Eh. I've attacked downed PCs in precisely two circumstances: when a PC goes down in the area of a swarm that then has no reason to move from its space, and when enemy casters use AoE spells. Usually, the enemies have better things to do. If I ran into a situation where a PC keeps getting healed bouncing back up like a jack-in-the-box, I would consider an enemy putting them down so they stay down, but such a situation has yet to come up in a Pathfinder Society game for me and it's a rather mean thing to do.
If memory serves, the dual macing rogue dude (apparently the Wicent or so) did not deal nonlethal damage to us, and anyway my character managed to score a 27 damage critical hit on him (or her?), dropping him (or her) to negative constitution.
That's the one.
The reason you do not recall seeing nonlethal damage is that he spent the combat engaged with a pygmy hippo, his motivation for nonlethal damage is taking prisoners, and to my mind, those two things didn't jive. He also had a surrender condition, but there wasn't a lot to negotiate after that crit.
You seem to be developing a habit of critting people you wanted alive.
I would second 3-23 The Goblinblood Dead. I have never seen it run over three hours.
I also think that a lot of the more combat-heavy tier 1-5 scenarios from season 0 are considerably faster now than they used to be.
My personal speed record is held by In Service to Lore, at 29:55, but I think every person in that table had played or run it at least twice before.
I'm currently running a forum game of this on the Finnish PFS forums, and we're having great fun.
My hook for getting the Society involved was just saying that they were in town to meet up with a merchant who had this spectacularly ugly but undeniably ancient little statuette that Sheila Heidmarch wanted to get her hands on – nothing dangerous really, but a fine job for a bunch of rookie field agents. You know, the kind of drudge mission that probably comprises most of a field agent's workload. They'd done the trade and had the statuette in their possession, but they still had a couple of days before they needed to head back to Magnimar, and there's this carnival that just arrived in town… two hyperactive gnomes and a paladin in the party ensured that was all the hook I needed.
Man, you'll have a reserved seat at the first table of Bonekeep I'm running.
I find this rather welcome. I consider it extremely unlikely that Finland will be able to support 50 tables of Pathfinder Society at a single convention in the foreseeable future and our only brush with Bonekeep has thus far been Mike Brock's visit last year. Now, we can put our characters through the grinder without the hassle of foreign travel!
I've got 81 tables of credit, and I think I've had around 20 PC deaths at my table.
Lower-level characters are of course more vulnerable. At low tiers, a bit of bad luck is all you need. Characters playing up are naturally another demographic at risk. The last PC death at my table was doing precisely that, in Secrets Stones Keep.
Amusingly (there may be some disagreement on that, when I got my Venture-Captainship, during the 30-day period before and after my promotion, 15 characters died at my table in just four sessions. Two of these were full TPKs, in A Voice in the Void and Mists of Mwangi. Masks of the Living God saw one character out of the five strong team survive, and in God's Market Gamble, the entire party was again laid low, but only one managed to die all the way. This event is popularly known as the Bloody Spring of 2012.
I've also seen deaths (I'd rather not say "I've killed PCs") in Murder on the Silken Caravan (twice), Hydra's Fang Incident (once), On Hostile Waters (once), Feast of Ravenmoor (once), and of course We Be Goblins! (thrice). I don't count that last one though.
In my experience, PC deaths at lower levels can result from bad luck, but after a certain level, it's nearly always because of bad tactics. Both my TPKs resulted from poor decisions ("Hey, we'll create a brand new party of four primary casters with no melee capability!" and "We all agree this is an obvious trap. I will now spring it."). Playing up and getting into melee is another popular one, and there was one memorable case letting a friend roast to death in a swarm that had been lit on fire. I will admit that the death in Hydra's Fang Incident was due to my error as a Game Master.
The times that my own characters have died have been once because of bad luck (3.5, high-damage longbow crit, dead from full hit points), twice because of really tough module (there's a reason Trouble with Secrets is no longer with us, I think), and once because of a bad tactical decision (being the first to charge the remorhaz). I have also noticed that my GM reward babies die easier since I haven't had the opportunity to learn how they work level by level. I no longer do GM reward babies.
