Order of the Amber Die—Doomsday Dawn Playtest, Part 6

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Closing in on the end of Doomsday Dawn, the guys from the Order of the Amber Die are here with their report on Part 6—"Red Flags"! Keep in mind that there are spoilers in this report, so if you haven't played through the adventure and don't want to know any secrets, come back after you're done.

As you've probably noticed from our blog reports over the years, our members enjoy the sense of competition that comes from pitting themselves against published adventures. With this in mind, one of the ways we've maintained our intensity through so many complete playthroughs and reports of each playtest scenario has been to track our team's win/loss record. Part 1: Win. Part 2: Loss. Part 3: Win. Part 4: Loss. Part 5: Loss. So, at 2–3 it was clear going into Part 6 that we needed a win if we even wanted a chance to finish out with a positive record. Two factors upped the pressure even more, and the first was the author himself. In nearly 150 published adventures completed, and despite being aware of his long involvement in the history of the game, by random chance we had never played an adventure by Stephen Radney-MacFarland. The second factor had to do with a certain name he chose for a sunken ship in this adventure: Blackguard's Revenge. Everyone in OAD fears that name, since we have quite a storied relationship with the 2005 module by the same name (described here); we had no choice but to take it as a sign that Besmara herself had a stake in part six of our playtest.

Since we were headed to what was essentially a pirate party in "Red Flags," we decided to make the session into some revelry of our own—complete with the best laughs of our playtest run. This scenario also had the largest map of the playtest, so we turned to the talents of Black Bard Studios, who brought its 10-foot scale to life by crafting a setup of the entire coastal stronghold: thirty-five square feet! Adding some nice accents were the latest pieces from Bannerless Builds and Blue Table Painting. With our seafaring personas ready, we were on our way!

The Party

This was the scenario in which we were to create a party that was heavily roleplaying focused. We added our own playtest goal of making characters who took advantage of the new archetype system to give us the feel of multiclass characters from previous editions. Each player also had to choose how their particular character served the Esoteric Order of the Palatine Eye. Also listed are the names of each player on the team who committed their time to this detailed playthrough, and the year each became a member of the Order (when a player reaches 100 hours at our table).

Raven Stormclaw human sorcerer (rogue archetype) 14

Bloodline: Imperial

Key Spells: dimension door, see invisibility, spider climb, passwall

Class Feats: Widen Spell, Conceal Spell, Rogue Dedication, Basic Trickery: Trap Finder, Reach Spell, Skill Mastery, Advanced Trickery: Light Step

Role in the Esoteric Order: Spy

Played by Matt Hardin, Player Captain (2003)

Nezam human wizard (bard & fighter archetypes) 14

School: Universalist

Class Feats: Hand of the Apprentice, Bard Dedication, Basic Muse's Whispers: Lingering Composition, Conceal Spell, Inspirational, Fighter Dedication, Opportunist, Effortless Concentration

Key Spells: illusory disguise, passwall, telepathic bond, true seeing

Role in the Esoteric Order: Archivist

Played by Daniel Scholler (2007)

Ehsan Hashen human alchemist (rogue archetype) 14

Class Feats: Alchemical Savant, Rogue Dedication, Sneak Attacker, Basic Trickery: Nimble Dodge, Enduring Alchemy, Poison Antidote , Evasiveness, Potent Poisoner

Key Formulas: silvertongue mutagen, deathcap poison, quicksilver mutagen, elixir of life

Role in the Esoteric Order: Researcher

Played by Erick Germer (2007)

Captain James Adalay human rogue (fighter archetype) 14

Rogue's Technique: Finesse Striker

Background: Sailor

Class Feats: Nimble Dodge, Fighter Dedication, Unbalancing Blow, Fighter Resiliency, Sly Striker, Trap Finder, Basic Maneuver: Sudden Charge, Twist the Knife, Instant Opening

Role in the Esoteric Order: Diplomat

Played by Sean Linville (2016)

"Red Flags" By The Numbers

Player Tracking Sheet

  • Average time spent in character creation: 149 minutes
  • Number of times a character reached 0 Resonance: 0
  • Number of critical fails when overspending Resonance: 0
  • Number of times a character ran out of spell slots: 0
  • Number of times a character ran out of spell points: 0
  • Number of Hero Points used: 18; 5 (Raven), 5 (Nezam), 4 (Ehsan), 4 (Captain James)

