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4-02 In Wrath's Shadow - SPOILERS


Pathfinder Society GM Discussion

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Grand Lodge ****

Prepping this now and didn't see a thread for it. Here are some notes so far, with a few questions and errors.

* Definitely a "mature themes" disclaimer on our schedule for this one! Very creepy, more than some of our younger players could likely handle.

* Heat Vapor trap in area B1: it lists "onset delay (1 round)"... does this mean a delay of 1 round from the trigger to the activation of the trap, or a delay between the activation and actually taking damage? Mechanically it sounds like the former, but the only usage of "onset" I'm familiar with is poison and disease, which would suggest the second.

The Hateful Presence in B5: The lower tier has a save DC of 15 for the bestow curse, but the higher tier has no DC listed. Does this mean there is no save at the higher tier?

* Tholrist's stat block: He has both the Demon and Evil domains, which isn't legal since Demon is a subdomain of Evil and you can't have both. (He must be *really* evil!) His tactics only call out the Demon domain power, so it doesn't really matter.

* Chronicle: cool unique item, but it doesn't seem like it's something you would just wear around town. Anyone have any creative, non-jerk ways to mark the fact that someone is wearing one?

Running this Monday, will post after-action report then. We've run it once in our group before, and people have raved about the experience so far.

Grand Lodge ****

Also: Tholrist's stat block, both tiers: He has a 20 Dex but only a +4 Dex bonus figured into his AC - he's wearing mithril chain so it's not armor-limited. (He also has some unallocated skill points, but it's likely just on staff that isn't relevant, like Craft (Creepy Dolls Made of Bone) or something.

**** Venture-Lieutenant, Canada—Winnipeg

As the one who ran it in Winnipeg I might as well post how I handled the items Scott posted.

First * this is incredibly important * this should only be run with mature players. The written text is by far the most disturbing of any game I have run so far. If you have to tone it down for younger players please consider finding them a different table to sit at.

-Heat trap- (I would say remove the belt and the steam is released the following round)
How it played out for me. Players remove belt I asked for perceptions and informed the players closest the the statue that the as they did so the teeth shattered into the statue. They stood & spent the time identifying the item so the 3 people in the room got a steam bath problem solved its self.

-Hateful Presence-
The write up for Bestow Curse Trap is Type curse, spell, trap; Save Will DC 14
I ran the low tier which has a DC one higher then that so my thought on this were to if any changes were to be made to give it the same castor level dc as someone who could cast greater dispel magic since that's the escalation in dispel ability. As written does not appear to be a change

-Thorist's stat block-
I entered his domains as evil & chaos that seemed to work for his powers via herolabs. But he's 10,000+ years old maybe things were different back then. *edit did not catch the Dex bonus in my prep, that issue that might be a stat error*

-Item-
I did not really see a problem here, players can walk around with giant animals or a phylactery of negative energy in full display. Common people & guards would not have the knowledge of arcane items or history to know what that thing is someone has strapped to their head. Not going to expect to many instance of a small child walking past & tugging on Mom's arm to ask

Spoiler:
"Why that magus has a veil of acrimony?"
odds are he's still not the weirdest one in the group walking down the street

You should enjoy it Scott, see you Monday

Shadow Lodge ****

Scott Young wrote:

Prepping this now and didn't see a thread for it. Here are some notes so far, with a few questions and errors.

* Definitely a "mature themes" disclaimer on our schedule for this one! Very creepy, more than some of our younger players could likely handle.

yes I agree just having played this .... I seriously was expecting Pinhead to pop around a corner, look at us and say "TIME ... TO PLAY"

Taldor *** Venture-Captain, Canada—Ottawa aka The ShadowShackleton

Ha so maybe I shouldn't have ratcheted up the creepy when I ran this at Gencon.

My favourite trick? When the haunt / curse goes off and they hear the angry mob I had them look over their shoulder to see all the hanging corpses jabbering at them in a foreign tongue with eyes wide open and staring at them.

But I do run ghost tours for a living so I can't help myself.

That 12 year old at my table will never be the same...

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Illinois—Decatur aka TwilightKnight

The ShadowShackleton wrote:
That 12 year old at my table will never be the same...

Nice job, sending a kid into therapy. I hope you didn't kick any puppies during the con ;-)

BTW, you are my favorite Shackleton now. (sorry Neal) Thanks again for the map!

Cheliax ****

Question about this one: one of the tactics involves casting rage on the ghoul minions. Aren't they immune to mind-affecting effects?

