Paizo Top Nav Branding
  • Hello, Guest! |
  • Sign In |
  • My Account |
  • Shopping Cart |
  • Help/FAQ
About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game


Pathfinder Society


Starfinder


Starfinder Society

Updating #8–99 (Suggestions Appreciated and Version A Spoilers Likely)


Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild

Paizo Employee ***** Organized Play Lead Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Hi folks,

I'm working on Version B of Pathfinder Society Special #8–99: The Solstice Scar. Remember that each version replaces one part of the previous version with a new section, telling an evolving story. Version A consists of Parts 1, 2, and 3. The most coherent story choice for Version B involves replacing Part 2, so this version would involve Parts 1, 3, and 4.

The bulk of my work involves developing Part 4 and adjusting any language in earlier parts to make sure the transitions and mechanics are coherent. However, this is also a good opportunity for me to make some modest adjustments to Parts 1 and 3 to improve the play experience. That's where you can help out. Please help me identify areas of improvement for these two parts that I can correct without performing any major overhauls, particularly if you've had a chance to see these concerns in action.

Here are some (not exclusive) examples of good corrections:

  • The wording for this ability, hazard, et cetera is unclear or has an easily fixed error.
  • The Subtier 10–11 enemies in this encounter area are especially difficult or time consuming, which is not ideal for a time-constrained special.
  • This section needs just a little more time to be completed by most tables.
  • This creature's referenced in the adventure but lacks a stat block in the appendix.
  • There's an editorial error is section XX, page YY.

    I'm also open to hearing why you found several specific encounters particularly fun or unpleasant, as that might help me play up or scale back those features in upcoming #8–99 versions.

    I'll be working on various pieces of this over the next two weeks or so, and I might be able to incorporate smaller changes as late as mid December.

  • Shadow Lodge *****

    3 people marked this as a favorite.

    A hard *you rest here* in bold when a rest happens would be good. sometimes it wasn't clear if you were fighting on the same days or different days.

    Dark Archive ***

    Between playing at 7-8 and comparing notes with those who played 1-2 and GMing at tier 7-8 recently and seeing the numbers of successes' at low tier I'd say the low tiers could use a little bumping up in difficulty. The 7-8 tier combats can drag just a bit, but I also appreciated that they were challenging.

    Grand Lodge ****

    Given how much players can rest, the difficulty should be ramped up overall, or some of the resting sequences suppressed as I found there isn't the same level pressure of playing a special.

    Silver Crusade ***** RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8 aka GreySector

    I posted a list of suggested typos/corrections to the product discussion thread.

    The mother of spikes has some errors.

    • On p. 18 she is listed as having the giant template, however her statblock on p. 81 does not list the giant template (though it looks like the template was applied to reach the final numbers).
    • She should be Large, not Medium.
    • Her natural armor bonus should be +15 (+10 base, +2 from the advanced template, +3 from the giant template). The listed natural armor bonus is +14.
    • Her flat-footed armor class should be 24 (+15 natural armor, -1 size).
    • Her hit points should be +120 (a Constitution of 30 is +10 hp per hit die), not the listed +96.
    • Outsiders get 4 additional class skills, however it looks like five skills (Acrobatics, Diplomacy, Intimidate, Spellcraft, and Survival) which are not normally class skills for outsiders are getting a class skill bump.
      skill breakdown:
      Skill = ranks + Class Skill? + Ability + Misc. Mod =
      *Acrobatics 12 + 3 + 7 = 22
      *Diplomacy 12 + 3 + 6 = 21
      *Intimidate 12 + 3 + 6 = 21
      Knowledge (planes) 12 + 3 + 3 = 18
      Perception 12 + 3 + 4 + 4 = 23
      Sense Motive 12 + 3 + 4 + 4 = 23
      *Spellcraft 12 + 0 + 3 = 15
      Stealth 12 + 3 + 7 - 4 = 18
      *Survival 12 + 3 + 4 = +19

    Silver Crusade ***** RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8 aka GreySector

    3 people marked this as a favorite.
    Philippe Lam wrote:
    Given how much players can rest, the difficulty should be ramped up overall, or some of the resting sequences suppressed as I found there isn't the same level pressure of playing a special.

    I disagree.

    Not only do the players not know that they can rest (and so will most likely conserve resources, which has been my experience), part 3 is punishingly difficult with multiple creatures capable of inflicting stat damage, stat drain, and negative levels.

