Order of the Amber Die: The Slithering Salve: Part 2

Tuesday, September 21, 2020

Our first project of Pathfinder 2nd Edition—The Slithering Salve—is complete! That's right, last month we assembled the Order for another marathon session of Ron Lundeen's module, The Slithering. The August humidity in New Jersey was enough to curl even the sturdiest character sheet, but we embraced it as part of our Mwangi experience and came out alive (mostly, see below).

Once again, we pushed the envelope of gaming immersion and paid homage to an adventure that boldly featured so many oozes. Our five-gallon bucket of slime was ready at the table for anyone who suffered a hit from an ooze; for each hit a character received, that player had to stick their hand into the bucket and retrieve one of the dice that could be found at the bottom. This is OAD after all, so this time we made it tougher by cutting back on the number of dice in the bucket. How long it took you to find one was what really defined the experience!

  • Module: The Slithering
  • Marathon Length: 60 hours, 15 minutes
  • Session Hours: 37 hours, 45 minutes

The Order has between 10 and 15 active members at any given time, and every roster is unique to each project. As we mentioned before, the team for The Slithering Salve differed from our other projects in that we had ages ranging from 47 to 14, and experience varying from veterans with over 30 years' experience to a complete newcomer to Pathfinder. We also ate well during this marathon, since cookies are a meal when you're in the Order, and we had none other than Karee Vogrin of Critical Hit Cookies returning as Lini! Finally, our GM tapped three additional members for live NPC roles throughout the adventure.

The order of the Amber Die players sit around a table decorated with mini figures and landscaping to represent a jungle A close up view of mini figures set into a jungle setting

Highlights From The Slithering:

□ The journey to Holy Xatramba was more Mwangi than we expected from this adventure—a welcome surprise. Our favorite encounter of the trek was a 300-foot-long rope bridge that disappeared into the dense foliage, and we didn't notice the trio of jungle drakes until one of them slammed down behind Fumbus. It should probably be noted that the goblin was a couple hundred feet ahead of the party. Time to burn those Hero Points, kid.

□ Kibwe had become a mess by the time we returned to try to rid the city of the slithering curse. We watched as the owner of a semi-domesticated triceratops melted into ooze, which slid down the side of the now-angry beast. As the dinosaur rampaged toward the party, Lini and Korakai stood their ground, putting our hopes on Wild Empathy and a calm emotions spell. The result of its Will save vs. spell? Natural 1.

□ The Order always embraces a hearty PvP bout when it's forced upon us. Heck, we even see it as a great opportunity for some trash-talking around the table! When an encounter with two specters resulted in our first PF 2.0 showdown between Jirelle and Zithembe (fighter), the bets were placed and both players' best dice came out. Out of game, this was Auralee's (Jirelle) first time playing Pathfinder, and she was up against Erick, a sixteen-year veteran with more notches on his belt from dropping other players than anyone in the Order. They went solid for seven rounds and it came down to the last hit, but Erick defended his title.

□ Juno Reactor's "Conga Fury" blasted away on the stereo during a couple of heated battles in this adventure, but it wasn't louder than our GM when the Amber Die dropped yet another signature 20-20-20. Adam always says afterwards: Still got it.

□ We continued to use the Critical Hit Deck and Critical Fumble Deck, with the deadly variant applied, causing a card to be drawn on any crits (not just natural 20s). In total, we saw a whopping 108 critical hits and 70 fumbles throughout the entire module. A few of our favorites from the decks included Jirelle losing a thumb, suffering 3d6+2 persistent bleed damage in another battle, and also being stupefied, frightened, and restrained from a set of nasty fumbles in a later fight. It went both ways though, and we watched a jungle drake kill itself with its own stinger!

