GM Parrot's The Ferry and the Depths: Rappan Athuk

Game Master parrot familiar

Google Drive for maps, loot, etc.

Adelie 50/50
Anzath 48/48
Aurora 50/50
Bedlam 57/57 (1 negative level)
Lolly 60/60
Moneduloides
Talathel 40/40
Tragershen 30/30

Date: Augusta 29


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This thread is a place to discuss our (currently projected) adventure in (and around) Rappan Athuk.


I am, of course, plenty interested!


Legendary Merchant of Pins

Pencil me in, please. :)


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Dot dottity dot dot


I would definitely be up for this. I especially like the idea of cooperatively forming the group with synergy and possibly tied backstories if you guys are up for it.

I'm hoping to play a 9 level spell caster but otherwise I'm very flexible.


Ah, people are here already! Welcome!

A little business:

I want to run a fast-paced game, with players posting at least once every 24 hours. If you can't, well, I'd respectfully suggest that my style might not fit yours. That said, I don't at all mind if you have a gap here and there, especially if you warn the rest of us ahead of time.

As I mentioned in Groundhog's thread:

parrot familiar wrote:

The most fun I've had is at low level and near the surface. I'd be especially interested in running a game that combines the occasional grueling dungeon crawl with deeper interactions with the town of Zelkor's Ferry and its environs. Your actions will have consequences not only for the PCs, but for the local economy, that sort of thing. Somewhat like what Pinvendor describes for Slumbering Tsar (I don't own that one). Of course, I'm willing to let the characters lead the story, but it'd be great if some village life sounded especially fun to some of you.

Note though: In the games I've played, I've seen 13 PCs die what would have been permanent deaths (three of them were successful at negotiating a second chance). We would definitely need a group where failure can be part of the fun.

On to character creation...


If you have room, I would love to get in on a Rappan Athuk campaign!


I can do once per day-ish. Totally.


Backstories:

I haven't quite decided where to plop the dungeon, what planet to use, etc. I do know that the nearest city is about one hundred miles away to the northeast over the sea. There are towns to the north, south, and upriver to the west. The towns are all feuding with each other, and are quite hostile to strangers.

I love lazyclownfish's suggestion about linked backstories. Feel free to hash that out among yourselves, and I'm happy to provide hooks or advice, too.

Our game will start in Zelkor's Ferry. You are all newcomers. There may be a chance to take over a local NPC as a PC later, when yours dies (did I say when? I meant if!).

You've either arrived there by boat or by land (probably not air or teleportation, right?).

If by boat, you've come from upriver or downriver/across the ocean.

If by land, you've come across miles of forested wilderness in a caravan.

I'll describe both options in more detail when it's time to get started.

One more note: I'm a writer, and I will especially appreciate well-written characters and their subsequent posts. No pressure, just thought I'd throw it out there.

On to mechanics of character creation:


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The book is pretty rough on low-level characters. Of the thirteen fatalities I’ve seen, five occurred at level one, and four at level two. We should either start at either one or two, if people want to skip to characters who with a little more survivability (heh). Note that the book suggests level four, but I'd prefer to start a little lower. I think it will be easier to get acclimated that way.

Proposed character creation rules, adapted from GM Zed,

• All Paizo published classes are probably fine, though I might consult with you about your plans if you're using a commonly banned class,
• I propose a 20 point buy,
• Maximum HP for your class at Level One (even if we start at level 2),
• Core races only for first characters, will consider others for replacements
• Two traits. I’ll also throw custom campaign traits at people from time to time,
• Average starting gold for your class,
• Non-evil alignments only (for now, might loosen this as we build trust/as the dungeon rubs off on people)
• All character options must originate from Paizo published Pathfinder products or from products specific to Rappan Athuk,
• Gods should be from Paizo, as other than Rappan Athuk specific deities it will just be simpler to go with the ones everyone knows.

