Erastil

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This thread contains spoilers for RotRL (obviously), but also some stuff from the Cult of the Ebon Destroyers module and the Sandpoint setting guide. The lead-up to this situation, and some of my ramblings about it prior to my last session, can be found In This Thread

Super-TL;DR: I'm hoping for commentary/suggestions on how I intend to proceed with RotRL following a highly disruptive Shadowclock.

TL;DR version of the context: Party went to Shadowclock, got in a huge 3-way melee against Xanesha's minions and Ironbriar (free of charm) and his Skinsaw cult. By end of the fight 2 PCs went up the clock seeking enemies, 2 PCs remained on the first floor looting and 1 pc was dead. The two first PCs found + fought Xanesha, and were both mind controlled and deep slumbered (leading to a mindcontrol). The second two PCs waited fifteen minutes (session break) and then went up the tower to find their friends, accompanied by Mistress Aymyra of the Dome of the Savoured Sting (Calistria temple, piloted by dead PC as a fresh lvl 7 cleric).

Despite being handed Mistress Aymyra (with some cherry-picked spells prepared to help counter the charms on their allies), the encounter did not go in the PCs favour. The wizard made a good attempt (enlarge person on Xanesha while she was climbing the rafters of her room, which could have led to the roof collapsing and *might* have led to her falling through the two floors and into a freefall inside the tower) but she resisted the spell. The swashbuckler also put out a nasty amount of damage, enough to make Xanesha flee and heal outside on the roof, but she was the only person doing damage.

In the end, one of the mindcontrolled PCs died through self-damage after Mistress Aymyra cast Confusion on all the enemies but only affecting the mc'd PCs (1hp - 10 self-damage to go to -9 hp, bleed out at -10 on next turn). Xanesha retained control throughout the fight of the other mc'd PC, and took both the 'alive' PCs with charm as well. Mistress Aymyra fled, taking the body of the dead PC on the ground floor of the tower with her.

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At this point we called the session, and I gave my players some choices - 3/5 were alive, but now served Xanesha and we could continue the campaign like that until they were eventually freed. We could also start a new party put together by Mistress Aymyra to hunt the monster that is loose in Magnimar, and this *could* include a Raised version of the original dead PC.

They blind voted and resoundingly went with a new party, and the player with the dead PC decided to go with their Raised version (details found in that original thread, but in short they are now a Yamah Azata Kineticist 3, while the rest of the party is rolling at level 8).

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All of this leads to the main topic of this thread: how I am planning to continue the campaign, and try and eventually bring it back around onto the AP tracks.

[u]Challenges[/u]
- Xanesha is still alive, but does not have her Skinsaw network
- A new party of high level adventurers has no connection to Sandpoint
- A new party do not have the narrative impetus to solve the long term mysteries of the campaign.

One option would certainly be to take the fast way out - Xanesha cuts her losses and goes to find her sister in Turtleback Ferry, and the new PCs are a party hired by the Lord-Mayor to go investigate the goings on up there. I find this option to be lacklustre - it doesn't solve the problem of low connection to Sandpoint, which the ongoing AP requires, and sort of says 'the actions of the previous PCs have no impact on the story'.

Instead, I have decided to break from the AP and move into a heavily modifed version of the Cult of the Ebon Destroyers module (note: the rest of this discussion has spoilers for that module). In CotED, the core plot is a murder mystery in a city while tracing the agents of a cult, followed by a treck to a small town and out to a location where a more powerful set of cult agents are.

Step 1 to integrating this module into the campaign is making a core assumption that Xanesha had managed to put together more than one cell of charmed agents in Magnimar. This isn't a difficult leap to make, and gives her a better reason to stick around in the city and keep Magnimar as the prime location for the early side of the module. So who are the cells?

In the module the first group of cultists are led by three monster-like creatures - a bat raskshasa, a dark naga and an evil garuda (birdperson). Of these three, the bat-shasa and the garuda immediately made me think of the Red Bishop and Pazuzu. All I need to do is replace the naga with another winged creature, and this first new cell can easily have been the Red Bishop's servants in the city, found and coopted by Xanesha just as she had done to the Skinsaw Cult. Beyond providing this cell a backstory, this also lends to building out the Red Bishop and the Empyreal Lords - one of the PCs has already spoken to Soralyon, one of the patrons of Magnimar, and Ylimancha is another who could become relevant as the campaign continues.

