Belzken Monk

Dreaming Psion's page

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber. 1,137 posts (1,326 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 36 aliases.


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Maybe axiomites, edict dragons, and certain inevitables like impariuts (AP 131)?

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Iron Gods spoiler:
This one crosses over into Starfinder, but in the base book it says one of the components of Triune was Casandalee, originally from the Pathfinder AP Iron Gods. Looks like Casandalee made it big after all.

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Anunnaki (Bestiary 5) would almost seem like a natural if it stayed around long enough. It would make for an interesting scenario to have a holy war between followers of one of these and an elohim, considering these two creatures racial enmity.

You might use nephilim (B3) with class levels to represent a group of Kirby-esque New God level characters.

Other candidates:
AIs (see Iron Gods)
Asura, Asurendra
Cherufe (B5)
Daemon, Temerdaemon (As gods of fate, misfortune, curses, and the like)
Demon, Glabrezu
Demon, Lilitu
Demon, Nalfeshnee
Devil, Apostate
Devil, Heresy
Divine Guardian (template)
Dread Lord (template, Horror Adventures)
Elder Sphinx (Pathfinder AP 93)
Great Old Ones
Lotus tree (B5)
Norn (B3)
Star-spawn of Cthulhu (B4)
Titan (any)
Unfettered Eidolon (possibly as a group)

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515. Picking a lock
Comic version: picking their nose
Social version: Picking their friends
Just disturbing version: picking their friend's nose

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In one old school D&D game we tried to take siege of a ship using disguise and magic, but things quickly went pear-shaped. One guy went through a few player characters in that session. One of them was introduced as a stowaway on our boat we used to reach the enemy ship. That PC was shot dead by enemy arrow fire the very first round he appeared in the game. However, their sacrifices were not in vain, as through a long series of shenanigans we made off with the ship in the end.

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For me, playing evil characters can make for a good change of pace in who I can ally with and a different set of motivations to go on adventures.

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Did any of the antagonists/bad guys survive from previous adventures?

If so, they might pop up again here for a chance at revenge through a nasty surprise or two.

The two survivors of the attack might relate what they know to the highers up, giving later baddies some information on what to expect from the PCs in the future.

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Any creatures of the nightshade subtype, though they are the product of the death of otherwise immortal Outsiders.

You could potentially add an undead template to any of the creatures with the troop subtype. Group undead could also be made from the Mob template in the (3.5) DMG II.

Other examples:
Caller in Darkness
Drocha Swarm (Wrath of the Righteous: Demon's Heresy, caused by mass deaths brought about by the opening of the Worldwound, CR 7)
Necrocraft (manufactured from various body parts)
Sea Bonze
Tzitzimitl (potentially)

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The thing about the "save the world" sort of thing is that PF does epic fantasy (with all the tropes that accompanies that, like big friggin' heroes, high magic, and set peace missions) a lot better than self-driven, more selfish protagonist, sword-and-sorcery type stories. As such, save-the-world benefits their rapid-fire push of adventure paths. This is because save-the-world is:
a) basically formulaic, allowing for a common template to go after
b) hard to ignore, since if the world dies so does you. APs are by nature railroads, so this type of schtick is necessary.
c) need to target a wide net. As created, APs aren't really about telling individual characters' stories so much as following the set plot of the Path in question.

It would be just as epic (perhaps even more so) to have a game where the motivation was primarily inward like Planescape: Torment, but I'd imagine it would be harder to develop and may appeal to less wide an audience. (

Strange Aeons
is kinda like this, but ultimately turns back to saving the world.

That's not so say that APs can't be run such that self-motivation is a primary drive. Beyond Kingmaker, Skull and Shackles has already been mentioned numerous times, so I'll focus on some others.

Jade Regent: A big focus of this adventure path is personal relationships and helping friends out.

Shattered Star: In this one, the threat is not as immediate, but instead focuses on proactive efforts by the Pathfinder Society organization to prepare for the future. As such, it would seem fairly easy to bill this as opportunistic Pathfinders going on missions for fame, glory, and other self-motivated goals. The inclusion of various Pathfinder Society cliques and politics could enhance this personal feel a bit.

Reign of Winter:

This adventure path is normally pure railroad because of the geas, but most of the missions are basically fetch quests for keys that lead from one strange location to another. There's no reason why you couldn't replace these arbitrary keys for something actually significant.

Iron Gods: As I recall, many times during this AP, it almost requires the characters to be self-driven and have their own goals to move forward, as there's not an extreme amount of pressure from external sources.

Strange Aeons: A big part of this is a voyage of self (re)discovery amid all the horror.

It could also be played as a fantasy of personal revenge

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Would it be possible for the player to play a summoner and have the octopus be an eidolon that basically controls the summoned as a thrall rather than the other way around as normal? Like, from a meta perspective, the octopus eidolon is the PC, and the humanoid body is mainly a meatbag to interact with this world with?

Alternatively, the summoner could be really weak willed and the octopus is their imaginary "friend" that tells them what to do? Only the PCs can see it most of the time, until it becomes fully manifest.

