Ragadahn

Christopher Wasko's page

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16. Goblin Squad Member. RPG Superstar 6 Season Star Voter, 8 Season Marathon Voter. Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber. ****** Venture-Lieutenant, Connecticut—Fairfield County 308 posts (3,297 including aliases). 5 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 46 Organized Play characters. 4 aliases.


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When I got the outline for SFS 1-13, Thursty offered that I could submit PC race stats for the izalguuns on the off chance they became a playable race further down the road. I enthusiastically did so, having immediately fallen in love with the species, and then I dutifully held my tongue as the scenario hit the shelves and for months afterwards. To see that chicken finally come home to roost in this epic way is better than I could have hoped for! Thank you for this experiment, John & Thursty! I’m so excited to see izalguuns join the ranks of the Society!

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Awesome, Kate! I can't wait for this AP!

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I think it’s unlikely I’ll be able to pull this together in time. Bummer, but that’s life sometimes. Best of luck everyone!

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I would be down to play! I run/play in several Organized Play PbPs, so I have some experience. My time commitments can be spotty sometimes due to travel and events related to work, but I always communicate dry spells beforehand.

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DoubleGold wrote:
DoubleGold wrote:

Most of My games I'm playing and Dming are about done, and someone showed me how to separate PDF'S to get chronicles to you without sending you the whole thing.

Time to Celebrate.
September 20th, I'm starting 2 games to gameday.

1-11 In Pursuit. Tier 3-6. Tags: Faction (Second Seekers [Luwazi Elsebo])
1-5 The first mandate. Tier 1-2 or 3-4. Tags: Faction (Acquisitives)
Faction (Second Seekers [Luwazi Elsebo])

Who's Interested?

Okay, so no responses from 1-11, so I'll make that game much later, (like really, how many of us have level 3s to begin with) but a response from 1-5, so I'll make a thread and see who else responds.

I have two lvl 5s who I'm looking to play 1-11 with (either one), but they're both in games at the moment. Definitely keep me posted for when this table launches, especially if it's high tier.

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Traveling this weekend, bot me if necessary! I’ll be back Monday

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Truly a loss for the company, your work was monumental and inspiring. Best of luck with your future endeavors, I very much look forward to seeing your products down the line!

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Christopher Wasko wrote:

Dear Customer Service,

I am a Pathfinder Adventure Path subscriber, and today received my physical copy of AP 131: Right Hand of the Reaper. I have not, however, received my physical copy of AP 130. How do I fix this?

Thank you,
Chris

Never mind, it just arrived!

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Dear Customer Service,

I am a Pathfinder Adventure Path subscriber, and today received my physical copy of AP 131: Right Hand of the Reaper. I have not, however, received my physical copy of AP 130. How do I fix this?

Thank you,
Chris

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HammerJack wrote:

I'm well aware of that passage. Back around the time the core rulebook was first getting into most people's hands, there was a whole debate in a couple of threads about whether that passage meant that you could ready to interrupt spellcasters, because of page 249 of the core rulebook stating that:

You can prepare to take an action when a certain trigger occurs by using a standard action. Decide on a standard, move, or swift action and a trigger. You can take the action you chose when the trigger happens. This changes your initiative count to the current initiative count for the remainder of the combat. If you used a reaction on your previous turn and then chose to ready an action, you still regain your reaction at the beginning of your original turn, not when you take your readied action.If your readied action is purely defensive, such as choosing the total defense action if a foe you are facing shoots at you, it occurs just before the event that triggered it. If the readied action is not a purely defensive action, such as shooting a foe if he shoots at you, it takes place immediately after the triggering event. If you come to your next turn and have not yet performed your readied action, you don’t get to take the readied action (though you can ready the same action again).

Some examples of these threads are:
http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2um5y?Casting-spells-in-combat

http://paizo.com/community/blog/v5748dyo5ljv8?Five-Differences-Between-Star finder-Rules-and#29

The developer clarification in that second thread made it pretty clear that a readied attack will not work to interrupt a standard action spell, which is most of them.

So, while you could ready an action to interrupt a full round cast, it's not a really isable tactic unless you have spellcasters around that try to summon monsters instead of casting a standard action spell when they see a guy holding his fire for the crucial moment.

Thanks for the feedback! Chalk this up to first-time Starfinder author growing pains; I didn’t follow the blog commentary religiously as it came out, so I missed Owen’s clarification and based the guards’ sample tactics on what I understood the core rules to mean, including the passage Misroi mentioned and my previous Pathfinder experience. Fortunately the guards’ tactics are flexible, so GMs should just use a different tactic based on what the guards know and what the PCs do.

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Same, I have three slots not listed on my schedule.

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Welcome and congratulations to all the new Paizo staff!!