Sometimes, of course, it's just because the scenario is tough. Murder on the Silken Caravan and Masks of the Living God can be really brutal, and I'm kinda wondering how come I never had anyone die in Black Waters back in the 3.5 era.
I think the concept of the murderhobo highlights the inescapable truth that going down a deep, dark hole in the ground to effect genocide upon goblins is not the career choice of a well-adjusted person. I occasionally find it useful to reflect on what the realistic psychological makeup of a professional adventurer would be. I mean, if we think about this realistically, the adrenaline junkies would be at the healthy end of the spectrum and half the Society would have close, personal experiences with PTSD.
When they confronted him in the Glassworks tunnels, they managed to wake him up and gave him time to get his bearings. On his first attack, he dropped the party's druid.
This was bad for Tsuto, because it meant there was nobody to stabilize him after the rest of the team had beaten him up, and he bled to death.
richard develyn wrote:
To the first question, no. By a quick count, there are almost 80 monsters from the adventure paths, other modules and campaign setting volumes that have not yet been converted in one place or another. If you only count Bestiaries, that number is even higher, though not by much. For instance, most of the monsters in Rise of the Runelords are converted in the anniversary hardcover (though I don't think we've yet seen the argorth, smoke haunt or taiga giant converted anywhere).
To the second question... probably not. A bunch of those are unique divine servants like the Prince in Chains and Thais, and then there are the coeurl and the deep crow whose rights are held by A.E. van Vogt's estate and Penny Arcade, respectively. I also seem to recall a mention of the chained spirit being too much tied to the adventure it appears in to be of much use elsewhere.
Of course, not being a Paizo employee, I have no precise knowledge of either their licensing deals or the contents of Bestiary 4.
My candidate for this would be Adhemar of Senara, a Chelaxian Hellknight hopeful and fighter/monk, who fell to a vampire and was left behind by his fleeing companions back in Season 0. Logically, he'd come back with a template applied and an even worse attitude than before. He was always a bit of a thug. His tactics would include grappling, spiked armour and biting people.
I've run and played a few of those in PFS, and here's what I did and saw done...
In Realm of the Fellnight Queen, I just said that Elyin is a retired Pathfinder who parted the Society amiably and the PCs either knew him personally or were sent to Bellis by the Venture-Captain of Almas to represent the Pathfinder Society at his wedding.
I seem to recall that the GM of The Midnight Mirror used the hook from the book, with the addition that the worried nobles had used knowledge of the Book of Night Without Moon to get the Society interested.
In From Shore to Sea, we were told that these fishermen from over yonder have been trawling up these Azlanti artifacts and ordered to go forth and figure out where they're coming from.
For Feast of Ravenmoor, the "find the tax collector" gig was a political decision by Venture-Captain Heidmarch, to do this favour for the government in Magnimar so they'd look upon the Society more favourably in the future.
Murder on the Throaty Mermaid is one of my favourites to run. I generally like running mystery and horror scenarios. Voice in the Void is another one, although after the last TPK nobody will play it in my table anymore.
I'm also fond of The Goblinblood Dead, because it's a good, straightforward module and it's sufficiently brief that you can run it if you're in a hurry without having to compromise on the content.
From the modules, I'll have to give my vote to Feast of Ravenmoor. It just oozes atmosphere, which can be played up for horror or for laughs, and it's easily playable in a single session. I think we once did it in around five hours. There's an elegant, natural flow to it.
Yeah, I played at Deussu's table. In all fairness, it must be stated that though the stone guardian really is pretty tough, we also had an utterly miserable luck with the dice, averaging two critical misses per round as a party. And this was after we'd lost Valeros and were down to a dwarf monk and Rhykevance the fighter/wizard for our melee hitters. Not an optimum situation. While we lasted about as long as a pair of better tanks would have, our damage output wasn't high enough.
Anyway, I had great fun. We made it out by the skin of our teeth and got to think outside the box for some of the solutions.
Poor Valeros, though. We'll have to get a Valeros kill-count chart for the shop wall, now.
Thank you! The race is on, Deussu!
