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As a point of interest for those who have purchased the Sci-Fi Cargo Tiles: my new Deck Space poster includes three more sheets of terrain pieces and a matching poster that can be used as a backdrop for your encounter-building:

http://paizo.com/products/btpy8tbs?Maps-of-Mastery-Deck-Space-Railway-Floor -and-Cargo-Bay-Floor

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This is the first Maps of Mastery product that provides an empty floor grid for building new encounters from scratch.

What the description above doesn't tell you is that the Railway Floor lines up with each of my "Mass Transit" posters and the newly revised Railway Station Tiles, allowing you to expand the railway system that runs through all of those products. The sheets of terrain in Deck Space can expand the same maps even further.

Also important to note, since others have raised comparisons in the past: this poster covers a larger area than Paizo's flip mats, but it is not laminated. I do suggest getting this poster laminated if you have the means: the Cargo Bay Floor in particular would be great for drawing out your own maps with dry erase markers.

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To clarify for those who may remember my first terrain card set released back in 2009, called "Detention Base & Grav Train": this is the same product, with some special enhancements:

All of the cards have been expanded to 5x8 inches instead of 5x7, and they have all been made double-sided with a set of new artwork for the back. It includes some never-before-seen map locations, two brand new train cars, and some alternate versions based on the original artwork. Also, the front and back covers feature new bonus terrain on the inside covers.

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Just a bit of behind-the-scenes info: This is likely to be the last Mass Transit poster map for a while; I've got several other sci-fi and fantasy projects in the works that are going to take a while to complete, including a space station in 4 parts.

So if you've been keeping up with the Mass Transit series, you can call it complete with this one, at least for the next year or so.

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Hi, folks!

Overnight, backers on Kickstarter ensured that my Deck Space poster map/encounter-building kit will see print along with the Nova Eclipse starship of Mass Transit IV, and the Alien Starship Tiles! Now it's the final day of the funding drive, and people have until midnight tonight (Eastern time) to participate if they want any of those.

The posters and card sets will be in stores eventually, but backers get them with free shipping (worldwide!), get PDF files of each map, get free *bonus* PDFs of a Passenger variant of the two Mass Transit IV maps, and score a pair of free custom dice!

(And possibly more free stuff if the funding goes higher today...)

Here's an abbreviated link; if you folks in the Paizo community know anyone outside of this forum that would like any of this stuff, please share it!

http://kck.st/zbFWhR

By the way, if you don't care for the Nova Eclipse starship of Mass Transit IV but still want the Deck Space kit to build your own skirmish maps on the fly, or want the Alien Starship Tiles to map out the guts of a giant fantasy creature, you'll be able to choose either of those instead of Mass Transit IV in any of the rewards.

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Hi, folks!

I'm currently trying to launch a set of three new sci-fi map sets (poster maps and terrain cards) via Kickstarter, and I'm hoping the rest of the Paizo community can help me get the word out. The first goal has been met, but there are two additional products ready to see print if the project really takes off:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mapmaker/mass-transit-iv-maps-and-more

The next big goal is for a set of creepy-looking Alien Starship Tiles that could double as the guts of a gigantic creature, so I'm hoping fantasy gamers might get something out of this as well.

Collectively, this community can reach a lot more people who might be interested in these maps than I can alone, so if you can suggest places to announce it, please let me know or share the link in those places directly.

Thanks very much for any support you can provide!

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Hi folks,

One of the poster maps I'm hoping to bring to market soon has an Egyptian temple motif, and it has been pointed out that it would feel at home in an Osirion-based campaign. With that in mind, I wanted to get the thoughts of folks in this community:

http://www.mapsofmastery.com/images/deepvistas/chapelofscarabs.jpg

Here's a close-up of the pit crawling with beetles:
http://www.mapsofmastery.com/images/deepvistas/ChapelOfScarabs-beetles.jpg

If my Kickstarter funding drive for the 6-map "Deep Vistas" set is successful, this will probably become available here at Paizo's store, so your opinions are particularly relevant to me. Is this a map that you would use in your Pathfinder campaign? If not, how should I tailor future maps to work well in Golarion?