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I think when it comes to disputes of faith and dogma in a fantasy world (particularly in in a 3.5/Pathfinder world), you have some things to consider.

1) the presence of deities, their omniscience, and how much/little they muck about in the world

2) magic items like phylacteries of faithfulness, very cheap (relatively speaking) and another answer to what might/might not anger your deity.

3) in high fantasy games like PF, you have several spells where you can dial up your deity on the telephone or the equivalent to solve any doctrinal disputes.

Any potential heretic character ideas/plots/etc. might wish to take these ideas into consideration on how/why they are disregarded.

ideas on how to represent heretic/fallen clerics. Well, they could always pick up support from another deity under the pretenses of serving their old god (at least at first.) Another option is to make a character that doesn't actually depend on divine magic to depend with- a bard could be a former choir leader, for example. Monks and witches might work as well. Worship and devotion as roleplay elements shouldn't be confined to divine spellcasters.

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93. The Mi-Go just want to help people get out of their own skin and have some out-of-body experiences.

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Lynceus wrote:

More great points and good advice. I especially like the idea of "minor enemies" who fly or use obnoxious defenses- they aren't the big threat, but their ability in the face of the party might make my group think about how to deal with the problem.

Pixies, imps, quasits, poltergeists, atomies, allips, and of course dragons can make for good starting creatures to add class levels to. The Accuser seems to have a special potential in that it can record the fights and teleport back to its boss to replay all the enemies tricks and tactics. In my experience, there are fewer tings that make the players panic more than an enemy escaping with information about them.

Also remember to consider monster synergy. For example, will'o'wisps and shambling mounds can be one of the nastiest monster pairings you can do (having the will'o'wisp jolt the shambling mounds to power them up.)


In addition, team-oriented tactical games, like Pathfinder, are written with certain expectations, and can fall apart if you do things in a strange or less optimal fashion. Good players can overcome these expectations, but only if they have the system mastery to know what they are getting themselves into, and what options they have to work with.

My group doesn't strategize well. Session Zero was a total failure- they came to the table with the character concept they thought would be 'fun'. Some tweaking had to be made, originally the Fighter used that archetype that requires you to use a one-handed weapon and not even a shield. Because he wanted to use combat maneuvers, and to him, that archetype added bonuses to those, so it was good, right?

We eventually sold him on Lore Warden, but his tendency to suffer from decision paralysis and act like a Big Stupid Fighter in combat not only makes him less effective, it means the party has to put a lot more work in keeping him alive.

Perhaps sitting down with the players and discussing strategy (and maybe how the game is going) might work for you? Certainly, there might be some advantages the players potentially have they might not be thinking about. For example, the combat maneuver fighter could use Sunder or Steal to ruin a spellcaster's day by targeting the caster's holy symbol or spell component pouch.

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So it sounds like on the one hand you're having trouble providing engaging fights for them on their "home turf", but on the other hand you don't want to overtax them for being too specialized or provide a situation where "only magic solves everything". That leaves you with a few options.

One is to do is to encourage/enable unorthodox tactics that might be seen more in older school editions. Example: rope and grappling hook a flying enemy and pulling them down to be beaten upon. You've got a swashbuckler, so hopefully that character might use Bluff to convince a villain to hover down and gloat for a little bit enough to get a swipe or a jumping tackle. To coincide with this encouragement/enabling, you might throw in terrain from time to time that can be used by players. (Rocky slopes or trees to climb, for example.)

Another thing you might do is mix things up a little bit. Mix melee fodder with a flying enemy or two. The flying enemy need not be the damage dealer, but might be a more annoying buffer or ground control type that enables the melee fodder to become actual threats. However, if the melee fodder is killed, then the flyer is forced to flee to find some other mooks to power up. So the party has the choice of whether they want to deal with the much harder to get to enabler or the numerous low-hanging fruit that is the melee fodder.

Finally, since they are defensive power houses, sometimes you might give them mission objectives other than simply killing all the enemies. Guarding a caravan or other target for the bad guys might require your players to go on the offensive and stick their necks out a little bit more. A mission time limit or countdown might work similarly. The enemy may also dwell in in a normal hazardous terrain that damages or causes a potential status on PCs within the area. Like salamanders walking on hot ember coals, undead near brown or yellow mold, etc.

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Looking at the the synopses of this Adventure Path, I get the impression that there's more find the McGuffin quests in various otherwise unconnected adventure sites than fighting off a horde or an invasion. Does this match the impressions anybody else received?

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It's 3.5, but you might look at the deathless type from the Book of Exalted Deeds and the Eberron Campaign Setting. (It's the positive energy equivalent to the undead.) Ghostwalk (3.0) has rules for ghostish PCS that are outsiders rather than undead. (They are corporeal in the main setting, but may become incorporeal if they stray far away from it.) Necropolitans from Libris Mortis can be of varying alignment.

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Could you change his target to something else? Like he's a drug pusher whom victimizes junkies instead of kids? He gives them a fix if they do him a favor.