The second group of cultists in the module are master monks (monk-wizard, shadow monk, monk-oracle) who are supposed to be in a hidden temple, directing the cult. The three monks can stay as they are stats-wise, I think they make a good trio of thematic enemies. Instead of leading a cult in a hidden temple, however, I think they and their acolytes have lived in the Gecko (piling of the Irespan, the bridge in Magnimar) for some time, and are a Thasilonian cult of some sort - this gives them reason to ally with Xanesha, as the direct representative of a Runelord, and act as one of her cells.

Now that we have our two core enemy groups, I need to set up their placement.

Step 2 is swapping the setting over to Varisia. The early elements of the module are already laid out - the 'recruiter' is Mistress Aymyra, who together with the Justice Court (who got involved with the death of Justice Ironbriar and revelation of his Skinsaw cult) and most of the other Magnimar temples, put together a bounty on Xanesha. The other cells (this time the Pazuzu cell) have continued the seven-pointed star murders. The Clue NPCs in the module can easily be adopted as different folks in Magnimar, which gives me a chance to show off locations in the city the players haven't seen yet. The primary location swap will likely be the Hells instead of a palace when investigating a rumour aobut guards leaking info.

The location of the Pazuzu cell, instead of being a silk shop run by their cult, is instead a Dye and Sail shop near Washer's Row in Beacon's Point. Instead of overhearing the naga (still need to replace that) speaking to Monk acolytes with a message for their collective masters, she is relating a message from Xanesha to them; this, combined with papers from the Garuda, lead the PCs to the knowledge that another cell has gone to Sandpoint to finish the work of the Skinsaw man, but she needs them to hurry and finish as she is recalling them to the city for her strike on the mayor.

So now instead of heading into wild jungles on elephants, the raised PC can instil urgency in the others to reach Sandpoint to stop the next cell. The weretiger and the evil villagers can be cut from the module - instead, the PCs arrive in Sandpoint and can get caught up on events they've missed*. There have been a number of murders (depending on how long they took) but no big 'reaping' as Xanesha seemed to have wanted. The Monks, which the town don't know about, have set up in Thistletop - the last PCs cleaned it out in preperation to make it their stronghold, even going so far as to fix the bridge properly, but didn't have a chance to go back and really start setting it up. This will give the raised PC more impetus to also invest their upcoming downtime on that project so as to deny it to other evils that might move in.

Now we have the location of the two cells (and I can reuse Thistletop maps!), but...

Step 3 is placing Xanesha. She hasn't left the city, so by the end of the new party killing the monks, they need a way to chase down Xanesha's location. I'm thinking this is a two-stage process. 1) The monks lived in the Gecko piling, and still have some acolytes there. Going there and investigating can reveal to interested PCs some lore elements of Thassilon, other remaining megastructures of the time (Kaer Maga, Skull's Crossing, others). They can also discover that Xanesha is close by. 2) Xanesha has, since losing the Shadowclock, been living in the Rat, another of the Irespan pilings, where the last of her Faceless Stalkers have taken over the sczarni gang 'Doolun's Lads'. This is her final cell.

The final fight with Xanesha will feature some Facless Stalkers in the outer hideout, including a Faceless Stalker tribal leader of some sort. In her inner sanctum Xanesha is protected by four bodyguards - one is my Revenant Nualia (detailed in the previous thread linked above), and the other three are the former PCs: a Wizard magic-item creator, a Swashbuckler Swordswoman and an archer Slayers. Xanesha will have a few new magic items, as will the Faceless Stalker tribe leader, created by the Wizard, and she will have gained a level in Rogue (she did defeat a party of PCs after all.) Oh, and she'll have her Will O' Wisp minion buddy for flanking.

To even out these odds, the new party have more than enough time to find a way to break charms on the old PCs. If they do, they free them from Xanesha's influence at which point their players can start piloting them again, giving a 1 body swing in the parties favour.

Step 4, which is admittedly not totally necessary, is adding external pressure and complications. While the Magnimar temples, headed by the Dome, are working solely with the PCs, the Justice Court (who put out 2/3 of the bounty) have also spoken to the Order of the Nail Hellknights. Throughout their investigating the PCs will run into the Order of the Nail party doing the same - they will likely also be followed to Sandpoint by them, providing a reason for the Order to start showing up more there as a foil to the PCs.

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Well, that's what I've got cooking. If anyone has thoughts on lore I'm missing that I could tap into, any of the changes/additions to the AP or Module, or anything else in this post they would be greatly appreciated. At the moment I've flagged for reading the Night Scales from Inner Sea Combat, the Harrowed Society from Inner Sea Magic, and updating my prep for Desna and Calistria (deities I know new PCs will worship) from Inner Sea Gods. I'll also need to delve a bit more into Pazuzu and Lamashtu if I want to bring her back around (since Nualia is still around, but undead and bound to serve the return of Karzoug). I also know one new PC will be a dwarf, so I need to do some more delving into Janderhoff to look for threads top pull in there.