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BigNorseWolf wrote:

It seems a little odd that the doc is growing whats essentially opium and doesn't know it. A possible technobable explanation is that the left handed version of the molecule the plant produces is a bad tasting alkaloid that discourages insects while the right handed version is the analgesic.

She's aware they had an anomalous batch a while ago, but obviously ordered production on that cultivar halted. She has the memmo and everything. Reports from her technicans show that concentrations of the right handed version of the molecule is under 1 percent, you'd need to eat a bathtub of salad to feel anything.

Do the testing myself? I have a PHD...

I love this, and am absolutely stealing it when I run this adventure.

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I’d love to help!

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@1bent1: I'm glad your players had a good time! Yes, the creatures you listed begin on the Irespan walkways, which are 15 ft. high. One thing the map doesn't really depict well is that the Irespan walkway in the NW corner is actually a stairway, with the end facing the door at ground level and the end facing the copper gate being 15 ft. high like the other walkways. I appreciate the feedback!

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Lau Bannenberg wrote:

In our case the black tentacles dropped on Imrizade in round one of the combat nearly killed her, and we did some emergency healing to keep her alive, but never got around to healing her to consciousness.

I think this PP condition may have been written too technical and with not enough focus on the intent behind it. Someone swooping in, DimDooring her out before anything can go wrong and Nigel telling her afterwards that the party put her safety above other concerns - shouldn't that also make a good impression?

I would say so, yes. The intent and end result (keeping her alive) is there even if the healing is not.

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Dennis Muldoon wrote:

This scenario was very frustrating for me as a player, especially when I found out we wouldn't be getting our secondary success prestige. Now reading through it as I prep to GM it this weekend, it seems like part of that was on the GM, but a lot of it is on those secondary-success conditions being non-obvious. I want to make sure that the players at my table don't have the same experience I did, and to that end I would like to hear how you all presented two of the three in particular:

- Healing Imrizade "before the end of the encounter". This seemed very counter-intuitive as a player. You find yourself in a room with some winged aberrations (assuming someone made the perception check to spot them, as they did in my party), a flying psychic, and some encroaching gas, and instead of fighting them off first you're supposed to spend your time healing Imrizade? If you wait until after the battle, oops, too bad, no second prestige for you. How are the players supposed to know they have to heal her first? Did anyone prompt players to stop and heal her? Or come up with a good way to present it that might hint they should do that before fighting?

- Asking the right questions. Our GM gave us no prompting on what questions to ask the thing in Fuln's office, and thus we did not ask the correct ones. I don't want to tell the players what to ask, but again this was frustrating as a player at the end when not having asked the right questions cost us a prestige point. Any suggestions?

Sorry to hear you had a negative experience with 9-05. In response to your questions about the two caveats for full prestige, BretI provides some great ideas. The more you can describe the gas a dangerous-looking and rapidly approaching Imrizade—and the more you can use Nigel to frame the importance of her safety—the more likely it is that players will get the hint that they need to get her out of harm’s way. The PP is contingent upon Imrizade having firsthand evidence that the PCs bailed her out of a real jam.

For your second question, given Nggilth-Tsa’s mental probing, the PCs don’t have to ask the “right questions” per se, but rather just ask any questions at all and make the corollary skill checks (which can be prompted by the GM). If they don’t ask the questions listed, Nggilth-Tsa still gives the closest response after a successful skill check, which may make the answer seem a tad odd if provided out of context (which is fitting for such a weird critter). It sounds like your GM didn’t give much guidance on that section of the adventure, which is a pity.

Hope this helps!

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Lau Bannenberg wrote:

Earl, could you tell us more about how that local situation developed? It sounds strange to me - how did people exhaust the 1-5/3-7 range without ending up at level 7+?

What kind of scheduling methods do you use?

Do people have difficulty actually reaching higher level, or do they just really prefer lower level play?

I haven't been running PFS nearly as long as Earl has, but I organize in the same state and see a lot of overlap with him. Earl can probably provide a more comprehensive response than I can, but I can at least give a little context.

In CT the PFS leadership typically tries to reserve new scenarios for conventions; there are quite a few in the area between Boston and New York, and we want to avoid having to turn players away from convention tables due to having already played the scenario as much as possible. We normally dive back into older seasons for monthly store events, or do something a little more special if a regular group shows up (in SW CT, where I operate, we have one GM running the Emerald Spire with his regulars, and we had several sessions of Thornkeep at monthly tables). Personally, I invite my regular players to a Google Spreadsheet of events they've already played and/or GMed so I can poll for interest in a particular level range and slot events that are new for them in that tier.