    I imagine that given the thrust of the plot, there will probably not be an opportunity to rest between parts 3 and 4 in Version B, so I think there needs to be a recovery or boost mechanic between those parts.

    EDIT

    Also, most of the resting comes in Part 2, and that is the part being cut for Version B.

    Silver Crusade ***** RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8 aka GreySector

    Davor Firetusk wrote:
    Between playing at 7-8 and comparing notes with those who played 1-2 and GMing at tier 7-8 recently and seeing the numbers of successes' at low tier I'd say the low tiers could use a little bumping up in difficulty. The 7-8 tier combats can drag just a bit, but I also appreciated that they were challenging.

    This is just how multitable specials work. The higher level you are, the more out of game time individual turns and overall combats take. At lower levels there are less hit points and options on both sides. Most successes come from the low tier tables.

    Silver Crusade ***** RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8 aka GreySector

    In Area H, please specify if the gnarled trees count as blocking or difficult terrain, provide cover, or provide concealment.

    **** Venture-Lieutenant, Ohio—Cleveland aka GinoA

    I understand that the nominal slot length is 5 hours. However, at a lot of the smaller cons (which this scenario is intended to target), 4-hour slots are the norm.

    I wouldn't want you to create a special that can't fill a GenCon slot. However, finding a way to designate certain combats (or time-consuming elements thereof) as 5-hour-slot-only, would make it a *LOT* easier on us trying to run in 4-hour slots.

    I oversaw version A last weekend at Con on the Cob. Our player-base has not been receptive to a five-hour slot schedule. The average number of successes was something like 2 (per part) for the whole House. Every GM (and several players )commented that they just didn't have time to finish encounters in the time we had.

    What's one more requirement on the hardest to author adventures? After all, I live to make the OP team's lives difficult. :-)

    Dark Archive

    Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

    Ninja'd by Gino.

    Some of the PbP that I've been in so far in 7-8 Version A(no, I haven't peeked at other info!) has been somewhat time-consuming, even with a GM that's been pushing us along with 'botting' instructions and a clear butt-tonne of prep-work.

    If there was some way to reduce the length but not the impact, that'd be awesome.

    Dark Archive ***** Venture-Captain, Germany—Rhein Main South aka schattenstern

    I think it is a gread idea to replace part 2 which was the weakest part according to my players.

    In the third part the biggest problem is that EVERY endoiunter begins with 2-3 rounds of everyone walking towards each other, maybe another starting position might help with that


    ^I'm going to second that suggestion. If you've got a ranged-heavy group then it's one thing but my table for PbP Gameday (Tier 3-4) is mostly melee and short-range people so the last couple of combats has seen nearly everyone taking their first few turns just to move close enough to do something (and they actually deliberately avoided tackling the archers in Part 2 for that very reason). So perhaps new or variable starting positions might help mitigate that a bit.

    The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Texas—Dallas & Ft. Worth aka Belafon

    Part 3 Page 32: Overseer instructions for Diplomatic Successes tells the overseer to announce:

    Quote:
    The air fills with the sound of Kellid battle cries as dozens of Twinhorn warriors join the fight. Table GMs, the Twinhorn Allies effect is in play.

    This should be the Twinhorn Champions effect.

    Part 3 (all but especially Part J):
    What are the light levels for these areas? It's supposed to take place as midnight approaches. (Indeed, the box text for area J references starlight.) In particular is the area around the stone circle darker than other areas?

    Part 3 (general unpleasantness):
    I agree with Alexander. Encounters H and J start too far apart. However I saw the opposite problem. The NPCs don't really have ranged attacks. PC archers and casters can devastate them before they get to do anything, especially in the high tiers (raises hand guiltily). Light levels could help with this.

    Aid Tokens:
    The Aid Token sheet needs to be added to the file. And it needs to be explicit how "using up" the boost works on the aid token. None of the tables when I was the overseer (or when I played) understood that they had to erase/cross off the boost upon use until corrected during play.

    Aid Token: Burst of Healing: To Boost

    Quote:
    To Boost: Expend one use of channel positive energy or cast one spell with the healing descriptor whose spell level is at least half your level (rounded up).

    The "rounded up" requirement is problematic for any table that doesn't include a cleric. For example, a 9th level oracle can't boost this as she would need to cast a 5th level spell (which she can't do). Change to "round down."

