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The Lost Outpost (GM Reference)


Ruins of Azlant


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The purpose of this thread is to clarify questions arising in this adventure. This is a SPOILER filled zone, do not venture further if you do not wish the adventure to be spoiled for you, and spoiler tags are not required when posting here.

This thread is a GM Reference thread for Part 1 of the Ruins of Azlant Adventure Path. Links for the individual threads for each part are as follows:


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

Alrighty then! I guess since I requested these threads, I should at least post once. Of course, I now have nothing to ask...


Anyone have an idea on what map they will use for area L : " The Harbinger’s Dais" ?


In the adventure, the adventurers may be able to choose their own house.
It mentions that the only house(s) unavailable are the common buildings and governor house. This implies that building A7 is up for grabs (and makes sense since it would need to house at least 4)

The encounter "First Among Equals" however, relies on that building being assigned to the priests first and bickering on who gets to live here later. the book does not detail how to handle this situation. There is no other house that people would argue over given the situation, so it is no simple matter of changing the house in question.

My solution to this was to move the encounter up so it is the first thing that happens. With the fact that the house gets assigned to the players resulting in Luetin and Harcourt picking a fight with the PC's in stead - a much more dangerous senario because players may feel "justified" in responding with force (deadly even).

I really wish the writers had just made that house off limit to, despite how little sense that would make.

Scarab Sages

There's a few things I think might need shuffling to make work myself.

1) Involving the PC's. Unless they're hovering over the captain/crew when the ship docks you need a reason to involve them. The party may or may not know each other well (ingame) and are a bunch of 1st level characters. Yet the colony leader apparently drags them away from the other colonists and sends them to explore the colony rather than the higher level expedition members of the actual soldiers to avoid "unrest" amongst the colonists. I know if it were me I'd be saying wanting to know why I out of all the colonists am being sent off as a sacrificial canary.

2) Keeping the players from trying to take over the colony. By about midway through I'd be eyeing our illustrious leader and wondering just why I'm letting her run the colony when its looking more and more like I'd be a better choice, or maybe one of the other party members. We checked out the damaged village, we dealt with the slowed ship and now we're the ones calming everyone down and getting them to pull together. I can see players wanting to just shove this useless baggage aside and take over since they're the ones doing everything anyway. Even if I didn't want to run the colony I'd be more inclined to take the first ship home if she's the one "in charge", as her leadership seems to be more "you do this." A problem I think will be made worse since the AP seems detrmined to keep her out of the way to avoid treading on PC feet.

3) Fighting the Celedon's. This seems a bit unnecessary sure their initial pupil didn't come back but here's more new people even a simple logic chain should go "1 leaves = 4+ return = 4 leaves = 16+ return" if they keep letting people leave more will come and eventually they'll get ones interested rather than risking their lives fighitng to keep people who may not have food or water to sustain themselves. Especially since 6 damage will turn "5 or less they talk" to "crack, shatter they die."

4a)Reprogramming the warden jack. This is two issues really. First is saying its reprogramming is outside the scope of the adventure but that seems something pretty important to know if it does happen. Does it get temporarily shut down to allow the humans time to explore the research facility, does it get programmed to ignore humans but keep targetting scum and other threats, does it have is patrol area restricted to the tower entrace?

4b) It can be repogrammed at area L but what about inside the tower itself or does it not pursue the PC's if they enter the area its protecting?

5) Leaving Eliza evil. I think I'm missing something. If you point out she's evil then she say's she wants to attone but the options seem to assume either you do nothing or you do protection from evil and attonement. Am I correct in assuming taking her back to the colony and ONLY casting atonement will make her neutral good and then she'll betray and kill you because she's dominated?

I think there were others but that's what I remember from reading over it.


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

1) Not really, for several reasons, more than one of which can be true. Mechanically, prior to arriving at the island, the concept of the "party" is meaningless since there's no defined in-game activity (other than the interviews that everyone underwent). It could simply be that the "party" consists of the several characters on the boat that the captain picks to check out the colony. Whether or not they know each other well, or at all, after 6 weeks of travel is irrelevant, too. Furthermore, most of the people on board either have a defined job (higher level NPCs) or they are variations of commoner types. The "party" are among the few with class levels, and the likely best non-crew candidates to handle the search. Certainly after 6 weeks of travel, the captain knows this. Finally, sending the soldiers in seems like a great idea except that someone has to defend the boat and its occupants while an investigation is performed.

Certainly, a few paragraphs could have spelled this out, and I'm sure a GM can come up with others. These were just the things off of the top of my head.

2) Mine won't have a problem with this, nor would I. Besides, who really wants to run a colony? I'd really rather be exploring and adventuring, not managing squabbles between neighboring farmers.

3) I believe if you really take a look at their purpose in life, you'll see that this behavior is somewhat expected. They were created with a single purpose of mind, to serve their deity. They are ideologues at best, driven by what could be described as an instinct to serve. Proselytizing serves that purpose well. Even intelligent beings (they are average) lose sight of logic when driven by ideology. It may seem logical from the outside that they'd prefer to bring in more converts, but to them, the fact that they have 1 in hand is all that matters.

4) I was wondering about that, too. Some dev comments would be nice.

5) Another one I'm not sure how to handle. It seems to me that a party of good PCs would want to save her, which necessarily requires ending the domination. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out.