Grand Lodge ****

Mergy wrote:
Question about this one: one of the tactics involves casting rage on the ghoul minions. Aren't they immune to mind-affecting effects?

Good catch. Although, given the cleric's undead as well, and worships a qlippoth patron who's all about experimentation, it's not unreasonable that he has an experimental version that does work on his minions. I'd use it, simply because the alternative is to waste the spell. (Swapping out spells is verbodden.)

I notice some of the other new scenarios have a bunch of "author's notes" being posted, including some more backstory and explanation... any chance of getting the same for this one?

Cheliax ****

Scott Young wrote:
Mergy wrote:
Question about this one: one of the tactics involves casting rage on the ghoul minions. Aren't they immune to mind-affecting effects?

Good catch. Although, given the cleric's undead as well, and worships a qlippoth patron who's all about experimentation, it's not unreasonable that he has an experimental version that does work on his minions. I'd use it, simply because the alternative is to waste the spell. (Swapping out spells is verbodden.)

I notice some of the other new scenarios have a bunch of "author's notes" being posted, including some more backstory and explanation... any chance of getting the same for this one?

The only problem there is that now you're making a line where your bad guy's mind-affecting spells work on them, but the party's mind-affecting spells do not. If the wizard correctly identifies the spell cast as rage, he may try to cast sleep or hideous laughter.

Grand Lodge ****

Good point. Guess i'll drop it from the tactics. Too bad, the ghouls can use the help.

Cheliax ****

Scott Young wrote:

Good point. Guess i'll drop it from the tactics. Too bad, the ghouls can use the help.

Agreed. The minions dropped almost instantly, and then the fight with the big bad lasted another 15 rounds. >_>

Silver Crusade ****

Mergy wrote:
Scott Young wrote:

Good point. Guess i'll drop it from the tactics. Too bad, the ghouls can use the help.

Agreed. The minions dropped almost instantly, and then the fight with the big bad lasted another 15 rounds. >_>

I ran it today. The party had 2 clerics and a Paladin. 4 players so only 1 minion. Channel energy for the win :-( (Clerics of Saranrae so the channel resistance didn't even help).

Cheliax ****

Go team cleric! Actually, I almost brought my oracle of bones with Command Undead to that party. That would have been hilarious.

Silver Crusade ***

I got the feeling that the difficulty level of the last encounter is critically dependent on how well the GM adheres to the tactics. The BBEG would be a lot worse if he bursted two channels per round with Quick Channel for the first two rounds, for a total of 12d6 (Will save for half) at Tier 3-4, and then charged to melee. If he keeps casting mind-affecting spells instead, it should be a lot easier.

Anyone else with the same thoughts? This might be a problem if you happen to have one of those GMs who are playing to "win" against the players.

Osirion ***

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Ran this on Saturday, had a TPK on the last encounter. This was primarily due to poor party composition, but it couldn't be helped.

Can't remember all the levels we had, but the table was composed of:

Dwarf Fighter
Half-Orc 3rd lvl Fighter
Tengu 3rd lvl Pistolier
Human Cavalier
Human 6th lvl Magus

I think the dwarf and cavalier were 3rd lvl, but honestly at this point I don't recall. We ran the table at the 3-4 tier.

Spoiler:

The first encounter was challenging for them, especially since only the pistolier had a ranged weapon. The dwarf started throwing his light hammer at the harpies, and rolled really well to hit them. While the tengu thought they were mildly attractive, he ultimately went with life before love and got two hits in. ;-) Finally, the half-orc and cavalier used their pole-arms to ready attacks to hit and finished the birds off.

Healing was a major problem for this group, the magus only had a +8 UMD, but luckily all players had their own wands of CLW to use. He only fumbled one roll, so they lucked out for after battle healing.

The trapped statue got them all, no one ever checked for traps in this scenario, and they had all gathered inside the room.

Next encounter was the Haunt in the cave, only the tengu got hit. This was because rather than go across the small ledge with a party full of fighters in plate, they decided to use ropes to climb down into the pit, then use a grappling hook on the other side to get back up. Since the tengu was the unofficial "scout," he went first and was the only one to get hit. Luckily he rolled high and missed the bestow curse from his climb check.

They only found the next encounter because of the dwarf's "stone-cunning" ability to find the secret door. I had asked him for a few perception rolls before they moved down the hallway. This was actually the easiest fight, due to the low AC of the Wrath-spawn and the hard-hitting fighters. Easy enough, with little to no after-action healing needed from the magus.

