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#9-01: The Cost of Enlightenment


GM Discussion

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***

Starting the discussion here. This is a GM discussion and contains spoiler without spoiler boxes.

The Dinner Discussion: I was wondering if we could add some skills to some of the listed topics. I was thinking for 'Grace' adding Diplomacy, or Kn(Local). Maybe increasing the DC by 2 for these secondary skills.

The Debate: Can each PC that rolls against the DC earn clout, or can the group as a whole only earn clout once?

**

For the purposes of faction journal cards, is Roidira, the Dark Sister of Knowledge a named scholar or extraplanar authority?

Sovereign Court *

Swiftbrook wrote:

The Dinner Discussion: I was wondering if we could add some skills to some of the listed topics. I was thinking for 'Grace' adding Diplomacy, or Kn(Local).

If your group doesn't have anyone with appropriate knowledge, there's no reason not to let them, say, bluff the words of the prayer in front of a very knowledgeable high priestess :) If they have a PC who is trained, though, it might be better to let that PC succeed or fail based on the character they brought. Let them try to shine.

Personally I think it's reasonable to let PCs try all sorts of things, especially if they lack standard routes to success, can make a good case for it, and can role play it. For example, one could make a case to use knowledge local to identify the art, having seen similar pieces at a gallery earlier that day or on a previous trip to the city.

Swiftbrook wrote:

Maybe increasing the DC by 2 for these secondary skills.

I'd be very hesitant to increase DCs on the fly. It's sort of a no-no in PFS; instead, try to encourage / reward some roleplaying to justify the case.

Remember, the scenario also encourages you to award bonuses on the fly for good roleplaying!

The Cost of Enlightenment wrote:

Throughout the dinner, feel free to award circumstance bonuses for good roleplaying, even on Knowledge checks—in these cases, the bonuses represent using limited knowledge in an interesting way.

Swiftbrook wrote:

The Debate: Can each PC that rolls against the DC earn clout, or can the group as a whole only earn clout once?

It seems they can each debate or aid one time, contributing to the overall clout. Most groups will choose to aid another for a guarantee of success, so you probably won't have too much philosophy debate at the table. Of course, this check can be made untrained so it also seems like a good way to keep everyone involved, especially those who missed skill checks before.

The Cost of Enlightenment wrote:

Each PC may participate in this portion of the discussion once; either by rolling a check themselves or using aid another to help another PC.

Sovereign Court *

Running this on Saturday; interested in how people do on time — particularly with a group that doesn't slay at social / skill encounters.

All told, there are 9 possible encounters here — including the optional and the second route to Al-Sahba (otherwise, there are 7). Seems like it would be tough to fit into 4 hours without feeling rushed:

  • 1. Battling Rovagug (skill checks)
  • 2. The Meriwether Option/Recovering the Relic (combat)
  • 3. Dinner With Al-Sahba (social)
  • 4. Flaming Scimitar (social)
  • 5. House of Two Rivers (social)
  • 6. Road to the Jungle (combat)
  • 7. Outdoor Shrine (combat)
  • 8. Chapel (combat-optional)
  • 9. Reflecting Pool (social)

Finally, I'm not quite sure how to handle the last encounter; I feel like it could disappoint those who enjoy combat, and might even seem more like a cutscene than an encounter. Probably a good idea to drop a hint that this one's heavily social, setting the table's expectations. I think this one's VERY GM-dependant but can be quite memorable!

Grand Lodge *

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

Question about the clout rewards for the meeting with Amal al-Sahba...

Top of page 10, it says if the PCs meet with her, but do not get at least 10 clout, reduce their gold...

I'm only seeing a max of 10 clout during the dinner...

Max 6 for practice bringing up topics.
Max 2 for bringing up the roidirans
2 (or 1) for debating for (or against her) on page 9

That's a max of 9-10.

Or is the debate a case of each PC can earn a max of 2 clout?

Sovereign Court *

karpana wrote:

Question about the clout rewards for the meeting with Amal al-Sahba...

Top of page 10, it says if the PCs meet with her, but do not get at least 10 clout, reduce their gold...

I'm only seeing a max of 10 clout during the dinner...

Max 6 for practice bringing up topics.
Max 2 for bringing up the roidirans
2 (or 1) for debating for (or against her) on page 9

That's a max of 9-10.

Or is the debate a case of each PC can earn a max of 2 clout?