I've got a while before I'll have to worry about any of these beyond my cursory thoughts, so I may change my mind on them before we start (assuming we play this one).

Paizo Employee Managing Developer

Sorry I'm late on answers... I've been away at Gen Con and have been catching up on work things, but now I'm back so...

1) Taks has the right of it in the post above for the most part. Don't approach it with a cynical point of view that you are burdened with the task of exploring an island. Think of it as your character was among the most capable in the group to get to take on this kind of opportunity. The PCs weren't selected for the expedition because they were awesome millers or potters, after all. They were selected because they had something more impressive than labor in their backgrounds.

2) Again, taks is on point here. The campaign wasn't written for the PCs to get into colony management. It's intended to be a vehicle for adventure. I also didn't develop it thinking that PCs wanted to oust a leader and take it over, but if a group wants to approach it that way they can. They just have to do a little more work.

3) While intelligent, celedons are very much focused on one particular task as part of their creation and they don't deviate from that. They can make their own decisions, but their focus is the dominant part of their personality. I can imagine an encounter or story where a celedon deviates from this, but that's not the point of the encounter mentioned. It's there to feed the PCs lore and give the PCs a chance to learn more about Acavna (and by default, ancient Azlant) in a cooler way than just reading a bunch of old stuff in a book.

4) "Beyond the scope of this adventure" is a long-used code phrase letting the GM know, "Hey, I don't have the space to detail this, and since it's only a rare possibility it will even happen and pretty inconsequential, make up whatever you want that fits your particular telling of this story." It's not likely that Jazradan would get the chance to do this, but since he has the ability to manipulate some of the other Azlanti constructs, it seemed reasonable that he'd have the ability to do so with the warden jack swarm. He would likely get it to follow the PCs and spy on them, but probably wouldn't want them hurt until he learns more about them, their power, and their motivations. The swarm could follow the PCs into the tower, as long as it didn't hae to deal with stairs.

5) I don't understand what you mean by "Leaving her evil." She is dedicated to Ochymua even without the dominate person effect, and wants to do anything it asks, so she doesn't have a ton of motivation to attone and only pretends that if she's detected as evil. Even if she wanted to attone, Eliza would need to be cleared of the domination to make an attonement worthwhile. Even if she wanted to redeem herself (which she doesn't without significant convincing) and the proper things were done to achieve that, if she was still under Ochymua's control, it can get her to do whatever it wants. It neither cares about her nor feels any obligation to her. She is a tool for the duration of her usability. Much of this outcome depends on how successful she is in deceiving the party. (Make sure to read her full write-up in addition to the information in the Concluding the Adventure.)

Paizo Employee Managing Developer

Diekssus wrote:

In the adventure, the adventurers may be able to choose their own house.

It mentions that the only house(s) unavailable are the common buildings and governor house. This implies that building A7 is up for grabs (and makes sense since it would need to house at least 4)

The encounter "First Among Equals" however, relies on that building being assigned to the priests first and bickering on who gets to live here later. the book does not detail how to handle this situation. There is no other house that people would argue over given the situation, so it is no simple matter of changing the house in question.

My solution to this was to move the encounter up so it is the first thing that happens. With the fact that the house gets assigned to the players resulting in Luetin and Harcourt picking a fight with the PC's in stead - a much more dangerous senario because players may feel "justified" in responding with force (deadly even).

I really wish the writers had just made that house off limit to, despite how little sense that would make.

Just add the home that was the former priest's home (A7) to the list of unavailable homes.


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

Yeah, I guess she wasn't exactly saving baby seals and going to church on Sunday before the island.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
taks wrote:
Yeah, I guess she wasn't exactly saving baby seals and going to church on Sunday before the island.

She used to be Neutral Good :P She changed to NE when her mind got overwhelmed by alien intelligence(changing her psychic discipline) and she became desperate to do anything to save herself

Its kinda like certain other NPC from one other AP(though that NPC was evil to begin with, just not genocidally evil): The "More Than Mind Control" trope works very well as description xD

Also 3) While the encounter writing doesn't give any diplomacy dc or mention of it, there is really nothing in encounter that says you can't diplo or bluff them to leave. After all, it doesn't say "they attack you if you try to leave", it says "they attack PCs if they have to stop them from leaving"

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Corvus is correct. Take this as poetic and figurative language and not literal. Eliza stared in the face of her own personal devil and she made a choice, to save herself, and maybe to be on the winning side.

She also had her brains rattled by an extremely powerful and alien consciousness—although I hesitate to play that up too much, because there that is more background rather than something I can point to with game mechanics. And some folks really need you to point to game mechanics before they can accept it.

Part of the underlying logic was an author/developer discussion I had with Adam. I hope he doesn't mind me sharing it. He felt that Ochymua should have Eliza dominated because he doesn't trust her. I argued that at 3rd level, its possible to make that DC 15 Sense Motive check. By having her act of her own volition, it allows the possibility of some roleplaying to occur (or opposed Bluff checks), instead of "Oh, she's dominated, just hit her." Maybe the PCs will go straight to combat anyway, but there is some wiggle room. Its up to the PCs and the GM and what happens at the table. It is reasonable for Ochymua to still dominate her (at Adam's request and recommendation) but give her a little slack and just follow along. Sure its a risk on Ochy's part, but it pays off in the story because Eliza is trying to earn his approval and trust. [What Ochy really thinks is entirely up to the GM]

All that necessitates an evil alignment, which is why I wrote her backstory as Corvus explains above.