Muser, yeah, I can't figure it out either. It was a three-person table and even the Valeros pregen survived. Dipped to -10 at one point, but came out alive. The cleric was out of healing by the end, too. It wasn't easy on them, but they had good tactics and deserved to live. Unlike your paladin who went and deliberately triggered what you all had already agreed was the most obvious trap in the world, which, as I recall, started off the last TPK I saw.
Well, noting that in the concept of "echo" there is implied a distortion of the original... There's the iku-turso monster in Bestiary 3, whose name is from Kalevala. Apart from being an aquatic monster, it does not have a whole lot to do with the original. Then again, plundering folklore for names for new monsters has long traditions.
Also, it seems that the people of Galt have Finnish names, at least according to W3 The Flight of the Red Raven. They apparently also have saunas. It grieves me that this fine module is 3.5 and therefore cannot be run as part of Pathfinder Society. Oh, what fun we would have with it…
Apart from those, there's not much that I've been able to spot. No bards singing men into quicksand, no sleeping giants imparting arcane knowledge from before time began. Of course, there are echoes of Louhi in Baba Yaga, and I rather expect that once we get the Irrisen sourcebook and the Reach of Winter AP, there might be something.
In my opinion, scarpering like that in the middle of an encounter is unsportsmanlike in the highest degree and would have likely acted much in the same way as you did - run the encounter with the PC present and if they were still alive after the dust had cleared and phase them out. Either way, the player would get mailed a really depressing scenario chronicle.
Also, first-level characters are expendable. Losing a PC in the middle of First Steps is not a big deal. Now, if this situation had occurred in a game with a higher-level character, someone with the chance of coming back from the dead... then it'd be complicated, especially if the rest of the group was reluctant to cough up the cash.
Thank you for your kind words. This is the kind of stuff that makes it all worthwhile. The PFS side of the convention was an outstanding success. Only one table failed to run and Blood Under Absalom was full.
I am sorry I didn't have time to run games at Ropecon, except for the about 20 minutes I sat as a replacement for Mikko when he had to go work his Otaniemi admin mojo in the middle of the game (good thing I was familiar with the scenario). The GM screen was just one sacrifice I had to make, since I wasn't just organizing the Pathfinder Society at the con, but the entire tabletop RPG programming. The only game I could play was Jere's <i>We Be Goblins!</i> at two o'clock in the morning, and I kept falling asleep. The only TPK of the convention, that.
See you at Tracon! Deussu is the head RPG honcho over there, so I can take to the game tables and put some heads on the wall.
(Weird thing... since I was appointed the V-C in early May, PCs have started dropping like flies in my games. Two TPKs and one near-TPK in the space of a few weeks, for a total of 16 dead PCs. I swear it's not on purpose!)
Indeed, I was. That was fun, too.
I was heavily involved in Living Greyhawk from 2005 onward. I wrote 6 adventures and edited another 15 to various degrees. I ran a weekly gamenight for about 18 months and assisted in a number of conventions.
A fellow Naerie writer! You know, I still love Sharafon. One of the finest modules in the campaign, in my opinion!
My organized play experience is limited to four years of Living Greyhawk, from 2004 to 2008. I wrote a couple of scenarios for the Principality of Naerie and nowadays host our final gazetteer in my blog. LG is pretty much the reason I'm here now. We took a look at LFR, concluded that neither the campaign nor the game system were really to our liking, so we switched to Pathfinder Society instead. Now, we are content.
Reminds me of a character concept I have waiting for the opportunity to play. Father Klarkash would be an oracle of one of the Great Old Ones who'd be working for the Silver Crusade "because the voice in his head told him to". The Old Ones are utterly inscrutable, the character would be utterly mad and the Crusade would not want to know, as long as he kept getting results.
Yeah, I'd recommend Feast of Ravenmoor. I think it's the better module of the two, though Masks of the Living God is also very good.
My GMing record on the two is one death (who got raised) in Feast of Ravenmoor and a near-TPK of four out of five in Masks. It can be fairly brutal, especially if the players go in unprepared. Actually, when I played it, the only reason the group walked out of there was a wizard buffed to untouchability and armed with a 2nd-level wand of magic missiles.
