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You only die twice - tier 8-9 question


Pathfinder Society GM Discussion

Grand Lodge *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Tales Subscriber

I have a question in regard to Joktan's Haunt.

The description says:
Effect - anyone standing in the area when the haunt manifests takes 100 points of positive energy damage, but is healed any adverse effects currently active as per the heal spell. A fortitude save DC19 halves the damage.

I did GM this a year ago on tier 5-6 and the damage is 4d8 + 7 which is 39 max (25 average) and much less of a problem.

But 100 HP damage outright kills most level 8 or 9 characters as it drops them from fully healed to below negative HP in one go. I was shocked that my level 8 Dwarven Cleric with Toughness and CON16 and most levels spend with +1 HP as favoured bonus would not survive a failed save. Therefore it becomes a save of die for most characters which is highly unusual in Pathfinder.

The Math:

I did the Math - as a d6 character (Sorcerer, witch, wizard) you need to have a CON of 22 to reach enough HP (104) to avoid being killed outright. Taking Toughness and 1HP/level for favourite class bonus reduces this to CON 18. Still - you drop to -16HP and how realistic is a CON18 on these classes.
On level 9 you still need CON 20 (or 16 with toughness and favourite class bonus HP each level).

As a d8 character the values needed are CON20 level 8 and CON 18 level 9.

As a d10 character it is CON 18 and CON 16.

And for the d12 character (Barbarian) it is CON16 and CON 14.

But even a barbarian needs a save - or a CON of 20+ on level 8 or he is out and bleeding.

Do I miss anything here? Has this been changed? Has nobody played it on this tier? I did search for questions and issues but couldn't find a single one related to this.

This is a very good adventure on the lower tier. But assuming a tight marching order I should hit the whole group with the haunt and a save or die tends to be a high turn-off for many players.

Assuming none in the group makes the save it even is a TPK as everyone apart of a lvl9 barbarian with very high CON will automatically be down and bleeding with reset after 1 hour to ensure everyone truly is dead.


Positive Energy Damage? When I hear positive energy, It's usually for healing people, not blasting them apart... unless they are zombies.

So to me, someone that takes damage from positive energy, and heals from negative would be obliterated by this.

Of course, that's just me. I've never really heard of a positive energy attack damage living creatures, but rather undead.

***** Dedicated Voter 2013

I think the idea of this haunt is it is similiar to effect of heal or inversly harm. The end result is dmagae that cannot lower a creatures HP below 1.

****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

That's how I would read it as well.

Grand Lodge *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Tales Subscriber

Marthian

The players take on an undead template - therefore they are affected by that.

Chris
If it is capped and can't lower you below 1HP then this would make a lot of sense.

PS: Just checked out the spell descriptions for Heal and Harm. Indeed it looks like the haunt is doing the equivalent of a Heal spell (or Harm in this case) and that would never drop you below 1 HP. But you have to be aware that this is how it should be handled.

Grand Lodge *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Tales Subscriber
Majuba wrote:
That's how I would read it as well.

Agreed. Once you are pointed to this interpretation it seems obvious. I was just tripped up by the ',but' and never looked up Heal/Harm as I only applied the effect of that spell to the second part of the sentence and not to the 100HP damage as well.

***** Dedicated Voter 2013

Thod, I believe allot of GM's including me thought it was in insta kill when we first saw it. I was informed of the inttended effects at a con which I ran it.

The Exchange ****

I just played in this at a Con yesterday -

spoilered:

and our DM could find no referance to it being capped at "all but 1 of you HP", even after we asked if it was a Heal spell that hit us. So, though I have not read it, I feel safe in saying that at least SOME of the time this is going to result in save or die games that kill everyone at the table (TPK).

And it's not even a trap that you can disarm, it's a "monster" that you have to beat in Init. (Init 10) and Positive energy out of existance.

I did kind of wonder why the Haunt doesn't zap itself... 100 HP Positive Energy and all....

Grand Lodge *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Tales Subscriber

Nosig

In defence of the GM - there isn't any note in the scenario nor has there been here on the board (as far as I can tell) and I did a lot of searching that says it is capped. When we played it last week - on the lower tier - my fellow GM asked me - and I couldn't find anything.
We played lower tier - there is no cap on the lower tier but it is much, much less deadly.

