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#4-07 Severing Ties ***SPOILERS***


Pathfinder Society GM Discussion

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

A quick review of this scenario and I am concerned. At sub-tier 4-5, the Ebon Acolytus seems like a "be a jerk" creature. With a CMB of +16, a CMD of 25, and a combat tactic of grapple in round one and then a free coup de grace in round two is harsh enough, but the dead character only able to be raised through a wish or miracle and I think it's over the top. The creature is more than likely going to succeed at the grapple attempt and the average PC is not likely to break free. The average damage from the crit is 25, making the fort save vs DC 35. I doubt there are many, if any, level 4-5 PC's that can make that short of a nat 20.

This just feels like a d**k move done intentionally to kill as many characters as possible and would be more suitable for a higher tier. My initial thought is that I will not recommend this for casual players and certainly will not run it for n00bs. That being said, maybe my evaluation is a bit premature and I will try to run it a couple of times with an open mind and hopefully, I will be proven wrong.

Grand Lodge **** Venture-Captain, Texas—Houston aka Arutema

And to make it worse, the printed tactics have said monster using said ability right off the bat. Are Paizo's writers in a race to create more "insta-kill a PC" encounters since Dalsine Affair?

Taldor *

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Kelly Youngblood wrote:
And to make it worse, the printed tactics have said monster using said ability right off the bat. Are Paizo's writers in a race to create more "insta-kill a PC" encounters since Dalsine Affair?

Yes.

My plan to win 'the contest' is to include a DC 40 Con damage poison in the Blakros Matrimony. I'm hoping Mark will let it slip through development.

Blakros Matrimony Spoiler:

The poison is in the wedding cake!

...just kidding! :D

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Kelly Youngblood wrote:
Are Paizo's writers in a race to create more "insta-kill a PC" encounters since Dalsine Affair?

We are individuals, I assure you. We don't consult with each other as much as I would like sometimes. Of course time and awareness is a factor in that.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Thurston Hillman wrote:

My plan to win 'the contest' is to include a DC 40 Con damage poison in the Blakros Matrimony. I'm hoping Mark will let it slip through development.

There goes my giant animated object wedding suite, phantasmal bridezilla spell, and of course.. the "bridesmates".

Damn you Thirsty, you're always just one step ahead!! I need to set a trap for you!

** Contributor

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Jim Groves wrote:
Damn you Thirsty, you're always just one step ahead!! I need to set a trap for you!

No, no, no! Not a trap, a haunt. That's what all of us writers are using these days! :)

More seriously, I'm familiarizing myself with the ebon acolytus. It wasn't the creature in my turnover, but I think I like it: you've got three rounds (the initial grab, the prostration check, and then the sacrifice round) to either beat the thing to death or escape the grapple (or make a sufficient Knowledge check about the sacrifice to at least make your companion more recoverable). That seems to put the combat on a tense timer, which is good for combat encounters from time to time.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Ron Lundeen wrote:
More seriously, I'm familiarizing myself with the ebon acolytus. It wasn't the creature in my turnover

You know, in all seriousness, I didn't want to say that but I was considering the possibility of it.

@Kelly Youngblood, you have to realize that there are changes made in the Development stage. We seldom talk about them, because we're showing deference and respect to the Developer. It demonstrates support, professionalism, and trust in the Developer's good judgment.

But yeah.. Sometimes things change on us too.

We still accept all feedback to make things better.

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

Something that really helped when I ran Jim's "The Green Market" was having the templated creatures handy. I went ahead and did the same with Severing Ties, which will be run at my even this weekend. Included are all the creatures presented without a statblock, and templates applied.

Templated cratures for Severing Ties

Hopefully they are all correct.

Paizo Employee ** Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Ron Lundeen wrote:
Jim Groves wrote:
Damn you Thirsty, you're always just one step ahead!! I need to set a trap for you!

No, no, no! Not a trap, a haunt. That's what all of us writers are using these days! :)

More seriously, I'm familiarizing myself with the ebon acolytus. It wasn't the creature in my turnover, but I think I like it: you've got three rounds (the initial grab, the prostration check, and then the sacrifice round) to either beat the thing to death or escape the grapple (or make a sufficient Knowledge check about the sacrifice to at least make your companion more recoverable). That seems to put the combat on a tense timer, which is good for combat encounters from time to time.

This exactly how that creature's ability is balanced. Three rounds of an entire party ganging up on a single foe isn't the auto-death sentence the creature may appear to be in text alone. And since the scenario doesn't have a BBEG, per se, this encounter is meant to be tough, as it's likely the last fight most parties will have. That said, I think people used to playing up are going to find the encounter difficult and potentially fatal, but as long as there are subtier-appropriate PCs in the party and they're the ones leading the charge into battle, then this single monster shouldn't present too hard a challenge for even parties of 4 PCs.

Paizo Employee ** Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Also, because there's been some confusion on the coordinators' messageboard regarding the prostration and sacrifice abilities, I'll clarify here what I did there.

