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6-12 On Sharrowsmith's Trail


GM Discussion

51 to 74 of 74 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Oregon—Portland aka xebeche

One inconsistency that I found is in the relationship between the delay mechanic and heat dangers. Area B. On the Trail does a very good job of laying out the rules for heatstroke (so much so that you don't need to see page 444 of the Core Rulebook). Unfortunately, it isn't until area B2. Journey to the Valley that we discover information about departure times and how it relates to heat dangers. What's more, even this section doesn't discuss anything beyond the scope of 'setting out at night' (presumably on the day the PCs arrived, after being denied information from Praetor Sylien, but not forced to leave Fort Bandu). It is then left to GM interpretation of whether PCs encounter heat dangers with any later departure times and/or delays.

I'm inclined to default to 'the heat is less severe' in these cases as heatstroke plays a part in setting the tone of the Bandu Hills. I'll likely have the delayed PCs make the check depending on when they want to set out from the areas near Fort Bandu.

In retrospect, I spent questionable time interpreting these sections and posting about it. I'm half tempted to cancel this post if it weren't for the effort of typing it.

***** Venture-Captain, Canada-Alberta aka Dragios

For the people who are wondering how to impart "You better move your Pathfinder behinds" message to the group, a simple thing is to have the praetor mention they suspect the kobolds will sacrifice the miners as a gift to Lamashatu. That should get most parties moving.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Oregon—Portland aka xebeche

Ross Tait wrote:
For the people who are wondering how to impart "You better move your Pathfinder behinds" message to the group, a simple thing is to have the praetor mention they suspect the kobolds will sacrifice the miners as a gift to Lamashatu. That should get most parties moving.

This is a very reasonable idea. I've asked my parties whether they want to set out immediately despite the heat, travel by night to avoid the heat, or set out the next morning and see what happens. Both groups decided that it was best to leave sooner than later, especially with endure elements spells accessed through various means.

Unfortunately, a lax or unprepared GM may not take travel into account with regards to miners being alive or dead.

Sovereign Court *** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

Ross Tait wrote:
For the people who are wondering how to impart "You better move your Pathfinder behinds" message to the group, a simple thing is to have the praetor mention they suspect the kobolds will sacrifice the miners as a gift to Lamashatu. That should get most parties moving.

The praetor told us that miners all over the area had been attacked, He also told us that Sharrowsmith was last seen months ago at some place.

Only when we got there did we find out it was a mining camp, and that people there had been attacked and kidnapped days ago.

Is that how it's supposed to be?

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Hey folks, thought I'd chime in here and drop some info on how I went about designing this scenario's time-sensitive parts.

I'm a large fan of world building that doesn't rely on the conceit of "status-quo until the PCs arrive." The idea that the world is a living thing that will keep going whether or not you're aware of it was part of my design philosophy here. I'd hoped to create a situation where multiple tables have different experiences based on how they prepared for their journeys and the time it took them to get to their destination. At Paizocon I was fortunate enough to observe three different tables (all the same subtier) reach totally different statuses at the mining camp and the ruins based on their travel time.

That the players don't *know* they're on a timer is definitely an intentional consideration, nor is it one that matters in the overall success of the scenario, he kobolds are still stopped at the end whether or not there's a significant loss of innocent life. The journey--and the discovery that lives are on the line--should be a discovery, one that the PCS have to face as unintentional consequences of their actions, or a pace-setting revelation.

Thankfully it seems that a lot of tables enjoyed the presentation of this scenario, and I'm carefully watching input on it for future scenarios! I really appreciate all the great feedback everyone has given over the last few months!

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4

Ascalaphus wrote:
Ross Tait wrote:
For the people who are wondering how to impart "You better move your Pathfinder behinds" message to the group, a simple thing is to have the praetor mention they suspect the kobolds will sacrifice the miners as a gift to Lamashatu. That should get most parties moving.

The praetor told us that miners all over the area had been attacked, He also told us that Sharrowsmith was last seen months ago at some place.

Only when we got there did we find out it was a mining camp, and that people there had been attacked and kidnapped days ago.

Is that how it's supposed to be?

The GM is supposed to inform you that Sharrowsmith's last known location was a Gold Crown mining camp in the Bandu Hills. The kobold attacks are also a pressing matter that both Sylien and Amerasnus should mention to set a sense of stakes. Only on reaching he mining camp will you really see the impact of Sharrowsmith's actions and a potential timetable.

