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3-26: Portal of the Sacred Rune (Spoilers)


Pathfinder Society GM Discussion

Cheliax ****

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I couldn't find a thread for this one, but I have some questions.

Actually first of all, the fights are quite intimidating in the amount of prebuffing and how complicated they are. I'm writing out all the stat blocks in advance with some of the buffs already included (aid, entropic shield, and protection from evil), and I'm hoping that will help. This is for the 7-8 tier, by the way.

So a few questions:
1. Whose alarm spell is that? It's apparently CL 8, but that would mean it's Miakovna's, and the silent alarm would not alert the Consortium. I'm assuming it was meant to be CL 6 and therefore cast by Leone, so that's what I'm running with.

2. Orlicino uses his hunter's bond with his companions to grant them +2 against humans, but that only lasts one round right? So every other round they're attacking a single human with another +2, and the other times he full attacks? It just seems like they meant to give him 14 wisdom to eliminate the gap.

3. The cultists cast aid on themselves, and Heshlack casts bless, but these don't stack, right?

4. No question about the Kytons, but I'm probably not going to have enough time to run them anyway.

5. Miakovna is just... wow. I'm sure I'm going to miss something when I run her, and I'm mostly looking for tips to keep all of her buffs and abilities straight. I think I'll either write her sheet pre-buffed and have her base stats at the bottom, or have two sheets to reference (although I'm worried about mixing them up on subsequent turns).

Anyway, thanks for any help, and if there is already a thread on this, please direct me there.

Shadow Lodge **** Venture-Lieutenant aka ThreeEyedSloth

Yeah, I would highly recommend writing down her revised statblock with everything important bolded or capitalized. There's so much going on there that it's easy to overlook something.

Case in point: My 2nd run-through as GM at Tier 10-11, I ran her tactics exactly as planned and had all of her pre-buffs properly calculated... Except I forgot Blur. Which would've altered the fight quite a bit.

You might want to keep a short list of all of the active buffs based on spell level, as it's likely smart groups will immediately start hitting her with Dispel Magic once they realize she's got a lot going on, such as Haste. It sped things up significantly for me.

Cheliax ****

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I know most of the characters my players are bringing to this, and I don't remember any of them having access to dispel magic. They might be in for a world of hurt.

Cheliax ****

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Another question: Does haste allow the big bad to make two of her draining touch attacks?

Also: I've caught an error. The guards are using light steel shields and Weapon Finesse, but not taking the -1 penalty to their attacks.

And more of a nitpick: Orlicino's stats infer he's using a composite longbow, but he's got a mere +1 longbow.

Cheliax ***

The biggest problems with extensive pre-buffing is that from what I was able to determine from the way our GM ran it is that the trigger for the prebuffs is the alarm spells earlier, but if the PCs (like my party) completely disable all the traps you can walk into an unbuffed boss fight which lasts all of 1 round.

From his description of all the available buffs it seems like a very swingy encounter from easy to hard depending on if you can stop the prebuffs (or reduce the time she has for it)

***** Venture-Captain, Indiana—Indianapolis aka Red-Assassin

This is a great sceanrio, I think my favorite to date. The prebuffing is actually quite intensive. To follow mergy's question no on the touch attack.

If you are planning on GM'ing this I personally created 3 seperate stat blocks for each tiers. A single on as a written, another one fully buffed and a third that was fully buffed with each spell noted.

I would will eventually include some more to this post with additional out of scenario info.

Personally every time I have ran this I have liked it more and more. I am looking forward to running this in a couple weeks as well as at conventions in the future.

I am super pumped thinking of re-running this. The sandbox approach of this scenario really out does itself. From my experience every running of this will be much different.

Qadira ****

Ok, I played this with my trapsmith.

Stepping thru the portal sets off the Hound - which was 30' from the portal. OR did our judge draw this wrong?

And - how do you disable a mages faithful hound?

***** Venture-Captain, Indiana—Indianapolis aka Red-Assassin

Mages hound is a spell, dispel magic.

Qadira ****

Chris Bonnet wrote:
Mages hound is a spell, dispel magic.

We used silence - and got bit a few times - but never dispelled it.

I was just wondering if there is any way for a Rogue to remove/bypass it.

Cheliax ****

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Chris, how much do you think I would be handicapping myself by not pre-drawing? I typically draw as I go, and given one of the traps, I wasn't really sure how I was going to get away with pre-drawing anyway.

