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Skeld's Curse of the Crimson Throne! [Spoilers!]

Curse of the Crimson Throne

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

My Curse of the crimson Throne campaign begins tonight!

I had settled on CotCT prior to wrapping up my RotRL campaign. This was before the CotCT hardcover was announced and I'm glad that things aligned such that I have a compiled hardcover to run from.

Tonight, we're doing a combined Session 0 and 1st session. We'll finish character generation by picking traits using the character background method from Harrow Handbook. Then we'll jump right into the campaign.

I'm going to have 5 players, of which only 3 are able to attend tonight. Due to scheduling conflicts, we either start tonight or wait another 3 weeks. It's been a few weeks since justaworm finished his Thornkeep campaign, so everyone is ready to start something new.

The party currently consists of:
Elesca, Human (Varisian) Cleric of Sivanah
Corban, Dwarf Kineticist
Kerrick, Human (Shoanti) Fighter
Kell, Human Transmuter (maybe multiclassing Fighter/EK)
[TBD, Unchained Monk]

In addition to the normal stuff done as part of the Harrowing, I've assigned each character a Harrow card that corresponds their alignment and primary ability score. This is the card with a personalized note from Zelara written on it (based on the Campaign Trait they've chosen). They'll get an additional Harrow Point if this card shows up during the Harrowing.

We're using some optional rules, including Corruptions, expanded fear, Hero points, Stamina and Combat Tricks, retraining, Sanity/Madness (with modifications), VMC, and Wound Thresholds. Some of these we're trying for the fist time and if they don't work the way we like, we'll toss them aside.

This thread is an attempt at documenting my campaign modifications, spitballing ideas, and reporting out to the community.


Looking forward to the results ;)

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

We started our CotCT campaign a couple weeks ago.

We did a session 0 the first half of the night. We used the Background Trait Generation method detailed in The Harrow Handbook and everyone seemed happy with their results. Next, we finalized characters and I sprinkled around a few magic items (such as potions of CLW and some scrolls).

I spent a few minutes answering questions and discussing background and houserules. There really weren't too many questions because most of the information was in the campaign primer and player guide I'd provided a couple weeks ahead of time.

Finally, with a couple rolls of the dice, we set the start date of the campaign: 22nd of Rova, 4708 AR. This works out nicely because it fits right between when the PCs from our previous RotRL campaign entered Runeforge , then exited 6 months later (I added a time dilation effect to Runeforge to amp up the pressure a bit). So, CotCT kicks off while the previous campaign's characters were exploring Runeforge.

I started off by giving each PC a Harrow card I made that corresponded to their character's alignment and primary ability score. I personalized the message to fit each character's Campaign Trait. I told them that this was their personal Harrow card, representative of their character throughout the campaign. If it comes up in a Harrowing, I award that character an additional Harrow Point.

I also gave them a chance to roll Gather Information to learn a rumor they would've recently heard prior to the start of the campaign. Of the five PCs, only three rolled high enough to learn a rumor that I culled from the General Rumors chart in the Korvosa section of the hardcover. I've spoilered the rumors below:

1) “They never caught the Key-Lock Killer; he just vanished after killing nine people in their own locked homes back in ‘97. They say that seven of the nine had ties to nobles who opposed the arbiters and that the Key-Lock Killer was on the arbiter payroll. I think the Key-Lock Killer was one of the arbiters themselves, and I think he’s still alive, serving as a judge to this day! It’s all a conspiracy!”
2) “Korvosa is home to all sorts of unsavory groups: thieves, anarchists, wererats, and even cultists of the goddess of undeath are plotting against us from the shadows!”
3) “There’ve been more and more otyugh attacks lately; it’s like the monsters sense trouble brewing and are clambering up from the sewers for fresh food!”

The PCs arrived at Zellara's house in order of Initiative highest to lowest. They met Zellara, listened to her appeal, participated in their first Harrowing, and received Harrow points and instructions on how to use them. The Harrowing went much better than I had anticipated. I wasn't sure how well I'd be able to ad lib random cards, but it went pretty smoothly and the players thought it was interesting. Regardless, they expressed no reservations or suspicions abut Zellara.

Next, they decided to strike at Gaedren that night. They entered the side door (to the right) and encountered a groggy Yargin. Kerrick (the Shoanti PC) intended to incapacitate Yargin, but ended up killing him outright (earthbreakers are also skullbreakers). Bloo was also dispatched during this encounter.

They moved on to the Hookshanks encounter. I didn't have Hookshanks disguised as a kid for this encounter, but i wish I'd gone that route. regardless, Hookshanks tried to Intimidate the kids and the heroes tried back, which led to some confusion. Another successful intimidate by the heroes saw Kester (one of the Lambs) help them to dispatch Hookshanks. The heroes urged the kids out the door to one of the local orphanages with promises to check up on them later.

Next, they encountered Giggle, who laid some pain on them with his bow. More attempts at intimidation left the Lambs cowering, and the heroes took Giggle out quickly. Those kids were also evacuated.

The heroes went to the abandoned ship and searched through it, while being attacked by the spiders. They found the secret hatch that led to Gaedren's area. They recognized Gaedren as being much older and decrepit than they remember. Gaedren also recognized some of them and began shouting taunts and curses while opening fire with his hand crossbow. Since I rebuild Gaedren, it was a tougher battle than they had previously fought to get here. Also, Gooblegut got in on the action by taking out [Monk] to unconsciousness and almost throwing him to the sharks. Gaedren was a tough ol' bird, but they managed to put him down and tossed his body to the Jigsaw Shark.

We ended the evening once they went through the loot in Gaedren's office and found the hatbox containing Zellara's head. Boy did they start asking questions after that revelation. I just kicked off an email thread were we might RP some of that through email prior to our next session.