Don't forget they can get 8 from the mock battle, or 5 from the Meriwether Option (they cannot get both). They can also debate her individually or as a group, to accumulate more points.

There's Storytelling, Grace, Art, Philosophy, and Politics for a max of 10 in addition to talking knowledgeably about the Roidirans when they present the letter.

It looks like the max, before debating, is 20 (8 from Rovagug, 2 from answering about the Rodirans, 2 from storytelling, 2 from Grace, 2 from Art, 2 from Philosophy, 2 from Politics = 20). Each part member can then debate once or aid once to add more to this.

I've been trying to put together a worksheet that captures all the clout. Unfortunately it has undergone several revisions due to rushing a bit to prep this (I won't be running it this weekend anymore, either). I think it's got everything now — maybe it will help others track clout, too!

Liberty's Edge **** Venture-Lieutenant, Georgia—Atlanta aka Perry_Frix

So...I'm not completely farcical when I ask:

How exactly does one have an undergraduate-level philosophy seminar with children at the table?

I'm still a couple weeks out from running this, so I'm interested in real world examples of how Encounter 9 went down from initial tables.

Liberty's Edge **** Venture-Lieutenant, Georgia—Atlanta aka Perry_Frix

GM Ultra Plus wrote:
For the purposes of faction journal cards, is Roidira, the Dark Sister of Knowledge a named scholar or extraplanar authority?

For that matter, is Roidira even objectively *real*?

The Cost of Enlightenment wrote:

What the PCs are seeing, exactly, is difficult to discern. A PC who succeeds a DC 16 Spellcraft check can sense that while the magic here is powerful, it emanates from

no known source, and its nature is elusive. The goddess projects a distinct presence, yet her form is insubstantial.

...

A PC who succeeds at a DC 10 Heal check recognizes that the “water of enlightenment” is laced with some reality-altering substance. There is no indication about whether anything the PCs have just seen and heard
is real.

Grand Lodge *

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

@Doug ... But the discussion topics you mention specifically calls out max 6 in the same call out box...

Grand Lodge *

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

Also Doug... The wording of that block leads me to believe points garnered prior to the dinner with Amal don't count in this case, as the phrasing seems to indicate that if the party doesn't earn 10 points while meeting with Amal

Quote:

Rewards: If the PCs do not meet with Amal al-Sahba, reduce each PC’s gold earned by the following amount. If they meet with her but do not earn at least 10 Clout, reduce each PC’s gold earned by the amount in parentheses.

Which is why I'm asking the question about whether the debate is a potential two points per PC (instead of 2 points for the party (like the rovagug event).

Grand Lodge **

So the discussion topics sidebar are max 6, but the main discussion itself has more opportunities to earn clout that aren't capped.

Also, there is not direct mention of clout being tracked separately for the dinner. I think you're reading too deeply into that.

Sovereign Court *

Thank you for catching that on the max 6 clout for certain dinner tasks!

Edit: I'm not sure I understand how or why the party's actions from mere hours earlier wouldn't have an effect on one's overall standing with an NPC, or what in that wording makes it seem otherwise. However, maybe I am also reading too deep into it. I'm not running it for a few more weeks, so I'll sit back and see what others can piece together.

Honestly, I'm a little more interested in how people handle the time constraints here, as well as the last encounter.

Grand Lodge *

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

@Doug + @Jurassic.

I've reread the test for the dinner debate... and you're right... the phrasing of the clout earnings is "PCs earn" ... which is group-level earning, not individual earnings. This means the dinner has a max total of 10 clout.

I've also reread the callout box about Clout on page 4...

Quote:
Clout is the simple numerical measure of the PCs’ standing with the local patron, representing both attention and goodwill.

Based on that, I agree... earnings from the earlier events (such as the performance) count towards this 10-count requirement on pages 9 and 10.

Liberty's Edge **** Venture-Agent, Indiana—Hammond

Perry Frix wrote:
GM Ultra Plus wrote:
For the purposes of faction journal cards, is Roidira, the Dark Sister of Knowledge a named scholar or extraplanar authority?

For that matter, is Roidira even objectively *real*?

The Cost of Enlightenment wrote:

What the PCs are seeing, exactly, is difficult to discern. A PC who succeeds a DC 16 Spellcraft check can sense that while the magic here is powerful, it emanates from

no known source, and its nature is elusive. The goddess projects a distinct presence, yet her form is insubstantial.

...

A PC who succeeds at a DC 10 Heal check recognizes that the “water of enlightenment” is laced with some reality-altering substance. There is no indication about whether anything the PCs have just seen and heard
is real.