**** Venture-Lieutenant, Tennessee—Memphis aka Mulgar

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Robert Brookes wrote:

Hey folks, thought I'd chime in here and drop some info on how I went about designing this scenario's time-sensitive parts.

I'm a large fan of world building that doesn't rely on the conceit of "status-quo until the PCs arrive." The idea that the world is a living thing that will keep going whether or not you're aware of it was part of my design philosophy here. I'd hoped to create a situation where multiple tables have different experiences based on how they prepared for their journeys and the time it took them to get to their destination. At Paizocon I was fortunate enough to observe three different tables (all the same subtier) reach totally different statuses at the mining camp and the ruins based on their travel time.

That the players don't *know* they're on a timer is definitely an intentional consideration, nor is it one that matters in the overall success of the scenario, he kobolds are still stopped at the end whether or not there's a significant loss of innocent life. The journey--and the discovery that lives are on the line--should be a discovery, one that the PCS have to face as unintentional consequences of their actions, or a pace-setting revelation.

Thankfully it seems that a lot of tables enjoyed the presentation of this scenario, and I'm carefully watching input on it for future scenarios! I really appreciate all the great feedback everyone has given over the last few months!

GM'd this at a regional con, and loved it. My players got the point to hurry and worked hard.

Then played this with my warpreist, a very "come get me out of the brothel" when it's time to fight. The other men's of the party had skills but rolled horrible. We got thrown out of town, and went downhill from there.

Loved it both times, keep up the great work.

Grand Lodge ** Venture-Agent aka Divvox2

Played this at a regional con and we and our GM enjoyed it. The interaction with the Aspis diplomat was a lot of fun to RP, particularly because you can get away with sharp quips and really play up the animosity between the Pathfinders and AC. My hunter (naturalist and antiquarian, at your service) had a great deal of fun working insults into the various checks necessary to chase the representative off.

What's more, our party split, and the other more sneaky half infiltrated the Aspis Consortium's camp and sabotaged a number of their supplies/learned about their military preparations. Because we were playing these back-to-back with the same group at a con, with the same GM, and we passed this information on to various groups like the Kobolds, our GM gave us some small bonuses which made the brutal final fight in part 3 a bit more manageable. I loved the scenario and its siblings!

(we may have also crushed a couple Kobold mothers/sons because we managed to get the drop on the final encounter and wanted to attempt to "shock and awe" our way into it... It very nearly ended in an alignment change for two of us because we just went after the first targets we saw. >_> )

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Sounds like you had a lot of fun! If I have my way, Sharrowsmith's Trail won't be the last you see of Amersanus Valacosti, either. :)


OK, so running the module as-is, it appears that the PCs don't know they're on a timer (though they might conclude that after getting to the mining camp; unfortunately they will probably already be behind at that point), and the module author knows this issue and designed it that way deliberately. So the players just have to suck it up when they lose a prestige. This should be OK since PFS rules say that it's expected to lose a prestige point pretty regularly, I guess.

It does suck that they can lose a prestige through no fault of their own, however. Valacosti denigrates them because they might "rush headlong" (page 8), and the Pathfinder Society code is "explore, report, cooperate." Both of these things will work against the PCs rushing anywhere. They will want to explore Camp Bandu, and there is zero indication that they shouldn't. They're going to be punished for following Pathfinder Society code, and punished for following the ideas in the read-aloud text. Again, PFS seems to be OK with players losing a prestige point now & then, so it's all good. I just wish the execution allowed for a little more player agency.

Having said that, I came here to ask all the GMs running this module about something else. When meeting with Sylien, have you guys been allowing the PCs to do Aid Another checks? The module says to let "one player" roll. For example, the "first challenge" is a knowledge (geography, local, nature) or survival check. If 3 people have knowledge nature, can 1 be designated as the "roller" and 2 as the "aiders" to give the main roller +2? Or are you guys interpreting the "one player rolls" literally and disallowing Aid Another checks?

**** Venture-Lieutenant, Tennessee—Memphis aka Mulgar

I didn't allow other players to aid the "one player" check.

But in character I let them know they would get one check and only one check.


I found an issue, would like advice. I was reading section B2, which states:

Quote:
The fifteen-mile journey from the Gold Crown mining camp takes the PCs on a long and teacherous route through the wilds of the Bandu Hills.

...and I couldn't help but wonder, "Wait, why are they on this 15 mile journey, again?" I mean, nothing in the previous section told them to come here. So I re-read the previous section. It has this:

Quote:
The miners also inform the PCs who kobold raiders kidnapped 10 or more members of their crew and marched them off deeper into the Bandu Hills -- likely to what the miners believe is a major kobold settlement in a forested valley about 15 miles away.

