John Compton wrote:
Fair enough. I was just doing the number crunch for if the Tyrant was actually trying. Not knowing much about the exact mechanics (especially the threshold of “Screw it! Nukin’ ‘em!”) but this seems like around the time that he’d be going “Oh would you look at that, the insects are accomplishing something. Let’s give them a taste of a twelfth of my [mythic] power.” It’s at that point that the PCs are even a slight blip on his radar, enough for him to take a few seconds out of his busy schedule of, you know, becoming a literal god to have a bit of sadistic fun.
I’m just imagining the case where he rolls a nat 1 on the attack roll to hit with the ray and accidentally opening up a freaking crater right next to the PCs and just thinking “Crap! I missed! Ah well, what’s one 8th level spell? Time to get back to being a genocidal overlord!”
Let’s run the numbers, shall we?!
Assuming TB is going balls-to-the-wall with that disintegrate (expending a mythic power for wild arcana and another for the augmented effect and using nothing else but the equipment he has on him [I’m making an assumption based on what others have said about his stat block]): the maximum range would be a grand total of 1,280 feet away (just over the length of four football fields!) for what is essentially 90d6 damage and 1d6 Con damage (not exactly mathematically accurate to Empower Spell, but close enough), and he does that twice! Sure, he can just fire a single ray that instantly disintegrates, but with an average damage of 315 + 1 per HD of the creature hit (from the average of 3 Con damage) per ray, he’s pretty much already instantly disintegrating them if they fail their DC 29 Fortitude, so he might as well get the biggest bang for his buck and just do it again! And even on a successful save that’s still an average of 33 damage and 1 Con damage per ray—a tenth of what it was, sure, but not an insignificant amount of damage!
Yes, a relatively minor setback for high-level PCs, but a setback with a huge reality check of “this guy ain’t f*cking around!”
Since some peeps seem to have Book 6 now, I think it’s story time for me :)
So during this past PaizoCon I had the pleasure of picking the brains of Lyz Liddell (resident expert on Arazni now that Crystal doesn’t exclusively work for Paizo anymore [someone correct me if I’m wrong]) and our dear Ron Lundeen. I managed to learn about a few key pieces of information about the AP that hadn’t yet been released: the ending (PCs get themselves nuked), the Frustration Points of Book 6 (or whatever they’re called in the final product; I’m waiting for the PDF to release so I don't know for sure), and something that struck fear into my heart and ecstasy to my sadistic-GM side when I first heard it: Reach mythic disintegrate (might’ve also been Empowered? It’s been a few months, cut me some slack)!
During some downtime at the multi-table special I approached John Compton (AKA the author of Book 6) and I inquired about the Tyrant’s disintegrate shenanigans (something along the lines of “Why would you do such a horrible yet glorious thing?!”) and his response was quite possibly the highlight of that weekend for me:
John Compton wrote:
Well, yeah. He’s the f*cking Whispering Tyrant!
Alright, slightly-off-topic story time over.
Thank goodness! All I honestly wanted was some different art for that entry; I find the cover art diverts from his iconic image a bit too much for my liking. Plus I wanna give my players a nice piece of new art for the final encounter.
EDIT: Don't get me wrong, the cover art is good, but it's not a good Whispering Tyrant portrayal in my opinion.
Ron Lundeen wrote:
Poor communication on my part; I was talking about how the Veins of Creation were prior to Aroden's death. Thanks nonetheless, Ron!
Ron Lundeen wrote:
Redwood it is!
EDIT: Another question: since Palderren's Miasma ability acts as gaseous form, shouldn't he be unable to use his other supernatural abilities? The spell specifically calls out that you lose supernatural abilities while it's in effect, so that kinda breaks his tactics ("...the fog surges toward them, attempting to cover as many PCs as possible and use its isolation ability."), of course, he can still make use of his absolutely devastating SLAs. Although, it does create the interesting situation of "if it loses supernatural abilities while in miasma form then it would lose its miasma ability which is what's putting it in gaseous form, making the ability effectively useless" which is 100% not the RAI. (Of course, I'm arguing about the RAW, so who am I to say anything about RAI?)
Ron Lundeen wrote:
Thank you, that is good context to know (I wasn’t 100% aware that it was an artificial ley line), but that doesn’t exactly answer my question, which arises because of the description of the Veins of Creation in the entry for Jolizpan Park:
Book 5, pg. 16 wrote:
…one of its [Jolizpan Park] attractions is the exposed rootlike structure of the Veins of Creation. This arcane network is plainly visible; each of the roots is over a foot across and consists of the same wood as the kumaru tree in Tumbaja Mountain.