From what I've seen around the state, the exhaustive playing of low-level scenarios stems from a combination of A) players' fear of their PCs that they become attached to dying to in higher tier scenarios, and B) interest in the new content Paizo produces that leads to making a characters. Some more veteran players have gotten mildly frustrated with this pattern in the past, but mostly they're cool with making new characters to try out new builds, so it hasn't really bubbled up. I'm sure this has something to do with the availability of conventions: I see a lot of players from around the area bring their high-level PCs to cons after level grinding the 1-5s at routine store events.

Thus far, CT PFS membership has a high floor but a low ceiling: our base is loyal and regularly attends events, but they are spread out and don't frequently invite others to participate (making recruitment one of our ongoing areas of concern). I typically struggle to field a single table in my usual store because my regular player base hovers right around the single-table range, meaning one or two absences for life events combined with one or two no-shows means the table doesn't fire.

We're currently undergoing a shift in leadership and some changes to store availability, so things are very much in flux right now, but in the past we've had one location field two standard tables (one low, one higher), one alternate standard and Core bi-weekly or monthly (almost always low, for the reasons I detailed), and my store that I described above (typically standard of varying levels). Starfinder Society has also added a whole other ball of wax to our scheduling: currently my local players are really into it, and we've used it a little for recruiting new players, so for now we've shifted to almost exclusively Starfinder tables until interest in returning to PFS increases. For scheduling and communication, we use combinations of Facebook, Warhorn, and email depending on the needs of the area.

Long answer to a short question, perhaps, but in response to Lau we mostly field low-level tables because that's what our base tends to want to play.

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Lau Bannenberg wrote:
One thing I'm a bit sour on: was it really necessary to give the boss immunity to mind-affecting effects?

Yeah, I sympathize with your frustration. I can't speak for the authors of the other adventures you cited, but for me part of designing an encounter with a main villain (especially one with high Intelligence) is to consider A) in-game what threats would a BBEG know to protect himself against or realistically have immunities to, and B) meta-game what spells or effects stand the greatest risk of instantly derailing the boss encounter? In the case of a mutant psychic touched by an Outer God and isolated in contemplation about the maddening influences of the Dark Tapestry, in a subtier where many PCs will have access to deep slumber, fear, suggestion, and other major save-or-sucks, immunity to mind-affecting effects made a lot of sense. In some respects even thematically the best defense against an occult character is another occult character; more "pedestrian creatures" (including the grioths in this adventure) are easy fodder for characters that control or manipulate minds, but someone who uses such tricks himself is more likely to steel himself against such tactics.

I tried to give occult characters or other mind-reader types some opportunities to shine in other parts of the adventure (specifically calling out use of such abilities when interacting with Nggilth-Tsa, and leaving the BBEG's big beefy grioths susceptible to suggestions that might stymie their quadruple-18-20-crit-threat-with-bonus-damage full attacks), but for an Intelligence-based final boss I wanted to cover as many easy outs as I could. PC psychics can very realistically rule the field in combat against more conventional enemies (I've seen several powerful foes one-shotted by a mind thrust tripped out with phrenic amplifications and build specializations), but against a boss like this one I wanted an archer or highly mobile melee fighter to get more mileage (especially since they typically have less to offer in more skill-based encounters), and even then for the boss to have some contingency plans in case they showed up.

As for the other encounters, the first one was constructs (not much to be done about that), and Nggilth-Tsa is mind-immune in high tier, but beyond them and the boss I don't think any of the other critters are mind-immune (although divining a cerebric fungus's mind in low-tier might cause headaches).

I know it's probably not what you want to hear, since it doesn't change the fact that this is still one more in a seemingly growing list of occult-flavored adventures where occult-themed classes find themselves somewhat cut off at the knees, but that was my logic when designing the encounter.

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andreww wrote:
Christopher Wasko wrote:
Imrizade had a Con score of 12 when she first appeared in Voice in the Void, so use that as her Con score in the event that death becomes a threat. As Lau mentioned above, the BBEG is more interested in keeping anyone from disarming the beacon than kicking people while they're down, so the scenario will play better if you try to place the tentacles so that they're an obstacle rather than a direct attack on Imrizade. Naturally initiative and PC actions will influence where the tentacles go, but do keep that tactic in mind.
Thanks for this. I think the issue here is that Imrizade is pretty much directly between the PC's and the bad guy, making her spot the natural place to drop the tentacles to slow down their advance.

Very true, and if that's the most tactically sound option for the BBEG, then that's what he should do, and the PCs will just have to figure something out. That being said, he's a pretty smart villain with lots of options in both his tactics text and his stat block, and his starting point offers him plenty of breathing room (especially if he gets fly off before the encounter begins), so GMs should definitely consider all angles. If he can't catch a bunch of PCs in one casting of black tentacles, or if there isn't an obvious place to put it to stop their approach (such as on some of the boxes or other platforms that they might use to actually reach him or avoid the gas), he might decide he's better off hitting an archer with an uber-boosted mind thrust IV or readying a magic missile to harass a spellcaster as his opening gambit, giving the PCs a round or two to get Imrizade out of the line of fire.