He could also be a Chelexian slaver and have halfling slaves instead of children.

If those two hit too close to home, you could make Lamm some kind of infernal contractor with a crazy book of contracts that binds those whom sign to his will.

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The Indoctrinated Victim: Not everybody enters the world of piracy (or the navy) willingly. Some were once innocent souls forcefully kidnapped and taken aboard the ships to join the crew or merely act as a hostage. Living through the hell of abuse, the character later identified with the crew and became one of their own, or at least pretended to until better options were available. A character like this is likely to be a fish-out-of-water everyman, though their skills may end up being useful in unexpected ways.
Examples: Rokuro "Rock" Okajima (from Black Lagoon), Patricia Hearst (not a pirate, but an individual whom experienced a similar situation)

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71. Evil Osiriiani priests just want their mummies.
72. Mummies just want to be left alone.
73. Old Ones cultists are innocent by reason of insanity.
74. Sandmen just want to cure insomnia.

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One interesting twist might be to have Irovetti be the bad guy, but not really in the way you might think. His ticktock technology was stolen from Numeria and seemed to get away with it. Yet perhaps they won another way. Although the Numerians could not kill him, perhaps they could subvert. One of Irovetti's stolen toys could have contained numerous nanites that could be triggered to infiltrate the body and mind of the thief and subvert him to command of Numeria's Black Sovereign (or some similar character.) Slowly, Irovetti's brain was altered to subtly serve the Sovereign's will (It may have also boosted his aptitude like the worms from Futurama boosted Fry's; this would explain Irovetti's sudden rise in levels.)

Of course, Numeria's goal may be to set up a proxy state from which to raid/exploit/dominate the river kingdoms. If the Numerians frequently monitor/monitored him, they may have discovered Nyrissa. If so, then perhaps Irovetti has turned on his former lover and the PCs are manipulated by Nyrissa into taking down an (admittedly highly cruel) wall in her way.

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One idea might be to limit what can be duplicated in some ways that the polymorph subschool of spells is limited (as in, give a discrete list of abilities that can be provided).

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There's supposed to be a "Dark Carnival" or some such in the upcoming Villain Codex. Perhaps something killer clownish will be in there?

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Officially Strange wrote:
In my area, there's a semi-orgainized play campaign going on. I am not in it due to inability to provide an adequate backstory, but I know what happens from one of my friends who is in it. Recently, the party was knocked/poisoned unconscious and left on an island without gear. Since any sort of rolling was bypassed, I couldn't believe that the GM would take away all the gear (effectively destroying several interesting builds)simply because plot. However, everybody I asked about is saying that I'm a bad player for asking the DM to be as bound by the rules as the players. What is so wrong about wanting to try out interesting mechanics, and having them not arbitrarily lost? Especially since the characters were without their main gear for around 20% of the campaign length? (It's five day long sessions, at levels, 4,8,12,16,20)

Nothing's wrong for your behavior/enjoyment for merely wanting to use interesting mechanics, etc. However, you may want to reevaluate your behavior if you seek to influence a game you're not playing in when all those who are playing are enjoying it.

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The TV show Supernatural once depicted a Rakshasa as a creepy clown. With shapeshifting abilities and illusion magic, there's nothing saying you couldn't rip off that.

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claymade wrote:

Swarms, incorporeal creatures, and certain kinds of regeneration can all completely shut down an unprepared party, with little chance of a workaround.

Of course, depending on how the regeneration is canceled you can obtain counters at early levels if you're thinking ahead and are willing to shell out the gold. Swarms can be similar, depending on where you fall on the whole "splash weapons against swarms" debate.

Still, they can both technically still serve that sort of "gateway" function, even if its a gateway you can go through fairly early (so long as you're experienced enough to know how important it is to prepare for).

Depending upon the circumstances, suffocation (drowning, burial, choking, hanging, etc.) might work against regeneration, depending on terrain. Once the enemy is down, you can just keep on hitting it until you can find a way to make it suffocate.

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Kahel Stormbender wrote:
Pretty sure that murder, regardless of reasoning, is still evil. Also pretty sure that a goal such as "I will murder the world" is just as vile and evil when you're killing the tyrant s it is when you're killing the paragons of Good.

In addition, motivations can be layered. One might profession (even to the point of self-deception) a motive (let's say, extreme punishment of the guilty because they deserve it) to cover up a true motive (I enjoy punishing people.)

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64. Daemons just want a little closure.

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Marculus wrote:

My problem is with the level of Rules-Lawyers that exist in PFS. I simply don't have the time to memorize every new rule that comes out on a consistent basis, and Paizo loves to send out books each month (which I enjoy because it expands the game, yet frustrates me because I can't keep up). I know I could simply just not play PFS or not GM, but it really isn't an option. My son loves the Pathfinder game system and knows it well, and if I sign up just to play I often am asked to GM because I am a Three star PFS GM and they always have shortages at the conventions. Either way it defeats my purpose for attending; having fun with my son.