I was under the impression that ley lines were more of a metaphysical thing (Occult Adventures describes them as “an imperceptible current of energy” [pg. 232] in their natural state), so this very obviously physical rather than metaphysical description for the Veins of Creation creates the question of what the Veins of Creation are physically rather than magically. I’m imagining a massive system of roots from the kumaru tree that spread throughout the country like a spider web and pumps magical energy through the roots to create something that acts almost identically to ley lines.
Follow-up question: How big, comparatively, is the kumaru tree to a real-world tree? I have this image of a massive redwood or something like the Great Deku Tree from The Legend of Zelda.
It's hinted at that there's something odd about them throughout the books, but the obols aren't really fully explained to the PCs until Book 5, when Miraina has a chance to closely examine them with the proper equipment. Until then just leave it to the PCs' imaginations as to what exactly is "wrong" with them that the psychopomps and such are so curious about and why they are so able to resist negative energy and necromancy.
I'm in the process of writing my write-up, but there's one thing I wanna say before anyone gets any ideas:
I am a Red Mantis Assassin. I am a Red Mantis Assassin. There is NOTHING any of you can say that will dissuade me from being that, because BY EVERY GOD IN THE MULTIVERSE I WILL PLAY A MANTIS ASSASSIN IF IT'S THE LAST THING I DO AND THIS IS MY BEST CHANCE, DAD-GUMMIT!!!!
*Ahem* Sorry, I apparently took a level in medium and started channeling the "tantruming child" spirit there. But nonetheless my underlying point remains. And that kind of over-exaggeration is just kinda how I personally am. I know when I need to be serious, but my joking side tends to be a lot of yelling, so don't take it the wrong way.
Zi Mishkal wrote:
Let's call that "Plan B." XD
Lou Diamond wrote:
If I may: rumor has it that the Whispering Tyrant had the help of Urgathoa in hiding the phylactery. Assuming that’s true, no mortal magic—even the pinnacle of mortal magic—is able to counter that of a deity. Even so, the Tyrant likely has many kinds of mythic safeguards to prevent even a single casting of mythic wish from retrieving it. Even wish has its limits. Plus let’s not forget that the Tyrant is a mythic lich, meaning that his phylactery is a minor artifact (i.e. can only be destroyed by one specific method). And the PCs couldn’t really take the time to research the destruction method because once word got out that they had the phylactery they’d become target numero uno of everyone in the Whispering Way, an organization that has adherents from every walk of life (and un-life).
But that’s just one guy’s opinion. And I’m not Ron, so take my words with a grain of salt.
I really like how Paizo makes sure to include various types of people in their works and simultaneously doesn't go "Being LGBT is the extent of their personality!" or whatever. I gotta say that I had my mind blown to bits when James Jacobs said on a Pathfinder Friday that Kyra was lesbian or that in Planar Adventures it says that Desna, Shelyn, and Sarenrae are in an on-again-off-again polyamorous relationship (might be misinterpreting that, though) and the fact that I didn't know that for so long made me appreciate this company so much more. (A guy in my gaming group responded teasingly to that with [paraphrasing] "It's almost like people of other sexualities are just like every other person on the street.")
While I am straight as straight can be, I belong to a different kind of minority (high-functioning autism, specifically) and seeing such diversity in Golarion just warms my heart so much.
Book 5 answered this question: Arazni only sent the PCs to Arcadia when she realizes that the shield is made of the wood from the kumaru tree (which she didn’t know because she wasn’t there when Aroden made it). Had nothing to do with her not knowing that the shield fragments are what the Tyrant is using to nuke places.
So...now that we have Barzahk’s stats from Book 5 this creates a weird question: The way station masters have to have a neutral component to their alignment (which is fine, everything’s good there) and they also gain Barzahk’s Toss Thee Here Ashore ability, which allows them to cast banishment at will. Why wouldn’t Carnassial just banish Prince Cuspid? And why wouldn’t Salighara banish Mrs. Pedipalp? Kishokish makes sense (he was stuck in his quarterstaff, after all), but wouldn’t he have tried to banish the sahkils before that? And Prince Cuspid couldn’t overthrow his mother and take over the way station without Barzahk’s consent (but that’s easily explained away by saying that he just didn’t know that). AND if Queen Carnassial dies then the stamp itself becomes useless without it being stamped by the master of the way station.