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Thanks for the feedback! I'm checking in to provide help where possible.

andreww wrote:

Given the amount of confusion being thrown around this scenario really needs more stat block information for the NPC's. Maren Fuln in particular arguably should have been the target of our of the PCs when I played it but we had no way really of resolving that. He probably counts as an ally at that point for confusion. The same could be said for Imrizade if she is conscious.

We are given Imrizades current negative HP total at the start but given the tactics at high tier we really also need to know her con score as she is quite likely to die. She could also become a target if roused back to consciousness.

Imrizade had a Con score of 12 when she first appeared in Voice in the Void, so use that as her Con score in the event that death becomes a threat. As Lau mentioned above, the BBEG is more interested in keeping anyone from disarming the beacon than kicking people while they're down, so the scenario will play better if you try to place the tentacles so that they're an obstacle rather than a direct attack on Imrizade. Naturally initiative and PC actions will influence where the tentacles go, but do keep that tactic in mind.

The NPCs are designed to add flavor and some minor mechanical benefits to PCs who ask for help, but not to overshadow or interfere with the PCs' actions in any given encounter. If confusion causes unavoidable combat between PCs and NPCs, GMs can fudge Maren's numbers remembering he's a 6th-level human wizard with no offensive spells or weapons; stats from the NPC Codex would work fine if the GM has to eyeball something. Imrizade can use her listed attack stats, an AC of 22 (+5 armor, +3 Dex, +4 shield), and saves of Fort +5, Ref +9, and Will +8 in a pinch, given her stats from Voice in the Void.

That being said, nothing pertaining to the NPCs should add additional stress to the GM or take attention away from the PCs. Monsters should always target PCs instead of NPCs, and if the NPC's interaction with confusion or a similar effect gunks up the flow of combat in a way that is frustrating to GMs or PCs, the GM has carte blanche to sideline the NPC from the encounter in a way that makes narrative sense, such as knocking themselves unconscious in their confusion or simply fleeing or cowering away from the action if injured. With the one exception of Imrizade's potential death as collateral damage from the gas or a stray black tentacles spell, the PCs shouldn't really have to spend their efforts keeping the NPCs safe; GMs can communicate this by depicting each NPC as a visibly competent professional capable of handling him- or herself under duress (yes, including Maren).

andreww wrote:
In encounter A the plant poisons have an onset time of 1 minute and a frequency of 1 minute. I am not seeing how this really increases the CR of the encounter much at all as its likely to be over by the time anyone needs to make a save to take any actual damage.

The long-term damage probably won't affect the PCs in the span of this encounter, but it may gradually cause problems en route to the other locations that last into subsequent encounters. Being in a city, they may stop by a temple or apothecary to treat the poison (assuming they find out that's what the problem is), but the GM may rule that such a sidetrack affects the setup of Encounter B in a similar way to being delayed by Arcanamirium staff.

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Michael Eshleman wrote:

The chronicle sheet gives access to an elixir of monstrous form that:

Call of the Copper Gate wrote:
gives the benefits of monstrous form to its drinker but expires 1 minute after opening; Ultimate Magic 229

.

Monstrous form isn't a spell (and it isn't italicized on the chronicle sheet), is this supposed to be monstrous physique?

Yes, it looks like the item name and spell name got a little jumbled. Sorry about that!

The elixir provides the benefit of the monstrous physique I spell for one minute.

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Best of luck, James!

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Thank you for all you've done to help make this company and its products so successful, and for helping so many authors, designers, and players find their voices. You will be sorely missed, Wes, but best of luck wherever the future takes you.

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Andrew Mullen wrote:

I'm making a psychodermist occultist for an upcoming module, and am uncertain about the interaction between its 1st level Trophies implement alteration and the Grisly Ornament feat. Would a psychodermist with the Grisly Ornaments feat who selects one of the ornaments as his "trophy implement" be able to make ornaments that last indefinitely?

** spoiler omitted **

I'd probably rule "no" in my game, but are there any thoughts from the designer, or from more accomplished rulespersons?

Hey Andrew, thanks for your great question! I designed the trophies section, so I'll provide my two cents and see if I can give some guidance.

Your first spoiler paragraph is accurate: trophy implements do not take up magic item slots, but ornament implements do. I didn't state it outright in the original text, but in this case I would treat an ornament made permanent by the class ability function like the Monstrous Craftsman feat: it uses an item slot on its own, functions indefinitely as an implement, and can be activated as an ornament once per day as detailed in the feat. That way the psychodermist isn't penalized by the RAW, but there is still incentive to take the Monstrous Craftsman feat to better consolidate items, implements, and ornaments into the PCs' limited slots. I think that workaround best encompasses the spirit of the rules.