I would go with treating her as a source, as I suspect that we will get more answers later about whether Roidira is objectively real. She could at least be considered a scholar of a philosophy that questions the nature of existence.

*

I played this yesterday and I am trying to figure out how to get Roidiran Phantom? Did I miss something. It calls for an ability that the Spiritualist I do believe has. However it says they can do something to capture the spirit. How are you supposed to know what to do?

Silver Crusade ***

Played this at Gen Con and had a great time.

I was already signed up to GM it next month at my local shop, and I'm glad I am. I'm actually very curious to read it and get a better understanding. I'm also looking forward to blowing my players' minds with all the philosophy, and the final encounter, which can best be described as "Pathfinder on acid".

Silver Crusade ***

Minos Judge wrote:
I played this yesterday and I am trying to figure out how to get Roidiran Phantom? Did I miss something. It calls for an ability that the Spiritualist I do believe has. However it says they can do something to capture the spirit. How are you supposed to know what to do?

I bought this scenario to GM next month, but haven't read it in full. On page 15, there's a sidebar on this:

Quote:
A spiritualist PC (Pathfinder RPG Occult Adventures 72) or a PC with levels in another class that grants a phantom could choose to release her current phantom in exchange for the phantom of Zarisha al-Sakawi.

It doesn't actually say how this happens, only that it can. I don't really know spiritualists that well, so I'm no expert. However, now I'm inspired. I may create a disillusioned cultist from this adventure as my next PC, and use the GM credit to have it be a spiritualist with this phantom.

EDIT: And now that I've taken a brief look at the spiritualist class, I still don't know how the transfer happens, but I'm even MORE inspired to use this as my next PC.

I already had an idea for a whip wielding warpriest of Zon Kuthon as an enforcer build (non-lethal damage, intimidation build), but I wasn't sure of back story or why such a person would join the Society. Spiritualist would work ok mechanically for a single level dip on that warpriest, giving me skill focus: intimidate from the phantom in battle. And having a disillusioned Roidiran cultist turn to the Society for answers, since they were there when his goddess abandoned him, and then find "comfort" in pain as a Kuthonite, would work well story-wise.

And I already bought the perfect phantom mini at Gen Con, which I was planning to use only when GMing this, but would work for my PC if I create him that way.

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

As a GM, could you claim the Roidiran Phantom boon, then use a Share the Wealth boon to transfer it to another character?

Share the Wealth:
2017-18 17 Share the Wealth (Companion) You may not have been the one to impress a prospective familiar or sentient relic, but your fellow agent who did can introduce you to make the most of the strange allies befriended during an adventure.

As a player, choose one boon earned by one of your characters, and transfer it to another one of your characters. The recipient's level must be high enough that he could qualify to have played the adventure; he still qualifies if his level is above the adventure's level range. Once the boon is transferred, the original recipient is treated as though she no longer possessed the boon. You can only transfer a boon in this way if it opens up access to a new type of familiar, animal companion, or similar creature associated with a class feature. Record the boon's name, Chronicle sheet name, and the creature type below.

Alternatively, you can transfer access to a unique intelligent item, which the recipient can now purchase. This follows the same restrictions as if you were transferring access to a new familiar type. If the original character had already purchased the intelligent item, she must sell it before the recipient can purchase it.

I'm asking because I'm scheduled to run this and I have a spiritualist with a despair phantom, but he's already level 6.

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

Also, how many skill ranks does the Roidiran phantom gain?

Normal outsiders gain 4+Int skill ranks. Phantoms normally gain 2 skill ranks per level, which is consistent with their 7 Int (4 -2 = 2).

The phantom description states:

Occult Adventures wrote:
Skills: This lists the phantom’s total skill ranks. A phantom can assign skill ranks to any skills, but it must possess the appropriate appendage to use some skills. Phantoms with Intelligence scores above the base value modify these totals as normal (a phantom gains a number of skill ranks equal to 2 + its Intelligence modifier per Hit Die). A phantom can’t have more ranks in a skill than it has Hit Dice. Phantom skill ranks are set once chosen.

The Roidiran phantom has Int 11, so you'd expect it to gain 4 skill points per level (4 int more than a regular phantom => 2 more skill ranks per level). But that paragraph I quoted appears to contradict it.

Silver Crusade ***

The question of the phantom's skill ranks is probably worth starting its own thread. Maybe as a question about whether that's a typo in Occult Adventures, since it seems like it.

