An interesting way of somewhat literally binding the party together and encouraging teamwork. Where are you going with the items' history? Who are the previous owners and how do they relate to Iron Gods? And most importantly, when do they each summon a giant robot that fuses together for a more giant robot?
Vlad Koroboff wrote:
She literally doesn't understand that she needs to proactively provide information for the operation to succeed,and players probably don't know the right questions.
This is exactly how I have been treating it, and will probably continue going forward. Meyanda knows quite a bit, but doesn't make the kind of connections about the threat Hellion presents nor does she just blurt out what the party would want to know.
I take that a step further. In Meyanda's mind, she doesn't understand the danger Hellion now presents to her personally. In her time working for him, her lack of emotional understanding has caused her to confuse Hellion's madness and rage as a kind of fierce determination for the cause. Since it has thus far not been directed at her, she still treats the Lords of Rust as the only family she has known. She is just now beginning to see how dysfunctional it is compared to, say, how the party operates. I perhaps should have noted earlier Meyanda doesn't actually know why the connection was severed, just that she can no longer commune with Hellion. So in my mind she heads back to Hellion confused and with the mistaken hope it will take her back in.
How Vlad or Gratz see this seems valid to me too, though. All depends on where you want to take the character and what you think is best for your party.
My group has started into Lords of Rust, but just prior to setting off for Scrapwall there was a rather interesting development.
The Story thus far:
The party previously ignored the hint to visit the warehouse, and in addition killed Meyanda and all her minions without interrogating them. This left them with no real leads on the potential ongoing threat to Torch. They convinced Kyte to Speak with Dead Meyanda, but she passes her save. However, rather than grill her for information, the party uses the conversation to convince her to accept a revival. Meyanda was incredibly suspicious of their offer which only required she not attack them or Torch, but a chance to serve Hellion again was worth the risk. Kyte uses the Resurrection scroll and poofs the android back to existence. He even grants a pardon on behalf of the Council because they are desperate for information.
Much to Meyanda's surprise, the party not only holds true to their word, but they immediately treat her as an equal. Kind treatment is just not what she was used to in Scrapwall, with its strict pecking order and constant infighting. In addition, she notes how the temple of Brigh manages to actually help people as well as not be half buried in rubble. Over the course of a few days and numerous good diplomacy checks, Meyanda starts questioning the outlook on life she got from Scrapwall. This is further compounded when she discovers her connection to Hellion has been severed. This is partly due to Hellion having trouble holding the connection through her revival and distance, but also due to his rage at her failure. Meyanda ends up telling the party enough to point them to retrieve the Power Relay and towards Scrapwall. When the party offers to take her along, she decides at the least her duty is to report back to the Lords of Rust.
That was a bit long, but it now leaves me wondering how Meyanda changes book 2. For my group at least, she is not quite an ally yet, but she is certainly going to abandon her initial plan to get revenge once she is back in her place of power. The party will have no trouble at the gate, but what else changes? The repercussions of having Meyanda back in the picture certainly shake up a lot of potential dialogues. How would you handle Meyanda back in Scrapwall?
I usually try to have a plan of what happens if the party does nothing. My current idea is that once back in Scrapwall Meyanda takes her leave to head straight back to the Lords of Rust headquarters. If the party escorts her there, they are stopped at the arena gate by some of the acolytes. Behind the scenes, word has already filtered back to Hellion of Meyanda's return, and he has decided to deal with her as harshly as he dealt with the Thralls of Hellion for the failure. When Meyanda walks in, her poor Sense Motive doesn't catch onto the malice and sarcastic mockery of her old comrades. Once she gives her report, Hellion will have her seized and sacrificed.
This duty falls to Nalakai, but he is bit hesitant to just outright kill the only other Lord of Rust that has the same sense of piety as himself. So instead he gives Meyanda to the Blood Ghost to gain her favor, hopefully for an eventual alliance against Kulgara. Since she will sacrifice her anyway for her own profane purposes, Malakai doesn't feel he is violating Hellion's orders and he washes his hands of the matter. However, this works in Meyanda's favor, as she knows what Zagmaander really wants. She can convince her that although she cannot break the curse herself anymore, the party of people she entered Scrapwall with could and Meyanda could convince them to do it. The delays are really growing tiresome for Zagmaander, but she is increasingly suspicious that Hellion never really intends to help anyway. This new group may have new opportunities, and if keeping Meyanda alive is required so be it.
