Modules and APs don't have to be run by the PFS campaign rules.
Key Differences from Scenarios wrote:
Pathfinder Adventure Paths are generally larger and have longer play times than scenarios and may take multiple sessions to complete. They do not contain specific faction-related elements, nor are they tiered for play by characters over a wide range of levels. Thematically, most Adventure Paths do not assume the characters are Pathfinders. These adventures are therefore offered outside of the standard Organized Play environment and can be played with characters who do not conform to Organized Play requirements.
I'll eventually move this stuff to a google doc. Dropping here initially for those posting their interest.
Hit Points granted by a character’s ancestry applies per level instead of just at character creation.
Design Notes: This does a couple things. 1) It brings back some of what was lost by PF2’s streamlining of the races. Smaller characters are generally more fragile but in exchange they get hit less (see below). With very few exceptions I won’t be increasing damage done in the AP so this should be solely a buff to character survivability. 2) It buffs character survivability. I’m told AoA was written early in PF2’s life cycle and a lot of the encounters are over-tuned as a result. I don’t mind dealing with character death but when it’s happening 2-3 times per book it starts to lose its dramatic impact.
* Small weapons deal damage one die size smaller. For example, a small longsword deals 1d6 damage.
* Small characters gain a +1 untyped bonus to armor class.
Design Notes: A halfling fighter should play meaningfully differently from a dwarf fighter. The tightly bounded math in PF2 should keep the +1 AC for small characters from making them unhittable which was often a problem in PF1.
Ability Score Boosts, Ancestries, and Classes
* Free ability boosts from ancestries cannot be used on the same ability score boost provided by the character’s class.
Design Notes: This is intended to bring some meaning back to choosing a race for your character. The half-orc barbarian was iconic for a reason. In PF2, that’s no longer the case as every race can easily have an 18 in any ability score. As with many of these house rules, this is intended to give some of the ancestries back their identities. Half-orcs will always be the strongest, halflings will always be the quickest, humans will always be well-rounded. To account for the impact this will have on player hit chances, I’ll be reducing ACs and saves by 1 across the board for all monsters and hazards.
Ancestries & Heritages
Ancestry Hit Points: 4 Per Level
Ancestry Hit Points: 4 Per Level (6 with Unbreakable Goblin heritage)
Half-Elf (Human Heritage)
Ability Boosts: Dexterity OR Intelligence plus one Free boost
Ancestry Hit Points: 4 Per Level
Half-Orc (Human Heritage)
Ability Boosts: Strength plus one Free boost
Design Notes: This ties into the changes mentioned above.
1-Action: The spell has a range of touch and heals for 1d8 + casting ability score.
Heightened (+1) The amount of healing or damage increases by 1d8 + casting ability score. The extra healing for the 2-action version increases by the target’s Ancestry or Class Hit Points value, whichever is better.
The target regains Hit Points equal to 1d10 plus their Ancestry or Class Hit Points value, whichever is better. In addition, they gain a +2 status bonus to saves against mental effects for the duration.
Heightened (+1) The amount of healing or damage increases by 1d10 plus their Ancestry or Class Hit Points value, whichever is better.
Medicine – Treat Wounds
Critical Success As success but the Hit Points regained are doubled.
Design Notes: 1) These changes make up for the general increase in hit points all characters will have due to how ancestry hit points have been changed. 2) This is intended to help address the ‘barbarian tax’ that high hit point characters impose on the party by requiring more resources to heal up after a tough encounter.
I'm looking for a few brave souls to join me in Paizo's first official Pathfinder 2 adventure path, Age of Ashes!
Dramatic trailer video can be found here.
Sessions will take place over Google Slides using Discord for voice communication. Time slots are a work-in-progress but it's worth noting that I'm based on the West Coast and normally work remotely from 9-6pm during weekdays. I'm open to playing more regularly if it works for everyone's schedules but I'd expect to meet once a week for 4-8 hours.
Other items worth noting:
* As mentioned in the subject header, this game will be for PFS2 organized play credit. If you've never played PFS2 or are not interested in PFS2, please don't let that scare you away. We'll be playing this AP as if it were a normal home campaign. The sanctioned play credit is just a bonus for those that want it.
