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Spoilers: Trial of the Beast - Problems at the End


Carrion Crown

Andoran

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

Hey all,

My group are nearing the end of this adventure. I have a concern regarding them facing the big bad at the end. In fact I am concerned with the way that's all handled.

They put the big bad on level 3 of the tower, an obstacle that party has to go past in order to get to the storm caller and call the beast to defeat the monster. How the hell does that work, or am I missing something here?

Qadira

I used invisibility and fly to get past him. Our paladin didn't and is now dead.

In the game I played there was an npc that could have helped except our paladin scared him off...

Sczarni

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My group found Waxwood in the room right below, and he warned them. So they rode up to the top on the back of the nightmare goat from the figurines of wondrous power (found earlier in the Schloss) and activated the Storm Caller first.

I think the idea is that the PCs are either supposed to find an alternative way to the top (like my players did) or else just run past the Promethean and book it up to the top of the tower. A little fire or cold damage might give them the speed advantage they need to outrun him.

I suggest that you *strongly imply* to your players that they're supposed to do something besides just charge in there and fight him. Maybe if they're standing their ground and getting whupped, say something like, "You notice the trapdoor to the roof above you is open, and it seems small enough that this monster might not be able to get through it." Then if they run for it have it take a couple rounds for him to burst through the roof.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Kalraan wrote:

Hey all,

My group are nearing the end of this adventure. I have a concern regarding them facing the big bad at the end. In fact I am concerned with the way that's all handled.

They put the big bad on level 3 of the tower, an obstacle that party has to go past in order to get to the storm caller and call the beast to defeat the monster. How the hell does that work, or am I missing something here?

There is NO need to get the whole party up there. One is enough. In my party the Wizard flu up there. But I can see different possibilities:

- fly
- climb (not only climb skill...but they should still have the rope of climbing and they could have got climbing gear etc)
- Invisibility on one Party member
- Stealth
- Main Party charges in and then retreats while one (or two) go upstairs.

Qadira

Being alone up top just gets you killed by lightning.


I didn't even know there was an option to do that ... in our game, the Beast simply showed up at an opportune moment and jumped down. It was pretty dope.

We were on the ropes but had done some pretty serious damage to the big bad ... gotta love giving a Ring of the Ram to your hirelings!

Osirion

It can be very brutal. I have the blood of three PCs on my hands from that fight.
My main suggestion: HEAVILY imply that awesomeness is its own skill. If they want to do something dramatic and action-movie-y, let them try. Still request some sort of check, but don't let the cut-and-dry board kill them.
Example: my PCs just walked up the stairs and were immeadietely forced to fight the Promethean without any specific knowledge about the Thrall.
As they walked up, they hear whispering from the iron maiden that Caromarc's in. Going over (so they're not stuck on the OPPOSITE side of the room from the ladder), they hear him whisper "...THE THRALL. GET...UP THERE. GO. RUN." Just as he lets out that last word, the Promethean leaps down from the ceiling and attacks.
The Barbarian, wanting to buy time and get some flanking, wanted to slide under the Promethean and try and stab its underbelly along the way. I had her make an Acrobatics check and Attack roll, but still allowed it even though one would normally technically need Spring Attack for that.

Give the players some slack, but don't hold back punches from the Promethean either- he's not supposed to be beaten by normal means.

Also: make it clear (in-game) that whoever uses the Thrall is basically out of the fight, so having someone on there who isn't going to be much help anyway (like our local wizard who'd already burned through his anti-golem spells for the day) is a big boon. We had a Witch in the party as well, and her Misfortune/Evil Eye/etc. hexes could have saved lives...except she spent all her time on the Thrall while the Wizard threw liquid ice at the creature. Actually helped, but not as much as the Witch could have.

TL;DR: This is a unbalanced fight at first. Give your players every chance to come up with alternate solutions and approaches, be it within the rules of the game or adherents to the Rule of Cool. Just don't do so by weakening the Promethean.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Ulmaxes wrote:
Also: make it clear (in-game) that whoever uses the Thrall is basically out of the fight...

Thats not true. The player that activates the Device can add HIS power to the Beast (see page 61). I made print out of the BEast stats and let the Player PLAY it. It was the Wizard and he was SOOO happy to be able to HIT someone.