Since the dwarf had found one secret door by accident, he decided to start actively searching for more secret doors, and found the walled up entry-way next to the first secret door. Leaving the magus, tengu, and half-orc to knock down this wall, the dwarf and the cavalier went on down the hallway searching for more doors. Finding the door to the BBEG, ha marked it and then went on, stopping when he found the last walled-up entry-way. By this time the others had managed to open their barricade. After conferring together again, they decided to break open the last wall first. Since we were running real short on time, they didn't fight the ooze, but on opening the wall, they did set off the stone pillar trapping them in the hall way. Going through the last secret door set off the final encounter.

I had the ghouls laying with the other bodies in the room, standding up as their surprise round. The tengu ran out to get close enough to shoot, getting caught up the mosaic in the process. After this, the party moved across it carefully, only using half-movement so as not to suffer the ill-effects. The first round was spent primarily getting into melee range of the ghouls, only getting a few weak hits in on them, not enough to put them down, though only the buffs kept the one alive. Second round is when the BBEG appeared, casting cause fear on one of the fighters, only to fail due to the high will save rolled by the fighter. That was primarily the only reason this fight lasted as long as it did, due to the really good rolls on the part of the players. Almost all of his spells were ineffective due to this, though he was finally able to get a hold person off on the half-orc. The ghouls were really just there to soak up actions at this point, due to almost everyone's high AC. Only the magus and tengu were really taking hits from them. The second turn for the BBEG had him running up close to his ghouls to heal them with a Quick Channel, after which he was quickly surrounded. With his high AC though, he was only hit once by the magus with spell strike and a good roll. The cav spent most of the combat "body-guarding" with his shield, while the dwarf started hitting the ghouls. Since he was surrounded and his ghouls had been healed with the first channel, the next round the BBEG used a quick channel followed by a normal channel to try and create a little "breathing room" for him to try and use more spells. The tengu went down after this, though bleeding and unconscious. The dwarf bull-rushed one ghoul into another into the central column, knocking the second prone and shunting the first aside. Finally the half-orc threw off the effects of the hold-person and moved into melee range. One of the ghouls got a lucky hit in on the magus, and the magus rolled really poorly, getting diseased and paralyzed. At this point the dwarf had to leave, we were running over-time and the player needed to pick up his wife. The cavalier finished off the ghoul next to the magus, while the half-orc killed the one that had been knocked prone. (Note: I'm not sure of this, as I don't remember exactly who killed which ghoul.) At this point, surrounded and alone and still with over half his hit points, the BBEG used his last Quick Channel. All of this mind you with the fighter and cavalier taking half-damage from his channels, they rolled really high will saves. (Only the tengu and magus failed their saves consistently in the scenario.)The half-orc attacked, missing, then the BBEG moved in to melee range. The cavalier attacked the BBEG, missing. Using command on the cavalier and forcing his to "run away," the BBEG moved into melee with the half-orc on his next turn and hit, putting him down. At this point the Cav was on the other side of the room already and popped of a CLW potion. Next round the BBEG moved around the caltrops to get to him. At this point, feeling that further action was a lost cause, the cavalier saw the tunnel leading out on the south side and figured that was his best escape and fled the chamber.

A difficult fight, that took a LONG time, easily the longest combat I can remember having in PFS play. A few other actions did take place, such as the BBEG trying bestow curse and blindness/deafness, failing both times due to high will saves. I just don't remember exactly when the events occurred, and thus you should take the previous paragraph's order of actions with a grain of salt. The magus ended up using resurrection to come back to life, selling of a LOT of his gear and borrowing money from the cavalier to pay for it.Neither the tengu nor the half-orc had the resources to pay that cost, and thus suffered permanent death. (They couldn't use raise dead due to the fatc that I couldn't justify their bodies NOT losing parts to the flesh-eating ghast that was still alive in the room with them.)

Biggest complaint in this last fight was from the cav's player, and that was that I didn't remove one ghoul when the dwarf left, leaving a 4 player table. I told him that though it seems a jerk-move, that's just the way things are in PFS, as I have experienced in the past. You take your chances. Honestly the minions weren't very much of a challenge for them, it was the BBEG. I informed them all before we started that season four scenarios were tougher than past seasons. One of the players had GM'd this one at GenCon and told everyone that neither of the two tables he'd had there had been able to succeed in their mission. These were all seasoned players, of PFS and table-top, so I really didn't feel the need to soft-ball anything, say what you will of that.

EDIT: I don't play to "win" against players but I do enjoy scenarios where the BBEG is a challenge, not just a road-block finished in 2-3 rounds, both as a player and as a GM.

Andoran *****

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

Ran this on Saturday, had a TPK on the last encounter. This was primarily due to poor party composition, but it couldn't be helped.

