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#8–07 From the Tome of Righteous Repose GM Thread [SPOILERS]


GM Discussion

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Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Pennsylvania—Pittsburgh

Hello Pathfinders!

I have set up this thread for the inevitable GM questions that will come along as part of this experiment. I'll attempt to answer any author or Pathfinder specific questions, while leaving the development-type questions for John and Linda.

Hope you enjoy running it as much as I've enjoyed writing it.

Liberty's Edge ***** Venture-Captain, Virginia—Richmond West aka Slothsy

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Fellow GMs, I have a few themed dungeons I have been working on. Would it be helpful for me to post these in case you need to prep quickly (like a grab-n-go sandwich)? If so, I'm currently working on the following themes:

"What would YOU do for a clear spindle stone?"
"Oops, hardmode?"
"Your Worst Nightmare"

If it's useful, I'll work on making it suitable for public consumption and throw it up here/on PFS Prep. If not, I'll just add it to my personal notes to run for other people.

*****

*blink*

Liberty's Edge ***** Venture-Captain, Virginia—Richmond West aka Slothsy

What are the three sisters' names?

The Scenario, pg 3 wrote:
The three stories Besnik fixates upon all directly or indirectly involve the Yohanatotsu sisters, Akina, .

The Exchange ***** Venture-Captain, Iceland

Starting to read this now, I´d love to see some themed dungeons from you Rigby. Something Halloween/Horror themed for the weekend perhaps ?

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

I'm digging into this as well. Wow it's huge. This is going to help out a LOT with some of our played-it-all locals :D

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Pennsylvania—Pittsburgh

Rigby Bendele wrote:

What are the three sisters' names?

The Scenario, pg 3 wrote:
The three stories Besnik fixates upon all directly or indirectly involve the Yohanatotsu sisters, Akina, .

Akina, Yua and Michiko. Check out page 21 for more details.

***

Lau Bannenberg wrote:
I'm digging into this as well. Wow it's huge. This is going to help out a LOT with some of our played-it-all locals :D

:D

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Pennsylvania—Pittsburgh

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I highly recommend reading Appendix 2: Example Dungeon on page 30. This should help clarify how all the moving pieces fit together.

Sovereign Court ***** Venture-Agent aka Dhenn

I'm very excited for this, but I did have a few questions from my first pass through.

  • As I understand it, on the "Encounter Arc Tables", you roll (assuming you go random) once and take both outcomes on the same line? So for the 3-4 Orcs, if the Major Threat is Bozena and two thugs, the linked threat is automatically two more thugs, rather than rolling to see if it might be an orc scout?
  • If that is correct, is the 3-4 Dragon table correct? It looks like the last two linked threats may have been switched.
  • On the 6-7 Dragon table, Blemia's 4 player adjustment seems to be missing.

  • Paizo Employee ***** Developer

    D Hennessey wrote:

    I'm very excited for this, but I did have a few questions from my first pass through.

  • As I understand it, on the "Encounter Arc Tables", you roll (assuming you go random) once and take both outcomes on the same line? So for the 3-4 Orcs, if the Major Threat is Bozena and two thugs, the linked threat is automatically two more thugs, rather than rolling to see if it might be an orc scout?
  • If that is correct, is the 3-4 Dragon table correct? It looks like the last two linked threats may have been switched.
  • On the 6-7 Dragon table, Blemia's 4 player adjustment seems to be missing.
  • 1) Yes, you use the major threat and the linked threat from the same column.

    2) IIRC, I made that switch to diversify the encounters a bit, but it's true that the story makes a bit more sense in the other order. You can switch those two if you'd prefer.
    3) The four-player adjustment should say to add the degenerate template to Blemia.

    Sovereign Court ***** Venture-Agent aka Dhenn

    Thanks! I can see both versions of that table making sense story-wise. I just put it on the Pandemonium schedule a few weeks from now so I'll have time to figure out a few possible configurations.

    Sovereign Court ***** Venture-Lieutenant, North Carolina—High Point aka Kyrand

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    First, let me just say that I love the idea of this scenario, and can already say it's probably going to be my go-to last-minute scenario for (non-brand new) players due to its replayability.

    Got a couple of questions, though:

    • I assume that, like the Confirmation, we're supposed to cross off items on the Chronicle that belong to a encounter arc and/or location that we don't run? That's going to lead to more being crossed-off than not... Will have to work to spin it to avoid grumbles from some of my more "completionist" players.