It seems like with the exception of the final fight, which might involve a retreat on the big bad's part, there would be no need to return to previously cleared rooms.

***** Venture-Captain, Indiana—Indianapolis aka Red-Assassin

None, I did have a group get past it once with detect invisibility and dispel.

So I like rogues, there are a couple spells that can shut a rogue down. This is why UMD is a class skill. Not playing this I am not sure my rogue would of had the effects in place to bypass it. Possible but likely not.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Mergy,

I have separate maps for each of the encounter areas, rather than one overmap.

Cheliax ****

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Thanks other Chris!

I suppose I could just make two separate Area Ds, or have an overlap area to show the non-illusory D.

***** Venture-Captain, Indiana—Indianapolis aka Red-Assassin

Mergy I had the oppurtunity to ask a 5 star GM how he ran presented this, I would advise against predrawing this on a single chessex or flip map, what I did, first time, I broke the rooms into individual small locations predrew cut out on gaming paper.

I had good feedback that players would prefer tiles, highly detailed printing opposed to my hand drawing.

With my limited program options. Microsoft office.

I copied an image from the pdf, dropped it in MS paint. (Removes layer ... Traps)

Cropped a part of the image, copied that part brought it into excel. Magnified it 350%? then printed the room. Repeat.

I use a black and white laser printer so it didn't cost allot to do. Took probably 20 minutes to crop and print. Another 20 to tape together.

I highly recommend pre drawing or making tiles. Each scenario is different, but it saves allot of time than drawing at the table.

How a GM presents a scenario can make a huge impact on the players view of the scenario. I think this on could be presented the best with tiles or gaming paper broke up into stairs room and stairs. Until you have the group facing the boss in the pool, once when I ran this the only area I didn't draw ended being the place were the main combat took place.

***** Venture-Captain, Indiana—Indianapolis aka Red-Assassin

Ninjad by the 5 star.

The illusionary room I had 2 room drawn.

Cheliax ****

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Chris, thank you so much. I had no idea you could copy-paste something into MS paint to remove the traps layer. I'm going to see about getting full-sized maps. 350% brings it to proper scales?

***** Venture-Captain, Indiana—Indianapolis aka Red-Assassin

Well since I started doing the tiles each pdf is different. Some are 300 to 450. I printed one off at 850% carrion hill. I used a ruler and measure the on screen size an it matched after printing so you may have to do it a couple times. Also remove the .7 margins to save paper.

When printing keep the same picture format settings 350% whatever you don't want to print one room at like 250 and the next 350.

Landscape and portrait options can also save you time cutting and taping.

Cheliax ****

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Well I'm going for the cut and paste method. It's currently a work in progress, but I plan to laminate it when it's finished (my wife has a bunch of rolls of transparent adhesive plastic). I'll post pictures if I'm able.

***** Venture-Captain, Indiana—Indianapolis aka Red-Assassin

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Major Spoiler below only for GM'S that have ran Wonders of the Weave I and II Icebound Outpost, Storming the Diamond Gate and Rates I and II

Spoiler for GM's that have ran Wonders of the Weave I and II Icebound Outpost, Storming the Diamond Gate and Rates I and II:

This is an overveiw for all the Aspis Agents the players may have met, I had some feedback about how this scenario really relate to the past scenario's, so this is in depth look at the Aspis members.

I will do a quick side intro as the PC's will likely see a large wall covered with drawings of the Aspis Leaders as well as a series of notes indicators such as a detective may do on a tv show.

Gerban Lanier is a thin, goateed Garundi man with piercing blue eyes and hair pulled back in a short ponytail, leader from the Dog Pharaoh’s tomb expedition.(include picture)

Quince, Relto, and Taris human 3 Aspis agents from the Muckmouth expedition all spoke draconic.

Darrit and Finn twin human archers spoke Draconic, Grandmaster Torch’s enemies likely killed, members of the Muckmouth expefition.

Durra Verthain human female leader of Muckmouth expedition, received a letter to Algorn Desimre about the Portal and the Icebound Outpost, (likely killed or imprisoned Grand Lodge faction mission). (include picture)

The twin Ulfen warriors, Skell Wulfsson male and Hildr Wulfsdottir female and a male Tiefling rogue Drabbin, romantic connection between Hildr and Drabbin found 3 bronze badges. Members of the outpost expedition.