Order of the Amber Die players moving their mini figures on the map setting The order of the Amber Die players reaching into a pot on the table

The Salve:

We went into this adventure with the notion that it would be about things that slithered; however, what made this project such a unique experience was not the plethora of oozes we faced, but the epidemic-like experience that involved the spread of the slithering curse itself. The curse was transmitted through contact between creatures, and despite attempts to gather additional information, we didn't know as much as we wanted to know about it. The only way to be truly safe (until our heroes could end the curse) was to isolate and distance from others. It was surreal returning to Kibwe near the end of the adventure to find the population avoiding each other on the street, hiding in their homes, and wearing masks. You can see where this is going; playing this module in 2020–2021 was an experience we'll never forget—one that bonded us even more tightly as a gaming group. While the Order has played over 150 modules, we can't understate what it felt like to roleplay through this one. We found solace in our ability to end the spreading curse, and just like the real-life events that surrounded this project, decades from now the Order will still be talking about that time we played The Slithering.

The Slithering by the Numbers

Note: All data has been compiled across one full module of play.

Total marathon hours: 121 hours, 15 minutes
Actual session hours: 67 hours, 25 minutes
Longest single session: 14 hours, 15 minutes
Miles trekked in the Mwangi Expanse: about 280 miles
Group consensus on most valuable skill: Medicine
Cookies consumed: 19 pounds

Party Data

Korakai
□ Successful uses of minor curse: 6
□ Successful uses of major curse: 4

Lini
□ Uses of Continual Recovery: 107
□ Total damage dealt by Droogami: 205

Fumbus
□ Direct bomb kills: 2
□ Total splash damage: 104
□ Friendly fire splash damage: 68

Jirelle
□ Attempted panache: 35
□ Achieved panache: 26

The order of the Amber Die players sit around a table decorated with mini figures and landscaping to represent a jungle A close up of the players mini figures facing off against a triceratops

Character Deaths:

Ron Lundeen has put plenty of our characters in the ground over the years, and he did it again here with a double-babau ambush that caught us off guard. Skuulkush, our party's lizardfolk guide, bravely allowed himself to be flanked in an effort to buy time. At least it was quick.

Best Quote from Marathon 2:

(Fumbus returns out of breath after two characters were lost scouting the ruins)

Lini: "What happened? What did you find?"
Fumbus: "Through those doors there is... a magical... mind-controlling... DINOSAUR that takes your hands!"

Conclusion:

Escorting the ancient Pillar-Watcher known as Cursebreaker back to the city of Kibwe (or simply chasing after it) was a mechanic that compounded the sense of urgency we already felt throughout the adventure. We struggled to keep up with the construct, driven by powerful magic, as it smashed its way through the Aspis Consortium agents who tried to block its destination. We were fortunate to have front-row seats when an alchemical golem also tried to stand in its way, and the resulting melee was a fantastic primer for the final battle to come. In the end, we managed to get the heavily damaged Pillar-Watcher back to the dais where it belonged so that we could perform the ritual required to end the curse. A win for Kibwe and the Order!

The Order of the Amber Die's mini figures at the base of a large stone pyramid The Order of the Amber Die's mini figures in a dimly lit setting

More Content:

Our table was brought to life with the help of Vibrant Gaming Terrain for jungle setups, Blue Table Painting for the iconic miniatures, and Black Bard Studios for custom adventure-specific miniatures and terrain.

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Tags: Community Order of the Amber Die Pathfinder Pathfinder Roleplaying Game The Slithering

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Omg look at that setting. Is like Warhammer meets Pathfinder. So Awesome as always!!


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Yes, Order of the Amber Die is back, was wondering what ever happen to them. What I would like to see and hear them do next is run through the Abomination Vaults Adventure Path, if they would be interested or wait until the Hardcover issue comes out.

Liberty's Edge

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Fantastic!

Order of the Amber Die

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kevin bienhoff wrote:
Yes, Order of the Amber Die is back, was wondering what ever happen to them. What I would like to see and hear them do next is run through the Abomination Vaults Adventure Path, if they would be interested or wait until the Hardcover issue comes out.

Yes, still here! 28 blog project reports since 2015, and more to come. The Order is also a lifestyle for most of us, so it'll never go away. As for any delay, we still really enjoy the tabletop in "tabletop roleplaying," which meant that we had to push this project back twice to be as safe as possible when assembling the group. Totally worth it though, I will miss the setup we had for this one!


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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Fantastic photos as always. Well done.


6 people marked this as a favorite.

