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Poking the hornets nest (TotB spoilers)


Carrion Crown

Taldor

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I've been running a carrion crown game which has been highly enjoyable but my party sometimes goes a little wild.

They decided to leave one party member behind during the trial to present evidence while the rest went to gather evidence. Which has lead to the group having the evidence from Sanctuary just after the completion of the Hergstag trial.

Being very suspicious of the Alchemists now the group went up to the chymist lab and knocked on the door confronting Grine (Who had just woken up). The Ratfolk rogue decided on the tactic of implying they had enough evidence to point the blame at them. Grine managed to keep a neutral face (No one has sense motive and they all rolled badly) and told them to get lost. The rogue proceeded to mock Grine (He already provoked splatterman in the first book and nearly died for that) before the group left loudly mentioning the inn they are staying in and that was where the session ended.

The group intends to set an ambush for Vorkstag and Grine not knowing about the upcoming riot tonite. This will leave my group deciding between the need for their ambush or for the defence of the courthouse.

My intention is to remove one mob from the main courthouse attack. Vorkstag has put on a disguise and gone around town riling up the people against the outsiders who would defend such a murderous beast. During the second wave of attacks on the courthouse a mob lead by Vorkstag will attack the inn and burn it to the ground if the pcs don't stop them.

So either way the PCs have to defend themselves against a mob and if they fail at the inn then they lose all their day 3 evidence and their belongings while if they fail at the courthouse they suffer the usual penalties (Though the PCs have successfully presented every piece of evidence so they should succeed at the case).

I'm not a complete bastard. I intend on running carrion hill inbetween the end of the court case and Caromacs mansion and will up the treasure if I end up destroying everything they weren't carrying on them.

I'm just wondering if this is a little harsh or if there might be a better way have the alchemists reply?

Taldor

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Makes sense to me. I had Vorkstag and Grine go on the offensive against my players as well. Its quite a predicament you are putting them in though, defend the beast and justice itself vs. the evidence and anything they left behind at the inn. The more I think about it the more I like it.

One question I have though is why are you running carrion hill now? Shouldn't it be later in the AP that you slide that in?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

It seems a bit harsh to me, since the PCs haven't really done anything to justify a GM's wrath. They were just a bit foolish. Plus, it seems a little dubious to me that Vorkstag could so effectively motivate the crowd, or that he'd want to put himself in front like that.

If it were my game, I would have the mob attack the courthouse, and give the PCs an opportunity to abandon their ambush and get over to the courthouse in time. Then I'd leave them up all night waiting for the attack that never comes. That might leave some of them fatigued. No way that Vorkstag and Grine are going to go attack the PCs at their inn. They want to keep the home advantage, and when the PCs DO attack the factory, they'll find that Vorkstag and Grine are especially ready for them.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

It sounds fun to me! I also had Vorkstag be behind the riot in my game. Your other options that make sense with the plot would be to have Grine murder the PCs in their sleep -- obviously not fun -- or have them just skip town. Also not much fun.

I like the idea of two attacks at once.

How many party members do you have? Maybe they could split up.

Taldor

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Well this has been my first attempt at DMing so I haven't always been sure of when to use the stick and when to use the carrot. I only know a couple of DMs in real life and one keeps telling me to slaughter the party for not being optimized and the other is playing in the game. That's why I thought I'd ask.

The party currently consists of:
Barbarian (superstitious)
Sorcerer (Rakshasa)
Alchemist (Aiming for the Master Chymist Prestige)
Rogue
Cleric of Pharasma (Healing and souls domains)

So far the party has come close to dying a couple of times and I have been keeping on the gloves but the party has noticed this and told me that I don’t have to hold back so much. I still need to learn the art of giving the party a challenge without demolishing them and having to haul on the reins too. Splatterman, I played to his intelligence and wisdom and nearly TPK’d.

I thought this might be a different way to provoke the party. That is kind of the goal here. Because the party intends on just handing over the evidence and hope to use the local guards to arrest the alchemists (Which will most likely result in a slaughter and the pair getting away). So I want to provoke them into going against the alchemists themselves.

Grand Lodge

Sounds like you are doing ok.

Grimes and Vorkstag wants the mob - it covers up certain activities and formalises the scapegoat. Hell, they probably think that the beast could escape as a result and give him years of cover for various activities.

At the same time? IF they know the party's role? At the very least they'd want to break into their rooms for a look around if nothing else.

Taldor

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Voomer wrote:

It seems a bit harsh to me, since the PCs haven't really done anything to justify a GM's wrath. They were just a bit foolish. Plus, it seems a little dubious to me that Vorkstag could so effectively motivate the crowd, or that he'd want to put himself in front like that.

If it were my game, I would have the mob attack the courthouse, and give the PCs an opportunity to abandon their ambush and get over to the courthouse in time. Then I'd leave them up all night waiting for the attack that never comes. That might leave some of them fatigued. No way that Vorkstag and Grine are going to go attack the PCs at their inn. They want to keep the home advantage, and when the PCs DO attack the factory, they'll find that Vorkstag and Grine are especially ready for them.

Disagree. Your approach sounds a little too "bond" villian-ish to me. Its a fine path its just a little too well beaten for my tastes. What I mean about that is reactive vs. proactive. The PCs revealed their hand why shouldnt Vorkstag go on the offensive? The guy has spent a lot of time wearing faces and impersonating people. These crowds don't need a lvl 20 bard to whoop them up. It all sounds perfect to me and the PCs will play their hand closer to the chest next time.

@alair223 Sounds like you are giving the players what they asked for. Dont feel bad about the splatterman encounter that is written up crazy difficult. Any party regardless of make up should be a TPK if you play splatterman to his strengths. I agree make the PCs go after the bad guys here dont let them off easy.