    General Suggestion: This special could really benefit from a flowchart for the GMs. Most people liked the "more sections but shorter sections" approach vs. other recent specials. But there's so much to keep track of. How long you will have for each section. What announcements cause which sections to open. What effects are in place with an announcement. What order you can do the encounters in. I know flowcharts like this often show up on PFSprep, but a professionally laid-out reference sheet would be a huge help to so many GMs.
    One of the advantages of serving as overseer GM is that you get to see what are the most common issues. After every announcement just about everybody was saying "hang on, got to find out what that does" while flipping through the scenario. Also almost everyone defaulted to "run the encounters in order" even when they didn't need to. You can point at those two items and say "The GMs should have been better prepped." And yes, more prep would have helped. Just saying that a flowchart is a big aid to a GM.

    ***

    2 people marked this as a favorite.
    Michael Eshleman wrote:
    Philippe Lam wrote:
    Given how much players can rest, the difficulty should be ramped up overall, or some of the resting sequences suppressed as I found there isn't the same level pressure of playing a special.

    I disagree.

    Not only do the players not know that they can rest (and so will most likely conserve resources, which has been my experience), part 3 is punishingly difficult with multiple creatures capable of inflicting stat damage, stat drain, and negative levels.

    I imagine that given the thrust of the plot, there will probably not be an opportunity to rest between parts 3 and 4 in Version B, so I think there needs to be a recovery or boost mechanic between those parts.

    EDIT

    Also, most of the resting comes in Part 2, and that is the part being cut for Version B.

    Personally I loved the rest periods, which made this one of the most enjoyable specials in which to play a caster. It was such a refreshing change from most of the other specials, where I've often seen people regret their decision to play a full caster by the time they reached the end.


    Davor Firetusk wrote:
    Between playing at 7-8 and comparing notes with those who played 1-2 and GMing at tier 7-8 recently and seeing the numbers of successes' at low tier I'd say the low tiers could use a little bumping up in difficulty. The 7-8 tier combats can drag just a bit, but I also appreciated that they were challenging.

    As a Level 1 player of this special, I agree. By the end we felt like we were just a Success engine for the high level tables. I mean, it was fun! But not challenging.

    Shadow Lodge ****

    Please make handouts for the social encounters!

    Attempting to explain either all available options (orc encounter) or relay the mechanics at play (camp encounter) is difficult when on a clock, and in a noisy convention hall.

    **** Venture-Lieutenant, Ohio—Cleveland aka GinoA

    In Part 3: The condition is referred to as Twinhorn Allies in the red text on pg 32, but listed as Twinhorn Comrades on pg 31.

    **** Venture-Lieutenant, Ohio—Cleveland aka GinoA

    Disk Elemental, Kevin Willis:
    The PFS Prep folder has Aid Tokens and nice Orc leader hand-outs.

    Kevin, it also has the flowchart I made up for this one. I ran Overseer last weekend and needed something more concise on-site then the scenario text. I just updated it with Table GM notes on where to find condition definitions.

    http://pfsprep.com/e107_plugins/forum/forum_viewforum.php?366

    The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Texas—Dallas & Ft. Worth aka Belafon

    Gino Melone wrote:

    Disk Elemental, Kevin Willis:

    The PFS Prep folder has Aid Tokens and nice Orc leader hand-outs.

    Kevin, it also has the flowchart I made up for this one. I ran Overseer last weekend and needed something more concise on-site then the scenario text. I just updated it with Table GM notes on where to find condition definitions.

    http://pfsprep.com/e107_plugins/forum/forum_viewforum.php?366

    Kevin Willis wrote:

    The Aid Token sheet needs to be added to the file...

    I know flowcharts like this often show up on PFSprep, but a professionally laid-out reference sheet would be a huge help...

    Scenarios should be self-contained so that we don't have to rely on GMs knowing about a non-official site (and visiting it). The flow-chart is a "want" but the aid tokens are a "need" in the scenario file.

    The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Texas—Dallas & Ft. Worth aka Belafon

    Kevin Willis wrote:

    Part 3 Page 32: Overseer instructions for Diplomatic Successes tells the overseer to announce:

    Quote:
    The air fills with the sound of Kellid battle cries as dozens of Twinhorn warriors join the fight. Table GMs, the Twinhorn Allies effect is in play.
    This should be the Twinhorn Champions effect.
    Gino Melone wrote:
    In Part 3: The condition is referred to as Twinhorn Allies in the red text on pg 32, but listed as Twinhorn Comrades on pg 31.