    • Speaking of the Chronicles, would a GM also only get the same possible items as the players, or does this fall under the "GMs can choose which boons/items they gain" rule? Letting them have access to everything seems like a lot, but may encourage a wider variety of people to GM it, so I could see it going either way.
    Can definitely tell this one will benefit greatly from the sorts of tools we tend to share on the Prep site. I'm already thinking how to layout a worksheet for each location, so that a GM can just write down the the threats, and mark what room each story, treasure, or encounter feature is in on one simple to view page. If I had more design expertise, I don't think it would be difficult to build it as a simple web-app that gave an easily printed output...

    ***** Venture-Agent aka Otagian

    Oh my god, I am going to kill SO MANY PCS with that nightmare dragon. The things are bad enough without giving them access to supernatural darkness. :D

    Liberty's Edge ***** Venture-Captain, Virginia—Richmond West aka Slothsy

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    Þórarinn Sigurðsson wrote:
    Starting to read this now, I´d love to see some themed dungeons from you Rigby. Something Halloween/Horror themed for the weekend perhaps ?

    Oh, wow, I got super busy. If you (or someone else!) are still interested, here's a Halloween dungeon I put together. Halloween is an interesting holiday - I went with "things aren't what they seem" for this one, since costumes and identity play factor heavily into this holiday.

    Location and Treasure Packages:
    Ustalav; a big thing that this dunegon plays with is expectations and tries to subvert them some. Utsalav will have people preparing for undead, not what they're actually going to be fighting.

    Crusader's Blade
    Restorative cache
    Magical reserve (see pg. 16 for details)

    Major Threat:
    We're going with Raiders for this one. The "trapped creature" is a great horror trope, as everyone has to figure out what's scaring their enemies so badly.

    3–4 Storm sorcerer*, 2 spry ambushers
    3-4 4-player adjustment: Remove 1 spry ambusher
    6-7: Laurlathsa (seductive enchanter)1
    6-7 4-player adjustment: 2 Remove 1 sorcerer and 2 halflings

    Raider's treasure package - the raider's precious gear found after encountering them (see pg. 23)

    Linked Threat:
    I went with traditionally good-aligned creatures OR creatures that have shown up as allies in scenarios before (the aeon).

    3-4: Othaos Aeon
    3-4 4-Player Adjustment: Degenerate Othaos
    6-7: Grythyk
    6-7 4-player adjustment: Legion Archon

    Additional Threat 1:
    3-4: Slithering tracker and amoeba swarm
    3-4 with 4-player adjustment: Slithering tracker
    6-7: Deathtrap ooze
    6-7 with 4-player adjustment: Degenerate Death Trap Ooze

    Additional Threat 2:
    3-4: Gibbering mouther
    3-4 with 4-player adjustment; Weaken gibbering mouther (The gibbering mouther loses its spittle attack. Decrease the DC of the Will save to resist its gibbering to 11.)
    6-7: Animate dream
    6-7 with 4-player adjustment: Degenerate animate dream

    Environment Threat:
    I actually had the hardest time with this one. However, after thinking about the way that players approach the metagame, we're already playing with the trap / not-trap (with the deathtrap ooze and slithering tracker).

    3-4: Green Slime (note: see the full description in the GMG; the scenario is missing an important paragraph)
    6-7: Yellow Mold

    Where to put these encounters?:

    C1 Halls of Discouragement - Environmental Threat (Green Slime/Yellow Mold). This is the opening salvo to set the tone for the dungeon. Players are going to expect traps and will probably not know exactly what to do with the slime/mold. (Maybe they will?) These items can also start by giving people some weaknesses that destabilize the "it has stats, we'll kill it" feelings.

    Put the crusader's blade treasure under a pile of sprung traps (bear traps?) that are covered with the mold/slime. It gives them a reason to have to touch it.

    Place the restorative cache in the same room as this fight;

    C2 Hero's Tomb - Additional Threat 2 (Gibbering Mouther/Animate Dream) - Crypts = fights for players. We've got to live up to some expectations.

    C4 Armory - In this armory, also put the magical reserve treasure package. Everyone gets something! You get a partially-assembled baliista, you get a partially-assembled baliista, and you get a pearl of power. Sorry, we all can't be siege engineers.

    C5 Stained Laboratory - Additional Threat 1 (Slithering tracker/deathtrap ooze). Here's a good place to play with things. That slithering tracker become nice added "blood-filled pool" or "flask still filled with liquid". The Deathtrap ooze can be a nice wall scythe trap that hits the player examining the book.

    C8 Archery Range - This is a beautiful location for another adventure. As it is, I'd place the restorative package in here, with adding in the gust of wind effect for flavor.

    C12 Celestial Gallery - Linked Threat (Aeon/Archon) - This is such a perfect location for this encounter. It'll make people feel really weird about killing it (maybe they won't! maybe they will! but it'll feel weird). Be sure to choose which entrance to be the one door that isn't sealed by force. I'd say go with a smaller side door.