GeneticDrift wrote:
Being alone up top just gets you killed by lightning.

Again...Page 61 "Any creature in contact with the Bondslave Thrall is considered to have evasion (Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook 68) with regards to these lightning bolts"

Osirion

Windspirit wrote:
Ulmaxes wrote:
Also: make it clear (in-game) that whoever uses the Thrall is basically out of the fight...

Thats not true. The player that activates the Device can add HIS power to the Beast (see page 61). I made print out of the BEast stats and let the Player PLAY it. It was the Wizard and he was SOOO happy to be able to HIT someone.

I know. The Witch was on it and gave the Beast a deflection bonus.

The problem is that she, with her Hexes, would have been INCREDIBLY valuable in the fight. Misfortune could have single-handedly saved some of the PC's lives.
The Wizard, on the other hand, sat there and threw liquid ice and that was about it.
Also, the Beast doesn't come for 2d4 rounds, and I rolled 6. So for 6 rounds, one of the most relevant party members did absolutely nothing.

If they had realized this sooner (as they possibly would have in-game), the Witch wouldn't handed off control to the Wizard and got into the fight herself.

Qadira

Windspirit wrote:
Ulmaxes wrote:
Also: make it clear (in-game) that whoever uses the Thrall is basically out of the fight...

Thats not true. The player that activates the Device can add HIS power to the Beast (see page 61). I made print out of the BEast stats and let the Player PLAY it. It was the Wizard and he was SOOO happy to be able to HIT someone.

GeneticDrift wrote:
Being alone up top just gets you killed by lightning.
Again...Page 61 "Any creature in contact with the Bondslave Thrall is considered to have evasion (Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook 68) with regards to these lightning bolts"

Thanks for the evasion tip, either I failed them all or it was not noticed by the GM, I had someone come up to help take the hits so I'm not sure.


The party I DM for steam rolled the end fight though it was due to exceptional tactics on their part. We are using the Harrow deck rules in the AP and one of them used a card to get a hint about the last tower so I told them the device on top was important. Using fly on the tiger shape changed Druid they skipped the tower and went to the top. With resis energy electricity on the lightning was no threat and they activated the device. The Promethean came at them and the flying Druid engaged it keeping it from the rest of the party. The cleric cast blessing of fervor and the alchemist full attacked with targeted bomb discovery throwing three bombs (rapid shot and haste from blessing with rapid bomb discovery) and hit with two and critted with a third for about 100 damage. The Promethean went down quickly thereafter all before the beast could show up.

Osirion

BiggDawg wrote:
The party I DM for steam rolled the end fight though it was due to exceptional tactics on their part. We are using the Harrow deck rules in the AP and one of them used a card to get a hint about the last tower so I told them the device on top was important. Using fly on the tiger shape changed Druid they skipped the tower and went to the top. With resis energy electricity on the lightning was no threat and they activated the device. The Promethean came at them and the flying Druid engaged it keeping it from the rest of the party. The cleric cast blessing of fervor and the alchemist full attacked with targeted bomb discovery throwing three bombs (rapid shot and haste from blessing with rapid bomb discovery) and hit with two and critted with a third for about 100 damage. The Promethean went down quickly thereafter all before the beast could show up.

How did the Alchemist have Fast Bombs (I assume that's what you mean by the "rapid bomb" discovery, it's the one that allows Rapid Shot and such with Bombs) at that level? Was the Alchemist a higher level? That Discovery requires Alchemist 8.

Either A. He's using a different discovery I'm not familiar with,
B. Your party was higher level than "standard" for the fight (6th), or
C. he shouldn't have that feat.


Ulmaxes wrote:
BiggDawg wrote:
The party I DM for steam rolled the end fight though it was due to exceptional tactics on their part. We are using the Harrow deck rules in the AP and one of them used a card to get a hint about the last tower so I told them the device on top was important. Using fly on the tiger shape changed Druid they skipped the tower and went to the top. With resis energy electricity on the lightning was no threat and they activated the device. The Promethean came at them and the flying Druid engaged it keeping it from the rest of the party. The cleric cast blessing of fervor and the alchemist full attacked with targeted bomb discovery throwing three bombs (rapid shot and haste from blessing with rapid bomb discovery) and hit with two and critted with a third for about 100 damage. The Promethean went down quickly thereafter all before the beast could show up.