Just a s a note, I really like to rebuild most of the opponents that have class levels. this gives me a chance to dig into my Pathfinder library for options I'd otherwise never use, and to better fit the flaovor of the bad guys. I dislike using class levels, so Gaedren definitely had to get a rebuild. I also rebuilt Yargin, Hookshanks, and Giggles, just for... umm... giggles. I do all my rebuilding in Hero Lab, so I've included the statblocks in spoilers in case anyone wants to check them out.

Yargin Balko
Human alchemist 2 (Pathfinder RPG Advanced Player's Guide 26)
LE Medium humanoid (human)
Hero Points 1
Init +0; Senses Perception +4
AC 12, touch 10, flat-footed 12 (+2 armor)
hp 20 (2d8+4)
Sanity 31, threshhold 2, edge 15
Fort +4, Ref +3, Will -1; +2 bonus vs. poison
Speed 30 ft.
Melee dagger +1 (1d4/19-20)
Ranged acid bomb +2 (1d6+2 Acid) or
. . bomb +2 (1d6+2 Fire)
Special Attacks bomb 4/day (1d6+2 fire, DC 13)
Alchemist Extracts Prepared (CL 2nd; concentration +4)
. . 1st—crafter's fortune[APG] (DC 13), endure elements, true strike
Str 10, Dex 11, Con 13, Int 14, Wis 9, Cha 8
Base Atk +1; CMB +1; CMD 11
Feats Brew Potion, Point-Blank Shot, Skill Focus (Craft [alchemy]), Throw Anything
Skills Craft (alchemy) +10 (+12 to create alchemical items), Diplomacy +1, Disable Device +3, Knowledge (arcana) +7, Perception +4, Spellcraft +7, Use Magic Device +4
Languages Common, Gnome, Varisian
SQ alchemy (alchemy crafting +2), discovery (acid bomb), hero points, mutagen (+4/-2, +2 natural armor, 20 minutes), poison use
Combat Gear wand of acid splash (28 charges), Other Gear leather armor, dagger, alchemist starting formula book, brass key, iron key, amulet w/ garnet gemstone (worth 100 gp), 7 gp
Special Abilities
Acid Bomb (Su) When the alchemist creates a bomb, he can choose to have it inflict acid damage. Creatures that take a direct hit from an acid bomb take an additional 1d6 points of acid damage 1 round later.
Alchemy +2 (Su) +2 to Craft (Alchemy) to create alchemical items, can Id potions by touch.
Bomb 1d6+2 (4/day, DC 13) (Su) Thrown Splash Weapon deals 1d6+2 fire damage.
Mutagen (DC 13) (Su) Mutagen adds +4 to a physical & -2 to a mental attribute, and +2 nat. armor for 20 minutes.
Point-Blank Shot +1 to attack and damage rolls with ranged weapons at up to 30 feet.
Poison Use You do not risk poisoning yourself accidentally while poisoning a weapon.
Throw Anything Proficient with improvised ranged weapons. +1 to hit with thrown splash weapons.

Hookshanks Gruller
Gnome unchained rogue 2 (Pathfinder RPG Advanced Player's Guide 135, Pathfinder Unchained 20)
NE Small humanoid (gnome)
Hero Points 1
Init +2; Senses low-light vision; Perception +6
AC 13, touch 13, flat-footed 11 (+2 Dex, +1 size)
hp 22 (2d8+6)
Sanity 32, threshhold 2, edge 16
Fort +2, Ref +5, Will -1; +2 vs. illusions
Defensive Abilities defensive training, evasion
Speed 20 ft.
Melee mwk kukri +6 (1d3+1/18-20)
Special Attacks hatred, sneak attack (unchained) +1d6
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 2nd; concentration +4)
. . 1/day—dancing lights, ghost sound (DC 13), prestidigitation, speak with animals
Str 12, Dex 15, Con 15, Int 10, Wis 8, Cha 14
Base Atk +1; CMB +1; CMD 13
Feats Martial Weapon Proficiency (kukri), Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus (kukri)
Skills Acrobatics +2 (-2 to jump), Bluff +7, Climb +6, Disguise +9, Knowledge (local) +5, Perception +6, Sleight of Hand +7, Stealth +11, Swim +6; Racial Modifiers +2 Perception
Languages Common, Gnome, Sylvan
SQ frightening, gnome magic, hero points, rogue talent (weapon training)
Other Gear studded leather, mwk kukri, cabinet key, disguise kit, 7 gp
Special Abilities
Defensive Training +4 Gain a dodge bonus to AC vs. monsters of the Giant subtype.
Evasion (Ex) If succeed on Reflex save for half dam, take none instead.
Frightening (Ex) Demoralize duration increases by 1 rd, if 4+ rds can frighten 1 rd instead.
Gnome Magic Add 1 to the DCs of any saving throws to resist illusion spells cast.
Hatred +1 Gain a bonus to attack vs. goblinoid/reptilian humanoids.
Low-Light Vision See twice as far as a human in dim light, distinguishing color and detail.
Sneak Attack (Unchained) +1d6 Attacks deal extra dam if flank foe or if foe is flat-footed.

