

I probably would have had her recover anything particularly incriminating then make herself scarce. Alternately, she could have just fled the city, figuring she was blown regardless.

Either way no real need to add insult to injury... though pushing Pathfinders into the bottomless pit does have a certain appeal.

Cheliax *** Venture-Captain, Finland—Tampere aka NiTessine

Well, they managed to botch the evidence thing, too. The project was a wholesale failure for the Pathfinders (except that they got to keep the keg). We had great fun.

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