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Dreams of the Yellow King (GM Reference)


Strange Aeons

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The purpose of this thread is to clarify questions arising in this adventure. This is a SPOILER filled zone, do not venture further if you do not wish the adventure to be spoiled for you, and spoiler tags are not required when posting here.

This thread is a GM Reference thread for Part 3 of the Strange Aeons Adventure Path. Links for the individual threads for each part are as follows:

Silver Crusade

I am jonesin' for book 3!


Only had time to skim the book but I am incredibly excited to run this one. While I've yet to really dig into the details, I'm pretty sure this is going to be my favorite of the 3 so far.


Same here. Just skimmed the pdf - and it is awesome.
I thought there would be more specific info regarding the PCs past.
Instead, it is left vague, for the GM to fill in the details.


Finished reading through it. I'm guessing it was titled "Dreams of the Yellow King" because "The Dream-Quest of Unknown Player Characters" was a bit too on the nose!

I simply can't wait to run this for my group, it's so very wrong in all the right ways.


'Sani wrote:

Finished reading through it. I'm guessing it was titled "Dreams of the Yellow King" because "The Dream-Quest of Unknown Player Characters" was a bit too on the nose!

I simply can't wait to run this for my group, it's so very wrong in all the right ways.

For those of us who haven't received our copies yet, do you have any major plot developments (both general plot of the AP and the PCs' backgrounds) that you can share with us? I'm running what will probably be my group's second or third-to-last session of module 1 tonight, so I want to make sure I don't miss any big opportunities to hint at future plot points.


I felt a little taken aback when the mad poet explains that Lowls has been tainted by Xhamen Dor (via knowledge of the old one which leads to dreams which leads to influence on one's mind). That didn't seem to come up in the past two books (I could be wrong) and I think it's a big deal.

Also, the location the players are drowned by Lowls is in an oasis in the middle of the desert (in the dreamlands). That might be useful for any visions of the past you throw at them.

I'll post more as I continue to read.


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Lots of spoilers below!

Spoiler:
Players enter the Dreamlands. Players that die in the Dreamlands don't die, they just wake up. I'm not planning to tell my players this until it happens :D

The Dreamlands give out MAJOR magic items like candy. Like, make a DC 2 perception check to find the Vorpal Sword leaning against the wall. Magic Items found in the Dreamlands do not go with them into the waking world, but reappear in their possession next trip into the Dreamlands.

Xhamen Dor is mentioned in The Thrushmor Terror at a few spots, the fact that it is revealed to the player near the end of this one that Lowls is tainted by the Great Old One means it's something you have a chance to hint at.

Some creatures you may want to hint at are Dreamlands natives, such as Denizens of Leng, Moon Beasts, Leng Ghouls, Ghouls, Ghasts, Xoogs, and Leng Spiders. All show up, and some are surprisingly friendly.

The books the players recover from Lowls mansion play a MAJOR role, MAKE SURE your players keep them.

Read the entry on Bokrug in the Elder Mythos section of In Search of Sanity. Replace the phrase "but one thousand years later" with "the day the PCs show up." Foreshadowing that could be fun.

A ship with blood red sails will hunt them. They can not escape it, and it will laugh at them.

They will, at some point, fight reflections of themselves.

Weird other monsters that appear: Bogeyman. Night Hag. Shantak. Gugs. Nightmare Dragon.

Things you won't find a bestiary for until you get the book but are awesome nightmare fuel:
Tarry ooze smarter than half your party that shifts between recognizable forms and could talk to you but won't, because talking to dinner is a waste of time.
Thing that looks like a black severed pig head grew nine legs, red webbed feet, and a spider butt that likes to make corpse slurpies.
Sickly green incorporeal froggish humanoids with empty eye sockets that can ghost touch anything they want and with that touch DOOM.

Hope that helps with things you can hint at!


You two are the real MVPs. Is there anything in there about the Yithian? I have a player that took the mind swapped trait, and he's morphing slowly into one of the two party leaders, so it could make for a strong side story with some set-up.