Build smart, but do ask rules questions early if you've got some wild combo planned


Looks like the list of interested parties is currently:

Groundhog
pinvendor
Spasmodeus
Mark of Bane


I'm gonna invite a couple acquaintances from the boards for those last spots, but other folks are welcome to express interest as we shake out who will make it to the final party.


Lazyclownfish wrote:

I would definitely be up for this. I especially like the idea of cooperatively forming the group with synergy and possibly tied backstories if you guys are up for it.

I'm hoping to play a 9 level spell caster but otherwise I'm very flexible.

Were you thinking a common race or religion? Or a common home town/city? I am good going with either linked backgrounds or not.

Were you thinking divine or arcane for a caster?


Would you guys mind terribly if we started at 2nd? I must admit I've played straight up from 1 a lot of times by now and it's starting to strain just a little bit.

markofbane wrote:
Lazyclownfish wrote:

I would definitely be up for this. I especially like the idea of cooperatively forming the group with synergy and possibly tied backstories if you guys are up for it.

I'm hoping to play a 9 level spell caster but otherwise I'm very flexible.

Were you thinking a common race or religion? Or a common home town/city? I am good going with either linked backgrounds or not.

Were you thinking divine or arcane for a caster?

If we're newcomers, it might make sense that we're coming from the same place, on a shared caravan or ship ride.


markofbane wrote:
Lazyclownfish wrote:

I would definitely be up for this. I especially like the idea of cooperatively forming the group with synergy and possibly tied backstories if you guys are up for it.

I'm hoping to play a 9 level spell caster but otherwise I'm very flexible.

Were you thinking a common race or religion? Or a common home town/city? I am good going with either linked backgrounds or not.

Were you thinking divine or arcane for a caster?

I'm pretty open, to be honest. My instinct is to play Arcane but I don't mind filling the healer role instead if nobody is interested in that. My most played classes over the years have been Cleric and Wizard.


Groundhog wrote:
Would you guys mind terribly if we started at 2nd? I must admit I've played straight up from 1 a lot of times by now and it's starting to strain just a little bit.

Fine by me, let it be level 2!


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male Dire Halfling Spl 1st (2), Luck (9), Adapt (3); HP 8, In +3, Per +5, AC 17, T 14 ,FF 14, Fort +0, Ref +5, Will +1; CMB +0, CMD 13; sword +2, 1d6+1, bow +4, 1d6; Acro +6, Blff +7, Dipl +7, DsDv +3, Kn(loc) +7, Kn(other) +3, Prf +7, SlHn +6, Stl +6, UMD +7

Just saw this spawned off the other thread, consider me very interested!


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Level 2 sounds good to me. Daily posting shouldn't be an issue.

I've learned that the pace of a dungeon crawl relies pretty heavily on the scout/trapfinder player so we should try to put someone in that role who wants to drive exploration or have a system where they automatically search stuff that the other characters suggest etc.

I could take on that role if needed.


I was actually going to suggest that--a default marching order, a trapfinding procedure, something where I can do a lot of the minor rolls and interrupt when there's a decision to make. Getting the right level of DM rolling figured out will be a process, so players should feel free to ask for a quick rewind if their characters would have made a different move than scripted. I might deny these requests, but do make 'em.

Like, "Ok, Bompus and Tery are on point as usual, with Bompus' perception aided by Tery's. They see a trap. Tery automatically tries to disarm it. Success. Bompus spots some treasure, but before he can bag it, a beautiful young man and woman walk into the room. They have no heads."

At this point you need to decide whether to get aggressive or to try to talk. I turn it to you. Etc.


Legendary Merchant of Pins

I'm so much more used to creating characters for roleplay, the idea of trying to min/max for roll-play is going to be a switch for me. Maybe we should go with two trapfinders.

I'm thinking of playing a Ranger, and the Trapper archetype could be interesting in a megadungeon if we're able to be tactical.