It just felt so weird and unusual that I posted here. I just wondered when there is so much discussion because of minor issues that you just couldn't find anyone before having complained it voiced a question.

And it is a haunt - not a monster.

How to take it down:

You need in this order
A) Do a perception 26 or better
B) win initiative - be faster as 10
C) Do 20 HP of positive energy damage

Thinking about c) this makes the usual way to handle haunts difficult as channel positive will also hurt your own group.

The Exchange ****

Thod wrote:

Nosig

In defence of the GM - there isn't any note in the scenario nor has there been here on the board (as far as I can tell) and I did a lot of searching that says it is capped. When we played it last week - on the lower tier - my fellow GM asked me - and I couldn't find anything.
We played lower tier - there is no cap on the lower tier but it is much, much less deadly.

It just felt so weird and unusual that I posted here. I just wondered when there is so much discussion because of minor issues that you just couldn't find anyone before having complained it voiced a question.

And it is a haunt - not a monster.

** spoiler omitted **

I wasn't having any problem with the Judge in this - he was great. My statement earlier was that he could find no comment limiting it - and he looked (and he's good), and so we "ran it as written". After the adventure he explained how/what the Haunt was about, which was kind of improtant to some of us (we like the adventure to make sense). I just wanted to point out (like the OP) that this encounter as written will give TPKs with only a saving throw to prevent it.

addition to How to Take it Down:

You need in this order
A) Do a perception 26 or better
B) win initiative - be faster as 10
B2) Recognize that it is a Haunt - which most judges make a Knowledge Religion roll - and as you are in Initiative, you can't take 10. So a bad roll here can kill you.
C) Do 20 HP of positive energy damage

Thinking about c) this makes the usual way to handle haunts difficult as channel positive will also hurt your own group.

bold is my addition

Scarab Sages *****

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Thod wrote:
In defence of the GM - there isn't any note in the scenario nor has there been here on the board (as far as I can tell) and I did a lot of searching that says it is capped.

Actually there is, and I will admit I missed it the first time I ran it as well, I killed Painlords character with this, but the note is there.

It is poorly written though.

Haunt:
You Only Die Twice wrote:
Anyone standing anywhere in the area when the haunt manifests takes 100 points of positive energy damage, but is healed any adverse effects currently active as per the heal spell.

There should have been a comma after the word active to make it clearer that both damage adverse conditions act like the Heal spell, which would have made it clearer. I first read it that only the adverse condtions act like the Heal spell, but was told by Hyrum that the whole thing acts like the Heal spell

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Dragnmoon wrote:
Thod wrote:
In defence of the GM - there isn't any note in the scenario nor has there been here on the board (as far as I can tell) and I did a lot of searching that says it is capped.

Actually there is, and I will admit I missed it the first time I ran it as well, I killed Painlords character with this, but the note is there.

It is poorly written though.

** spoiler omitted **

You didn't kill him. You didn't kill anyone at that table because we were just that awesome.

Everyone, Dragnmoon is a care bear GM just like Thea! ;)

Scarab Sages *****

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Kyle Baird wrote:

You didn't kill him. You didn't kill anyone at that table because we were just that awesome.

Everyone, Dragnmoon is a care bear GM just like Thea! ;)

Nop, he was dead.

Just because you stuck your tongue down his throat to bring him back seconds after I killed his PC, does not change the fact I killed his PC.. ;)

The Exchange ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

until Dragnmoon's last post, that was a game I really wished I'd been there to see.

Shadow Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Washington—Eastern Washington , Star Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014 aka WalterGM

Played through this the first time and had a player death from that haunt, because all the people involved neglected that nuance of harm. GM'd it a few weeks later and we looked up the spell, realized that it can't drop someone below 1 HP, and the haunt became a fairly easy, although painful, speed bump.

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
WalterGM wrote:
Played through this the first time and had a player death from that haunt, because all the people involved neglected that nuance of harm. GM'd it a few weeks later and we looked up the spell, realized that it can't drop someone below 1 HP, and the haunt became a fairly easy, although painful, speed bump.

Yep! It's basically a big healing drain, which can be a pain in the butt since you're undead.

