Order of the Amber Die—The Strange Aeons Experiment, Part 2

Friday, October 7, 2016

After what seems to be some harrowing experiences, the Order of the Amber Die completed the second adventure, Pathfinder Adventure Path #110: The Thrushmoor Terror, in the Strange Aeons Adventure Path in yet another marathon session. I'm going to keep this short and let them tell their tales. Be sure to check out the links at the bottom of this post to read more about their experience with this Adventure Path. Beware, players! Spoilers below!

The second adventure in an Adventure Path is always an important one, as patterns begin to emerge in the way the party performs, and we look to build momentum early in the AP. We spent the marathon as amnesiacs slowly piecing together the clues of a mystery while working alongside investigators from the Sleepless Agency, and we dabbled into the True Detective soundtrack to give us ambiance throughout 67 hours of play. Since there was so much role-playing involved, our GM brought one of the best actors in the Order down from NYC to play some of the slick-tongued cultists we encountered, and also tapped another member for the role of Winter Klaczka where appropriate.

As the facts surrounding our amnesia were uncovered, it turned out that each of us had a nefarious past. Erasmus had shady friends showing up who expected us to recognize them, while Quinn had once started a bar fight defending the honor of his boyfriend. Even securing lodging was a challenge in this adventure. To thoroughly immerse ourselves in the stormy town of Thrushmoor, we mixed fog machines with a 24-square-foot setup of 3D buildings, and some structures were even specific to the town itself. We also had a couple of Lazzaretti's maps remastered by Axion Studios and printed for play.

Highlights From The Thrushmoor Terror

  • We're clicking as a unit more than many other parties we've had. The players all selected a teamwork feat to suit their needs in this path: Shake It Off. In our standard 2-by-2 formation, everyone gets a +3 to all saving throws, and it's made the difference on 12 saves already.
  • Our GM doesn't pull punches. Travelling back from Caliphas, he rolled up a marsh giant as a random encounter at a waterlogged farmstead—and threw it at a 4th level party. We are veterans of Giantslayer after all.
  • They say defense wins championships. During a 2-hour grinder against an evil druid and her fungal wolves, our 5th level party healed over 200 hit points, with 36 of those coming from Erasmus's seance boon alone—and defense prevailed.
  • We awarded Daji the MVP for this module. The fox was on fire from the opening minutes: He picked up his sixth kill of the campaign, used his knowledge skills to identify the critical weakness of a foe that would likely have defeated us, located the secret door that led us to the final encounter early, The crowning moment was when the fox leaped onto an abomination known as a byakhee and engaged it with everything he had, despite the creature biting Daji into negative hit points.
  • Something is wrong with Quinn, and it's stacking more horror onto this already scary AP. In the asylum he suffered horribly at the hands of ghouls—and despite being raised twice—he possesses an insatiable hunger. Quinn's skin is becoming thicker, and he smells so much like rot that it sickens anyone around him. Our companion has torn through our food reserves, and we sometimes catch him eating when he should be sleeping. We've tried everything from remove curse to remove disease, yet nothing works.

The Experiment

  • We already track a lot of data across each Adventure Path, but we've had to add a new category that is very unfamiliar to us: Battles Run From. Ten so far. The team doesn't like to talk about it.
  • One of our strangest moments in this module involved an interaction with something called an "Elder Thing." Two of them actually, and our GM swears that's the real name. They weren't immediately hostile, but we couldn't tell whether we should introduce ourselves or slay them. Then they spoke!

Character Deaths

  • An assassin, Risi Nairgon, stalked the party around Thrushmoor, seizing our vulnerable moments to strike and get away. After tailing us to a safehouse, she patiently waited on a rooftop for the party to emerge the next morning—sans buffs. Despite sniper's fatigue, she scored a direct hit with a Death Attack on Alahazra: one shot, one kill.
  • Three natural 1s on fear saving throws left Quinn alone facing a Manananggal—a vampiric horror we had yet to see in 138 modules. We could hear his screams while we ran.

Best Quote From Marathon 2

Cesadia Wrentz (lead detective): "How many people saw you carrying a body through town?"
Feiya: "Now? Or ever?"

Current Situation

Quinn's affliction doesn't bode well, but we'll keep trying for a cure. Good detective work has us hot on the heels of our quarry and headed south to piece together what our memories cannot. Alahazra and Quinn are a bit behind in XP, but this is made up for with author Tito Leati's generous amount of treasure awarded to those with the patience to look.

More Content

Read through the entirety of The Strange Aeons Experiment.
For character builds, questions about Strange Aeons, content and more, see our the Strange Aeons Experiment thread on the forums.
Give Order of the Amber Die a Like on Facebook and follow us on Instagram.
Custom 3D Terrain Provided by GeordieJohn Studios.
Gridded battlemats provided by Deep-Cut Studio.

Things are looking pretty grim for the crew. Tune in shortly for a report on their potentially nightmarish experiences in the third adventure in the Strange Aeons Adventure Path, Dreams of the Yellow King.