GM Tracking Sheet

  • Total time spent playing "Red Flags": 10hrs, 5min
  • Total time spent preparing "Red Flags": 6hrs, 40min
  • Number of sessions spent playing "Red Flags": 3 (session increments are 4 hours)
  • Total number of Hero Points given out: 36
  • Number of characters reduced to 0 HP: 3; Nezam (2), Captain James (1)
  • Number of characters killed: 1 (Nezam)
  • Amount of gold spent earning influence in Plumetown: 407gp
  • Number of party rests: 0

Additional Data

Raven Stormclaw

  • Uses of Deception (impersonate): 3
  • Successful Deception (impersonate) attempts: 2

Nezam

  • Uses of Read Lips: 2
  • Attacks of Opportunity: 2
  • Successful Attacks of Opportunity: 1 (40 damage, interrupted spell)

Ehsan Hashen

  • Poison attempts: 0
  • Total uses of Stealth skill: 1
  • Successful Stealth uses: 1

Captain James Adalay

  • Uses of Diplomacy skill: 8
  • Critical successes (Diplomacy): 4
  • Successes (Diplomacy): 2
  • Failures (Diplomacy): 1
  • Critical Failures (Diplomacy): 1

Highlights From "Red Flags"

Adjusting to a new edition was bound to bring a couple of humorous stumbles, and this scenario had our favorite of any scenario. We were pumped to open the session strong, and after some shouts of encouragement at the table, fired off the teleport spell that would take us to the island known as the Smoker. Though we were expecting an exciting description of the place to follow, we instead saw water. Lots of water, and we were in it. The new rules for teleport meant that because it was more than 100 miles from Caliphas to the Shackles, we would arrive with a 1% margin of error. Good thing we were packing a second teleport!

The guest list for the gala included a contract devil, an evil sorcerer (the party's nemesis) and his goblin butler, along with the host of the festivities—a tengu Free Captain. Let's just say this gave a certain emphasis to the 'ole "Let's try to blend in." We've got to hand the roleplaying MVP award to Sean, and after you see how his dice aided his words, you'll also understand how he survived a diplomatic dance with the devil.

After our social skills were tested, the scenario took a twist, and we had to make our way past several high-level traps. One such trap was a series of shifting portals that appeared to forcefully thrust anyone with an incorrect guess backwards onto iron spikes. We could try to figure it out, or like high-level characters should be able to do, lean on our abilities. Three castings of passwall later, we were headed deeper into the fortress.

Character Deaths

Going up against a kraken was likely to send someone to the Boneyard. Nezam did everything he could to stay alive, but the beast ground through his hero points and crushed the wizard into data to feed our playtest.

Current Situation

Headed into the final encounter, things couldn't have been stacked any worse against a team desperate for a win. We had to face a kraken with our least combat-oriented party of the entire playtest. As its many tentacles bore down on us with a 60-foot reach, we were moments from accepting that it was all over. Then we remembered the mission goal and realized that we didn't have to beat the kraken—just get past it. Thanks to a combination of the cave's unique layout, several timely castings of dimension door, and three characters with the Quick Unlock skill feat, we pulled off one of the canniest victories in OAD history. We're 3–3 overall now, and headed into the final scenario with a chance to close out with a winning record!

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Adam Daigle
Managing Developer

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Order of the Amber Die Pathfinder Playtest

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Huzzah! Thanks for regaling us with your epic tale OAD! May the dice be ever in your favor!


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Awesome report!! Thank you again for sharing!


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Congratulations on the win! I loved the report. What a great adventure! The pictures as always are amazing and the setup was incredible. Now I kind of want my own kraken. Thanks for sharing!

Shadow Lodge

What a surprise.


5 people marked this as a favorite.

You guys are always a breath of fresh air, a positive inducing blast of energy to the game. After reading these blogs I'm always left with a hunger for more, and to truly experience the game at its fullest. Thanks for the amazing attitude towards the new system. I stopped reading everything related to the playtest, the amount of negativity is something that really ruins the experience for me, but after reading this, I'm ready for more. Thanks, guys, you re a shining beacon, and a great example of how to play and how to face this amazing game. I will resume supporting you as soon as I can... xD Long live the Order

This chapter looks a lot less grindy than the last ones, but still as dangerous.

Order of the Amber Die

3 people marked this as a favorite.
K Vogrin wrote:
Congratulations on the win! I loved the report. What a great adventure! The pictures as always are amazing and the setup was incredible. Now I kind of want my own kraken. Thanks for sharing!

Everyone group should have one! If for no other reason than to shout: “RELEASE THE KRAKEN!!”

Thanks for the congrats on the win too! It was really dicey there at the end. My heart was definitely pounding in my chest. An against-the-odds-win following an epic pirate party? Can’t think of a much better way to spend a night gaming.

Order of the Amber Die

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Patrick Newcarry wrote:
Huzzah! Thanks for regaling us with your epic tale OAD! May the dice be ever in your favor!