I don't play PFS, but I've heard there's a Core campaign that restricts characters to just the Core Rulebook. Is that something that that would be doable for you? Or play in a different organized play program that has a less rules intensive game structure?

If neither above will work for you, you have a bit of a dilemma. The duties that you feel put upon you (keeping up with all the rules such that you can manage rules arguments) conflicts with your desire for playing. I'm unfamiliar about how the GM/player dynamics work in PFS, so I'm don't know how much of the duty to keep up to date is actually needed in the organization. Is there anything preventing you from delegating players the duty to know specific parts of the rules material to help you make informed rulings?

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An (evil) pixie? There's close enough in power and appearance that you could use her given statistics for her, reskin and/or maybe switch out minor abilities (give her DR/cold iron instead of silver, fer instance), and change her sting to a poisoned needle or some such. If the players ask why she's different from other pixies, you might say she was altered by the Arcane Nazis using what ever blasphemous, crimes-against-nature sort of augmentation program that these sorts always have. Instead of trying to get back to hell, she might be trying to get back to the First World/Fey Wild/wherever fey come from in your game world.

If your Arcane Nazis have some sort of occultic ideology, perhaps they summoned Blosodriele from there? (Or perhaps she came as a result of a failed summoning of something else?)

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Hmm, I wonder if they will alter the starting ages. If they don't, it's highly possible that some PCs would have memories only up to middle to late childhood.

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here's PAYBACK for all the for all the suffering you've caused, with INTEREST!

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Zhangar wrote:

@ Patrick C. -- in the Pathfinder universe, the Old Gods, the Great Old Ones and their servitors serve on the Prime Material Plane the same role that the qlippoths and whatnot serve on their outer planes.

They are the ancient evils that have plagued the universe for a very long time.

However, much like Moorcock's Eternal Champion stories, the Pathfinder universe also contains entities that can stand up to them.

(Seriously, Elric could fight Cthulhu and possibly even perma-kill Cthulhu with Stormbringer. The Eternal Champion and his many incarnations are probably a good baseline for what a tier 10 mythic character can do.)

The Old Gods are still a very real threat, though.

The demons and devils want to subjugate reality.

The daemons want to end reality.

The Old Ones want to rewrite reality.

Unfortunately, much of the time in practice the difference is more "academic" than practical, as with all of those examples they are effectively Bug Eyed Monsters (B.E.M) with different trappings. (BEMs being generically malicious/hostile towards humanity and therefore things to be put down/ran away from as the genre dictates.) Different motivations are nice, but they don't tend to translate into differenes in behavior. Cultists are still faceless mooks who try to break all the seals and unleash supposedly unfathomable evils whether they serve a fiend or an eldritch abomination. When a horrible creature is tearing you apart and tearing out your soul, it doesn't matter that much whether they want to utilize it, destroy it, rewrite it, or simply swallow it. The weapons and tactics you might use against these different types of foes might vary slightly, but the specifics rarely vary significantly.

Suffice it to say, I'll be interested in seeing if this AP will make the alien truly alien or if the enemy effective transforms into another evil outsider race where their actions are generic evil but under a different name.

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rkotitan wrote:
Blake's Tiger wrote:
rkotitan wrote:

After reading that the amnesia is just five years or so the idea I have forming is for big strapping brawler who before the amnesia was a happy tavern owner with a wife and two kids.

Dealing with the anguish of waking up somewhere and not knowing what happened to his family would make for interesting character moments I think.

How would you justify not immediately trying to get home rather than following the rest of the AP? Why did a happy tavern owner with a family take a typical adventuring job in the first place?

I would likely leave it up to my DM to decide what kept him on the path rather than going home.

If I were DMing for that character unfortunately it's unlikely that his family or business would have survived. I would also probably make the villains of the path (or his/her minions) responsible.

An alternate take might be some factor that makes it such that the character can't go back. Something quite dreadful, where if the character went back, it would endanger his family, friends, patrons or whatever. There is a theme of alienation in a lot of these things, where once you've discovered what exists beyond the veil of rationality, you can't just go back and associate with those who haven't seen what you've seen. A more mundane alternative might be that the business has come under new ownership, the significant other might have remarried or otherwise moved on, etc. such that coming back may do more harm than good. If the characters are known to be locked up, the characters might be viewed as dangerous lunatics if they escape. OTOH, if they are assumed to be dead, it may reopen old wounds and cause legal or other questions (such as with remarriage) that are better left untouched.

Of course, the situation need not be hopeless forever. Perhaps some part of the AP could be addressing some kind of quest that needs solving before the characters can truly return home. A sort of "Earn Your Happy Ending" sort of thing.

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Kobold Cleaver wrote:

Well, that didn't go well. Skype and Discord pitched fits and refused to cooperate. We spent 1.5 hours trying to get it to work, then gave up.

Second session: Even scarier than the first.

Did you have better luck this week? (I hope)

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-Polymorphing/wildshaping shenanigans
-psionics (provided you don't use Dreamscarred Press' stuff in PF)
-deathless/nonevil aligned undead
-losing level upon death/XP determined by level

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Mummy's Mask: Ancient Aliens.