Tengu 3rd lvl Pistolier

Yeah I lost my First PC to death in this game.

I think in the end it came down to we lost because of terrible rolls on our attacks and the Half-Orc getting held hurt the most.

Cheliax ****

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

So some problems with the big bad's spell list:

- He has rage and aid which he casts on a ghoul ally. The only thing that ghoul is getting out of this is some temporary hit points, as he's immune to all of the morale bonuses.
- He has command prepared. That's great, except he will very likely be unable to speak to any of the PCs, speaking only Abyssal, Aklo and Thassilonian.
- He casts resist energy before combat. Nothing inherently wrong with this, but should he just roll a d4 and pick an element? There's no indication of what he should be protecting himself (although I suppose fire is a good default).
- He is supposed to target casters with silence; however, without any ranks in Spellcraft, he's going to have trouble deciding who the most dangerous caster is.

I figured out where he's getting the Demon subdomain from. He has the Evil and Chaos domains, and he switched Chaos for Demon.

Honestly, if I were to pick this guy's spells again, I would go with magic circle against good as opposed to rage. As for aid, if it weren't in the tactics as already being cast on an ally, I would say save it for an inflict moderate wounds.

My favourite part about him: Fury of the Abyss is an awesome way to make a cleric a badass. +14/+14/+14 is a serious threat at 3-4; I haven't taken a close look at 6-7 yet.

Osirion ***

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Mergy wrote:

- He has command prepared. That's great, except he will very likely be unable to speak to any of the PCs, speaking only Abyssal, Aklo and Thassilonian.

I realized this a few rounds after I had him cast it :-P It probably would have been the death of the cavalier if he had been within melee range at that point though.

Mergy wrote:

My favorite part about him: Fury of the Abyss is an awesome way to make a cleric a badass. +14/+14/+14 is a serious threat at 3-4; I haven't taken a close look at 6-7 yet.

It was pointed out to me during the combat that this ability does not work on natural weapons. Considering that the BBEG has no other weapons, it's a wasted ability. :-(

Cheliax ****

I don't see why this shouldn't work on natural weapons:

Quote:
Fury of the Abyss (Su): As a swift action, you can give yourself an enhancement bonus equal to 1/2 your cleric level (minimum +1) on melee attacks, melee damage rolls, and combat maneuver checks. This bonus lasts for 1 round. During this round, you take a –2 penalty to AC. You can use this ability for a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Wisdom modifier.

It just says melee attacks and damage rolls; it doesn't say you need to be using a manufactured weapon.

Osirion ***

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

@Mergy - Dragnmoon was the one who pointed it out to me, said it had been pointed out to him at GenCon. Didn't have time to look up all the minutia, went with it. I meant to ask him after the game, but because we were running so late everyone was in a rush to get home.

Cheliax ****

He needs that bonus to be a credible threat in my opinion. He also needs a bit more editing (the dexterity modifier, the spells cast on his undead minions, and the questionable tactics).

Osirion ***

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

For a party full of 3rd lvl fighters who "normally" have weak will saves, he did pretty well. ;-) Now if there had been a cleric, and a full arcane caster, yes he would have been a much easier fight.

Silver Crusade ***

Mergy wrote:
- He is supposed to target casters with silence; however, without any ranks in Spellcraft, he's going to have trouble deciding who the most dangerous caster is.

It's the guy/gal in robes, no armor and possibly a funny hat. I'd say that method has about 80% success rate in identifying the most dangerous caster. :)

Although it's intriguing to think about a "fake wizard" character concept with all of the above, AND a lot of AC, HP and great saves.

Cheliax ****

Jussi Leinonen wrote:
Mergy wrote:
- He is supposed to target casters with silence; however, without any ranks in Spellcraft, he's going to have trouble deciding who the most dangerous caster is.

It's the guy/gal in robes, no armor and possibly a funny hat. I'd say that method has about 80% success rate in identifying the most dangerous caster. :)

Although it's intriguing to think about a "fake wizard" character concept with all of the above, AND a lot of AC, HP and great saves.

Glamered armour and high ranks in Bluff.

Lantern Lodge *

Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

I had the awesome opportunity to run this scenario twice at the GenCon 45 (2012) for PFSOP.

The 1st time was on Thursday, 1st day of Gen-Con, 1st Session at 8am.

I had planned to be at 3 stars by Gen-Con, but my home group had lots of interrupts and my local gaming store was primarily Magic/Warhammer and didn't materialize to a regular session as I had planned. I was one table short of having my 1st GM star. This was my first Gen-Con, as well...