I was thinking a wizard, or a investigator/magus (who would work a lot like a rogue). The beauty of having up to six players is a little more freedom to overlap in areas.


I'm hoping we can have the best of both roleplay and rollplay. I know that megadungeons have a reputation for becoming a slog, and am going to do my best to keep this one interesting with interactive NPCs, monsters, and environments.

While it's a rigorous dungeon, I don't think full-on min-maxing will be necessary. I'll also say upfront that anyone who is cooking up a very unusual build should shoot their idea by me, I'll probably allow it unless it looks likely to throw off the whole party's fun.

I... I almost feel like I shouldn't give advice on builds and party composition, right?

A Trapper would probably be a handy party member if nobody else is going with a Rogue, Slayer, or other trapfinder. Other options off the top of my head: archaeologist bard, seeker oracle, crypt breaker alchemist.


I'm currently waffling between a half-orcish unchained rogue or a frontline kind of character.


Current list of interested players, with mentioned character concepts when available (and you might consider drafting backup characters... you'll likely need 'em).

Groundhog: Unchained rogue or frontliner
pinvendor: Ranger, possibly Trapper
Lazyclownfish: 9th level caster
markofbane: Wizard or Investigator/Magus
Spasmodeus
wanderer82

That's six! Maybe we've got our party? Wanderer and Spasmodeus, check in with character ideas when you can, no rush.


I have a cool oracle concept that combines optimization and story pretty well, but she relies on being a part of the moon clan Shoanti.

I could use her with any human tribal society that reveres the the moon though.

Do we have a plan for setting yet?


A tribal people that reveres the moon is pretty portable, feel free to run with your idea.

I've been mulling over the setting.

Rappan Athuk on an east coast, so we need that to align it to a similar place. It's in the wilderness.

I don't know Golarion super well, as I usually play in a homebrew setting that overlays a fantasy world onto the greater Seattle-Vancouver area (plenty of interesting geography in these parts). We use a Google Map, and our Rappan Athuk is on the East Coast of the Olympic Peninsula, centered on an area inland from the real-world town of Port Ludlow (I believe that Frog God Games is based in Poulsbo, which is the next town south of Port Ludlow. I have considered trying to visit).

Rappan Athuk is pretty huge, a couple hundred square miles plus, so I may have underestimated when I said there was a big city one hundred miles across the sea--probably it's gotta be quite a bit farther. In my homebrew setting, the nearest major settlement is an Elven city overlaying Vancouver, B.C. (Seattle was wiped out long ago). We could use that world.

If we want to use Golarion, maybe we could put it in Geb-Nex-Katapesh reflavored away from hordes of undead and mana-wastes to a more standard setup of knights and nobles ruling over petty feudal settlements and a lot of empty forests. Nearest city could be on Jalmeray, nearest major city Absalom? But I probably won't have much by way of correct lore to go with it.


If you have a setting you're familiar with, that's good enough for me. Although if we want to set it in Golarion, you might consider dumping the dungeon in Mendev. It'd mean that the "east coast" is actually the western shore of the "Lake of Mists and Veils" and not an ocean proper, but the area is thematically appropriate for a knights and nobles and feudalism. It'd imply that Rappan Athuk threatens to be a potential "eastern front" as counterpart to the worldwound to the west.

But it's sort of a hack job. Whatever you find most convenient would be my vote.


Legendary Merchant of Pins

Here's a great fan-made map of all of Golarion if you think it would help you find a spot that works.

Edit: It's not exactly precise to the canon maps, but the fact he has a pretty good representation of locations is generally why I use it as a reference. I could easily see the whole of FGG's Lost Lands fitting right in place of Arcadia honestly. It seems the Tsar/Bard's Gate/Rappan Athuk is built along a long North to South road structure which mirrors Arcadia's shape fairly precisely.

And who knows what's on Arcadia anyway?