So I expressed that I was going to run Tyrant’s Grasp to my weekly AP group after we finished with our current AP (Hell’s Rebels, if anyone’s curious) and one of my players shot out a weird idea:
Sanity subsystem from Horror Adventures.
I almost immediately shot it down, but I kept thinking on it and I found it to be an interesting idea. What actually solidified it for me was mid-Book 3 when Vigil gets nuked and just looking at that image on pg. 39 (seriously, someone give a medal to the artist of that image!) and just thinking “Holy crap, that would be so traumatic! Poor Yoon.”
I wanted to get some feedback from the GM hivemind about this, because it’s an interesting idea and I wanted to find a way to further implement it.
Shrugs I just got through saying I didn’t recognize that the guy on the cover was Tar-Baphon, didn’t I? Wouldn’t make sense to say that when I knew why he looks like that now.
Unless I was lying!!!
Seriously, though, I don’t think it’s a major thing—just another artist’s rendition of the lich. My juicy info I got from pickin’ Ron’s brain has nothing to do with the cover art (what the art depicts, however, is another story :-))
Honestly, when I first saw the image at PaizoCon (there was a copy of Book 6 in a glass display case in the store), I honestly looked at it and went “Now who are you?!” with a goofy I’m-a-sadistic-GM smile.
Knowing now that it’s the Whispering Tyrant makes that entire encounter a little...well, disheartening.
That said, I did manage to get some small (but impactful) stuff about Book 6 outta Ron at PaizoCon (don’t worry, Ron, I’ll keep the surprises to myself) and to the GMs: you are in for a treat!
Cori Marie wrote:
Oh man, this is the best the Whispering Tyrant has ever looked. I love it
The heck are you talking about? That's not the....
Ron Lundeen wrote:
THAT'S Tar-Baphon?! I...Holy crap...
I mean...it's not that I don't like it, but I honestly find other images of him more...imposing, more...well, tyrannical. Here he kinda just looks less threatening to me. Though the more I stare at this new one the more intrigued I am by the detail, I will say that much.
I'm aware of the legality of the character choice, I was referring to the fact that the Whispering Tyrant proper has Command Undead. And simulacra are heavily implied to be exact copies of the original at a lower HD (and this implication is supported by the Tyrant's simulacrum's feat choices being very similar to Tar-Baphon proper).
So something’s bothering me (no surprise): the adventure implies that Arazni sends the PCs to Arcadia once she realizes what the Radiant Fire is and how it connects to the shattered shield, but in book 3 the PCs got the manuscript of exposition (AKA The Testimony of Count Jomah Gildais) so they already know that the Tyrant’s nukes are because of the shield fragments. Wouldn’t the PCs just tell that to Arazni and she’d have her revelation earlier?
I feel like there’s something I’m not quite understanding with Arazni’s reasoning. The adventure implies that she only realizes that the fragments and the Radiant Fire are one and the same at the very last moment—like she realized something the PCs didn’t (which she did, with respect to the kumaru tree) and only had enough time to teleport the PCs and give a cryptic message. If she knew when she saw them earlier then it seems like it would break the plot.
Is there something I’m just not understanding?
Sooo….A weird thing with the Gustari fight: the section beforehand mentions “As these foes can fly (or, in Gustari’s case, air walk while riding her phantom mount)…”
That’s fine and dandy, but the phantom steed spell (of which the Graveknight ability is based) can only air walk for one round at a time, after which it falls. I just gave Gustari a few scrolls of air walk that the Daughters of Urgathoa cast on the steed (which brings up the weird situation of if the quasi-real horse/hippogriff/whatever is a valid target for that spell), but that still seems like a weird oversight…
So, I was cross-referencing Arazni’s stats with those in Mythic Realms and I noticed that she suddenly has Martial Weapon Proficiency (rapier), which I appreciate (since she wasn’t proficient with it inherently), but cross-referencing her other feats I noticed something else: she just has that feat; she has all her other feats and so she just randomly has a bonus feat. Why the random bonus feat? Just to make her stats work? (Because that Leadership isn’t really doing much for her in my opinion)
EDIT: By the same coin: Why is Arazni’s SLAs from Divine Source not written down anywhere? And why is prismatic spray suddenly a spell she can cast mythically?
Don't mess with tooth fairies. They will mess. You. Up!