The soul fragments are pieces of a derelict iron god (alternatively: Black Pharaoh-esque eldritch abomination) trying to build itself back together. Ruby Prince Khemet III is the CEO of a vast corporate pyramid scheme of harvesting ancient technology while making it look totally fake by hiring mad-scientist-haired conspiracy theorist nutjobs to rant about it.

1) In Wati, the half-machine city, the Bureau of Technology Sanctification holds a lottery allowing junkfinders to delve the time capsules of the city’s vast storage facility in search of the nation’s lost glories. In the course of investigating dusty tombs and fighting their ancient guardians and devious traps, the heroes encounter a rival salvaging group intent on keeping one pod’s treasures for themselves. At the same time, the heroes learn that a potent artifact, potentially capable of animating the dead, has been stolen from the time capsule. Can the junkfinders defeat their rivals, or will they join the cyborg defenders of the city’s storage facility?

2) Following the opening of its storage facility, the protected enclave of Wati is overrun by hordes of the unquiet preserved organ donor bodies. The heroes must once more brave the abandoned streets and dusty time capsules of Wati’s necropolis in search of the powerful app called the Mask of the Forgotten Numbers and the technomancer who is using it to create the cyborg uprising. But a group of mysterious masked cultists also seeks the app to bring a digital consciousness from the ancient past back to life. Can the heroes defeat the evil technomancer and return the preserved bodies to their stasis captures, or will the half-machine city of Wati truly become a city of the machine?

3)To learn more about the ancient Function Hakotep 3.0 and the secretive cult that wants to revive it, the troubleshooters travel to the protected enclave of Tephu to explore its vast digital archives, but they must first contend with those who want such knowledge to remain forgotten. With the clues they gain there, the heroes venture deep into Osirion Persei XIII’s uncharted deserts in search of the tomb of the architect who built Hakotep’s Space Pyramid, facing dangerous denizens of the desert as well as the cult of the Forgotten numbers, who will stop at nothing to ensure their god-computer remains undisturbed.

(In this one, the must somehow amuse the Vice Executive Chair of Marketing Her Most Jaded Muminofrah, or else find another way around the Auditor of Reality and Minister of Propaganda, Deka An-Keret.)

4) Deep in the wasteland desert stands the blank-faced monument known as the Sightless Coeurl. In search of the stolen memory recording of Chisisek, the engineer of the flying space vessel of the Sky Function Hakotep 3.0, the heroes track the cult of the Forgotten Numbers to its secret headquarters inside the coeurl. There they must face mutant mercenaries and servants of the nanobot collective Areshkagal before finally confronting the masked cultists and their leader, the Forgotten Number 1.0, who has been possessed by a fragment of Hakotep’s digital consciousness.

5. The Sky Function Hakotep 2.0 has risen and launched an attack against the protected enclave of Wati! The troubleshooters return to Wati to defend it against this menace, only to discover that the attack is just the preface to a larger invasion of Osirion Persei VIII, controlled from Hakotep’s own flying space vessel. Journeying to the Drone Trenches of Hakotep, the troubleshooterss must learn how to activate an ancient tractor beam to pull Hakotep’s space vessel back to earth. Will the heroes bring down the flying space pyramid of the Sky Function, or will their bones join the thousands of skeletons that lie crumbling within the Drone Trenches of Hakotep?

6) Hakotep’s flying pyramid has been grounded, but the heroes must enter the ancient tomb to deactivate the fleet of smaller flying pyramids poised to attack Osirion. Deep inside the Space Pyramid of the Sky Function, an untouched from the heights of Ancient Osirion Persei 1, the heroes face undying guardians woken from ageless sleep, climaxing in a final battle with the reborn Sky Pharaoh Hakotep itself. Will the heroes defeat Hakotep and reunite the pieces of his sundered digital consciousness to send it into the Blue Screen of Death, or will Osirion Persei XIII enter a new reboot under the rule of a ghost in the machine from the distant past?

Reign of Whointer- The Hut is the TARDIS, the PCs are the companions of the missing timelord, Elvanna is a different incarnation, and you know Who Baba Yaga is.

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First thing that comes to mind is Reign of Winter, since they basically have you on that anyway. Hopping from place to place also allows for you to create a lot of collateral damage without too much worry.

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Simeon wrote:

Brigh is more just the process of invention and of contructs. Her followers are ainly the ones who loveinvention.

Everyone loves Friend Briggs because Friend Briggs loves all. Please report to your local re-training center.


Kurgess is more or less about the love of sportsmanship and healthy competition,

Aka the god of bromance?

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Kobold Cleaver wrote:

We're playing again this Friday. I really like the "pelts" idea, but I also like the idea that he's actually a worshiper of an evil (or neutral) trickster, cursing those of his followers he declares "worthy" by turning them into wolves with maddened human heads. He might then set them loose, or might keep them in his room, chained up, just in case the mephit betrays him.