Aside from the horrendous grammar which makes parsing that text almost impossible, none of this is the mission of the Pathfinders. In particular, they were flat-out chastised about messing with the kobolds when Valacosti earlier warned:

Quote:
These Pathfinders will rush headlong into the jungle and slaughter the kobold tribe, creating a power vacuum among the other tribes and only worsen the situation.

And then the man in charge, Praetor Sylien, says, "I find myself seeing reason in Valacosti's words." So the PCs have learned that they are not to mess with the kobolds.

Knowing this, why would the Pathfinders do anything about the miners taken to a kobold location? They were told not to go there, and it's not their mission. It has nothing to do with finding Sharrowsmith. That was the biggest surprise. I've read section B1 and B2 a bunch of times; nowhere in the text does it give a lead about Sharrowsmith. Section B2 just assumes the PCs are going, so I assumed it must have been because there was a lead on Sharrowsmith. But there's not! So there is no reason to proceed, AND there is a warning to avoid the kobolds!

WHY are the PCs assumed to go to the kobold camp? Importantly, if the players notice this issue, how do I move them forward?

Silver Crusade ***

1 person marked this as a favorite.

When I ran it, the players only succeeded on one check in the meeting to impress the praetor (it was the Geography check). I think I allowed everyone to make separate checks if they wanted, and I took the highest one without the Aid Another. Fortunately, they came up huge on the Diplomacy check at the end.

They ended up having one delay. I think one of those was from asking around in Ft. Bandu to use Gather Information, but it has been a couple weeks, so it might have been somewhere else.

When they got to the mining camp, two of the miners in the shed were already expired. I impressed upon them that the miners died in the shed sometime in the last couple of hours. The other miner begged the PCs to go rescue the other miners from the kobolds. At that point the players started to realize that they needed to hurry.

I was worried about that segue also, but they took it upon themselves to go find the miners. They hoped that was also where Sharrowsmith was, and while traveling there had discussions on how they might try to negotiate the safe return of the miners diplomatically (which later failed).

In the end, they saved exactly seven miners, the minimum required to meet the secondary success condition.

I never once told them they needed to hurry, and I gave them the option at several points to actually go slower.

  • When they were in Ft. Bandu, I told them they could set out now, or ask around town for more information (which they did).
  • When they rescued the first miner (in the shed), I asked them if they wanted to escort him back to Ft. Bandu.
  • When they rescued the second miner (in the Xtabay grove), she begged them to take her back to Ft. Bandu.

In the end, the scenario worked very well for my group. We all had a lot of fun. One of the players (who is also the GM in our home game) remarked that he really liked that they weren't told to hurry, that they had to figure that out on their own. But YMMV.

I also played this scenario before I GMed it. My experience as a player was similar, but I wanted to share my experience as a GM first, because I thought it would be more useful.

Here are some comments on my experience as a player:

  • We were assigned by the GM who would roll which checks. He did this in character, with the praetor turning to one of us and asking "and what knowledge do you have about the Bandu Hills?" I liked that he did this in character, but I would have liked to have had more agency over which checks we could opt to try. In the end it worked out and I think we made 2 of the impression checks.
  • We didn't delay at all. We set out for the camp immediately, rescued all three miners, and hurried on to find the kobolds.
  • The GM omitted the creature from the encounter at the bridge. I was a little disappointed when I was prepping to GM it when I learned that. (For the session that I GMed, that encounter ended up being the most entertaining. We were all laughing pretty hard throughout that encounter.) But it happens.
  • We also tried to reason diplomatically with the kobolds. We even avoided any hostile actions while trying to get through 10 rounds of a defensive stance just so that we could roll a Diplomacy check. It was pretty fun, but that ended when the kobold sorcerer dropped a lightning bolt on us.

Overall, I think it is a very fun scenario, and I think you and your players will enjoy it greatly.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

What an amazing post. Thank you The Fox.

Silver Crusade ***

Here's how the encounter at the bridge went down when I ran it.

Spoiler:

The party stopped at the bridge. The halfling ninja used take 20 to search for traps. His perception is pretty high, so he saw the leg noose trap, but he failed to see the krenshar waiting in ambush.

Everyone was very paranoid about putting too much weight on the bridge, so they asked the ninja to go across first to reconnoiter and disable the trap.