*****

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber

So if the PCs *don't* drink the Kool-Aid, how does that impact gold from the final discussion with Al-Sahba?

*

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Majuba wrote:
So if the PCs *don't* drink the Kool-Aid, how does that impact gold from the final discussion with Al-Sahba?

If they don't drink from the pools I don't think it lowers their gold, but it's the main prestige point condition, right?

I ran this Thursday night- first Society session I ever GMed with a fairly new/young group, and with a claric, fighter, and barbarian, plus a slayer- so all the skill checks got a bit rough at times.

Shadow Lodge ***** Venture-Lieutenant, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East aka thistledown

How does the high priestess's patronage boon stack with master of trade and the exchange faction card?

Paizo Employee ***** Designer

Fromper wrote:
The question of the phantom's skill ranks is probably worth starting its own thread. Maybe as a question about whether that's a typo in Occult Adventures, since it seems like it.

To preempt said new thread, this came up sooner after OA's release, and I checked with Stephen: phantoms get 4+Int instead of the usual outsider 6+Int because they also get max ranks in their two emotion skills.

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

Mark Seifter wrote:
Fromper wrote:
The question of the phantom's skill ranks is probably worth starting its own thread. Maybe as a question about whether that's a typo in Occult Adventures, since it seems like it.
To preempt said new thread, this came up sooner after OA's release, and I checked with Stephen: phantoms get 4+Int instead of the usual outsider 6+Int because they also get max ranks in their two emotion skills.

So how does that square with phantoms getting 2 freely usable skill points per HD (as shown in the table), at Int 7?

*****

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber
James Anderson wrote:
How does the high priestess's patronage boon stack with master of trade and the exchange faction card?

The (Season 7 and before) Exchange Faction card lists a 15% maximum limit, so any two of them could stack, but not all three.

Still hoping for a firmer answer about my question above (gold loss for not drinking at the end).

Sovereign Court ***

So the ending is supposed to be ambiguous as to whether the characters actually met the goddess. The True Res. they get if they die helps to obfuscate this fact, but what if the character has an aegis of recovery? If it breaks it would seem to me that the character actually took a hit from something, but if there is no goddess then it should remain intact. The players in my area are sometimes much better prepared than I anticipate and I am sure at least one of them has this.

Would a 1500gp item settle the debate as to whether the goddess exists?

Sovereign Court ***

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Lau Bannenberg wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Fromper wrote:
The question of the phantom's skill ranks is probably worth starting its own thread. Maybe as a question about whether that's a typo in Occult Adventures, since it seems like it.
To preempt said new thread, this came up sooner after OA's release, and I checked with Stephen: phantoms get 4+Int instead of the usual outsider 6+Int because they also get max ranks in their two emotion skills.
So how does that square with phantoms getting 2 freely usable skill points per HD (as shown in the table), at Int 7?

Don't normal outsiders get 6+Int per HD? A phantom should get 4+Int plus their emotion skills.

Sovereign Court ***

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Stephen Trone wrote:

So the ending is supposed to be ambiguous as to whether the characters actually met the goddess. The True Res. they get if they die helps to obfuscate this fact, but what if the character has an aegis of recovery? If it breaks it would seem to me that the character actually took a hit from something, but if there is no goddess then it should remain intact. The players in my area are sometimes much better prepared than I anticipate and I am sure at least one of them has this.

Would a 1500gp item settle the debate as to whether the goddess exists?

Not if she restores the item, as well.

Sovereign Court ***

KingOfAnything wrote:


Would a 1500gp item settle the debate as to whether the goddess exists?

Not if she restores the item, as well.

But if she restores the item would she restore potions drunk to mitigate damage? If an ifrit lit himself on fire to restore hp would she reset his daily count for how much he can get back? As written there is no mention of anything but a True Res.

Sovereign Court ****

Majuba wrote:
James Anderson wrote:
How does the high priestess's patronage boon stack with master of trade and the exchange faction card?

The (Season 7 and before) Exchange Faction card lists a 15% maximum limit, so any two of them could stack, but not all three.

Still hoping for a firmer answer about my question above (gold loss for not drinking at the end).

YMMV - this is very dependent on the judge at the table. When I played this this weekend we were told that this would NOT stack with any other discount. Basically - no stacking coupons.