Adam Daigle
Developer

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Tags: Community Order of the Amber Die Pathfinder Adventure Path Strange Aeons
Dark Archive

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Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Quote:
We already track a lot of data across each Adventure Path, but we've had to add a new category that is very unfamiliar to us: Battles Run From. Ten so far. The team doesn't like to talk about it.

This is the best! (And is a completely valid tactic!)

Order of the Amber Die

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Zhern wrote:
Quote:
We already track a lot of data across each Adventure Path, but we've had to add a new category that is very unfamiliar to us: Battles Run From. Ten so far. The team doesn't like to talk about it.
This is the best! (And is a completely valid tactic!)

Thanks Zern. I have personally enjoyed watching them run, but I can see that it takes some getting used to for the players. Our members are required to know their combat rules very well, so if they're running it's for good reason. They're still not sure yet if this a recurring theme, or just unfortunate circumstances. I guess we'll find out more as the rest of the path unfolds!


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Do the four PC's have any allies in this adventure? Maybe a Sleepless Detective or cleric of Pharasma? Also, how exactly did they survive the Marsh Giant?

Introducing that level of risk takes gall and while (in the immortal words of Worf) "I like gall" I'm sure the party may have been miffed if it had resulted in a wipe out.

Dark Archive

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Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Adam Smith wrote:
Zhern wrote:
Quote:
We already track a lot of data across each Adventure Path, but we've had to add a new category that is very unfamiliar to us: Battles Run From. Ten so far. The team doesn't like to talk about it.
This is the best! (And is a completely valid tactic!)
Thanks Zern. I have personally enjoyed watching them run, but I can see that it takes some getting used to for the players. Our members are required to know their combat rules very well, so if they're running it's for good reason. They're still not sure yet if this a recurring theme, or just unfortunate circumstances. I guess we'll find out more as the rest of the path unfolds!

Given some of the stuff they are likely to face in the next four chapters, I would wager it will become a recurring theme.

I will say this, you all are pretty damned amazing. Definitely in awe of the approach taken to such a great hobby.

Sczarni Order of the Amber Die

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Berselius wrote:
Do the four PC's have any allies in this adventure? Maybe a Sleepless Detective or cleric of Pharasma? Also, how exactly did they survive the Marsh Giant?

Yes, we fortunately had Winter Klaczka, an NPC cleric of Pharasma, as an ally in both modules. She only came into play when we were down a PC, but with four character deaths so far she's seen quite a bit of action.

As for the marsh giant--right when we saw it we figured it was at the limit of our challenge rating, but of all the monsters in Pathfinder we're most comfortable fighting giants and our GM knew that. After identifying it as a humanoid creature, our witch readied a hold person spell to trigger when it approached to within 10 ft, and when that happened it failed its saving throw within range of a 5-ft step and coup de grace. If it made its save we would've been in some trouble, but the dice were on our side. Nothing gets your blood pumping like an encounter like that.

(After the battle our GM verified that it was one of the legitimate random encounters on the table included in the Bestiary for this module.)


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Quinn's Secret:
Cool but is there a reason you only had the NPC aid the party when a party member died? Were four PC's plus a PC-run-NPC deemed too much in terms of party power? Quinn's corruption definately sounds like the ghoulish kind. That's unfortunately one of the harder Corruptions to cure as there's no specific step-by-step rule process of ridding it from the victim (unless your GM would count fasting and an atonement spell enough). What worries me is he's eating normal food as if he's starving (and not eating people...yet). Kinda varies from the standard Ghoul Corruption there. Scary but I suppose that's the point eh? ;)


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Aw bummer! I thought I'd finish TTT before them. We only had one session left!

Order of the Amber Die

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Here's the scoop on Quinn:

Quinn:
So he does have the Ghoul corruption, and has thus far made his save so many times (ugh) that he was gaining manifestations while he otherwise would have been experiencing few symptoms of the hunger itself. It's definitely not the way I thought it would play out, but with the DC climbing, he will be eating innocent sentients very soon I'm sure. Even when he does go after a sentient creature, it could get interesting because the party has left him alone or with only one other character on watch, so assuming he decides to wander off, they may not discover what has transpired until it happens a couple of times. Or, he could always eat what's right in front of him and asleep.

The corruption has, however, exceeded my expectations as far as adding horror to the AP, and I'm considering using another should they manage to rid Quinn of this one. So far, no one ever feels safe in this AP, and that's not something easy to achieve with veteran players. To their credit though, they're very close to figuring it out, so if everyone could please post anything regarding corruptions with a spoiler tag that would be helpful, so we can keep it from the players as long as possible.