* I will be using this campaign as a test bed for some house rules I've been experimenting with. I'll post them in this thread as I put them to paper. I expect the house rules to come and go as we make our way through the AP but I promise not to spring them on you.
If you read all that and I haven't scared you off, feel free to post your interest in this thread. Please include the following.
1) Your time zone.
Carefully avoiding the clouds of poisonous smoke, Catushlara mends the magical ice that forms the prison of the dreaded Tupilaq. After a handful of minutes the work is done. The Tupilaq will not escape into the world of the living this day.
With the ice rune repaired and the danger passed, Svala and her men quickly work to rebury the site. Before departing with the party, she posts warnings in a number of languages including Ulfen, Erutaki trail signs, and easily recognizable pictograms. Each spells out the danger plainly - Do not damage the ice at this location or suffer the wrath of an ancient evil best left forgotten.
Days later, the party returns to Iceferry with a humbled Svala Ice-Rider in tow. The trip is without incident. Venture-Captain Torrsen congratulates each of you. He listens with great interest to the tales told by the Erutaki elders and how they compared to the dangers encountered at the icy ruin.
That's it. Thanks for playing guys!
The Dawnflower's light and Vrothum's claws make short work of the last zombie.
With the immediate danger passed, Svala tends to her injured men. "Thank the gods you arrived when you did", she says as she ties a bandage. "Those things rose from the ice but they're not the only danger. That smoke rising from the ice is some kind of poison. Be careful!"
Tusk is flying above the orange zombie. He can easily descend to attack.
Tusk's mighty axe misses the zombie attacking Svala and her crew and ends up buried deep in the ice.
The remaining undead continue their attacks.
Slam vs Vrothum: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (6) + 14 = 20
Slam vs Darren: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (11) + 14 = 25
For each instance you take cold damage from these attacks, make a DC 16 fort save or be slowed for 1d4 rounds.
For each hit, make a DC 15 fort save vs poison. If you fail, there's no initial effect.
Indicated characters are up.
They are not vulnerable to searing light but that does hit.
Working together, Catushlara and Vrothum badly damage the zombie assaulting the tiefling but it's not enough damage to bring the undead down.
Ashwell's bolts of psychic force pelt the zombie looming over the shattered barricade.
Darren and Rogar are up.
The undead's frozen flesh melts and burns beneath Tusk's divine light but it's not enough damage to stop it for good.
The zombie near Vrothum slams into the tiefling again. The one at the southern end of the ruins stops its work to join the attack on the party.
To the north, the last of the barricade gives way to the undead attack. Svala takes a shot with her bow but it doesn't do much to slow the zombie down.
Slam vs Vrothum: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (1) + 14 = 15
@Vrothum: For each instance you take cold damage from these attacks, make a DC 16 fort save or be slowed for 1d4 rounds.
@Vrothum: For each hit, make a DC 15 fort save vs poison. If you fail, there's no initial effect.
Indicated characters are up.
Rogar's blade misses its mark but, between Catushlara and Darren, the first of the undead is hacked/smashed to frozen pieces.
"Help!" Svala cries from behind the crumbling barrier. "We won't last much longer!"
Based on the state of it, you think the barrier will last one more round.
Indicated characters are up.
Will: 2d20 ⇒ (7, 10) = 17
Rogar's attack glances the nearby zombie without doing any real damage.
Channeled by Tusk, Desna's grace proves more effective. The undead sizzle and pop as their necrotic flesh burns away. That's a 15 and 18. What's the DC on your channel?
The undead strike back!
Slam vs Rogar: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (19) + 14 = 33
Slam vs Vrothum: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (17) + 14 = 31
@Rogar and Vrothum: For each instance you take cold damage from these attacks, make a DC 16 fort save or be slowed for 1d4 rounds.
@Rogar and Vrothum: For each hit, make a DC 15 fort save vs poison. If you fail, there's no initial effect.
Indicated characters are up.
The frozen withered undead at the barricade pounds furiously, causing the rickety construction to fracture and split.
It looks like the barricade with last a couple more rounds at most.
The others tear at the ice, ignoring the party passing by.