Shadow Lodge ****

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

That's what I really enjoy about this scenario. If players are forced underway with little time to equip, healing becomes a major concern. One of my GenCon tables went into the last fight with nobody above half HP. It was epic.

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Ryan Bolduan wrote:
That's what I really enjoy about this scenario. If players are forced underway with little time to equip, healing becomes a major concern. One of my GenCon tables went into the last fight with nobody above half HP. It was epic.

Epic? I thought it was tier 5-9?

Dark Archive **

Having played this at U-Con last year. My 7th level sorcerer with false life, and blink up, laughed at the majority dead characters that got lambasted by this haunt.
Ah Blink. The greatest 3rd level spell to ever exist.
Back to your regular programing.

***** Dedicated Voter 2013

Having GM'd this at Gencon the last encounter can feel truly Epic. One table the last encounter took around 2 hours.

All the talk of this scenario wants me to GM it again.

Dark Archive **

Here's a question, does death from massive damage effect pathfinder or is it a 3.5 holdover? As 100 save for half is still 50....

Sovereign Court *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Card Game, Modules Subscriber
CptTylorX wrote:
Here's a question, does death from massive damage effect pathfinder or is it a 3.5 holdover? As 100 save for half is still 50....

It's still an optional rule in Pathfinder. However, since it is an optional rule, it is not used in PFS and this was recently clarified in a FAQ I believe.

Shadow Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Washington—Eastern Washington , Star Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014 aka WalterGM

Kyle Baird wrote:
WalterGM wrote:
Played through this the first time and had a player death from that haunt, because all the people involved neglected that nuance of harm. GM'd it a few weeks later and we looked up the spell, realized that it can't drop someone below 1 HP, and the haunt became a fairly easy, although painful, speed bump.
Yep! It's basically a big healing drain, which can be a pain in the butt since you're undead.

Any 5-9 table that gets told that they're going to become undead and doesn't consider getting a wand or two of inflict light wounds has something to worry about. And the scenario might just be drawing attention to it. Otherwise, it's just a resource tax IMO.

The Exchange ****

WalterGM wrote:
Kyle Baird wrote:
WalterGM wrote:
Played through this the first time and had a player death from that haunt, because all the people involved neglected that nuance of harm. GM'd it a few weeks later and we looked up the spell, realized that it can't drop someone below 1 HP, and the haunt became a fairly easy, although painful, speed bump.
Yep! It's basically a big healing drain, which can be a pain in the butt since you're undead.
Any 5-9 table that gets told that they're going to become undead and doesn't consider getting a wand or two of inflict light wounds has something to worry about. And the scenario might just be drawing attention to it. Otherwise, it's just a resource tax IMO.

wand of Infernal Healing -

"wait -that makes me radiate evil!"
"yeah, mr. undead guy.... this is a problem why?"

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The problem is if it'd doing 100 damage to 4 or 5 characters, that's a lot of charges!

The Exchange ****

Kyle Baird wrote:
The problem is if it'd doing 100 damage to 4 or 5 characters, that's a lot of charges!

yeah, I kind of wondered at the machanics of this.

the party advances in "standard formation" (for one group I play with this is something like the pips on a 5 on a dice... 2 then 1 then 2).

the first party member (maybe 2?) triggers the haunt by moving into it's area, and everyone inters INIT.

the haunt resolves - One (or two) party members are dust (the ones that crossed into the area before the haunt was triggered), the rest glance around and say... "maybe we don't want to cross THAT line"...

Am I missing something? the Haunt does trigger as soon as someone inters the area right? or does it say something like, "wait until all PCs are in the area of effect, then trigger".

***** Dedicated Voter 2013

First 0 players turn to dust, worse they have 1 hp.

Haunts are fun, mechanically the rules should be examined before a GM runs them.

They are not a trap or a monster, they are several ways to destroy them.

Best thing is if a GM describes them in detail. All haunts have a single thing in common. A background for why they are there. They are a cool plot device, players can recover from them if they have resources at hand, or destroy them if the have a smaller set of resources at hand.

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Depends, sometimes the area of affect on these things is larger than the trigger area. I haven't run this one yet, so I haven't read it.

***** Dedicated Voter 2013

Well haunts are probably best used without a game map or the metagame aspect of players seeing miniatures, or with miniatures using a party marching order.