Hope that helps!

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kevin_video wrote:

Sorry to necro this thread, but I'm looking for all scenarios that involved goblins.

These are the ones I know off the top of my head.
Frostfur Captives
Rise of the Goblin Guild
Murder on the Silken Caravan
The four We Be Goblin scenarios
The first dungeon level of Emerald Spire
The first part of Book 1 of the Rise of the Runelords AP, Burnt Offerings
Apparently City of Strangers 1 and 2, but it's been years so I couldn't say if it did or not...
Shades of Ice 1 and 2, but not 3

Anything else?

Levels 1 and 2 of Thornkeep also have lots of goblin action.

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Stoked to get my contributor copy, there's a ton of cool stuff in this one!

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Lau Bannenberg wrote:
"Proper" modules tend to be 3+ slots long. You might be able to force some of them into 1-2 slots but you'll be rushing the entire way and it's really not going to make for a better adventure.

One exception to that I've found is Feast of Ravenmoor. I've run and played this module in a double PFS slot (8 hours), and it's fit really neatly into the time on both occassions. The first half is mostly RP, so time it to around 4 hours, and the second half is mostly combat, which will fill right around 4 hours with reasonably experienced players. Each time we had a party of 4 PCs.

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Anthony Adam wrote:

Hey guys - I am afraid I am having to drop out after all - life took a serious turn last night when I found out my mum has been taken terminally ill.

Needless to say, I cannot commit to anything now and so I don't want to get in the way of the game any more than I already have.

I hope you all understand. Sorry. Ant.

God bless, Anthony. Our best wishes to you and your family, I'm sorry about the bad news :'(

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James Anderson wrote:
While all this highly skilled infiltration is going on, what are the fighters and clerics with no skill points supposed to be doing?
7-21 The Sun Orchid Scheme, pg. 6 wrote:
First, each PC must choose a method of spying on her chosen complex. Examples of possible approaches and their associated checks appear in the Infiltration sidebar on page 6. At her discretion, the GM can also allow other types of checks that players can reasonably justify as part of their approach.

I can see a GM allowing demonstration of combat prowess in training (i.e. attack rolls vs. AC equal to the DC), generic socialization or counseling (i.e. Charisma or Wisdom checks), or other options that low-skill PCs possess to keep them involved. There's also the fact that even Int 5 non-humans still receive 1 skill point per level regardless of class, and the only skills not specifically referenced for use during the infiltration are unmentioned Crafts/Professions, Knowledge (dungeoneering, geography, history, nobility, and planes), and Perform (all of which could feasibly be justified by players or GMs as well). Aid another is always an option as well.

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CorvusMask wrote:
So uh, a question: Tactics for Valenti says he uses studied target in attacks but normal inquisitors do not have that as far as I know? Did I miss something from his statblock or is this an error?

That's a holdover from an earlier edition of the adventure. He is a normal inquisitor, so he uses his judgment and bane abilities, not studied strike.

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grandpoobah wrote:
My conclusion is that if the PCs can get 4+ delays on consecutive cards, they CAN widen their lead on the pursuit

Not really, since the pursuit that gets stopped at a card automatically progresses to that card on their next turn regardless of how many delays remain in that card. Your breakdown of the pursuit should read as follows:

Pursuit starts on Card 1.
On Turn 1, pursuit cannot enter Card 2, but automatically gets there next round
On Turn 2, pursuit automatically enters Card 2, cannot enter Card 3, but automatically gets there next round
On Turn 3, pursuit automatically enters Card 3, cannot enter Card 4, but automatically gets there next round
On Turn 4, pursuit automatically enters Card 4, cannot enter Card 5, but automatically gets there next round

etc

The second quote you referenced refers to the PCs' ability to stave off the pursuit should they catch up. That would resolve something like this:

  • PCs reach Card 4 with max success in the prison, but without creating any delays. The pursuit becomes active and moves 3 cards, in this case landing them on the PCs' card, causing them to throw javelins at the PCs.
  • The PCs, not wanting to get shot at again, try creating delays when they move into Card 5. They are wildly successful and create 6 delays, way more than the pursuits' movement. This means the pursuit cannot enter the PCs' card (because they lack sufficient movement to clear the delays), but they will automatically enter the card on their next turn.
  • The PCs move to Card 6 and create 2 delays. The pursuit automatically moves into Card 5 (costing 1 move), but lacks sufficient movement to enter Card 6 where the PCs are.
  • The PCs maintain this one-card lead by getting 2+ delays per turn until they reach the finish line.

The chase ultimately boils down to the PCs first establishing a lead from their performance in part one, then maintaining it throughout the chase by rattling up enough successes to keep the pursuit at bay. I would argue that cards beyond the second still matter, since the pursuit stands a very real chance of rapidly gaining on lazy or unsuccessful PCs (allowing them to fire off one or more free javelin attacks).