And so Meyanda remains captive at the Lair of the Blood Ghost until the PCs arrive to sort out the situation. This is the logical train of thought I had for what might happen on Meyanda's return. I tried to track the motivations (and madness, in Hellion's case) of the characters involved. Anyone have any thoughts?
James Jacobs wrote:
Duly noted, I will keep that in mind in the future. Thanks.
My party recently finished Fires of Creation. They had an impressive stomping spree on the Engineering Deck. They fixed the elevator and had enough XP to reach level 4 if they chose to rest. Instead, they pressed on and ended up making a mess of the whole floor. This included rebooting the robots and inadvertently summoning Meyanda. Despite having worn through all their resources, they squished her too. The Bloodrager, even without rage, was just too much damage to handle. She healed over 50 hit points via a fighting retreat, but it just was not enough.
On a minor note, there seems to be a discrepancy regarding Torch's five member council. Kyte, Baine, Feddert, and Otterbie are four of them. The town description on pg. 63 lists a one Serantha Olandir as the last member, but pg. 11 says Soceal Murgrave is #5. It didn't have much of an effect on the campaign but it would be nice to know which is which.
I was lazy with the Silverdisk Hall games and expected to be able to open the Gamemaster's Guide to an example of a crooked establishment. I really should have checked before the session because the only example there was really insufficient. Instead, I did an extremely heavy abstraction. I had the players tell me how much they were betting, what type of game they were playing, and roll 1d100. The higher the number, the better. Card games like poker or blackjack would break even on lower numbers but have worse payouts than pure chance games. Still, anything less than a 70 would be a straight loss. I figured this would empty my players' of their free credits very quickly.
Of course, nothing goes as planned. The bloodrager promptly rolls a 100 on his first bet to everyone's shock. Since it was poker, I say the lucky dog got a 4 of a kind and turned his 30 gold bet to 300. He then tries his luck with his remaining 70 gold off the the voucher, rolls a 90, and triples that too. The bouncers were about ready to frisk him for a cheat. Meanwhile, the inquisitor utterly failed his Sense Motive to determine how crooked the Hall is. He thinks the place is very respectable, and his friend's winnings seem to confirm that. So he throws all his 100 gold on roulette and immediately loses it all. Good times for everyone involved.
For smashing the sterilizer, I would say he has to destroy the appendages on both sides of the room (2 targets), which have hardness 10 and 20 hit points each. But each hit automatically shocks him like when smashing the generator. If he breaks them, I don't think it should reset. It is just another broken.
(Might want to put spoiler warnings around here somewhere Misroi)
For avoiding this situation in the first place, I will say its critical a GM get the PCs to head back to town, rest, and hit level 2 before reaching Hetuath. If the caves go smoothly, the PCs might feel they can keep going without trouble. I was able to convince my group with some gentle nudging (though they TPKed at Het anyway). It may take a harder stance from another GM. Perhaps through in some obstacle the necessitates a wait. The decontamination room on the far side of the desert is broken. Maybe it is stuck on a cycle that prevents the door from opening for 10+hours when first reached, so the party has to retreat or lose their water breathing.
Anyway, back to Misroi's situation. First, I would find a way to incorporate the advanced Ghelarn in there somewhere. Make it spooky too, having it lash tentacles out from holes in the rock wall. Then, once they find their equipment, it burrows out in one last bid to eat them near the exit.
Second, I don't see any reason to limit the construction time to one day. Hetuath isn't going to be able to make much of anything interesting in that time. But why would he already have traps set up? Well, you have already established he is insane in your world. Furthermore, since he knows Zyphus's holy symbol, its no stretch to say he might vaguely know he is the god of accidents. Its easy enough to surmise he tried to break his curse himself in the past by making it like an accident, in all manner of strange suicidal contraptions. So he built a horrific obstacle course of death and ran himself through it hoping each time would be his last. Zyphus, of course, thought this was hilarious and kept bringing him back anyway. Eventually Hetuath gave up, but the abandoned project is still lying around.