Also, why is my avatar now Smurfette?


Re foreshadowing:
Any suggestions for how to foreshadow Bokrug? More nightmares or should I let the PCs find an obscure book with tantalizing but incomplete details?

Paizo Employee Developer

Captain Battletoad wrote:
Also, why is my avatar now Smurfette?

Pssst.


Do we have to spoiler in the GM reference thread?


Adam Daigle wrote:
Captain Battletoad wrote:
Also, why is my avatar now Smurfette?
Pssst.

First this, now the Cubs win the World Series... what has my life become?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Captain Battletoad wrote:
Adam Daigle wrote:
Captain Battletoad wrote:
Also, why is my avatar now Smurfette?
Pssst.
First this, now the Cubs win the World Series... what has my life become?

Awesomely smurfy. :-)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Spastic Puma wrote:
Do we have to spoiler in the GM reference thread?

Nope. :-)


Still reading through, but I noticed a couple of things in the stats:

Captain Hinks Argup (the Razmiri guy) is listed as a "blackstrike" on page 9, but I don't see that in the NPC list. Is he supposed to be a Shadow Striker (F7/Shadowdancer2)? The CRs match.

The Priest of Bokrug on page 34 has the base Ib Shade ability scores, +1 Wisdom for levels, and doesn't use the Monster with Class Levels array (14/14/12/12/10/8). If one were to add 4 to Wis & Cha as part of that array, that would result in +2 to spell & channel DCs, +1 3rd level spell prepared, +22 hp, +2 AC, +2 Fort, +2 Will.


DM Fang Dragon wrote:
** spoiler omitted **

¿Porque no los dos?

Paizo Employee Developer

Spatula wrote:

Still reading through, but I noticed a couple of things in the stats:

Captain Hinks Argup (the Razmiri guy) is listed as a "blackstrike" on page 9, but I don't see that in the NPC list. Is he supposed to be a Shadow Striker (F7/Shadowdancer2)? The CRs match.

The Priest of Bokrug on page 34 has the base Ib Shade ability scores, +1 Wisdom for levels, and doesn't use the Monster with Class Levels array (14/14/12/12/10/8). If one were to add 4 to Wis & Cha as part of that array, that would result in +2 to spell & channel DCs, +1 3rd level spell prepared, +22 hp, +2 AC, +2 Fort, +2 Will.

Blackstrike is correct. It looks like d20PFSRD.com changed the name.

Good catch on the priest of Bokrug. I don't know how that slipped past me. I totally agree on assigning the 14s to Wis and Cha.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Spatula wrote:
Captain Hinks Argup (the Razmiri guy) is listed as a "blackstrike" on page 9, but I don't see that in the NPC list. Is he supposed to be a Shadow Striker (F7/Shadowdancer2)? The CRs match.

Looks like a case of where lore was removed from D20PFSRD for OGL reasons. In the actual NPC Codex, Blackstrike is correct. Standard procedure for names/titles.

Sovereign Court

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber
Captain Battletoad wrote:
he's morphing

I think this is the reason why.

EDIT: Yup. Got it.


I want to say that this is, hands down, my favorite book of all the AP books I've read so far, and I am so very much looking forward to when I get to run it. Each of the dream-quests evokes the same feeling from me that I get when drawing an Other World encounter in Arkham Horror. They're short, sweet, bizarre, alien, and I love them all to pieces.

Major props to Ron Lundeen for this book specifically, and to all the others who have worked so hard to make Strange Aeons as a whole more than this Dreamer could have ever hoped for in a Lovecraftian Adventure in Pathfinder! :D


I may have missed it, but the Occult Ritual necessary to go into the Dreamlands requires a material component that costs 25,000 gp. Not only is the item very specific, its very expensive, far outstripping my player's capacity to pay for it. I've read the AP section on the dreamlands and Lowl's library several times, but can't find any specific reference to where the players would get this much money on their journey, or how indeed they would acquire said material component. Did I miss something or is that an oversight?