As far as redemption, I don't like to write in absolutes of alignment. I am not sure that Eliza can be redeemed, but I was prepared to mention the possibility so the players can have the maximum number of options to explore—rather than tell them what they can't do.

As I write this, I am reminded of Harold, from Stephen King's The Stand. Very minor story spoiler.

Spoiler:
His body broken in a ravine on the side of the road, with a note that reads, "I was misled." Who knows why people turn bad and what makes them reconsider their choices?


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

I am not a fan of her redemption.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

taks wrote:
I am not a fan of her redemption.

I really wouldn't consider it as the default assumption.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'd say that I do see it being plausible to redeem her since its not like Aboleths are straight up lovecraftian monsters(aka its hopeless because everyone is doomed so nothing can be done yadda yadda), but from how its written, it doesn't sound like "I'll appeal to your previous goodness!" should be enough, it sounds like something more appropriate is essentially treating her as patient with mental disorder that needs help even though they don't understand it or want it* .-. Like, it sounds less like "She had her choice and made it to eeeeevil" (which just sounds black and white to me) and more like she turned to evil as result of trauma and desperation.

*(so less of "Come with us to church, we have atonement spell!" and more taking care of her until she is capable of wanting atonement herself. Especially since atonement isn't just "I pay cost to spell and now I'm good again", atonement is paying cost to have chance to ask your god for mercy and they can reject it if they don't feel you are genuine about it)

Like, to me it sounds like narratively appropriate option if you just try appeal to her previous goodness would be just her trying to escape from situation back to her master who at this point doesn't really care about her anymore since she lost her usefulness by messing up. So it would probably leave her as experiment to same thing whatever happened to original colonists or giving her to skum or whatever horrifying so players can run into her again when shes in even worse state to really drive the horrifying aspects of ap and drive the mystery further.(seriously, I think Ruins of Azlant is almost stealth horror ap O_o Lots of creepy mstery stuff)

Thats just my impression though.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Jim Groves wrote:
[Adam] felt that Ochymua should have Eliza dominated because he doesn't trust her. I argued that at 3rd level, its possible to make that DC 15 Sense Motive check. By having her act of her own volition, it allows the possibility of some roleplaying to occur (or opposed Bluff checks), instead of "Oh, she's dominated, just hit her." Maybe the PCs will go straight to combat anyway, but there is some wiggle room. Its up to the PCs and the GM and what happens at the table. It is reasonable for Ochymua to still dominate her (at Adam's request and recommendation) but give her a little slack and just follow along. Sure its a risk on Ochy's part, but it pays off in the story because Eliza is trying to earn his approval and trust. [What Ochy really thinks is entirely up to the GM]

Not that I've read this portion of the adventure, but I'm not a fan of the villain being dominated but still being evil regardless. If the players take the time to determine she's dominated and then take her out but don't kill her and then lock her up until the dominate effect wears off, their reward is a villain whose still evil.

Now even if she's evil, she could still provide the players with information to help them. But then they either kill her, send her back to Andor in chains or let her go despite the fact she's evil.

I'd rather say that Ochyma did dominate Eliza, but then he rummaged around in her head and learned everything there is to know about Eliza and saw what motivated her and how to appeal to her and get her to work for Ochyma. He then released the dominate effect and simply motivated her to work for him rather than forced her.

This means that Eliza is still evil. However if the players choose to bargain or deal with her (and successfully persuade her it is in her best interest) than they are willingly and knowingly making a deal with a bad person. Ochyma could also be spying on Eliza somehow (either through technology or scrying). If the players do successfully turn Eliza, then Ochyma can respond by dominating other allies in future books (or doing something else to ensure their compliance).

That said, I haven't read the entry on Eliza yet.

[EDIT]: Oh, and if you need an in game ability that lets Ochyma do the above, then you could give him an aboleth only feat or two levels of mesmerist with an aboleth only mesmerist trick that lets him do this.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

@ John Lynch:

That's a fair perspective and I won't try to talk you out of it. Perhaps we should have went with one way instead of both. That said, the discussion is good because you understand the rationale now, and as far as I'm concerned you came up with an approach that works very well.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Jim Groves wrote:
Perhaps we should have went with one way instead of both.

I don't think writing it up how you did is bad. Some groups will want the villain to be redeemable and so will take that option, others (like me) will be happy to have an evil villain and so will take that option instead.

Jim Groves wrote:
That said, the discussion is good because you understand the rationale now

Definitely. I very well may not have examined the character so closely without this thread. So thank you for the insights into the development of the module.


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

My group does not tend toward the redemption side of the effort scale unless they can see clear benefit to all parties (theirs equally). However, only one has any long term experience with the moral quandries presented by RPGs in general, so I can't guess how they would react as a group.

I just realized, Jim, that you wrote Half Dead City, too. That was the first Pazio adventure I ever GM'd. I really liked it, too. My players did as well.

