Paizo Top Nav Branding
  • Hello, Guest! |
  • Sign In |
  • My Account |
  • Shopping Cart |
  • Help/FAQ
About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
Pathfinder Society

Pathfinder Beginner Box

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

Pathfinder Comics

Pathfinder Legends

RPG Superstar 2015

AoW: Ulgurstasta and Manzorian


Age of Worms Adventure Path


Hello everyone,

I'm running AoW AP to my team of players, and right now I'm about to begin the Champion's Belt module. After reading several threads here, gathering some good tips on the overall AP related to some bugs and ideas to customize the AP, I've come to a couple of topics I'd like to mention and ask for your opinions/ideas on how you've dealt with them:

Ulgurstasta: I'm very tempted on running the module so that the Ulgurstasta is released, and I'm planning to have it eat one of the fighters (anyone will do, since Lorian had proclaimed all competitors as Champions of the Free City for the duration of the games - :-)), but as it's written, as soon as it swallows a champion, it becomes completly healed to it's full HP. Also, considering that almost all the public has 0 lvl (as commoners) and that they will instantly become wights due to the loss of 1-4 lvl, it wouldn't be a lot for the group to handle having both thousands of whights set loose on the arena, plus the Ulgurstasta completly healed? Also, since I have a medium-to-high high lvl paladin on the group, this wouldn't be something his God (Helm) would be paying atention to? Maybe even send an Avatar to help? On the other hand, having a paladin on a group tasked to prevent this tragedy from happening, that essencialy have failed (given that I'm planning to have the Ulgurstasta accomplish his task), wouldn't be enough for Helm to end up penalyzing his paladin for his failure?

Manzorian: On other module (Spire of Long Shadows), after the group asks all the questions they want to Manzorian about their quest, Manzorian asks to have the Rod fragment in return to any magic item up to 40k in value to each of the players. And as a bonus, he offers to cast polymorph any object on the magic itens to change their appearance. Isn't this too much for an archmage to waiste several 8th lvl spells (1/each item) on itens just to please the player's. And also, this spell does not works on magic itens, as PHB indicates.

Any suggestions/comments?

Liberty's Edge

When I ran AoW, the Ulgurstasta was released because the PCs deliberately chose not to investigate the secret temple under the arena. It also ate the reigning champion, and yes, the city was overrun with wights.

The characters had to not only kill the ulgurstasta, but escape from the wight-infested city.

After they fled. The emperor ( I based the campaign in Kalamar campaign setting) had to call out the imperial army to quarantine and purge the city. The PCs had to be careful not to let it known that they could have stopped it.


Interesting...

That would work if my group didn't have a Paladin with them... And that's one of the problems... The fight with the Ulgurstasta and later it eating a champion is very epic to be avoided... But having a Paladin in the group, and releasing thousands of wights in the city, this would mean a terrible failure to the Paladin if not a situation wich Helm (his deity) wouldn't be paying attention to... That being said, maybe Helm would send any kind of help, maybe he would punish his Paladin due to his failure...And as a Paladin, this player would never flee from the city on a situation like that... he would probably end up getting killed trying to save the city...


Heroic self-sacrifice is what playing a paladin is all about isn it?


Yeah... it is... But the idea of the adventure is having the PCs finishing it, right?

Well... I'll run this module this weekend... lets see how far they go and how they deal with the situation... Thanks!


You have several options. As written, completing the ritual (which happens when the Ulgurstasta eats a warrior) means there is severe damage to the Free City and it will no longer exist in its present form. The event is not meant as an added challenge to the PCs, but evidence that they screwed up big time. At that point, the GM really needs to wing it in terms of what the next PC moves will be, as well as deciding what NPCs will be doing. As a GM, I had to ask myself if that was something I was ready to deal with. I decided it was, and am ready to move on with the consequences if the PCs fail to eliminate the threat. This is basically a sub-campaign though - not a single encounter - as players work with NPCs in the city to recover from the disaster.

If you simply want the Ulgurstasta to be released to have a spectacle for your players, but don't want to deal with the mini-armageddon, then use alternate rules on when the ritual takes effect. Maybe it is 10 rounds after he eats the champion, or after he spends several full round actions speaking to Kyuss or whatever. In which case, there is no healing and there are no wights erupting in the arena at that time. Or full heal the Ulgurstasta, but don't do the wights until later. In any case, as long as the PCs are distracting the Ulgurstasta by fighting it, the disaster can't happen - but they know if they fail, it will have huge consequences.

Going back to Practus' original question, this is how I would handle it if I was the GM.

1) In the games I run, I don't have divine interventions. God Avatars don't show up simply because something bad is happening. If Helm did visit the Prime Material Plane, what is to stop some other god from doing the same for something else, or even stopping Helm at this point? Most settings have some sort of built in logic to explain this. How many other terrible events happen in the history of the game world where Avatars never showed up? This is no different.