Half-orc fighter (cad) 2 (Pathfinder RPG Ultimate Combat 45)
CE Medium humanoid (human, orc)
Hero Points 1
Init +5; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +1
AC 15, touch 11, flat-footed 14 (+4 armor, +1 Dex)
hp 26 (2d10+6)
Sanity 30, threshhold 1, edge 15
Fort +5, Ref +1, Will +1
Defensive Abilities orc ferocity
Speed 30 ft.
Melee light flail +6 (1d8+3)
Ranged composite longbow +3 (1d8+3/×3)
Str 17, Dex 13, Con 14, Int 8, Wis 12, Cha 10
Base Atk +2; CMB +5 (+6 dirty trick, +6 disarm, +6 steal); CMD 16 (17 vs. dirty trick, 17 vs. disarm, 17 vs. steal)
Feats Bludgeoner[UC], Combat Stamina, Improved Initiative, Weapon Focus (light flail)
Skills Intimidate +7; Racial Modifiers +2 Intimidate
Languages Common, Orc
SQ bludgeoner, dirty maneuvers, hero points, improved initiative, orc blood, weapon focus
Combat Gear potion of cure light wounds (3); Other Gear chain shirt, arrows (20), composite longbow (+3 Str), light flail, 72 gp
Special Abilities
Bludgeoner Inflict nonlethal damage with bludgeoning weapons
Bludgeoner [Combat Trick] 2 stamina points to treat damage as if weapon were one size category larger.
Darkvision (60 feet) You can see in the dark (black and white only).
Dirty Maneuvers (Ex) Gain a bonus to CMB and CMD on disarm, dirty trick, and steal combat maneuvers.
Improved Initiative [Combat Trick] 10 stamina points to use 20 as the rolled result.
Orc Blood Half-orcs count as both humans and orcs for any effect related to race.
Orc Ferocity (1/day) If brought below 0 Hp, can act as though disabled for 1 rd.
Weapon Focus [Combat Trick] 2 stamina points to gain Weapon Focus bonus on another weapon for 1 rd.

Gaedren Lamm
Human slayer (cutthroat) 6 (Pathfinder RPG Advanced Class Guide 53, 119)
NE Medium humanoid (human)
Hero Points 1
Init +3; Senses Perception +11
AC 16, touch 14, flat-footed 12 (+2 armor, +3 Dex, +1 dodge)
hp 54 (6d10-6)
Sanity 41, threshhold 3, edge 20
Fort +3, Ref +8, Will +4
Speed 15 ft.
Melee +1 dagger +10/+5 (1d4-1/19-20)
Ranged mwk hand crossbow +6 (1d4/19-20)
Special Attacks sneak attack +2d6, studied target +2 (2nd, move action)
Str 6, Dex 16, Con 7, Int 16, Wis 15, Cha 10
Base Atk +6; CMB +4; CMD 18
Feats Combat Expertise, Dodge, Skill Focus (Bluff), Weapon Finesse
Skills Acrobatics +3 (+6 when in an urban setting, -5 to jump), Appraise +9, Bluff +12, Diplomacy +9, Disguise +9, Intimidate +9, Knowledge (local) +12, Linguistics +10, Perception +11, Sense Motive +11, Stealth +12, Survival +3, Swim +2
Languages Common, Custom Language, Dwarven, Gnome, Halfling, Orc, Shoanti, Varisian
SQ favored terrain (urban +2), hero points, opportune target, slayer talent (terrain mastery), stab and grab, street stalker
Other Gear +1 padded armor, +1 dagger, crossbow bolts (10), mwk hand crossbow, brass key, rusty iron key
Special Abilities
Combat Expertise +/-2 Bonus to AC in exchange for an equal penalty to attack.
Favored Terrain (Urban +2) (Ex) +2 to rolls when in urban terrain.
Opportune Target (Ex) During surprise round, can study one foe as free action to choose his studied target.
Sneak Attack +2d6 Attacks deal extra dam if flank foe or if foe is flat-footed.
Stab and Grab (Ex) As a swift action, attempt steal maneuver vs. dead/unconscious foe or when confirm a crit.
Street Stalker (Acrobatics) (Ex) Gain a bonus on the chosen skill when in an urban environment.
Studied Target +2 (move action, 2 at a time) (Ex) Study foe as a Move action, gain +2 to att/dam & some skills vs. them.


Grand Lodge

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Now that the first session is out of the way, we move on to session 2 this Friday. I'm putting together a plan for how I want to run the next section of the campaign, but I'm making some changes from what's presented in teh AP.

The first major change I've made is that Eodred doesn't die while the PCs are in the Old Fishery. Instead, when they come out, things in Korvosa are going to be normal. The PCs are very curious about the Zellara head-in-a-box and are going to investigate that and learn she's a ghost, etc. They may try to decipher the ledger; it's hard to say. And they'll sell loot, which will lead them to discovering the origins of the brooch.

With Korvosa at it's normal level of peace and activity, it won't take long before they decide to cash in on the reward for the brooch. They'll meet Sabina, who'll escort them to Eodred's court. The king will be summoned, make an appearance, thank them, and offer them a chance to further serve Korvosa and the crown. Eodred will appear weak and sickly, attended by Clerics and physicians from the Churches of Abadar and Seranrae. Ileosa will be there too, playing the part of the concerned wife.

Eodred's offer to the PCs will come in the form of a contract to assist the Guard in opening up an overland trade route through Bloodsworn Vale. Eodred will retire to rest and Neolandus will handle the arrangements. He'll escort them to the Citadel (giving them a chance to get to know him a little). They won't meet Cressida Kroft just yet.

Once they're off on their new mission, I'll run parts of Conquest of Bloodsword Vale. On their way there, they'll meet a patrol of Hellknights dispensing justice to some local brigands who've been robbing people along the road. This will give them a preview of how brutal Hellknight justice can be. When they reach the Vale, they'll meet eh Guard captain and go on the quest find out who's been attacking his workcrews, which will lead them to the Roseblood Sprites.

Here's where I haven't decided exactly what I'm going to do next. I want to send them out to interact (peacefully) with one or two communities of monstrous creatures in the Vale. I think one will be a small-ish enclave of goblins that have agreed to behave peacefully in exchange for land/hunter rights or something. When they arrive there, they'll find that Hellknights have already been through and eradicated the goblins. This will ramp up the pressure to contact the second group, which I'm thinking are lizardfolk, again on peaceful terms with the Korvosans. This will lead to a stand-off between the monsters that are on peaceful terms with the Crown and the "kill all the monsters" Order of the Nail Hellknights, with the PCs in the middle trying to diffuse the situation or throwing in the one side of the other. I may swap the two monster groups and turn it into save/destroy the Goblins. I haven't decided yet.