Scarab Sages

I have to admit that I didn't realize she was both evil and dominated that does seem a bit unnecessary. Still I can see possibilities with a villain who literally doesn't care if you worship the ground he slimes on he'll still take over you mind because he can.

Thanks for the responses different mindset looking at things I guess.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Ran the majority of this book recently as a one-shot over several sessions. My party had to retreat from the final fight and we're gonna try it again tomorrow. Was just going to detail my experiences in case anyone found them useful.

My party was composed of three gestalt characters 1 level higher than normal. My players know how to optimize and were all playing strong characters, but I wouldn't call them min-maxed or munchkins. They consisted of:
- T, Occultist/Alchemist, using Battle Host to get full-plate at level 1 and his spells/extracts to go and go and go and go.
- P, Zen Archer Monk/Shaman, building mainly for support. Despite ZAM's usual power, the shaman half was by far more relevant. He brought the wand for part 1.
-H, Unchained Scaled Fist Monk/Sorcerer (Aquatic? bloodline) w/ the archetype that gives martial flexibility building a ball of AC and fists and saves. I think she was using the sorc spells mainly for buffing like T, mainly casts of shield/grease/mage armor.

As you can see, my party was fairly powerful. Initially I was expecting only 2 players, which was why I bumped the level and allowed gestalt, but we had a surprise third interested person, which lead to me balancing a lot on the fly. I already knew that I'd need to rebalance for just 2 players, as my table tends to destroy APs if run as-written.

Part 1:
Introduced the players, got them to go on the investigative visit to Talmandor's Bounty with very little trouble. Encounters written in order of party discovery.

Welcoming Committee: Bumped the number of grindylows up to 4. This fight would be an initial warning of how much of a joke grindylows would be in our playthrough. T and H were rowing, being the only ones with a positive STR score. The grindylows got a surprise round and rolled high on their initiatives, giving them a huge advantage, but only really got damage on P, who was in the front of the boat. 1 ended up climbing in the front to disrupt P's casting of a Summon Nature's Ally spell, the other 3 attacking T and H over the sides. The low to-hit and the low damage even if they do hit combined to form a rather lackluster encounter, with T and H teaming up to eliminate the attackers. 1 ended up escaping, shaking its fist and clacking its clamshells angrily (I gave all the Shellcrackers these loud shells, which the players loved).

The point of this encounter is to show that the island is dangerous and that the colony wants the players to succeed, and it is successful in that respect. I don't recommend having the grindylows climb over the side, their objective is to annoy and drive off, not fight to the death.

A1: The Lonely Dock
I moved the Fuath to the later Beach Battle w/ the skum. It didn't have much of a chance and would have just been killed out of hand by my players. I feel like the point of this encounter is to possibly show the existence of the canoe by the dock, but it also doesn't even attack unless the PCs are very loud or have already discovered the canoe, so I ended up just moving it out of confusion. My players didn't discover the canoe, for what its worth.

A5: Smithy
I stuck another monkey goblin here, and made them actively looking out for threats. I figured the Ghosthaters would be looking around fore easier prey and loot, spooked by Silas in A7. They saw the party and set up an ambush, pulling tripwires across the door and the open wall into the covered forge/workshop. T ended up running right over the tripwire, but made the Reflex DC. P fought the two who ended up climbing onto the roof while H and T made short work of the two inside. I was much more impressed by the Ghosthaters, who got more than a few hits in before the last survivor retreated, running along the palisade to escape into the woods.

I gave the Ghosthaters small necklaces with angry pacman ghosts to mirror the Shellcrackers, which the players also loved. I threw around the idea of having a Shellcracker-Ghosthater rivalry at this point, but figured they wouldn't interact very often (their territory and desired territory being entirely disparate). The party found the +1 darkwood shield, but discarded it (nobody used shields). In retrospect, I would have changed the shield to a magic set of medium or heavy armor instead.

A10: Government House
My PCs heard "the only two-story building here" and immediately headed here after the smithy. They discovered the logbook and spent a long time puzzling over what it could mean. They were very interested in the entries that "become sporadic and stop altogether" in the last week, but the AP doesn't really go into detail what life was like for the villagers in the last week during the captures. I made up some catty factional tension entries based on Una's note at A17, which made them *very* interested. They discussed the possibility that the villagers killed each other, but didn't seem very sold due to the lack of large bloodstains and piles of bodies.

They were going to miss the clockwork spy, so I had the recording gem "conveniently" run up against its capacity and give an (muffled) audible "Recording capacity full! Please replace recording gem!" in Azlanti. P shot down the poor spy and they investigated, ultimately hearing their entire conversation after they found the logbook. They figured out how to access its programming and once they heard "predetermined location," they immediately wanted to follow it. I had to remind them what they were in the colony for to get them to keep going!

A14: Main Street
Nothing interesting.

A16: Undisturbed Garden and A18: Levin Farm
Initially, I thought the blood maize encounter was a little lame. 3 really low to-hit attacks, low HP, low AC, some do-nothing abilities... I couldn't be more wrong. I ruled that the fields were difficult terrain, and that the party could see that there was *something* in the fields, but not what it was. The animal skeletons and the monkey goblin skull kinda freaked 'em out, but they entered anyway.