    Gino is correct; I knew what I meant and still wrote the wrong thing. Twinhorn Champions is a possible outcome of Twinhorn Allies (dependent on the successes in Part 2). Page 32 refers to the successes in Part 3, and should be Twinhorn Comrades.

    Shadow Lodge ****

    Gino Melone wrote:
    The PFS Prep folder has Aid Tokens and nice Orc leader hand-outs

    PFS Prep should not be required in order to allow your players to engage with the scenario.

    **

    Played this twice, ran it once at 10-11. This was attempted in a four hour slot. Bad things happened.

    The limited time literally saved pc lives on two occasions. My players grew increasingly frustrated that they were unable to complete a single encounter. By the end of the slot people literally didn't care anymore. I chalk a lot of this up to trying to fit this into a small slot, but the players could have spent the night chatting instead of playing and it wouldn't have had any effect on the adventure.

    Dark Archive ***

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    In a different direction. Adding Seeker tier would be an interesting twist.

    The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Texas—Dallas & Ft. Worth aka Belafon

    Let's try to stay mostly on track. These are the two things John asked for (emphasis mine):

    John Compton wrote:
    However, this is also a good opportunity for me to make some modest adjustments to Parts 1 and 3 to improve the play experience. That's where you can help out. Please help me identify areas of improvement for these two parts that I can correct without performing any major overhauls
    John Compton wrote:
    I'm also open to hearing why you found several specific encounters particularly fun or unpleasant, as that might help me play up or scale back those features in upcoming #8–99 versions.

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

    2 people marked this as a favorite.

    General remarks


    • This scenario is clearer than many Specials about the timeframe it's intended for. I like that honesty. The penalties you get for not scoring an act perfectly (possibly due to time constraints, calling encounters off) are doable and importantly, not reflected in the chronicle sheet.

    • Statblocks sorted by tier and act. That's a godsend.

    • Good encounters per workday ratio. Since you only get 2-4 encounters per day, you can afford to use your big powers to win fights fast and stay in the timeframe.

      This is an important point I think; players have been conditioned to carefully measure out their daily powers expecting 10 encounters per day, which means they're being frugal in an encounter; which means it takes longer; which means people get frustrated at not finishing encounters on time, and them having resources left over after all. (I found Assault on Absalom difficult in that regard, playing a wizard.)

    • Enemy tactics descriptions made it clear that the GM should not try to play hide and seek games with endless battlefield control and evasive incorporeal creatures. Making it clear how the author intends the encounter to work is a good thing!

    • We had the PFSPREP Aid Tokens. They were used quite a bit, although players may need to be told at the beginning that they should keep them circulating fast, not hoard them for a rainy day. Try to use or boost them every encounter, and make clusters of about 3 tables to rotate them so they don't all end up in one corner of the hall.

    • In general I'm a proponent of Specials having few acts with many scenes per act. An Act is something all tables have to start synchronously; they then do scenes at their own pace. Having few acts means few tables getting cut short for time.

      In this special I think it worked out fine; 3 acts is probably optimal, as is 3-4 scenes per act, especially when they don't have to be one in a very rigid order.

    Part 1: the Museum


    • There is a scouting mechanic, but it kinda discourages actually using it because it splits the party and exposes the scout to fighting alone for a while. I think it's better to explicitly instruct the GM to give the players a bit of description on each encounter, so that they're making an informed choice of which encounter to take on, but not so much that it descends into analysis paralysis. ("There are rioting exhibits on the ground floor and guard critters chasing the juniors; on the first floor a clockwork guardian has gone berserk; and outside the magical defenses are malfunctioning dangerously and aggressively. What would you like to engage?")

    • The flying runes. As written, the tier 10-11 runes are extremely hard to do anything against, with so many immunities and miss chances. However, it also seems like you can try to disable them as long as they're adjacent, even when they're not knocked out and rejuvenating. That's still tricky but makes it feasible.

      It's probably a good idea to make it a bit more explicit that you can also disable the runes when they're active.

    • Confronting the Twinhorns - this is scripted to devolve into a fight no matter what, either against the Twinhorns or the Twinhorns and the PCs against the Mother of Spikes. I was using Jenn McTeague's excellently organized statblocks, which also expand on keyworded abilities that most of us don't know by heart. Altogether, the tier 10-11 encounter spans 6 pages of statblocks for the Twinhorns (2 on Medda, 2 on Anok, 1 each on the warriors and their pets), and 2 for the Mother of Spikes. This is insane. I happen to play a Spiritualist myself, and although it's a very cool class, I think it's way too complicated to use as a ???tagonist in a Special.