Another thought, maybe he could make last minute upgrades/repairs to the traps using the party's equipment. For example, maybe the counterweight to one trap decayed centuries ago, so he is using someone's backpack. This way the party recovers equipment as they go in a natural, yet creepy fashion.
I find it surprising James Jacobs treats technological bits as so easy to fix with magic. Does that imply a simple 0th level Mending can fix the elevator's coupler and bypass an intended forced trip back to town? That leaves a sour taste in my mouth. A wizard's apprentice would be more of use than the town's most skilled blacksmith. Magic is cool, but I tend to say entry level magic isn't quite that cool.
We are probably just going to disagree on the capabilities of these spells. That is fine. No two groups will be the same anyway. If you want to work out the size of the reactor in regards to Make Whole, I would say the purple circles on the map are the reactor itself, so that looks like about 10 ft by 20 ft. Its nothing official, but looking at the picture on page 53 the reactor seems to be at least 15 ft high. That means the whole thing is roughly 3,000 cubic feet, or alternatively about 2,355 cubic feet if you consider it two separate cylinders. That would be caster level of 200+. A bit surprising, but the 10 cubic feet per level of Make Whole is only little more than a 2.15 ft by 2.15 ft by 2.15 ft cube. Of course, you are free to make the reactor as big or small in your game as you want. Thats the lovely power of being a GM.
Edit: Amusingly, you would be better off using Animate Objects first. The reactor would either be a Huge or two conjoined Large objects, so you could use it as soon as you could cast the spell. Once its animated, it is a construct creature and Make Whole works on it automatically.
The numerous oddities between the spell versions further my point that the exact wording is everything. However, I think the intent is clear. Greater Make Whole offers an even better way to heal constructs and offers a way to repair broken high magic or high technological equipment. The implication that previous versions cannot fix tech stuff appears to be correct. There is a progression in the spells' descriptions. Mending was always limited to very basic items, while Make Whole started fixing magic items "simple" relative to the caster. Greater Make Whole starts fixing "advanced" (equal caster level) magic items and so can also fix more advanced tech. In other words, Mending fixes torn clothes or a broken hinge, Make Whole fixes a destroyed gatehouse or a crane, and Greater Make Whole fixes the super science doohickeys abundant in Numeria.
The weight limitation keeps Greater Make Whole limited to gear, rather than, say, instantly restoring large sections of the Divinity per cast. That would the realm of Memory of Function, with its 10,000gp material component and +3 spell level from Greater Make Whole. However, even it was worded specifically with a time limit to prevent a caster from doing just that. It would be odd for a 4th level spell to do a better job a 7th spell.
I play rules as intended, and in this case I really don't think its appropriate for a 4th level spell to fix something as advanced, valuable, and large as the fusion generator. If it could, that would also imply a few Greater Make Whole casts could restore the entire Divinity to function. If it were that easy, someone would have done it millennia ago and we would have no super science ruins to explore.
Are you sure it wouldn't be HM-14(CX-335)? :)
I like the way you think.
As for the generator, I don't think Greater Make Whole applies to artifacts either. And if it did, even RAW I don't think even a 20th level caster could handle repairing the generator with only 5 pounds per level. I would say given the enormity of the thing the reactor is far more than 100 pounds. If it was light enough for the spell, Meyanda probably would have just brought it back with her as she originally intended. Strangely, Make Whole has easier target limits.
Even more RAWy is that even Make Whole doesn't really work either. Bear with me as this gets into the ridiculously rules heavy. Technically, both Make Whole and Greater Make Whole specify they restore Xd6 points only when cast on construct creatures. They can, however, instantly fix an item at 0 hit points of fewer. But the generator still has hit points so that doesn't work. If you wait around until it does have none left, you let half of Torch go with it. Both spells do function like Mending, though, so they can restore 1d4 points per cast as that spell specifies it heals objects. With the reactor taking 2d6 points of damage per day while outside of fail safe you will about 3 casts a day to keep it stable. Put it in fail safe and it will still take most casters more than 2 months to get it back to full 1,800. Oh, what fun math! And this is why I always play rules as intended.
