My players just finished with the Desolation. They just got to level 11 and are ready (in my opinion) for the city (and its guardian !)
Some things in the Desolation that they haven't done yet (and can still do) :
- the Old Death lair
and a few other minor things
In the Camp :
- the Inn encounter (they always slept outside in their own camp)
I found that I had to give them some hints for them to find some places in the Desolation. Just wandering around in the hope of finding things to do wasn't really working. That's why they never went near the Old Death lair or the werewolves lair.
Just 2 deaths overall (always when a player did a stupid thing), the campaign is not as deadly as I guessed it would be, perhaps because we are using a lot more material than when it was originally out (advanced player guide, ultimate magic & combat, ultimage equipment), and also because my players are experienced !
In a few months, I will DM this again for 3 other friends, this time with gestalt characters (to compensate for the small size party) and capitalize on what I learned !
To give a reason for the PCs to be there and investigate the Desolation, I created some campaign traits from the "Adventure hooks" from Book 1.
The two bests are :
- land owner : the PC has a "official paper" (either a reward or a heirloom) proving that he is the owner of some location in the Desolation. I chose the last outpost in the boiling lands for the PC that took it, but it could work for a few other locations.
- undead hunter : the player decided that a prophecy from his people required him to hunt undead, so I gave him a list of three very important undeads in the Desolation : the King with an iron eye, the white walker, and last but not least, the knight with a inverted sword weeping blood tears ;-)
As for the players' motivations, it is part of the implicit DM/PC contract :-)
It worked really well so far !
Ah right, I completely forgot about the level hints in the book !
I created some campaign traits to give players motivations for their characters. It worked very well so far.
- The bard (informal party leader) got a paper making him the land owner of the Last Outpost (that's why they got there first). He still has to deal with the dwarf ghost (they have to find the dwarves obviously).
- The halfling barbarian has a tribal sacred duty to destroy undeads, a prophecy gave him the name of 3 Orcus champions he swore to destroy : the King with an iron eye, the White Walker and the Knight with a sword weeping bloody tears (Lord Bishu!).
- the wizard needs to find the final fate of the Fifty and One.
- the Theurge needs to find what happened in the Desolation and is also interested in the fate of the Fifty and One.
- The alchemist wants to secure the roads to re-establish the trading between the south and the north.
So half the party still has some important business in the Desolation but as they level up, the encounters are less of a challenge (Tark's Mound was quite easy, only casualty was Argos that got petrified, but the basilisk blood cured that soon enough). I guess that as soon as they deal with the dwarf ghost and the lich, they could try to enter the city !
An update from my campaign :
The players just reached level 10. We have a great time playing it !
Locations they explored since the beginning (in order) : Life after Death, the Crossroads, The last outpost, Rift Genesis, The Broken Span, Caravan Carrion, Dig Site, Brood Mother's Pit, Tomb of the Sleeping Knight, Spitter's Canyon, Geyser Cluster, Tark's Mound.
(They killed Clantock before dealing with the gargoyles)
A guest played with them last time and I had to give him Argos. Any idea why he is not simply a paladin ?
Any idea when the Midnight peddler should begin to hint them to go after the city itself ? My guess was around level 12.
I am more on the same line as Chaoseffect. In my opinion, in pathfinder cosmology, I see Lichs as always evil (iirc it is written in the bestiary). The usurer is evil and undead, and a lich. It is not only a moral thing, it is bound to its very nature, and it can be seen as an insult to nature and life itself. For most do-gooders, it would be an heroic action to take this potential threat to all living being out of the world. In any other campaign, I wouldn't have any problems if the PCs just entered the shop with torchs and drawned swords (or fireballs and searing lights).
Now, it is Tsar, I also warned my players that it would not be a good idea to kill every single evil entity on sight, especially if said entity is trying to tell them something. I think they won't fight the Usurer right now, because first, they have a credit account of 20000 po with him, so they could loose all this money. They also know that the Usurer is a spellcaster, even if they think that he is a bard of some kind. So they should at least be cautious around him.
Hello guys !
Still playing ST, after the summer hiatus. I am currently confronted with the following "problem" and could use some advices :
one of my players rerolled a tiefling wizard, and he told me he used his deathwatch spell like ability in the Camp (it didn't really happend yet because he just met the group in the Desolation but it ought to happen when they go back there)
Looks like despite all the care of the Usurer, his disguise will be useless against a single level 1 spell...
By the way, I already modified the Usurer because in his original setup it wasn't working properly, but it doesn't change the fact that, as far as I know, the spell deathwatch is capable of undoing all the illusions and disguise work an undead can do to look like a living being...
Solution 1 : find a legal way to get around deathwatch (magic item, spell, other trick)
Solution 2 : rule that since the spell "Seeming" is a glamer, the tiefling failed his save and really believe the Usurer to be a living being.
Solution 3 : let the thing roll as it is. Let the Tiefling use deathwatch on the Usurer and discover him for what he truly is. I guess in this case I would decide that he has to do it in game, and roll for bluff vs psychology to determine if the Usurer guess that he is discovered, and then, if he is aware of that, let him use his powers to manage the situation (one other player is playing a extremist anti-undead player and it could very well end in a full fight).
Thank you for your comments and suggestions !
The Desolation claimed its first victim yesterday IMC. The fighter-wizard was badly poisonned from the spits of the poisonous ghouls of the last outpost. When the slow poison spell from the bard stopped, it was a nasty DC23 fortitude save to survive (two uses of the restorative balm didn't worked). After a few rounds, he died from the poison.
Then I found this thread on the paizo forums (thanks google!)
I used a lot of the great ideas in this thread here to fuel my own campaign, and we already played 2 games so far (and it was really great!). I also wrote a campaign DM journal and gaming session logs, but unfortunately everything is in french (so it could prove difficult to read). Here is the link anyway (maybe google translate is not so bad) http://www.pathfinder-fr.org/Forum/yaf_postst8265_Slumbering-Tsar---Journal -de-campagne--resume-des-seances.aspx
Currently, my players just (mostly) finished the last outpost.
Ok for cancelling the item on backorder and shipping the rest
one of the item is now "currently unavailable", so there is no ETA on shipping time from the warehouse.
I wasn't aware of the weather problems, as I am not living in the US.