My 1st table had an interesting varied party; Human Monk/Druid 6 named Bob (Maneuvers Master archetype). Bob was able to pull off a few rolls with his maxed flurry of manuevers to obtain a grapple, pin & tie. It was a rodeo show. Gravitik the gnome Wizard(illusionist) 3 was in the wrong tier, but opted to stay and everyone said they'd look out for him, nonetheless he was able to pick off a baddie and pull of some illusions. Sparrow the halfling rogue/bard 7 was good to have in the party. The person playing the character was also a rules demon, which is good to have one at the table sometimes. Caladryl was the elf Bladebound Magus 4 in the party, also a little on the low side for tier. However, he got a couple of melee moments and wailed with his spellstrike ability. Kamas was a human monk 7. Ironically, he eneded up being the tank of the party (with the other monk). We also had , Ssstryxss, a Nagaji Druid 7. He had an epic climatic toward the end of the adventure when he turned into a huge dinosaur (and even had a "mini" for it).

We were one of 3 of the 1st tables doing this scenario on the opening day and 1st slot. Mike Shel (the author) had introduced himself earlier as he was going to see how the scenario was doing at the convention. It was neat to glean some insights from the writer while running it and made for an even more varied and interesting experience to run it. I felt honoured that he spent a few hours at our table with our lively and varied party that 1st day.

My next session for "In Wrath's Shadow" the following day did not have as thorough notes for me to draw from, but we had a human Rogue/Bard named Nyss, a Fighter/Monk named Big Bopper, a human figher/bard named Herger, a dwarf barbarian (tunnel sapper archetype) named Kraloc and Grunwald the dwarf cleric. Besides the honour of having Mike Shel at my table again much of the time (providing antectdotes from the unedited version of the scenario and even helping me by drawing out some of my combat maps across the table!), almost all my table were recurring adventurers from one of my two forays on day one with the "Storming the Diamond Gates" scenario I GM'd for sessions 2 & 3 of that day. It felt good to develop bonds so quick with people I had never met; and make sure people had fun!

I will have to say, on a scale of 1-5, GMing this adventure is a "kicks ass!".

Taldor *** Venture-Captain, Canada—Ottawa aka The ShadowShackleton

Mergy wrote:
Jussi Leinonen wrote:
Mergy wrote:
- He is supposed to target casters with silence; however, without any ranks in Spellcraft, he's going to have trouble deciding who the most dangerous caster is.

It's the guy/gal in robes, no armor and possibly a funny hat. I'd say that method has about 80% success rate in identifying the most dangerous caster. :)

Although it's intriguing to think about a "fake wizard" character concept with all of the above, AND a lot of AC, HP and great saves.

Glamered armour and high ranks in Bluff.

Ha! I am stealing this idea for sure!

Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Scott Young wrote:

Snip snip...

I notice some of the other new scenarios have a bunch of "author's notes" being posted, including some more backstory and explanation... any chance of getting the same for this one?

Direct me to those threads. I'd be happy to do this, but I'd like to know what it is people are curious about and make sure Paizo doesn't mind such things being shared...

Cheliax ****

Mike,

I like the adventure a lot, but I am confused about spells like rage and aid cast on ghouls. Is there any way of making that work without violating the immunity to mind-affecting bit?

Cheliax ***** Owner - Enchanted Grounds

Mike Shel wrote:
Scott Young wrote:

Snip snip...

I notice some of the other new scenarios have a bunch of "author's notes" being posted, including some more backstory and explanation... any chance of getting the same for this one?

Direct me to those threads. I'd be happy to do this, but I'd like to know what it is people are curious about and make sure Paizo doesn't mind such things being shared...

I don't think we're after the "director's cut" of the scenario. We're more concerned about all the issues raised above. Key parts of creatures' stat block and tactics being completely invalidated by those same creatures own traits and abilities makes for a not-very-fun fight. Missing DCs on traps can make for dead characters. Non-existent rules ("onset" for a trap) create confusion.

If we could get answers to all that, I think we'd be happy. The "director's cut" can come when we all watch as you run it, should we be so lucky (-:


I once had a 1st ed character that was a fighter with 18/?? strength and a footman's mace weapon specialist. He wore a holy symbol prominantly displayed over his "clerical" robes....