It'll take the PCs a week-ish to get to the Vale and a week to get back, plus whatever time they spend there. When they return to Korvosa, that's when they'll find out Eodred has died and we'll jump back in with that chaos and them meeting FM Kroft.


Grand Lodge

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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

We had our second session and things are getting more interesting.

As I mentioned in the last post, I'm making some changes. The most important is that Eodred doesn't die while the PCs are in the Old Fishery. The King is quite alive when they leave.

The heroes decided to check out Zellara's place after the revelation that she's a severed head. I played that one more-or-less by the book. She explained her reasoning for the leaving out that part about her being dead and how's she's now an intelligent item, sort of. The heroes took it well and one of them is carrying Zellara's Harrow Deck. Strangley enough, even though I described it as being magical, they haven't identified the deck yet and are unaware of some of its powers.

Through some collaboration between characters, they were able to decipher the code in the ledger and learned it was a detailed accounting of crimes committed by Gaedren and his people. They liquidated or redistributed loot among themselves. Some pieces they intentionally kept out with the idea that they'd take them to the Guard to see if they were reported stolen.

They met a female Elf Guard Captain named Tisharue (foreshadowing the Gray Maiden Tisharue they'll confront later). They went over what happened with Gaedren (leaving out the "a ghost told us to do it" part) and the items they recovered. While she questioned them, she sent a patrol to the Old fishery to verify their story. Tisharue rewarded them for the ledger, explaining that it would help solve numerous petty crimes (and a few not-so-petty crimes). She explained the relevance of the key-dagger, insomuch that it's similar to one the Key Lock Killer used and this may give them the lead they need to finally put the serial killer to rest. Finally, she explained the brooch and told them that it would be best if they personally returned it to the Queen.

Captain Tisharue and a couple of guards escort the heroes to Castle Korvosa, where she asks the castle guard to summon a representative. They bring Sabina to meet them, she finds out what's going on and escorts the heroes from there to the King's court. Heroes announced and the brooch is given over to Eodred. The king sits on the Crimson Throne, while Ileosa sits in a fancy chair next to him. Everyone else is standing. Lots of retainers present, including Clerics who are attending to Eodred.

Since I've left the King alive, I had to re-script the exchange between the heroes and the crown.

Eodred's Speech:
“This brooch was stolen from my wife some time ago—I had not expected to see it again, truth be told. And yet, here you come before me. The return of this brooch is a good and honorable deed.
“You have already done me a great service in returning this precious heirloom, and you shall be rewarded." [Sabina takes a small silver chest from one of the retainers and hands it to on of the PCs.]
“Yet perhaps you can further serve your city and your King. The Korvosan Guard is stretched thin, and it could certainly use the aid of heroes such as you. If you so choose, I shall have Neolandus see you to it that you are escorted back to Citadel Volshyenek. I shall send word ahead of you that you are to be given a generous contract, including mounts and provisions, to assist the Guard in solving a small problem the city has with opening a trade route through the Bloodsworn Vale.

The king turns to Seneschel Neolandus Kalepopolis: "Neolandus, see to the contract. Scribe!"

[A scribe steps out from the group of courtiers and begins to furious scribble onto parchment, transcribing the King's words.]

"Articles, admendments, paragraphs, charters. I, King Eodred II, King of Korvosa, title, titles, titles, authorize the heroes, names and titles, to travel under the authority of the Guard to Bloodsword Vale to carry out the orders of the commander there in opening up the trade route.

[Scribe tears off a piece of the parchment, ties it with crimson ribbon and intricate knot, then hands it to a royal messenger who quickly leaves the room.]

[The king is visibly exhausted. The queen appears anxious and pleads with the King.]
"Now, my lord, you needs to retire to his chambers to rest. Ileosa turns back to address the PCs.] I thank you for the kindness you have shown me today, and I hope your days of serving the crown have only just begun.”
[As the king is assisted off the Crimson Throne and begins to leave, Neolandus holds out a hand in the direction of the door intimating that you are to walk with him.]

The heroes noted that the King is obviously sick from something. One of them attempted a Heal check to deduce what might be going on, but a very low roll didn't reveal anything. Also, I wanted Ileosa to come off as compassionate toward her husband, which makes the betrayal feel all the more serious later.

Neolandus walks the heroes back to the Citadel, talking to them the entire way about his art collection (foreshadowing) and his time with the Sable Company (backstory). He's in now hurry. He leaves them with the Quartermaster, who goes over their contract.

The Contract:

In Accordance with Amendment 57, Article III, Paragraph 6 of the Korvosan Charter Granted by Halleck IV, Emporer of Cheliax, in 4406AR, I, King Eodred II, King of Korvosa and Loyal Subject of Her Infernal Majestrix of Cheliax Queen Abrogail II and the Thrice-Damned House of Thrune, charge the Undersigned to Travel under the Authority of the Korvosan Guard to Bloodsworn Vale to Cease the Attacks Perpetrated on the Korvosan Guard and Workers in the Jurisdiction of the Bloodsworn Vale by any Monstrous (or Otherwise) Denizens therein.

Upon Satisfactory Completion of this Task, the Undersigned will be awarded 1,000 Gold Sails for Services Rendered to the Crown. The Undersigned are to pay Taxes Equaling 10% to the Garrison Commander on any Spoils Collected during the Execution of these Duties.

The Undersigned will be provided Mounts and Provisions for the Duration of this Task, No To Exceed 30 Days. This Contract will Serve all Korvosan Authorities as Notice that the Undersigned are not to be Necessarily Detained or Hindered.

Upon Completion of this Task, the Undersigned will Report to the Korvosan Guard in Citadel Volshyenek for Debriefing and Payment.

Eodred 2

The Quartermaster gives them some time for shopping, which the heroes take advantage of. He also answers some questions and provides some clarifications, including that is takes about a week to travel to or from the Vale. While they were shopping and such, they wanted to attempt to gather a few rumors.