Silver Crusade

Another great option would be to let the riot go on at the courthouse, then use the chaos to slip into the PC's rooms and plant some very compromising evidence, then come back wearing the skin of an Inquisitor/Captain of the Guard and make life difficult for the PCs.

Rather than ending up in Jail, perhaps they might end up with an official escort courtesy of the Judges, which would help keep them from doing things like breaking into a certain Chymic Works.

Taldor

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Nathonicus wrote:

Another great option would be to let the riot go on at the courthouse, then use the chaos to slip into the PC's rooms and plant some very compromising evidence, then come back wearing the skin of an Inquisitor/Captain of the Guard and make life difficult for the PCs.

Rather than ending up in Jail, perhaps they might end up with an official escort courtesy of the Judges, which would help keep them from doing things like breaking into a certain Chymic Works.

A nice idea but like I said the aim is to make the players break into the chymic works not to stop them from doing so. Plus I already arrested the rogue during the first book for breaking and entering.

Thank you everyone for the advice. I'm going to run as planned but if the PCs do remain at the inn they will only face the mob as Vorkstag will slink back into the crowd so as to not be noticed by the pcs.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I think the double mob attack is a great idea!

Taldor

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Well I ran my session last weekend and things didn't quite go as planned. The party was doing some stuff around town and noticed the growing unrest which was good. Unfortunately the party missed their perception checks to spot Vorkstag in the crowd riling people up.

The ratfolk rogue decided he would take advantage of this and recruited some young thieves (Who the group had encountered earlier and had used their services as spies and information gatherers) to start spreading rumours about the beast making the situation even worse and planning with them to do some looting while everyone would be busy at the courthouse (Why yes the rogue is evil).

Realising things could go bad the alchemist moved all her stuff into the courthouse (in the defence chambers) to ready herself to defend the beast if things went bad.

The sorcerer realised that the group needed evidence from Vorkstag and Grine in order to incriminate them. The original plan was for the cleric, barbarian and sorcerer to create a distraction while the rogue sneaks in and looks about.

The rogue (After making sure his ‘gang’ knew what to do) set about scouting out the place and with some decent climb and perception checks manage to catch a glimpse of the golem dog. This resulted in a ratfolk running through town screaming about another golem in town. This caused a city wide chase sequence as he was riling people up worse, attacked guardsmen who tried to apprehend him and nearly caused the riot to go off there and then. The rogue was eventually hogtied up and carted off to jail and I let the player know he needed a new character as this one wasn’t coming back for a long while.

Meanwhile the cleric, barbarian and sorcerer who now realise that everyone is preoccupied attempt to break into the chymist lab. In a hard fought battle in which the superstitious barbarian was brought to negative hit points multiple times the group was saved by the sudden appearance of a sylph magus (The rogue players new character)

After taking a couple of hours to rest up and case the place to see if anyone reacted to the dog, the alchemist in the courthouse was greeted with the sight of the parties inn burning to the ground. (This got me a slow clap from some of the players who had realised what those perception checks in the crowds were for). The new band of four valiantly fought their way through the chymist lab defeating all who stood before them. As the party cleaned the place out they realised they had enough evidence to point the guilt at the evil duo.

However while they are looting the place the alchemist watches from the courthouse window as the angry mob begins its approach calling for the beast to be brought to justice.

The session ended there but now I’m stuck with the dilemma of having one PC take on an increased crowd. From the raise dead in case two, from Vorkstag, from the Rogues gang and from the Rogues own mad rush through town. I’m likely going to have to employ something different and give the player a chance to role-play her way out of it because otherwise the crowd will steamroll her.

Taldor

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Why give the player a chance? Give the Alchemist a diplo to slow the crowd and allow the other PCs a chance to get back. If the chance fails I say free the beast! She decided to stay back in the "rear with the gear" while the party went off to arrest the evildoers. The crowd doesn't care about the Alchemist, they just want the beast. I say give them what they want....the beast! The guards see this huge crowd coming and think, "I got a mortgage, a wife, and a pile of kids i'm no hero imma let them have this monster" Have the beast get free and start beating people until he can make a break for it in the direction of Schloss Caromarc. Gives PC a reason to head there now if they didn't have one before.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Pan wrote:

Why give the player a chance? Give the Alchemist a diplo to slow the crowd and allow the other PCs a chance to get back. If the chance fails I say free the beast! She decided to stay back in the "rear with the gear" while the party went off to arrest the evildoers. The crowd doesn't care about the Alchemist, they just want the beast. I say give them what they want....the beast! The guards see this huge crowd coming and think, "I got a mortgage, a wife, and a pile of kids i'm no hero imma let them have this monster" Have the beast get free and start beating people until he can make a break for it in the direction of Schloss Caromarc. Gives PC a reason to head there now if they didn't have one before.

I'm usually in favor of giving players the option to be heroes whatever the circumstance, but this actually sounds like it could be a pretty good solution.

I'd see what the Alchemist player can come up with. If it's creative and cool, go with it! And if it fails, fall back on Pan's suggestion, since it works with the overall plot anyway.

You could have the Beast dealing non-lethal damage to the mob to preserve his good-guy status if you need to.

Taldor

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Well I have received a couple of text messages from my players. As it turns out the barbarian player miscalculated his hp while raging thinking he was getting +4 con instead of +2 and with his ferocity going he was dead by nearly 20 hp. I ruled that his character died from his wounds after dropping out of rage. I know the player well, he's an excellent role player but sometimes his math is off.

On the other hand the alchemist has been messaging me and has been asking about the sewer system, whether there are any entrances nearby and where is the crowd. Looks like she's planning a jail break. So that should be quite interesting.

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