Hope that helps!

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Wraith235 wrote:

I am curious on Room A11

the description of the room is well done ... however mechanically I wonder if something was overlooked with spiked chains lying about the room floor everywhere that spin up and start shredding people , was the intent to make the floor difficult Terrain ... or function like Caltrops ? the description certainly leads to that Thought process

when I ran it I had a hafling Cavalier wanting to charge around to damage the mechanisms... this was after the chains had spun up

The chains are mostly suspended overhead and wrapped around the central column, so they don't affect movement within the room. Chains along the floors would impede the interrogator too, so it would be counterproductive for the facility.

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D Hennessey wrote:
Ok. That makes sense, especially rereading the room boxtext. The description of tripwires, coupled with the map, had me imagining a scene more like this.

Haha, nice! A great visual I'd love to use one day, but not for this particular trap :)

Fun fact: Those movies were part of my process for designing this scenario. I based Tamrin's character on George Clooney's titular role.

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Behind you all the way, Amber! Bravo for making a stand for representation in video games!

And for the record, Worldwound Incursion is one of my all time favorite AP installments.

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D Hennessey wrote:

I'm excited about this one, but still not quite grasping the "right way" to run the trap in A11. How are PCs supposed to get to all eight statues without triggering the trap? It sounds like touching any of the chains triggers it, so it seems almost impossible to navigate the room safely, even if they do manage to notice all the switches. The only option that comes to mind aside from shooting the winches is spells like mage hand.

For that matter, how would the Inquisitor disable the trap? He's probably not shooting the winches every time he wants to use the room, and his Acrobatics is pretty mediocre at both tiers, so he's probably not dodging and weaving through the chains.

The PCs can get around the room the same way the interrogator does: just walking. As much as I love the image of Lau's PCs commando-crawling to each statue, logistically most of the "streamer chains" are out of immediate reach given the room's height and shape (they're included in the map more for flavor). The average human-height level is easy and safe to navigate, so just walking around the room shouldn't be an issue. The PCs only really risk triggering the trap by interacting with the chains in any meaningful way: tinkering with the statues (failed Disable Device), attacking the winches (any attack rolls), trying to wriggle the prisoners free from their bindings (failed Escape Artist), etc. Also note that even if the PCs do trigger the trap, it runs its course over several rounds, during which they can actively try to disarm or destroy the eight statues/winches; in essence, if the PCs can't bypass the trap using skills, they can functionally fight against it like a combat encounter.

The interrogator knows where the disarming mechanisms are and has the key to activate or deactivate them, so he just resets each statue whenever he has to leave a torture session.

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Alexander Geuze wrote:
What was the deal of the Elixir of Love in the care package, by the way? I can imagine a few things, but did it tie into the scenario in any way?

I included that as an option for non-casters to charm Galvar or another guard. Thus far I haven't heard of anyone using it, but I thought social PCs might like the option.

I'm glad you enjoyed the scenario, and thanks to you and Lau for your feedback! I'm favoriting all of the reviews and breakdowns to look back on and inform my crunch work for future projects, which will hopefully maintain the flavor while moving closer to that sweet spot for challenge. As my first scenario, which was also a Tier 1–5, I definitely erred on the side of lowballing the challenge rather than clobbering beginning players. I think it's easier to forgive an overly easy scenario than an overly difficult one, especially if it has decent flavor.

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I'm glad to hear that most people seem to be enjoying the scenario! Getting both positive and critical feedback from players and GMs helps authors learn what to do again or do differently next time around, so I appreciate everybody taking the time to share their thoughts and experiences!

From the looks of things, the chase is the biggest sticking point, mainly that it's too easy and the phrasing of the rules is confusing. My objective was to build upon Mike Kimmel's success in "Kaava Quarry" by creating an equally cinematic chase, but restructuring the rules so that everybody could participate rather than each round being a massive Aid Another fest. Given the high stakes of the chase (potential damage every card, secondary success condition qualification, and need to resolve what could potentially amount to a fourth or fifth combat encounter depending on how things play out in the prison), I intentionally used lower card DCs, but I think that became overbalanced in the PCs' favor by including actions that catered to multiple different character builds in each card. It seems that raising the DCs should alleviate some of this problem.

I agree with Bongo that the guards might seem more threatening if they automatically move into a card where they had been stopped by delays without costing them a move, meaning the PCs need 3 delays per card rather than 2 to keep them at bay and they can only dodge the final fight if they meet all the necessary lead conditions from the prison. That was my original design, but during development I changed it to give the PCs more wiggle room in the event they rolled poorly or otherwise didn't optimize their performance in the chase (wiggle room that, all things considered, the PCs really didn't need). I also need to find a way to streamline the rules to make everything flow better: I like the visual and dynamic nature of two active parties in a chase, but I think just presenting the chase itself and tallying successes to determine outcome like Mike did in Kaava Quarry might prove simpler to understand and communicate.