    Part 2: the Orcs

    I rather liked this part, but it was very variable. Especially the archer nest; due to mustering shenanigans our high-tier table got both casters with DimDoor and the other high-tier table had only ground-bound people. We teleported into their base and killed everyone before they got a turn; they spent half an hour running and climbing.

    Special note: I had a bard and a witch at the table I was running. This chapter was the one in which they could do the most; the other two chapters had lots of constructs, swarms and undead.

    Part 3: Bela Lugosi's Dead


    • Talking to the council was very well-received by the players I ran for, and we liked it while playing too. Everyone got into the RP, tailoring their arguments to what they found out about the councillors. When running I explained the bare-bones of the Influence rules, trying to couch it in in-game terms as much as possible. I would want the "system" part of this kept as simple as possible because teaching people rules during a Special is not a good thing.

    • The initial fights against the undead were tough for my four-player party (including a playing-up bard and a witch who couldn't use most of his hexes) but it was tactically straightforward and they soldiered through it.

      What became important fast though was whether there was any Restoration to be had at the camp, because my ragewights swarmed the paladin chanting "one of us! one of us!" and did about five negative levels before he tore them apart. I ruled that given the amount of other Pathfinders present, it was reasonable to say that spellcasting services could be bought at the normal prices and that someone would have had these spells prepared.

      I think given the amount of longer-lasting harm that can be inflicted in these encounters, that more explicit guidance on spellcasting services and status removal would be a good addition to the scenario.

    • The final map has a size problem. It's soooo big. Players want to buff up, do knowledge checks, advance one by one in the direction of the enemy, take potshots and so forth. All this happens in initiative turn order of course. It takes forever.

      I think our time spent more usefully if the scenario says "Place the PCs at 60ft distance (i.e. unencumbered charging distance, and common Darkvision distance) from the nearest enemy. They can get two rounds of buffs up because weird noises told them they were getting close to the enemy. The journey from the camp to the circle took 20 minutes, so any buffs with at least 20 minutes duration remaining and the end of the last encounter are also still active, and the PCs can pre-cast buffs with a duration of more than 20 minutes."

    • The sealing ritual is vague. The witch in my party had no spells left that would work on undead so tried to start on the sealing while the rest was still hunting bogies. I ran up against several questions:

      1) can you start sealing the portal if any lieutenants still survive, even if they're all busy?

      2) Do you need to be inside the circle (which has black tentacles and negative energy) to do so?

      3) How long does an attempt take? A standard action? Do you need hands free (not grappled)?

      4) Why can any given player try only one skill check? The witch, with not much else to do, would have been happy to work on sealing the gate while the rest of his party kept the undead off his back.

    Silver Crusade **

    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

    Please reduce the amount of moving across the map before you can start to fight. It seems like there are several encounters where much more time is spent just moving than is spent fighting or doing anything interesting. (This is only from a player perspective, so I can't give you exact references)

    Silver Crusade ***

    Going from memory here, as I played it at Gen Con, and haven't looked at it since. I actually received the adventure about a week ago to start prepping to GM in a month, but I haven't had a chance to read it yet.

    I agree with the complaints about fights where you start too far from the enemies and spend so long just getting there that you spend tons of time just starting the encounter. I remember there were two encounters like this, both near the end, so I think in act 3. One was the final fight.

    From reading this thread, this does seem to be the biggest player complaint.

    Grand Lodge ****

    Mimo Tomblebur wrote:
    Personally I loved the rest periods, which made this one of the most enjoyable specials in which to play a caster. It was such a refreshing change from most of the other specials, where I've often seen people regret their decision to play a full caster by the time they reached the end.

    I understand the logic. Four specials played, three casters, and the three times counting the number of spells I still have at the end. Some players want to play more comfortably and I don't disagree.

    But even if it's only my point of view, I think the resource exhaustion and management is part of the appeal of a special. What I liked is the sense of meat grinding and survival horror at the end surviving endless waves until time is up. A divine and/or an arcane caster will always be needed, but not a lot of people want to take the mantle, even less in that kind of scenario, which is quite disappointing. The rests remove that sense of insecurity.