    C14 The Dining Hall - Major Threat Here are where the PCs encounter the raiders. The raiders, lead by Norwhip and having their raider's treasure, have hunkered down in here due to the easily accessible food. They can move to form their ambush outside the Celestial Gallery easily.

    I think that's it. I'm trying to figure out a better way to format, but I hope this helps :)

    Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Pennsylvania—Pittsburgh

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    Alex Blaes wrote:
    Oh my god, I am going to kill SO MANY PCS with that nightmare dragon. The things are bad enough without giving them access to supernatural darkness. :D

    The high subtier nightmare dragon is quite a challenge, but please do not use it with the goal of murdering PCs. If you are choosing the encounters, I recommend choosing ones your PCs are likely to overcome. For example, choose a plant type creature if you have a druid who can speak with plants. Also, please remember to give social PCs a chance to negotiate safe passage. The dragon is basically trying to close an escrow deal when the PCs arrive; maybe that Profession (barrister) will come in handy after all?

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

    Andrew Hoskins wrote:
    Alex Blaes wrote:
    Oh my god, I am going to kill SO MANY PCS with that nightmare dragon. The things are bad enough without giving them access to supernatural darkness. :D
    The high subtier nightmare dragon is quite a challenge, but please do not use it with the goal of murdering PCs. If you are choosing the encounters, I recommend choosing ones your PCs are likely to overcome. For example, choose a plant type creature if you have a druid who can speak with plants. Also, please remember to give social PCs a chance to negotiate safe passage. The dragon is basically trying to close an escrow deal when the PCs arrive; maybe that Profession (barrister) will come in handy after all?

    I chose the nightmare dragon, in lastwall. My paladin player was expecting undead, so I gave him evil dragon instead. It was rather epic, the paladin was smiting the dragon, if he hit dragon was dead. If he missed he would have taken a full dragon attack, and it wouldn't have been pretty. That player left the table feeling pretty epically paladiny.

    Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Pennsylvania—Pittsburgh

    James Daniels wrote:

    I chose the nightmare dragon, in lastwall. My paladin player was expecting undead, so I gave him evil dragon instead. It was rather epic, the paladin was smiting the dragon, if he hit dragon was dead. If he missed he would have taken a full dragon attack, and it wouldn't have been pretty. That player left the table feeling pretty epically paladiny.

    Bad ass! There's a paladin just being a kick ass paladin. Good job, James!

    **** Venture-Lieutenant, Kentucky—Northern Kentucky aka HeatherV

    I'm preparing to run this for the first time in a few weeks (at a convention, no less!). I have players signed up that I know personally, and they're in my home game for Carrion Crown. That makes this whole thing pretty exciting for me, as it all sort of ties in to things of interest to them.

    It's a bit intimidating to prepare though, as it has a lot of random elements (maybe more because I'm doing the undead crusaders, so there are 3 additional elements to randomize in the dungeon -- though some just have "common sense" locations to me).

    Since I'm going to have to run this at a convention, I'm actually copying and pasting the entire original Ustalav section, and going through and adding my elements to each room. It means all my papers will be in order in a single stack, instead of having so many random papers to sort through.

    I have to ask -- if you were going to use one of the haunts as your random hazard (either the Tyrant's Recruitment or the Enraged Crusaders) where would you place them? I've considered the Barracks or Dining Hall for the Crusaders. I'm considering the entry hall or dining hall for the Tyrant (or even the Crypts at the back of the dungeon for that haunt).

    Any input is welcome. It feels like there's a lot going on in some rooms for the Undead Crusaders already, so it's been interesting trying to space everything out, but also trying to avoid stacking monsters or other hazards on rooms that already have hazards.

    Sovereign Court

    Pathfinder PFS RPG Subscriber

    What is the impact of using the the Tyrant's Recruitment haunt? Do the effected Pathfinders leave for the 6 hours which is the duration of the Suggestion?

    Sovereign Court ****

    Super pedantic question for the writer/Paizo people, regarding the Lastwall Undead Crusader combination:

    In the VC briefing stage the PCs learn the sisters lived in the 37th century. The general's epitaph in area B1 dates to the 39th century.

    Is that a discontinuity, or did the locals not bury the tomb until centuries after the sisters' death and BBEG's fall to corruption?

    **** Venture-Lieutenant, Kentucky—Northern Kentucky aka HeatherV

    1bent1 wrote:

    What is the impact of using the the Tyrant's Recruitment haunt? Do the effected Pathfinders leave for the 6 hours which is the duration of the Suggestion?

    I would also like to know the answer to this. I think the haunt is a really interesting idea, and I love the flavor, but I did wonder about the actual mechanical impact of it on the party.