The ivory staircase found inside the hollowed out book is the material component so they get that for free. Although if its somehow destroyed they are in big trouble...


Ah, thank you.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Leedwashere wrote:
I want to say that this is, hands down, my favorite book of all the AP books I've read so far, and I am so very much looking forward to when I get to run it. Each of the dream-quests evokes the same feeling from me that I get when drawing an Other World encounter in Arkham Horror. They're short, sweet, bizarre, alien, and I love them all to pieces.

Yes, this one is quite "pleasant" in that way.

Things people may not have noticed that a cunning GM can turn into something interesting for the campaign:

1. Bokrug can send his Vengeful Dreams against any creature that has ever damaged him or killed one of his priests. There's a bit of chance that a PC will trigger the former condition and an extremely high chance one unlucky PC will trigger the latter condition. Meaning at some point you can hit that PC with an unhappy night's sleep, 3d6 Wis drain and (most likely) a random insanity.

2. "the very knowledge of Xhamen-Dor was enough to put sleeping minds at risk of infestation." By the end of this adventure, the PCs know of Xhamen-Dor. I'll be interested to see if this pays off in later adventures. Even if it doesn't, it creates some interesting opportunities for a GM.

Order of the Amber Die

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Leedwashere wrote:

I want to say that this is, hands down, my favorite book of all the AP books I've read so far, and I am so very much looking forward to when I get to run it. Each of the dream-quests evokes the same feeling from me that I get when drawing an Other World encounter in Arkham Horror. They're short, sweet, bizarre, alien, and I love them all to pieces.

Major props to Ron Lundeen for this book specifically, and to all the others who have worked so hard to make Strange Aeons as a whole more than this Dreamer could have ever hoped for in a Lovecraftian Adventure in Pathfinder! :D

I usually don't chime in here until I've run the module, but I wanted to say that I agree with so many of the positive comments thus far. I went back through my list of completed modules and saw that Lundeen has put together an adventure unlike anything I've played before. A big applause to both author and development team for such a fine link to the halfway point in the AP. Really excited to show this one off!

Speaking of running it, I'm preparing for our marathon this week, and I wanted to leave other GMs with a little something to help with the module. As parts one and two of the adventure run concurrently, we GMs will have to keep careful track of the date and exact location of the party throughout their journey. It's in our Dropbox under "Misc Gaming Aids," so save yourself some time!

Lastly, each time we perform the Dreamlands excursion occult ritual, I will have my group pass a miniature staircase around the table. Just like the actual ritual, everyone will have to run their fingers along the stairs before passing it to the next person (the same music will play each time as well). This short activity is intended to aid with immersion into the Dreamlands each time we leave the real world behind. Repetition of this activity throughout the course of the adventure should leave memories of this module in your players' minds for a long time after. Mine is an ivory-looking dollhouse staircase I found on Ebay. Tactile learners rejoice!

Contributor

Leedwashere wrote:

I want to say that this is, hands down, my favorite book of all the AP books I've read so far, and I am so very much looking forward to when I get to run it. Each of the dream-quests evokes the same feeling from me that I get when drawing an Other World encounter in Arkham Horror. They're short, sweet, bizarre, alien, and I love them all to pieces.

Major props to Ron Lundeen for this book specifically, and to all the others who have worked so hard to make Strange Aeons as a whole more than this Dreamer could have ever hoped for in a Lovecraftian Adventure in Pathfinder! :D

Thanks! I had an absolute blast writing this, and I'm glad it's so well received!

Silver Crusade

Still have a wait another week for the PDF to drop...agony!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

So far this adventure path has been amazing to read through. I'm excited to run it in the next month or so. I'm planning on implementing the rules for sanity from Horror Adventures. While the party's physical bodies are relatively safe from Bokrug in the Dreamlands, this still has potential to be a total party kill of the mind.