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Thanks for posting this, Awesome Paizo People™!

If anyone has any questions about this product, feel free to ask! :)

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Just a little update, folks: I've sent more of these off to Paizo; they should be back in stock soon! :)

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For those who may be interested in such things: I have two free downloadable terrain cards at my website (www.mapsofmastery.com) that match the Swamp Caves side of this poster. Just click the downloads link in the site menu. There's a quicksand tile and a campsite tile, each of which seamlessly matches a section of this poster to customize the scene.

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A bit of expanded information, for those interested:

This double-sided poster map measures 22 by 34 inches when unfolded, and features a 1-inch grid for play with most miniatures game systems. Various objects and structural elements printed in the maps feature fine colored lines to mark the boundaries of different kinds of terrain, like walls and obstacles; these are easily ignored if your game of choice doesn't need specific designations for terrain types, but useful if it does.

The front of the poster is designated the "Exodus-Class Heavy Courier", and was designed with RPG use in mind. Many different kinds of sci-fi adventures take place aboard starships or even involve the player characters as owners of their own transport--this ship fills both niches very well. It's a large freighter or transport ship outfitted with secret cargo holds for restricted goods and enough bunks and escape pods to support a good-sized number of passengers. The ship was built to ferry important cargo or VIPs across territorial boundaries and past enemy blockades.

The Offworld Shipping Center, on the back, includes a another complete (but smaller) courier ship in the upper-right-hand corner, parked in the docking bay of a spaceport-type location that includes a refueling station, big cargo bays, a command center with holographic display, and a workshop for the sci-fi train that uses this port as a loading facility. Multiple bridges and conveniently-positioned cargo cranes provide crossing-points for the recessed train channel.

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Anyone else here playing this game from the creator of Three-Dragon Ante?

My gaming buddies and I recently picked it up and have been having a blast with the game. The rulebook isn't very well written (leaving several important questions about gameplay unaddressed), but once you puzzle through some of the more confusing points, it's a ton of fun. I highly recommend it.

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If you're a player in my campaign, please stop reading now. If not, please continue... :)

My Age of Worms campaign is currently at the beginning of the Kuluth Mar investigation, and the three PCs are already nearly 17th level. Here's how it happened:

When we (I'm playing an in-party mage since it's a small group) met Manzorian, things were right on track in terms of level progress, wealth, and so on. It's the mid-point of the campaign in many ways, though, and I wanted to give the players the option to fine-tune their characters and perhaps shake things up a bit. Well, they got shaken up, alright...

I had Manzorian offer to let them use the Pool of Fortune's Folly in his keep, as described in Dragon. That went over passably well; introduced some quirks but nothing really game-shaking.

Then I added a homebrewed "Potentium Orb" or something like that (I don't remember exactly what I called it). It's a major artifact that allows a PC to rebuild his character from the ground up, reselecting classes and feats, etc. It functions only once for any being that touches it and wills the transformation to occur. I used it as a sort of "reset point" to let the players make different choices for their characters, and it worked well. No really game-shifting deviations took place: I think the soulknife swapped out some rogue levels for more soulknife, the psion took a slightly different mix of spells, and my daggerspell mage swapped out his wizard levels for sorcerer levels.

Then I had Manzorian offer to let them draw from his Deck of Many Things. (I picked up the Green Ronin accessory and thought this would be a great time and place to introduce it.)

First went the gnome psion: 3 cards, says he...

1) The Throne: He now has a keep just outside of Greyhawk, a bonus to his Diplomacy, and is seen as a leader. Hmm. OK, I can deal with that.

2) The Talons: All of his magic items were stripped away, permanently. This seemed horrifying at first, but the player made a decent argument that psionic items are different, and after much consideration I allowed the exception. I also ruled that items blessed to them by the Wind Dukes in their previous adventures in order to combat the Age of Worms were exempted by the influence of a higher power. He lost a lot of good gear, but not everything. (We've been playing with some exceptions to the magic/psionic transparency rules, and I had a moment of pity. My compassion for his plight was not to last, however--see card #3)

3) The Sun: He gained a random medium wondrous item (randomly rolling a headband of intellect!), and 50,000 XP. That bumped him from 13th level to 16th level!