"King Eodred won’t die of old age—he’s been made sick by someone he trusts! My money’s on the castle seneschal, Neolandus."
"The Acadamae’s keeps its doors closed to keep out the riff-raff of Korvosa. Can’t say I blame them!"
"No Korvosan monarch has ever died of old age. No Korvosan monarch has ever produced an heir after being crowned. They call it the ‘Curse of the Crimson Throne.’ No way in hell would I ever sit in that chair if I got crowned!"
"King Eodred will keep up his secret affairs to the day he dies. It would be ironic if he were murdered in his sleep by one of his paramours!"

The heroes left Korvosa for Bloodsworn Vale, taking the Bloodsworn Road. I've been using the Korvosa city map that came with the original Guide to Korvosa because it's much more detailed and has a bunch of street names and such on it, including this one leading from the southeast gate.

I'm not a fan of random encounters, so I don't use them. Travel time is usually quiet time for my group unless I've purposefully added something to it. The number of travelers they encounter diminishes the further they get from Korvosa. This isn't a heavily used road and their shouldn't be much traffic since the trade route isn't open yet and there aren't any significant settlements in the area. On the 4th day, they come across an Order of the Nail Hellknight patrol dispensing "justice" via way of branding the foreheads of a group they claim are bandits harrying travelers. The mostly-LN heroes conversed with the Hellknight (who's backed-up by a quartet of Armigers) before continuing on their way. The only thing I wanted to accomplish with this encounter was to give the players a RP interaction with Hellknights (before they get to the Vale).

When they arrive in the Vale, I described it as being full of untended rose bushes. Roses of all kinds, everywhere. They come across Fort Thorn and meet with Captain Gyrad Tolgrith. I tried to have him come across as down-to-earth, pragmatic, and very anxious about getting the Vale trade route open.

Tolgrith presented them with 4 things that needed to be done:
1) His work crews are being attacked by something along the road. Sometimes a worker is killed, sometimes one will just disappear. A few days ago, a entire work crew was slaughtered. This is unacceptable. This is his top priority. He wants whatever is causing this to be dealt with, whether it's through negotiation or the sword, he doesn't care. Her showed the heroes an example of the small, thorn-headed arrows the attacker(s) used.
2) There's a goblin enclave that he's established peace with. He pays them a monthly tribute that needs to be delivered. It's also a way to make sure the goblins are holding up their end of the bargain. The tribute is basically the useful bits of Fort Thorn's trash, because goblins love to "upcycle."
3) There's a small settlement of lizardfolk that Tolgrith has established an agreement with. These guys also need to be reconned and tribute delivered. Their tribute come in the form of smoked meats, which the lizardfolk have developed a taste for.
4) There's a flame drake that lives a few miles away. It was initially a big problem, but a group of Hellknights ("Yes, we get periodic visits from the Order of the Nail.") tracked it down and claimed to have killed it. However, his scouts came a cross it a few weeks later, alive but unable to fly. In his mind, it still poses a potential threat and he'd like to see it slain.

The heroes decided to leave out in the morning with a work crew that was scheduled to leave. For the evening, they retired to The Bore's Bones, the local tavern. They sampled the local rose petal ale made by Orrend, the Bore's owner. He expressed to them that his new ale recipe isn't quite what he wants. He buys rose petals from the work crews, but he hasn't really found what he likes yet. He also said a good supply of local honey might really help it out. This sets up some interaction when they travel to the Fey Court (home of the Roseblood Sprites) and encounter the giant honeybees and the exquisite rose bushes there.

In addition to off-duty guards and local civilian workers, there is a contingent of Hellknights in the tavern. The group consists of a Hellknight, a Signifier, and some Armigers. The heroes got the impression that the Hellknights used a detect spell on them.

Deciding their priority should be the workers, the heroes headed out the next morning with a work crew that was scheduled to work on a river crossing for the next few days (the work crews rotate, going out a few days before coming back). The trip out went fine and they met the returning work crew who reported one of their number was snatched away the previous night. That night, the heroes on last watch were sniped from across the river. The sniper used the same kind of arrows that Tolgrith showed them. They were able to kill the attacker before it escaped. One of the characters used a Knowledge insight ability and they learned it was something called a Roseblood Sprite.

So ended our session for the evening.


Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

There's a bunch of stuff I'm planning out for the Bloodsworn Vale section of my CotCT campaign.

I'm hoping that the players will latch on to the rose petal ale that Orrend is making and try to get some of the honey and rose petals from the Fey Court to bolster his efforts. If nothing, I'm going to have Orrend's Bloodsworn Ale start showing up later in the campaign because I think it's a funny callback.

I've set up the main task with the Roseblood Sprites so it an be resolved either through a negotiation, or by taking them out. Taking them out is pretty straight forward. If they decided to negotiate, they're going to learn that the Sprites are killing/kidnapping workers, in part, to placate a mated pair of owlbears living nearby. Until the Korvosans showed up, the owlbears hunted the Sprites. They've sense learned that the owlbears will leave them alone if they deliver another humanoid once every few days. If the heroes eliminate the owlbears, the Sprites will cease their attack on the work crews.

The goblin and lizardfolk communities are there to provide a potential conflict with the Hellknight contingent. Whichever community the heroes visit first, they'll find it's been destroyed and evidence of Hellknights having done the deed. The players should immediately suspect that the other community is in danger. If they go there, they'll find the Hellknights laying siege. The heroes will then have a choice: help the Hellknights destroy the evil monsters, or try to stop them through either Diplomacy or force.

The thing with the Drake is going to be a straight-up hunt-the-monster quest. Somewhere along the way, the heroes are going to wander into a "random" encounter with some tree-dwelling spiders as well.

Another thing worth mentioning is that we don't do XP. We level based on benchmarks and story position. The PCs are currently level 1 and they'll stay there until the finish the Bloodsworn Vale portion of the campaign, When they return to Korvosa to find riots and anarchy, they'll gain level 2.