Thanks again for the feedback! Happy gaming!

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benthic wrote:
If a player finishes part 3, having not played parts 1 and 2 before that, but later plays parts 1 and 2, do they then retroactively qualify for the Delvehaven Star boon?

As written, I do not believe so.

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Lau Bannenberg wrote:

Ran this today. I'll write a more detailed AAR later; suffice to say it was a success.

During the chase, I used the chase cards (they're on PFSPREP) I made and glass beads to indicate Delays caused; I'd had the same idea as Bretl. That worked well.

I allowed Fly on the Docks card, as it looked like a sensible alternative to a Swim check for the watery shortcut.

I didn't allow anything for Haste, because each chase card takes a minute; Haste doesn't last that long.

On one card I did allow a +2 circumstance bonus for someone with Expeditious Retreat; I forgot on which check, but it made sense.

All in all, the players absolutely ruled the chase, getting an average of 4 Delays per card I think. But between an optimized wizard, competent psychic, infiltration/melee inquisitor, Quinn pregen and (some kind of medium I don't understand), that was to be expected.

Awesome! I'm glad your players did well, I prefer stories of the PCs pulverizing the chase than the other way around. I hope everyone enjoyed!

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It's ultimately up to the GM to decide how to reward creative spell casting like this. On the one hand, these spells certainly help expedite an escape. On the other hand, they don't last very long or affect many targets at this level, reducing their efficacy for helping the group, and they sort of defeat the party's goal of keeping a relatively low profile.

Personally, I would rule like Andrew, given the nature of this particular chase. The pursuers are everywhere in the streets, and the chase mechanics represent the PCs' overall avoidance of them by disrupting the holiday festivities.

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Sebastian Hirsch wrote:
I could be wrong, but if the group manages to create 4 delays on card number two, the guards can't actually get out of that first square in their first round? (Thus enabling a 4 card lead?)

As written you're right, assuming max success.

1 (hs): PCs move to and create 3 delays in card 2
2 (hs): PCs move to and create 3 delays in card 3
3 (hs): PCs move to and create 3 delays in card 4
4: PCs move to and create 3 delays in card 5, guards stuck in card 1.
5: PCs move to and create 3 delays in card 6, guards automatically move to card 2 and get stuck.
That maintains a 4 card lead for max completion PCs if they score enough delays in every card. So it looks like even groups who only get 1 of the extra head start options can still dodge the final encounter if they do everything right in the streets, which should give PCs some wiggle room and make things a little easier.

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BretI wrote:

If I'm understanding the reverse chase correctly, once the guards have caught up there is no way to get a gap again? The party will keep getting javelins tossed at them each 'card'?

Seems like this could quickly become deadly.

If the PCs create enough delays in their present card when the guards catch up, so the pursuit can't enter their card that phase, that can give the PCs a 1 card lead to keep from getting attacked.

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David H wrote:
I be running it tomorrow myself with a group that ran parts 1 and 2. A couple of them are fairly combat oriented so I'm curious if they'll be able to handle a spy mission like this :)

As much as it pains me, murderhobos can get through this adventure with full prestige awards, although it'll be an uphill climb.

Lau Bannenberg wrote:
Then again, the inquisitor is Liberty's Edge, and the Bellflower Boyz are only AC 13 with 8 HP. If the Pursuit gets even one round of javelin-throwing, ouch...

And that's not counting potential damage from the trap, either. Faction PCs gotta earn those boons ;)

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Lau Bannenberg wrote:

It looks to me like it's gonna be a fun chase. Kudos on that; I don't think those are easy to write.

I don't think you need 3+ delays; if you get 2+ on every card it should work out. That way, the Pursuit needs one turn per card to cross, so you'll preserve your lead consistently.

Thanks! And you're right, I was thinking of my original turnover where the guards automatically got their first move, meaning the PCs needed 3+ per card to maintain their lead. I think we changed it in development for fear of not enough PC action economy should they meet with spillover problems from the Nail (torture and whatnot), as well as to help out parties with only 4 PCs.

Lau Bannenberg wrote:
By the way, I really appreciate you coming in here and answering questions. I'm running this a lot sooner after publication than I normally like to, so it's a big comfort to get some clarifications here and there.

No problem! I'm stoked to hear how it runs and to receive feedback in general. I hope you and your players enjoy it!

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Lau Bannenberg wrote:

Okay, let's analyze the chase, to see if I got it right.