He was already the most powerful combatant of the group, and those three levels would likely have relegated the other two PCs to background support roles for the rest of the campaign. That stung, but I'm the one who introduced the deck in the first place and it would have been unfair, IMO, to try and take it back.

The rogue/soulknife, arguably showing better sense than the rest of us, declined to draw any cards.

I had my daggerspell mage draw two cards:

1) The Knight: Yay, I got a 4th level fighter to babysit. :-D

2) The Moon: 1d4 wishes! Rolling randomly, I got...one wish. Doh.

I could have done a lot of things with that wish, but foremost on my mind as DM was the level imbalance that would have made the game less fun for two of the three players (myself included). So, I went ahead and wished for the effects of the Sun card to be applied to my mage and the soulknife as well. That was clearly not within the normal parameters of a wish spell, and if it wasn't in the best interests of the group I wouldn't have allowed it to work--but it seemed like the best solution to the level gap and was perfectly in-character for the mage. As a backlash for taxing the arcana of the Deck of Many Things past its limits, I had Manzorian's deck scatted across the multiverse. *Poof*

(Now Manzorian is none too happy with Allustan's pupil...)

Anyway, so now I need to retool my Age of Worms campaign to accelerate the final chapters, or maybe skip over some parts. (I don't want the PCs hitting epic levels before they face the finale.)

Any suggestions?

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In my Age of Worms campaign, the players have recently defeated Ilthane the black dragon (size category huge, though I've been using a gargantuan miniature for all scale references). Now, they know that certain dragon parts have value, and I've acknowledged to them that Ilthane's hide and various body parts can be worth a good amount of gold to the right buyer. But our next game is coming up and I haven't yet figured out a value for her various parts. Can you folks help me set a fair value? I don't want to cheat my players out of a prize, since I made the fight more difficult than it was written and they don't, after all, have any leads on how to find her lair. But neither do I want to be overly generous and encourage them to treat every slain monster as a treasure trove.

I could have sworn there was a Dragon Magazine article at some point in the game's history that discussed the value of dragon blood, fangs, eyes, scales, etc. Can anyone point me to an issue number, or any links on the web that might discuss it? (Google didn't turn up much for me on this subject.) Barring that, I wecome any thoughts that other DMs might have on the subject.

Incidentally, one player with some alchemy skill likes to save bottles of venoms and acids, and I know he's got his eye on any acid remaining in Ilthane's glands or ducts or gullet or whatever. Likewise, another player has leatherworking skill and wants to preserve Ilthane's scales and skin to make dragonhide armor, etc.

One thing I love about this community is the abundance of DMs with good advice on subjects like this; I welcome any ideas you folks might have. :)

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Hi folks:

You may or may not have noticed that recent Maps of Mystery have been connectable to one another to form one long map. This trend continues through a series of five maps, starting with the Woodland Shrine in issue 142, and "ending" with a Drow Outpost in 146. After that I decided to switch gears and revisit the "Forsaken Rift" (issue 136) to explore another location identified on that map, but I left the option open to continue the current series of linked maps if readers are interested in going deeper.

So...my question to you is: Do you want to see more Maps of Mystery that connect to previous installments, or do you prefer maps that have no relationship with anything else?

It goes without saying, in my opinion, that a good Map of Mystery should stand on its own and feel complete and useful by itself, so I don't expect you'll ever see Maps of Mystery that *require* other maps. But I do enjoy building relationships between different maps and I'm curious if the readership of Dungeon finds that useful, or cumbersome?

What kind of maps are most useful or interesting to you folks?

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I haven't done a lot with vampires in D&D in the past, but I'm currently writing an adventure that uses one as a trap and I'd love to get feedback from the community on the viability of this plot device:

I know that D&D vampires are not killed by a stake in the heart, but are effectively held paralyzed as long as it remains there, so I've set up a dungeon trap that, when triggered, mechanically retracts a wooden stake from the heart of a vampire elsewhere in the dungeon. (With the intention of releasing a powerful guardian.) My basic question is: what state would a D&D vampire be in if it was staked for several decades, waiting for a group of intruders to trigger this effect? Some specific points of concern:

- Would the vampire be able to quickly recover to a combat-ready state? Or would it be weakened? (I'm guessing it would be suffering the damage in hit points from the original impalement, until the damage healed.)