Otherwise, Rohkar is already a pretty damn creepy guy. Ten-Penny Tacey will become a caliban, possibly afflicted with Corruption (Taint rules) but otherwise the same potential ally.

I am strongly considering making Argentea deliberately afflicted with lycanthropy somehow. The problem is it won't have much payoff.

Any ideas on how to make the mephit a bit "spookier"?


Assuming your speaking about Izoze, she seems vaguely haglike in nature, so you might consider using any technique you might use to make a (miniature) hag creepy. She could be wearing a necklace of frozen children's fingers or cutesy animal critters with looks of horror frozen on their faces. You could also have her taunt the characters with descriptions of all the terrible things she's done to her victims of in the past (could be lies if you want to keep the TN alignment). Think about all the petty but nonetheless horribly cruel things a creature made of ice might do to its victims.

Her picture also has an oddly bat-like quality to her wings. You could describe it as carrying numerous twisting, winding, and hypnotic veins across it, yet at the same time it shows an almost reflective sheen. She might unnerve them a little bit by relying on the sight of their reflections in her wings as actually seeing them in order to make her attacks. And her wings might also eerily reflect the player characters like fun house mirrors.

I also wouldn't forget to consider the terrain. Describe the bridge as precarious and the water so cold and frigid it chills the PCs bones just looking at it from below. You could also have some kind of (ultimately harmless) shapes floating around in the water to distract them from looking for the mephit. If you wanted to be mean, you could rule the appearance of the mephit startles somebody on the bridge enough to call for a fear check. If the check fails and results in a panicked condition or some such, then the character would probably need to make a Reflex save not to fall in the water.

Heck, if you wanted to play nasty (perhaps as a last ditch effort?), she could zip over to the far side just as the party was crossing the middle and cut the ropes on the far end with her claws.

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Kobold Cleaver wrote:

So, okay, here's what happened. They'd been the one to build the gnome player's PC. And they'd missed that a goliath druid could still substitute domains, as well as that megafauna were an option.

So that's how an allosaurus made it into my serious gothic horror Ravenloft campaign. Since the timing matched...

The good thing is that a lot of the communities in Reign of Winter are fairly monstrous or at least wild and woolly. So perhaps an allosaurus might not be too out of place when you have aliens, witches, and frost giants (or at least, not as much it might be in Ravenloft's normal conservative-on-the-fantastic, pseudomedieval setting. The big thing would be keeping the beast fed and warm. Luckily, spells such as Endure Elements should also prove useful.

Conceptually, you could reskin the dino as a primitive ancestor of a white dragon, frost salamander, or some such, before those reptiles became supernatural. Alternatively, it could be a specimen the druid found in the ice and released. It could even be a malformed specimen of the dragons on Triaxian the fled through one of Elvanna's portals. (Of course, the gnome doesn't strictly have to know any of this...)


I am GMing for a bunch of paranoid freaks.

I can use this.

This seems like a very adaptive reaction on your part. You're rolling with what the players give you instead of letting unexpected twists and turns disrupt you from running the game. It sounds like you're walking a balance between allowing player actions to matter the same time keeping things running smoothly.


Anyways, I know this wasn't exactly a top-tier campaign journal—it's late and I'm tired—but I think things went quite well despite the chaos. They should have a witch next session, as well as, hopefully, the Morninglord inquisitor who would have been able to heal. Next up: The Icy Crossing.

Perhaps it went well because of the chaos (and the freedom you gave them on how to respond to the situations)?

Whereas setting the scene and planning is important, there's also something to be said about spontaneous developments that emerge naturally from play. Perhaps because they arise "naturally" and thus seem more plausible.


In the morning, they set out again and encountered the sprites. They recognized the raven effigies from the dream and were very spooked. The sprites went down easy—that handaxe ripped them to pieces. But I had Mist—capital M—building up in the corner of the map. See, the Mists are sort of "malfunctioning" because of the nearby portal, and all sorts of monsters are popping out. In this case, it was a butcher spirit (a creepy awesome little incorporeal monster from Creature Catalogue). They took one look at the thing, turned, and ran.

Grand Conjunction Spoiler:

As an aside, this sounds very much like the Grand Conjunction (or a lesser version of it that only happens in the Demiplane). In the final GC module (Roots of Evil, IIRC), the author intentionally defied the "no random encounters in Ravenloft" as a way to show how the dimensional fabric was unraveling. Perhaps this might be used to some similar effect here?

On another note, if you can somehow fit it into the AP, the 3.5 Paizo module Carnival of Tears seems like it would be an excellent thing to fit into the AP as a sidequest.

I'm planning to connect Rohkar to the Wolf God—maybe he's a secret lycanthrope, or perhaps the "sickness" some of the bandits have is actually him using his Wolf God-granted powers to afflict them with a slow-acting lycanthropy. Maybe he's promising to bless the others with his gift. Maybe he's only pretending to be a lycanthrope to get their loyalty.