2)If the issue is that Helm paying attention to the paladin, why would he? D&D gods are not omniscient. They aren't looking over every single cleric, paladin, or lay follower on the entire world (or worlds in the multiverse) to see what they are doing. There is no reason to expect Helm to be "watching" the PC paladin at all. After all, there are probably lots of paladins and clerics of Helm across the world or multiverse engaged in important tasks of their own.

3) I personally would never strip a Paladin of their powers for simply failing at a task. Paladins should only have their powers taken from them by a conscious choice on their part to violate their oath/restrictions that the GM set for them. Failing to achieve a task is not violating their oath. Failure will be bad enough for the PC; don't make it worse by punishing the PC for something you the GM decided couldn't be done anyway!

In fact, you should do the exact opposite - give the PC paladin some omen or sign (like in a dream) that essentially says, "The task set before you was against all odds. Do not despair that it has happened as it was ordained. Your courage and bravery shall be remembered. In the ashes of defeat shall rise the root of victory. Carry out your task and you shall dwell at my right hand in the House of the Triad." And then give him some type of good thing like a free Divine Power use once per game or something once for the campaign he can call upon when trying to make up for the failure."

4) If you have the disaster occur and the wights are in the arena, and the ulgurstasta is present, at that point the Paladin has two options. A) Die futilely that helps no one, but allows him to keep his pride (which is a sin). B) Realize that he cannot help anything by staying in the arena, and that the wise thing to do is escape with the other PCs to rally the city's defense because that will allow the most people to survive. To help the player out, you should probably have some suggestions ready on how the Paladin can start helping people escape their doom. Present this as an option. OK, you can see most people in the arena stands turning into wights. Some have miraculously survived, but look weakened. You know there is a temple of Lathander near the arena. Do you stay and fight? Try to lead some survivors close to you out of the arena to save them? Go to the temple of lathander to spread the word and save the rest of the city before the wight horde rushes out?

Hope this helps.


The ritual is not completed when the champion is swallowed. It is completed when the swallowed champion becomes a spawn of Kyuss. The swallowed champion becomes a spawn of Kyuss only when they have had their CON drained to 0 by the necromantic acid in the creatures stomach. So if a PC is swallowed, the party has a few rounds to kill the Ulgurstatsa before the ritual is completed and the undead monster is healed to full and the crowd dies.

I agree with the Black Fox regarding the paladin.

We just finished this part of the AP. The catastrophe was narrowly averted by a good use of lay on hands to finish off the Ulgurstatsa before poor Auric would have been dissolved within.


Wow... Black Fox gave excellent suggestions indeed, and Phrennzy reminded a crucial point about the ritual completion...

... but I just ran yesterday CB from the beggining, and the group went up to the fight with the Frogemoth (they did not investigate the arena's undergrounds completly - all they did was investigating the Cenobie lvl, finding nothing which could indicate that Bozal Zahol was creating the Ulgurstasta)... During the with the Frogemoth, they all were killed, leaving the Frogemoth with only 3 HP.... The Paladin suffered the worst fate being swallowed by the Frogemoth and not being able to get out it's stomach... He died inside his gut, being completly devoured by the monster, which left no room for a raise dead spell...

The group had a Bard who did not join the Gladiator's team, so he was able to "buy" two raise dead spells from a Heironeous cleric, wich consumed all their gold coins in the process... As for the rest of the group who died (3 players), I've made Celeste raising them as well as a favor requested by Eligos should anything terrible happened to the whole group during the games (afterall, Eligos were concearned with all the findings related to the imminent comming of the AoW, right?)...

So, depending on how they behave on the next session, probably the Ulgurstasta will rise from the middle of the Arena only to eat one of the warriors without too much of resistance...

Next session will take a while to happen, but I'll keep you guys posted on the updates...

Thanks a lot!


I'm glad you found the suggestions useful. I am DMing my own group in part of the Champion's Belt as well right now. So it is good to hear how others are doing.

I am not running the Age of Worms in its entirety, but about half the AP is present with other modules or dungeons of my own design being the other half. I eliminated the PCs in the tourney because that is not an idea I liked, but I have other games going on and have kept the arena dungeon more or less intact.


The Black Fox wrote:

I'm glad you found the suggestions useful. I am DMing my own group in part of the Champion's Belt as well right now. So it is good to hear how others are doing.

I am not running the Age of Worms in its entirety, but about half the AP is present with other modules or dungeons of my own design being the other half. I eliminated the PCs in the tourney because that is not an idea I liked, but I have other games going on and have kept the arena dungeon more or less intact.

I realize it's been several months since you posted TBF, but question for you in case you are still checking these boards:

Which AOW adventures did you keep?
What other modules did you use?
How did you do the Champion's Belt without the tourney?
Any other specific changes you made to other AOW adventures so they would run better?