The acolytus does not need to be adjacent to an altar to use the sacrifice ability, but it gains a bonus on any CMB checks to grapple an opponent if it is (as detailed in the prostration ability description). In this case, a sacrificed PC's soul would go to Hell, since the statue and the altar in the other room are both dedicated to Lissala, a LE deity. Both protection from evil and protection from law would suffice to protect a PC's soul from being irretrievable given Lissala's alignment.

*

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

On page 9 it is mentioned that the dagger is covered in "mithril poison." As written, it seems that this is obvious and that the information should immediately be given to the PCs (assuming they open the lock or break the glass). However, what is "mithril poison?" I cannot find it in my searches.

*

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Also, can someone post the statistics for the figurine of wondrous power (emerald frog) that appears on page 10? It is in adventure path #34, but details are not available in the scenario, Ultimate Equipment, on d20pfsrd, the PRD or in these messageboards.

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

Emerald Frog:

This figurine of wondrous power appears as a small, innocuous frog carved of cloudy emerald. On command, it transforms into either a giant frog with the advanced template or 3 poisonous frogs—the user makes this choice at the time of activation. The frog (or frogs) can be animated up to 3 times per week, for a maximum total duration of 12 hours per week. If the advanced giant frog is slain, the emerald frog cannot be activated again for 1 full week. Each poisonous frog that is slain in combat reduces the total duration that the figurine can be activated for the week by 4 hours.

Either the giant frog or the poisonous frogs can be used as combatants or as small, unintelligent servant-creatures, performing minor tasks or fetching small objects. The giant frog can be used by Small or smaller creatures as a makeshift mount, although it is not equipped with a saddle or similar equipment, and its slick hide imposes an additional –4 penalty on Ride attempts.

*

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

That's wonderful! If it is no trouble, do you know the caster level of the item for the purpose of identification? Otherwise I'll default to the most common CL 11th.

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Aura moderate transmutation; CL 8th
Slot none; Price 7,000 gp; Weight 1 lb.

Cheliax **

Concerning the Acolytus; it also does not have Improved Grapple so that will provoke when it performs a Grapple maneuver.

Cheliax ****

Dezhem wrote:
Concerning the Acolytus; it also does not have Improved Grapple so that will provoke when it performs a Grapple maneuver.

This is important to note, because any damage done to the Acolytus as the result of this attack of opportunity will result in a penalty to its grapple check.

I'm actually just as concerned about the 1-2. Two slams at +10 (1d8+5) is lethal at that tier. I've sent a message to my coordinator so that we run this only at 4-5, even with coup de gras shenanigans.

Even with the descriptions given, I'm still a little confused as to where the basilisk(s) is/are located. I'm assuming in the 'walled-off' room to the West of E2, but where exactly are they meant to be located? Actually, a young basilisk that the PCs cannot get to without a strength or Disable Device check (although that will take 1d4 rounds at least) is also quite difficult for a team of 1-2s.

Someone wanted PCs dead for this one.

** Contributor

xebeche wrote:
On page 9 it is mentioned that the dagger is covered in "mithril poison." As written, it seems that this is obvious and that the information should immediately be given to the PCs (assuming they open the lock or break the glass). However, what is "mithril poison?" I cannot find it in my searches.

This should be nitharit poison.

** Contributor

Mergy wrote:
This is important to note, because any damage done to the Acolytus as the result of this attack of opportunity will result in a penalty to its grapple check.

I don't think that's the case in the Pathfinder rules; I know it was in the 3.5 rules, but I think that rule disappeared.

Mergy wrote:
I'm actually just as concerned about the 1-2. Two slams at +10 (1d8+5) is lethal at that tier.

It's right on point for its CR (not quite as devastating as, say, an ordinary tiger). A team of all 1st-level PCs will have to be pretty careful in fighting it, and it's likely to drop some PCs into negatives, but not do so much damage in a single hit that it's likely to kill a PC outright (as, say, a bison could).

Mergy wrote:
Even with the descriptions given, I'm still a little confused as to where the basilisk(s) is/are located. I'm assuming in the 'walled-off' room to the West of E2, but where exactly are they meant to be located?

You're exactly right: the basilisk(s) are in the 15-ft square room immediately west of the glyph in the middle of the hall in E2. Where exactly they are within that cage is up to the GM (a GM that wants to be kinder can put a basilisk right against the bars, where a PC with a spear or similar weapon can attack it in melee; a GM that wants a harder challenge can put the basilisk on the other side of the room, out of the reach of even a longspear).

Mergy wrote:

Actually, a young basilisk that the PCs cannot get to without a strength or Disable Device check (although that will take 1d4 rounds at least) is also quite difficult for a team of 1-2s.

Someone wanted PCs dead for this one.

I'll admit that I wanted it difficult for the PCs, which is why I didn't just put the basilisk standing in the hall chained to a wall. The PCs will probably have to get creative to enter into melee with the basilisk(s), and this may cost them a round or two of checks (note that using Disable Device to open a lock takes a full-round action, not 1d4 rounds). But making this difficult doesn't mean I'm looking to rack up PC deaths--remember that petrified PCs can be restored with fresh basilisk blood (per the basilisk gaze description).