Now that the Adventurer's Guide is out, I'm going to try and incorporate some of that material. I've already custom built Hellknights, Gray Maidens, and Red Mantis Assassins, but I think I'm going to rebuild some of them (maybe all) based on the AG. That will give me an opportunity o take further advantage of archetypes, prestige classes, and equipment. Plus it will help satisfy the tinkerer in me.

Another thing is Gaedren Lamm's body. I'd like him to show up as an undead later. The heroes tossed his body to the sharks, but the Korvosan Guard wouldn't fished up out when they investigated and cleaned up from the Old Fishery raid. i think I'll have him show up partially chewed up and as something other than a plain ole zombie.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Good stuff Skeld. Thanks for sharing.

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

In my earlier posts, I talked about teh Roseblood Sprites of Bloodsworn Vale and I wanted to expound on that a little.

Roseblood Sprites were introduced to Pathfinder in the module, Conquest of Bloodsworn Vale. CoBV was a sandboxy module where dealing with the Roseblood Sprites was one of the various missions for the PCs.

As far as I know, that's the only time Roseblood Sprites appeared in Pathfinder. That was during the 3.5e days and they haven't received a Bestiary entry or an upgrade to PF.

Since they don;t have PF stats, I decided to build them in Hero Lab so I could use them in my game. The statblock isn't an exact match-up to the one in CoBV, but i think it captures the intent of the creature. And since my PCs are level 1 (much lower than the expected level of PCs in CoBV), I thought powering them down just a little wouldn't hurt. I also changed their special abilities just a bit, dropped the masterwork from their main weapon, and subbed a spiked gauntlet for the thorn bracer (I'll still describe it as a thorn bracer).

Roseblood Sprite:
Roseblood Sprite
NE Small fey
Init +3; Senses low-light vision; Perception +8
AC 16, touch 14, flat-footed 13 (+2 armor, +3 Dex, +1 size)
hp 21 (3d6+3)
Sanity 44, threshhold 3, edge 22
Fort +2, Ref +6, Will +5
Speed 30 ft.
Melee armor spikes (rosewood) -1 (1d4+1) or
. . spiked gauntlet +3 (1d3+1)
Ranged thorn bow +5 (1d4/×3)
Special Attacks sneak attack +1d6
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 5th; concentration +8)
. . 1/day—death knell (DC 15), minor image (DC 15), obscuring mist, sleep (DC 14), snare, suggestion (DC 16)
Str 13, Dex 16, Con 12, Int 13, Wis 14, Cha 17
Base Atk +1; CMB +1; CMD 14
Feats Point-Blank Shot, Rapid Shot[B]
Acrobatics +9, Climb +6, Escape Artist +8, Knowledge (nature) +7, Perception +8, Sense Motive +6, Stealth +13, Survival +8, Use Magic Device +7
Languages Aklo, Common, Elven, Sylvan
SQ poison thorns, rose form, rose step, woodland stride
Other Gear rosewood armor, arrows (20), spiked gauntlet, thorn bow
Special Abilities
Low-Light Vision See twice as far as a human in dim light, distinguishing color and detail.
Point-Blank Shot +1 to attack and damage rolls with ranged weapons at up to 30 feet.
Poison Thorns (Ex) Roseblood sprites typically carry three poison thorns with them, usable in their thorn bows. These thorns carry an irritating toxin known as the red rash. This poison has an initial eff ect of forcing the target to spend 1 round itching and scratching the wound, incapable of taking any other action (treat as dazed). The secondary effect of the poison is 1-2 points of Strength damage. A DC 14 Fortitude save negates these effects.
Name: Red Rash
Type: Injury; Save: Fortitude DC 14
Frequency: 1/round for 2 rounds
Initial Effect: Itching/scratching (as Dazed) for 1 round
Secondary Effect: 1 Strength damage
Cure: 1 save
Rapid Shot You get an extra attack with ranged weapons. Each attack is at -2.
Rose Form (Su) A roseblood sprite can, as a standard action, take the form of a small rose bush. While in this form, the roseblood sprite is immobile but it can perceive its surroundings. it can take no actions other than to revert to sprite form (a free action). A
Rose Step (Sp) As a move action, roseblood sprite can step into an adjacent square containing a rose bush and teleport to another rose bush within 30 feet., stepping out of the destination rose bust into an adjacent square.
Sneak Attack +1d6 +1d6 damage if you flank your target or your target is flat-footed.
Woodland Stride (Ex) Move through undergrowth at normal speed.

The Roseblood Sprites are ruled by a King of Thorns. In the original, he was a different creature (still a Roseblood Sprite, but more powerful) instead of an upgraded Roseblood Sprite (like from adding templates of class levels). I haven't decided what I'm going to do with my King of Roses yet. I'm thinking about either building him as a separate thing or taking a stock Roseblood Sprite and adding some Rogue/Bard class levels.

And by the way, I've been posting statblocks, but if anyone wants a Hero Lab *.por file for any of these guys, just shoot me a PM and we'll talk.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Really good ideas. I will be running this campaign soon, and will utilize you material and ideas, gratefully. Thanks.

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber
Can'tFindthePath wrote:
Really good ideas. I will be running this campaign soon, and will utilize you material and ideas, gratefully. Thanks.

Great. I'm glad you find this useful. We had our 3rd session the other night so I have some updates coming.


Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

We wrapped up the 3rd session of of this campaign a few weeks ago.

The heroes continued their side-quest in Bloodsworn Vale. As I mentioned up-thread, this is really just a way of getting them out of Korvosa for a short time while the King dies, Ileosa takes over, and Korvosa fails into disarray.

