Paizo Top Nav Branding
  • Hello, Guest! |
  • Sign In |
  • My Account |
  • Shopping Cart |
  • Help/FAQ
About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
Pathfinder Society

Pathfinder Beginner Box

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

Pathfinder Comics

Pathfinder Legends

PaizoCon 2014!

DM's advice for Zaiobe (spoilers)


Jade Regent


A question for other DMs:

In Brinewall Legacy, how did you approach the party with Zaiobe (harpy oracle)?

Because my players will probably attack this NPC on-sight: she is a 'monster' after-all, and in a castle filled with enemies, AND if any PCs recognize her as a harpy they won't want to give her a chance to use her 'captivating song' attack (they don't know she's a mute).

I know it says (pg 42) "...adopts as nonthreatening a stance as she can..." Ok, let's assume my PCs don't blow-her-away in round 1...

So it says she "...tries to convince one of the PCs to let her touch him..." Ummm, sure, because all of my PCs allow monsters to get a free 'touch attack' [/sarcasm].

So...how did all the other (much more skilled) DMs get this encounter to happen (because the role-play follow up has such great potential)?

Cheliax

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

My players were fleeing the castle after a hard fight. They made a break for the main gate when the ettercap and spider came out. Zaiobe helped them in the flight and I had her drop down and touch one of the characters so she could communicate.

She then flew off and approached them later when hey were resting in he crypt in the graveyard.

They bought it.

I actually had her keep to the bargain they made and they didn't end up killing her. However she was annoyed with them for killing her lover (well she is CE) so she caught and killed Spivey whilst they were raiding the keep.

She left them a love note and now her name has been entered into their book of grudges.


My GM made the party choose Zaiobe or Spivey to the caravan.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

In my game, they'd retreated the day before, after a few tough fights, and I had Ameiko give the clue about Zaiobe. When they finally arrived, before they could attack, I had her hold up her hands in a 'I'm unarmed!' gesture, and gave them all sense motive checks, which enough of them passed to call off the rest of the party.

It actually turned out really interestingly, as one of the PCs, the samurai, took being almost-mute as a background flaw (he had his throat slashed by a former lover, and could only speak in a raspy voice.) He ended up communicating with the harpy, and actually really enjoyed the connection between the two of them. After killing Kikonu, he came to her aid to offer her a healing potion, since she took a crit scorching ray from Kikonu. The two of them then retired to her library to, ahem, 'read some books'.

They'll probably end up bringing her along, especially once she gives him her Telepathic bond ability. Plus, it makes for interesting roleplay, and she's a more interesting character than Spivey, though I'll give them the chance to use Diplomacy and convince the two of them to not try and kill each other.


My group just ran into Zaiobe last night. They found her in her room after more or less mindlessly roaming room to room. [1]

She stood in the corner, bow casually held in one hand, like she didn't want to carry it over her shoulder, and looked startled when they entered. She waved a few times, approached the ninja [2], and extended a handshake. She explained being mute, healed a party member, and asked for help killing Kikonu. They immediately said yes, annoyed that the "masterpiece" they'd interrupted provided enough cover that the ranger couldn't hit him.

[1] There are six players due to my desire to not exclude people, and they've run into a LOT of random encounters (I even handed them a table and made them roll dice to show that this was clearly not the intended path). 1.5 sessions later, and they're all about level 3.

[2] The ninja had just been reprimanded for considering a Ki Charge exploding shuriken in the dire corgy mess hall (where there are 12 eating dinner). She misread the ability as "fireball" and not "ball of fire which will hit, at best, 8 of them for, at best, 1/3 of their life. and then they will be angry." So, she was looking for atonement anyway.

The issue I had was, while wanting to challenge the group, the PCs + Zaiobe vs Kikonu (and then PCs vs Zaiobe) fight was disastrous. 5/6 PCs are melee-focused, so Kikonu being 20 feet in the air and Zaiobe being 40 feet in the air (with entropic shield) made the encounter absurd. Basically, Zaiobe killed Kikonu almost entirely on her own, and then demolished about half of the party. Ranger was down to 5 hp, Ninja was at 13, Cleric was at -24 [3]. When she ran out of arrows, she landed and was destroyed quickly. I wanted to have her fly away instead, but the players needed some satisfaction.