Indicated characters are up.
Hearing Vrothum, a battered woman peeks over the barricade. Based on her description, you recognize Svala Ice-Rider!
"Be wary of the ruins!" she warns. "There's a poison seeping up from the ice that's made us all sick."
Indicated characters are up.
Departing, you find that the ice has become less hostile and travel along the trail safer once again.
You continue west along the edge of the Whitefang Bay. The ice is still solid here, giving you hope that the ice rune has not melted completely. in fact, you are able to cut the corner of the northernmost reach of the bay and head across the pack ice to the excavation site. It takes a mere six days to arrive at the peninsula.
The excavation site sits on a broad plain near the edge of the ice pack. A wide pit dug into the snow and permafrost exposes the top of an ice crystal formation that extends from the ground. A symmetrical series of icy channels are connected to the crystal, forming a geometric pattern marred in several places by digging. At the edge of the pit, several tents and tables have been torn apart, with papers and tools scattered everywhere. A dark, powdery dust lies in patches on the snow, forming a thin crust that seems to resist the wind. Several humanoid bodies lie in the wrecked camp.
A cry from the north attracts your attention - several humans huddle behind a makeshift barrier of tables and crates. A figure shambles towards them, arms outstretched.
"Help!" a woman shouts from behind the barricade. "There's too many. We can't hold them back much longer!"
You are fully rested, but will have cast the appropriate spells for endure elements, etc. as per normal. Any preparatory spell with a duration of more than 6 hours would be active at this point but nothing else.
@Tusk: If you're covering the party still, mark off another 18 charges from your wand. If not folks will need to make some fort saves.
Ashwell: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (5) + 2 = 7
Indicated characters are up.
@Rogar: Tick three charges off your wand.
@Catushlara: You can expend all three uses of that boon.
@Tusk: Tick six charges off your wand to cover yourself and Darren.
"This is Ulumamuktu's home", the hag says generally indicating the area nearby. "Tribute, yes. Ulumamuktu likes tasty things. Ulumamuktu likes pretty things. Ulumamuktu does not like shiny things. NO SHINY THINGS."
Go ahead and roll a diplomacy check along with your tribute.
Catushlara Richielieu wrote:
Catushlara has cold weather outfit. Is the corpse on the ground or is it standing.
I missed this previously, apologies. The corpse is splayed out on the ice.
As the party approaches to burn the body, a lumpy monstrous woman emerges from the adjacent snowbank. She drips with icy water, as does her lank, tangled black hair. She's clad in ragged sealskin garments, both decorated with numerous shells and tiny living crustaceans. A curiously sweet smell wafts from her.
"What are you soft pretty things doing in Ulumamuktu's domain? Do you come to pay tribute?" she croaks.
What protection from the cold is everyone equipped with?
The icy terrain is treacherous but the strong sure-footed huskies handle it with relative ease. The weather is cold, and plummets at night. Along the way, you see flocks of birds overhead, and the occasional Erutaki hunter or trapper on dogsled. They stop and greet you, often offering to share their meager food with you. They have no news of the Pilungak threat but offer warnings of thin ice further down the trail the party is traveling.
By the third day the ice begins to change. Channels of open water become more common, and several large spurs of broken ice make the going slow. The icy obstacles obstruct the trail, almost forcing the sleds toward the edge of the ice pack, as if some malevolent intelligence is controlling the spring thaw.
~30 feet ahead a humanoid corpse is visible on the ice ahead. The glint of armor is faintly visible beneath the corpse’s furs.
The evening passes, and you are well fed and rested when you wake in the morning. The Erutaki offer dog sleds for you.
"They are spirited but well-trained", Tikasak explains. "Treat them well and they will see you safely across the ice."
Kuokei lands on the grip of the lead sled. She watches each of you intently.
"The dead can usually be put down with a strong arm and a sharp blade", Bjorn muses aloud. "But some of them are dangerous enough to warrant a little extra preparation. I might have a thing or two in stock that'll help. Follow me. I'll show you what we've got."
Assume he shows you standard anti-undead stuff that falls within the price limit mentioned above.
If there's no other questions I'll move things along tomorrow.