The heroes were given a number of missions to complete in Bloodsworn Vale. This past session, they completed them with the following results:

Roseblood Sprites:
They found the Roseblood Sprites and began to attempt negotiations instead of launching an assault. I played the Sprites up as evil-ish pranksters. They laughed at the heroes, goaded them, teased them, etc. as the heroes tried to find a way to appease the Sprites. After diplomasizing the King of Roses, he told them he'd stop his attack on the workers if the heroes would remove the threat posed to the Sprites by a pair of Owlbears (the Sprites were kidnapping workers and leaving them dead/unconscious as a way of appeasing the Owlbears so they'd leave the Sprites alone). One of the Sprites (Thornpetal) tagged along with the heroes to witness them removing the Owlbear threat. It was a tough fight, two Owlbears in series (not parallel), but the heroes defeated them, picked up some loot, and a chick-cub, and reported back to the King of Roses. This more or less cemented a fledgling peace between the Korvosans and Sprites.

During the completion of that task, the heroes picked up some exquisite rose blooms they were able to sell to Orrend at The Boar's Bones, for his rose petal ale recipe. I fully intend to have barrels of "Orrend's Bloodsworn Ale" show up in Korvosa later on.

Check on the Goblins:
Next, the heroes delivered a load of "useful garbage" to the small goblin village. None of them spoke Goblin, so they had no way to know they Goblins wanted to tell them about the Hellknight's they'd seen stomping around the Vale.

Check on the Lizardfolk:
Immediately after the Goblins, the heroes trekked through the Vale to the Lizardfolk enclave, to deliver some goods. They found the Lizardfolk all slaughtered and evidence that heavily armored/encumbered people had been involved. They immediately suspected the Hellknights they seen a few days before, but there was nothing left to do there and they returned to Fort Thorn.

Return to Fort Thorn, check in with Captain Tolgrith. They did encounter the Hellknights at The Boar's Bones that evening, but the heroes weren't keen on getting involved in Hellknight business. Aside from asking a few questions, they didn't press the Lizardfolk issue with the Hellknights.

Kill the Beast!:
After a nights rest, the heroes set out to hunt down the injured Forrest Drake. Along the way, they found a spider nest (occupying a copse of trees) and decided not to check it out. They skipped what would've been an encounter with a few monstrous spiders, discovering a missing scout that was still alive, and a nice piece of loot.
They hunted down the Drake and attacked. It was a brutal fight. One PC used Hero Points to cheat death. In the end, the heroes were victorious. Thy returned the Drake's head to Fort Thorn.

Captain Tolgrith penned a letter of completion for their tasks and offered his thanks. He also informed them that the Hellknights has left Fort Thorn after being summoned "home" in the middle of the night.

The heroes set off back to Korvosa. I mentioned that, even though there wasn't much traffic on the road between Korvosa and Bloodsworn Vale before, they didn't encounter any travelers on the way back. We ended the session with the heroes coming within sight of Korvosa and seeing smoke rising from the city.

At this point, they've made it to level 2.


Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

The path ahead to session 4 this Friday.

I may backtrack just a tad and give out some more details of the trip home. We're going to cover the return to Korvosa in all the detail I can get in there.

Upon returning, they'll find chaos. Riots during the day, worse riots at night. The Korvosan Guard and Sable Company are both stretched thin. So thin, in fact, that Ileosa has also given the Order of the Nail free reign to stomp out unruly behavior.

The heroes will, at some point, report o the Guard to get paid. At this point Captain Tisharue is going to take them to Field Marshal Kroft and I'll settle back into this section of the AP more-or-less as written. One small addition will be that I'll add another event based on the Mists of Mwangi PFS module. From there, I plan to make Jeggare Museum a recurring location in the campaign. Thanks to Halidir for that suggestion.

Instead of being an item from Mwangi, it's going to be a cursed funerary mask or something similar that is of Shoanti origin. I think I'll make it look like a Blue Dragon as an oblique reference to some of the campaign backstory.
Anyway, it's been activated by the chaos that engulfed Korvosa and has released the mists, drove people crazy, etc. This event will be instigated by Kroft based on some reports they've had of a strange occurrence in one of the wings of the museum that morning. Heroes sent to investigate, hilarity ensues.


Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

It's been a busy few weeks, what with vacations and work and such. I'm finally able to sit down a recap some of my CotCT campaign.

Session 4 starts out (after a slight backtrack) to describing the trip back to Korvosa from Bloodsword Vale. They don't meet any fellow travelers or anyone else really. When the arrive within sight of Korvosa, they see smoke on the horizon. The gate guard let them in because of the "official business" contract they carry and they get a very quick version of what's going on: dead king, new queen, riots.

They report to the Captain Tisharue and Citadel Volshyenek and finally meet Field Marshal Kroft. She explains the situation to them and tells them that she could use help. She offered them the job of investigating what Verik Vancaskerkin was up to.

On their way, they tried to gather some rumors and learned the following:

* The Korvosan Guard is giving up on Korvosa and are making plans to leave the city.
* The Sable Company is giving up on Korvosa and are making plans to leave the city.
* If Eodred dies from his sickness and not old age, the anarchists will use the tragedy to damage Ileosa’s reputation and perpetuate unrest in the city.
* No one’s seen Blackjack in action for years, and things are as bad now in Korvosa as they ever were. So, either he’s retired, or someone finally killed him!

Once they arrived at All The World's Meat, the heroes decided to... split up. Some of them knock at the front door, while some skirted around the back. It ended up being a two-pronged assault that resulted in the heroes capturing all the Cow Hammer Boys and Verik alive. They also found the Raktavarna dagger (it's magical, but they haven't been able to figure out what about it is magical). They somehow managed to not search for any other treasure and missed out on all the other loot that the Cow Hammer Boys had hidden about.

