Final Fight Thoughts (Spoilers)


Strange Aeons


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'm planning this campaign out now, and is it just me or does the final fight seem underwhelming? Ariadnah isn't really a "recurring" villain apart from her legend being discussed in books 1 & 2, and the star seed is cool but not exactly an evil genius behind everything.

I'm thinking of replacing Ariadnah with some kind of representation of Count Lowls' spirit or mind that is attempting to complete the ritual while his body has been subsumed by Xhamen-Dor. This necessitates changing some of the lore around her to reference other events instead, but that's outside the scope of this post.

Rather than a bard, I'm thinking of having Lowls be a silksworn occultist 16, with some kind of template that grants incorporeality to represent it being his spirit rather than his body. Ghost, animus shade, and a few others seem like great options, and a silksworn occultist not only works well thematically, but is a pretty potent support caster for the star seed.

Anyone else have thoughts about this final fight for what you did, or know of any templates that would be appropriate? Thanks!


*SPOILERS* (of course)

I finished reading through the last chapter a couple weeks ago and had a similar reaction. I was surprised that Ariadnah was the BBEG -- like you said, she's vaguely mentioned in parts 1/2, and has no apparent role in anything at all.

Plus, the party is quite literally chasing Lowls through the entire AP. When they finally reach him, he's basically a mindless beast. I'm sure there's a Lovecraft-ian moral story there -- the price of power and all that -- but it came across kinda anti-climactic. As I read it, anyway.

I'm years off from reaching the end (PbP campaign), so I don't know what I'll do, assuming we make it that far. I think having Xhamen-Lowls as the BBEG would be more satisfying, especially if the PCs have a chance to talk with him first... perhaps a few final, lucid moments before he is fully absorbed into X-D, which would be a pretty horrifying scene to play out IMO.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

As someone who ran the last fight, I would have to say my players were a little surprised to see her but they rolled with it. I think they were happy to just fight Lowls at that point after 6 books of teasing him. I added Polar Midnight to her spell list and used that at the start of the fight to make things tougher. I also required the players to adopt curses before they entered the final fight, too. That upped the difficulty to where I wanted it and gave them a strategic choice to shape the final fight. I think I maxed their hp too. Needless to say, the 20-point buy party they were using needed a little bit more of a challenge than the assumed 15-point party in AP's. I did think her reliance on save-or-lose abilities was kind of anti-fun, but it ended up working out.


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I think the actual issue is that the BBEG isn't actually anyone in the game, it's Hastur/The King in Yellow and the closest we really get to him is The Pallid Mask.

I plan to create an overbearing atmosphere with The King and Pallid Mask. Since he has greater teleport I plan to make him a Freddy Krueger style omnipresent stalker, dropping in at opportune times with confusion, charisma drain, greater dispel magic etc. then warping out, with Cassilda intervening if things go horribly wrong.

Cassilda and the Mask will negate each other since the King will punish her, however the Mask revives quicker than she does, creating a necessity for the PCs to make the most out of their time.

I'll throw in the King as a noncombatant also from time to time, just floating high above doing weird stuff.

Anyways my goal is to really drive the point that they're fighting Hastur, and everything happening in Carcosa is some strange game to him since Cassilda says there are "rules" of some sort.

Sovereign Court

At first when I read this I didn't see much of the issue, but I do think it is a helpful clue to think about how you want to handle things. I remember thinking that the with sounded like a great red herring in the early reading, and to see her show up at the end was entertaining particularly right after that other surprise twist. My players though look like they are blowing right past doing any extra research to find more out about her in the early going. Luckily I have a lot of time to figure out any tweaks that might make that more satisfying of a payoff.

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

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I'm thinking about either dropping in some references to the Briarstone Witch in the documents they find in Lowls camp in book 5, to bring that thread back into the fore,

OR

I might have Ariadnah and the Pallid Mask switch places (adjusting their stats up/down accordingly), so they fight the former at the beginning of the book and the latter with Lowls at the end. I might even have the Pallid Mask show up early as normal, but instead of fighting the PCs directly, he conjures Ariadnah (sort of his reality leech power in reverse--here's a terrible witch from your nightmares, oh, she's real now).

Honestly, I might do both.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:

I'm thinking about either dropping in some references to the Briarstone Witch in the documents they find in Lowls camp in book 5, to bring that thread back into the fore,

OR

I might have Ariadnah and the Pallid Mask switch places (adjusting their stats up/down accordingly), so they fight the former at the beginning of the book and the latter with Lowls at the end. I might even have the Pallid Mask show up early as normal, but instead of fighting the PCs directly, he conjures Ariadnah (sort of his reality leech power in reverse--here's a terrible witch from your nightmares, oh, she's real now).

Honestly, I might do both.

I like those ideas.


Oh I like that, I'm totally gonna steal the Pallid Mask conjuring her up soon.

But my plan for the end battle is to just re-skin the witch into a Denizen of Leng. You know, the one that's kept popping up over and over again.

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

Ooh, you know, I think I changed my mind.

I'm going to replace the Bythos in Briarstone with Ariadnah.

As written, Ariadnah sends the Tatterman back in time through Zandalus's dreams to deal with the PCs.
Instead, I think Ariadnah herself (at the behest of the Pallid Mask/Hastur) goes to deal with the PCs, sending the Tatterman ahead of her like a herald to prepare the way.

That ties in with the dreams they had back in book 1, "The Briarstone Witch is coming". The implication being that, had the party not defeated the Tatterman when they did, he could have brought Ariadnah back to Golarion.

That way, Ariadnah functions to extend and enhance the callback to book 1, which is when they heard about her. She's even got a ratling familiar, just like the ratlings they fought in book 1.


Mmm interesting, may have to borrow these ideas.

Dark Archive

I'm part way through book 1 and I added this dream sequence in to help fill in back story and foreshadow:
Under the harsh glare of the midday sun I found myself blinking repeatedly. As my vision cleared I could hear the dull drone of people chanting all around me. Even children were there as I glanced around. We seemed to be in a town square and it was filled there had to be a few hundred at least. Standing before all of us was a stern looking Kellid woman of 60 or so. Despite being hunched over and holding a staff she exhorted us louder and louder. She stood next to a vaguely yellowish stone pillar a dozen feet high covered in runes. As the chanting continued, my unease grew even more and with supernatural speed the sky began to grow overcast. My gaze could not leave the top of the pillar its bizarrely shaped star having transfixed, at the moment the last ray of sun was poised to leave the pillar. The grandmotherly looking Kellid woman rose to her full height and shouted Shub- Niggurath! As the sun vanished completely the crowd fell to their knees and watched as a dark cloud emanated from the pillar drifting out into the bay. Silence hung in the air as the darkness coalesced into a monstrosity unlike any I had ever seen. As the first tentacle whipped out from the creature and snatched a child not a sound was heard. I screamed out a warning, but none responded they all seemed transfixed. More and more tentacles burst from the monster grabbing adults and children alike.
With a cackle the Kellid woman seemed pleased, but her tone changed as a yellow mist oozed down off the pillar and her form began to grow insubstantial. As a “NO!!” escaped her lips she vanished. Some of the other people began to snap out of it. Some fell where they knelt weeping. Most remained paralyzed where they knelt. A couple of souls grabbed rocks and threw them at the beast. They bounced off like a gnat running into an elephant. Shaking myself I started to flee and noticed a few other joining me. As we crossed the small island and ran for a bridge that lead to the mainland I knew true despair as the beast burst up from the water grabbing the first to cross the bridge...

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