Awww...nutbunnies...I'm sorry Adam...I spoiled it for your players. :(

Can a mod alter that post with spoiler tags? Or is it too late? :(

I feel really bad now. :(

Order of the Amber Die

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Berselius wrote:
Cool but is there a reason you only had the NPC aid the party when a party member died? Were four PC's plus a PC-run-NPC deemed too much in terms of party power? Quinn's corruption definately sounds like the ghoulish kind. That's unfortunately one of the harder Corruptions to cure as there's no specific step-by-step rule process of ridding it from the victim (unless your GM would count fasting and an atonement spell enough). What worries me is he's eating normal food as if he's starving (and not eating people...yet). Kinda varies from the standard Ghoul Corruption there. Scary but I suppose that's the point eh? ;)

As far as having Winter aid the party when they were down a PC, the party felt that she would do well to be present in New Chapel and the surrounding area, trying to interact with citizens and calm things down in Thrushmoor. It's a slight change of procedure for them, considering they took NPC Kurst Grath in Giantslayer all the way to module 5 of the AP. They did, however, press Winter to join them in their journey to pursue Count Lowls, and it looks like that's exactly what will happen.

Order of the Amber Die

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Berselius wrote:

Awww...nutbunnies...I'm sorry Adam...I spoiled it for your players. :(

Can a mod alter that post with spoiler tags? Or is it too late? :(

I feel really bad now. :(

We missed the window on edits by a few minutes, but no worries though. We're fortunate to be on the east coast where it is late right now, and I was able to text the Order and instruct the players not to read anything before my last timed post. Sorry if they don't add any responses to the prior messages.


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Ah, having the cleric administer to the townsfolk seems like a good idea. After all, mobs with torches and pitchforks can be VERY distracting. Glad they'll have some extra firepower in their arsenal during the rest of the path though.


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Adam Smith wrote:
Berselius wrote:

Awww...nutbunnies...I'm sorry Adam...I spoiled it for your players. :(

Can a mod alter that post with spoiler tags? Or is it too late? :(

I feel really bad now. :(

We missed the window on edits by a few minutes, but no worries though. We're fortunate to be on the east coast where it is late right now, and I was able to text the Order and instruct the players not to read anything before my last timed post. Sorry if they don't add any responses to the prior messages.

Whew, okay, good. For a second there I thought I really trounced on your campaign really badly. I still need to do something to fix this though.

(gets out wooden board)

REPENT! (SMACK) OW! BLOODY HELL!

REPENT! (SMACK) OW! I THINK I BROKE SOMETHING THAT TIME!

;) :D

Order of the Amber Die

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Berselius wrote:
Adam Smith wrote:
Berselius wrote:

Awww...nutbunnies...I'm sorry Adam...I spoiled it for your players. :(

Can a mod alter that post with spoiler tags? Or is it too late? :(

I feel really bad now. :(

We missed the window on edits by a few minutes, but no worries though. We're fortunate to be on the east coast where it is late right now, and I was able to text the Order and instruct the players not to read anything before my last timed post. Sorry if they don't add any responses to the prior messages.

Whew, okay, good. For a second there I thought I really trounced on your campaign really badly. I still need to do something to fix this though.

(gets out wooden board)

REPENT! (SMACK) OW! BLOODY HELL!

REPENT! (SMACK) OW! I THINK I BROKE SOMETHING THAT TIME!

;) :D

No problem at all, having our campaign out in the open comes with some risks. I'm excited to see more of Winter in this path too, and having a live NPC has certainly made her come to life for us. In fact, the players have really gravitated to the role-playing opportunities in this path so far; the fugue state has made them feel like they're an integral part of the story, whether unwittingly or not.

Order of the Amber Die

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Spastic Puma wrote:
Aw bummer! I thought I'd finish TTT before them. We only had one session left!

Sounds like your group has a nice pace going! How did they do at Fort Hailcourse? I held them off for a couple attempts, but they eventually found another way in. Gotta love Itsqaal-Thoal against a party of four humans!

Paizo Employee Designer

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Added spoiler tag to the spoiler.

Order of the Amber Die

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Mark Seifter wrote:
Added spoiler tag to the spoiler.

Mark! Thanks so much for creating the spoiler tag to hide that comment. Adam just gave us the heads up we can actually look at this thread now!

Love the dedication! It was awesome talking with you at GenCon and definitely look forward to seeing you at PaizoCon next year!


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Adam Smith wrote:
Spastic Puma wrote:
Aw bummer! I thought I'd finish TTT before them. We only had one session left!
Sounds like your group has a nice pace going! How did they do at Fort Hailcourse? I held them off for a couple attempts, but they eventually found another way in. Gotta love Itsqaal-Thoal against a party of four humans!

They went in guns blazing and triggered nearly every group of enemies on the ground floor. However, they played into a choke point and barely pulled through. I didn't realize until later that the undead were actually intelligent so I could have definitely played hem much better tactically. I tried my best to play the soul sliver effectively but they trounced her almost instantly. The skum sorcerer folded like a house of cards but the ranger was a challenge (hurray favored enemy). They ran from the ghost at the end and never came back.

So far no one died but they would have if I was using PF death rules. Ive been using 5e death rules instead. How did your group handle that revenant? It seemed really strong.