Cow Hammer Boy:
Cow Hammer Boy
Human warrior 3
N Medium humanoid (human)
Init -1; Senses Perception +5
AC 13, touch 9, flat-footed 13 (+4 armor, -1 Dex)
hp 36 (3d10+6)
Sanity 31, threshhold 1, edge 15
Fort +3, Ref +0, Will +2
Speed 30 ft.
Melee mwk longsword +7 (1d8+2/19-20)
Ranged javelin +2 (1d6+2)
Str 15, Dex 9, Con 10, Int 8, Wis 12, Cha 11
Base Atk +3; CMB +5; CMD 14
Feats Alertness, Toughness, Weapon Focus (longsword)
Skills Intimidate +5, Perception +5, Sense Motive +5
Languages Common
SQ hero points
Other Gear chain shirt, javelin, mwk longsword, 150 gp

Verik Vancaskerkin:
Verik Vancaskerkin
Human fighter 4
CN Medium humanoid (human)
Hero Points 1
Init +3; Senses Perception -1
AC 19, touch 13, flat-footed 16 (+6 armor, +3 Dex)
hp 48 (4d10+8)
Sanity 31, threshhold 1, edge 15
Fort +5, Ref +4, Will +2 (+1 vs. fear)
Speed 30 ft.
Melee mwk longspear +8 (1d8+4/×3)
Ranged mwk composite longbow +9 (1d8+5/×3)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft. (10 ft. with masterwork longspear)
Str 16, Dex 16, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 8, Cha 13
Base Atk +4; CMB +7; CMD 20
Feats Combat Stamina, Iron Will, Point-Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Quick Draw, Weapon Focus (longbow), Weapon Specialization (longbow)
Skills Handle Animal +8, Intimidate +8, Ride +7
Languages Common
SQ armor training 1, hero points, point-blank shot, precise shot, weapon focus, weapon specialization
Combat Gear +1 arrows (20), potion of cure light wounds (3); Other Gear mwk chainmail, mwk composite longbow (+3 Str), mwk longspear, 178 gp
Special Abilities
Armor Training 1 (Ex) Worn armor -1 check penalty, +1 max DEX.
Hero Points Hero Points can be spent at any time to grant a variety of bonuses.
Point-Blank Shot +1 to attack and damage rolls with ranged weapons at up to 30 feet.
Point-Blank Shot [Combat Trick] Up to 6 stamina points to increase Point-Blank range by 5 ft per stamina spent.
Precise Shot You don't get -4 to hit when shooting or throwing into melee.
Precise Shot [Combat Trick] 2 stamina points to assist an ally engaged with an enemy (+2 atk, +2 AC).
Quick Draw Draw weapon as a free action (or move if hidden weapon). Throw at full rate of attacks.
Weapon Focus [Combat Trick] 2 stamina points to gain Weapon Focus bonus on another weapon for 1 rd.
Weapon Specialization [Combat Trick] 2 stamina points to apply Weapon Specialization to another weapon.

Verik wasn't much on answering questions that the heroes asked and they didn't ask the Cow Hammer Boys anything, so they marched them back to the citadel and turned them over to the Guard.

Other things of interest that happened to the party were:
* The Shoanti fighter was accosted by a Mad Prophet who kept rambling on about the Eye of Groetus, the coming sickness (Blood Veil reference), and the writhing tentacles of doom (Havero reference).
* They encountered a mod accosting a nobleman (Amin Jalento). They confronted the mod, allowed the noble to escape (without introductions), moved on when a Hellknight came to investigate the disturbance.

Before the session ended, the heroes received their next mission from FM Kroft: get information on the Chelish ambassador from the King of Spiders. While Kroft was briefing them on the mission, they had a chance to meet Vencarlo Orisini. If any of them suspect him of being Blackjack, they haven't said anything yet.


Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

Session 5 was a fun session for several reasons.

I started off by giving the players a more detailed background on the riots. i didn't feel like I did a good job of selling the riots to them in the previous session. I gave them a timeline of when Eodred got sick, passed away, the attempts made to heal and raise him followed by a quick cremation, the coronation, and subsequent riots. I also talked a little about how the castle Seneschel hasn't been seen since the riots broke out. All in all, that seemed to put the players on firmer footing and give them more perspective on what's going on in Korvosa.

With that out of the way, they moved on the King of Spiders. I had the whole King of Spiders thing planned out, but the players did something unexpected (and kinda funny): during the audience with the King of Spiders (after a game of knivsies), the Monk PC (Kane) simply offered the 1kgp bribe to the King almost right out of the gate. He didn't discuss this with any of the others, but our in-/out-of-character table interaction made it clear that this was the PC talking and not the player joking around.

In the end, the King of Spiders accepted the offer and produced the letters to the ambassador. There was no combat, or strife really, although some of his teammates weren't very happy with Kane giving away their potential fee.

The heroes reported back to Kroft and received an additional award. They decided on a little trip to the Bank of Abadar to pick up some healing scrolls and supplies. Elesca's player asked about the Abadaran Cleric they were buying from, and I used this as an opprtunity to introduce Ishani, which will come in handy during the plague.

Next, up, I decided to run the players through a modified PFS scenario, "Mists of Mwangi." I subbed in the Jeggare Museum. I had the heroes summoned to Kroft's office the next morning with a task to investigate urgent/strange reports from something going on at the museum that morning. The players jumped on it and headed straight to the museum.

We didn't get far before the session ended for the evening. They talked to a museum guard who told them about strange mists in one wing of the museum, the subsequent evacuation (fortunately the museum hadn't opened for the day yet), and some of the personnel missing, including curator Mercival Jegare.

The heroes made it as far as the entry room. Upon contact with the mists, Elesca failed her save and was affected by the curse. I created a separate template that the players could add to their character if they were cursed by the mists. I described Eleseca as taking on a more feral appearance, etc. Since the other PCs made their saves, they were going to be immune to the mists for 24 hours, with the exception of a special condition, which I'll mention in my next summary.

That's about the point in the evening where we stopped. A mysterious museum and a cursed PC make for a good cliffhanger.


Mini-rant: Maybe I didn't understand it, but the game of knivsies makes no sense. We bumbled through it, but the rules for it don't make much sense. My explanation was, "It's a game from Riddleport played by pirates, whaddyagonnado?" then we moved on.

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