For this specific haunt at least one creature is effected. The chance of other players getting into the effect involves the GM and players.

Other haunts follow similar effects, others are designed to hit everyone. I imagine haunts in the long run are the most likely encounter to vary from group to group.

Every thing from description to pc's affected, at heart trust the GM. The mechanics can be a little complicated.

Shadow Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Washington—Eastern Washington , Star Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014 aka WalterGM

Kyle Baird wrote:
The problem is if it'd doing 100 damage to 4 or 5 characters, that's a lot of charges!

Again, if a level 5-9 group of players are bunched up such that 4 or 5 of them are hit in a 10' by 10' (5-6) or 15' by 15' (8-9) area have more serious concerns than the trap. As in, they have something bigger to worry about. Like how they made it to level 8 without learning to spread out.

EDIT: Why is Kyle advocating for players?! Is this the end times?!

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
WalterGM wrote:
Kyle Baird wrote:
The problem is if it'd doing 100 damage to 4 or 5 characters, that's a lot of charges!

Again, if a level 5-9 group of players are bunched up such that 4 or 5 of them are hit in a 10' by 10' (5-6) or 15' by 15' (8-9) area have more serious concerns than the trap. As in, they have something bigger to worry about. Like how they made it to level 8 without learning to spread out.

EDIT: Why is Kyle advocating for players?! Is this the end times?!

It is the end of times. Nice catch.

Shadow Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Washington—Eastern Washington , Star Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014 aka WalterGM

Kyle Baird wrote:
WalterGM wrote:
Kyle Baird wrote:
The problem is if it'd doing 100 damage to 4 or 5 characters, that's a lot of charges!

Again, if a level 5-9 group of players are bunched up such that 4 or 5 of them are hit in a 10' by 10' (5-6) or 15' by 15' (8-9) area have more serious concerns than the trap. As in, they have something bigger to worry about. Like how they made it to level 8 without learning to spread out.

EDIT: Why is Kyle advocating for players?! Is this the end times?!

It is the end of times. Nice catch.

runs screaming from the thread

Grand Lodge *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Tales Subscriber

The area of effect is a 15*15 area on that level. In tight formation I would rule as GM it is likely that a whole party is hit on this level.

In regard to wands: a wand of CLW (or the inflict version) would heal approx. 225 HP. This would likely not be enough to fully heal up a group of 5 - even taking into account they can't go below 1 HP and some making their saving throw - so only getting 50 HP of damage.

But it would get close enough to sustain them for the last encounter.

The Exchange ****

I have not run this, only played it. With a very good Judge, one who paused and ran thru the wording on the haunt several times.

Encounter spoiler:

I have two comments/questions at this time with the running of the Haunt encounter.

1) Isn't the Haunt triggers as soon as someone enters the area? If so, wouldn't it trigger as soon as the FIRST PC enters the area? that would cause the party to enter INIT, and only the lead PC's would be in the area. Are judges really hitting entire parties with this? does the write up say: "as the last PC enters the area, the Haunt manifests" or does it say something like "as soon as someone enters the area, the Haunt manifests"? It seems to me the PC's lead scout is likely to be the only one in the area when the Haunt triggers.

2) I am relying on someone else for the text of the haunt for this, but here goes: Quote from Dragnmoon above quoting the scenario:
"Anyone standing anywhere in the area when the haunt manifests takes 100 points of positive energy damage, but is healed any adverse effects currently active as per the heal spell."
The way my judge read this - and after it manifest he read it word for word to the players and we agreed to the reading, is "100 points of positive energy damage" And "healed any adverse effect currently active as per the heal spell". Two different parts, connected by an "AND". In fact one of the players laughed and stated something like "HA, now you have been healed of that Undead condition - blasted into dust!" Not "up to 100 points of positive energy damage to a minimum of 1 HP", "100 points of Positive energy damage". Now I realize that we on the boards now know the RAI... but that does not appear to be the RAW. If your Judge reads the boards, AND reads this thread, he can run this encounter so that it is a healing tax only. Nice story - but in the end no one killed or in real danger. If he doesn't read this? One or more PCs get to roll dice live or die on the result. (get the Perception roll, the Kn. Religion roll, and the Init roll and THAN do something - or make your save and die). How do we fix this so that everyone gets the same encounter?