Playing in The Slithering Salve project with Order of the Amber Die was an amazing experience. I grew so much as a player over the course of this project. By the end, I was not only playing Lini but I was also helping to run the Initiative Board to keep combat on track. I found that when we were in crunch time on the marathon that I loved the game even more.
Ron Lundeen did an amazing job on this module. From the sheer number of different oozes, most of which I’d never heard of, to the demon filled city of Holy Xatramba and our final epic battle upon our return to Kibwe, it was a roller coaster that I didn’t want to end. Plus Lini got to turn into a dinosaur! How could I not love that!
Lini was my first spellcaster but she will definitely not be my last. This time around I was more confident in my spell selection though I admit I reached for my book seemingly more than anyone else to confirm things. Droogami was also my first companion character. When the chips were down in the final battle and most of the party had fallen including Lini, Droogami was one of the final 3 who took down the BBEG. We were triumphant in completing The Slithering though I admit I thought we were done for on more than one occasion. But the group pulled together and we came out on top though Skuulkush will be missed.
Lini, Droogami and The Slithering will always be a part of me and one I treasure.

Grand Archive

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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
K Vogrin wrote:

Playing in The Slithering Salve project with Order of the Amber Die was an amazing experience. I grew so much as a player over the course of this project. By the end, I was not only playing Lini but I was also helping to run the Initiative Board to keep combat on track. I found that when we were in crunch time on the marathon that I loved the game even more.

Ron Lundeen did an amazing job on this module. From the sheer number of different oozes, most of which I’d never heard of, to the demon filled city of Holy Xatramba and our final epic battle upon our return to Kibwe, it was a roller coaster that I didn’t want to end. Plus Lini got to turn into a dinosaur! How could I not love that!
Lini was my first spellcaster but she will definitely not be my last. This time around I was more confident in my spell selection though I admit I reached for my book seemingly more than anyone else to confirm things. Droogami was also my first companion character. When the chips were down in the final battle and most of the party had fallen including Lini, Droogami was one of the final 3 who took down the BBEG. We were triumphant in completing The Slithering though I admit I thought we were done for on more than one occasion. But the group pulled together and we came out on top though Skuulkush will be missed.
Lini, Droogami and The Slithering will always be a part of me and one I treasure.

Aaaaaw! :3

Always great to read about these kind of experience. :3

Developer

6 people marked this as a favorite.

This was a wonderful read! I'm glad you got such a connection to the current times out of it--if only magical solutions were readily available.

Order of the Amber Die

2 people marked this as a favorite.
K Vogrin wrote:

Playing in The Slithering Salve project with Order of the Amber Die was an amazing experience. I grew so much as a player over the course of this project. By the end, I was not only playing Lini but I was also helping to run the Initiative Board to keep combat on track. I found that when we were in crunch time on the marathon that I loved the game even more.

Ron Lundeen did an amazing job on this module. From the sheer number of different oozes, most of which I’d never heard of, to the demon filled city of Holy Xatramba and our final epic battle upon our return to Kibwe, it was a roller coaster that I didn’t want to end. Plus Lini got to turn into a dinosaur! How could I not love that!
Lini was my first spellcaster but she will definitely not be my last. This time around I was more confident in my spell selection though I admit I reached for my book seemingly more than anyone else to confirm things. Droogami was also my first companion character. When the chips were down in the final battle and most of the party had fallen including Lini, Droogami was one of the final 3 who took down the BBEG. We were triumphant in completing The Slithering though I admit I thought we were done for on more than one occasion. But the group pulled together and we came out on top though Skuulkush will be missed.
Lini, Droogami and The Slithering will always be a part of me and one I treasure.

Thanks so much for the kind words Karee! I am glad you had such a good time these past 2 marathons, knocking out the The Slithering Salve together. As Player Captain, it was a pleasure to have you on the team for this project. You were a seamless addition to our group; you accomplished everything we asked of you, and you really brought Lini to life at the table!

I hear you regarding crunch time—marathon crunch time with OAD is amongst the most intense gaming you will ever experience! We all live for those moments.

It’s been a blast playing these two marathons together. I’ll always remember Korakai being one of those final three left at the end, standing tall with Droogami, dropping the BBEG!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

As always, the Order delivered!

Order of the Amber Die

TSRodriguez wrote:
Omg look at that setting. Is like Warhammer meets Pathfinder. So Awesome as always!!