So much to do, so little time to do it before my next session. If you made it this far, thanks for reading. As I said, any and all comments on this whole mess would be delightful.

* - While the last PCs have been away the remaining ghouls in the wilds became a problem and the necromancer Caizarlu came to town claiming to be able to get rid of them but needed protection to do so. Shalelu, Ameiko and Hemlock went with him, Caizarlu ended up trying to take over the ghouls, and they fought. The npcs barely won. Also, Father Zantus and some of his acolytes went out to Misgivings following the warnings of the PCs to try and cleanse the place of 'evil, possibly a lich.' They were quickly rebuffed, and sent to Windsong Abbey to the north for aid. Their messenger will have arrived at the start of the module, and depending on how long the new party takes to get to Sandpoint, Zantus and the representatives from Windsong may have already gone to try again (and failed), or gone back a third time and succeeded, but at the cost of Father Zantus's life.


Hey all,

Posting this mostly because I'm amped for my session in 16 hours and the people I would usually talk about this I also GM for and are starting RotRL soon.

Background: I've been running this group for about a year and a half now (biweekly sessions) and the party is level 7, book 2.

The only remaining original PC is a Bloodrager who was 'raised' as the brother-companion of another original PC, an aasimar from a well to do Magnimarian aasimar family (now retired and unhappily married to Shayliss Vinder). He died in the Catacombs of Wrath and was Reanimated by Madam Mvashti and came back an aasimar himself. Shortly after, he began having strange dreams. Long story short, it turned out that he was Nualia's half-brother and amidst her evil rituals she could communicate with him through dreams, hoping to turn him to her side. Burnt Offerings otherwise played out fairly straight, though with a heavier-than-expected PC turnover for various reasons - I covered this in the Obituary thread a few months ago. The Bloodrager ended up killing Nualia after a running fight that covered all three levels of Thistletop and ended with him knifing her in the neck and collapsing because he was at 0hp while 3/4ths of the other PCs were already unconscious. Shalelu, piloted by a player who was mid-replacing a character, was the only conscious person after the fight.

The party then gave the bodies of Nualia, Tsuto and Lyrie to Justice Ironbriar, who had come to town as part of the Magnimarian reinforcements to defend Sandpoint and had offered the group a bounty on the evildoers. Ironbriar went back to Magnimar with the bodies.

Skinsaw Murders again played out fairly straight until the party came to Magnimar, where two of the newer bounty hunter PCs were handing in the collected heads of the Red Shiv gang (minor encounter on the road). The Justice ruling over their case? Ironbriar, of course. He ruled in their favour, sentenced the one man they kept alive to thirty years in the Hells, and then asked to see the party in his chambers. Once there he grilled them on what had been happening in Sandpoint, following the ruse that he was investigating similar murders in Magnimar. The PCs bought it hook, line and sinker, especially after they noticed he would pause once in a while and stare off into the distance - the newest PC, a wizard, detected an enchantment on him but didn't know dispel magic, and they left Ironbriar with the knowledge he was suffering an enchantment. They followed their few clues to the Foxglove Townhouse where they made 'friends' with the two Faceless Stalkers pretending to be the Foxgloves, and planned to use them to approach the Seven's Sawmill on the day that a payment used to be made by them, as found in the Foxglove ledger.

When the PC's returned the night of the plan (having staked out the Seven's Sawmill but seeing little suspicious activity, and also being chased by a Hellknight patrol), they found the house had been broken into, a big hole in the back of the house, and the bodies of the Faceless Stalkers. An awoken neighbour tells them the guards have already been by, and the commotion happened in the early hours of that day. As they were deciding what to do, lightning struck outside and Justice Ironbriar appeared at the front door - he is unconcerned that they are inside a crime scene, he needs their help. He has found out who put the enchantment on him, and who he thinks is behind the murders - a woman he thought was just a social climber might actually be leading a death cult! With shapechangers in the mix, he's taken time to round up his most trusted and tough City Watch for a raid, but he wants the PCs along since he trusts them as well and they are outsiders the shapechangers likely haven't gotten to. The last session ended with them setting out into the cold, rainy Neth night, running through Magnimar towards the Shadow Clock.

What the PCs don't know is as follows...