My group laughs at tooth fairies because they're, like, the perfect low-level mooks to bash and their abilities are hilarious (and I agree with them on those fronts), but seeing the Palace of Teeth has made these mooks stupid-scary to me! (I know a number of the nasty combats were from the esobok psychopomps, but still).
Ehh, I doubt it. Story-wise two of those relics are Taldan antiques and one is long-lost under a cathedral in Andoran, so it wouldn’t make much sense for Ceto to have the great armor worn by Grand Prince What’s-His-Name from all the way across the continent.
From another perspective, those items are really powerful! I mean, the lance is an effective +4 weapon BASE—upgraded it’s effectively a +6. Plus increasing a morale bonus?! I get it’s once per day, but jeez!
My honest opinion is that the only items you should give to the PCs in Book 3 are the belt, bonds, and maybe the necklace if you can justify it (I was seeing how Book 5 goes when the PCs go to Arcadia and learn some stuff about Aroden).
Not sure if this thread has the spoiler tag, so just in case: Spoilers for Book 3:
I felt the same way. My current idea is that Ceto has the Belt of the Last Wall on her person after Vigil goes belly-up. Debating doing the same thing with the scorpion whip/spiked chain relic. She’s a local hero, so it’d make sense for the people to let her use those public treasures after Vigil becomes FUBAR. Not sure about the others, though.
IIRC, there was a reference to one of the shards given to Gildais being another fake, and that that shard being in the possession of one of the Six Wise Crows (too lazy to try and find where I read that), so why is that never mentioned in Book 3?
EDIT: Also, is there something I’m missing about the marks of justice references all over the place? That spell curses targets when a condition is met, so I find it strange that every Vigil citizen would subject themselves to that. Additionally, what WOULD the condition be for the curse to activate? Just seems like a strange detail for a LG city.
Unfortunate thing is that I've already completely set up the map in Roll20 (Dynamic Lighting, creatures, etc.); by taking the three floors as separate maps instead of all in one it made the uneven square problem tolerable--it still exists but it's at least nor super bad. After having to readjust a certain opera house map after learning that it was supposed to be 1 square=10 feet I don't feel like doing something similar in completely redoing a map another time.
So, I found out something interesting:
So the Bastion of Light also appeared in PFS Scenario 10-04: Reaver's Roar (no spoilers, don't worry), but cross-referencing some of the details has actually brought an interesting situation to light: The two Bastions are inconsistent.
For example, area K9 in this book describes it as being a display chamber, whereas in Reaver's Roar it was a library.
And from my understanding the Sarenites hadn't had time to repopulate the building so....
I'd say no, because of the weirdness of how the obols function. And I will remind you that the PCs haven't been judged yet, thus they are not yet outsiders native to a new plane, but they also died, meaning that they are not truly denizens of the Material Plane anymore either, they just are, hence why the party has to go through the process of the Dead Roads instead of one of the psychopomps just getting a scroll of Banishment to send them back.
Cori Marie wrote:
Oh hoho! Completely missed that in my read-through of Planar Adventures. Thanks!
The Boneyard does indeed have its own native ecosystem (after all, look at the bonewrought willow in the bestiary), and while it is the metaphysical "mouth" of the River of Souls, the souls themselves do not "populate" the plane—they come, get judged, then leave. Only a fraction of those souls are judged to remain on the Boneyard (those truly neutral-aligned, true worshipers of Pharasma or the psychopomp ushers, etc.).
And while the Boneyard does indeed host extraplanar entities (my favorite being when a soul is bound for Abaddon then it is always given a choice by a representative demon and devil to instead go to the Abyss or Hell), they mostly do not stay there permanently.
To be clear, when a soul is judged and becomes a petitioner to a plane, then it’s infused with the quintessence (the material that makes up everything in the Outer Sphere IIRC) and become a native of that plane—so while it’s technically correct to say that the Boneyard is populated by entities from the Material Plane, it’s not completely accurate because all extraplanar outsiders have souls that were once mortals upon the Material Plane, so by that logic every plane is populated by “entities that have arrived from elsewhere.” Once a soul dies then it is no longer “a denizen of the Material Plane,” it just…is until it is judged, then its new home become its appropriate plane.
Sorry, I tend to go off on weird tangents when I get into Golarion lore.
As for the copies of tombs: Shrugs I honestly don’t know. It’s not a detail I’ve seen in other books talking about the Boneyard—perhaps Ron could provide slight clarification?