Ulfen House is part wilderness outfitter, with walls lined with assorted supplies, and part raucous northern meadhall. A roaring bonfire keeps the space almost stiflingly warm. Seeing Catushlara enter, the patrons near the door raise a mug in greeting.
The proprietor, Bjorn, spots the cleric and rushes to greet her with a broad smile across his rugged features.
"Welcome to Ulfen House!" the big man roars in greeting above the din. "Have a seat. One of the girls will get you a drink."
Assuming nobody rejects...
Seshu nods to each you, and then opens each coffer in turn. "These will help you on your journey, and to repair the ice rune. The entire site must be reburied before spring, so that it does not melt."
The coffers contain the following items:
As for shopping, Aaminiut is a settlement with less than 5,000 people, so availability isn't great. Base value of 1,000gp means that there's a 75% chance that an item worth 1,000gp or less is available, most likely from the Ulfen traders. Anything you want to buy, just roll the percentage chance and it's available on a roll of 01-75. Spellcasting services of up to 4th level are available if they're on the witch spell list, and 3rd level on the cleric/wizard spell lists.
Seshu nods at the mention of Svala's name. "Svala Ice-rider is known to us." Tikasak relays. "She is a frequent visitors."
As Vrothum explains her mission and Tikasak translates, Seshu's eyes widen, first in surprise, but then in horror. She interrupts Tikasak, speaking a flurry of syllables that seem to blend together and vary more in pitch than in pronunciation. Tikasak nods as she absorbs the elder's initial words, then begins to translate.
"Svala was here before her journey, but we did not know where she was going. The Whitefang peninsula is a bad place, we do not go there. The ice structure you mention... I have already told you why it is forbidden..."
Seshu turns to Rogar, and Tikasak translates. "If some of the ward remains, it can be repaired simply by reforming the ice that completes its pattern. This is what I believe - likely Svala damaged the ward, and some of the Pilungak have begun to waken. If the ward had failed completely, and all of the Pilungak were released, Svala and her companions would already be dead, and all would be lost."
Seshu looks Rogar in the eye, and again switches to common speech. "If you truly mean to undertake this task, we will help as we can."
The other elders both rise, and go to an elaborate wooden chest tucked in one corner of the room. They remove several coffers and bring them forward, placing them at Seshu's feet.
The room descends into silence as the Erutaki elder Seshu moves to the center of the room. She begins to chant in a low voice, punctuating certain words with hand gestures and facial expressions in a performance that is part lament, part interpretive dance. Tikasak translates the loresong, but it is clear she is abridging the story in order to keep up with the elder’s tale.
“Once, long ago, the People were spread across the land. Each found its own way to live in harmony with the Animal World, the Plant World, and the Spirit World. Some of the people followed Caribou as she moved back and forth on the land. Others made a place near the sea, and hunted Seal and Black-Finned-Whale. All were different, yet all were the same, and things were good."
“One day, some of the People went north to Malu Aninuk, what you call Whitefang Peninsula, to make a summer camp. The land there was poisoned with an evil that lay sleeping since before the world was made. The People who lived there became poisoned by this evil in turn, and they danced with the aurora and killed without gratitude, even eating human flesh. We call these people the Pilungak—the flesh eaters."
“The Pilungak made a fortress of their village, with wooden walls covered in ice. From here, they brought terror to the worlds of animals, plants, and humans. When the aurora leaped high over the ice cliffs, we could hear the voices of the Pilungak howling in the night, and we were afraid.” The elder pauses her song, to allow Tikasak to catch up, and then begins again with a low droning chant that fills the room.
“The Spirit World decided to help, and so they sent Winter’s Favored to the Human World to deal with the evil. Winter’s Favored went to the Pilungak and asked them to stop their dances and howlings, but the Pilungak would not stop. Winter’s Favored asked them to move far away, but they would not move. So Winter’s Favored transformed their own bodies into howling blizzards, and covered the village of the Pilungak with snow and ice. Not one of the Pilungak was spared by Winter’s Favored, and the Animal and Plant and Human Worlds were glad."