Perhaps he is from a sect of the church that actually venerate the loup du noir. This is the kind of werewolf that Gregor Zolnik from Vorostokov and his cronies are. They "willingly" change form by donning pelts. However, I think it's a maledictive curse because the urge to don the pelt is quite addicting. And Zolnik can induce the urge by biting people and then leaving wolf pelts with them. Perhaps Rohkar is doing something similar here, save that he has provided the pelts to the unknowing barbarians and they are going through a "slow burn" transformation as opposed to the more immediate bite-induced lycanthropy?

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

There are is one* for-sure dragon in the Ravenloft canon, which is a shadow dragon named Ebb that formerly worked for Azalin. So shadow dragons or umbral dragons (which seems to be their PF equivalent, see Bestiary II) seem to work ok with mainline Ravenloft. OTOH, you might look at outer dragons (Bestiary IV). If you wanted to add a level of personal corruption to them, then corrupted (tarnished) metallic dragons might be a way to go. A noble in theory goal but twisted and mangled all out of proportion always for me seems like a way to be both alien (in the sense that it would seemingly undo its goal) and corrupt at the same time. You have a

silver dragonkin antagonist
in the module, so there's no reason why you couldn't have corrupted good dragons. Perhaps they might have some scheme akin to some of the darker takes on Hermea?

*two plus eggs to be hatched, if you include the Dread Possibility that Ebb had found a mate.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

How much does the government, public, etc. know about the PC's involvement? And why did he instigate the rioters whom presumably want the golem killed?

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

If they have complained about undead even in the modules where there weren't any, then you have something of a challenge. It sounds like you'll have to intersperse other encounters in as part of the giant force to prevent thematic oversaturation in the first place.

Thankfully, there are a number of creatures that go well with giants. Hags naturally meld with them well, and their magical abilities can offset some of the restrictions giants give. And of course the giants can have pets.

The Graul homestead is a good example- riding dogs, a giant spider, the dire rats, and the plant in the basement.
At lower levels, you can start with giant vermin and assorted animals and then step up with various more magical minion equivalents like winter wolves, salamanders, ankhegs, trollhounds, hell hounds (including Nessian Hellhounds), purple worms, remorhaz, etc. If you have the extra time to go through some of the later bestiaries, you could go through and pick out a few more obscure servant type monsters.

And because of Karzoug's involvement, you can easily throw in creatures created or conjured by him. Evil outsiders could be inserted in place of some of the giant encounters, perhaps as early warnings to hint that there might be more going on than meets the eye. Constructs also fill roughly the same analogous role. (We know that

Karzoug magically animated his statue at the end of one module
so there could be more constructs. (Golems obviously, but you might also get a lot of mileage out of animated objects since they're fairly customizable). Perhaps the constructs could be animated by giant life force bound into the constructs' bodies with runes?

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I'm going to break down my suggestions by topic just for sanity's sake.

Looking over the material available for Iobaria, it seems like it has a long history marked chiefly by empires falling to plagues and invasions. As of shortly after 4606 AR, the latest foray to build an empire there collapsed due to an influx of fleeing Sarkorians and Mendevians from the Worldwound. The influx of refugees was too much for the Iobarians to handle, and, with some more plagues, the nation collapsed. This could be a good "seminal event" if you wanted Iobaria to have recently formed as a domain.

Iobaria's wild and woolly nature makes it a good match for the Frozen Reaches Cluster. The history of plagues (the first of which were man made) makes it

possible minor Ravenloft spoilers:
especially a good match for Sanguinia. The darklord,Prince Ladislav Mircea, is a deformed Vrykolaka Vampire whose motif is diseases. I understand the domain is loosely based on Edgar Allen Poe "Masque of the Red Death", presumably with Mircea based on some distortion of Prospero.

The walled fortress surrounded by anarchy motif of

makes me think of a potential darklord/domain theme of anti-foreigner/xenophobia (regarding them as the true plagues.) Specifically, a darklord of Iobaria/
might have initially designed the plagues to rid his country of foreigners and refugees, but it may have backfired and caused the collapse of his own country as truly horrible forces swooped in to fill the vacuums of power. He safely secured his city behind his walls, but that didn't stop him from meeting his demise. Somebody like Tzakiv Korya might work well as a potential DL.

The thing to do with the "Mother Maiden, Crone" module is to add some disease motifs.

Mother Maiden Crone spoiler:
The centaurs
could be afflicted with it, and curing them could win some points. Many of the creatures encountered in the module could conceivably cause some disease. The various
Mother Maiden Crone spoilers:
half-fiends could represent metaphorical "contamination" of unwanted forces.
The various guardians encountered through the areas could treat the PCs as unclean almost to a paranoid level.

This place is interesting because of the (relatively, in a geological sense) rapid changes in climate and evolution to go along with the centuries long rotation around the sun.. The winterborn Triaxians know the summerborn as almost figures of myth and legend- this reverence could be played up along with the seemingly approaching "changing of the Season" This give you a bit of history motifs to play with and differentiate the Triaxians from normal human communities.

