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#8–99: The Solstice Scar (GM Discussion)


GM Discussion

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

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Many of the GMs headed to PaizoCon are hitting preparations hard. I plan to spend a lot of hours with this adventure over the next week and will post helpful content here. Please join me!

*****

Overall, it looks really fun! First read-through has generated the following questions for thought.

* there seem to be no "wave" attacks, but just a few encounters available for each stage. What do we do if the PCs blast through them before the Overseer opens the next area?

* the Overseer text that closes out a section is listed before all of the encounters that occur before that text is read - this gives a non-chronological order, especially if you're doing a quick first scan.

* Area A3: the wards out in the garden aren't really visible to the party once they're inside - should we assume there are windows there to draw them back outside, or just reinforce the "runes covering the building" at the beginning before they enter?

* Also area A3: I imagine that trying to disable the runes counts as being a "violent" creature? IS there a way for parties to bypass combat here, or do the runes automatically attack and start triggering the trap? Where does the trap start, since the runes can only relocate them 20' per round?

* I *love* dweomercats! Thinking this will be a very fun roleplaying encounter if the party wants it to be.

* Encounter 2D: Take them head on: where to the PCs start on the map? The map says "enemy starting point" but the text implies that is where the PCs should start.

* Encounter F: The High Ground - what is the Climb DC for the hill? Looks like a pretty shallow slope, is it supposed to be easy/average/hard as scaled by scenario?

Grand Lodge **

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

This will be my first time GM'ing a special... Any help i can get will be greatly appreciated.

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

GM Lamplighter wrote:
* Area A3: the wards out in the garden aren't really visible to the party once they're inside - should we assume there are windows there to draw them back outside, or just reinforce the "runes covering the building" at the beginning before they enter?

I think I'm going to outline A2 and A3 at the outset when they speak to the NPC in the entrance. Not sure he'd be aware of the haunted crusaders.

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

Gm's would do well to remember the climb rules, and perhaps print them out for their party for encounter 2F. Of particular importance is the option to climb quickly st -5, the loss of dex to ac (though fortunately none of them have sneak attack)

(I think it would be pretty neat if this encounter included sub-successes. For example, the areas could be subject to hails of arrows (area affect, damage dependent on level) ecru 1d4 rounds. Successes at F could decrease the frequency and/or damage die.)

Back to encounter 2F: Is the hillside going to provide some cover against the bowmen's attacks? It's almost as though they're prone against the slope. I was thinking +4 to AC vs ranged.

Shadow Lodge **

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm still waiting to receive my copy of it, sadly.

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

James Krolak wrote:
I'm still waiting to receive my copy of it, sadly.

James, Sign Out of Paizo.com and back in. Double-check your downloads. If you still don't see it please email tonya.woldridge@paizo.com.

Shadow Lodge **

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Tonya got it to me a few hours ago, so I'm set.

Scarab Sages ****

Couple questions:
So the runes in A3, HOW are the PCs supposed to know to try and disable them instead of bashing their head against a brick wall? Is it part of the knowledge check to defeat them? Do they just get it automatically?

In part two, do we tell them what orcs want what skill checks? Do we roll a d6 and randomly assign them to an orc leader? My initial thought is to give a brief description (you've heard this leader is relatively nice and is seeking to better herself through constant training, etc.)

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

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VampByDay wrote:

Couple questions:

So the runes in A3, HOW are the PCs supposed to know to try and disable them instead of bashing their head against a brick wall? Is it part of the knowledge check to defeat them? Do they just get it automatically?

In part two, do we tell them what orcs want what skill checks? Do we roll a d6 and randomly assign them to an orc leader? My initial thought is to give a brief description (you've heard this leader is relatively nice and is seeking to better herself through constant training, etc.)

A3: When I describe it, I'm going to say that it looks almost like it's a magical device, rather than a creature.

Part 2: I plan to describe locations, not individuals. "You see the tribal leader's tent, a tavern, a smithy, what appears to be an animal training pit, a sparring pen, and, behind the tavern, some kind of obstacle course. Where would you like to go?" From there, I can get them to their people.

Shadow Lodge **

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
GM Lamplighter wrote:
* there seem to be no "wave" attacks, but just a few encounters available for each stage. What do we do if the PCs blast through them before the Overseer opens the next area?

Yeah, now that I'm reading it, I am wondering the same thing. Maybe PFS leadership realized that all the extra encounters built into the previous Specials didn't really add that much unless someone was replaying it--which probably doesn't happen that often at the same level.

GM Lamplighter wrote:
* I *love* dweomercats! Thinking this will be a very fun roleplaying encounter if the party wants it to be.

I played a campaign last year where the GM LOVED throwin dweomercats at us. Man, our party wizard started to have nightmares about those things.