    I personally ended up opting for the Enraged Crusaders haunt instead, and instead to place it in C1 on my first run through of this scenario (it seems logical).

    Sovereign Court ****

    Another question, this time directed towards the GMs familiar with this scenario:

    What avenue do you plan to use to drop hints that players may attempt social resolution to the undead crusader encounter arc? I mean, absolutely the possibility of a social resolution should be on the minds of players in the raiders arc. ALmost as much so on the dragon arc, and it's unlikely but within the realm of possibility that they'd consider a social resolution with orcs.

    But with undead? Only way I can see the notion even crossing players' minds is if they're using meta knowledge of the scenario's other arcs all allowing for a non-combat resolution.

    I'm thinking about adding a CR2 Noisoi psychocomp to the Pharasmin shrine room as a potential information spigot npc. An NPC that would just stay invis and if need be fly away from the PCs if they're disrespectful of the shrine. Adding encounters is normally taboo, but that rule exists to minimize table variation. THis scenario bends over backwards to maximize table variation in the name of replayability... so is it still unacceptable to add a spigot encounter in this case?

    Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Pennsylvania—Pittsburgh

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    Heather Vigil wrote:
    It's a bit intimidating to prepare though, as it has a lot of random elements (maybe more because I'm doing the undead crusaders, so there are 3 additional elements to randomize in the dungeon -- though some just have "common sense" locations to me).

    Remember, you only need to prep what you plan on using. If you want to ensure you run something different than the players have experienced before, then prep a second set of encounters. You can then mix and match to meet your needs.

    Heather Vigil wrote:
    ... trying to avoid stacking monsters or other hazards on rooms that already have hazards.

    The rooms with the existing hazards are there to add some extra challenge or manipulate the encounter in some way. Feel free to use them if you need to.

    1bent1 wrote:
    What is the impact of using the the Tyrant's Recruitment haunt? Do the effected Pathfinders leave for the 6 hours which is the duration of the Suggestion?

    Yes! The other PCs may attempt to restrain them while they proselytize for Golarion's next god, or they may leave the dungeon site to go found a new church. Allow this more light-hearted encounter to insight role playing. Mechanically, it breaks up the duration of minute/level, 10 minute/level and even hour/level buffs. If the PCs all leave the site, it gives the existing encounters time to shift around and surprise the PCs. A monster hiding in the back of the dungeon might come out to hunt or forage and be found in the front of the dungeon when the PCs return.

    1bent1 wrote:

    In the VC briefing stage the PCs learn the sisters lived in the 37th century. The general's epitaph in area B1 dates to the 39th century.

    Is that a discontinuity, or did the locals not bury the tomb until centuries after the sisters' death and BBEG's fall to corruption?

    Venture-Captain Besnik doesn't know when the sisters arrived on Golarion exactly, but it must have been sometime in or after 3691 AR. Because the sisters are elves, they could have lived, fought, and died anytime during the Shining Crusade.

    General Dame Vheist died in 3825 AR and was buried in Mordesha along with one of the three sisters. We don't have sufficient evidence to determine exactly when the crypts were built. However, we can narrow down when they were buried to between when the General died in 3825 AR and before 3827 AR when the Crusade finally prevailed. The Yohanatotsu sister became an undead when the rift opened.

    "But the crusaders destroyed the undead and sealed the crypt!" Yes, they did. Even so, the rift remains open and undead may yet lurk the halls. What does that tell you about how hastily or desperately they sealed the place up? At that time, most of their forces were probably pushing back Tar-Baphon in Ustalav; the events at Mordesha were likely a tactic by the lich to draw troops away from the front lines of the war.

    **** Venture-Lieutenant, Kentucky—Northern Kentucky aka HeatherV

    deusvult wrote:


    But with undead? Only way I can see the notion even crossing players' minds is if they're using meta knowledge of the scenario's other arcs all allowing for a non-combat resolution.

    I might have misread it, but it kind of feels like diplomacy is only an option with the linked threat in the Undead Crusader arc if you're using Akina (the vampire). She hides and ambushes the party, with morale stating that she fights to the death.

    It does mention being able to accumulate bonuses against the linked threat. I'm not sure how to encourage that yet (though I am blessedly working with players that opted for Diplomacy in the final School of Spirits encounter too). I debated the idea of writing up actual text for that piece of vellum they find or a journal. Something that could make that creature seem more "human." I even debated having it as her former second-in-command or an unrequited love (to explain why it was tainted and so tortured by her return as an undead monster).

    But I'm probably over thinking it. I think using the enraged Defenders haunt will probably help in that area, forcing the characters to think of them more as fallen heroes that are worthy of better treatment.