[3] One avid gamer in the group, fairly new to RPGs, complained that I was hiding my dice and he'd rather it not be sugar-coated. This is the same guy who blindly charged into Tsutamu's chamber -- as a gnome cavalier, he got there with movement to spare -- well before the rest of the party could catch up. He was at -4 when Tsutamu died, and that was only because I ignored damage reduction to prevent a dead PC of a guy on his second legitimate RPG session (don't want to scare them off).

So, he requested that for one roll, I do it publicly. Of course, that was the shot where Zaiobe got a nat 20, confirmed, 1d8x3 + 2, rolled an 8, 34 damage later the Cleric was at -24 hp.

Back on-topic, that's how they handled the encounter. Far too trusting, and then they didn't run inside when the flying harpy was raining arrows down at them.


My first group didn't actually have to make a decision about trusting Zaiobe after the fact. There was an areal dogfight going on between Kikonu and Zaiobe that ended in a critical hit + Grapple from Kikonu's Kusarigama followed by a throat slit and 60 foot free fall face plant by the harpy.

After the flaming arrows stopped hitting Kikonu, he started his regeneration routine taking some cover on the balcony. The party then took cover in the gatehouse to try to attend to their wounds and come up with a hasty plan...

...until a giant wasp flew through the door. That sent the party into a full retreat as the sorcerer was in the process of summoning mounts. Afterwards, Kikonu rallied up the troglodytes and sent them out to search for the party while he went to talk to Buttersnips about possibly having his dead Corby 'actors' turned into puppets. Something she gladly acquiesced to. Much to the later disgust of my party.

My Second group is getting close to Zaiobe now, so I'm looking forward to seeing how they interact with her.

Contributor

My group noticed her before she saw them and retreated. When they encountered her again, the first thing she did was drop her bow and motion that she could not speak (covering her mouth, grabbing her throat). The group were quite happy to deal with her after that.


I had Zaiobe confront the PCs after they had rested up following a trip into Brinewall. They saw her flying toward them, but I made a point of telling them that her bow was not readied. She landed a bit away from them, put her hands out to show she was unarmed, then pointed to one of the PCs and held her hand out as if offering a handshake.

It didn't hurt that this was after the kami possessing Ameiko had started chattering, so the players were able to put together the clues to figure out that Zaiobe was there as potential help.

It also didn't hurt that my general GMing tendency is to start encounters where fighting is the only option with, "roll for initiative," so anytime I don't immediately jump to initiative rolls it's a big hint to the players that there's some talking to be done.


I had her come halfway down the library stairs to watch as the PCs fought some corbies in the room below hers. Once the fight was over they noticed her, and since she made no obvious moves to attack, they didn't immediately target her. She then descended the rest of the way down the stairs safely by clearly indicating to them that her weapon was not drawn.

It took a significant amount of charades for my players to understand that she was mute, and the two PCs who actually carry weapons both had her agree to toss her bow on the ground between them in exchange for them doing the same with their weapons. After that, it took a LOT of coaxing to get one of them to touch her to allow her telepathy to kick in. In fact three of the players were considered returning to the caravan and making a several-days-long trip to the nearest town to buy paper so that she could write to communicate them. Of course all the while Zaiobe was extending her hand in a "take my hand" fashion and being ignored.

Eventually the PC witch, who was trying to point out to the others that they couldn't leave Brinewall with Ameiko comatose (they'd already tried that, it didn't work), but was also getting ignored gave in to exasperation. She took Zaiobe's hand (as the others shouted in protest and actually asked to roll reflex saves to react, and grab and restrain her before she could do so. They failed those saves though), and when she did, the telepathy kicked in. From there it was pretty smooth sailing for communication. She and Zaiobe actually got along quite well actually, and though she didn't understand why Kikonu being able to speak in Zaiobe's lost voice, and him taunting her with it, had offended the harpy she agreed to help.

When it came to the actual betrayal though, I handled it badly. Which is to say, I handled it exactly how the AP suggests you handle it, and had her unexpectedly and immediately turn on them when Kikonu fell (also, like dumbname's group, it was pretty much entirely Zaiobe who took down Kikonu for my group). If I could do that again I'd have her betrayal be more subtle, and also more sympathetic. I'd have her attempt to get permission to join the caravan, get caught stealing minor supplies and treasure, and being emotionally torn between wanting the PCs' things, and wanting to stay on the good side of her new "friends".