Thanks! OAD is full of epic tales (it's crazy how much Adam remembers from decades back), and as the newest member I got to hear plenty of them when I joined. With this project, now I get to help make new ones. Huzzah!

Order of the Amber Die

6 people marked this as a favorite.
TOZ wrote:
What a surprise.

When I saw the kraken I thought we were done. Many years ago, I was in the group that TPKed in the The Blackguard's Revenge talked about above. We built a party that could beat The Keep on the Borderlands, since in that module we already TPKed 4 times. The party we built to beat The Keep wasn't designed to do much else besides handle being outnumbered, and it got shredded against mohrgs and other undead in The Blackguard's Revenge. I was also in the group that TPKed in front of the Pathfinder community here. I love this game, but one thing that also motivates me to stay sharp is the desire not to end up on the blog as part of another TPK.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This was a triumph! Congrats on the successful mission, and as always great photos.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
TSRodriguez wrote:
You guys are always a breath of fresh air, a positive inducing blast of energy to the game. After reading these blogs I'm always left with a hunger for more, and to truly experience the game at its fullest. Thanks for the amazing attitude towards the new system. I stopped reading everything related to the playtest, the amount of negativity is something that really ruins the experience for me, but after reading this, I'm ready for more. Thanks, guys, you re a shining beacon, and a great example of how to play and how to face this amazing game. I will resume supporting you as soon as I can... xD Long live the Order

These are my thoughts as well when it comes to OAD. Long live the Order, indeed!


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Matt Hardin wrote:
K Vogrin wrote:
Congratulations on the win! I loved the report. What a great adventure! The pictures as always are amazing and the setup was incredible. Now I kind of want my own kraken. Thanks for sharing!

Everyone group should have one! If for no other reason than to shout: “RELEASE THE KRAKEN!!”

Thanks for the congrats on the win too! It was really dicey there at the end. My heart was definitely pounding in my chest. An against-the-odds-win following an epic pirate party? Can’t think of a much better way to spend a night gaming.

Exactly! Also it's always better to be the one releasing the kraken than fighting it. You're right. Winning, pirates and a kraken--gaming doesn't get much better than that!

Order of the Amber Die

7 people marked this as a favorite.
TSRodriguez wrote:

You guys are always a breath of fresh air, a positive inducing blast of energy to the game. After reading these blogs I'm always left with a hunger for more, and to truly experience the game at its fullest. Thanks for the amazing attitude towards the new system. I stopped reading everything related to the playtest, the amount of negativity is something that really ruins the experience for me, but after reading this, I'm ready for more. Thanks, guys, you re a shining beacon, and a great example of how to play and how to face this amazing game. I will resume supporting you as soon as I can... xD Long live the Order

This chapter looks a lot less grindy than the last ones, but still as dangerous.

Elorebaen wrote:
These are my thoughts as well when it comes to OAD. Long live the Order, indeed!

Sebastian, thank you for the kind words, it really means a lot to us after the amount of effort that went into the playtest from our members. As you know, we are spread out across the country and prefer to assemble less often but for longer periods of play. This playtest put much of the work onto our local members, more of whom have families and demanding careers that had to be navigated to create time to play and report out. When it comes to reacting to the news of Pathfinder 2.0, like so many groups out there, the announcement of the Playtest caused a passionate response from some of our members. Games evolve, just like most everything else. It's normal that each proposed change would often be met with voices of both agreement and dissent. These voices help shape the next phase of the game, but are also stronger with data to support them, and I hope our work has helped provide that data. We'll keep doing our job to push the ceiling of the game, and we are grateful for the support we've received from everyone. We actually end many of our emails to each other with exactly what you and Elorebaen left us with: Long live the Order!


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Wonderful report and wonderful pictures! It reads like you had quite a blast! Very creative responses to situations too!

Order of the Amber Die

3 people marked this as a favorite.
SilentInfinity wrote:
Wonderful report and wonderful pictures! It reads like you had quite a blast! Very creative responses to situations too!

Thanks Rob! We had such a good time playing this one, we thought it would be fun to go with one of the most casual group shots of us roleplaying that we've ever put up on the blog. While the team loves to debate after each session about which part of the playtest they liked best, it's my place to just observe and listen--but I will say this--if you want to see if Pathfinder 2.0 feels like Pathfinder 1.0 for roleplaying purposes, this is a great scenario to do that with.

Here's a bit of OAD life: Sean is actually planning a New Year's Eve pirate party at his house where we'll be using this 3D setup, and replaying the scenario with many partners/spouses who are new to Pathfinder. :)

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