How did the Alchemist have Fast Bombs (I assume that's what you mean by the "rapid bomb" discovery, it's the one that allows Rapid Shot and such with Bombs) at that level? Was the Alchemist a higher level? That Discovery requires Alchemist 8.

Either A. He's using a different discovery I'm not familiar with,
B. Your party was higher level than "standard" for the fight (6th), or
C. he shouldn't have that feat.

They just hit 8th before the fight which is 1 level over what the module states (it says 7th before end of the module and this is the end of the module) due to some side quests, but I also make every creature advanced with max hp for no extra xp so it was still the same relative CR difficulty (instead of apl 7 v CR 11 it was apl 8 vs CR 12). Even with 1 bomb per round the Promethean wouldn't have lasted long because of how the group engaged it.

With the Promethean coming up the tower at them and the Druid being a huge Tiger (tiger shaman) so the Promethean couldn't grab him it allowed the rest of the party to stay well outside its range. Under different circumstances things could have gone much worse like if they had gone up through the tower and the whole party started in reach of the Promethean. The player using his Harrow card for a hint was very important.

The Promethean does have an exploitable limitation in that it attacks the closest living thing (stated under its tactics) and so it just sat there fighting the Druid who was being healed by the Cleric and Paladin. Since the Druid was Huge the 15ft reach of the Promethean couldn't reach behind him and so the party pretty much had it locked down.

If the alchemist had only been 7th even 1 bomb a round would have been enough as the Druid still did some damage through the Promethean's DR. The Beast may have finally shown up (they rolled a 7 on 2d4), but he wasn't needed at all in this case. This was simply the party having excellent tactics and the right combination of class features that negated the power of the creature. A different party or even this same party making different choices could have had drastically different outcomes.

Osirion

BiggDawg wrote:
Spoiler:
Ulmaxes wrote:
BiggDawg wrote:
The party I DM for steam rolled the end fight though it was due to exceptional tactics on their part. We are using the Harrow deck rules in the AP and one of them used a card to get a hint about the last tower so I told them the device on top was important. Using fly on the tiger shape changed Druid they skipped the tower and went to the top. With resis energy electricity on the lightning was no threat and they activated the device. The Promethean came at them and the flying Druid engaged it keeping it from the rest of the party. The cleric cast blessing of fervor and the alchemist full attacked with targeted bomb discovery throwing three bombs (rapid shot and haste from blessing with rapid bomb discovery) and hit with two and critted with a third for about 100 damage. The Promethean went down quickly thereafter all before the beast could show up.

How did the Alchemist have Fast Bombs (I assume that's what you mean by the "rapid bomb" discovery, it's the one that allows Rapid Shot and such with Bombs) at that level? Was the Alchemist a higher level? That Discovery requires Alchemist 8.

Either A. He's using a different discovery I'm not familiar with,
B. Your party was higher level than "standard" for the fight (6th), or
C. he shouldn't have that feat.

They just hit 8th before the fight which is 1 level over what the module states (it says 7th before end of the module and this is the end of the module) due to some side quests, but I also make every creature advanced with max hp for no extra xp so it was still the same relative CR difficulty (instead of apl 7 v CR 11 it was apl 8 vs CR 12). Even with 1 bomb per round the Promethean wouldn't have lasted long because of how the group engaged it.

With the Promethean coming up the tower at them and the Druid being a huge Tiger (tiger shaman) so the Promethean couldn't grab him it allowed the rest of the party to stay well outside its range. Under different circumstances things could have...

Wow. That is impressive. Having the different party dynamics really did make the difference.
The Huge Druid really solves a lot of my concerns- even with a beefy well built party, that grab/tentacle/paralyze combo is extremely dangerous for any character (I saw a Magus, Samurai, and Barbarian all have minimal success against it), but Size does help a LOT.
Having Healbots who have the luxury to just stand back and heal is extremely helpful too.
As DM, I would have given the Promethean a break after a few rounds of the near-immortal Druid bothering it. Maybe have it start scaling the tower towards the Thrall or something.

Send my regards to the rest of this group- job well done!

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