Thanks,

Ron

*

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ron Lundeen wrote:
Mergy wrote:
This is important to note, because any damage done to the Acolytus as the result of this attack of opportunity will result in a penalty to its grapple check.
I don't think that's the case in the Pathfinder rules; I know it was in the 3.5 rules, but I think that rule disappeared.

"If you do not have Improved Grapple, grab, or a similar ability, attempting to grapple a foe provokes an attack of opportunity from the target of your maneuver." (page 199)

**

Ron Lundeen wrote:
Mergy wrote:
This is important to note, because any damage done to the Acolytus as the result of this attack of opportunity will result in a penalty to its grapple check.
I don't think that's the case in the Pathfinder rules; I know it was in the 3.5 rules, but I think that rule disappeared.

It's a general rule for all combat maneuvers. CRB page 199, first paragraph. "If you are hit by the target, you take the damage normally and apply that amount as a penalty to the attack roll to perform the maneuver."

Cheliax **

Actually, this begs the question:

If a creature with natural reach (such as the Acolytus), performs a Grapple check sans Improved Grapple on a creature without Reach (such as a human without a reach weapon), does the maneuver still provoke an AoO?

*

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ron Lundeen wrote:
xebeche wrote:
On page 9 it is mentioned that the dagger is covered in "mithril poison." As written, it seems that this is obvious and that the information should immediately be given to the PCs (assuming they open the lock or break the glass). However, what is "mithril poison?" I cannot find it in my searches.
This should be nitharit poison.

Thanks for the clarification. I'll probably inform the PCs that it is obviously poisoned so that they avoid it. Perhaps as a VERY clear warning meant for Vidrin Jenk. Nitharit poison isn't technically in the scenario, and I don't want to get called out on it as per PFS rules not to change the mechanics.

Also, the Ebon Acolytus' dagger damage is calculated at x1.5 Str bonus, as if wielding in two hands. As per page 179 of the Core Rulebook, this is not legal: "When you deal damage with a weapon that you are wielding two-handed, you add 1-1/2 times your Strength bonus (Strength penalties are not multiplied). You don't get this higher Strength bonus, however, when using a light weapons with two hands." This should be corrected, especially during the coup de grace, which should do 2d6+12 damage (or 2d6+8 for a party of four PCs).

Unless I am mistaken.

Cheliax ****

Dezhem wrote:

Actually, this begs the question:

If a creature with natural reach (such as the Acolytus), performs a Grapple check sans Improved Grapple on a creature without Reach (such as a human without a reach weapon), does the maneuver still provoke an AoO?

It provokes from the target of the manoeuvre, but if the target doesn't have the reach to hit, tough luck. I forgot it has reach.

As for the locks, I was mistaken; it's indeed only a full round action to open a lock (although with a basilisk staring at you, not an easy feat). The basilisks also don't have much to do with their standard action but make additional stare attacks, since they only attempt to break down the door if the PCs run, and PCs never run.

EDIT: Yeah, the strength bonus on the dagger seems to be an oversight. I'm also confused as to why it only has a single attack. Not that it matters per se, as the favoured tactic will still be to grapple and prostrate.

*

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

And Ron, this thread is here to work out the little ticks, not for praises. Please don't take any personal offense. I'm more appreciative than you may know that you and other contributors are generous enough with your time to answer our posts.

The praises are on their way ;)

** Contributor

Optimal D wrote:


It's a general rule for all combat maneuvers. CRB page 199, first paragraph. "If you are hit by the target, you take the damage normally and apply that amount as a penalty to the attack roll to perform the maneuver."

Ah, thanks! My apologies to all those players I've unfairly afflicted combat maneuvers on over the past few years!

** Contributor

xebeche wrote:

And Ron, this thread is here to work out the little ticks, not for praises. Please don't take any personal offense. I'm more appreciative than you may know that you and other contributors are generous enough with your time to answer our posts.

The praises are on their way ;)

No offense taken at all! I'm glad to work through these ticks as best I can!

Cheliax ****

Don't get me wrong, I'm already loving it; I plan to write a good review as soon as I've had a chance to run it next week. I just worry about killing newbies; as such, we're likely not running this one at 1-2.

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

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Ron Lundeen wrote:
More seriously, I'm familiarizing myself with the ebon acolytus. It wasn't the creature in my turnover

Not the first (or last) time a monster was added/changed from manuscript to final publication, so I understand.

Ron Lundeen wrote:
you've got three rounds (the initial grab, the prostration check, and then the sacrifice round) to either beat the thing to death or escape the grapple

Ahhh, I see it now. My initial objection was based on my assumption that this would occur during the 2nd round. So, in the case the creature manages surprise and wins initiative, it could pull it off without the PC's having a chance to react. I feel better about the encounter now.