- Would the vampire be aware of the time that had passed? (For example, if it was conscious when it was staked, would it remain conscious but immobile for the intervening years?)

- What if the wooden stake deteriorated over the years, and rotted away? Would the vampire regain its mobility instantly, or gradually over a period of days/months/years?

I'm considering the use of this plot as a way of unleasing a major villain of the adventure, so any advice would be quite welcome.

Thanks!

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I haven't done a lot with vampires in D&D in the past, but I'm currently writing an adventure that uses one as a trap and I'd love to get feedback from the community on the viability of this plot device:

I know that D&D vampires are not killed by a stake in the heart, but are effectively held paralyzed as long as it remains there, so I've set up a dungeon trap that, when triggered, mechanically retracts a wooden stake from the heart of a vampire elsewhere in the dungeon. (With the intention of releasing a powerful guardian.) My basic question is: what state would a D&D vampire be in if it was staked for several decades, waiting for a group of intruders to trigger this effect? Some specific points of concern:

- Would the vampire be able to quickly recover to a combat-ready state? Or would it be weakened? (I'm guessing it would be suffering the damage in hit points from the original impalement, until the damage healed.)

- Would the vampire be aware of the time that had passed? (For example, if it was conscious when it was staked, would it remain conscious but immobile for the intervening years?)

- What if the wooden stake deteriorated over the years, and rotted away? Would the vampire regain its mobility instantly, or gradually over a period of days/months/years?

I'm considering the use of this plot as a way of unleasing a major villain of the adventure, so any advice would be quite welcome.

Thanks!

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My players have completed 'Encounter at Blackwall Keep' and arrived at the doorstep of the Free City, but we've hit a snag: I can't find my copy of the Dungeon issue containing 'Hall of Harsh Reflections.'

I plan to replace my copy if I don't find the issue when I reorganize my office and sort through all of my back issues over the holidays, but I'm preparing some contingency plans in the meantime, including the playtesting of an adventure of my own to fill that slot in the Adventure Path. I'm concerned, though, about the plot developments that the PCs will miss if we skip the HoHR adventure.

What do you folks think about this idea? Is HoHR essential to the adventure path, or can I safely substitute a "side trek" adventure to bring the PCs up to the right level for the champion's games? What plot points do I most need to cover if I do go in another direction for levels 7-8? I remember enjoying my first read-through of the adventure, but it has been a while. I know Eligos is important, and I seem to recall some important villains being introduced, but the specifics of what I need to include to set up the rest of the adventure path escape me.

The need to see Eligos is the only real plot connection the PCs have pulling them along right now, and they'll be going to seek him out as soon as they enter the city; can anyone refresh my memory of what he can tell them about Kyuss and the Age of Worms when they first meet? How much more information is he expected to provide by the end of HoHR?

Any advice you folks can offer on these points would be very welcome! :)

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The PCs in my campaign are currently in the Lizardfolk lair deep in the Mistmarsh, nearing the end of the 'Encounter at Blackwall Keep' adventure. I've modified the lair quite extensively to make use of some custom terrain, but kept most of the encounters as written, and I expect the PCs to battle Shukak and find the egg chamber in the next session.

I really like the way those scenes are set to play out, but I'm strongly tempted to include a cameo appearance of or close-call encounter with Ilthane herself at the end, as a way of helping to set up her return later in the adventure path and give it a more personal kick when they actually do fight her. The problem is, I'm having trouble deciding how best to approach this.

Some ideas I'm kicking around:

1) Including a young or very young black dragon, or both, in the adventure for the PCs to fight and kill. By fighting and slaying these children of Ilthane, they create a personal vendetta and relationship with the dragon, so that she can be out hunting for them during the intervening adventures while they're off in Greyhawk. When they come face to face with her, the dramatic payoff should be remarkable. It makes her actions against Allustan a direct consequence of the PCs prior decisions, and make them somewhat responsible for what she does to him and the town.