The rules for sanity suggest that each time a character encounters a Great Old One they must make a Will save with a DC of 15 + the Great Old One's CR. When the party encounters Bokrug, not only do they have to make a save for sanity, but they also have to save against his Unspeakable Presence beforehand, which they will more than likely fail at levels 7 or 8. So they have to make a DC 42 Will save with a -4 penalty or become afflicted with a greater madness, since they would reach max sanity damage from failing the sanity attack. Over half of those madnesses have an immediate onset, which is a concern from a role playing perspective.

Hopefully at least one PC would contract a madness that doesn't fully develop for a few days, allowing them to help their allies shake off their affliction before their's takes over. But logically, if all 3 of my PCs end up immediately insane, I don't see how the adventure could continue. It could essentially be a total party kill of the mind instead of traditionally being slain in combat.

Depending on how generous I'm feeling, I could automatically assign one PC a madness with a longer onset so as to allow the party a chance to regain their sanity. It seems that Paizo knows a Great Old Ones encounter is not to be taken lightly.


Where does it say they actually encounter a Great Old One?

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

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Spoiler:
Part L. Last Night of Sarnath
If the PCs dally, Bokrug shows up.


I completely missed that. That is interesting. If I allow that I will be sure to choose a madness that won't TPK the party since it will likely take a nat 20 to not fail the save.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Just reviewed the Horror Adventures rules for sanity and madness again. Hadn't realized this before, but total sanity damage can exceed sanity score:

"if your total sanity damage equals or exceeds your sanity score, you become insane as per insanity (no saving throw) until all your sanity damage is healed and all your madnesses are cured"

So if they see Bokrug, not only would they obtain a greater madness (possibly immediately), they'd also be permanently confused until ALL sanity damage is healed and ALL madnesses cured, which would take months, maybe a year without restoration spells, assuming they've taken the full 54 points of sanity damage from seeing Bokrug. Yikes!

Still not sure what I'll do about this if it happens to my PCs. I may simply omit the permanent confusion effect of sanity damage in this particular encounter. Or only have the PCs take the sanity damage if Bokrug kills them in the Dreamlands. Or have the Mad Poet pull off a deux ex machina and cure them with a wish spell before they wake up, leaving them with their madnesses dormant. The 1/4 chance to act normally at any given time from insanity is essentially a game breaker for the players.


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Ran the first round of dream quests last night for my group. They chose to do the tricorne, the viscount ring, and the lizard idol.

The tricorne quest was very difficult. The mercenaries are quite sturdy at 50~ hp, and the fear gaunt was no joke. However, the captain's 5 attacks, 5d6 sneak attack, and guaranteed vanish-full attack combo means whoever he chooses to unleash his fury on will likely perish instantly. At one point, only two party members were left standing and the captain had taken no damage. I had started thinking of contingencies of what would happen if they failed, when the brawler grappled the captain and turned the fight into a cakewalk. Didn't know a scimitar was not a light weapon.

The viscount quest was a great deal of fun. The players enjoyed the atmosphere and seemed to love the creepy elements. The charisma party member (a medium) swept the floor with the required social checks.

The idol quest started off easy but quickly turned nasty once bokrug popped out of the sea. Without force damage, ghost touch weapons, or reliable ways to maneuver after the cleric, the party realized that their chances of getting the idol before bokrug arrived were slim to none. The -6 to rolls from bokrugs presence and the ib shade's doom severely crippled their efforts. 3/4 of them abandoned the quest but the party brawler heroically stayed behind to grab the idol. He managed to get a hold of it just moments before bokrug instantly ended his character in the dream world. He now has a lesser madness from dying in the dream world but the party is happy they got a hold of the idol.

Needless to say, the session was very exciting. Book 3 is turning out amazing so far.

Order of the Amber Die

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We just had a blast marathoning this module all weekend (full report coming soon). I see some of you are already tearing into it, so I wanted to leave behind another resource to help save everyone some time.

While the crew of the Sellen Starling aren't known to be great conversationalists (p. 8), it's possible your PCs will still interact with them at some point. Even more likely is that members of the crew will have to be accounted for (or even defend themselves) during one of the many river encounters your group will come across. I've placed a PDF in our Dropbox that has names, short backgrounds, and matching stat blocks for the crew in it. It's easy enough to print out and should enhance the module a bit in the event you need to role-play one or more of these crew members. Hope it helps!