Also, I apologize to the author/s and development team. After reading my post, I came off as jerky. Must have been something I drank, or maybe there is some residual effects from my captivity. :-D

*

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

SACRIFICE
Round 1 Grapple a PC. Provokes AoOs! Apply damage taken as penalty to CMB.
Round 2 Prostration; force PC into sacrificial position.
Round 3 Coup de grace; 2d6+12 (or 2d6+8 for 4 PCs) and a DC 10 + damage dealt Fortitude save.

I have the above sticky note on my scenario. I'm running this tonight and am very much looking forward to it. I'll try to have a review up soon.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

xebeche wrote:

SACRIFICE

Round 1 Grapple a PC. Provokes AoOs! Apply damage taken as penalty to CMB.

Remember, though, that a maneuver only provokes from the target.

Quote:
Round 3 Coup de grace; 2d6+12 (or 2d6+8 for 4 PCs) and a DC 10 + damage dealt Fortitude save.

This, on the other hand, provokes from everyone! :D

Cheliax ****

Jiggy wrote:
xebeche wrote:

SACRIFICE

Round 1 Grapple a PC. Provokes AoOs! Apply damage taken as penalty to CMB.

Remember, though, that a maneuver only provokes from the target.

Quote:
Round 3 Coup de grace; 2d6+12 (or 2d6+8 for 4 PCs) and a DC 10 + damage dealt Fortitude save.

This, on the other hand, provokes from everyone! :D

Although the PCs had better kill it with those attacks, or the victim gets a first-class ticket to Hell.

** Contributor

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Mergy wrote:
Although the PCs had better kill it with those attacks, or the victim gets a first-class ticket to Hell.

Unless some really knowledgeable PC shouts, like a tent-revival preacher, "This poor prostrate SINNAH! A protection from evuhl will SAY-VUH his immortal SOUL-AH!"

You don't hear tent-revival preacher voices in your heads? Hmm. Maybe it's just me.

Have fun!

Cheliax ****

In any case, the save against a coup is quite difficult to recover from. Looking at the 4 PC version damage, 2d6+8 is an average of 15 damage, for a DC 25 save or die. The 6 player one shoots up to DC 29, which will be nigh impossible to make short of rolling a 20.

*

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Just finished running this tonight. I have some thoughts to share, but sleep first ;)

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

Got a chance to run it last night, at subtier 4-5 with 4 players.

They really enjoyed the roleplay about being Aspis agents. However, I think the best Charisma mod we had at the table was a +1. 2 alchemists and 2 druids... The Druid's dinosaur AC had more CHA than anyone...

Something not in the mod I decided to do for flavor:

As per the scenario, only the person who chooses to pick up the leader and take the shiny bronze badge will go by his "thug" name. However, I thought it would be hilarious to have everyone else also pick their own "aspis names". I had them write that name in their initiative cards, so I called them by that name all night. We had some like "Dick Baldman". It was a hoot.

They went to the temple of Besmara first, and disposed of the Bunyips in short order. Pretty easy.

Silken Veil next, they eventually revealed being Pathfinders... so they got cooperation.

Drinking contest was long, because they all tried to do the sideboards and lots of cups at the beginning, not realizing the sideboard was DC 22 and pretty much only doable at a 20 for them. Thankfully the NPC lifters were also sucky and missed a lot.

Now to the big show. They went in, and sent the druid's AC to scout out the place. The AC triggers the illusory wall and gets turned to stone. Everyone else decides to close their eyes and run past, while dropping an obscuring mist by the gate in case there was something past the next door and they needed to fight.

They decided to go straight for the room where the chanting was coming from. They see the guardian, and the druid throws a spear at it, which activates it. Only one person gets the knowledge check, and only one question... they ask special defenses (score!). The same druid goes first, and gets into melee with the statue. Everyone else stays at the door shooting ranged at it. The statue takes a 5' step back, and grapples the druid, no AOO since he didnt have reach. Everyone else pelts at it some. Round 2, statue performs prostration. Everyone is like WTF. Round 3, statue goes down thanks to a grenadier's bomb-arrow.

After this fight, they go into the room with the cultists. It took some talking and being quite explicit to keep my players from barging in and trying to talk directly to the Lashmistress. I really didnt want to turn it into a combat encounter, as I know they would all die. (plus no stats for the lashmistress are there). They decided to intimidate the door guy, and only give up the poisoned dagger relic. The poor cultist just wants them out of his face, so he accepts and tells them to go away.

Of course by go away, the party took the chance to roam the complex. They sabotaged the gas and the sewage pipe, as well as hilarious... "desecration" of the crate of lissala dolls in the common room.

The Kyton was actually the most challenging fight in here, although of course they handled pretty well. On the way out they killed the basilisks so the druid could return his AC to flesh.

I think everyone enjoyed the adventure. At the end of the night I wrote down on their chronicle sheets their "aspis name" as a reminder of it, and also noted down who won the drinking contest as well (the alchemist/barbarian did, after raging and mutagen-ing first).

*

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

CRobledo, the idea of picking Aspis persona names is such a great idea. I really love how you ran with it and built something memorable. No doubt the events in this scenario will be felt in the coming months.