That'd be good, but without spoiling anything I'll just say that the body of water ought to be an ocean. Salty stuff down there. If we changed the lake into an ocean bay (looks like there's not much separating it from the sea), that could work. A little chilly though.

I'll keep scouting locations on Golarion. Maybe the east coast of a slightly enlarged Rivenrake Island, setting us in Varisia?

As much as I love my Pacific Northwest setting, it's probably too weird/full of inside jokes to share with (even friendly) strangers.


Also, I believe that one of my acquaintances from the boards is joining us, so people with interest and their plans so far include:

Groundhog: Unchained rogue or frontliner
pinvendor: Ranger, possibly Trapper
Lazyclownfish: Oracle
markofbane: Wizard or Investigator/Magus
Spasmodeus
wanderer82
LadyGrayRose


I'm definitely not late in arriving to this thread. Nope, no sirree. You're all just early.

I enjoy healing and buffing or spellcasting.


pinvendor wrote:

And who knows what's on Arcadia anyway?

Good point. Maybe feuding feudal lords?


Seeing where everyone else is headed, I'm pretty sure I'll go with some sort of frontliner, in lieu of the rogue.


Wow, so Pathfinder Second Edition is happening at last. Mixed feelings.

Updates:

Groundhog: Frontliner
pinvendor: Ranger, possibly Trapper
Lazyclownfish: Oracle
markofbane: Wizard or Investigator/Magus
LadyGrayRose: Buffer/Healer or Caster
Spasmodeus
wanderer82

Looking forward to hearing more about your plans. I'm so so excited to do this. I guess I need to make a decision about where to drop this bad dungeon. I'll decide by tomorrow morning. Then we can start figuring out how you all ended up there...


Oh hey, LadyGrayRose! I'm playing in the game with Dayana as a surly dragonborn. :P

I may revise my Oracle plan if you end up wanting to play a healer. I'm pretty flexible though.

I have tomorrow off so I plan to get at least a build done, if not some backstory hammered out.

Edit: @Groundhog: My Oracle concept would be a front-liner as well if I went with that plan.


Here's Tragershen, the build I had in mind for a wizard. He's an elven wizard (diviner, foresight). I'll flush out equipment and background when we nail down some of the other campaign details.

I'll work on the other build I had in mind as well.


@Lazyclownfish Why if it isn't my favorite surly dragonborn... ;)

If you want to be a primary healer, I'm good with that. I'm currently leaning towards a Bard or possibly a Cleric depending on what deities we're using... I probably don't need a 4th Witch (but then again, maybe I do /shot)


male Dire Halfling Spl 1st (2), Luck (9), Adapt (3); HP 8, In +3, Per +5, AC 17, T 14 ,FF 14, Fort +0, Ref +5, Will +1; CMB +0, CMD 13; sword +2, 1d6+1, bow +4, 1d6; Acro +6, Blff +7, Dipl +7, DsDv +3, Kn(loc) +7, Kn(other) +3, Prf +7, SlHn +6, Stl +6, UMD +7

Seems like we have several casters, and at least a couple warrior types, so I am thinking skills could use some love. As such, an unchained rogue, to offer both a second trapfinder and a talented social character, for any negotiations that may arise.


She's a melee oracle, so not really a primary healer, per se, but she won't need her spell slots for combat very often so there should be plenty left for healing. The basic idea:

'Chases Moonlight' is a clumsy, optimistic huntress in a tribal clan who happened upon a connection to the spirits. She doesn't really understand how or why they speak to her, but she trusts in their guidance to a fault. Which is probably why she's so far away from her tribe at the start of this game.

Mechanically, she's a Spirit Guide Lunar Oracle with the Haunted Curse and an earth breaker (or other suitable tribal weapon if the GM prefers).

I'll get a build up after I sleep.


I think I'll be going Warpriest. I mocked up a statblock below.