Sovereign Court ***

Also do the cultists at the pool witness the PC's actually talking to the goddess? It says they fill the PC's in on anything they may have missed so obviously they saw something, but I am at a loss as to how they can see their goddess and then claim she is missing when fallen clerics are a real thing. Wouldn't a more logical explanation be that she simply turned away from them or died since obviously they had power before? And if they don't see her, they simply see the people talking to thin air then dropping dead and items like an aegis breaking doesn't that raise even more questions?

I am not a philosophy major but it seems to me that a few logical steps were skipped for them to assume that she doesn't exist at all. I am starting to understand the reviews a little better. Hopefully my players will enjoy it though.

Silver Crusade ***

I'm assuming they don't follow the PCs into the room with the pool. When I played it, we beat them down before getting to that room. If you're skipping the optional encounter due to time, just have them stay in their room and not follow the PCs.

Sovereign Court ***

D3. The Reflecting Pool
This area is the heart of the shrine. Here the PCs find a
circular, shallow pool that glows with otherworldly power at
the center of a smaller crater also overgrown with trees and
open to the sky. A sharp odor emanates from the water, at once
smoky, earthy, and sweet. At each of the cardinal directions is
a Roidiran supplicant, knelt in mute prayer.

There are 4 there already

Silver Crusade ***

Ahh, yeah. I was thinking of the ones from the chapel. I think the 4 who are already there can probably be treated as being in their own vision induced comas, and ignored until after it's all over, when they snap out of it.

Sovereign Court ***

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Stephen Trone wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
Stephen Trone wrote:
Would a 1500gp item settle the debate as to whether the goddess exists?
Not if she restores the item, as well.
But if she restores the item would she restore potions drunk to mitigate damage? If an ifrit lit himself on fire to restore hp would she reset his daily count for how much he can get back? As written there is no mention of anything but a True Res.

Run it however you need to in order to get the narrative across, dude.

If a player wants to use an ability or item to heal up, let them. Just don't do a "gotcha" and expend their aegis. I think you are overthinking things.

Sovereign Court ***

This is why I don't normally prep. Knowledge only inhibits the process, better to wing it and fill in the gaps with whatever sounds good. Worked when I was selling cars, works now with pathfinder.

Dark Archive *

I will run this next Friday and I don't have much experience with this kind of boons.

Can the High Priestess’s Patronage boon wait? Like "Oh, look, I have no moneys, better save and use it later!"

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

GM Héctor wrote:

I will run this next Friday and I don't have much experience with this kind of boons.

Can the High Priestess’s Patronage boon wait? Like "Oh, look, I have no moneys, better save and use it later!"

The scenario says that it applies so anything bought that session.

I interpreted that generously, to include anything bought with the gold gained from the adventure itself immediately after. Basically, as long as this is the chronicle sheet you're recording the gold spent on.

Dark Archive **

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Stephen Trone wrote:
This is why I don't normally prep. Knowledge only inhibits the process, better to wing it and fill in the gaps with whatever sounds good. Worked when I was selling cars, works now with pathfinder.

The written trappings of an outmoded scenario are an unseen cage to the characters progression, only by throwing aside the scenario can you embrace true role playing...

...now did the session really get played?

**** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

For the Aegis vs wand charges debate: I'd say wand charges are relatively cheap (15 gp a piece, or one-twentyfifth of a PP), those are neglectable. An Aegis of Recovery is an actual investment of money, I'd say you get that "refunded."

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

I'd go with it being recharged (never expended? replaced?), but somehow it just feels slightly different. Not something you can quite pin down, but one of those cultists was shuffling away with a suspicious lump under his robes.

Sovereign Court ***

I had a smaller than expected table because we had 8 players and so split into 2 tables. My players ended up idiot savanting their way through with terrible skills augmented by great rolls. I had trouble reading a lot of the prose with a straight face, the line about Roidira's "hair full of secrets" had us all giggling and now one of them wants to build a white haired witch on that premise. General consensus was that it was interesting and experimental, let down by silly descriptions, poor mechanics, and an ending that is not nearly as mysterious as it seems.

I am still confused by the scenarios logic (how do you have ex-clerics if the god never existed? They got their power from somewhere) but after reading an entire paragraph about an NPCs hairstyle and makeup I couldn't take the scenario seriously and neither did my players so we had fun all the way through.

I would like to see more from this author, there was a lot of potential for cool stuff and the play at the beginning was really fun and encouraged clever players which is always good.

***

1 person marked this as a favorite.