    Thanks for the response, Andrew! I'm really looking forward to running this scenario. The only hazard change I've considered is the wind hazard in the archery training room. It seems like a great location for the Animated Training Dummies, but they are considered small, so the hazard would seriously hamper them in that location. I might keep it in the sense that the players could activate it, though. It helps make that room a fitting place for the tier 3-4 loot with the wand. :)

    Sovereign Court ****

    Well, what's tHe point of bothering to go thru finding three macguffins, figuiring out that they ARE plot items, and then figuirng out how to use them (imo about impossible w/o some guidance) in the other two undead arc BBEG themes?

    I ran this last night with Michiko. I had the shadows creeping out and taunting the party for a while from (incorporeal) safety from within the walls. Noone thought to even try to diplomacize or intimidate, which I don't blame them. I'd have been surprised if they even thiught it an option.

    I assigned tHe (combat) encounter to the linked set of 3 rooms with the same description.. the violated halls of names in the Lastwall setting I was using. I used the tactics of shadows ambushing the tail end charlie each time the party left each room, only to escape back into the walls when the party converged back to pritect their tail. AFter the second time the shadows did this, they started voicing OOC frustration that the shadows aren't standing and fighting to the death. I dropped my first hint by telling them "maybe there's another way to deal with them."

    When they found the Pharasmin shrine, I decided to go ahead and include a Noisoi like I was considering upthread. The players ended being told by a little bird, literally, about the existance of the 3 plot macguffins and the shadows' background as former heores. THe party immediately tried talking the shadows down but narrowly failed the DC. THey set out and then did the macguffin quests, managing to find and complete all 3 before stumbling over where I seeded Michiko. (However, despite my efforts to describe how the suitable location to perform the lamp ritual looked to the players, noone put two and two together. I ended up giving everyone a wis check... "hey guys, remember that Tien folktale your characters remember? Here's a statue right next to a paladin painted on the wall... any bells ringing NOW?)

    Once they did all 3 mini quests, I retroactively applied their bonus to the earlier talk-down attempt and quit having the shadows torment the party.

    New order of busines: I put the rift in Michiko's room, since it said she likes to "be near it". I was afraid the negative energy would make her too tough, but the players did perform tactically well to recognize and compensate. THey focused on her mook armors first, then the 2d6 per round heal she was getting by standing next to the rift wasn't enough to compensate for an entire party's combined damage per round.

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

    Simple question. With the Treasure Packages, if it's Subtier 6-7, do they get the 3-4 stuff too (barring replacement items, like getting a different kind of longsword)?

    Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Pennsylvania—Pittsburgh

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    deusvult wrote:
    Well, what's tHe point of bothering to go thru finding three macguffins, figuiring out that they ARE plot items, and then figuirng out how to use them (imo about impossible w/o some guidance) in the other two undead arc BBEG themes?

    Though finding the items and putting them together might be less straight forward than some of the other goals, there are Knowledge checks to help with this. Also, this is the sort of challenge that some groups will really like, the ability to puzzle out a solution and figure out where all the pieces fit. Some groups may find it frustrating. Use your best judgement to tailor the scenario to fit your players' play-styles.

    Andrew Roberts wrote:
    Simple question. With the Treasure Packages, if it's Subtier 6-7, do they get the 3-4 stuff too (barring replacement items, like getting a different kind of longsword)?

    You only give the PCs the items listed.

    Questions about Diplomacy and Undead wrote:
    The undead encounters make Diplomacy a very difficult option.

    Yes, by design some of the encounters are easier or harder to come to a peaceful solution. This is by design. For the undead, a particularly persuasive PC might be able to get them to hear reason before the katana starts swinging. In general, GMs should give PCs a chance at this before initiative is rolled, but it won't be easy.

    Specifically for Akina, I could imagine the PCs getting the idea that someone or something is there watching them, but perhaps she doesn't respond if they're in the room (so as to not give away her position). For example:

    PC: Look at all this evidence that there's something going on here, perhaps a fallen soul.
    GM: You have the feeling that you're being watched.
    PC: "Hello? Are you there? I know it's difficult, but you were not abandoned. Shizuru still has faith in you if you have faith in her... your soul can be saved. Just... trust us. We want to help."
    GM: Ok, make a Diplomacy check.

    **** Venture-Lieutenant, Kentucky—Northern Kentucky aka HeatherV

    I like that idea, Andrew. Thanks for the suggestion. :) It'll be interesting to see what my players decide to do with it. They're a group that commonly seeks to solve problems through non-violent means. They took it very seriously when I told them that Pathfinders are not murder-hobos. This wouldn't be the first undead creature that they've tried to resolve without weapons (and remarkably, they've succeeded a few times). It should be an exciting encounter either way!