[spoiler=Movie plot spoiler]This is a spoiler, such as revealing who really did frame Roger Rabbit.

***** Dedicated Voter 2013

I would think all party members are acting at the same time. I am not sure if PFRG still has this mechanically. My rogue usually travels 60' feet in front of the group rare cases 30 ft. My cleric ac 12 stays in the back about 15 ft.

I would assume characters walk around in a marching order moving at the same time. Since there is no intitative.

The Exchange ****

Chris Bonnet wrote:

I would think all party members are acting at the same time. I am not sure if PFRG still has this mechanically. My rogue usually travels 60' feet in front of the group rare cases 30 ft. My cleric ac 12 stays in the back about 15 ft.

I would assume characters walk around in a marching order moving at the same time. Since there is no intitative.

agreed - but they do not teleport in 30' steps. If you draw a line on the board, and say "stop when someone crosses this line", do you place the first guy 60 foot past the line? The team I played this with actually had two PCs in the lead - Rogue and Cleric. So those were the ones we figured were in the AOE when the haunt was triggered. Did we do this wrong?

Silver Crusade ***

The big issue here seems to be that not all GMs realize that this thing can't kill people. The wording really needs to be cleared up.

When our group ran it, our GM mentioned afterward that she was surprised by the high damage at the higher tier, and that she thought it would easily kill any player at that level. We played it at the lower tier, and we got lucky that the player who triggered it moved out of the area of affect, so nobody got hit.

That said, the final fight of the adventure did result in our group's first PC death.

The Exchange ****

Fromper wrote:

The big issue here seems to be that not all GMs realize that this thing can't kill people. The wording really needs to be cleared up.

When our group ran it, our GM mentioned afterward that she was surprised by the high damage at the higher tier, and that she thought it would easily kill any player at that level. We played it at the lower tier, and we got lucky that the player who triggered it moved out of the area of affect, so nobody got hit.

That said, the final fight of the adventure did result in our group's first PC death.

and add to this that it appears that some Judges figure the effect is triggered when the PARTY moves into the area - and thus hit a majority of the PCs, rather than the one or two that should be hit.

***** Dedicated Voter 2013

Well I thing the chance for addtional pc's getting hit gets smaller per PC.

A lone party member certainly
Two adventures holding hands (humor) walks up. Uncommon.
Three party members holding hands skipping to the encounter. Rare
A party of 4 or more running to fill the whole area at once. Foolishly Rare

Nosig I think your group did it fine.

2 players cross the line perception checks then initiative.


Kyle Baird wrote:
Depends, sometimes the area of affect on these things is larger than the trigger area. I haven't run this one yet, so I haven't read it.

Slacker.

;)

Dark Archive ***** Venture-Captain, Nebraska—Omaha

What the....it's been a long time since I've seen the glowing eyed monkey

Shadow Lodge ****

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

Crazy monkey's back!

Sovereign Court ****

I see there are no other threads for this particular scenario, so I must place my question here.

Yesterday I noticed a grave error in the scenario, but because of the maintenance I couldn't get to it until now.

On page 14, Tier 8-9 encounter provides the stats for Joktan Heth (wiz 9) and six wights. However, the given page, hit points, and Challenge Rating (CR) indicate those creatures to be ghouls. Then again the tactics section explicitly speaks of wights, not ghouls.

I checked what the CR really would be. Wights are CR 3, and six of them would total a CR 8. Joktan Heth is CR 10. In xp this means 4,800 and 9,600, respectively, totaling 14,400. The CR 11 limit is 12,800, and CR 12 limit is 19,200. Thus the encounter is a CR 11 and a quarter (11.25). This would seem to be 'alright'.

If they were ghouls (CR 1), the encounter would be worth 12,000 xp, a tad below the CR 11 mark.

I don't think Hyrum dwells here anymore, but I thought I'd ask this anyway.

Aside this point I have a grudge with Joktan's tactics... Displacement after he has suffered considerable amounts of damage? That's just plain dumb.

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Amsterdam aka Seraphimpunk

when i noticed the ghouls & wights, i figured they had just copied/pasted the henchmen from the lower tier to the higher tier without changing the stat reference properly. at the high tier i ran, i used 6 wights. they still get mowed down just as quickly as ghouls by a tier 8-9 party.

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