2) Have Ilthane herself show up after the final battle, just as the PCs are breathing a sigh of relief and getting ready to leave. I'd have to do this carefully, though...I don't want the PCs to be killed by this close encounter, but rather scared out of their wits. The goal is for Ilthane to see them, and them to see her, to establish a connection and recognition factor, right before the PCs escape down a tunnel too small for her to follow.

3) If I go through with #2, I think Ilthane's next move will be to assault Blackwall Keep. When the PCs finally get there, they'll find the tower half demolished, with the stonework pitted and scarred by Ilthane's acid breath and claws. This may actually be the trigger event for the Spawn of Kyuss encounter...in a state of desperation and dragon-inspired panic, one of the soldiers opens the sealed chamber looking for a place to hide, and unleashes the spawn.

4) Killing Marzena. This is not really related to the dragon part of the encounter--unless the dragon(s) are what slay her. My thinking is that the immediate payoff of the adventure as far as plot advancement is not really rich enough to make the PCs feel like it was all worth their effort; basically, all Marzena has to tell them is what they already know, which amounts to "Hey, look...more icky green worms, and they're bad for you!" So...what if she may have known a good bit more, but never got to tell them? In my campaign, Shukak is holding her hostage and planning to give her as an offering to Ilthane...so when the PCs arrive (unless they pull of some great stealth maneuvers), Shukak could use her as a living shield while he stalls, waiting for the arrival of Ilthane (or one of her children). In that case, it's very likely that he can coup-de-grace Marzena during the encounter. Alternately, Ilthane herself might be the one to consume Marzena, either literally or with acid breath, right before the PCs' eyes.

I don't want the players to feel powerless in either situation, but if possible I do want Marzena to breathe her last before she can explain to the PCs that she has nothing new to tell them. I'd prefer that they come away with a sense of urgency and "oh, crap...now what do we do?", because I think this will make their trip to Eligos a much more logical next step. I may even try to give Marzena some dying words in which she tells the PCs that this situation is bigger than any of them, and urges them to ask Allustan to swallow his pride and look for support from 'old friends'...thus setting up the next stage of the adventure path.

I want to accomplish some of these scenes, but preferably without it coming off as contrived or robbing the PCs of their ability to affect the outcome. Any thoughts, advice, or ideas? I'm open to suggestions. :)

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Anyone have any fun stories of how their players dispatched (or dealt with) Kullen and his gang? My players did a number on him tonight!

Warning: Spoilers ahead...

We got together last night to continue the Whispering Cairn adventure, and reached the point where the characters need to track down Kullen and his gang and find out what became of Alastor's family's remains. The PCs find them in the Feral Dog, and split up to flirt with Tirra and eavesdrop on Kullen and his gang. Kullen, positioned at the bar near the dog fighting pit, was growing increasingly drunk and unruly as the night wore on, and I had a messenger drop in to summon his gang to Filge for instructions.

Already resentful of being placed at Filge's disposal, he became downright hostile on his way towards the door, shoving people out of his way as he went. this included two chaotic neutral PCs, however, who retaliated without hesitation. The barbarian shoved him right back, and as he spun around to confront her, the rogue took a sneak attack on his leg (aiming for a called shot to hamstring him, but managing only a normal hit).

Two of Kullen's cronies had led the way out of the bar, but their mage had stayed behind to make sure Kullen was coming. He quickly cast a Daze spell on the barbarian, and moved into position to cast something else the next round.

Kullen began to rage and drew his greataxe, taking a wild slash against the barbarian while the PC rogue vanished into the crowd. He scored a crit (x3 multiplier!) which nearly dropped the PC barbarian in a single blow! It left her with 3 hit points out of about 30!

Not to be left out of the action, the PC psionicist used his turn to animate a barstool Kullen had shoved aside, directing it to trip him up and send him into the pit. One excellent attack roll and a failed reflex saving throw later, and the albino half orc was indeed tumbling into the pit below, where two vicious dogs were more than happy to tear into him!