Dark Archive *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
James Krolak wrote:
GM Lamplighter wrote:
* there seem to be no "wave" attacks, but just a few encounters available for each stage. What do we do if the PCs blast through them before the Overseer opens the next area?
Yeah, now that I'm reading it, I am wondering the same thing. Maybe PFS leadership realized that all the extra encounters built into the previous Specials didn't really add that much unless someone was replaying it--which probably doesn't happen that often at the same level.

Read your table. If after the first combat encounters they are mopping the floor with the listed critters talk to them about other options. Give them a second set. Try the next tier up. Be mindful of moving up a tier as this can create problems, totes if there is character death.

*****

I was looking for the "party line", I guess... I ran the special where people got to "play up" if they defeated all the encounters, and it went pretty badly in a lot of cases. My feeling is, people came to the Special to play, not sit and wait. Maybe other people are more wary of having to spend more expendables than the next table.

Granted, the time limits seem a bit shorter than previous specials, so maybe it won't come up.

Grand Lodge **

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Reading through, i noticed a possible discrepancy- the Advance Shaes [in T5-6] have "Weapon Focus (Longsword)" but are wielding Falchions. Are Falchions longswords, or do they just not get the Weapon Focus bonus?

Scarab Sages ****

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GM Lamplighter wrote:

My feeling is, people came to the Special to play, not sit and wait. Maybe other people are more wary of having to spend more expendables than the next table.

Granted, the time limits seem a bit shorter than previous specials, so maybe it won't come up.

Even when GMing specials in the 1-2 or 3-4 tier, I've never had any 'dead time,' (well, once when my party went off-script, but it worked out).

If it becomes a problem, just say something like: "there seems to be a lull in the combat as you see other agents clearing up the rest of the enemies. Maybe you could use this time to rest or recouperate, and talk about what's happened/happening"

Y'know, give the PCs a chance for some character interaction and role-playing between each other.

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

It seems to me that a boosted benefit remains on an Aid Token until that boosted benefit is used. In other words, if a table boosts "Burst of Healing" or "Provide Spellcasting" then the next table can use "Timely Inspiration" without discharging the boosted benefit. Anyone interpret this otherwise?

Dark Archive ***** RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I've posted my tier 10-11 prep material over on PFS Prep

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

Is the shifting rune creature's "rejuvenation" ability meant to be "regeneration?" This creature appears in area A3. Magical Wards and on the statblock appears on page 71.

Sovereign Court ***** Venture-Captain, United Kingdom—England—London aka Angel Gabriel

In Part 2, the encounter at F: The High Ground, doesn't have a note to report this as a Success to the Overseer. Is this an omission? Otherwise there is no way for the House to achieve the 3 successes per table needed to achieve the Twinhorn Champions effect.

Scarab Sages ****

Rob Silk wrote:
In Part 2, the encounter at F: The High Ground, doesn't have a note to report this as a Success to the Overseer. Is this an omission? Otherwise there is no way for the House to achieve the 3 successes per table needed to achieve the Twinhorn Champions effect.

I would assume you report a success.

I am actually confused by basically all of part 3.

So first you have the blood on the snow encounter, then you get to the camp. Is there an order in which you do the three possible encounters there? I mean, how would the PCs ever know to go into the war tent? Most PCs I know would rush to kill any monsters there (the undead and the shadow creatures) and by then There probably wouldn't be enough time left to convince the NPCs not to abandon camp. Then you just transition to BLACK Tenticles in the final area? NO ONE at the lower tiers will ever break free of them unless the tentacles roll a 1. Even with reduced/no damage they are basically useless and the undead will just saunter over and beat them to death while they can't do anything.

Scarab Sages **

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

In part 3 you arrive and fight off the undead attacking the camp as part H. The diplomacy or fight decision happens afterwards and it says under the spirits of the past encounter that the undead are traveling towards the camp. My assumption is that following the encounter in H you have cleared all the enemies currently attacking the encampment granting a brief reprieve before the others arrive allowing you to talk to the elders or fight the incoming forces for part I. As for how the group knows to speak to the elders you could describe the muffled sound of Medda arguing from inside the tent as the party roams through the camp mopping up the forces from encounter H.

As for the tentacles... the undead wouldn't even have to finish them off. The tentacles are inside the stone circle where you also take negative energy damage every round after ending your turn. The tentacles would just hold them in place, and the hazard would eventually kill them(pretty quickly in the lower tiers.) It sounds as if these are deterrents, and that after describing the Black Tentacles inside the circle you should conduct the battle outside the circle as the tentacles only grab you if you enter it.

Shadow Lodge ****

Justin Riddler wrote:
I've posted my tier 10-11 prep material over on PFS Prep

Thanks Justin, greatly appreciated!

