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Problems with interpreting the first harrowing in EoA


Curse of the Crimson Throne


Hi,

I just got a harrow deck and read through all the instructions, but still am at a loss with my first try.

Here is what I got:

The Foreign trader____The Forge_________The Dance
The Carnival_________The Empty Throne__The Avalanche
The Cricket__________The Tyrant________The Rakshasa

So I have the following matches:

None___None___Partial
Partial__None___None
Partial__Partial__Partial

The left column is the past, so I could either take the Carnival or the Cricket to interpret, the carnival as neutral outcome and the Cricket as negative? Or did I get that wrong?

So I take the misaligned Cricket which means a poor journey and tell them about the pc that died on their last adventure.

For the present, I only have the Tyrant which is not misaligned, so I have to interpret that "a paternal influence brings pain" somehow. Gods know how.

And last the future where I can choose between the traditional Dance (staying in perfect harmony) or the traditional Rakshasa (dominance and mind control). Which encounters would you use either of these for?
I would use the Dance for the Shingles chase perhaps, but the Rakshasa? No idea.

Does anyone have any ideas for me, anything that would help me interpreting the cards? What where your interpretations like?

Thanks for all the help.

Star Voter 2013

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Trying to conduct an actual Harrowing by using randomly shuffled cards has a tendency to bring the game to a halt while the GM looks up card meanings, matches, and tries to come up with a convincing interpretation that matches the card meanings.

My advice is to choose the cards you want for your reading and stack the deck. This allows you to pick visually symbolic cards and meanings that are relevant to the adventure and lets you conduct your Harrowing without any long pauses that break the atmosphere.

My players caught on to this eventually, so I stopped stacking the deck and just started preparing the interpretation. I simply laid out the cards and no matter what cards they were I gave them a Harrowing that described doom and gloom, enemies everywhere, path filled with peril, etc.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

When I ran CoCT I was surprised at how important it seemed to my players. They really liked the Harrow point system and the the harrowings were often brought up when they talked about making choices as how to proceed. Zellara was a great NPC to have (though you have to walk the fine line b/w helping and pushing the players along). So harrowings were great fun. My main advice is not to worry about the details of how it is 'supposed' to work. You have three columns, past, present, future. The cards on the top row are largely beneficial, the middle row uncertain, and the bottom row opposition. You know the adventures, the NPCs so you have a pretty good grasp on the 'future' (and hidden backstories). Simply interpret the cards in that light ignoring the whole misaligned thing. I found it too much of a headache. Brush up on the suggested interpretations of the cards but don't stick to them if they don't work for you (or if you can't remember just take inspiration from the picture and go from there). I found the harrowing to really work requires a degree of improvisation. It also helps that I usually had in mind three key things I wanted to cryptically suggest to the players and I would weave that into the reading. The other option as was suggested is to stack the deck. Its the foolproof way but I think improv-ing it is more fun for the GM and the players will pick up on it.

Dedicated Voter 2013

Wyrd_Wik wrote:


When I ran CoCT I was surprised at how important it seemed to my players. They really liked the Harrow point system and the the harrowings were often brought up when they talked about making choices as how to proceed. Zellara was a great NPC to have (though you have to walk the fine line b/w helping and pushing the players along). So harrowings were great fun. My main advice is not to worry about the details of how it is 'supposed' to work. You have three columns, past, present, future. The cards on the top row are largely beneficial, the middle row uncertain, and the bottom row opposition. You know the adventures, the NPCs so you have a pretty good grasp on the 'future' (and hidden backstories). Simply interpret the cards in that light ignoring the whole misaligned thing. I found it too much of a headache. Brush up on the suggested interpretations of the cards but don't stick to them if they don't work for you (or if you can't remember just take inspiration from the picture and go from there). I found the harrowing to really work requires a degree of improvisation. It also helps that I usually had in mind three key things I wanted to cryptically suggest to the players and I would weave that into the reading. The other option as was suggested is to stack the deck. Its the foolproof way but I think improv-ing it is more fun for the GM and the players will pick up on it.

I agree whole heartedly with everything wyrd_wik has said. My players loved every harrowing. It allowed me to drop clues, red herrings, and led some wild interprutations that add a significant layer of fun. In addition I had the party's harrower often gain insperation from the deck or Zellara when the party was confused or off track in small single or three card readings. Yep, it slowed down the flow, but it also gave the game one of the its most unique flavors. You will get better as you move through the AP at reading the cards trust me! Do not abandon this delightful aspect of CoCT. I think it is far superior to the mechanic introduced in Carrion Crown!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Meredith Jones wrote:

Hi,

I just got a harrow deck and read through all the instructions, but still am at a loss with my first try.

Here is what I got:

The Foreign trader____The Forge_________The Dance
The Carnival_________The Empty Throne__The Avalanche
The Cricket__________The Tyrant________The Rakshasa

Assuming this is Zellara's first Harrowing for the party:

"The cards tell of the past... of information gained gained at great cost and the shattering of dreams. They tell my story... of my search for my son and my failure to rescue him from Gaedran Lamm.

However, in the present there is hope... your many talents bring you strength. Gaedran Lamm has hurt you as well as me... but I can pass on what I have learned, so that you can overcome his evil.

If you act in harmony, you will likely succeed... but danger lurks ahead. I cannot see it clearly, but vast forces are in motion... something or someone is not as it seems... Korvosa itself may be in peril!"

Breaking down the individual cards, if you want to add a little more detail (you should be especially vague when it comes to the future):

Foreign Trader - An informative pact (Zellara)
Carnival - Illusions and false dreams
Cricket - The journey goes poorly

Forge - Strength through diversity
Empty Throne - Loss brings good fortune
Tyrant - A paternal influence brings pain (Gaedran Lamm)

Dance - Staying in perfect harmony
Avalanche - Unrelenting, unthinking disaster (the plague in the next adventure)
Rakshasa - Dominance and mind control (Kazavon/Ileosa)


Dragonchess Player wrote:
Meredith Jones wrote:

Hi,

I just got a harrow deck and read through all the instructions, but still am at a loss with my first try.

Here is what I got:

The Foreign trader____The Forge_________The Dance
The Carnival_________The Empty Throne__The Avalanche
The Cricket__________The Tyrant________The Rakshasa

Assuming this is Zellara's first Harrowing for the party:

"The cards tell of the past... of information gained gained at great cost and the shattering of dreams. They tell my story... of my search for my son and my failure to rescue him from Gaedran Lamm.

However, in the present there is hope... your many talents bring you strength. Gaedran Lamm has hurt you as well as me... but I can pass on what I have learned, so that you can overcome his evil.

If you act in harmony, you will likely succeed... but danger lurks ahead. I cannot see it clearly, but vast forces are in motion... something or someone is not as it seems... Korvosa itself may be in peril!"

Breaking down the individual cards, if you want to add a little more detail (you should be especially vague when it comes to the future):

Foreign Trader - An informative pact (Zellara)
Carnival - Illusions and false dreams
Cricket - The journey goes poorly

Forge - Strength through diversity
Empty Throne - Loss brings good fortune
Tyrant - A paternal influence brings pain (Gaedran Lamm)

Dance - Staying in perfect harmony
Avalanche - Unrelenting, unthinking disaster (the plague in the next adventure)
Rakshasa - Dominance and mind control (Kazavon/Ileosa)

Thanks guys, these are some excellent suggestions.

I can't wait until monday to start the AP

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