New Players (and Playing Up) Despite the level 1-5 range, this is not a good introductory scenario for a group of first level characters. A TPK is always a possibility and the open-endedness could be cause for confusion. That said, a group of 3rd, 4th and 5th level PCs looking for a challenge is in for one! Also, your PCs should be made well aware of the difficulty of this scenario when playing up. My group's average party level (APL) was 3.25. They didn't want to play up or down in fear of death and in avoidance of a lesser reward. Their solution? Roll up 1st level characters. It was brutal, but these guys are experienced Pathfinders and survived to fight on.

Skill Checks I don't know who needs to be thanked, but the expansion of skills able to yield information or successful results is really great. Hopefully this is a common theme in season 4.

Undercover Agent My PCs really enjoyed going undercover as Aspis Consortium. Truly the best part of the scenario. This combined with a license to significantly sabotage a bad guys' base, and blame it on the other bad guys, made for some of the best laughs in a long time.

The Publican House We played this up and I spent a few moments building the tension in the tavern. By the time the PCs had to roll dice it didn't feel as mechanical as it could have. If there were a way to make the mechanics more opaque to the players I probably would have chosen that route. The NPCs aren't exceptional at this competition and it is very likely that the PCs succeed, although EVERYONE failed the first go round at my table.

House of The Silken Veil You really gotta sell the brothel. These aren't just prostitutes. They are trained, dedicated acolytes of Calistria and willing practitioners of sensual arts. If your PCs are stiffs (no pun intended), have some fun at their expense. On the other hand, your PCs might be willing to enjoy the company of an acolyte, or two, and roll the dice against the red ache >:)

The Fish Bowl The reefclaws and bunyips have key abilities to keep in mind. The reefclaws stay conscious and fight on until they are -14 hit points. Even in the negatives they can take a standard action (staggered). Their poison is devastating if the first couple saves aren't made. Each successful attack and failed save against the poison increases the DC by 2. A first level PC reached DC 19 and their strength was reduced from 14 to 2. Ouch. Don't forget to apply constrict damage at the start and maintenance of a grapple. Lastly, these things full attack when killed…

The bunyips can cause the PCs to flee in panic. And the 24 hour immunity applies only to the bunyip that roared. Given the relatively low Will save DC required of many 5th level PC to succeed, take advantage of what extra chances you can get. Bleeding during combat without a channel energy, especially on several PCs at once, can really nickel and dime a hit point pool. Otherwise they pose a minor threat.

Entry Hall Many groups will simply walk over the glyph without scouting for traps first. Thus the illusory wall falls and the basilisk fight begins. I suggest following the scenario as written and place the basilisk(s) as close to the PCs as possible. Unless your PCs roll poorly, many should act before the relatively slow basilisk. Knowledge (arcana) is their friend, as this knowledge will allow them to mitigate the gaze attacks (knowing how it works). If your group isn't meta-gaming and doesn't have Knowledge (arcana) then they may be in a tough spot. Failed saves permanently turn PCs into stone. This is where my PCs fell. My prodding about Knowledge (arcana) tipped them off to a potential immediate cure for one of the PCs. So, they basically dismembered the beast trying one thing after another until the PC was sufficiently covered in blood… Also, don't forget about +4 bonus on Fort saves against the gaze attack (for 4-players only). It might be good to note it directly on the statblock.

Scarification Chamber We didn't have time to run this and I imagine many groups will be in the same situation. Besides, three combats is good enough for our group.

Meditative Chamber If you can think of ways for your players to suffer minor hallucinations or tranquility, go with it! Especially fun if they can't identify the gas.

Barracks Just keep in mind that fire trap has a radius.

Chapel Access Regardless of tier, this is going to be a challenge. I opened up with 22 damage on a first level NPC… The construct goes on the hunt at different points during the scenario, mostly after sabotage. That's the least of the PC's worries, specifically at subtier 4-5. Dagger damage is not accurately calculated. Don't forget about the attacks of opportunity as this creature grapples and attempts a coup de grace. Seriously… don't kill your PCs because you didn't follow established rules :(

Round 1 Grapple a PC. Provokes AoOs! Apply damage taken as penalty to CMB.
Round 2 Prostration; force PC into sacrificial position.
Round 3 Coup de grace. Provokes AoOs! 2d6+12 (or 2d6+8 for 4 PCs) and a DC 10 + damage dealt Fortitude save.

Chapel Impress upon the PCs that combat here will have one result… death. Especially at subtier 1-2 it is likely that the PCs have never seen the powerful magic lashmistress is casting. She is turning into an elemental, after all. If the players had it sufficiently impressed upon them by Heidmarch not to kill the unknown informant they should already be hesitant to kill the cultists anyway.

** Contributor

Xebeche, thanks for your lengthy summary, and for your review!