Scarab Sages ****

Zach Davis wrote:

In part 3 you arrive and fight off the undead attacking the camp as part H. The diplomacy or fight decision happens afterwards and it says under the spirits of the past encounter that the undead are traveling towards the camp. My assumption is that following the encounter in H you have cleared all the enemies currently attacking the encampment granting a brief reprieve before the others arrive allowing you to talk to the elders or fight the incoming forces for part I. As for how the group knows to speak to the elders you could describe the muffled sound of Medda arguing from inside the tent as the party roams through the camp mopping up the forces from encounter H.

As for the tentacles... the undead wouldn't even have to finish them off. The tentacles are inside the stone circle where you also take negative energy damage every round after ending your turn. The tentacles would just hold them in place, and the hazard would eventually kill them(pretty quickly in the lower tiers.) It sounds as if these are deterrents, and that after describing the Black Tentacles inside the circle you should conduct the battle outside the circle as the tentacles only grab you if you enter it.

So let's see if I got part 3 right:

1) Trash mob fight in H getting to camp. As soon as done, proceed to I Defeating the mob earns a normal success.

2) PCs get to camp (I) and have one of three options. They hear bickering coming from the war-tent, and they see some enemies coming up. There are pathfinders all around, so either is a viable option. Defeating the social encounter earns 1 or 2 diplomatic successes. Defeating the trash mob encounters grants a normal success.

3) After the House GM says so (and only after that), the PCs can move on to the final fight at J. The final fight involves a black tentacles area, with constant negative energy pouring out of it, and a bunch of undead. What are the PCs supposed to do here, just ONLY use ranged attacks? I mean, that's pretty weak for most character options.

I mean, at teir 3-4 (the one I'm running) that's a grapple check of +8 or +9, and 1 or 2d6 negative energy damage a round, PLUS skeletons wailing on your grappled AC. Seems nasty. AND THEN they have to try to close the portal. Presumably in the area of black tentacles/negative energy. Am I reading that right?

Scarab Sages **

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Yeah. As far as I can tell that's pretty much it. However, if they open up with ranged attacks the first round I would presume the skeletons(and the hand) would come to them. The skeletons are mindless, and the hand has animal intelligence so lacking any ranged attacks of their own they should respond to the player's assault.

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

VampByDay wrote:
I mean, at teir 3-4 (the one I'm running) that's a grapple check of +8 or +9, and 1 or 2d6 negative energy damage a round, PLUS skeletons wailing on your grappled AC. Seems nasty. AND THEN they have to try to close the portal. Presumably in the area of black tentacles/negative energy. Am I reading that right?

Yeah. It's a big do-not-enter sign. Although....

How would you suppose this effect would react to an "undead anatomy" spell? I'm running the 1-2 table, so that's not going to matter to me. But it's an interesting thought.

Scarab Sages ****

Stephen Wight wrote:
VampByDay wrote:
I mean, at teir 3-4 (the one I'm running) that's a grapple check of +8 or +9, and 1 or 2d6 negative energy damage a round, PLUS skeletons wailing on your grappled AC. Seems nasty. AND THEN they have to try to close the portal. Presumably in the area of black tentacles/negative energy. Am I reading that right?

Yeah. It's a big do-not-enter sign. Although....

How would you suppose this effect would react to an "undead anatomy" spell? I'm running the 1-2 table, so that's not going to matter to me. But it's an interesting thought.

Given that the PCs don't know the mechanics of the area (just that 'the bad guys aren't affected') I doubt anyone will think of that.

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


Tokens

I was having fun today. Made 6 of each of these guys. :)

VampByDay wrote:
Given that the PCs don't know the mechanics of the area (just that 'the bad guys aren't affected') I doubt anyone will think of that.

Truth. It just occurred to me while reading back over it.

Grand Lodge *

Nice tokens! I'm doing an index card for each tribe with the benefit on the back to help them to remember to apply bonuses or use feats.

Just to clarify, the text says the PCs "can attempt up to two checks to impress or help" (the orcs). So they can only make 2 checks per party per tribe, but they only need one success per tribe?

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

Ooh, I'm gonna steal that bit. Fine tip sharpie on the back ought to do it.
And yes, that's how I imagine it going down.

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

Can a player stack the cleft head and steel eater benefits at the end of the scenario? That's like a license to print money!

Scarab Sages ****

Nomadical wrote:

Nice tokens! I'm doing an index card for each tribe with the benefit on the back to help them to remember to apply bonuses or use feats.

Just to clarify, the text says the PCs "can attempt up to two checks to impress or help" (the orcs). So they can only make 2 checks per party per tribe, but they only need one success per tribe?

That's a good idea with the index cards. I think I'll do that. And yes, they can (as a party) attempt 2 checks per tribe, and only have to succeed 1.

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