“But the evil was not destroyed, only buried and sealed away. To keep it from being uncovered again, Winter’s Favored made a special seal from the ice, with the power to restrain great evil. This seal they placed over the Pilungak village, and it keeps the evil trapped to this day.”
The hall falls silent again as the chant dies away, and Seshu turns to address you directly.
“Many summers have come and gone since those days,” she says in Taldane. “The evil has been trapped by the sign of ice that Winter’s Favored made to protect us. Something has uncovered the seal, and spring is coming. If the seal melts, the evil will be released to roam the Land again, and no one in the Four Worlds will be safe. With some of the undead Pilungak already released, the seal must already be damaged or failing. It may already be too late.”
Tikasak leads the group towards the largest lodge, a huge structure supported on many stilts above the gravelly ground of a large island near the center of Aaminiut. Dozens of villagers follow, curious to hear the visitors' stories, and knowing that the elders may tell stories as well.
Within the lodge, the lighting is subdued but peaceful. Smoke from the various hearths hangs near the ceiling despite the four large vents, giving a smell of pine and sweetgrass which masks the wet fur smell you now realize permeated the outer areas. Several dozen villagers sit cross-legged around the perimeter of the lodge, carving long pieces of walrus ivory with a variety of tools. Hanging from the center of the lodge's main beam is a huge skeleton of a whale, strung together with colorfully beaded leathers and carved in intricate patterns.
Tikasak leads your group towards the far end of the lodge, and you notice that most of the villagers do not follow but instead take seats near the perimeter with the others. Three elderly Erutaki sit on piles of furs, murmuring softly as they prepare what appears to be an herbal tea.
"Greetings, Old Ones who protect us with their wisdom. The not-Ulfen-or-Tien-outsiders have come. They were selected by the black-fin-whales and joined them in the waters. I do not know them but I believe them to come with honorable purpose."
The oldest of the three, an ancient woman with a beautifully-beaded coat, slowly stands using a carved staff as support. She faces you and looks each of you in the eye, as if taking your measure.
"This is Seshu, the wisest," Tikasak whispers. "She will want to know why you are here."
Pleased to hear his native tongue, Bjorn takes a liking to Catushlara.
"Ulfen House is an outfitter. Well, it's more than that. It's more like a trade center between the Ulfen and the Erutaki. Our people have traded for centuries, and with this being the only Erutaki settlement of any size, many maintain a presence here."
"You should pay it a visit when you've got time. Ulfen House is at the south end of town - you can't miss it. It's the only place with a sign!"
Tikasak nods at Ashwell's assertion.
"The elders are the wisest men and women in the village. They should be able to answer any questions you have. I'll be introducing you whenever you're ready."
I'd say this encounter has run its course.
Seemingly bored with the funny two-legged things the orcas break away from harassing the party. In search of greater fun or perhaps a bite to eat, they take off for deeper waters. With the threat gone, those dumped into the icy water are free to climb back into their canoes. Tikasak whoops with joy as she finishes leading the party back toward the shore.
As the party reaches the shore villagers move forward to pull the canoes out of the water. Each of you is surrounded by several awe-struck Erutaki, speaking quickly in a melodic language that seems to incorporate elements of sign language, changing facial expression, and rhythmic elements.
Tikasak translates the Erutaki chatter for party as quickly as possible. Much of it seems to be evenly split on whether the party's visit is an auspicious omen or not. Many of the older villagers speak about you rather than to you. Attracting the orca to you seems to count in your favor. Unnaturally walking on the surface of the water seems to have offended or frightened many of the villagers.
After a few minutes, Tikasak points past the crowds to a small group of older adults who are silently watching the proceedings. After a moment, the group turns away and enters the large longhouse at the center of the village.
"Those are the village elders," Tikasak relays. "They have heard of your coming. When you are ready we will speak before them."
Before you can react to this information, a large Ulfen man with an immense beard comes into view. He greets the party in Skald and then in Common. "Welcome, welcome! Quite the show you've put on, best entrance in months!" He thumbs himself in the chest and smiles broadly. "Bjorn, at your service. Head of Ulfen House, finest source of goods from here to Tian Xia!"
You have several options at this point - you can speak with Bjorn, or Tikasak, or try for an audience with the elders, or anything else you wish to do.