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

xebeche wrote:
House of The Silken Veil You really gotta sell the brothel. These aren't just prostitutes. They are trained, dedicated acolytes of Calistria and willing practitioners of sensual arts. If your PCs are stiffs (no pun intended), have some fun at their expense. On the other hand, your PCs might be willing to enjoy the company of an acolyte, or two, and roll the dice against the red ache >:)

one of the players in my table had a problem with this. Supposedly, all followers of Calistria are exceptionally careful about not having or spreading any diseases. So he was super surprised when I had them roll dice for it.

xebeche wrote:
Round 1 Grapple a PC. Provokes AoOs! Apply damage taken as penalty to CMB.

I believe it only provokes from the target of the maneuver, who would not be able to hit back anyway unless he had reach.

Qadira *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
xebeche wrote:
Ron Lundeen wrote:
Mergy wrote:
This is important to note, because any damage done to the Acolytus as the result of this attack of opportunity will result in a penalty to its grapple check.
I don't think that's the case in the Pathfinder rules; I know it was in the 3.5 rules, but I think that rule disappeared.
"If you do not have Improved Grapple, grab, or a similar ability, attempting to grapple a foe provokes an attack of opportunity from the target of your maneuver." (page 199)

xebeche, I think what Ron was remarking on was "...the result of this attack of opportunity will result in a penalty to its grapple check." That's not part of the PRPG grappling rules. I think what has you confused is a flowchart document on d20psrd.com that tries to break down grappling and includes the erroneous text you are quoting. I've contacted the author and website admin to advise them of the mistake. Plus, what CRobledo said above is also correct.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Doug Miles wrote:
xebeche, I think what Ron was remarking on was "...the result of this attack of opportunity will result in a penalty to its grapple check." That's not part of the PRPG grappling rules.
Official PRD: Combat wrote:
Unless otherwise noted, performing a combat maneuver provokes an attack of opportunity from the target of the maneuver. If you are hit by the target, you take the damage normally and apply that amount as a penalty to the attack roll to perform the maneuver.

Qadira ***

I played this at a CON yesterday, so reading this this morning has been a real eye opener... The following is from the eyes of a player (me) who has not read the scenario - and played it at tier 4-5 with a group of 5 PCs.

Posing as Aspis Agents was cool - and I think we had a post about that not to long ago, where someone said "this is coming". I do wish my judge had used persona names done this for us - it would have been cool.

The Players: three very experienced players used to playing as a team - good guys, and the core of the group. (I'm not one of them, so this is how they appeared from across the table). Added in a Gnome Cleric of Asmodaus, and my Dwarven Hvy Armor / Tower Shield Cleric (Fighter dip).

PCs:

1) My PC: (first, cause it’s from my view point) High AC, good face skills (trickery domain and he has skills in Bluff and Disguise etc. But not as good as…
2) An face character (Oracle I think) that had some tricks with Color spray - and was our Mr. Shadowtongue. Halfling I think. When we meet him the Aspis boss said something like "I thought you'd be taller...". He also had Trap skills.
3 Half-Orc Monk brawler - melee guy. Kept pocking things in the eye (blinding for a round) but had a GREAT grapple. Named his character Moe, as in the stooge. Our melee damage dealer.
4) Arcanist (I think). I don’t remember this guy much.
5) Gnome Asmodaus Cleric - 5th level I think. I remember an extended Murderous Command he used on one of the bunyips.

The VC briefing was good, the adventure was well laid out, and when we were handed the Aspis badges, my PC produced his MW tool disguise-“an Aspis badge”.

The Publican House: The team turned out to be 3 Scarzie faction. So they played it up as NJ Mafia. Lots of good fun. Mr. Shadowtongue pulled a bluff, walked under it and levitated the largest table (the sideboard?) with the most mugs. And made the strength check. My dwarf on the other hand never even budged the table… sigh. I wanted to do a Take 10 on the lift – but the judge explained “you can’t Take 10 on ability checks – have to roll.” Sigh. At the mercy of my dice and I roll a 3, and shirt re-roll it to another 3.

House of The Silken Veil: boy was I running the wrong character. My PC is all about cooking, and wanted to spend the day “at play” with the chef swapping ideas and recopies in the kitchen. The Mafia “team” had something to do talking to the head priestess here, and swapping info. Seems they let it be know they were working two sides of this, Aspis & “family”. I think.

The Fish Bowl: First fight, we worked combat well and I think it ran only two or three rounds… 5 Banyups down and dead. The guy and girls were advised that they should split town – disappear. We said something about spreading a rumor they had died…

The ‘Crawl: Entry Hall, found the traps (good perceptions and good search SOP). The illusory wall we discovered (detect magics) and saw thru. A well placed Obscuring Mist got us past that hall, and Disable Device opened the locks.

side notes on Take 10 and Perception:

As a side note, I notice the very experienced players never used Take 10, always rolled. When I asked about it, it was explained that “you can take 10 on Knowledge skills, or Perception…”. Sigh. We still need to teach players how this rule works. Lots of Role Playing is getting lost in the rolling. Time lost to finding the dice on the table, rolling and doing the math, then reporting it to the judge and checking results… and doing it all again on the next corner as we do another Perception check.