The blood maize got its surprise round, using it to activate its Blinding Bloom. The entire party failed their saves versus the blind. The blood maize then rolled high on initiative and got to full attack H, hitting her twice. The damage got her to 3/4 HP, but the bleed was the real killer. Due to the difficult terrain and the blinding cloud, P couldn't even get to H to heal her with their wand for several rounds. P took a few hits as well trying to approach while T fumbled around in the difficult terrain, unable to get into a position to hit due to his heavy armor. P actually went down below 0 this fight as the party up and left the fields entirely, the blood maize still almost entirely unscathed. T fended off the blood maize from P while H now struggled to get out of the field, but T continued to roll abysmally on his attack rolls. I had the drunk choker approach at this point, drawn by the shouts, the long fight, and the heady scent of blood in the air. H finally got close enough to kill the blood maize, just in time for T to turn and stop the choker from dragging away P's unconscious body. T made up for his previous low rolls and one-shot the choker while H staggered over to P. T used one of his infusions to feed P a CLW and bring him back to consciousness, whereupon the whole party took a few hits off the wand.

My party loved this fight. The derpy corn monster, its horrific bleed damage, and the long fight the difficult terrain caused all added up to a fight was the hallmark of the night. They even loved the drunk choker, whom I played up as *very* drunk, moaning and swerving as it tried to steal P's body. I had thought this would be a do-nothing filler encounter, and ultimately it was, but I'm glad I included it. If the poor colonists had discovered the blood maize, there would definitely have been deaths, but practically, I'm also glad there was an encounter that challenged my players.

A15: Infested Patches
I wasn't sure if these were 2 encounters, or just 2 encounters of 1 nymph each. I decided to play it by ear and started with an encounter vs 2 nymphs. The party was beating them handily, so I had 2 more nymphs approach from behind, despite the large distance between the two fields. The nymphs got some good positioning in, but my players had high enough AC that most of the attacks missed. The attacks that got through definitely got their attention -- 3d4+1 damage is quite a bit, even with level 2 HP! I would cut these encounters down to just 1 group of 2 with a normal party, possibly combining them with the adult ankheg (A13) showing up in the later rounds for more capable parties. T ended up going down here, but H and P were able to get him back up.

The rest of area A passed without a whole lot of event. A3 might prove a bit of a challenge for many parties, but mine ended up kiting the cockroach swarm while T threw bombs at it. It says that the swarm is loathe to go very far from the provisions building, so they killed it over about 15 minutes, letting it come out and approach, hit it with a bomb, run far enough away for them to run back, and repeat. This may seem a little MMO-esque for some GMs, but I thought it was a clever solution to what otherwise would have been H tanking the swarm while T bombed it anyway.

The Chapel (A6) interested my players, but they quickly retreated once they realized there was a poltergeist inside. They could tell they wouldn't be able to lay him to rest, so they just left Silas alone until they could get support from the colony's clerics.

They found the Azlanti timepiece and almost immediately guessed that the colony had been captured "by the aboleths." Might have been just shots in the dark, but they thought it was very weird that everyone was gone and had been fighting beforehand, which they blamed on magical domination. The AP is about the Azlanti and my players knew that the aboleth were ultimately the cause of death for the Azlanti, so it may have also been a bit of metagaming.

Part II:
B: I moved these boars over to the Hunting section in Part III. I knew it would just be a waste of time for my party, and that I could accomplish the same "the island is WILD!" feel by just vividly describing seeing lots of wildlife. I recommend removing or moving this encounter.

C: I moved this encounter to the Beach Battle in Part III as well. The Incutilis and pet Zombie weren't going to get a whole lot done all by themselves, and I figured that the Incutilis would partner up w/ the Skum to take down their new competition (and possibly score some new slaves!).

D: The trail tripped up my players a lot. They immediately knew it was a swarm of some kind, but the combination of smoothed and spikey portions really tripped them up. They were also confused by the lack of concerted direction ("Where is it going? A water feature? A food source?") but I decided that they wouldn't be able to figure out the warden jack's motives until they saw it in person.

E: My party loved the echeneisis fight. I bumped the number of time-fish up to 3 and while they didn't provide much of a challenge, they did give my party a lot of WTF moments. While the blood maize fight was the hallmark of day 1, the echeneisis fight really showed just what bizarre monsters they would fight in this AP. My players wiped the floor with the fish but loved talking about the "fish that break physics with their teeth." I'd recommend playing up the derpy faces that they have in the Bestiary, as well as their silly antics.

My players didn't have any trouble with being underwater, as I had an aquatic elf (T), an undine (P) and a human aquatic sorcerer with a good enough CON (H). All of them had a swim speed and zero problem being underwater for long. I think they thought underwater combat would be a much bigger part of the AP. This encounter provides a good wake up call for the party -- if they can't easily deal with the time-fish underwater, they need to take some steps to correct that.

The tension aboard was a fun distraction from combat for my party. They had a good spread of skills, and I played up each of the personalities they encountered along the way. They loved talking to Harcourt, whom they failed all of their rolls with. I threw Luetin into the mix, mainly so they would know who the heck I meant when they encountered him later. The party took one look at his picture and thought he was Nigel Thornberry.

This encounter was pretty obviously for any face characters in the party, and it should stay in, even if you have to have your characters just RP, no rolls involved. I probably didn't get quite the right serious tone for the encounter, but my party liked the hammy mess we had instead.