Ropecon, the largest gaming convention in the Nordic countries, is coming again! For the nineteenth time, the gamers of Finland gather together in the non-Euclidean halls of Dipoli, Espoo. Last year, we even had Erik Mona as one of our guests of honour.
This year, with no Erik around to up our Pathfinder quotient, we have to work for it ourselves, and we have laid plans for some twenty tables of PFS, including Blood Under Absalom.
(The number is a bit low for a convention of this size, I know. This is because some of our most active PFS game masters, including myself and the Helsinki Venture-Lieutenant Jussi Leinonen, are organizing the convention itself and cannot commit to running games.)
In addition to Pathfinder Society, we will, of course, offer about a hundred sessions of other roleplaying games, around a dozen larps, three days of speech program and a variety of tournaments for different miniature games, board games and card games. This year's guests of honour are Mr. Gen Con himself, Peter Adkison, and the German larpwright Larson Kasper.
I am still looking for interested game masters, who should contact me at PFSFinland@gmail.com.
When I ran this, I luckily didn't have to deal with this situation as my party (barely) managed to take her down. But I would say that she would in fact kill the party, if there's still some alive. She's trying to keep her cover so she doesn't get arrested/killed, and the party is trying to expose her. She can shoot up to 4 arrows a turn (depending on tier played), which is more than enough to finish off a bunch of unconscious party members in 1-2 rounds. Then I assume she spins some lie to the greycloaks that show up about how the party is the one that is robbing and killing people in the God's Market.
Fortunately for the PCs, she only has 20 arrows.
Though she did manage to take out the entire party (except for the one halfling who fled), it emptied her quiver and the unconscious party members were pretty evenly spread out over the marketplace. Chopping up unconscious Pathfinders with an axe in broad daylight would've been rather suspicious so I was merciful and had her make herself scarce, especially since she doesn't even have Heal ranks to see if the guy doing a porcupine imitation behind the stall at the other end of the marketplace is dead or just almost dead.
I ran this today. An excellent scenario; my only real criticism is that Parani's tactics don't mention what she's going to do once she's taken down the entire group... In my table, she dropped the last of the six PCs with her final arrow and I figured that no matter how much she hates the religious types, she's not going to hang around at the market and start coup de gracing Pathfinders with an axe. As it stands, one of the PCs died to a critical hit. 1st-level PCs come and go, though.
I enjoyed running the chase, though I'm not entirely sure if I ended up cutting some corners on the rules since I was originally supposed to be a player, until the GM announced that he was sick three hours before the game and sent me the module. I can't find a mention prohibiting assistance rolls in the GameMastery Guide, though. I allowed the party's cleric to give other PCs boosts over the wall into the Cheliax garden party, since his own ACP made it effectively impossible to hit the Climb DC.
Good stuff. Requires the players to operate intelligently. Clever villain - indeed, her deployment in the final encounter is tremendously effective and manages to counter the action economy that usually makes solo enemies pushovers. Excellent tactics, here.
Erik Mona wrote:
Thank you! I hope I can achieve more as Venture-Captain than as Arendius...
Richard Pett wrote:
Oh, well. Perhaps it is for the better. Mr Raggi might take exception if his adventure writers started offing one another.
It goes the other way around. Considering the bewildering variety of circumstances where you've failed to say 'no' and ended up as my subordinate, game sessions are pretty much the only place where I don't get to boss you around.
Jonathan Cary wrote:
Welcome aboard, Jukka! How are thing up with the Linnorms?
They're picking up. Playing a game today, actually.
Seasons 1 and 2 were a bit quiet here, but when we had Erik Mona as the Guest of Honour at Ropecon 2011, I decided to wake things up. I think we have around 40-ish more or less active players spread around Helsinki, Espoo and Tampere, where I'm based. A Venture-Lieutenant will be appointed for the Helsinki region once we get the details straightened out.
Charles Evans 25 wrote:
Unfortunately, no. It's at the same time as Finncon 2012, a local science fiction convention that has engaged my services as someone who knows which end of the microphone to talk to and serves as a small but important source of study credit for me.
Since I actually have vacation, my summers tend to be frightfully busy, but I'll see what I can do next year. I would be honoured to have my brain sucked out by Mr Pett.