And then the explanation that you don’t have to be within 10 feet to use perception…

It appears a lot of players are still playing 3.5


Barracks: I think a detect magic should have given us the wand and the fact that the only other magic in the room was the fire traps. But, it appears that the footlockers were all lead lined, so … we opened them all. I think I am starting to understand why people say “traps are just a resource tax – you pay charges off the wand of CLW.” Dull, and why did we waste game time on this? Something like 60 rolls? Not counting the healing rolls. Half an hour chopped out of the middle of the game – just spend rolling dice.

Wash room: cute. Yes, we ran it as a puzzle and we got to brake the pipe in the barracks room and start the flood. It would have been nice to have the water sort of seep into the hall as we were leaving. Random violence after the Barracks room was nice.

Meditative Chamber: My faction mission was here. I was the only Osirian there and I could not get the skill checks for this one. (Judge “suggested” that I not take 10 – even thou I always do. The Mafia guys offered to help, but I only had one Meditative drink from the Sage…. No cookie for me. Ah well. As to Opening the Gas vents… the Kn: Engineer rolls were not good, and … see Take the 10 spoiler above (not on Kn. Rolls). Bad rolls basically.

Scarification Chamber: This was our hardest fight. The Kayton hit me several times on the opening round, before it figured out that I couldn’t hurt it and switched off to the Monk Glass Cannon (who had pocked it in the eyes). But it wasn’t fast enough and 5 PCs carried the day to finish it off. By far the hardest fight (to me).

Chapel Access: From what I’m reading, this could have gone really bad for me. I was the PC opening the doors, in front and should have closed with the construct first… but I rolled an Init of 3. So everyone rushed past me into the room. On a side note, I had cast Prot. Evil, and Shield Other on the Glass Cannon Monk before entering (the Kayton showed us a weakness there), and we commented as we saw it was a construct that “the Prot. Evil was a waste of a wand charge”. It never actually came up, and the monk blinded the construct for a round and the rest of the team pasted it. At least one crit was rolled and it went down in 2 or 3 rounds.

Chapel: ALMOST FORGOT TO NOT FIGHT. We were all set to jump in and start something, about to pick a fight – (even remembering the “payment” items), but then I remembered the “don’t kill the cultists” instructions and we switched gears. We did the “Here’s your payment” to the door opener, who wanted us to sign some stuff, so we did. We left as the opener said – “we’re very busy, it’ll be a while before I can give this to the HP.” Our comment “So, yous guys are going to be busy in here for a while? We’ll just see ourselves out then….” So we left the impression that the vandalism was done after the payment was dropped off.

And that’s one players view….

Qadira *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Jiggy wrote:
Doug Miles wrote:
xebeche, I think what Ron was remarking on was "...the result of this attack of opportunity will result in a penalty to its grapple check." That's not part of the PRPG grappling rules.
Official PRD: Combat wrote:
Unless otherwise noted, performing a combat maneuver provokes an attack of opportunity from the target of the maneuver. If you are hit by the target, you take the damage normally and apply that amount as a penalty to the attack roll to perform the maneuver.

Ahh, I failed to find that reference because I was specifically searching the grapple rules and not the combat maneuvers overview. I stand corrected.

** Contributor

Doug Miles wrote:
Ahh, I failed to find that reference because I was specifically searching the grapple rules and not the combat maneuvers overview. I stand corrected.

That was my problem, too. Come stand corrected over here by me.

*

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ron Lundeen wrote:
Optimal D wrote:


It's a general rule for all combat maneuvers. CRB page 199, first paragraph. "If you are hit by the target, you take the damage normally and apply that amount as a penalty to the attack roll to perform the maneuver."
Ah, thanks! My apologies to all those players I've unfairly afflicted combat maneuvers on over the past few years!

I thought we had resolved this earlier in the thread.

Anyway, this thread was instrumental in preparing the scenario. Thanks to everyone who has commented so far, especially Ron. I'm glad I had the opportunity to run this scenario and look forward to future opportunities!

*

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
CRobledo wrote:
xebeche wrote:
House of The Silken Veil You really gotta sell the brothel. These aren't just prostitutes. They are trained, dedicated acolytes of Calistria and willing practitioners of sensual arts. If your PCs are stiffs (no pun intended), have some fun at their expense. On the other hand, your PCs might be willing to enjoy the company of an acolyte, or two, and roll the dice against the red ache >:)
one of the players in my table had a problem with this. Supposedly, all followers of Calistria are exceptionally careful about not having or spreading any diseases. So he was super surprised when I had them roll dice for it.

Hmm...I was unaware of that. Calaistria's section under Faiths of Balance didn't confirm this with a scan of the eyes (and a couple search functions). Not sure where this idea came from. If true, I'd probably be inclined to substitute a reason why through roleplaying, or more likely remove the possibility of the disease in favor of the players.

CRobledo wrote:
xebeche wrote:
Round 1 Grapple a PC. Provokes AoOs! Apply damage taken as penalty to CMB.
I believe it only provokes from the target of the maneuver, who would not be able to hit back anyway unless he had reach.