Graestos, the slave driver human Druid he is a leathery-skinned man, short and squat. He is dressed in bulky, bone-studded leather lined with furs, has a bronze badge (connection to slavery, Andoran)member of the out post expedition.

Cathixia Rarikos, Transmuter half-elf, she was the Aspis Consortium’s resident scholar and appraiser, scroll master, silver badge member of the outpost expedition.

Neevindi, Vudrani rogue, Bronze badge, (first stage in a growing alliance between the Consortium and the Golden League of Goka, Shadow Lodge Faction) was also the personal bodyguard to Cathixia) member of the outpost expedition.

The outpost expedition commander, silver agent Leska Valentra Half Orc, (Taldor had Besians wayfinder) as well as a silver badge. (include picture)
Yashi Momota Human Golden League Ally, bodyguard.

Tzizzan, Ratfolk non hostile emissary working with Aspis agents on a diplomatic mission

Fareed-agent, Qadiran man journied to round mountain, 2 human Aspis Rangers went to Round Mountain to attempt an alliance.

6 unnamed aspis agents guarded the diamond gate,
Besnik spy was reported as being involved with the Aspis

Chelish nobleman and Asmodean conjurer Aglorn Desimire leader of the base expedition, (Silver Badge) (Aspis Cypherbook)(include picture) Duchess the Imp as well as 4 aspis unnamed guards.
.

Qadira ****

Chris Bonnet wrote:

Major Spoiler below only for GM'S that have ran Wonders of the Weave I and II Icebound Outpost, Storming the Diamond Gate and Rates I and II

** spoiler omitted **...

shucks. I've got all those except the Rates I & II (I think you mean Rats of Round Mountain). guess I'll have to come back later and check on those....

Cheliax ****

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I peeked anyway, but it didn't make much sense to me having not read either Rats or Storming.

In retrospect, I should have grabbed all of those first, but this one seemed like more fun to run. Oh well, our players are used to completely non-linear storylines.

***** Venture-Captain, Indiana—Indianapolis aka Red-Assassin

nosig wrote:
Chris Bonnet wrote:

Major Spoiler below only for GM'S that have ran Wonders of the Weave I and II Icebound Outpost, Storming the Diamond Gate and Rates I and II

** spoiler omitted **...

shucks. I've got all those except the Rates I & II (I think you mean Rats of Round Mountain). guess I'll have to come back later and check on those....

That should of totally been rats I and II.

*

My moment in this one:

Spoiler:

My character Corben is Taldan. His faction mission is to capture Lyone Ekonian.

He sees Lyone as he's coming down the stairs. Lyone casts Mirror Image. Draws his Falcata.

Corben draws his Falcata with a flourish. "You face a Senjak of the Senjaks. I see, in the multitudinous copies of your face that you know exactly what that means. Put down your weapon; you know you can't beat me. Your mother will nag my great uncle incessantly if I simply bring your head back."

Followed by rolling a 38 on Dazzling Display.

The two of them fight - Lyone is trying to smack Corben with his Falcata and use the Intensified Shocking Grasp spell...but between being Shaken, and Corben being a 9th level Weapon Master specialized in the Falcata (!!!!), can't get the hit against Corben's effective AC of 32 while swinging at -2 to hit. (Corben has gloves of duelling, which means his Weapon Training bonus is +4 versus the Falcata)

Corben doesn't *quite* ignore Lyone, but is taking care of the Mirror Images with the cold efficiency of a fighter doing melee. Meanwhile, Lyone is trying to hit him with that Falcata...and between being Shaken and Corben's amazingly crazy situational AC modifer, doesn't connect once in 3 full attacks. Every one of the misses is a miss by 2 or 3...they're all inside the margin for Perfect Defense.

Finally, Corben has eliminated all the mirror images, lifts his blade to a high guard, and says "Really, you need to do a drop guard like *so*, with a follow through like *so*." (First attack hits) No, you keep your elbow IN, otherwise it gets hit like...this. (second attack scores a critical threat) "I'm sorry your instructor in the Falcata tried to teach you to swing it like an axe." (critical threat confirmed)

The GM sees his Magus spend 3 rounds attacking Corben, not hitting once, and taking 71 hit points in one round. Lyone turns to run. Corben follows, lunges and vital strikes at -4 to do non-lethal damage, rolls a critical threat, and uses Perfect Strike to roll the threat roll twice...specifically to fail the confirmation roll, because the base hit before the crit was one shy of maximum damage, and a critical would've done around 35 more. On the re-roll on the confirmation roll I get a 3, which (barely) fails to confirm. Lyone drops like a sack of potatoes,

Corben says, "This really is for your mother's sake. You should have listened to her more."