As I suggested earlier, I think its possible to fix the reactor, but the resources and skills required are far beyond what Meyanda or the party has access to as of book 1.
I think MaxAstro has the right of it. Either Meyanda doesn't have the know-how to reroute the power (and by extension, the party won't either), or the generator is so worn and damaged it is permanently stuck in its current setting. I would go with the latter option. Just turning off the fail safe broke half the facility, as evidenced by the all the calamity on the science deck. If my party attempts excessive tampering with the generator I will probably have it belch purple smoke, access panels blow off, and other warnings that the poor thing is just too far gone for conventional use.
It may be interesting if later in the campaign the party returns with a much higher Knowledge (Engineering) and significant resources to attempt repairs. Assuming the Technic League isn't informed by Sanvil, the habitat module could serve as a hidden base for the PCs.
Speaking of habitat module, did I miss something or is the name of this detached part of Divinity not named anywhere in the book? I am thinking of calling it HM-14(Ka), short for "Habitat Module 14 (Kasath)", if/when the party looks at the holotable on the engineering deck. Judging by the CX-335 designation for Kasath in their notes, I am assuming the Divinity's science-minded crew had a very blunt, bland naming convention.
Het is a beast. I think it may be wise for GMs to nudge players to take a rest after clearing the caves, especially if they are sitting on enough exp for a level. Unless you have players with significant system mastery and optimized characters, I don't see much of anyone getting past Hetuath at level 1 with drained resources. That second level is key just to have the HP totals to stand against him for a round.
Its a shame what happened to your players' plan. The Combat Reflexes is a nasty surprise, but so are those immunities. To reward the players for something so clever and fitting, I would have just ignored that immunity and given them that small victory. I think knocking out 2/3s of the party was already enough to scare them and create tension. However, I like your even more ambitious plan. Assuming that is two full groups of PCs, good luck in your effort to keep things sane.
Oliver Veyrac wrote:
A bit irrelevant at this point, but I will point out on page 66 of Fires of Creation it actually says "...DC 11 Fortitude save to avoid being sickened for 1 minute after emerging from the water." So you aren't stuck making Fort saves on every round. Neil Spicer was nice enough to let you get all the way through the flooded cave before making you sickened. At worst, it may make the fire beetle fight mildly less trivial.
I'd personally say that depleted batteries buy/sell for half-price, but by itself someone might not be able to tell if they're just depleted, or broken. Perhaps one might even go as far as saying each silverdisk has a 10% chance of being a depleted battery rather than a destroyed one, though the players would have to examine all silverdisks they find to see if its destroyed or simply depleted. A simple Knowledge(Engineering) check by someone with the Technologist feat would probably suffice to figure it out.
James Jacobs's posts up thread were pretty clear...
Iron Gods Spoilers:
they are intended to be used a currency (full value on "sell"), as well as being easy to distinguish. Of course, every group can handle it as they see fit. But given how often they are given as loot taking half value might swing party wealth a bit low. It seems we will be finding a lot of them in the ruins as the Androffen didn't exactly bring gold pieces with them. Perhaps throw in some gold opportunities elsewhere to make up the difference?
Edit: Wait, I thought attempting to charge depleted batteries and failing causes them to turn into the silverdisks, the platinum coin equivalent that can no longer be charged. If the silverdisks lying around can be charged, can a party use the generator to charge the 100+ silverdisks they could have on hand by that point?
My group just finished session 3. I rather like the change to the habitat control room. My party found and deciphered it. However, they decided to make the module more like Golarion. Worse still, even after reducing the difficulty by 10 the party skill monkey botched the roll. So now the Kasath desertscape has a pleasant coating of snow. Hilariously, the party considers this a success, believing it to suppress the nasty desert creatures they encountered. Instead, I had the result enrage Hetuath, who was able to put 2 and 2 together on what caused the snow outside his window.
