They've reached the end of Doomsday Dawn! The Order of the Amber Die is here to give a report of their experiences with the last chapter of the Playtest adventure after an exciting run through the whole thing. Did they survive or perish? Read below to find out. But! If you want to avoid spoilers, read this a bit later after you're done with the adventure.
Part six was past us, part seven of the playtest had arrived, and our record was split at 3-3. This was it: game seven of the series. The prize for winning was nothing less than the salvation of Golarion itself. We had been working with the playtest for almost six months, and the atmosphere at the session felt like the ending of some of our previous projects for the Paizo blog. Players paced, our GM was in his zone, and there was the familiar blend of anticipation, anxiety, and nostalgia.
On a windy autumn afternoon, we shared a feast for heroes with enough leftovers to keep us going until the sun came up. What we didn't know, was that our GM had purposely scheduled this scenario to be played throughout the night—the darkest part of night—the darkness between the stars. As we laid out our dice under the sheen of several black lights, the evidence we had acquired from the previous six scenarios started to become all too apparent: This chapter was almost certainly authored by James Jacobs. We were afraid to discuss it, but knew that we'd be probably be up against some kind of Lovecraftian finale that would not disappoint. To find our way through, we'd have to draw courage from our experiences in The Enigma Vaults of Thornkeep, level sixteen of The Emerald Spire, and The Strange Aeons Experiment.
This part of the playtest was designed to use the same characters as parts one and four. Initially, we had planned on using this party to discover if a lineup without major access to healing would be able thrive in the new edition. Now we would also get to see how well this non-traditional roster of iconics could hold up at very high levels. Thus far, these four had experienced both a nice win and a TPK. However, we felt good about the way they performed during the several fights involving hard-hitting enemies in part four. For playtest purposes, the same four OAD members played the exact same iconics as before. Also listed are the names of each player on the team and the year each became a member of the Order (when a player has reached 100 hours at our table).
Seoni human sorcerer 17
Class Feats: Familiar, Dangerous Sorcery, Reach Spell, Steady Spellcasting, Vicious Concentration, Bloodline Heightening, Widen Spell, Effortless Concentration, Cantrip Expansion
Background: Family Friend
Played by Matt Hardin, Player Captain (2003)
Lem halfing bard 17
Class Feats: Bardic Lore, Loremaster's Recall, Cantrip Expansion, Multifarious Muse, Lingering Composition, Additional Heightening, Mental Prowess, Soothing Ballad
Background: Mind Quake Survivor
Played by Daniel Scholler (2007)
Fumbus goblin alchemist 17
Class Feats: Quick Bomber, Far Lobber, Calculated Splash, Precise Bombs, Powerful Alchemy, Expanded Splash, Uncanny Bombs, Glib Mutagen, Perfect Medicine
Key Formulas: Acid splash, alchemist's fire, elixir of life
Background: Goblin Renegade
Played by Erick Germer (2007)
Sajan human monk 17
Class Feats: Monastic Weaponry, Dragon Stance, Brawling Focus, Ki Strike, Wholeness of Body, Wall Run, Wind Step, Wind Jump, Ghost Strike, Quivering Palm
Build: strength, speed, more speed!
Background: Budding Osirionologist
Played by Sean Linville (2016)
"When the Stars Go Dark" By The Numbers
Player Tracking Sheet
- Average time spent in character creation: 152 minutes
- Number of times a character reached 0 Resonance: 3; Lem (2), Fumbus (1)
- 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: 2; Sajan (1), Seoni (1)
- Number of Hero Points used: 32; Lem (11), Fumbus (8), Seoni (7), Sajan (6)
GM Tracking Sheet
- Total time spent playing "When the Stars Go Dark": 14hrs, 20min
- Total time spent preparing "When the Stars Go Dark": 8hrs, 10min
- Number of sessions spent playing "When the Stars Go Dark": 4 (session increments are 4 hours)
- Total number of Hero Points given out: 48
- Number of characters reduced to 0 HP: 3; Lem (2), Fumbus (1)
- Number of characters killed: 0 (2 temporary deaths during event 1)
- Rounds elapsed in final encounter (after Ramlock appeared): 19
- Attempts made to defeat malignant theorems: 1
- Players who gained the frightened condition vs. the Ashen Man: 0
- Uses of wish: 4; desynchronization (3), meteorswarm (1)
- Number of party rests: 2
- Uses of Reach Spell: 5
- Total range gained through Reach Spell: 105ft
- Average range added through Reach Spell: 21ft
- Uses of Dangerous Sorcery: 8
- Total damage dealt with Dangerous Sorcery: 96
- White Axiom boon: Cha, Dex
- Total number of hit points healed with Soothing Ballad: 250
- Total number of hit points healed with Soothe: 108
- Total number of hit points healed with vampiric exsanguination: 99
- Cantrip Damage: 31
- White Axiom boon: Int, Str
- Bombs thrown: 16
- Bombs hit: 8
- Total splash damage: 60
- Total persistent damage: 401
- White Axiom boon: Wis, Str
- Uses of Flurry of Blows: 21
- Number of double-hits from Flurry of Blows: 13
- White Axiom boon: Cha, Str
Highlights From "When the Stars Go Dark"
Not long after entering the actual pages of a tome known as The Last Theroem, we were surrounded by malignant theorems that weren't out to welcome us. This became one of those rare moments when something happens on the table that looks just as scary inside the game. Not long in, were left watching helplessly as our goblin and halfling companions stood base-to-base with four gargantuan rune giant miniatures. See our data for how it ended.
We expected to visit some strange places at this point in our journey, and we definitely got one: a demiplane which consisted of a desert in eternal twilight. It was empty, until a star-spawn of Cthulhu pulled itself from a pit of infinite depth we had approached. For the first time during the playtest, the alchemist hogged the highlight reel, pouring on the persistent damage with acid splash and timely dousings of alchemist's fire to shut down its regeneration.
Jacobs provided an epic feel in this scenario from start to finish, and the size of the monsters repeatedly matched the occasion. Sajan went fist-and-claw with a gargantuan dragon, in a fight that deserved nothing less than slow-motion for its entirety. The fact that the clash took place inside of a workshop created a heck of a mess—of the dragon.
We're proud to report zero permanent deaths!
To win, we needed to sever the connection between Aucturn and Golarion, which meant desynchronizing an artifact known as the Veinstone Pendulum. Opposing us in the finale was the aberration that the wizard Ramlock had become, fully strapped with spells like time stop and power word kill, as well as adhesive tendrils that gave a 30-foot reach. We tried to trade points equally at first, but when our foe put down 186 damage on Seoni in a single round, we knew we were going to have to take some risks in order to win. Lem made the call, and tried to use one of the four wishes we were given against the pendulum itself. When it appeared to work, we capitalized on the opening, and two more of us followed suit.
Final record? A winning one.