Shadow Lodge

My group talked to her briefly and told her to leave. Since she was the only remaining living thing in the castle, she took off.

They'll see her again, though, when she joins the caravan containing Ameiko's little brother and his competing adventuring party.

Grand Lodge

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

Heh, Zaiobe has become interesting for my group.

My group had split up do cover ground a little quicker which led the barbarian to meet her in the tower alone. She was not aggressive, and the barbarian allowed her to touch him to communicate. She communicated her intent to kill Kikonu with his help, but not the details of the plan. The barbarian left to discuss it with the rest of the party.

The PCs agreed to help her, but argued for about 30 minutes on whether or not Zaiobe was going to betray them, or if they should betray her first...

The PCs returned and agreed to help Zaiobe and to follow her plan.

When the plan was executed, Zaiobe got a critical hit for almost max damage. Kikonu rolled really bat on his initiative, and he went down without returning a hit (so sad!).

During the after battle regroup, Zaiobe landed to conclude the bargain (the PCs would help and get whatever Kikonu had on him, and she would leave in peace. I was playing her strait). The barbarian shook hands with her, but refused to let go. The wizard (party face) then grabbed the barbarian to break up an impending fight. Zaiobe broke free and then left after being waved off by the wizard.

The PCs saw Zaiobe flying overhead heading south as they we leaving the castle. The barbarian swore to continue the fight. I decided to let him try.

Fast forward a bit. The PCs are in Sandpoint, and they have heard a rumor that a harpy has been seen near the area with the Red Bishop...

They hire a boat out to the island. While making their way to the monastery, an arrow zips by and hits the ground in the middle of the group (they totally failed to notice Zaiobe). At this point the wizard convinces the barbarian to let him talk to her first.

After some discussion, some insane diplomacy rolls, and a hero point spent, the wizard has managed to convince Zaiobe to join their caravan and help them take out the Red Bishop!

So now my plan...

Zaiobe was not made an oracle by Pazuzu, but by some force that opposes Pazuzu. She is destined to meet and travel with the PCs to find and destroy a Pazuzu cult somewhere in Tian Xia.

So, for those in the know, is there a good place in the AP for this development to come to fruition?

I'm sliding Zaiobe to just this side of CN, and she has promised the group to try to reform her more violent ways. There might be a romance budding between her and the wizard, but he might also have an interest in Ameiko...

Fun times!


Doram ob'Han wrote:
My group talked to her briefly and told her to leave. Since she was the only remaining living thing in the castle, she took off.

How have others handled Zaiobe when she is encountered AFTER Kikonu has died?


The party ended up reaching an accord (showed up during the Kikonu fight and shot him with an arrow before he dimension doored) of 'You kill him, take whatever you want in basement, castle is mine' with the parties rogue (via the telepathic communication).

After Kikonu died, she joined the party on the trek down to the basement (and PERFECT PLACE to Betray them), the whole time the (deaf) Aasimar oracle and (mute) Harpy oracle are holding hands communicating (yes, there were plenty of jokes made) and debating philosophies.

(And yes, the other party members were plotting/planning to betray the harpy on their own while the philosophical debate was being held in another room.)

I believe the winning arguement from the Aasimar came from, "Why not just travel with us and make money?" (Since, she had been promised protection and a possible cut of party loot. Sounds like a win/win situation for Zaiobe, (She could always just murder someone in the middle of the night and fly away) Also the gift of the 300gp pearl gown went along way with the nat20 diplomacy check).


dumbname wrote:

The issue I had was, while wanting to challenge the group, the PCs + Zaiobe vs Kikonu (and then PCs vs Zaiobe) fight was disastrous. 5/6 PCs are melee-focused, so Kikonu being 20 feet in the air and Zaiobe being 40 feet in the air (with entropic shield) made the encounter absurd. Basically, Zaiobe killed Kikonu almost entirely on her own, and then demolished about half of the party. Ranger was down to 5 hp, Ninja was at 13, Cleric was at -24 [3]. When she ran out of arrows, she landed and was destroyed quickly. I wanted to have her fly away instead, but the players needed some satisfaction.

[3] One avid gamer in the group, fairly new to RPGs, complained that I was hiding my dice and he'd rather it not be sugar-coated. This is the same guy who blindly charged into Tsutamu's chamber -- as a gnome cavalier, he got there with movement to spare -- well before the rest of the party could catch up. He was at -4 when Tsutamu died, and that was only because I ignored damage reduction to prevent a dead PC of a guy on his second legitimate RPG session (don't want to scare them off).