Of course, just because the planet is "alien" doesn't mean its origins have to be. The environmental conditions, the dearth of familiar humanoid races, and the heavy presence of dragons that seemingly came out of nowhere makes me think the world might almost have an artificial origin, in that it is the way a world might be if human(oild) king were allowed to muck about with the environment as they wished. Almost a little bit like a frozen world equivalent of Dark Sun. Perhaps the planet was originally populated by familiar humanoid races, but then they changed their biological structures or were rendered extinct. (As with the Cleansing Wars of Athas.)

Perhaps the reason dragons seemed to come out of nowhere is because they were artificially created, or even once humans who sought to raise them about other humanoids. Meanwhile, the Triaxians are the mixed-blood survivors of the races/peoples that were not slaughtered.

In the Frozen Stars module, you could have several lairs of mystery to discover. They might discover Triaxus is the survivor of a post-apocalyptic world, and then think the Triaxians are the descendants of humans (prhaps as githzerai are the descendants of humans enslaved by mind flayers in D&D). However, it is only later that they learn that the dragons/dragonkin are the true descendants of the humans.

The Vistani:
The Vistani could be turned into a traveling carnival(s) of circus folk and misfits from various places brought together by common survival (ala Carnival). The potion brewers could become snake oil salesman types, acrobats and performers are pretty much built in, fortune tellers might need only a few changes, etc. They could be mysterious by the fact that they don't trust "Georges" and have (usually in Ravenloft) have good reason not to. Their powers might originate from unusual patrons that protect and lead them...

An Golarion flavored alternative: Have the Vistani be a subgroup of displaced Sarkorian god-callers, who are somehow able to summon and commune with the various spirits of the Demiplane.

Possible Ravenloft Spoiler:
Madame Eva, for example, already has a raven companion that is an embodiment of the Dark Powers themselves.

Online Sources: (Iobaria Timeline)

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
McBaine wrote:

Thanks for your answers.

Yeah, I have have experienced Rise of the Runelords as a player and now I prepare it as a DM for another group.

I know that it is not always giants, but they are very common. Ogres are close enough to giants. A ranger with favorite foe (giant) will get his bonuses against ogres because an ogre has the type humanoid (giant), so technically, yes they are kind of the same thing.

I understand that this is an Adventure Path has a theme, but my players seem not to happy with it. They complained about always fighting undead in Carrion Crown even when there are many different types of undead and one of the books has not even one undead creature in it, but still the complaint was there.

I see what I can do and maybe add in some more Leng stuff and look into the things Pnakotus Detsujin suggested (the attack/siege at the end seems a really cool idea and shake up).

Which parts of repeated enemies do they dislike? (For example: Thematic/motif repetition, mechanics, or strategy)?

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Is there any way for the Mesmerist to indirectly deal with the BBEG through charming/dominating their minions and thing bringing them along on the fight against the BBEGs?

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CannibalKitten wrote:
Dreaming Psion wrote:
Nothing to do with beheading or the set-up you have here, but the Apparatus would seem like an interesting plot device to separate Demogorgon.
I've not heard of that, is it and artifact or something?

Yeah, it's a big honkin' machine originally from the 1e module, I:10, the House on Gryphon Hill. As such, it's associated with Ravenloft, though it can from time to time be found outside of there. Basically it's a big honkin' machine that is similar in appearance to the mind transfer machines you see mad scientists use all the time. It can switch souls between bodies, but it can also split a soul into two halves using one of the Rods of Rastinon (and rejoin them). The only transformation so far has been into good and evil halves, but others are supposedly possible. Who knows what effect it might have on a creature devoid of good like Demogorgon?

Details on the Apparatus can be found in the non-Ravenloft 2e Book of Artifacts (p. 13-15) and several Ravenloft sources. I'd have to poke around for 3e sources

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

It seems like you have some questions that need answering. First, what is at stake here? Is the player negatively impacting the experience of the other players? Is the problem going to involve future campaigns (as in, is he staying around?) How attached is everybody to him?

Second, how much is the campaign worth continuing to you. Is it it worth going all the way through to the last battle in the next and final volume for it? Would cutting out some of the said volume be feasible?

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

(This is from a non-PFS perspective) For me, everything's a continuum. "Roleplaying" need not be improv acting, though I like to ask what you're trying to convince people of when using Bluff/Diplomacy/Etc. or in what vague manner you might approach a problem that differs from the routine. Usually my players give me more than that without my asking, but we've gamed together for a long time and have built up a rapport of understanding. Encouragement is employed by far over punishment.

As for level of appropriate optimization, I think there's probably a range I and my group would be comfortable with. Pushing the optimization levels up high or making optimization your main focus would probably put you out of our comfort range. If you didn't fit with our group, that's probably more a goodness of fit issue rather than an indictment of how you play overall. If you ended up not being a good match, I'd still try my best to point you to resources to help you find other players/groups.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Nothing to do with beheading or the set-up you have here, but the Apparatus would seem like an interesting plot device to separate Demogorgon.

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