TimsterMon, I played Herger in your second slot, and we had lots of fun. I have to say, that party was very lucky to have Herger along, as I believe everyone but he was captivated by the harpies, and only his countersong ability prevented a TPK! Nyss was not a bard, but a rogue/diviner/arcane trickster and he dealt nicely with many traps. But to your point of recurring adventurers, Nyss, Kraloc and Herger are all real-life friends and gaming buddies, but after your scenarios we "aquired" Big Bopper and the other rogue/archer for at least two other scenarios, including the Friday night special, where Big Bopper tripped a hydra!

Thanks for running those slots for us!

****

Pathfinder Card Game, Modules Subscriber
Mike Shel wrote:
Scott Young wrote:

Snip snip...

I notice some of the other new scenarios have a bunch of "author's notes" being posted, including some more backstory and explanation... any chance of getting the same for this one?

Direct me to those threads. I'd be happy to do this, but I'd like to know what it is people are curious about and make sure Paizo doesn't mind such things being shared...

I think Scott was meaning similar to Dennis Baker's Thread for Storval Stairs (Spoilers for 4-04 inside) here.

Also, Onset is a defined (albeit poorly) Pathfinder terminology and is mandatory in the creation of "never miss" type traps. Scott got the right meaning from it where it is a delay between when the trap is triggered and when it occurs, the level of detail/warning in that time is never specified so GM that as you wish. Think of it like the archetypal walls moving in to crush you style trap. Relevant PRD quote [Environment section, I do not have the page numbers handy, sorry]

PRD wrote:

Never Miss: When the entire dungeon wall moves to crush you, your quick reflexes won't help, since the wall can't possibly miss. A trap with this feature has neither an attack bonus nor a saving throw to avoid, but it does have an onset delay. Most traps involving liquid or gas are of the never miss variety.

Onset Delay: An onset delay is the amount of time between when the trap is sprung and when it deals damage. A never miss trap always has an onset delay.

I know at least once in the past when there were interactions with Undead and Morale effects it was ruled that those particular versions were unique/modified and did "not have the immunity to morale effects" though I'm not sure if that is either appropriate or applicable reasoning here.

Grand Lodge ****

Gornil wrote:
@Mergy - Dragnmoon was the one who pointed it out to me, said it had been pointed out to him at GenCon. Didn't have time to look up all the minutia, went with it. I meant to ask him after the game, but because we were running so late everyone was in a rush to get home.

That's the "scythe of evil" power, which only worked on manufactured weapons, but it's not called out in tactics. Fury of the fiend works just fine on claws and bite.

Grand Lodge ****

I ran this for 2 multi-classed paladins (one an oracle, one a gunslinger), a cleric, a barbarian, and a rogue. APL 5 but they played up. Between the traps, haunt, and the BBEG, I had everyone but one cursed (one paladin had 2 different curses), we had everyone sickened or nauseated, we had the cleric blind, and the fight went on for a long time despite the fact that the minions dropped early. We were running late so I didn't use the quickened channel to heal the BBEG (and the minions were all dropped in 1 hit by the barbarian anyway).

A great scenario, very creepy, and despite the odd spell choices still a dangerous scenario even for optimized characters. The BBEG did run out of spells and had to just close to melee since many of the spells don't work on him or the minions. Thanks, Mike, for a great and scary scenario! Even my stone-cold paladin admitted to being creeped out.

Cheliax ****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps, Modules Subscriber

So, with a gallant inspiration my magus snatched the bad guy's holy symbol away from him with the excellent pilfering hand. Big Bad's badness goes way way down after that.

Contributor

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Alrighty. In response to the request, here are some responses to questions asked about running In Wrath's Shadow as well as some thoughts and suggestions I have for GMs. Understand that this is not an official post from Paizo, but a post from the freelancer. Adam and Mark, who did development on this scenario, may swoop in one day to give official decrees. I'm gonna spoilerize the whole thing.

Author's Notes

Spoiler:

1. I'd make the high tier haunt DC for bestow curse 18, which is appropriate for a CR 8 encounter.

2. Tholrist's domains are listed as evil and demon, but this doesn't seem to affect his spells and spell-like abilities, so no worries. My turnover gave him evil and darkness domains, so this change happened in development.

3. Trapped Statue: my turnover had no onset delay--touching either the belt or iron mask caused the statue's teeth to shatter and the blast of super-heated air engulfing the room immediately. Since the onset delay is necessary for the trap to be Pathfinder kosher, I'd make that one round delay, simply stating that some of the statue's teeth fell onto the floor, others fell into the statue's apparently hollow interior. That would likely keep at least one PC in to investigate further and catch a face full.