    ****

    Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber
    Philippe Lam wrote:
    Mimo Tomblebur wrote:
    Personally I loved the rest periods, which made this one of the most enjoyable specials in which to play a caster. It was such a refreshing change from most of the other specials, where I've often seen people regret their decision to play a full caster by the time they reached the end.

    I understand the logic. Four specials played, three casters, and the three times counting the number of spells I still have at the end. Some players want to play more comfortably and I don't disagree.

    But even if it's only my point of view, I think the resource exhaustion and management is part of the appeal of a special. What I liked is the sense of meat grinding and survival horror at the end surviving endless waves until time is up. A divine and/or an arcane caster will always be needed, but not a lot of people want to take the mantle, even less in that kind of scenario, which is quite disappointing. The rests remove that sense of insecurity.

    Resource management derail:
    I think the resource availability of this special was reasonable to allow for more difficult encounters. I played an arcane trickster alongside a lust wizard and a witch. It was one of the few times where each of us could do things sub-optimally and not feel like we were tanking our chances at success.

    I agree that resource management is a draw in the specials, with Assault on Absalom holding a special place in my heart for the great stories we had from it - the defensive paladin struggling to hold the line, the illusionist running out of spells to the point of finishing the last encounter by casting spells out of his Staff of the Master (pre-errata), etc. As long as the resource management doesn't come in the same way as Elven Entanglement, I'm pretty happy to have that as a concern.

    I played version A at PaizoCon and it's a bit hazy, but I agree with Disk about the need for stock handouts. The noise of a convention hall prevents a lot of people, particularly those with diminished hearing or at the far end of the table, from engaging with special mechanics or social encounters easily and having handouts included in the scenario would help clarify things while reducing administrative burden on time.

    There was a lot of time crunch felt in the 10-11 subtier when I played. It may be worth considering a reduced number of encounters at the higher tier vs lower tier in order to ensure that higher tier groups actually complete encounters and experience any content after them.

    Dark Archive ***** Venture-Captain, Minnesota—Minneapolis aka Silbeg

    I was at Serisan's table as well... we did not get through as many encounters as we would have liked, but that's pretty typical for a 10-11.

    What I would like to see are:
    1) Explicit instructions as to travel time between encounters, especially in the later acts. Take away table variation (except, perhaps, saying "It takes 4d6 minutes to get there" or something).

    2) On Act 1, make sure that the PCs have a way to know they can go around back for the runes encounter... it could be a simple as the guards telling them where stuff is happening.

    3) When having a choice between encounters (such as the orc ambush), please try and make sure the three encounters are equivalent. While the "Protect the Caravan" was a neat encounter, it took way longer than the other two.

    4) In areas that folks might blast through a ton of combat encounters, have text that states what to do when they run out (re-run encounters, rerun with additional baddies, rerun at higher tier?)

    5) For act 3, when influencing the elders, please explicitly state whether exceeding the influence roll by 5 will give a second success. When I've run it, I assumed it did not, since it was not explicitly stated.

    6) For area J, I would definitely move the PCs closer in. As I read the encounter, the baddies stay within the circle, which makes it take a good while (in rounds) to move up. Granted, it does allow for interesting solutions to moving (like dive into the water and let the current take me!), but is a bit of a time sink when in crunchtime. Also, explicitly state if they sortie out of the circle (or not).

    All in all, this was an excellent scenario. The tweaks are all kind of minor.

    *** Venture-Agent, Canada—Alberta—Grand Prairie aka DM Livgin

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    Counter point on the encounter starting distances.

    Both times (as and player and a GM) my group used the distance to their advantage, notably setting up a shield wall against the rage-wights. Only the final encounter really suffered from the distance (because it was made further by difficult terrain?). The long distances added a feeling of control over the encounter for the players.

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

    I think the large battlefield on approaching the camp was fine; with that many melee level draining undead about, whittling down a few before they can permanently debuff the party is important.

    But in the final area, there were a lot of winding paths and the distance didn't really serve a purpose.

    *

    I only played this (twice) so I can only offer perhaps a more limited feedback, but yes:

    There was a large gap in how lightlevels were played on my two tables in the penultimate encounter, and this resulted in really differing outcomes.
    One the one ruled "in the dark" we were given no check to spot our enemies, since our light didn't run to where they were, and RP wise we were told to hurry, so me and my animal companion ran ahead with light cast on the animal companion, and he basically got surprise rounded, then full attacked next round with the rest of the team both out of position and really scared.