F. Shellcracker Caves
This dungeon was a bit of a joke. I already ranted a bit about the Grindylows earlier, but this cave just stood no challenge to my party. They all had no problem swimming and navigating the cave, and while P couldn't shoot very well with all the water, T and H had no problems wiping the floor with the poor 5 HP mooks. The traps did quite a number to the party, who walked through both of them. The 2 octopus pets the Shellcrackers kept ended up dying without even touching H.

I had Brinetooth try Diplomacy on her own after seeing the massacre of much of her tribe. My party offered to strike a deal with Brinetooth and what was left of the Shellcrackers, giving them metal weapons and not interfering with their activity as long as the Grindylows kept the surrounding waters relatively clear. They also implied that they could just as easily deal with her as well as they dealt with her tribe. I recognized an easy future plot hook, and had Brinetooth trade all her treasure and gear for her life and the deal. If I ever run the rest of the AP, I'll try and integrate the Shellcracker tribe in as a potential plot arc.

This dungeon seems to be an obvious "how do we give the party enough magical help to deal with underwater combat" hook. I don't think my party will be singular in their floor-wiping of the Shellcrackers, and all of the gear will go far to helping normal PCs (ones not super prepared for underwater combat) cope with any future underwater plotlines. Its necessary for this transfer of gear, but I would recommend either revamping the dungeon or just giving the gear over. The grindylow massacre felt much closer to genocide than problem-solving.

Areas G, I, J: I explained these encounters to my players and that they were essentially just filler encounters, because that is what they are. While it may build up the feeling that the island is uncivilized and filled with danger and needs the attention of the players, it felt more like Ramona was just using the PCs as her tactical problem-solving squad. I wanted to keep up the momentum of looking for the lost colonists, and I explained to my party as such. We decided to skip actually playing through the encounters and explained the party's handling of each with a short montage. I'd recommend either skipping the encounters or coming up with some that keep the mystery theme of the rest of the book.

Area L: My party was super jazzed about this area. I didn't have the monkey goblins attack (they'd been tipped off by the one that escaped in Area A) and instead had them run off. My party loved seeing the "mystical dude" and trying to interpret what the hell his speech meant. I didn't see how the party was supposed to find the tower (Area P), so I had them get a glimpse of it through the trees from the dais here.

Area M: I worked the Shellcrackers into this. I had them notify the colony about an incoming patrol force, and then had 4 of the Grindylows face the force with the party in a pincer movement. I had no confidence the Grindylows would contribute to combat, and I had beefed up the encounter with the Fuath and the Incutilis/Zombie, so I was a little worried, but the party wiped the floor with them. The Skum were quickly revealing to me that they were about Shellcracker level of combat-competence.

Area N: I skipped this encounter to avoid confusing my players. It feels a little shoehorned in to allow the party to learn Azlanti, but otherwise super out of place. Why are they here? I didn't feel right about the statues attacking the party if they refused to sit and listen, so I just removed the encounter entirely. T had Azlanti learned and had been translating the whole time, so I didn't feel like I was removing an opportunity from my party.

Area O: I moved this encounter inside the tower.

Area P: My PCs loved the tower. Which is good, because they ended up fighting nearly the entire thing all at once.

P1/P2: I had just seen the combat capability of the Skum, and decided that they wouldn't come out until the crossbow trap activated in P3. My PCs were intrigued by the hologram, especially because of its description as a "statue." They kept wanting to talk, but disappointedly continued when it remained silent. In the future, I'd have Jazradan talk about Spindle Solutions with some infomercial buzzwordy babble, my party got a kick out of the similar sign out front.

P3, P4, P5, P6, P7: We loved this floor. My party entered P3 and immediately encountered the crossbow traps, as written. The way they're described, they almost feel like regular enemy combatants that can't move, so that is how I treated them. T took a couple bolts trying to get close (he was the one in the party with Disable Device), but was dismayed to learn he'd need a couple rounds to disable the turrets. I had the Skum from P2 ambush the party here, as H and P were hiding back in P1 to avoid the bolts. T discovered he'd need 7 rounds (I rolled 2d4) to disable the turrets, and he retreated back into P1 to regroup.

The party decided that they would tank the super accurate turrets (+15?! So high!) by having H use Mage Armor, Shield, and get a Shield of Faith from P and martial flexibility into Deflect Arrows, which worked a treat. She had to stand over T while he worked, but not a single bolt connected after the party re-entered the room.

The party decided to then open up P6 while the buffs were still active. This is where I had placed the warden jack, thinking it might have been needing repairs from the clockwork servants (but practically, thinking I needed to challenge my players). The clockwork servants were a surprise, and H was dismayed to a see a swarm ("nooooo! not the auto damage!") while she still had her buffs up. The warden decided to open up P4 fairly early on in the fight as well with its ability, getting the Skum there to join the fight as well. The warden jack also has a really high AC, especially its touch AC.

While the warden jack is CR 4, it functioned best in this fight as a mobile Grease spell. The clockwork servants went down very slowly to H's continued beatdown while T focused on killing the swarm and P focused on the Skum. P had made his spirit animal a Mauler familiar, and the mighty crab he had chosen made short work of the mutant fishmen. Towards the end of the fight, the warden jack joined the servants in P6, and H had cast her own Grease spell, causing a huge mess in the enclosed room. I loved describing the bloody, greasy, clockwork-y, ball-bearing-y, smoke filled mess that P6 became by the end of the drawn-out fight (H was nigh unkillable but couldn't deal very much damage per round, T and P were both busy dealing with the rest of the encounter).