4. Re: the ghoul/ghast minions. My turnover had no minions (Tholrist was had a higher cleric level and was incorporeal--an allip to be exact), so I'm spitballing here. I'd say that since the spells are being cast by a caster "friendly" to the mooks, the buff spells are effective (for me the word "immune" always implies a resistance to magic or forces of hostile intent). Scott Young's rationale above for this works for me. As for Mergy's concern, the tactics imply that Tholrist casts those spells on a minion before the party can even see him. Even if they do witness him, Scott's explanation justifies the rule bending. Yes, a player may potentional waste a spell, but it makes sense that things would get weird when you're dealing with a caster from 10K years past.

As for Drogon's concern that rule bending to allow the BBEG to cast rage on a ghoul or ghast minion makes for a "not-very-fun fight," well...I'm not sure I understand how that takes the enjoyment out of the encounter. If you object that much as a GM to the rule bending, don't use the tactic.

As for the "mature" theme, yes, I wouldn't want my 10 year-oldbeing read some of those descriptions. However, I don't think anything violates the PG-13 standard Paizo espouses in its products (my beloved, rated-PG Raiders of the Lost Ark showed melting eyeballs and exploding heads, fer gawdsakes, along with other equally disturbing images).

A few suggestions for those running this scenario.

1. Provide a copy of the first level temple side view for the party

2. Watch how much you reveal to the party about harpies perched on the tops of the pillars. Using the side view as a reference, I don't think they would be able to see anything atop the easternmost pillars given the ceiling at the entryway and angles involved.

3. Pete Pollard's review complained that the party can't access the backstory info (to be fair, some is implied in the Knowledge checks). He suggested having the haunt employ bits and pieces of Tholrist's bloody sermon detailed in the intro text; that's a great idea: the haunt could be a mix of cultists verbalizing their agreement, with Tholrist's calls for sacrifice.

4. The secret door to the narrow hall leading from the BBEG encounter was supposed to be a one-way secret door (not sure if this was a change in development or an oversight). I think it works better if it's only usable as an exit, though I understand that some consider anything that sniffs of "railroading" a Crime Against Humanity.

5. The optional ooze encounter ended up being pretty unchallenging for the games I saw at GenCon because oozes have stellarly bad initiative. My turnover had PCs in the front rank knocked prone by the ooze bursting forth from its prison, anyone behind the front rank needing to make a skill check to avoid being knocked down as well. That might make this a more challenging encounter, or by giving the ooze a surprise round.

6. For those feeling the BBEG encounter wasn't sufficiently challenging, consider having the mooks hide behind pillars when the party opens the secret door and attacking only after a few have actually entered the shrine (most of the games I watched had almost all of the combat happening at the entryway itself). Tholrist hangs back from the fray, throwing his spells at the party. To beef things up, consider the following: my turnover had a permanent desecrate spell in the shrine, and Tholrist opened with two negative energy blasts at the party on the first round of combat (this is why the quick channeling feat was there). Substituting desecrate in Tholrist's stat block would be an option at the higher tier, using quick channeling for a double whammy would also toughen up the encounter.

Cheliax ****

Thanks Mike. I really appreciate the comments on the scenario. Thanks also for putting up with my nit-picking! :)

For the spells on the ghouls, I think that's a fine way to adjudicate it. Anything to make those ghouls stay up just a little bit longer.

Cheliax ***** Owner - Enchanted Grounds

Mike Shel wrote:

Alrighty. In response to the request, here are some responses to questions asked about running In Wrath's Shadow as well as some thoughts and suggestions I have for GMs. Understand that this is not an official post from Paizo, but a post from the freelancer. Adam and Mark, who did development on this scenario, may swoop in one day to give official decrees. I'm gonna spoilerize the whole thing.

Author's Notes

** spoiler omitted **...

No, no, Mike. My "not very fun" comment was regarding the idea that I have to use tactics that, ultimately, do nothing. If rage doesn't work, but I have to cast it, that's the part that isn't fun. What you are suggesting (and what's written) is more fun; i.e. more challenging. (-:

Thank you for the notes. This is helpful and gives me something to think about.

By the way, regarding imparting the story: remember that this temple used to be dedicated to to Lisalla (when her worship leaned more toward the positive). It subsequently got re-purposed to Yamasoth. That re-purposing can be portrayed through the carvings that are everywhere. It'd be pretty easy to tell the story getting more sinister as you go from outside the temple, then in to the wading pool, and down toward the lower level. And using the haunt to cap that off would be an excellent presentation.