    **** Venture-Lieutenant, Kentucky—Northern Kentucky aka HeatherV

    This feels like a dumb question -- Is it possible to leave the lamp out in the Undead Crusader storyline? It mentions only picking 3 out of the 4 possible ways for the party to gain bonuses for the Diplomacy/Knowledge Religion checks, and the lamp is the 4th option. It is also exclusively discussed under each different location with a function.

    Would it be weird to not use that option at all?

    ****

    So glancing at the scenario and the discussion there are apparently some deadly ways to run this. Which is fine, there are a few players I`d enjoy throwing dragons at. Any suggestions on a configuration for this that lean more towards cakewalk. Looking at the sign ups currently posted for the game I`m running tomorrow I`m expecting the possibility of the need to softball things a bit.

    Liberty's Edge ***** Venture-Captain, Virginia—Richmond West aka Slothsy

    In general, the higher numbers on the tables are harder challenges. Go for lower numbers and avoid multiple things that focus on ability damage; that tends to lead to downward spirals. Be sure to give plenty of opportunities for the options to resolve things outside of combat (IIRC, most of the major threats have a non-combat resolution).

    Sovereign Court ****

    Heather Vigil wrote:

    This feels like a dumb question -- Is it possible to leave the lamp out in the Undead Crusader storyline? It mentions only picking 3 out of the 4 possible ways for the party to gain bonuses for the Diplomacy/Knowledge Religion checks, and the lamp is the 4th option. It is also exclusively discussed under each different location with a function.

    Would it be weird to not use that option at all?

    The entire concept of using macguffins for the undead crusader storyline is something I'm still not entirely sold on. Seems to me that 99 times out of 100 the players will just kill the minions upon encountering them. Ditto for the BBEGs, for that matter. I worry that the extra work to fit the plot macguffins in is just a waste of time 99% of the time.

    See my post upthread about how I handled it... I gave the minions tactics to minimize the odds the PCs could kill them upon first encountering them and therefore render the entire miniplot moot... I had the shadows take advantage of incorporeality perform a hit and run campaign against the PCs that the players not only found unfun, would have left me painted into a corner if they didn't/couldn't complete the macguffin quests. Plus it ate lots of clock, which is a significant drawback on a timed game slot. Not sure I'd go with that angle again.

    Honestly, doesn't seem like a big loss to just drop the whole miniplot from a presentation using the undead crusader theme.

    Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Pennsylvania—Pittsburgh

    The idea was to give more social or more puzzle oriented groups things to do. I really wanted the GM to be able to fit the theme to their group or even their own GM play-style. If you have a more kick-the-door-in group, then they're likely to just attack the dragons/undead/orcs. That's ok, too. The mini-plot and options are there if you want them.

    Thanks, everyone, for your continued feedback. Hopefully it will inform future decisions in the writing and development process for both myself and the developers.

    Sovereign Court ****

    For me, the weirdest part from a writing aspect was why just the one (undead crusader) theme had the macguffins. I presume it's a patch to allow/encourage social resolitions with the minions of that theme (and maybe even with the BBEG) but it seems like a bad patch if this is the case... because you're likely to come to a final resolution upon making the encounter... either you try and succeed, or try and fail and then kill the minions, or don't even try and just kill them on sight. It seems to me that the GM has to contrive things so that the minions are not decisively dealt with prior to doing the macguffins, or else there's no point to doing the macguffins.

    That's my negative criticism I guess.... but please don't take that as harsh criticism. I love the bold new direction PFS is experimenting with and despite having a minor quibble with one aspect of the design, I think you did a laudible job of designing both a skeleton and a corpus of options for fleshing out that skeleton.

    **** Venture-Lieutenant, Kentucky—Northern Kentucky aka HeatherV

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    I like having the options, but I also have players that really do go out of their way to find non-violent ways to resolve things. I fully intend to pull on their little heart strings with the fallen crusader aspect of this potential plot, as I'm running her linked threat as her former lover (likely the one who buried her and guarded the tomb for a time). Since there aren't actual hand-outs for the vellum piece and whatnot, I debated actually writing something up for them... Something to give those NPCs more depth and story.

    Granted, that's me deciding to take the plot and run wild with it, because I love that stuff, and have two Carrion Crown groups running right now.

    If I had players that just murdered things all the time and never actually wanted to engage with story or understand the NPCs, I probably wouldn't make the effort. It's always felt like you have to play to your group's interests, and I'm lucky enough to have a lot of story-driven players in my groups (as I'm a story-driven GM/Player myself).

    I'll let you know how it all plays out after Saturday. :) I've thoroughly enjoyed putting together a dungeon with the material that was presented to us, and I enjoy having the extra options with the Undead Crusader storyline. I've always loved the villains that didn't start out that way, though.

