Giantslayer Marathon: Part 4!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

I just got the newest report from the Order of the Amber Die after their experience with Pathfinder Adventure Path #94: Ice Tomb of the Giant Queen and those guys are still alive! (Mostly.) Remember, this blog is full of spoilers for the Giantslayer Adventure Path, so read at your own risk! And now I turn this blog over to the Order of the Amber Die.

Order of the Amber Die is back with the fourth update on our ambitious endeavor to complete Giantslayer in just 6 months!

The party found itself in bad shape following the third marathon session, and we knew that this could very well be our last report—so if it was, we needed to go out knowing we had given ourselves every best chance to succeed. First, to encourage cohesion, we chose to play with only the four main players present for this marathon, no live NPCs, and our GM played the role of Kurst Grath as would normally happen in most groups. Second, even though we are spread across the east coast, an emergency player meeting was called via Skype to try and figure out what needed to be done to turn things around in-game. The conference was complete with an agenda and new approach to utilizing our ACG hybrid classes to better effect in combat. Lastly, with permission from reluctant elders of our GM's family, we returned to the sacred birthplace of our Order and played this marathon in the room where it all began in '87.

This 83-hour marathon was also record setting for the RPG community, as one of our members and our GM both surpassed 500 documented session hours of Pathfinder in a single year (GMed and played respectively). According to our research and to the best of our knowledge, this is the new world record!

For this adventure we were headed well above the snow line in the Mindspin Mountains, so to better immerse ourselves we looked for wintry effects. The obvious was the thermostat, and it was set low enough to feel like December in the peaks. We also purchased plenty of polymer snow to go 3 inches deep around our play area. For glacial winds, we fired up fans that kept most of us wearing our long sleeve uniforms and winter hats at times—despite being late June in NJ.

Highlights From our Experience With Ice Tomb of the Giant Queen

  • As the giants in the training camp of Skirgaard were too numerous to count, we had to resort to repeated guerrilla actions to disband the camp. Much of the weekend was spent planning raids on a unique 20" x 30" isomorphic map of Skirgaard. Thanks to author Jim Groves for his support with this!
  • We made another powerful ally in Naximarra, the majestic and yet terrifying red dragon of an ancient bloodline. We'll never forget her first appearance, with the dragon's head rising from the snow just five feet away from us—but she didn't breathe.
  • Pumped up to fight big Vikings, we rocked out to Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song" and "No Quarter" while putting up a body count that now totals 57 giants slain throughout the AP.
  • An aerial duel over boiling vats began while confronting Rohkinirr, a frost giant witch and accomplished brewmaster. Quinn chased the witch around the brewery in a vicious dogfight, firing off inspiration points to activate his studied combat twice per round. The investigator eventually found an opening and drove home his longspear, plunging the giant to a gruesome death in a vat of his own ale.
  • The Amber Die itself was alive and well, delivering 6 natural 20s throughout the weekend, and of course: a signature 20-20.


Character Deaths

While camped in deep snow, the party's night watch team heard something very large in the darkness beyond their sight. Coming into view was a 20-foot tall undead giant known as an indarugant, which strode from the pages of the Pathfinder #94 bestiary directly into our camp, determined to make a strong debut on Golarion. It dropped two PCs in one round with its frozen axe, and left another near death. Kurst Grath never rose from the hit, and the ranger would remain under gentle repose for the rest of the adventure.

Current Situation

We had an incredible performance, with our shortest completion time and fewest character deaths of any module in Giantslayer thus far. Skirkatla the undead queen was laid low, a giant training camp dispersed, and our ACG classes kicked into high gear. Our reforms worked, we made the semi-finals of this AP, and we can now take some small measure of inspiration from Churchill into the last two adventures:

"If the Order of the Amber Die and its members last for a thousand years, adventurers will still say, 'This, was their finest hour!'"

Best Quote From Marathon 4

Sterling (Crowe): "I actually feel sick to my stomach right now." (with a TPK looming in the final battle)

More Content

Read through the entirety of The Giantslayer Endeavor. For more pictures, campaigns, and information on the Order of the Amber Die, you can find them on Facebook and Instagram. The miniatures used are again painted by Blue Table Painting.

Be sure to stay on the lookout for the next report from the Giantslayer marathoners!

Adam Daigle
Developer

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Community Giantslayer Pathfinder Adventure Path
Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

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My very good face-to-face friend and professional colleague, Ben Bruck, will be delighted that he claimed the character death!

Awesome read, Order of the Amber Die! I was glad to help!

[Not to be a shill, but the actual isomorphic map is in the Giantslayer Map Folio. The full color version was not available to the Order in time to play their session. Adam Daigle gracious gave his blessing for me to send them my turnover version. I dare say the isomorphic perspective really adds to the fun of the player's strategic planning]

Thank you guys so much for playing and promoting this AP!

And.. I am to understand from the Order's GM that the final boss fight was very challenging even though they didn't have a death...? (No spoilers desired, just hoping for confirmation)

Order of the Amber Die

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Jim Groves wrote:

My very good face-to-face friend and professional colleague, Ben Bruck, will be delighted that he claimed the character death!