For the ooze: I plan on having the wall not be instantly knocked down by a single strike. Hitting it will open a hole, then the descending block trap will happen. After they rush to check that out ('cuz they will), they will return to the wall assuming it is a way out, and find a dark ichor oozing through. At the low tier, they can even return to be confronted by a batch of skeletons that the ooze spit up. As they are working on the wall or the skeletons, the ooze will be climbing into position around them, then start its thing. It may still end quickly, but could add to the "creepy" factor.

[Edit] I wish it had stayed an alip. That would have been fun, and something PFS hasn't dealt with to date (that I know). Ghouls and ghasts, while amusing when handled correctly, grow tiresome eventually.

Andoran *****

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Drogon wrote:
I wish it had stayed an alip. That would have been fun, and something PFS hasn't dealt with to date (that I know).

alip:
Black Waters has 2 in the 4-5 tier.
Taldor ***

Dragnmoon wrote:
Drogon wrote:
I wish it had stayed an alip. That would have been fun, and something PFS hasn't dealt with to date (that I know).
** spoiler omitted **

Oh my! Season 0 goodness!:
It did have one allip on Tier 1-2 as well, but I made JJ Frost remove it for the sake of PC survival.
*** Venture-Lieutenant, Canada—Edmonton aka Dragios

I had a TPK Last night with this scenario. On the first encounter. I had a barbarian, a witch, a fighter and a gunslinger. Everyone failed their will saves and were killed. There should be something that can break the enchantment so it's not built on dice rolls

Cheliax ****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps, Modules Subscriber

Tier 5-9. There's numerous effects that prevent this, most notably a clear spindle ioun stone in the wayfinder...

***** Venture-Lieutenant, Georgia—Atlanta aka CRobledo

TetsujinOni wrote:
Tier 5-9. There's numerous effects that prevent this, most notably a clear spindle ioun stone in the wayfinder...

This is tier 3-7. Even so, I think the first encounter can be deadly for ill-prepared parties in subtier 6-7. I think 3-4 is quite easily survivable.

Dragios wrote:
There should be something that can break the enchantment so it's not built on dice rolls

What game are you playing again? Dice is a large part of the game. If everyone fails their save... well... the same happens when the bad guys all fair THEIR saves. Party steamrolls the encounter.

Taldor ****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Card Game Subscriber
TetsujinOni wrote:
Tier 5-9. There's numerous effects that prevent this, most notably a clear spindle ioun stone in the wayfinder...

3-7 actually, but it depends on your table really. I had a bard who did a couple of rounds of countersong to utterly neuter this threat.

Without their targets being helpless, harpies are hapless at that level IMO.

Andoran *****

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

Same mistake I made... Counter song does not work, Captivating Song is a supernatural ability, not a magic effect.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, California—Fresno aka Sarta

Dragnmoon wrote:
Same mistake I made... Counter song does not work, Captivating Song is a supernatural ability, not a magic effect.
Harpy write up of Captivating Song wrote:
This is a sonic mind-affecting charm effect
Countersong description wrote:
At 1st level, a bard learns to counter magic effects that depend on sound (but not spells that have verbal components).

The only way Countersong would not work is if Captivating Song is not considered magical. However, it would be the only charm effect I know of that is not magical.

It's also one of the longest-lasting bard tropes in the game for bards to counter the song of harpies.

***** Venture-Lieutenant, Georgia—Atlanta aka CRobledo

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Harpy and Siren songs are magical in nature and can be Countersong'ed.

CRB glossary wrote:

Supernatural Abilities (Su)

Supernatural abilities are magical attacks, defenses, and qualities. These abilities can be always active or they can require a specific action to utilize. The supernatural ability's description includes information on how it is used and its effects.

(bold mine) Being supernatural doesn't exclude it from being magical.

Andoran *****

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

After re reading it, the GM that convinced me that my Bard's Countersong did not work may have been pushing it. He was using this as a reason it did not work.

PFRPG wrote:
Supernatural abilities are not subject to spell resistance and do not function in areas where magic is suppressed or negated (such as an antimagic field). A supernatural ability’s effect cannot be dispelled and is not subject to counterspells. See Table 16–1 for a summary of the types of special abilities.

Qadira *** Venture-Captain, Texas—Dallas & Ft. Worth aka Thorkull

Captivating Song (harpy ability) is exactly the sort of thing a bard's Countersong is designed to, well, counter.


In fact, in prior editions of the game, there was precious little else bardic countersong was good for!!

Cheliax *

Jonathan Cary wrote:
Captivating Song (harpy ability) is exactly the sort of thing a bard's Countersong is designed to, well, counter.

+1 here. I've used Countersong in another scenario versus them and my first though in playing this one was "Oh hell, we don't have a bard."

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