Meanwhile, the PC wizard hit Kullen's mage ally with a color spray, knocking him out quite effectively. The barbarian, who had just been dazed by this mage and nearly eviscerated by the half-orc, proceeded to pick him up and toss him unceremoniously into the pit with Kullen and the dogs!

The PC wizard, sensing some troublesome explanations and confrontations if they lingered too long on this shocking scene, urged the party out of the door, and that's where we ended the session.

When they left, Kullen had 8 hp left (with barbarian rage), and his mage ally was still unconscious...and both were still in the pit with the starving dogs.

I'm trying to decide if the dogs would be allowed to (or able to) finish them off, or if the handlers would put a stop to it right away. Any suggestions?

I'm leaning towards having the pair live to encounter the PCs again a bit later in the adventure...recurring villains are so much fun, and these two certainly have a vendetta now! The players had a blast in this session, though, and I'm torn between letting them keep the satisfaction that they disposed of these thugs with creative ease, and letting them have another round of fun with them.

Under different circumstances, this fight would have had a much different outcome, I think, and I'm somewhat curious to find out if the players could come up with another way to deal with Smenk's thugs so smoothly.

Liberty's Edge

Anyone have any fun stories of how their players dispatched (or dealt with) Kullen and his gang? My players did a number on him tonight!

Warning: Spoilers ahead...

We got together last night to continue the Whispering Cairn adventure, and reached the point where the characters need to track down Kullen and his gang and find out what became of Alastor's family's remains. The PCs find them in the Feral Dog, and split up to flirt with Tirra and eavesdrop on Kullen and his gang. Kullen, positioned at the bar near the dog fighting pit, was growing increasingly drunk and unruly as the night wore on, and I had a messenger drop in to summon his gang to Filge for instructions.

Already resentful of being placed at Filge's disposal, he became downright hostile on his way towards the door, shoving people out of his way as he went. this included two chaotic neutral PCs, however, who retaliated without hesitation. The barbarian shoved him right back, and as he spun around to confront her, the rogue took a sneak attack on his leg (aiming for a called shot to hamstring him, but managing only a normal hit).

Two of Kullen's cronies had led the way out of the bar, but their mage had stayed behind to make sure Kullen was coming. He quickly cast a Daze spell on the barbarian, and moved into position to cast something else the next round.

Kullen began to rage and drew his greataxe, taking a wild slash against the barbarian while the PC rogue vanished into the crowd. He scored a crit (x3 multiplier!) which nearly dropped the PC barbarian in a single blow! It left her with 3 hit points out of about 30!

Not to be left out of the action, the PC psionicist used his turn to animate a barstool Kullen had shoved aside, directing it to trip him up and send him into the pit. One excellent attack roll and a failed reflex saving throw later, and the albino half orc was indeed tumbling into the pit below, where two vicious dogs were more than happy to tear into him!

Meanwhile, the PC wizard hit Kullen's mage ally with a color spray, knocking him out quite effectively. The barbaria, who had just been dazed by this mage and nearly eviscerated by the half-orc, proceeded to pick him up and toss him unceremoniously into the pit with Kullen and the dogs!

The PC wizard, sensing some troublesome explanations and confrontations if they lingered too long on this shocking scene, urged the party out of the door, and that's where we ended the session.

When they left, Kullen had 8 hp left (with barbarian rage), and his mage ally was still unconscious...and both were still in the pit with the starving dogs.

I'm trying to decide if the dogs would be allowed to (or able to) finish them off, or if the handlers would put a stop to it right away. Any suggestions?

I'm leaning towards having the pair live to encounter the PCs again a bit later in the adventure...recurring villains are so much fun, and these two certainly have a vendetta now! The players had a blast in this session, though, and I'm torn between letting them keep the satisfaction that they disposed of these thugs with creative ease, and letting them have another round of fun with them.

Under different circumstances, this fight would have had a much different outcome, I think, and I'm somewhat curious to find out if the players could come up with another way to deal with Smenk's thugs so smoothly.