Awesome read, Order of the Amber Die! I was glad to help!

[Not to be a shill, but the actual isomorphic map is in the Giantslayer Map Folio. The full color version was not available to the Order in time to play their session. Adam Daigle gracious gave his blessing for me to send them my turnover version. I dare say the isomorphic perspective really adds to the fun of the player's strategic planning]

Thank you guys so much for playing and promoting this AP!

And.. I am to understand from the Order's GM that the final boss fight was very challenging even though they didn't have a death...? (No spoilers desired, just hoping for confirmation)

Props to Ben Bruck for an awesome adversary! There are a bunch of photos we just posted to our Facebook of the battle vs. the indarugant. Kurst Grath will be back (for more punishment) in the next installment.

Just to confirm, the final battle was definitely in the top 3 for the toughest we have faced so far, but all players did survive intact--barely.

In regard to the AP, it has really been our pleasure to play it for everyone. Each player has found something that has spoken to them in this path, whether they preferred powerful items, epic battles, unexpected locations, or even as GM: sheer scale. That tomb took a LONG time to draw!

Adam
GM
Order of the Amber Die

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Sounds like you folks are having a great time. Giantslayer looks like a solid AP with classic themes, it might be a few years before my group runs it.

Sczarni Order of the Amber Die

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Oloch here!

I got to take a bite out of a woolly rhinoceros in the battle against the cold riders...what razortusk half-orc wouldn't like a piece of that?

Liberty's Edge

I love the maps and props you guys created. Any tips on how to recreate your "3D" maps?

Order of the Amber Die

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Noven wrote:
I love the maps and props you guys created. Any tips on how to recreate your "3D" maps?

Glad you liked them, the 3D models have been a lot of fun and I'd be glad to help. For the riverboat in module 2, there is a PDF in our Dropbox that has a 1" grid version, and I discussed how to make it on this thread. As for the watchtower, this can be very useful in module 4 because the PCs will probably have to contend with these towers in one way or another during raids. I'll be putting a booklet in our Dropbox this week which shows how I made the watchtower step-by-step, and I'll make sure and post it on the GM Reference Thread for Ice Tomb of the Giant Queen. Feel free to reach out to me through our Facebook with any specific questions as you go through the process.

Happy gaming!

Adam
GM
Order of the Amber Die


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

This looks like soooo much fun!

Just curious...what do you have on the game master's screen? I can see a flow chart on a couple of the panels.

Order of the Amber Die

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FattyLumpkin wrote:

This looks like soooo much fun!

Just curious...what do you have on the game master's screen? I can see a flow chart on a couple of the panels.

I switch up some of the panels depending on the adventure we're playing, but some of the ones you'll see most often are the grapple flowchart and a list of object hardness/hp/break DCs, and also a list of action types (standard, move, full round, free, etc.). Sometimes I replace one or two of the panels with important maps from the adventure, so for this marathon I had the standard map of Skirgaard and the Tomb of Skirkatla at times. For some of the earlier marathons I had the map of Belkzen from the Hold of the Orc Hordes supplement and the map of Trunau. Customizable screens are a great way to go!

Adam
GM


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

Thanks! I was thinking the same thing about customizable screens but wanted to know what the pros included :) What are you using for the physical screen? It looks like it folds.

Order of the Amber Die

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FattyLumpkin wrote:
Thanks! I was thinking the same thing about customizable screens but wanted to know what the pros included :) What are you using for the physical screen? It looks like it folds.

A few companies have made these types of folding screens over the years, but the most recent one that offers many different colors and sizes is Hammerdog Games, "The World's Greatest Screen." The Giantslayer art and iconic characters on the front of ours were made by one of our members. Hope this helps!


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

That is a HUGE help. Thank you :)

Good luck with your campaign. Thanks for doing all the updates.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
Sounds like you folks are having a great time. Giantslayer looks like a solid AP with classic themes, it might be a few years before my group runs it.

Zadim here...

Playing "the few who stood against many" has been immensely fun and gratifying. There may only be five of us, but our precision strikes have thus far disbanded not one, but two "countless" giant training camps.

Perhaps three is in the works...

Dark Archive

What are those leather bins or what ever they are in some of the pictures behind the player picture / Name cards, also would like to know what those are or how you made them. I was thinking of doing something similar for my games with a player picture and the characters name on it.


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Shadowlords wrote:
What are those leather bins or what ever they are in some of the pictures behind the player picture / Name cards, also would like to know what those are or how you made them. I was thinking of doing something similar for my games with a player picture and the characters name on it.

Quinn here! (Responding from deep in marathon 5.) It's a leather dice-rolling tray that lays flat when you unsnap the corners. I got it from one of the leatherworkers at Gencon back around 2008. Sadly they haven't been making them for years as far as I know. I took a look around the web for a few minutes and could only find this, a company that produces a similar product in bulk for other companies to personalize. Not sure if anyone is producing them specifically with the d20 imprint that mine has. Best I could come up with.

http://www.garrettspecialties.com/leather-travel-valet-tray-p-2617.html

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