Order of the Amber Die

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Spastic Puma wrote:

They went in guns blazing and triggered nearly every group of enemies on the ground floor. However, they played into a choke point and barely pulled through. I didn't realize until later that the undead were actually intelligent so I could have definitely played hem much better tactically. I tried my best to play the soul sliver effectively but they trounced her almost instantly. The skum sorcerer folded like a house of cards but the ranger was a challenge (hurray favored enemy). They ran from the ghost at the end and never came back.

So far no one died but they would have if I was using PF death rules. Ive been using 5e death rules instead. How did your group handle that revenant? It seemed really strong.

Since I'm awake!

Yeah, we ran from the ghost too (although I wasn't there as Alahazra was enjoying the sweet sounds of gentle repose.) As far as the revenant, that is a nasty encounter and has the potential to kill a lot of PCs. It actually would have killed us, but as Alahazra I used erase from time to defensively remove one of our own characters causing the revenant to temporarily lose it's quarry, which bought us enough time to win.

We also killed the soul sliver almost instantly before it could get back into the mirror. We had a really awesome thing happen where we had two Feiya's on the board at once and actually had two professionally painted versions of her to accurately create the scene. Check our Facebook for pictures of the encounter in the near future.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Great write-up and (obviously) I am very jealous of your group!

What kind of screen is your GM using? Looks like a custom made one with a flow chart of the adventure. Would you mind sharing some info about that? Or maybe even the files necessary to recreate it?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

As always, I'm amazed at the level of detail, particularly the maps! (And I recognise the barmaid mini from a recent set from Paizo/WizKids.)

The GM screen looks very professionally made, complete with a map of Ustalav. What's the flow-chart?

ETA: Looks like my questions were ninja'ed! :)

Order of the Amber Die

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Nullpunkt wrote:

Great write-up and (obviously) I am very jealous of your group!

What kind of screen is your GM using? Looks like a custom made one with a flow chart of the adventure. Would you mind sharing some info about that? Or maybe even the files necessary to recreate it?

I'll try to answer both Nullpunkt's and Bellona's questions with this one. I used a similar screen in The Giantslayer Endeavor and talked about it a bit here, but I'll add some more info--I love GM screens and have a nice little collection of them dating back to 1st ed. :)

The flowchart is for grappling rules, and it walks through how a grapple plays out step-by-step, with the flowchart showing possible choices of the combatants. A GM who's been at this for a while knows their strengths and weaknesses pretty well; for me, the grapple rules are where I like to slow things down and make sure to get it right. We played D&D 3.5 for ten long years before switching to 3.75, and the grapple rules were one of the slower transitions for many of us in the Order. I think it took about seven of those ten years to master them in the first place! Luckily, Pathfinder's grapple system is much more streamlined, so I find myself needing the flowchart less and less these days. Another great thing about this GM screen is that I can just as easily remove the flowchart and hand it to a player who might be a little rusty or new to grappling.

The screen is made by Hammerdog Games, and the flowchart is one of many inserts you can download free from them.

As for other inserts in the 4 panels of the screen, I sometimes like to place a map of the region and even one of the current section of the module we're playing. The last panel is almost always break DCs and item HP. The front of the screen is where the real beauty is though, as that is where we have our custom panels featuring the iconic characters in The Strange Aeons Experiment, with the graphic design for those panels done by Axion Studios. You can see lots more pictures of the screen in our PDF and on our Facebook.

Hope this helps!


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

That is one awesome GM screen. Thank you very much for your fast reply!


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Yes, thank you for the info and link! :)

The Exchange Order of the Amber Die

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I couldn't help but notice the spotlight on Quinn, this was definitely a big module for him. This was the module for him to shine as a cult hunter, and the archetype definitely played an important role. I personally loved roleplaying his focus on the stopping the cult in this town, and there was a burning desire in him to wipe them out and make sure they never bothered Thrushmoor again. I was even able to land the killing blow on the villain in this module, it was an exhilarating feeling for me as a player and character. I'm looking forward to using my cult hunting skills to eradicate a few more cultists along the way to stopping Count Lowls.

This affliction that Quinn is currently struggling with has definitely thrown me for a loop as a player. I personally don't know what it is and how to deal with it, and that is both exciting and frightening. I'm fairly certain that all the players at the table know this is some sort of ghoul related thing considering all the symptoms, but that's as far as we are able to guess, and no one--players and characters alike--has a clue as to how to make this go away. Hopefully someone in Caliphas might be able to help us out, our first time in the city was before the symptoms started appearing.

Not knowing or having much to go on with player knowledge about this affliction, I've taken it upon myself to roleplay it as much as possible. Originally, Quinn knows that he's hungry and craving something more substantial than food. After the marsh giant fight, while helping to carve up the giant into smaller pieces, Quinn was caught sneaking a small taste of the giant. This was my way as a player to clue the other players that there was something deeper to this affliction than hunger, and also for Quinn as a character to know that there is something more sinister going on. The flesh did help satiate that hunger, but playing a LG character has challenged me into how I would play this out. This module was all about trying to redeem ourselves and make right by our actions. I couldn't have him going around eating raw flesh or even meat, it's not socially acceptable, moral or sanitary. He's had to try and satisfy this hunger by other means, mainly by buying as much fish and meat as possible since nothing else seems satisfying. Thankfully the fish market was clearly marked on the map, Quinn became a frequent customer there and will speak highly of their fish throughout this campaign. I also know that one of the best things to do with a high intensity game like this is to interject a little humor and levity, and that was what I strove to do with him being caught constantly eating. It's now become something of a subconscious thing for him, and Quinn is frightened of this growing hunger inside of him. He fears that he might not be able to control his urges and will take unwanted actions to solve it. I as a player am fascinated and excited to see this play out, it's made me feel like a newbie all over again!

