Darrell Impey UK wrote:
After establishing a House alliance with Baron Okerra, my PCs got him to lend them horses for a horse race as the headline event of their festival. They invited all the nobles from around the county, and both Okerra and Voinum decided to compete (as retired members of the Taldan Horse).
The rub came when the Lotheed coach rolled up to the party...and Count Lotheed turned down their invitation but "sent Titus in his stead," an obvious insult. So Titus, his toadies, and Gul Gusairne rocked up to the festival and tensions immediately spiked (my PCs hated Gusairne more than anyone). Titus decided to compete in the race, and the PC face rogue beat him (narrowly). Titus refused to admit defeat, and challenged the rogue to a duel. Chaos ensued, and after an absolute clusterf~&* of a combat Titus, Gusairne, and both toadies were dead, the PCs had declared open rebellion against the Lotheeds, and they hit 51 loyalty points so they roused the town and are marching on the Palace of Birdsong with a peasant army.
So...Titus crashing the party is one of the best things to happen to my campaign.
I've had the same experience. I've never had a party commit so thoroughly to their characters, and I've been playing with this group for 10+ years. Book 2 particularly has topped my previous favorite, the 2nd book of Council of Thieves and the infamous murderplay. Every NPC is so complex and interesting. It takes a hell of a lot of work and note-taking to GM this AP as well as it deserves, but it is well worth it.
Totally let Janiven help if you're concerned about party mortality. Hell, my PCs have taken various members of the Children of Westcrown on pretty much every mission they've done (as a result, Amaya is only a level behind the PCs).
As to the Derro, it looks great! Really sets apart how gross and dangerous the sewers of Westcrown can be. Maybe play up the presence of the Derro's cytillesh fungus growing on the walls, and you could reskin the goblin dogs to resemble a Cassomir Stray.
I've added a lot of taverns across the city, usually notable because the party spends time there casing nearby locations. A few that have come up, most of which can be dropped wherever it's convenient for you:
The Bruised Eel, Yakapulio's tavern
The Broken Shield, across the street from the Limehouse theater (where actors and stagehands take their lunch breaks)
The Hellion Pub, which is basically a football club for Devildrome supporters
The Rye & Fire, frequented by the Dottari
The Wicked Wight, an alchemist bar
There was a lengthy discussion about this in the Crownfall sticky post. Basically it seems it boils down to a simplified presentation of a more complex historical subject, just to streamline gameplay. So in Golarion, primogeniture and agnatic inheritance are essentially the same thing.
Also, Stavian's crown is called the Primogen Crown, which sounds cool. End of the day, it's a game, have fun.
I like upping the ante on Sotto, but there are already a lot of outsiders kicking around this AP, and I wanted some variety. So I replaced Halmash with Ruxandra Katranjiev, the example werewolf from Classic Horrors revisited, and the wolves with werewolves that she has turned from the Sotto locals. The whole "intelligent wolf seeks revenge on a town that glorifies wolf hunting" bit works pretty well, plus the wolves can disappear back into the population to make the challenge of finding them harder if they employ hit and run tactics.
Name: Urag Bonerattle
It's no secret that the shadow room in the Asmodean Knot is hilariously overpowered for the level, and in my opinion the link to the Plane of Shadow also seems a bit shoehorned into an otherwise infernal-themed dungeon. I decreased the spawn rate of shadows, but I also wanted to bring the room into alignment with the rest of the dungeon (and add more of a Mammon flair).
What I ended up doing was replacing the mirrors with the "Claws of Erebus" haunt from Hell Unleashed. A pitch dark room that eats anyone who enters (reflex save to avoid). The zone still spawned shadows at a dimished rate, reskinned as the souls of those who expired in the cells.
My party couldn't defeat the haunt (bad rolls) but consecrated the area to prevent shadow spawning.
While running the second book of the campaign, I was introduced to a comic called the Black Monday Murders, about a cabal of bankers who worship Mammon and control Wall Street. This got me to thinking that Mammon is poorly represented in the campaign, barely appearing until you actually encounter Sidonai's contract.