P8-12: My party ended up dealing with the rest of the tower all at once, and ultimately they had to retreat at the end of that battle. We're going to pick right back up tomorrow with how they deal with Rayland and Eliza, who are still alive. I anticipate they'll heal up and head right back in while Eliza is out of level 2 spells before the two of them escape and report to Ochynua.

My party entered the library of P9 and made a beeline for the books. I had moved Urlgryber inside the central room to allow him to escape more easily (I really didn't want to have a closet monster fight with him after the disappointment with Brinetooth). The party unfortunately fell prey to the Explosive Rune trap, which alerted the rest of the tower. Url came running out of the central room and ran smack dab into H and T, shouting all the while for Eliza and Rayland. P started summoning, having his familiar move in to flank as Eliza and Rayland came down through the water tank. Url and Rayland blocked up the narrow hallways, allowing Eliza to cast essentially unimpeded.

Eliza's Mind Thrusts are super lethal. Its 5d8 on a failed DC 15 save, and half that for a successful one. Rayland and Url ultimately ended up bringing H down to the negatives, but Eliza was doing constant damage for 4 rounds before the party decided to bring H back up and run. My party had been relying on their very high AC to mostly negate encounters, but that didn't do anything versus the Mind Thrusts. I had Url drop his glaive almost immediately once the reach wasn't necessary; Rayland and Url both having 3 attacks on a full attack was very rough.

I have to admit that I played Eliza as essentially just a sorcerer. I didn't have enough time to fully internalize all of her psychic abilities, and trying to do so in the middle of battle wasn't working out, so I just ignored them. Now that I have a chance to look at them, Dark Half *will* rip any group apart that lets Eliza cast, and it protects her from psychic casting's biggest weakness, fear effects. Defensive Prognostication combined with Mage Armor means she can maintain 20 AC most of the fight, and Mirror Images is just going to make it worse. Intense Focus helps her cast defensively if she needs to. If Dark Half is active, she'll have DR 5 on top of all this! Be very very careful with Eliza, or she will TPK your players!

So that was our run through of the Lost Outpost. I get that my explanation was kind of a highlight reel on easy mode than perhaps an "authentic" play through would be, but my group had a real blast playing through. We'll probably be talking about the "stupid corn monster that almost TPK'd us" for the next couple years and all of us loved the crossbow traps in P3. Maybe this should have been a separate post, but I felt like I didn't have enough unique content to post it anywhere else.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Diekssus wrote:

In the adventure, the adventurers may be able to choose their own house.

It mentions that the only house(s) unavailable are the common buildings and governor house. This implies that building A7 is up for grabs (and makes sense since it would need to house at least 4)

The encounter "First Among Equals" however, relies on that building being assigned to the priests first and bickering on who gets to live here later. the book does not detail how to handle this situation. There is no other house that people would argue over given the situation, so it is no simple matter of changing the house in question.

My solution to this was to move the encounter up so it is the first thing that happens. With the fact that the house gets assigned to the players resulting in Luetin and Harcourt picking a fight with the PC's in stead - a much more dangerous senario because players may feel "justified" in responding with force (deadly even).

I really wish the writers had just made that house off limit to, despite how little sense that would make.

The book does make a suggestion on how to handle the disagreement over the house


Going back to the question earlier about why do the PCs get sent to the island I'd definitely big up the positives if they enquire - 'soldiers are great guys in a fight but investigation needs more flexible approach and you guys have really impressed me, plus I may need them to defend the ship.' seems much better. I was really bugged by the food excuse, the ship has already been described as carrying extra supplies for the whole colony.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Elaine Mystica wrote:
Going back to the question earlier about why do the PCs get sent to the island I'd definitely big up the positives if they enquire - 'soldiers are great guys in a fight but investigation needs more flexible approach and you guys have really impressed me, plus I may need them to defend the ship.' seems much better. I was really bugged by the food excuse, the ship has already been described as carrying extra supplies for the whole colony.

One of my players came up with "We mix unique abilities with expendability."

I just had Ramona nod


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

You can also spin it as the PCs are the colonists that Ramona thinks are least likely to panic. Ramona doesn't know whats going on, but she can obviously read a room, and tensions on the Peregrine are already tense as is. Throwing some flattery at the players usually helps, ime.

If they're still feeling a little antsy, you could have Ramona call over some other NPCs as well. Making it seem like its not *just* the PCs going on the reconnaissance mission may alleviate some of their fears, or at least make them feel like they're not being sent on a suicide mission. A good candidate would probably be one of the clerics, giving the PCs some free healing and a "generic colonist" voice for you as GM to steer the investigation if the PCs are getting frustrated or not finding anything.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'm going the Eberron route: The PCs are exceptional in that they have PC classes, everyone else on the boat has NPC classes (I'm willing to rewrite NPCs to back that up). I'm also impressing upon them that they need to work together with the community and help contribute to it's survival.