Order of the Amber Die

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Daji, where would we be without you, my friend?

One of the best parts about Daji wading into combat is that Adam rolls the Amber Die for him when he is attacking, so the die doesn't always write stories against us. In one battle Daji laid down two natural 20s in back-to-back rounds, following by confirming the critical hit on the second one. We've got a stack of buffs that we can use to make him small size and capable of holding his own for a short time before he has to run back to me (or away, far away). The fox's legend is just beginning!

Order of the Amber Die

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Hey all! Just wanted to let everyone know that the first group of photos from Thrushmoor Terror are up on our Facebook. We hope you enjoy them!

Grand Lodge

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How do you handle character death in your campaign?

Order of the Amber Die

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Varun Creed wrote:
How do you handle character death in your campaign?

Hi Varun! Character death is something we accept as a normal part of the game. With so many encounters, traps, and ways to die in an adventure, it's very typical to see a couple of deaths when employing the full Pathfinder rules set--even with a major victory over the module. I'll lay out a usual scenario, and then if you have any more specific questions, feel free to ask.

1.) Character dies from one of the dozens of ways the game tries to kill you.
2.) Mourning takes place in-game.
3.) Discussion begins over how/whether or not we can bring them back via magic or otherwise.
4.) If the adventure allows for it, we attempt to raise the character from the dead. Sometimes there is not enough time or resources available to try and bring them back. Other times players must wait quite a significant amount of time before we can get access to those resources (i.e., in this module Quinn missed out on about 10 hours of play before we could spare a trip to Caliphas and bring him back, but Dan took over control of either Daji or other NPCs during that time)
5.) If we can't bring the character back, then a new iconic joins the party at 1st level.
6.) If too many characters die and must be replaced by new iconics, the likely result is TPK, and the adventure path is victorious over us.
7.) More often than not, the newly replaced character (or the raised character) catches up to us quickly in levels and does just fine; although dangerous for those new to the game, this method allows players to feel more vested in their character if they have walked that character through every level.

Our players decided over the course of many campaigns that saw fruition at near 20th level, that they wanted to make sure consequences were imposed for character death, and that raising someone from the dead never felt routine. I would be certain to advise any new PC entering at 1st level that they cannot simply jump in alongside other higher level characters against CRs that are way out of their reach. In this sense, our players created a system where new characters must "put in the time" with the party until they are accepted equally alongside the relationships and cohesiveness that the party has already built upon through many levels together.

Hope that helps! :)

The Exchange

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The level of dedication you all put into your games is amazing and it shows! I'm incredibly jealous! Keep up the good work; this is just inspiring.

Order of the Amber Die

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Zeugma wrote:
The level of dedication you all put into your games is amazing and it shows! I'm incredibly jealous! Keep up the good work; this is just inspiring.

Zeugma, thanks for the kind words! If you you haven't already, give our Facebook a look and a like and let your friends know too! If you have, thank you. Every little bit helps and we couldn't do this without support from folks like you.

One of the best parts of what we do is knowing that we inspire others in the community. Stop by and say hello anytime!


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

beautiful work. hats off. absolutely unbelievable that this was put together in just a few weeks.

Sczarni Order of the Amber Die

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Yakman wrote:
beautiful work. hats off. absolutely unbelievable that this was put together in just a few weeks.

Thanks Yakman, we're glad to hear that our time and effort was well spent. With the third part of the adventure on the way, we hope to do just as good a job, if not better, in the next marathon!

Paizo Employee Pathfinder Society Lead Developer

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The maps, miniatures, production value, and stories are great to see and read!

Order of the Amber Die

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John Compton wrote:
The maps, miniatures, production value, and stories are great to see and read!

Thanks so much John. It's nice to also have feedback from people in development and hear that things are connecting. We appreciate the work you do. PFS is an impressive endeavor!


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Huh, interesting that they went all the way to Caliphas instead of checking out Thrushmoor for resurrection services. IIRC the priest of Pharasma there is 9th level, although she has just vanished when the adventure starts. But the PCs (or Winter) wouldn't necessarily know that.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Daniel Scholler wrote:
He's had to try and satisfy this hunger by other means, mainly by buying as much fish and meat as possible since nothing else seems satisfying. Thankfully the fish market was clearly marked on the map, Quinn became a frequent customer there and will speak highly of their fish throughout this campaign.