And so I want to reimagine the Council of Thieves as a cult of Mammon. It makes more sense than Sidonai Drovenge deciding out of nowhere to make a deal for a tiefling son, given Cheliax's opinions on tieflings. This way opens a door on various soothsayers having dreams about "the golden child" coming to rule Westcrown, as well as providing more Mammon story earlier in the campaign.
Mammon is such an underappreciated demigod, and the Council Members using his worship early on (as early as the Asmodean Knot sessions) makes the idea of evil rich people so much more flavorful than just generic Asmodeus worship and gives the campaign a good lead up to the otherwise sudden appearance of a Son of Mammon.
To that end, my current plan is to rewrite the Asmodean Knot to be more focused on Mammon - changing the previous mayors to be Mammonite council members to introduce the Argent Prince as earky as possible.
I'll expand on this as my campaign.moves forward. Just curious to hear other GM's thoughts.
So the Vault and Chain are fascinating - Abadaran hardliners that adhere to a Randian prosperity doctrine. They also provide a stark contrast to the Tare mentioned in Crownfall - Abadaran reformers who believe Taldan law to be contrary to Abadar's laws. It's a great opportunity to explore what people really connect to in the Abadaran faith.
I'm only really having to contemplate this because one of my PCs is a LE cleric of Abadar, and is more likely to side with the V&C than the Tare.
I plan on introducing the V&C early on - maybe proselytizing in the Gray Market during the week of the Exaltation Gala. But the schism of the faith will be important enough to Abadaran PCs that I think springing it in book 4 is a bit late.
My current plan is to have my Abadaran cleric run into Veneranda Cain (paladin mentioned in the Oppara Gazetteer) arguing with Palo Iovinus about Abadaran doctrine in the Cathedral of Coins.
Not every NPC is supposed to use fully optimized, 100% effective and logical combat tactics.
I've been trying to explain this concept to my PCs for years. "Why does this 2nd level expert have Skill Focus: Glassblowing, instead of something useful like power attack?" Well, she's a glassblower who has never picked up a sword, so...
Midnight mirror is one of my favorite Paizo modules, and its thematically a perfect fit for the greater campaign, as well as a way for the party to get an edge of experience and magic items to help them in dealing with the Asmodean Knot in book two. So, I figured I would share the work I did in case anyone else wants to do the same.
Following Raynulf’s suggestion, I dropped the module in between books 1 and 2.
The setting requires some jimmying, but the tallowthroat outbreak fits the city just as well as the small town, and ending it can give the Children of Westcrown some extra early good press.
Prominent landmarks from Karpad (Boroi Manor, Shade Row, the chandlery) can all be dropped into a neighborhood of Westcrown without any real alterations. I changed the Boroi family to House Ghivel, setting up Vuiper for later, but any House you want to focus on will work.
The Shae rebellion I amended to be not centuries ago, but rather decades - the shae and fetchlings trapped in the mirror were rebels against Sivanshin’s power, native shadow denizens that fought to keep the vampire from conquering their dimension. I had already had shae crop up as essentially huntsmen, using shadowgarms as hunting hounds. Depending on how much you want your players to know, the prisoners of the House of Night can know as much or as little about Sivanshin as necessary.
The intriguing possibility here is that your players may make a deal with Nicosar or the fetchlings. When the House of Night crumbles, every living thing is shunted back into the material plane. If the party strikes a bargain with the shadow creatures, they may become valuable allies, even joining the Children of Westcrown and fighting to free their people from the control of the Totemrix. Nicosar, however as a neutral evil being, will only agree to help the Children of Westcrown if he is allowed to kill Stepan.
Default fetchling is a rogue, but I sprinkled some fighters and sorcerers in among Nicosar’s children, as they would have more training than the common fetchlings on the first floor. The three fetchlings on the ground floor are already named, but not the six upstairs. I went with Zasen, Truco, Zorzoru, Yoctivis, Vogne, and Qratol, all generated by Fantasy Name Generator’s fetchling list.