So, he requested that for one roll, I do it publicly. Of course, that was the shot where Zaiobe got a nat 20, confirmed, 1d8x3 + 2, rolled an 8, 34 damage later the Cleric was at -24 hp.

Isn't someone at -24 hp dead?


Belle Mythix wrote:
Isn't someone at -24 hp dead?

I think that was his point.

In my campaign, Zaiobes allegiance to Pazuzu was discovered by a good sense motive check from Koya ( played by one of my players ), so that precluded any compromise. Zaiobe calmly retreated into the air and proceeded to kick the groups butt in impressive fashion... as it happens the group doesn't have much ranged combat power. It ended with the Witch eating a critical hit which killed him immediately, although he got resurrected by the seal later on.


Belle Mythix wrote:
Isn't someone at -24 hp dead?

A human with a Con score of 20 and the Heart of the Wilderness trait from the ARG could still be alive at -24.

...But in this case I'm gonna agree with magnuskin. That was probably his point.


Gluttony wrote:
Belle Mythix wrote:
Isn't someone at -24 hp dead?

A human with a Con score of 20 and the Heart of the Wilderness trait from the ARG could still be alive at -24.

...But in this case I'm gonna agree with magnuskin. That was probably his point.

I call the dead "dead" (or less savory terms).


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Banesfinger wrote:


How have others handled Zaiobe when she is encountered AFTER Kikonu has died?

You posted this question quite a while ago, but here was a post I made in another thread some time back:

As far as Zaiobe goes, she ended up playing a pretty memorable role in our game. My players threw me for a bit of a loop by killing off Kikonu the first time they met him (an amusing/memorable story for another time if folks are interested enough). I really liked Zaiobe though, and still wanted to work her in.

Right up to the beginning of the next session, I still had no idea how I was going to to work her in, so I just gave up thinking about it and decided to wing it. What ended up happening was a power struggle for taking over the leadership of the castle between Zaiobe and Nevakali with the PCs in the middle. Made for some really fun roleplaying, with ultimately Nevakali getting killed first up on the walls along with the Mobat.

At one point after that, Zaiobe decided she was bored and so ordered the PCs to bring the prisoner (Kelda) to her for excecution. The PCs, finally having had enough of her, formulated an ambush. They went through the motions of following the orders, Kelda remaining resolutely stoic the whole time, and went before Zaiobe who was standing before her newly acquired throne. (Slugwort was also present, feeling responsible for his prisoner, and mourning the death of Kikonu). The ninja forced Kelda to kneel before Zaiobe, raised his katana as if to behead her, and instead struck Zaiobe.

There began a pretty epic fight which involved the cleric playing his Lust plot twist card to change Slugwort's allegiance; the group fighting along side "The Naked Chick" (as they still didn't know her name, she was wearing just her rag as they hadn't retrieved her stuff, and the ninja threw her his spare wakizashi); they spilled out into the courtyard so Zaiobe could use her flight and flaming arrows to her advantage; the wizard split from the group and went up on the walls to get a better vantage, only to be killed by a massive critical hit from her flaming arrow (RIP Theran); the ninja shamefully running away across the courtyard when he had cause fear cast on him; and finally the sweet feel of victory as Zaiobe fell from the sky, and Slugwort assuming the throne of Brinewall


UGH, thread necro, I know. Rap my knuckles for it.

Anyway, my group's taken a long time to get through Brinewall Castle and Brinewall Proper. Between visiting the castle, the city, and then the castle, I believe they've spent a week and haven't managed to clear out the second floor of the castle/meet up with Zaiobe. Part of this problem is that our encounters run long, and there's no healer in the party. Spivey's tagging along right now to help them with the haunt.

I have a hard time believing, since Kikonu's known of their presence, that both Zaiobe and Kikonu are really still at odds with each other. I don't really want to make up additional encounters for them at this point because the CR1s are no issue, CR4/5 still provides a solid challenge for them (Nevakali took two hours, and that was one versus four and Spivey as a non-combatant.)