    We incurred something like 20 negative levels total between the 5 chars on the map (The level 7 ranger and my 8 HD ape both were down to 1, I was down to 3, and the other 2 each got 1 gaze attack hit), it took forever, and we too ran into "can we get rid of these negative levels or do we all decide not to even go to the final encounter" conundrum.
    And even then you run into the "having to make saves every 24h or the negative levels become permanent, which costs something like 1250gold per level to remove then). Having clear instructions how to handle that would be a blessing.

    On the lowbie table, we got a perception check from the placement area, which was aced, and then I'm not sure most enemies even got a hit in.

    The final encounter, in both cases, took a long time not only because of the distance from the encounter but because of the terrain. Apart from a narrow path, it's all difficult terrain, hilly, and breaks Line of Sight. The lowbie party understandably didn't want to lose sight of each other so moved forward slowly. This ate up a lot of RL time while nothing happened on the map.

    In the high tier scenario we spent more time fighting the terrain then fighting the monster. My Ape never got close against the mobile enemy, I spent all my time trying to deal with negative effects on other people, and I think the ranger did 90% of the damage.

    In general at 7-8 4 player without an arcane caster it felt really tough. It's hard to judge though.

    The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Texas—Dallas & Ft. Worth aka Belafon

    Trying to make a flowchart for the GMs, I understand why so many GMs struggled to find exactly what all the conditions did.

    Page 10: Special Successes:
    The read-aloud text says "Table GMs, the Fail Wards condition is in effect." This should be "Failing wards

    Page 10: Concluding Part 1:
    The text indicates the "This part should end after 90 minutes." That does not appear to include the introductions and mustering (which is in Part 1). Change to "This part should end 90 minutes after mustering is complete and the PCs are sent to the Blakros Museum."

    Page 9: Failing Wards:
    The text refers to areas B1 and C1. There is only one encounter in area B and Area C does not have separate headers for the two encounters. Change B1 in "Failing Wards" to B. Label "Trapped Twinhorns" on page 14 as C1 and "The Devil's Due" on page 18 as C2.

    Page 34: Area I:
    Just for clarity's sake, the three encounters could be labeled I1, I2, and I3.

    Page 38: Counting Successes:
    Add the important effects of desecrate and consecrate (+3 to negative/positive channel DCs and bonus/penalty to undead attack rolls, damage, and saving throws) to the condition descriptions; it would be helpful to the GMs.

    Things to emphasize:
    Everyone who did the Magical Wards encounter in Part 1 loved it. It's unique, challenging, thematic, and non-lethal. I'd be tempted to make it a mandatory encounter.

    In Part 3 the three encounters that are the most crucial to the story are H, I1 (Seeking Aid from the council), and J. Since in Version B Area J will be open immediately upon completion of H (no time delay), I would suggest that the tables be given those three encounters first (H, I1, J) and then have I2 and I3 as "wave" options to defend the camp against a retributive strike if they close the portal with time remaining.

    Grand Lodge ****

    SanderJK wrote:

    We incurred something like 20 negative levels total between the 5 chars on the map (The level 7 ranger and my 8 HD ape both were down to 1, I was down to 3, and the other 2 each got 1 gaze attack hit), it took forever, and we too ran into "can we get rid of these negative levels or do we all decide not to even go to the final encounter" conundrum.

    And even then you run into the "having to make saves every 24h or the negative levels become permanent, which costs something like 1250gold per level to remove then). Having clear instructions how to handle that would be a blessing.

    The final encounter, in both cases, took a long time not only because of the distance from the encounter but because of the terrain. Apart from a narrow path, it's all difficult terrain, hilly, and breaks Line of Sight. The lowbie party understandably didn't want to lose sight of each other so moved forward slowly. This ate up a lot of RL time while nothing happened on the map.

    In the high tier scenario we spent more time fighting the terrain then fighting the monster. My Ape never got close against the mobile enemy, I spent all my time trying to deal with negative effects on other people, and I think the ranger did 90% of the damage.

    In general at 7-8 4 player without an arcane...

    Fighting on an unfavourable terrain is part of the game. They can wait until the group arrives, the latter needs to close the gap quick or slowly due to the amount of caution taken. The players may have to take risks and being isolated. Happened to me at the 8-00 when I was the only one in fighting shape at the end and only circling up against 3-4 monsters when the game was 1-2.