Hey,

I noticed that the PC's aren't supposed to keep the treasure they get while in the Dreamlands. I am concerned that the gold amount they get total for the adventure is low.

Has anyone out there checked out the treasure levels in book 3 yet?

Paizo Employee Developer

I did!

I keep a spreadsheet for tracking assumed treasure levels (for individual adventures and throughout the whole Adventure Path), and while this adventure gives crazy amounts of Dreamlands gear, the real world value is taken into consideration. The one wild card for that is the stat bonus they receive after meeting Abdul Alhazred. Even though it's a granted bonus from the Adventure Path, that cost is calculated into what the PCs should achieve during the AP.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Will the "dreamlands gear" be used later?


How does the Dreamland gear work in the locations where the Dreamlands or Leng connect directly to reality, like in the mountains in Tian Xia? Does the gear disappear as one walks into the Material plane, or does the gear make the transition?

Just in case my players decide to explore, I wanted to make sure I know how this works, since it might be interesting post campaign if they go to the Dreamlands in their actual bodies.

Paizo Employee Developer

Cat Whisperer wrote:
Will the "dreamlands gear" be used later?

A return to the Dreamlands isn't scripted into the campaign later on, but since the PCs know the ritual and have the focus, they can return whenever they want.


Happy Thanksgiving Adam! :-)

Paizo Employee Developer

The Imperator wrote:

How does the Dreamland gear work in the locations where the Dreamlands or Leng connect directly to reality, like in the mountains in Tian Xia? Does the gear disappear as one walks into the Material plane, or does the gear make the transition?

Just in case my players decide to explore, I wanted to make sure I know how this works, since it might be interesting post campaign if they go to the Dreamlands in their actual bodies.

The Dreamlands gear would wink out as they made the transition from the Dreamlands to the Material.

Paizo Employee Developer

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Captain Yesterday Smurf wrote:
Happy Thanksgiving Adam! :-)

Thanks, you too!


Adam Daigle wrote:
The Imperator wrote:

How does the Dreamland gear work in the locations where the Dreamlands or Leng connect directly to reality, like in the mountains in Tian Xia? Does the gear disappear as one walks into the Material plane, or does the gear make the transition?

Just in case my players decide to explore, I wanted to make sure I know how this works, since it might be interesting post campaign if they go to the Dreamlands in their actual bodies.

The Dreamlands gear would wink out as they made the transition from the Dreamlands to the Material.

Thanks!


Why does Weiralai kidnap the Yellow King? I suppose it's in her best interest because she wants to stop the players (or possibly enslave them) and help Lowls? But how does she know that the Yellow King is key to their mission? How did she know the players even met him? Or is it just blind luck that she stopped by at the caravanserai and thought the Yellow King was a genuinely interesting oddity to kill/imprison?

I can't remember if this was answered in the book but I've been skimming back and forth and I can't find it.


How did Nestor Bindlay get to the Dreamlands? He's not high enough level to cast Gate. And the text with the augers seemed to indicate he went there physically, so did he just luck into finding one of the permanent crossing points between the Dreamlands and the Material plane?


I'm curious to hear what others think of these possible plot snafus


The AP says that the NPC that Bindlay is hunting got to the Dimension of Dreams with the Plane Shift spell, but Occult Adventures says that that is not possible:

Occult Adventures wrote:
Regular methods of planar travel like plane shift do not offer transit to the dream world—only specialized means such as the dream travel spell do the trick.

How did these two people, Bindlay and Brix, get to the Dreamlands? Or are the Dreamlands special, and you can use Plane Shift to get there, but nowhere else in the Dimension of Dreams?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

So to be clear, because I was slightly confused when reading this, the players keep none of the gear acquired in Part 2 or Part 3? So is the only permanent reward in the Dreamlands the +2 bonus to stats?

I have 3 players in my game instead of 4, to balance the reward for the party should I make the rewarded bonus a +3 instead?

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