So... he's becoming a Catfolk? O_O

Just hope no one from the Iron Gods campaign shows up with a laser pointer!

(I jest! I jest! *hides the laser pointer*)

Sczarni Order of the Amber Die

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Spatula wrote:
Huh, interesting that they went all the way to Caliphas instead of checking out Thrushmoor for resurrection services. IIRC the priest of Pharasma there is 9th level, although she has just vanished when the adventure starts. But the PCs (or Winter) wouldn't necessarily know that.

Hey Spatula! Good to see you here again.

We sent Winter in fisrt and learned that the priestess was missing right away. On top of that, some of us felt too paranoid to take the chance of being stopped on the way to the chapel. The theme of the adventure path had us all on edge so we were reluctant to risk entering Thrushmoor with an incomplete roster, especially after we learned we had been "associates" of the Count and were in possession of items like "Red Destiny" that possibly even belonged to him at some point. It's his town, which made it very plausible that he had eyes and ears everywhere just waiting for us to show our faces again. So even though it was a gamble, we decided the best bet was to take care of Quinn first, and Caliphas was our only option. (Also, having another voice at the table to contribute during planning stages was also important, as we don't allow players to join in-game discussions if they're out-of-game for any reason.)


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Wonderful second outing into Thrushmoor! Love to read on your adventures. Seeing the music, the terrain, the maps... Excellent. Seeing your choices and reading on what your players are thinking? Beyond exciting. It's why great Pathfinder makes for wonderful cinema. I've friends and family alike who simply like to watch the game unfold and these kinds of details really show why this is roleplaying, not just gaming!

For Adam Smith & DMs only:
So glad you chose to use a corruption for Quinn! I was really hoping that you'd do so after our discussion on the original experiment thread. I'm so happy to hear it's adding a lot to your game and the drama/fear level for the players. The fact that Daniel called it frightening and exciting makes me all the more excited to use such with my players when we run this. I'm glad you used those rules and can't wait to see what else you do with them! Very interesting to read how Daniel's handling that and how the other players as well as their characters are responding to it. I hope Quinn gets this resolved before he runs into that boyfriend! Though as a DM I hope he doesn't!

I love the 3D terrain. I'm going to have to check that out. I invested heavily in the dungeon, city builder, and also castle DwarvenForge. I look forward to my castle pieces next year but I'm going to reach out to GeordieJohn to see what all/cost/etc. would be involved in reproducing Thrushmoor as you've done.

Mad props to Daniel for his write up regarding Quinn and roleplaying the reveal of Paizo's latest gay iconic! "Most companies I know of are welcoming and supportive of the community, but one of the things that makes Paizo great is their usage of LGBT characters as both NPCs and Iconics." Well said Daniel!

Also, did I see a Hero Quest throne in the court room? All the feels.

Order of the Amber Die

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Tangent101 wrote:
Daniel Scholler wrote:
He's had to try and satisfy this hunger by other means, mainly by buying as much fish and meat as possible since nothing else seems satisfying. Thankfully the fish market was clearly marked on the map, Quinn became a frequent customer there and will speak highly of their fish throughout this campaign.

So... he's becoming a Catfolk? O_O

Just hope no one from the Iron Gods campaign shows up with a laser pointer!

(I jest! I jest! *hides the laser pointer*)

I wonder how Daji would like it if we added a cat to our party? :)

Order of the Amber Die

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SilentInfinity wrote:

Wonderful second outing into Thrushmoor! Love to read on your adventures. Seeing the music, the terrain, the maps... Excellent. Seeing your choices and reading on what your players are thinking? Beyond exciting. It's why great Pathfinder makes for wonderful cinema. I've friends and family alike who simply like to watch the game unfold and these kinds of details really show why this is roleplaying, not just gaming!

** spoiler omitted **

I love the 3D terrain. I'm going to have to check that out. I invested heavily in the dungeon, city builder, and also castle DwarvenForge. I look forward to my castle pieces next year but I'm going to reach out to GeordieJohn to see what all/cost/etc. would be involved in reproducing Thrushmoor as you've done.

Mad props to Daniel for his write up regarding Quinn and roleplaying the reveal of Paizo's latest gay iconic! "Most companies I know of are welcoming and supportive of the community, but one of the things that makes Paizo great is their usage of LGBT characters as both NPCs and Iconics." Well said Daniel!

Also, did I see a Hero Quest throne in the court room? All the feels.

Thanks Infinity, we all really appreciate it when people notice the effort, and it inspires us to push our game. I'm especially glad that there's been a positive reaction here and on our social media to a couple of the GM decisions I made (without giving spoilers) to give the path added horror for these vets. What I particularly like about all of it is that it doesn't change the overall storyline of the adventure, but rather adds a PC's personal struggle with an affliction into our story.

Definitely the Heroquest throne! The custom terrain has been fantastic. Did everyone notice the actual banner and crest of Thrushmoor in one of the photos? We also had a custom sign in there for the Silver Wagon, so this marathon was pretty special even considering some of the other setups we've used in previous ones.