That showdown resulted in almost 2 T.P.K.s (details in the obituary thread). As they crawled their way back to town, the skulks who they previously bargained with via intimidation almost took their chance for revenge. However, for whatever reason the gunslinger had been hefting a chair from the observation room and presented it as a gift. The new throne was just enough to distract the skulks from their betrayal, which the party still doesn't realize is imminent.
The next day, the bloodrager lead the assault on the dungeon with a vengeance. The poor Cerebric fungus took 45+ damage critical from the Enlarged raging elemental striking bloodrager who passed every will save I threw at him. They had a humorous conversation of sorts with the medical drone in the operating room, as they decided to stand on the other side of the doorway. The drone kept pleading with them to come in for their "medical procedure" with the "doctor", but they stubbornly kept asking it questions. I like how the small detail of how it doesn't pursue outside the room lead to a lot of laughs.
Currently they have about half the science deck explored. However, its the north half so the real dangers await with vegepygmies and robots abound.
On a side note, is this the place for GM stories of how the party is doing, or should I go make another thread to continue recounting my party's highlights?
No children here, but it definitely depends on the group. For us, it was a unanimous decision. I didn't want to lose the rest of the session and the momentum of the campaign to create a new party. The players were still such a low level that they did not feel they had seen the potential in their characters. One player even mentioned he would just reroll the same class/archetype combo to see what it can do, and I am never a fan of Mark's long lost twin brother Nark showing up to take his place.
Now if just one player died, then that player would have had to make a new character. Likewise, if this happens again later I will probably call for them to roll a new party. It will probably be easier too since they have all decided to have one prepared. I was feeling lenient this one time because the party is undermanned and I think Hetuath is closer to a CR 4 than a CR 3. Juju Zombie gives just so many immunities, and Kasatha is a strong race on its own.
Oh boy, looks like get to contribute a T.P.K, with a real party this time.
Victims: Half Orc Bloodrager 2, Human Inquisitor 2, Human Gunslinger 2
The Story: This fight looked a whole lot like Crustypeanut's test PCs. The party was pressing on after fighting the skeletons, which drained the rager of all his resources (rounds of rage, orc ferocity, and elemental strikes) and ate the inquisitor's judgment. This proved to be decisively crippling for this fight.
The gunslinger won initiative and prepared a shot for when the zombie got with touch AC range. Hetuath charged next, eating the prepared action but only taking a single point thanks to DR. He got up in the bloodrager's face and did some damage. The bloodrager went next and even against DR wiped out half of Hetuath's health in one greataxe swing. But things rapidly went downhill after that. The inquisitor cast divine favor, and the gunslinger dropped the gun, and gave the bloodrager a flank with his longsword. Hetuath, though, proceeded to drop the barbarian with his full attack. The combination of his high AC and DR left the remaining two with little options.
The gunslinger put up a valiant stand fighting defensively and hugging a pillar for cover. He managed to survive two full rounds of Kasatha four armed fury while the inquisitor healed the bloodrager back to consciousness. It should have been one round, but the first touch of the Cure Light Wounds wand healed the minimum. The rager bravely got back into the fight but missed his swing. Hetuath put him on the floor again, and this time finished the job with a coup de grace as the inquisitor could only watch. One full round against him too ended the fight.
Rather than reroll characters entirely, we decided to just rewind the entire fight from initiative and give the party a second a chance. The second fight started as a mirror of the first, but I let them use every little metagamey trick they could think of to pull though. Two rounds in and the party was passing around the barbarian's greataxe to each other as it was proving to be the only thing hurting him. The inquisitor had to use True Strike just to be able to hit with the thing. However, Hetuath still managed to drop both the rager and the gunslinger again. The inquisitor was ready to just give up, but I pressured him into taking his final turn. He pulled off a hit with his light crossbow, and with max damage got through the DR to finish off Hetuath's last two HP. Quite the last stand, as he provoked two AoO to pick up and fire the thing. Thankfully, Hetuath missed both those attack rolls.