The take-away I got was that she very much existed. And she had 2 sects of followers, the Roidirans and the White feathers. The former of which didn't understand what she was about at all, and she sincerely hated them for it. They were failures to her and didn't understand her teachings.

So she took away the thing they wanted/needed/desired most, herself. Stripped them of her presence because of that disgust. So they became ex-clerics. But the message she left them was that she was never real. She secretly reveals to the party the truth.

I feel like you're greatly exaggerating parts you didn't care for in the descriptions. I just double checked al-sahba's descriptions. There's at most one sentence of it that references her hair and the fact she has make-up. Both of which are reasonable to help put a mental image of her in someone's head. The players know she's very high society, and no different then a lot of character descriptions that reference facial shape, clothing, hair, etc.

Silver Crusade ***

Agreed with Suede, except that I'm not entirely sure if the White Feathers were following Roidira. There's definitely some sort of link there, but it's vague enough that we're not sure what it is.

Sovereign Court ***

Suede wrote:

The take-away I got was that she very much existed. And she had 2 sects of followers, the Roidirans and the White feathers. The former of which didn't understand what she was about at all, and she sincerely hated them for it. They were failures to her and didn't understand her teachings.

So she took away the thing they wanted/needed/desired most, herself. Stripped them of her presence because of that disgust. So they became ex-clerics. But the message she left them was that she was never real. She secretly reveals to the party the truth.

I feel like you're greatly exaggerating parts you didn't care for in the descriptions. I just double checked al-sahba's descriptions. There's at most one sentence of it that references her hair and the fact she has make-up. Both of which are reasonable to help put a mental image of her in someone's head. The players know she's very high society, and no different then a lot of character descriptions that reference facial shape, clothing, hair, etc.

It's actually even worse than I implied. I just did a quick word count check and the block text where Al-Sahba is first described is 136 words long, and 76 was spent describing her looks/voice. This is more than is used to describe the appearance of most characters in the Blackros Matrimony AND more words than are used to describe the tenants of the white feather cult. Seriously do a search in the scenario for the word "white feather" and count how much is spent actually describing what they believe and not that someone is a member or what they look like or that persons specific motivations. The white feather has a total of roughly 50-60 words describing what they believe in the whole scenario. They aren't even connected to Roidira at all except in as much as people assume that two cults in the same place at the same time must be.

I know that might seem petty, but word count is at a premium for these scenarios and when a scenario gives more importance to the looks of an NPC than to who these people are we were sent to investigate it comes off as gratuitous.

I will not derail this thread anymore, I left my review (3 stars) and thank you all for the feedback

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

I had a very good time running this scenario, much more than I expected. Key to that was having only three players so we were able to play nice and focused, which is good with a more philosophical adventure. One of the players was also interested in existentialism so the adventure really appealed to him.

The descriptions did look a bit like the author got attacked by a thesaurus at some point. Hair full of secrets is silly. It's a good picture though.

I think the key to this adventure is first showcasing how status-conscious Qadiran society is, so that it makes sense to the players that the White Feathers and Roidirans rebel against the culture. The trick is to do it in a "show, don't tell" way.

One way is to emphasize that even though the high priestess of Sarenrae is a thoroughly Good woman, it's still difficult for the heroes to get time alone with her simply because everyone wants her attention.

If any of the players have shopping to do, the marketplace also gives an opportunity to showcase the patronage theme. Maybe you could advise players to not do purchases before the game session this time, because doing them in-session helps the story.

*

I'm very much looking forward to running this. I have a bit of background in political theory which should help (unless it results in me confusing the players even more).

It's even inspired me to create a new PC, Pomo Theory, a half-elf from Qaharid who is a follower of Roidira and who will receive my GM chronicle sheet.

Now, if I can just figure out how to work this line into some of the NPC dialogue . . .

"No, Donny, these men are nihilists, there's nothing to be afraid of."

*

What is Roidira's holy symbol? The disillusioned Roidirans in the lower level of the shrine are said to be carrying "broken holy symbol[s] of Roidira," but I can't seem to find a description of said holy symbol. Is it somewhere, and I'm just missing it?

If not, I think I'll go with with a small black disk with a bright star on one one side and nothing on the other.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

My warpriest recruited Roidira into the Dark Archive. Because nonsense.

(If it actually mattered, the high priestess was also a fair candidate, but he had to keep his unholy symbol hidden while speaking to her.)

I'm still not sure what I think of this one. Maybe when I get the chance to run it, I'll have a better formed opinion.

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