Thanks! Yeah, a little Warhammer and tabletop wargaming feel, right? I’ve also had a couple of messages asking about that setup so I thought I’d add a little explanation here.

We have a 48sq ft table that we sit around, it often has anywhere from 6-8 players at it. In the center of the bridge and ruined city pictures you can see the base layer we used, which was a 4x6ft vinyl mat typically employed with games like Warhammer. Most companies that make these will add a 1” square grid like you see on ours if you look closely. Then we added the trees and terrain separately; the ancient road to Xatramba was created from ballast like you’d use on a model train setup.

For each encounter, PCs were told whether the trees on the table were precise areas of cover/difficult terrain, or if the trees just represented vast areas of jungle and everything would be played as standard forest terrain. If it’s a random encounter, I will often tell the players to just build any kind of jungle setup while I get an encounter ready, and having the players do this can also give a GM time to prepare other things during a marathon session (plus everybody wants a chance to play with fancy terrain). Sometimes I have them arrange a setup while I’m doing something else and then we just do a camping scene really quick with no encounter—it keeps them guessing. Lastly, it’s worth noting that battles in Pathfinder 2.0 are more mobile than in PF 1.0, so we did see quite a bit of use out of the 4x6ft mat in a lot of these encounters (including the entire 300ft bridge at one point). There are some more pics of these encounters on our social media as well if that helps as well.

Order of the Amber Die

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Ron Lundeen wrote:
This was a wonderful read! I'm glad you got such a connection to the current times out of it--if only magical solutions were readily available.

Hey Ron! I think every RPG’er has wished magic was real—never more so than now. That said, The Slithering was an absolute delight to play. The monster-crafting of the oozes in all their myriad glory was so much fun to see and experience (fuming sludge in particular). You never knew what those amorphous blobs were going to throw at you next!

The setting was definitely one of my favorites, and that’s saying something considering all the ground OAD has covered over the years. I can’t wait to see more of the Mwangi Expanse in Strength of Thousands!


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I can’t believe that our almost one year-long trek (not including preparation) through the Mwangi Expanse is finally over. I know that, as much as Jirelle will miss the tropical landscape, she’ll be excited to return home to the sea and to a place where she can fight more things that are actually scared of a swashbuckler. The main antagonists from this adventure, the oozes, were unphased by her panache and sword tricks. The very first thing Jirelle did when she realized that her skills would provide no advantage against the monsters was fling the mug of ale she was holding at one. Of course, she finished the drink off first, no self-respecting worshipper of Cayden Cailean would waste alcohol like that!
I am so grateful to have been enthusiastically included in this project. The story was the perfect adventure, and the marathons themselves were incredible experiences. I am so happy to finally understand why my uncle has been in love with tabletop gaming for so long. This is so important to him, and is now important to me, too.


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Pathfinder Card Game, Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

Thank you for sharing again! Always an inspiration.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Love the order! I hope we can see some more videos / behind the scenes in the future.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Adam, Matt, Karee, and team you nailed it! So exciting following along on twitter and patreon. <3 And the terrain and pictures are top notch as always! Miss y'all, but as always thanks for sharing with us!


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Elorebaen wrote:
Thank you for sharing again! Always an inspiration.

I'm glad everyone else liked this as much as I did! Playing Fumbus was hands-down one of the best experiences I've had so far as a roleplayer. Getting into the mind of a goblin who throws bombs was an awesome opportunity, and I made sure I took it to the extreme! From lighting myself (and my companions, let's be honest) on fire to knocking myself out with a dogslicer, I got to experience all the things you would want out of a chaotic neutral goblin. As for The Slithering, it had so much that I hadn't faced yet as a player: dinosaurs, ooze, drakes, even a hiking statue. This was a rollercoaster that I'm fondly adding to my list of completed modules.

Come on team, you know you're going to miss my splash damage!

Order of the Amber Die

kevin bienhoff wrote:
Yes, Order of the Amber Die is back, was wondering what ever happen to them. What I would like to see and hear them do next is run through the Abomination Vaults Adventure Path, if they would be interested or wait until the Hardcover issue comes out.

Heard!

Here it is, but with an OAD twist.

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