Overall, Hetuath is a brutal fight. He has a good AC for the party level, he is effectively immune to 3 energy types, and can put out a horrendous amount of damage with his 4 arms. His DR is very tough to bypass at this level without oil of magic weapon on hand. He even has combat reflexes so my party trying to game out provoking his AoOs so other players could perform actions didn't work. The real joke, though, is that the party didn't fix the habitat module so I get to see the look on their face when Hetuath comes back for round 2.
Hobgoblin Shogun wrote:
Judging by those entries, I am guessing his group style is loose on rules and high on humorous antics. Some people love everything to be over the top. Honestly, its not nearly as out of place in Numeria as it might normally be in Pathfinder.
Human Inquisitor of Abadar- He has a special tech-focused inquisition that got him no respect in Mendev. Now he seems to be unintentionally playing up this "bad inquisitor" angle by failing every single Sense Motive roll despite his impressive bonus.
Human Gunslinger- He has both the Techslinger and Guntank archetypes, so I just call him the Techtank.
Half Orc Air Elemental Bloodrager- Ventured all the way from Belkzan because he heard of these mysterious "robits" that could offer him a challenge. Thus far they have disappointed him and his 1d12+10+1d6e greataxe swings.
My party just crossed the "desert" after a pretty rough skeleton fight. We had to stop just before the habitat control room and I was thinking about modifying it some. I have two PCs with the Numerian Archaeologist trait, so I want the room to have a big impact. In addition, there is a lot of interesting flavor with the regenerating Kasatha and their curse.
However, just pressing an obvious glowing button to reactivate everything just doesn't seem to have the right buildup. I am going to make the button repower the room into a standby state instead. The computer has been scrambled over the years and in order to get habitat back to its normal state the experiment parameters need to be put in again. This is a DC 25 Disable Device check, as Disable Device seems to be the UMD of machines, with the usual -5 penalty for lacking Technologist. This is pretty tough, but there are hints scattered over the room. There are bits of researcher notes scattered on flicking screens, a variety of datachip or disc devices to be inserted, and tech components to be reattached. In other words, a DC 20 Linguistics (to decipher the notes), Knowledge(Engineering) (making repairs), or Knowledge (Nature/Geography) (to determine what the parameters should be based on what was seen) taken before the Disable Device check each reduce the difficulty by 5.
On success, the weather and sky patterns return to normal as indicated in the AP. On failure, though, the habitat is amusingly calibrated to some utterly wrong setting. Maybe it starts snowing, or the sky is filled with quadruple the correct number of stars or something else completely out of place. The malfunctioning computer realizes the parameters are wrong even as the weather takes hold, spews an error message, and forces itself to reboot. The reboot takes 2d6 hours with an accompanying frustrating progress bar, and during this time the Disable Device cannot be reattempted.
What do folks think? An interesting alternative to encourage some skill use, or too convoluted for what was just flipping a switch?
On a completely different note, I was looking ahead to upcoming encounters. As far as I can see, Sanvil Trett is a veritable loot pinata with full PC wealth for his level. Is it expected the party gets everything on his person? If he gets away, should I throw in a few extra pieces of loot to the Engineering Deck to keep them on track for wealth per level? My party is small so they may need the help.
Oliver Veyrac wrote:
I don't know about extraordinary or supernatural types affecting attacks of opportunity, but I can say for sure the collector's integrated stun gun does not allow one. The robot rules on page 81 of Fires of Creation specifically state integrated range weapons don't provoke.
My party has a barbarian who really did destroy the drone in one swing in the first round of combat. I don't really see a problem with that. It was just after the inquisitor tried diplomacy to no avail, so everyone had a good laugh when greataxe diplomacy proved much more persuasive. Its not really a challenge but it does get the party thinking about robots and the other strange oddities to come. Considering much of the Black Hill caves are standard fare, the encounter sets up some foreshadowing of the craziness beyond.
How does Vital Strike and the like work with slow-firing weapons, if at all? Does the full round action requirement mean you are technically not using the attack action so Vital Strike cannot apply?
Additionally, on the inside front cover natural 1s are listed as causing a 50% glitch chance. Page 55 specifically says a natural 1 is an automatic glitch, with no percentage chance. I assume the latter, more strict entry is correct, but is that so?