I'm bothered by Silas for the same reason I don't like haunts. The "put to rest" condition seems unnecessarily complex. There is a poltergeist in this colony's church and they're meant to just continue on with business as usual? I get that it's intended to provide a stick to get the PCs investigating the circumstances of the priest's death, but does it even get resolved in book 1? Or is this a book 2 resolution?

To me, having a poltergeist in the church is going to put the entire community on edge with calls for abandoning the colony seeming more and more reasonable. Is this intended or is this me making something out of nothing?

Assuming my above assertions are reasonable I'm inclined to do this: If the PCs take the time to reach out and try to put Silas's spirit to rest, why not let them have a partial victory that is more meaningful then 2d4 days or "a few weeks before he relapses"?

I'm thinking a gift from Silas to one of the PCs in the form of a cursed item? The difference is that the PCs will be to,d up front that it is a cursed item and Silas will exert more and more influence over the PC who carries it. If one of the PCs refuses to carry it, have one of the NPCs do so. If the PCs try to get rid of it, divine anger could be involved.

By having a cursed item that is exuding Silas's anger, you get the same effect that the PC's need to do something about the spirit of Silas, but the colony can get on it's feet without having a poltergeist in the town church.

What do people think? Am I way off base?

Silver Crusade

Maybe I missed something in my read-through, but I'm confused about what prompts the PCs to go explore areas N, O, and P in Part 3. Are they just exploring the island? Or does something I'm missing compel them to go there?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

@John Lynch 106:
That sounds perfectly reasonable. Silas just kinda "hanging around" feels really bizarre, especially because your party isn't even guaranteed to piece together what happened to him. Even if they finish the book, they're still not guaranteed to figure out a connection. Hell, Rayland might just die in battle and then they'd never figure it out.

@Eliandra Giltessan:
The characters can be compelled by Ramona or other colonists to "keep investigating the missing colonists," leading them to eventually hit areas N, O or P. They'll likely encounter the warden jack at some point even if they don't go looking for clues, which should prompt them to wonder where it came from, as its obviously constructed. The skum in area P know where the colonists are, so you can have them attack the colony if the characters still won't go investigate.

The players can be compelled to investigate because they're playing the adventure, and that demands they keep investigating. They either implicitly or explicitly agreed to buy into the adventure and keep pursuing it, its on them to continue and find area P.

The book can easily just end (well, until Book 2 if the hints are any indication) if the players and characters are content to just live in town and not investigate. They're adventurers, they need to adventure!

Silver Crusade

domicilius wrote:


@Eliandra Giltessan:
The characters can be compelled by Ramona or other colonists to "keep investigating the missing colonists," leading them to eventually hit areas N, O or P. They'll likely encounter the warden jack at some point even if they don't go looking for clues, which should prompt them to wonder where it came from, as its obviously constructed. The skum in area P know where the colonists are, so you can have them attack the colony if the characters still won't go investigate.

The players can be compelled to investigate because they're playing the adventure, and that demands they keep investigating. They either implicitly or explicitly agreed to buy into the adventure and keep pursuing it, its on them to continue and find area P.

The book can easily just end (well, until Book 2 if the hints are any indication) if the players and characters are content to just live in town and not investigate. They're adventurers, they need to adventure!

I get that, I'm just confused why they would go THERE in particular. I haven't read AD2 yet---waiting til I get my physical copy today or tomorrow---but from the looks of the map, they explore the rest of the island in book 2, so to finish book 1, they need to go to those specific places. Now, it's possible books 1 and 2 can easily blend into each other/overlap, in which case, great! If not, obviously I can come up with a reason that Ramona sends them there---missing scouts, searching for the origin of the skum that attacked them, etc. I was just making sure there wasn't a reason in the text that I was missing.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Eliandra Giltessan wrote:
I get that, I'm just confused why they would go THERE in particular. I haven't read AD2 yet---waiting til I get my physical copy today or tomorrow---but from the looks of the map, they explore the rest of the island in book 2, so to finish book 1, they need to go to those specific places. Now, it's possible books 1 and 2 can easily blend into each other/overlap, in which case, great! If not, obviously I can come up with a reason that Ramona sends them there---missing scouts, searching for the origin of the skum that attacked them, etc. I was just making sure there wasn't a reason in the text that I was missing.

Ah. I didn't find a reason in the text, so I had area P visible from area L and gave a GM nudge ("you see a tower in the distant against the mountainside that is obviously out of place..."). It was really heavy-handed, but it got the job done. I think any hint will have to be at least a little GM-generated.

As far as I can tell, learning about the tower's existence isn't truly necessary. You could manufacture a reason for Eliza and Rayland to leave the tower (errands, trying to capture new colonists, arrogance, etc?) and run across the party or leave more obvious clues for the party to follow. Url and his skum crew might leave tracks when heading back to the tower after the battle on the beach.

Eliza could plausibly slip up in her arrogance and brag about her master's plans. Monologuing when she thinks she has the players in her clutches seems up her alley as an amateur villain-in-training. Rayland might manage to slip his domination and almost spill all the beans to the players before the effect is reinstated/Eliza kills him.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

This is bit late so dunno if anyone cares, but I realized that you could essentially consider Eliza to be NPC that went through all three stages of Aboleth Corruption. I think that is reasonable way to think about how her evilness works.

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