As for our PDF with all the player perspectives, it is a living document until we finish volume 6 (fingers crossed), so it will be updated every week or so. We actually just finished putting a whole bunch of production stills in there, and adding another writeup as well: Winter. We knew that she would be stepping in to fill Alahazra's position and that combat would be heavy for our third incursion into Fort Hailcourse, so we slotted one of the best grid-players in the Order. Erick Germer was among the victorious few in The Emerald Spire Project, and he came through in this module as well.

Excited for PF#111!

The Exchange Order of the Amber Die

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SilentInfinity wrote:


Mad props to Daniel for his write up regarding Quinn and roleplaying the reveal of Paizo's latest gay iconic! "Most companies I know of are welcoming and supportive of the community, but one of the things that makes Paizo great is their usage of LGBT characters as both NPCs and Iconics." Well said Daniel!

Thank you for reading the write up and comment, SilentInfinity, your timing couldn't have been more impeccable. Today is National Coming Out Day, I couldn't have asked for a better day for this to be noticed. I'd also like to thank Paizo for giving me the opportunity to do something as awesome as this. It's been important to myself, as well as the Order, to make sure that this is done with the respect and honor that it deserves, and I'm glad that the timing worked out to be today.

Adam, our GM, was amazing in how he revealed this to all of us in game, the subtlety in which he dropped it into the conversation was perfect. This was preexisting knowledge for me and it even took me a second to register what he had just said. Quinn has had much to worry about recently with his ongoing disease, the cult infesting Thrushmoor, repairing relationships with everyone in town, and trying to find Count Lowls, so he hasn't had too much time to focus on this little bit of information dropped in his lap. He's curious and worried what all of this means, and is unsure if his boyfriend was a willing participant in their prior misdeeds or just a dupe. Unfortunately there wasn't much information to be found in town, we were the sort that no one really questioned us too much. Perhaps in the upcoming module this mysterious figure will reveal himself.

It's been such an honor playing Quinn, he has earned a place as one of my favorite iconic, and his sexuality was just an added bonus. His being out in the open about it finally is also really important to me as well since there seems to be a lack of gay male characters in mainstream RPG products. I've enjoyed seeing them pop up as NPCs in some of Paizo's Adventure Paths, now we also get the added bonus of having an Iconic. Hopefully we'll be seeing more of Quinn in the future, maybe he'll be lucky enough to have an appearance in a comic, I would love to have something to reference his "official" personality. The LGBT community has more than an ally in Paizo, they have an advocate and confidant. Keep up the good work Paizo, you continue to amaze me!

And to all my sisters, brothers, friends, allies, and beyond out there in the LGBT community, Happy National Coming Out Day! Today is a day to celebrate and rejoice, share your stories with your friends, come out if you can, and support those around you who cannot, for whatever reason. We shall overcome the fear with acceptance and understanding!

Paizo Employee Designer

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Sterling Brunsvold wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Added spoiler tag to the spoiler.

Mark! Thanks so much for creating the spoiler tag to hide that comment. Adam just gave us the heads up we can actually look at this thread now!

Love the dedication! It was awesome talking with you at GenCon and definitely look forward to seeing you at PaizoCon next year!

Glad to help, and see you there!

Grand Lodge

Thanks for your elaborate answer Adam!

Adam Smith wrote:

5.) If we can't bring the character back, then a new iconic joins the party at 1st level.

6.) If too many characters die and must be replaced by new iconics, the likely result is TPK, and the adventure path is victorious over us.
7.) More often than not, the newly replaced character (or the raised character) catches up to us quickly in levels and does just fine; although dangerous for those new to the game, this method allows players to feel more vested in their character if they have walked that character through every level.

But wouldn't a new lvl1 character always be behind in xp? I like your idea a lot, but how would level 1-3 characters add to the party of level 7's or even 13's?


From my past experience in D&D 1 and other games:
If you have vast level differences (the most if I remember was 20 level and 5th level) it can create some interesting dynamics in RP and combat and can be challenging for both GM's and players.
But at the same time if adds a lot of potential as you move away from "Oh this encounter has to be based on these criteria as we are level Y". It brings about a vastly different style of game and RP'ing.

Having said that it you track Exp points lower level players will level a lot faster than higher level PC's if they all receive somewhat equal amount of Exp for encounters and actions.

You the GM and as a player show also be aware that as a low level PC (level 1 in a mostly level 13 group) that there are things you should not do and stay away from and from my past experience some players do not mind this RP and some hate it.

MDC

Order of the Amber Die

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Varun Creed wrote:

Thanks for your elaborate answer Adam!

Adam Smith wrote:

5.) If we can't bring the character back, then a new iconic joins the party at 1st level.

6.) If too many characters die and must be replaced by new iconics, the likely result is TPK, and the adventure path is victorious over us.
7.) More often than not, the newly replaced character (or the raised character) catches up to us quickly in levels and does just fine; although dangerous for those new to the game, this method allows players to feel more vested in their character if they have walked that character through every level.
But wouldn't a new lvl1 character always be behind in xp? I like your idea a lot, but how would level 1-3 characters add to the party of level 7's or even 13's?