- When Ironbriar returned to Magnimar with the bodies, he cast Lyrie aside but brought Nualia and Tsuto to Xanesha. Using valuable arcane scrolls and resources, Xanesha raised Tsuto from the dead and gifted him to Ironbriar for the Skinsaw Cult. Fitting, since it was Ironbriar who whelped the bastard on Mrs. Kaijitsu in the first place. Rather than simply raising Nualia, Xanesha did something much more difficult - she turned the demon-tainted aasimar into a Revenant whose sole purpose is to see the Runelord of Greed returned to power. This was costly, drained much power and influence she had gathered, but seemed a cunning plan to gain a powerful, dedicated servant.

- When the PCs alerted Ironbriar to being enchanted, he did go and have it removed by a trusted spellcaster at the Justice Hall, and realized that he was being manipulated by Xanesha. He quickly formulated a plan to cover himself and his Skinsaw Cult, which he would much rather cover up than abandon if at all possible. He set things in motion, gathering his cultists, and kept a watch on the PCs. He had the Foxglove Faceless Stalkers killed.

- The hole in the back of the house was actually caused by the Scarecrow, who was checking on the Faceless Stalkers on Xanesha's orders as she has realized she's lost Ironbriar and needs to close ranks. The PCs did find massive footprints in the gardens/backyard, but couldn't identify them other than belonging to huge boots.

- Ironbriar has gathered all of his cultists, including Tsuto, and dressed them in City Watch winter/rain garb. They are his 'swat' team he's picked up the PCs with. When the time is right, he can order them to cast aside their watch cloaks and don their Skinsaw Masks.

- Tsuto, acting without his father/cult leader's permission, approached the new wizard PC who is a known magic item crafter. He ordered a pair of Aasimar Bane Brass Knuckles, citing that he had an Aasimar named Reginald that he really, really wanted to beat the crap out of. The wizard is now carrying those Aasimar Bane knuckles with him in a bag of holding, but hasn't yet had the time to recognize Tsuto as the man who ordered them.

So the party is heading to the Shadow Clock, on a cold and rainy night, accompanied by a bakers dozen Skinsaw Cultists disguised as City Watch. My plan is that when they arrive Ironbriar (who is just a lawyer, after all), and half of his men will surround the tower, while the other half and the party will storm the front. Inside, the PCs will find themselves looking up at Nualia, standing on the first flight of stairs, who warns her brother away before combat is engaged. The Scarecrow and three Faceless Stalkers will come from the outer rooms/shadows of the main floor of the Shadow Clock. Around turn 3, two Faceless Stalkers still high above will loose the Bell Trap on the combat below, killing off some of the cultists/possibly hurting a PC.

If/when the PCs give a sign they need help, Ironbriar and his outside guards will come in as backup - including Tsuto, who only now discovers his father lied when he said Nualia was dead (but really he didn't lie, cause she's an undead revenant). He'll have an outburst at Ironbriar (probably calling him father as a slip), and then try and get the Wizard to give him the Aasimar Bane Knuckles so he can go take care of "that f!+$ing devil-angel" he's been hunting. Of course, 1) they would no longer work on Nualia now that she is undead, and 2) he's not aiming for her anyways, he's aiming for the Bloodrager who killed him and Nualia.

Depending on how the fight is going, Ironbriar might signal his men to turncoat on them during this fight, or later when they confront Xanesha upstairs (who will be accompanied by a Will o' Wisp companion to provide flanking). When he does, I can physically replace the Town Guard paper minis I made with the Skinsaw Cult ones, and it's quite possible the PCs find themselves fighting alongside Nualia against this new threat.

Once the dust has settled, and if the PCs are totally victorious (with no escaping NPCs), they are in line to pick up about 70k worth of magic items (at half value) and gold/gems from the Shadow Clock encounter. My own gift to me, however, is that with Nualia as a revenant, she'll rise again in a few days and will be driven to find the next closest powerful servant of Xin - Lucrecia. And so is born a recurring villain who, maybe by book 5, the PCs will run into as she is treading the far wilds, inexorably pulled toward Xin-Shalast and who (if they don't just merc her immediately) could get a redemption arc as she struggles against her revenant drive and the feeling that Lamashtu betrayed and abandoned her to her fate as an undead. And who, if they can't find a way to 'fix' her, could inevitably betray them when they get into the room with Xin and he can command her himself.

Many of the above ideas/concepts come from the threads here on these boards, so a big thank-you to those who have been submitting suggested changes/improvements for over a decade. They have made my game so much more juicy behind the scenes, and all of it is about to pay off.

Hopefully.

Knock on wood.