The ninja was the most paranoid of all, so before he went across, he fired a grappling arrow into one of the statues on the far side of the ravine, and tied himself in. I asked him how tight he wanted the rope, and he said, "completely taut." We counted squares, and figured he had 20 feet of rope out. "Ok," I said, "you are tied off to a 20-ft. radius from that statue."

He crept across quietly, but since everyone had been making a bunch of noise telling the ninja where to go and what to do, I figured the krenshar heard them coming and watched him come across the bridge.

When he got to where he could see around the statue, the krenshar sprung its ambush. I gave a surprise round in which the krenshar and our intrepid halfling ninja were able to act. The krenshar won initiative and used its Skullface ability. The ninja failed his saving throw.

On the ninja's surprise round, he ran back across the bridge, but was still tied in with his rope. He was able to yell, "UNTIE ME! UNTIE ME!"

The krenshar was still behind the statue so one of the characters (I forget which one) asked, "What are you so afraid of?" and moved across the bridge. The krenshar acted next, stepped out and successfully Skullfaced that character too.

At one point, every character except 1 was running away (or trying frantically to untie themselves from their rope). Ultimately, it was just a comical encounter without much threat—the krenshar took one pretty serious hit and then ran off.

Fun nonetheless. :)

**

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Not bad! I like the idea of sorta just letting the players be paranoid and think that maybe it's just a skill check kind of encounter.

Since we're sharing, I just finished the map for the first encounter at the miner's camp. I wanted to flesh out the area, since the module text has all this extra cool stuff about trampled tents, basalt walls, the shed, etc. I put my process & map image here:

http://imgur.com/a/MXcTB

Maybe that helps anyone into hand-drawing maps? Have fun, all.

(PS: the map is drawn in colored pencils, so if I failed to capture a detail, let me know. I can easily erase and revise.)

Silver Crusade ***

I like it. Check out Palouse Falls.

Dark Archive *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Class Deck, Maps, Modules Subscriber

* Sharrowsmith was known to have stirred up the kobolds
* The kobolds have grabbed more miners - NOT doing something about it is something that the Praetor can hold against you when they all die because you didn't pull their chestnuts out of the fire.
* As the GM you know that Sharrowsmith did proceed in that direction. Seed that information as you need to for them to proceed along the race track.

Hope that helps.

**

When printing out this PDF, it is difficult to read due to the background bleed thru of the background décor at the bottom (and top) of the pages.

Is there anyway to turn that off or get a PDF copy without that ink-drinking background stuff?

Dark Archive ***

My search-foo has revealed nothing, so wanted to ask the question here. Sharrowsmith's backpack (the magical item) is only found in the high tier - therefore should I cross it off the stats of this item off the chronicle sheet, or should I just cross of the 4-5 listing and allow them to purchase the item when they have the fame?

****

Grim Bastion wrote:
My search-foo has revealed nothing, so wanted to ask the question here. Sharrowsmith's backpack (the magical item) is only found in the high tier - therefore should I cross it off the stats of this item off the chronicle sheet, or should I just cross of the 4-5 listing and allow them to purchase the item when they have the fame?

If the item only appears on a sheet and is only available in tier 4-5, I would think the only way to gain the item is to play the adventure in tier 4-5. The same logic applies to other unique items on chronicle sheets.

Grand Lodge **** Venture-Agent, United Kingdom—England—Manchester aka Merisal The Risen

The complication here is that the item is detailed above the tier breakdown but the treasure / developments section clearly show high tier only.. I do remember being miffed at low tier and missing out but then read the item and thought 2K extra for non detection was not a price I was willing to pay for a funky handy haversack and quickly got over the disappointment.

Sovereign Court *** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

Nondetection isn't a very strong protection anyway, because the caster level is rarely good enough.

If you absolutely must, store your handy haversack in a pathfinder pouch.


Grim Bastion wrote:
Sharrowsmith's backpack (the magical item) is only found in the high tier - therefore should I cross it off the stats of this item off the chronicle sheet, or should I just cross of the 4-5 listing and allow them to purchase the item when they have the fame?

They have to have a valid way to unlock the item purchase. So that item needs to appear in a book or something, in order for them to buy it. The only other way is to have it appear on a Chronicle sheet, and be in the tier they are in. So if you cross off the tier 4-5 items, which unlocks the purchase, then they need another valid resource to purchase the item -- the Chronicle sheet will never unlock it for them.

Because of this, you could cross it off both the tier 4-5 and the item listing itself, IF you run low-tier.

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