Statblock:
Hakram
Male NG Half-orc Warpriest of Iomedae
Init +1
AC 20, T 11, FF 19, CMD 15, FFCMD 14
Hp 25 (2d8)
Fort +7, Ref +4, Will +7
20ft.
Longsword +6, 1d8+3 (19-20)
Warpriest Spells Prepared
0 - Create Water, Mending, Purify Food & Drink, Stabilize
1 - Divine Favor*3
Str 16, Dex 13, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 15, Cha 10
Feats Weapon Focus: Longsword, Toughness
Traits Deft Dodger, Fate's Favored
Skills Intimidate +7, Knowledge(Religion) +4, Sense Motive +6
Special Abilities Darkvision, Intimidating, Sacred Tattoo, Weapon Familiarity, Focus Weapon, Sacred Weapon, Good Blessing, Sun Blessing, Blessing 4/d, Fervor(1d6, 3/d)

Equipment Masterwork Longsword, Heavy Wooden Shield, Banded Mail, Light Crossbow, 10 bolts, Backpack, 50ft. Silk Rope, Silver Holy Symbol of Iomedae, 5 scrolls of Cure Light Wounds, Scroll of Magic Weapon, 105gp


markofbane: Tragershen (Diviner Wizard)
Lazyclownfish: Chases Moonlight (Lunar Oracle)
Groundhog: Hakram (Warpriest of Iomedae)
pinvendor: Ranger, possibly Trapper
LadyGrayRose: Oracle or Bard
wanderer82: Unchained Rogue

Party composition is entirely up to you all, but here are some observations:

First and foremost, remember that many of these poor people are gonna die. Play 'em, love 'em, lose 'em, start over again.

Diviners are awesome. "Run" may well save Tragershen's bacon at some point. As they say in Zelkor's Ferry, "You don't need to outrun the monster--you just gotta outrun your friend."

I'm looking forward to meeting Chases Moonlight. Reading the Lunar mystery list, pretty great options there. Earth Breaker's fine as long as you have a plan for proficiency.

Welcome Hakram, who was posted as I edited this post! Warpriests are cool.

I agree that oracles can co-exist without stepping on each others' toes. A party of six oracles could masquerade as six other classes and fill all the roles.

However, bards! Bards are awesome.

Wanderer, for a skillful social trapfinder, I'd like to suggest the Archaeologist Bard, an archetype I have always wanted to see in action. Of course if you want that sweet sweet dex-to-damage I understand.


Also, I've decided to place Rappan Athuk on Rivenrake Island. It's the biggest island across from Riddleport in the Varisian Bay. It seems like a place that is very remote, but is also close enough to the mainland to be contested by nearby political forces. Also, it should be relatively close to Chases Moonlight's homeland.

The "hollow mountain" of Rivenrake legend is likely just a conflation of the very real Rappan Athuk with small mining communities (very few of them human, many of them unsavory) in the hills to the West. The mountains grow increasingly rugged as one heads west before dropping to the sea in mighty cliffs. This means that the main ports (if you can call them that) are all on the east coast of the island.

Zelkor's Ferry is the last consistently neutral settlement as one heads West upriver. If you need more details for a planned backstory, let me know.

PS LadyGray: we're using Golarion gods, if that sways your decision about clerickry at all.


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Male Elven Wizard (Diviner, Foresight) 6 | HP 38 | AC:18 | FF:14 | T:13 | CMB:+3 | CMD:16 | Fort:+4 | Ref:+ | Will:+6 | Init:+10 | Perc +0 | St:+3 |
GM Parrot wrote:

Diviners are awesome. "Run" may well save Tragershen's bacon at some point. As they say in Zelkor's Ferry, "You don't need to outrun the monster--you just gotta outrun your friend."

I'm looking forward to meeting Chases Moonlight. Reading the Lunar mystery list, pretty great options there. Earth Breaker's fine as long as you have a plan for proficiency.

I'm looking forward to seeing Chases' build as well.