    Dark Archive ***** Venture-Captain, Minnesota—Minneapolis aka Silbeg

    I am also a lot confused by how to get the social check in for the undead arc. One thing I think I first misunderstood is that you can persuade either of the undead encounter groups? At first, I thought it was only the minions.

    But, Andrew, the skills listed are intimidate and kn:religion. Unfortunately, diplomacy is not one of the explicitly listed skills (maybe this changed in editing?) If the party wants to use bluff or diplomacy, would you change the DC for an alternate skill? (Just asking an opinion, final word on this would, of course, have to come from John or Linda).

    Just g thing them to realize they could make a check seems to be the hardest part. I am considering adding scene dressing, such as the symbols of Shizuru being worn by the undead, and perhaps in the case of the corporeal undead, them challenging the PCs as to why they are here?

    I ran Michiko at 6-7 (with a party barely at APL 6), and she is a BEAST! They defeated her, but not without the loss of a party member... which I see happening more often than not with her fantastic attack bonus (especially with Smite Good). Basically, she has to hesitate, or monologue, to allow the party to fully come into the room, and have the chance to talk her down.

    I am running this again this weekend, and am planning for two arcs...

    JimCon arcs:

    Undead Crusader in Lastwall (Michiko, since I have it already laid out)
    Orcs in Belkzen (rolled that one up, and is a totally different, and simpler, adventure)

    Prep was very time consuming for me, but this is not a cut on the scenario. With all of the moving pieces, I created a document for each arc, which will eventually contain all of the room descriptions, with the critters, hazards, macguffins, and treasures explicitly spelled out, so that I will have a very hard time forgetting things. (FYI, I am not uploading them to pfsprep for many reasons...)

    why am I not sharing:

    First is copyright issues.
    Second, I believe every GM should take the time to place things where they best make sense to them,
    Finally, if there are "tracks" posted, I am afraid that many GMs will just run a precanned track, and not create a "new" dungeon for themselves.

    Looking forward to responses from Andrew, and hopefully John and/or Linda. Still trying to figure out how to give clues that they can talk without outright telling the players.

    Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Pennsylvania—Pittsburgh

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Jack Brown wrote:
    I ran Michiko at 6-7 (with a party barely at APL 6), and she is a BEAST!

    You should have seen the scary version of her. My playtest group said, "No, you can't do that to people. It's insane!" I then reduced her combat effectiveness by about 30% and gave her more intimidation powers. Hint: make her as a warpriest and she's terrifying.

    Jack Brown wrote:
    Prep was very time consuming for me, but this is not a cut on the scenario. With all of the moving pieces, I created a document for each arc, which will eventually contain all of the room descriptions, with the critters, hazards, macguffins, and treasures explicitly spelled out, so that I will have a very hard time forgetting things.

    Did you find the prep time consuming because of the document? How much material did you prep; just the two tracks you mentioned?

    Feedback on this will help me greatly.

    Dark Archive ***** Venture-Captain, Minnesota—Minneapolis aka Silbeg

    For last sat, I rolled up two, but fully prepped only one. That took about 2-3 hours, I think. I have mostly finished the other after about 1-2 hours, but still have to merge the encounters in.

    A lot of time was my document, the only way, for me, that I could see to do it properly. Will get faster as I do more.

    **

    Landon Hatfield wrote:


    [list]
  • I assume that, like the Confirmation, we're supposed to cross off items on the Chronicle that belong to a encounter arc and/or location that we don't run? That's going to lead to more being crossed-off than not... Will have to work to spin it to avoid grumbles from some of my more "completionist" players.
  • I would also like an answer to this. Running it this weekend and don't want to hand out too much or too little loot.

    Dark Archive ***** Venture-Captain, Minnesota—Minneapolis aka Silbeg

    2 people marked this as a favorite.

    So, GMs, warning about the 3-4 "additional threat" of the army ant swarm. Be very careful about placement... in fact, I wouldn't place it without having already given the players the alchemical stash in Belkzin (for example) -- make sure they have plenty of resources.

    This one is a beast... Touch AC20, decent reflex save, and a lot of HP. Even worse, they continue harming the PCs even after they are out, can can do 6d6 damage if the PC fails the distraction save. Horrid!

    ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Finland—Tampere aka Rei

    Jack Brown wrote:

    So, GMs, warning about the 3-4 "additional threat" of the army ant swarm. Be very careful about placement... in fact, I wouldn't place it without having already given the players the alchemical stash in Belkzin (for example) -- make sure they have plenty of resources.

    This one is a beast... Touch AC20, decent reflex save, and a lot of HP. Even worse, they continue harming the PCs even after they are out, can can do 6d6 damage if the PC fails the distraction save. Horrid!