    It can be played without a proper arcane caster. I played it in 10-11 with a fighter, cleric, alchemist, paladin and my swashbuckler and it wasn't as difficult as I feared. Removing one of the frontlines, and it might have still be fine.

    If they close the gap between the two different starting points of parties and enemies I would mechanically be ok but that removes a little bit of difficulty on the other hand.

    Dark Archive

    Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

    We finished our run very recently on PbP.

    7-8 was really brutal in that last chapter, and if we hadn't had the rest days... it probably would have been a TPK in the *first* fight, much less the second or third.

    We had a pretty well-rounded team, too, so it wasn't a lack of optimization or overly powerful opponents... the attrition catches up quick when things like negative levels and Strength drain are thrown into the mix.

    Thankfully, in addition to rest days, a couple of our party members had ways of mitigating some of the loss, but the rest times were important.

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

    Philippe Lam wrote:

    Fighting on an unfavourable terrain is part of the game. They can wait until the group arrives, the latter needs to close the gap quick or slowly due to the amount of caution taken. The players may have to take risks and being isolated. Happened to me at the 8-00 when I was the only one in fighting shape at the end and only circling up against 3-4 monsters when the game was 1-2.

    It can be played without a proper arcane caster. I played it in 10-11 with a fighter, cleric, alchemist, paladin and my swashbuckler and it wasn't as difficult as I feared. Removing one of the frontlines, and it might have still be fine.

    If they close the gap between the two different starting points of parties and enemies I would mechanically be ok but that removes a little bit of difficulty on the other hand.

    Handling difficult terrain and tricky lighting conditions can make for an awesome fight. But, I don't think it's suitable for a group Special, because there's so much pressure to play fast or else have your encounter cut short because other tables finished already.

    I think there are also big degrees of table variation here;


    • The scenario doesn't really say anything about the availability of Restoration spells, either at short notice (between encounters) or at the end of the day (to prevent temporary negative levels becoming permanent) or at longer terms (removing one or two negative levels between acts).

    • On the big outdoors maps, we really need to know what the light level is, whether enemies on the far side of the map can be seen (and whether enemies can see the PCs and know to move towards them).

      I think the best call is to say that it's sufficiently starlit to have dim light everywhere.

      Having a darker map and moving over it carefully as a group is fun, but not with Special time pressure.

    • The time between encounters should be spelled out more, so that we know if buffs are still running. For classes which rely on a lot of 10min/level buffs this makes a big difference in the difficulty.

    Shadow Lodge *****

    Isn't one of the aid cards a restoration? You could do the same thing your character does

    "hey, high level pathfinder in the field with me, need some resto love over here!"

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

    No, you can boost an aid token with lesser restoration.

    Grand Lodge ***** Regional Venture-Coordinator, Eastern Eurasia-Africa

    Some of the overseer box text is too long. I think it is important to properly set the scene, but 4-5 minutes is over the top.

    It was quite hard to get hold of the accompanying Audio/Video files.

    Maybe add a count down clock to the presentation so GMs can see if they can call the current encounter and start a new one or that they should fight it out and have a little break if they finish early.

    Paizo Employee ***** Organized Play Lead Developer

    This has all been very helpful, folks. Thank you very much.

    Silver Crusade ***

    I should probably get back to this one. You'd think I'd be more than 10 pages into reading the adventure by now, given that I'm GMing it in 5 days.

    Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo / Organized Play / Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild / Updating #8–99 (Suggestions Appreciated and Version A Spoilers Likely) All Messageboards

    Want to post a reply? Sign in.

    ©2002-2017 Paizo Inc.® | Privacy Policy | Contact Us
    Need help? Email customer.service@paizo.com or call 425-250-0800 during our business hours, Monday through Friday, 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM Pacific time.

    Paizo Inc., Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, Pathfinder Society, Starfinder, the Starfinder logo, GameMastery, and Planet Stories are registered trademarks of Paizo Inc. The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, Pathfinder Battles, Pathfinder Legends, Pathfinder Online, Starfinder Adventure Path, PaizoCon, RPG Superstar, The Golem's Got It, Titanic Games, the Titanic logo, and the Planet Stories planet logo are trademarks of Paizo Inc. Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon, Dungeon, and Polyhedron are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and have been used by Paizo Inc. under license. Most product names are trademarks owned or used under license by the companies that publish those products; use of such names without mention of trademark status should not be construed as a challenge to such status.