Good question, with both yes and no scenarios. Most likely, the new character will always behind in XP--but not necessarily levels. The spread of XP per level increases, so it's possible to be behind another character by thousands of XP but still be the same level. Since the amount of XP gained by a low level character in a high level party will quickly level them up, more often than not it results in that character "catching" the rest of the group in levels within a few sessions. Thus, a character who entered at 1st level when the group was 5th may have felt far behind at the time, but that difference in thousands of XP will seem far less significant when the whole party is say 11th or 12th level together.

There is also another factor: additional character death. It's possible that a new character who is brought in eventually supersedes everyone else in the party if they experience character death as well. We have seen this play out numerous times, where someone was bummed out to replace their character when the rest of the party was 7th level, but eventually went on to become the highest level character in the party. In our Runelords marathon last summer (pics coming soon), Hayato and Alain died on Friday night when we could no longer back out of Jorgenfist; by the time the module concluded on Sunday evening, the rest of the group had gained a couple of levels on them. Sean (playing Alain) took over his cohort full-time instead, and Aerick (playing Hayato) took over Kyra for a player who had to leave on Saturday morning. I mention this not only because it was the most recent example, but also because in that marathon Valeros--who had been behind most characters in the party for a long time--finally surpassed all but one character by being one of the last ones standing in a high XP adventure.

As far as ways to contribute, there are many. In combat it might be as simple as "aid another," or running healing items back and forth on a battlefield, or even scoring the lucky coup de grace. We recently saw from a 1st level Kess finish off a paralyzed dire bear in our Runelords campaign. Knowing your way around the grid and understanding your capabilities as a lower level character in a higher level party is also required, as well as the maturity to accept that one must now climb their way back up the ladder of levels.

Mark Carlson also made a nice comment there about interesting roleplaying situations, and we have definitely witnessed that. As just one example, we've seen a 13th level fighter take a 1st level barbarian under his wing, watching out for what was both a younger and obviously less experienced character in-game.

I cannot count the number of players over the years who have thanked us for making them "walk from 1st" with their character who is now sitting comfortably on the throne of 18th level or more. You never get a chance to go back and earn those levels, so if you don't go through them the first time, it might be a piece of your favorite character's journey that is always missing.

Of course, all of this discussion is separate from situations such as convention play or one-shot scenarios, and we only use this system in our long-term campaigns/projects.

A final note of GM advice on imposing this system, is that your players might reject it--some just can't handle being of less than equal power to others for a little while, despite what it may add to the story (or their character's story). In this case, you'll have to choose how much it means to you as a GM to enforce this system. I was fortunate to be in a position where I didn't want for players, so in the early years I enforced it on my own, and in the past 15 years or so my players have made it part of the official OAD code to walk from 1st level.

Tried to be thorough here. Hope it helps!

Grand Lodge

Interesting perspective Adam!

I think I actually agree with you and will use that in my campaigns as well. I might use fast track for a few levels if the level difference is too great though.

Dark Archive

I don't think it's possible to begin with a 1st level character in a lot of situations and with a lot of GMs and campaigns without dying.

We had that in the old days and it was very frustrating to always make a new low level character that soon died again when the higher level characters lived.

We stopped doing that after over 10 years and now having played rpg for almost 30 years, i can say: It won't work in most groups and with most GMs, especially in power campaigns.

Even if you make a defensive character with focus on good saves and the others shield you, a lot of boss fights will outright kill you.

So if you don't have a sympathetic GM, this style of play is very unrealistic.

There is a reason why only experienced heroes fight dragons. ;-)

Order of the Amber Die

Marco Massoudi wrote:

I don't think it's possible to begin with a 1st level character in a lot of situations and with a lot of GMs and campaigns without dying.

We had that in the old days and it was very frustrating to always make a new low level character that soon died again when the higher level characters lived.

We stopped doing that after over 10 years and now having played rpg for almost 30 years, i can say: It won't work in most groups and with most GMs, especially in power campaigns.

Even if you make a defensive character with focus on good saves and the others shield you, a lot of boss fights will outright kill you.

So if you don't have a sympathetic GM, this style of play is very unrealistic.

There is a reason why only experienced heroes fight dragons. ;-)

Definitely Marco, there might be low-level deaths with this system, but it's also on the players to know their capabilities. It might just be our players, but I am not sympathetic (as you guys have seen) and they still find a way to survive often with this method. Not expecting to stand side-by-side in a boss fight is one example, as we just saw a 3rd level Damiel live through an opening fireball by Mokmurian before he could run for cover. You're right, the experienced heroes did the heavy lifting in that fight. We've seen that the experience of the player is more important than the GM in most cases of survival; if Damiel wanted to charge Mokmurian, I wouldn't have stopped him, but the player knew better. Also, when figuring the marching order, low-level characters have to remain conscious of how exposed they will be to potential danger. Survive one or two sessions and you're on your way!

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