    The rot grub swarm on the higher tier can be even worse with its 85 freaking HP and ability to deal Con damage. My party would have been in big, big trouble had they not found the fireball amulet in a previous room.

    Dark Archive *****

    Love this scenario. Great design. Can be highly dangerous if you stock your dungeon in certain ways. Need to be aware of that so to give pcs a good chance.

    Definetely best to place the treasure packages ahead of the encounter they are needed at.
    Really enjoy being able to place encounters and treasure packages wherever i want. Lots of planning as to put encounters in a place that is most appropriate and have enuff room to manuever. 3 bad guys on mounts need much room.

    *

    I found an error in the statblock of the orc pyro. The Attack line is simply a copy of the immolator. It should be +9(+4 BAB,+3 Dex,+2 elemental overflow) touch 3d6+6 instead of the +11 touch 4d6+6.

    Nevertheless if she crits it is mostly a one shot for the character.

    Grand Lodge **** Venture-Captain, Tennessee—Knoxville aka tchrman35

    Played this for the first time yesterday, and I'm going to start prepping it this weekend. Two questions.

    1) The Kineticist. The low tier seems rife with copy/paste errors. I think I'll kill a PC without really even trying. Concerning her:
    - His attack is listed as 4d6+6. 6 looked correct, but shouldn't it be 3d6 at level 6?
    - Elemental Overflow grants +2/+4. These are already calculated into the stats, yes?
    - At L6, Elemental Overflow also grants a +2 size bonus to two stats - I assume Dex and Con, but I don't see that it's included. The +11 would seem to include such bonuses, and the language in tactics seems to agree. But it's unclear. To get to +11, I'm going with +4 BAB, +3 Dex, +2 Elemental Overflow, +1 Point Blank, +1 more dex. PBS is not usually included in stat blocks, so this seems a touch out of the ordinary. A "Base Statistics" line in the Tactics area would be helpful to sort it out.

    All this to say that if I empower a 4d6 blast that is rolling +11 to touch, using Burning Infusion because I can do so for free, and gather power for extended range, I'm going to one-shot the cleric in the back. (This for one point of burn, so I can do it four times. Five if Elemental Overflow's Con bump isn't factored into the limit.)

    All of this to my question: Is it legal for me to rework the Pyro to be what I imagine it was intended to be - a dangerous but not overly lethal combatant?

    2) I don't have "Bigger Dungeon", but from what I've read so far, I could probably run it in on a smaller flipmat that I already own. I've substituted maps before. Is there any reason not to do so?

    Edit: Lol, I did a text search for "Kineticist" not "Pyro", so I missed the post that is LITERALLY directly above mine. My bad!

    ****

    Ran this a few days ago. It was fun but there were some hiccups. I agree with the recommendation of making notes on how you plan to run the scenario. I didn't and it did lead to some flipping back and forth and stumbling to recall where I read something.

    That said I think it's a great scenario and I hope Paizo does more scenarios like this. My only objection to it is the map. I suppose it could be a blessing that Paizo decided to put it in a single scenario that will see high amount of play instead of featuring it multiple scenarios but wow do I hate it. Not general enough to be worth buying in my opinion and an utter pain to draw without it ending up looking like a bunch of nonsense lines.

    ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Finland—Tampere aka Rei

    If I hadn't gone the route of buying the flipmat for this scenario, I would absolutely go with a miniature graph paper version of it (maybe make a really nice miniature version and laminate it) and just draw out the rooms that have combats in them, or alternately just describe the dungeon as they go along and again only draw the rooms with combats. With the amount of rooms versus the amount of encounters, it's a waste of time drawing the whole thing, and also a terrible idea since it's so much larger than the normal flipmat.

    *

    I REEEAAALY wish that I was warned in advance that I would basically be making this on my own. While I love the idea, I now need to assemble a dungeon with little time to do so. There needs to be a warning that you should give yourself a LOT of time to prep this. Wow I wish that I did not have to run this.

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

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Nohwear wrote:
    I REEEAAALY wish that I was warned in advance that I would basically be making this on my own. While I love the idea, I now need to assemble a dungeon with little time to do so. There needs to be a warning that you should give yourself a LOT of time to prep this. Wow I wish that I did not have to run this.

    About 60% of scenarios from season 5 and onwards have been described by people who ran them as "requires more prep than normal". I think there's something wrong with the way many people budget time for prepping.

    Scenarios that you can just print and run rightaway are the rarest.

    Grand Lodge **** Venture-Captain, Tennessee—Knoxville aka tchrman35

    A cat, a rooster, and sovereign glue?

    Am I to interpret this as someone having picked up the wrong lube bottle? My players will absolutely catch this!

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