While Zaiboe wants Kikonu dead, I don't quite think she'd wait a week for people to show up at her door, but I kind of figure that at this point she'd just go and kill Kikonu on her own, and fight them when they show up at the castle gates. They've been inconsistent on when they show up, how long they stay, what routes they take through the castle, and whether they even show up the next day. The lack of schedule would make it "difficult" for a character to plan a kind of "peace treaty" by just sitting around waiting for them.

So, how would you handle this, or what advice can you give to someone who's leading with this encounter next week Wednesday?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber

When the PCs were fighting the ogrekin, Zaiobe landed on a parapet and killed one with well placed arrows. She approached the paladin and used body language to show she could not speak and approached him slowly to touch him.

The PCs treated her with respect, and even healed injuries she took. So she didn't betray them. She joined the caravan and the Paladin is trying to redeem her... It's slow going.


DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
When the PCs were fighting the ogrekin, Zaiobe landed on a parapet and killed one with well placed arrows.

That opportunity is long since past for the group. I expected them to be much farther than they are (not a bad thing, just misjudged their speed).

At this point, after the party's plinked away at the castle for a week, I cannot suspend my disbelief enough to just "Run as Written."


Zaiobe could fly out and meet, say, Sandru, and make contact with him first, then he could introduce her as a new ally?

If the PCs are finding the low CR battles too easy, and are being slow, having the enemies form larger groups is an appropriate response.
I knew my group would win easily if I played the encounter as written so I had Zaiobe arrange the final battle with Kikonu (and his last couple of minions) in her tower. Then Kikonu persuaded her to switch sides and support him.
I also had her introduce herself as a 'celestial harpy'. The PCs didn't have enough knowledge skills to know she was just a regular harpy.


Matthew Downie wrote:
If the PCs are finding the low CR battles too easy, and are being slow, having the enemies form larger groups is an appropriate response.

I did this tonight with the last nine troglodytes left in the castle. They did a respectable job of maintaining battlefield mobility to cut down on full attacks and flanking from the monsters. Overall, the quantity of low CR monsters just taxed our real-world time while providing little challenge. With things like combat expertise, crane style, fighting defensively, and mage armor, ACs at level three ranged from 17 to 25 (everyone in light or no armor).

Matthew Downie wrote:

I knew my group would win easily if I played the encounter as written so I had Zaiobe arrange the final battle with Kikonu (and his last couple of minions) in her tower. Then Kikonu persuaded her to switch sides and support him.

I also had her introduce herself as a 'celestial harpy'. The PCs didn't have enough knowledge skills to know she was just a regular harpy.

Between the inability to sell stats, the wizard, the monk, the Lore Warden/Rogue, and Lore Warden/Bloodrager, the int and skill ranks run surprisingly high in the party. They made the knowledge check to identify Spivey, and I assume, because a wizard's present, that most things are 15+CR, so I don't know if calling her a celestial harpy would work for my team. I believe they have all the knowledges at least once over.

As you write about getting Zaiobe and Kikonu to side, I was thinking about doing something like that. I kind of figure that Zaiobe's stronger (based on what I've read) than Kikonu, or at least more cunning, so I could have the two of them re-form their unholy alliance as a last ditch effort to save the castle. They'd team up, provide a legitimate encounter, and fight off the PCs together with the idea that Zaiobe would turn on Kikonu and fight to the death if she finds she has the chance. They could take cheap shots at each other throughout the entire encounter. Not many attacks but "Oops, you were in my AOE," kind of thing to alleviate some of the stress of the encounter while showing that their alliance isn't very strong, and challenging the PCs.

Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo Publishing / Pathfinder® / Pathfinder Adventure Path / Jade Regent / DM's advice for Zaiobe (spoilers) All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in Jade Regent

©2002–2014 Paizo Inc.®. Need help? Email customer.service@paizo.com or call 425-250-0800 during our business hours: Monday–Friday, 10 AM–5 PM Pacific Time. View our privacy policy. Paizo Inc., Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, Pathfinder Society, GameMastery, and Planet Stories are registered trademarks of Paizo Inc., and Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, Pathfinder Battles, Pathfinder Online, PaizoCon, RPG Superstar, The Golem's Got It, Titanic Games, the Titanic logo, and the Planet Stories planet logo are trademarks of Paizo Inc. Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon, Dungeon, and Polyhedron are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and have been used by Paizo Inc. under license. Most product names are trademarks owned or used under license by the companies that publish those products; use of such names without mention of trademark status should not be construed as a challenge to such status.