Thanks!

Liberty's Edge

I made some alterations to the campaign but nothing as extreme as TBF seems to have done. I don't know how helpful this is but the main changes I made was the inclusion of the material presented in Elder Evils/Exemplars of Evil for The Worm That Walks and the Tolstoffs. I felt that it helped group the AP into some digestible chunks that build from one another. The other change I made was to remove the dungeon from A Gathering of Winds keeping only the beginning. The clues from the beginning of that chapter I had lead to the remote Tomb of Horrors, which is later revisited when the the Tolstoff are included which also changes when and how the party obtains the Sphere. I also altered the beginning by removing the hook and replacing it with a modified version of The Mad God's key.

If you're interested in more about my restructuring of the campaign I'm more than happy to share it with you.


Thanks JG! I'm currently running another AP but I've had my eye on AoW for a while and am always interested in learning more about how people made it flow better and avoided pitfalls.

Why did you remove the dungeon from AGoW? Did you have to modify Tomb of Horrors to make it appropriate for the level of the PCs?

And when you say you inserted MGK at the beginning, do you mean at the beginning of the AoW campaign instead of The Whispering Cairn or at the beginning of A Gathering of Winds?

Liberty's Edge

I used the opening of Mad God's Key up until they go to the dungeon, which I then used Whispering Cairn. I also replaced the half-orc thief with Kullen.

I felt that A Gathering of Winds was the weakest entry and serves no real purpose aside from providing some XP. It adds to the Rod of Seven parts subplot, which I removed entirely. However, including the material from Elder Evils/Exemplars of Evil I felt that the dungeon, also just a classic in general, foreshadowed the Sphere of Annihilation mentioned in the later stages of the plotline. Since Age of Worms has the party obtaining an orb later on anyway it can easily be obtained here.

I used the 3.5 adaptation of Tomb of Horrors from wizards.com which states it is for 9th level characters. My party was about 11 when they went through it but I didn't change much aside from add a couple of hit dice to the gargoyle encounter.

Here is a breakdown of the campaign as I ran it hidden behind a spoiler space because of length:

Campaign Breakdown:
Act One [1-6]
Mad God’s Key – Part One: Introductions
Mad God’s Key – Part Two: The Green Dagger Gang
The Whispering Cairn – Part One: A Face in the Darkness
The Whispering Cairn – Part Two: The True Tomb
The Whispering Cairn – Part Three: Tomb Stories
The Whispering Cairn – Part Four: The Feral Dog
The Whispering Cairn – Part Five: The Old Observatory
The Worm That Walks 1 – Interlude: Theft of the Talisman of the Sphere
The Three Faces of Evil – Part One: What Writhes Within
The Three Faces of Evil – Part Two: Citadel of Hextor
The Three Faces of Evil – Part Three: The Caves of Erythnul
The Three Faces of Evil – Part Four: The Labyrinth of Vecna
The Three Faces of Evil – Part Five: The God in the Pool
Encounter at Blackwall Keep – Part One: To Blackwall Keep
Encounter at Blackwall Keep – Part Two: Into the Mistmarsh
Encounter at Blackwall Keep – Part Three: The Terror Below
Worm That Walks 2 – Part One: Murder Mystery
Worm That Walks 2 – Part Two: Tolstoff Keep

Act Two [7-10]
The Hall of Harsh Reflections – Part One: Welcome to the Free City
The Hall of Harsh Reflections – Part Two: Eligos and the Crooked House
The Hall of Harsh Reflections – Part Three: The Sodden Hold
The Hall of Harsh Reflections – Part Four: Zyrxog’s Domain
Worm That Walks 3 – Part One: Tracking the Missing Citizens
Worm That Walks 3 – Part Two: Aviokla’s Lair
The Champion’s Belt – Part One: An Opportunity for Violence
The Champion’s Belt – Part Two: The Champion’s Games
The Champion’s Belt – Part Three: The Hidden Shrine of Kyuss
The Champion’s Belt – Part Four: Blood of a Champion

Act Three [11-16]
A Gathering of Winds – Part One: Return to Diamond Lake
The Tomb of Horrors – Part One: The Tomb of Horrors
Worm That Walks 4 – Interlude: Theft of the Well of Many Worlds
The Spire of Long Shadows – Part One: Magepoint
The Spire of Long Shadows – Part Two: In the Spire’s Shadow
The Spire of Long Shadows – Part Three: The Worm’s Truth
Worm That Walks 5 – Part One: Confrontation with the Herald
The Prince of Redhand – Part One: Alhaster, City of Scoundrels
The Prince of Redhand – Part Two: The Well of Triptych Knowledge
The Prince of Redhand – Part Three: Ilthane’s Lair
The Prince of Redhand – Part Four: The Day of Great Rejoicing
Worm That Walks 6 – Interlude: Return to the Tomb of Horrors
Worm That Walks 6 – Part One: Wormcrawl Island