You are correct that this only provokes from the target creature. So long as the PC doesn't have reach, and the construct can 5ft step away, if needed, the construct is unlikely to provoke the initial AoO. However, "Delivering a coup de grace provokes attacks of opportunity from threatening opponents." Which gives the PCs a chance to drop the construct to zero before it fulfills the coup de grace.

*

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
nosig wrote:
As a side note, I notice the very experienced players never used Take 10, always rolled. When I asked about it, it was explained that “you can take 10 on Knowledge skills, or Perception…”.

Nosig, as a side note, taking 10 is covered under the Core Rulebook on page 86. Ability checks are explicitly noted as qualifying. Not all ability and skill checks qualify for "taking 10" under all situations. For example, I don't see why a PC could "take 10" on a knowledge check unless they had an ability similar to "Lore Master (Ex)" for the bard. On the other hand, I don't see why a PC couldn't use "take 10" on their acrobatics check to cross a narrow ledge while unthreatened. I'll have to do some more reading to properly clarify.

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

Running this tomorrow and preparing for the worst:

So let's say that the Ebon Acolytus gets its coup de gras off. Everyone fails at their knowledge check, so they have no clue that there is special conditions on the raise dead. So they go and all chip in and buy their buddy a raise dead. They go to the friendly local temple and ask their clergy of choice to raise their buddy. What happens? Is the diamond dust expended?

This all happens. They go do research and I'm assuming that spending enough time on it and motivated enough, they could probably find info on this kind of statue somewhere in the Grand Lodge's extensive records/that one library from that one other scenario.

Now, seeing as Lissala is a religion that everyone thought was dead for hundreds of years, there's not many public Lissalan temples around, and that one temple might not be too helpful with a raise on your buddy once you find out that you filled their place with sewage. Would it be okay to say "You can't find a priestess of Lissala in Absalom?"

I'm pretty sure I know the answers to those 2 questions, but seeing as my answers lead to a permanently dead character, I figured I'd check them here first just in case.

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

Iammars wrote:

Running this tomorrow and preparing for the worst:

So let's say that the Ebon Acolytus gets its coup de gras off. Everyone fails at their knowledge check, so they have no clue that there is special conditions on the raise dead. So they go and all chip in and buy their buddy a raise dead. They go to the friendly local temple and ask their clergy of choice to raise their buddy. What happens? Is the diamond dust expended?

I as the GM would be nice to my players and inform them that their raise dead will not work, and only a wish or miracle could bring them back (neither of which is legal in PFS). If I truly wanted to keep the RP side of that going, I would say their friendly neighborhood cleric tried to find the character's soul in the afterlife only to find that Pharasma never judged him, so he cannot be raised. No casting was possible therefore no diamond dust spent. I think the players already have enough to grief over than to also screw them out of another 5,000 for RP's sake.

Qadira ***

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xebeche wrote:
nosig wrote:
As a side note, I notice the very experienced players never used Take 10, always rolled. When I asked about it, it was explained that “you can take 10 on Knowledge skills, or Perception…”.
Nosig, as a side note, taking 10 is covered under the Core Rulebook on page 86. Ability checks are explicitly noted as qualifying. Not all ability and skill checks qualify for "taking 10" under all situations. For example, I don't see why a PC could "take 10" on a knowledge check unless they had an ability similar to "Lore Master (Ex)" for the bard. On the other hand, I don't see why a PC couldn't use "take 10" on their acrobatics check to cross a narrow ledge while unthreatened. I'll have to do some more reading to properly clarify.

(Edit: ouch! I just noticed that in my original post I had a typo - it should have read “you can't take 10 on Knowledge skills, or Perception…”! no wonder someone was correcting me! LOL!

Yes, I know you can Take 10 on Knowledge skills and Perception and... everything except UMP and swim in rough waters.)

Take 10 derail:

thank you xebeche, for the note about taking 10 on ability checks. I am sure a lot of the older posters here are getting a good chuckle at someone telling Nosig that it's ok to "take 10" for something. I fear I have a bit of a reputation for “T10” as I call it. Enough that I waited for someone else to chime in “before the Summon Nosig spell resolves”. I do, after all, have the T-Shirt.
; )
(edit: In fact I had the T-Shirt on at that table, the one with the Take 10 rule printed on it. So I didn't have to go to page 86 of the CRB - it was in large print on my chest at the time. It's just that the "experienced players" had been told so many times that “you can't take 10 on Knowledge skills, or Perception…” that they thought that was the rule, when in fact it is not.)

And actually, you can T10 on knowledge checks (outside of combat). The Loremaster ability would allow you to do it in situations you would not normally be allowed to, like in the middle of combat. This has been hashed out in many other threads – here’s one where we discussed T10 on knowledges.

More Take 10 goodness

This statement needs to be qualified with the note that you cannot T10 whenever the table judge says you can't. So, for example, you can take 10 on perception... unless the judge says you can't.

Hope this helps.

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