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Hey all,

I'm currently looking to mine some general encounter ideas and concepts for a SciFi hex map. Similar to how a fantasy map might have 'goblin warrens' or 'Abandoned Watchtower,' I am prepping this hex map with various encounters and dungeons with up to Encounter Level 6. If anyone has suggestions (particularly for dungeon themes) they would be very much appreciated - and as a start, here are some of the things on my map for inspiration and your own use.

-Locker's Reach: A stretch of asteroid belt haunted by the pirates of Dominik's Locker (wandering space barge HQ)
- Earthen Spur: Segment of asteroid belt populated by Earth Elementals riled up by the nearby...
- Roboto Manufacto Automato: An automated robot manufacturing plant that is currently mining the corpse of an immense earth elemental for minerals
- Hulk Warzone: A pair of large Space Hulks (ancient ruined ships), one populated by Undead and one by the 'Bone Shiv' space goblin tribe, who are at war.
- Formian Expansion: A low-level zone of Formians with an asteroid 'subhive'
- Formian Hive: The higher-level main hive
- Biosphere: An ancient biosphere, this one filled with tribal Maraqouis
- Silent Tomb: The tomb of... someone, protected by automated weapons and robots.
- The Warrens: Warring tribes of feral Ysoki, one main warren and two minor warrens spread through a densely-packed asteroid section.
- Pocket-Dimension Portal: A portal in space leading to a 'torn' pocket dimension infested with Akata and Driftdead
- Smuggler Armory: A small depot for Drow arms smugglers.
- Vile Monastery: A space station monastery of evil Contemplatives
- Hesper Techzone: An unknown Hesper has built himself a technological stronghold in the void and is building something.


Thirteen thousand years ago, Tortoga went silent. The Green Tide, the feral beast known as the Ork, swept across the Corconau System and amongst the dozens of Imperial planets in it's path was the agri-world of Tortoga. Little is remembered of the planet beyond two notes in the buried records of the Administratum. One, it was famous for it's 'Walking Cities,' which has confounded scholars for years, and second it's main production was a lichen with exceptional nutritional values.

Grand Marshal Varl Ferkkoon has been ordered to take back Tortoga as the first step in raising a Crusade to march back across the Corconau System, using the agri world as both a stepping stone deeper into the sector as well as providing the much needed food resources the world could provide. In response, the Grand Marshal has levied the Imperial war machine to produce new Regiments of Imperial Guard from across the nearby sector.

---XX++XX++---

“Without the food and resources of Tortoga, the Crusade would never have had a chance. Ferkkoon knew this, but still he sent in troops as green as the Yuan grasslands because he also knew without veterans to spearhead the coming war, Tortoga would mean nothing.” --- Strategist Gol Ti

---XX++XX++---

This is a recruitment thread for a homebrew Only War campaign set in the Warhammer 40k universe. The only necessities to sign up, at the moment, are a knowledge of the universe and access to the Only War core rulebook.

Once I have 5-6 players, the opening sequence of the campaign will be that I will open up Regiment Creation voting, giving the options in the thread (though I won't be listing all the rules, just the options). Everyone should be able to just make 1 post with their picks, I'll gather the votes and break any ties, then I will write up a few paragraphs on the Planet, Culture and basic Regiment standards. From there, everyone can write up their Characters and will get started.

All I need for applications is why you feel like you should be in the Campaign. Whether that's an RP sample or an argument or a bribe (no cards, cash only :P) or whatever. Why pick you?

See you on the battlefield, recruits!


To be quite honest, I preceded this post with a massive verbal rant on my thoughts on healing in MMO's and so on, then decided against it before I clarify some facts.

Been following PFO for over a year, my one concern (due to my preference of playstyle) is how Healing works in game at the moment. As I don't have access to Alpha and no one seems to Twitch stream as a healer, my latest info is months old.

1) Is healing still almost completely touch-based?
2) Are heals still sparse/mostly just curing wound debuffs?
3) Do full clerics have at least SOME potency as main healing/off dps?
4) Dear lord, why!?!
5) Are Devs at all interested in moving away from this method?

Ok, so that last one is that rant coming out in me again. I've played a lot of MMO's, I know my preferred playstyle is as a dedicated healer in both PvE and PvP. I also know from experience that Pathfinder PnP healing can be a downright bitter experience, especially at low levels.

Thanks in advance!

(On a side note, I don't usually go for pre-game guild planning, but any Companies looking for a Healer/Raid Leader? I'll be gunning for Healing and party-leadership talents in game and can explain my background if requested.)