Act Four [17-19]
The Library of Last Resort – Part One: The Silver Sorceress
The Library of Last Resort – Part Two: Island of Storms
The Library of Last Resort – Part Three: The Tilagos Trials
The Library of Last Resort – Part Four: The Fountain of Dreams
Kings of the Rift – Part One: The City of Kings
Kings of the Rift – Part Two: The Dragon Siege
Kings of the Rift – Part Three: Into the Pit
Kings of the Rift – Part Four: The Citadel of Weeping Dragons
Into the Wormcrawl Fissure – Part One: The Wormcrawl Fissure
Into the Wormcrawl Fissure – Part Two: Earthcancer Gorge
Into the Wormcrawl Fissure – Part Three: The Exiled Artist
Into the Wormcrawl Fissure – Part Four: Thessalar’s Fortress
Into the Wormcrawl Fissure – Part Five: The Tabernacle of Worms

Act Five [20]
Dawn of a New Age – Part One: Final Preparations
Dawn of a New Age – Part Two: Undeath to Alhaster
Dawn of a New Age – Part Three: The Unlife Vortex
Dawn of a New Age – Part Four: The Alhaster Spire
Dawn of a New Age – Part Five: The Age of Worms

I really recommend getting copies of Elder Evils and Exemplars of Evil. People have claimed that The Worm That Walks is an inferior ripoff of Age of Worms but I feel they are quite different but seem almost designed to be meshed together into a single plot.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
The Black Fox wrote:

I am DMing my own group in part of the Champion's Belt as well right now. So it is good to hear how others are doing.

I am not running the Age of Worms in its entirety, but about half the AP is present with other modules or dungeons of my own design being the other half. I eliminated the PCs in the tourney because that is not an idea I liked, but I have other games going on and have kept the arena dungeon more or less intact.

Interestingly, I didn't really like the idea of the PCs taking part in the Champion's Games, either, and was considering removing it or replacing it with something else. In the end, I decided to leave it as written, and my players really enjoyed that aspect of the adventure! So I was glad I didn't change it, despite my misgivings.


Joshua Goudreau wrote:

I used the opening of Mad God's Key up until they go to the dungeon, which I then used Whispering Cairn. I also replaced the half-orc thief with Kullen.

I felt that A Gathering of Winds was the weakest entry and serves no real purpose aside from providing some XP. It adds to the Rod of Seven parts subplot, which I removed entirely. However, including the material from Elder Evils/Exemplars of Evil I felt that the dungeon, also just a classic in general, foreshadowed the Sphere of Annihilation mentioned in the later stages of the plotline. Since Age of Worms has the party obtaining an orb later on anyway it can easily be obtained here.

I used the 3.5 adaptation of Tomb of Horrors from wizards.com which states it is for 9th level characters. My party was about 11 when they went through it but I didn't change much aside from add a couple of hit dice to the gargoyle encounter.

Here is a breakdown of the campaign as I ran it hidden behind a spoiler space because of length:

** spoiler omitted **...

Interesting, I will check out Elder Evils and Exemplars of Evil when I get a chance.

So you set Mad God's Key in Diamond Lake instead of Greyhawk, right?

Liberty's Edge

I used a custom setting but yes, it was in the equivalent of Diamond Lake. The shop owner was a local bookseller named Alustan and the item stolen was a tome of power instead of a key. They didn't recover the tome until they were in the cairn and a number of pages had been torn out of the front. These missing pages were the Apostolic Scrolls.

The campaign runs great without the inclusion of Elder Evils/Exemplars of Evil but I really liked the depth that it added to the plot once the red herring of the Rod and wind dukes was removed.

Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo Publishing / Older Products / Dungeon Magazine / Age of Worms Adventure Path / AoW: Ulgurstasta and Manzorian All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in Age of Worms Adventure Path

©2002–2014 Paizo Inc.®. Need help? Email customer.service@paizo.com or call 425-250-0800 during our business hours: Monday–Friday, 10 AM–5 PM Pacific Time. View our privacy policy. Paizo Inc., Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, Pathfinder Society, GameMastery, and Planet Stories are registered trademarks of Paizo Inc., and Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, Pathfinder Battles, Pathfinder Online, PaizoCon, RPG Superstar, The Golem's Got It, Titanic Games, the Titanic logo, and the Planet Stories planet logo are trademarks of Paizo Inc. Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon, Dungeon, and Polyhedron are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and have been used by Paizo Inc. under license. Most product names are trademarks owned or used under license by the companies that publish those products; use of such names without mention of trademark status should not be construed as a challenge to such status.