To pluralize that saying: "I only need to outrun as many of my friends as there are monsters." :)

I have archaeologist bard in my list of back up character ideas; I'd love to see one in action as well.


male Dire Halfling Spl 1st (2), Luck (9), Adapt (3); HP 8, In +3, Per +5, AC 17, T 14 ,FF 14, Fort +0, Ref +5, Will +1; CMB +0, CMD 13; sword +2, 1d6+1, bow +4, 1d6; Acro +6, Blff +7, Dipl +7, DsDv +3, Kn(loc) +7, Kn(other) +3, Prf +7, SlHn +6, Stl +6, UMD +7

I actually love the archaeologist bard, have played it multiple times. Given the dungeon crawly nature of Rappan Athuk though, I thought the dex-to-damage and sneak attack might be more beneficial (especially because it looks like we are already going to have several casting classes).

That being said, I couple mechanics questions: are we going to be using background skills? have you given any consideration to the feat tax material? You are likely aware of it in the website format, which they recently updated and codified into a pdf. I ask in part because it would at least make the path to dex-to-damage shorter than normal if I went archaeologist bard.

@LadyGrayRose are you leaning more towards cleric or bard at this point?


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Awesome. Setting this in Golarion puts Chases Moonlight right where she belongs as a somewhat unusual member of the Shoanti Lyrune-quah.

Unusual because she's a terrible archer. And she's a lot more open to the outside world, though not necessarily any more trusting of it. It makes her a little bit of an outcast of her tribe.

I planned to use Shoanti Tattoo for proficiency.

Her involvement in the story revolves around the idea that the spirits have warned her of some dire threat looming in the future (the timeline is pretty open). This drives her away from her tribe and toward danger. I don't know really anything about this module, so hopefully that can fit well enough.

Her theme song.


wanderer82 wrote:

I actually love the archaeologist bard, have played it multiple times. Given the dungeon crawly nature of Rappan Athuk though, I thought the dex-to-damage and sneak attack might be more beneficial (especially because it looks like we are already going to have several casting classes).

That being said, I couple mechanics questions: are we going to be using background skills? have you given any consideration to the feat tax material? You are likely aware of it in the website format, which they recently updated and codified into a pdf. I ask in part because it would at least make the path to dex-to-damage shorter than normal if I went archaeologist bard.

I've seen the website version, yeah--just looked through the PDF, but I don't see much about dex to damage in it, is it just that you save taking Finesse? I don't really think it's super necessary to adopt it as an overarching system, but if you want we can come up with some custom traits or boons to help you play how you'd like. Also, do feel free to go Rogue if you want a change from Archaeology.


Lazyclownfish wrote:

Awesome. Setting this in Golarion puts Chases Moonlight right where she belongs as a somewhat unusual member of the Shoanti Lyrune-quah.

Unusual because she's a terrible archer. And she's a lot more open to the outside world, though not necessarily any more trusting of it. It makes her a little bit of an outcast of her tribe.

I planned to use Shoanti Tattoo for proficiency.

Her involvement in the story revolves around the idea that the spirits have warned her of some dire threat looming in the future (the timeline is pretty open). This drives her away from her tribe and toward danger. I don't know really anything about this module, so hopefully that can fit well enough.

Her theme song.

Oh, there's dire danger in the future, for sure! That all sounds great.


Dex to damage eats all of an archaeologists feats until level 7. 1 - Finesse, 3 - Focus, 5 - Dex to damage.

Did you decide yes or no on background skills?


@Wanderer82 I think I'll be going with a Cleric of Nethys; starting to draft up a statblock for her now.


Lazyclownfish wrote:

Dex to damage eats all of an archaeologists feats until level 7. 1 - Finesse, 3 - Focus, 5 - Dex to damage.

Did you decide yes or no on background skills?

You could do Dervish Dance, that only needs 2 feats. You'd need scimitar proficiency from somewhere though - half elf is an option there.

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