Corben's primary build concept is he never takes feats which trade To-Hits for anything. What other people do with brute force, he does with Simply Being That Skilled. I never, ever, ever, thought I'd get the AC bonus from Perfect Strike because how many NPCs use Falcatas?

The GM said my descriptions of casually outclassing Lyone made up for not being able to score a hit, and once I explained that -2 for Shaken and +4 to my AC all came from Corben being THAT optimized for EXACTLT this kind of matchup...he started picturing the fight scene in The Princess Bride.

Seriously - never ever, ever ever expected to use Perfect Defense with a Falcata Weapon Master.

Cheliax ***

AdAstra out of curiousity can you answer the following question

Question about Lyone:
There was a Magus in there? was he the scary guy in room 1 as from our GMs description I thought he was a barbarian? or the tiefling in that room? as I dont really remember what weapon he was using the big scary guy ate a full attack from our archer fighter (well he tried to after 3 hits he was down and out of that fight)

Cheliax ****

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

He's not a magus, he's an eldritch knight. I have a suspicion as to what you thought was a shocking grasp. It was something worse.

*

Mergy:

Entirely possible. I saw him throwing spells and fighting with a Falcata. Could've been an Eldritch Knight. He didn't try to cast while I was adjacent to him...and had something charged on his hand.

Taldor ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Pennsylvania—Philadelphia aka Iammars

So I'm looking at the math for Lyone, and things aren't adding up. Sub-tier 7-8 for the falcata damage I'm getting either:
one hand falcata 1d8+4(STR)+1(enhance) = 1d8+5
two hand falcata 1d8+6(STR)+1(enhance) = 1d8+7
Neither of these are the listed 1d8+6

Then when I go to sub-tier 10-11 I get
one hand falcata 1d8+4(STR)+1(enhance)+2(WSpecial) = 1d8+7
two hand falcata 1d8+6(STR)+1(enhance)+2(WSpecial) = 1d8+9
Again, neither of these are the listed 1d8+6

What am I missing here?

Cheliax ***

Mathwei Casts Necro-thread:

Okay, finally at a point where running this makes sense but have a question for those who have run it before.

Miakovna has an extensive list of buffs to cast before starting combat so she casts Major Image as a cover while she casts. However that spell requires concentration which prevents you from being able to cast any other spells.
How did you handle it?

Taldor ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Pennsylvania—Philadelphia aka Iammars

I ran it as she cast Major Image just as soon as the PCs entered the room and she stopped concentrating on it the next round. It lasts 3 rounds with no concentration, so that gave her enough time to finish up some buffs by the time the PCs saw her after disbelieving the illusion.

Shadow Lodge **** Venture-Lieutenant aka ThreeEyedSloth

Yep, that's exactly what I do as well.

Cheliax ***

Yeah, I thought of that but it really kinda changes the fight.
You'll never get any of the wards to go off, they'll start searching for her immediately (and find her, my ranger rocks a +40 perception so not hard) and without her buffs she's a goner in like 2 rounds.

It just seems mechanically wrong to me to have a tactic written that really just doesn't work at this tier.

Taldor ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Pennsylvania—Philadelphia aka Iammars

Except they she doesn't have line of sight to any of them, so she's harder to spot. That and it's harder to hear her talking over the major image's laughing (iirc).
Plus she probably has a number of buffs going since the alarm spell on the stairs. Even if they dispel the alarm (good for them), she still gets 2 rounds of buffs off usually, which doesn't leave her too bad. I would be very surprised if a group of players doesn't at least pause at the laughing man on the pedestal, especially since they may have got a description of him already earlier in the mod and therefore be expecting him.

***

The tactics say she makes the image scream after she stops concentrating.

You could also let her use her ventriloquism to just talk in Shoanti or one of her other languages that the PCs may not understand - while she is actually casting spells but applying the verbal component to the major image. She can also just keep using ventriloquism to cast the spells but lead the PCs to the opposite side of the room, or into a square with a glyph of warding. This was likely the intention, as I'm not sure how you would otherwise lead PCs into the traps. Even if they disbelieve the ventriloquism, they won't be able to find her based on the verbal component.

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