You are 100% correct, including your thoughts on PCs carrying each other or NPCs should they fall unconscious mid-chase (specific unconsciousness penalties called out in Pg 14, first full paragraph). Nice breakdown and good observation about the conditions for skipping the final encounter (i.e. "100% completion" of available head starts, plus 3+ delays in every single card)! I'm very glad that the rules to this chase translated accurately ^_^

I do want to point out that scoring multiple delays does not necessarily mean using different tactics in a single card. Four different PCs could all elect to use Diplomacy checks in the Free Meal card, and if all four are successful then they accrue four distinct delays.

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BretI wrote:

I assume since it doesn't say pick one, you don't cross any of them off.

Compare it against something like The Confirmation.

The Confirmation, pg. 17 wrote:
In addition, the GM should either randomly select two pieces of treasure from the following list or choose two items that would best suit the PCs: a quiver containing 20 +1 arrows, a +1 light crossbow, a +1 light wooden shield, a +1 longsword, a suit of +1 studded leather armor, bracers of armor +1, an elixir of swimming, an amulet of natural armor +1, a pearl of power (1st-level spell), or a ring of protection +1.
All the items in the above list that are not always available appear on the chronicle. You should cross off the ones that were not given out since they were never treasure from the adventure.

Good point. The phrasing of the rewards as "the PCs can receive X, Y, or Z," leads me to believe that they only get one, but this interpretation also makes sense. I'll defer to John, Linda, and Tonya, since I honestly don't know the right answer.

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Lau Bannenberg wrote:

So if you rescue Zefiro, at the end of the scenario you get rewards from the Society. Sweet.

p18 wrote:

Treasure: Knowing that the PCs were unlikely to pick

up much treasure to cover their expenses, the Pathfinder
Society set aside several magic items that the PCs can
claim
as a reward if they rescued Zefiro Balinger. In
Subtier 1–2, the PCs can receive boots of the friendly terrain
(Pathfinder RPG Ultimate Equipment 228), a chime of opening,
or a javelin of thunderbolts (acts as a javelin of lightning but
deals 8d6 damage and has a save DC of 17). In Subtier 4–5,
the PCs can also choose from eyes of keen sight (Ultimate
Equipment 225), gloves of swimming and climbing, or a
scholar’s ring (Ultimate Equipment 177). These items appear
on this adventure’s Chronicle sheet.
Does this mean we cross off the things they didn't choose?

I actually voiced a similar question in the 7-09 thread a while back. Personally, I think the interpretation of the commenting GMs is correct, that the selected item remains on the Chronicle sheet available for purchase while the other items get crossed off. That being said, the PFS development team has the final say, so they may rule differently.

I'm honestly not sure about the lesser circlet of persuasion's Subtier location on the Chronicle sheet.

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Lau Bannenberg wrote:
BretI wrote:

I want to make sure that I understand the reverse chase scene correctly.

Each PC can attempt one of the checks or Aid Another, and each success is counted as slowing the guards? With a group of six, if everyone makes their check they can slow the guards by 6?

The way I read it, each PC can make a check for himself or Aid Another. For every independent check that succeeds, a Delay is scored.

This interpretation is correct. Thanks Lau!

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John Compton wrote:
Terminalmancer wrote:
Lau Bannenberg wrote:

I for one welcome our new Duchess in Exile.

That one actually made me sit up straight with surprise. Niiiice.

Me too. I think "holy crap, what?" was uttered. Nicely done.

Whenever we have an adventure or entire series that plays to a faction leader's interests, I really enjoy taking the opportunity to reveal more about that faction leader's past, shape her motivations, and open up room to grow as a character. All three of the authors involved here really helped make this series come alive and lend key context to this revelation about a key character.

I look forward to using future adventures to learn more about (or even replace) other faction leaders and venture-captains.

Many thanks to you, John, for entrusting us with this plot arc and for giving us such rich outlines with which to work! I thoroughly enjoyed working with John, Brian, and Kalervo on this trio and am thrilled with the result released by the Paizo development team.

In response to Andrew's question about Room A11:

Spoiler:
That actually is how the trap is supposed to be worded. The idea behind the trap is that basically every chain in the room is rigged like a highly sensitive tripwire, so getting the prisoners out without setting it off should be extraordinarily difficult. Attacking the winches is one way to work toward disabling the trap (arguably one of the more efficient ways of dealing with it once it kicks into action, a deliberate change from the "Disable Device or bust" layout of many traps), but you can't damage a winch without touching a chain, so any attack—successful or not—triggers the trap. Same goes for any failed Disable Device check. Only someone skilled enough in Perception and Disable Device to find and activate all eight disarming mechanisms flawlessly, or in Escape Artist to get each prisoner out flawlessly, can bypass the trap without triggering it at all.

I hope everyone enjoys the adventure, I look forward to hearing about it post mortem!

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