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I don't know about you, but the first time I ran this the party of four characters which remained the same throughout the entire AP reached level 22 by the time they encountered Adimarchus. We agreed as a group to run things by the RAW and that's where we ended up. Epic level and everything, all the official WotC and Dragon Magazine source material for 3.5 was allowed which meant PCs had access to some pretty righteous abilities. It was an eternal fight which took an entire evening to be sure, but a total blast. When the chips fell the party had actually used up relatively few resources and from that perspective seemed rather anticlimactic. These were a bunch of min/maxers though. Things like extended greater spell immunity to blasphemy were SOP.

Celeste can appear strange to a DM reading the adventure for the first time. But let's consider a few things.
1) Gortio isn't a standard Monster Manual doppleganger. He has class levels. His disguise could be just as elaborately mundane as it is part of his alternate form class feature.
2) Zenith does have a father named Davked. And much of Gortio/Davked's story is true.
3) In the cases where Gortio/Davked lies or bends the truth, his Bluff modifier (having previously cast glibness) is a whopping +54! Even Celeste's +16 Sense Motive doesn't stand a chance against that. Given that, why would Celeste be suspicious enough to cast true seeing on an old dwarf who wants to reunite with his estranged son?
4) Celeste is a relative newcomer to the scene, having been summoned by Tenser to look into the activities in Cauldron. But while she is already suspicious of Vhalantru, it is never described as more than suspicion. Gortio is Vhalantru's crony, but Celeste doesn't necessarily know that.
5) If we give Celeste the benefit of every doubt, then she knows exactly who Gortio is and what his intention is. It doesn't even matter. The AP states that she does not want to reveal herself yet, but rather is trying to goad the evil forces in Cauldron into revealing themselves. Why? Who cares? She's a celestial being with an eternity to look forward to (if the PCs rescue her later that is) and probably doesn't think the same way mortals do. At any rate she wants to get Zenith out in the open and needs the PCs to do that because she doesn't want to overplay her hand.

I thought it was a little strange many years ago when I first read it, but it made enough sense from several angles to satisfy me after further reflection.

It sounds like you had just started Demonskar Legacy. If that's true then you had only gotten about 20-25% through the AP (depending on whether you ran Drakthar's Way from the Hardcover or not). Three years is a long time for some people, and they might not remember much anyway.

What's important to consider is how your players like to play. The most important aspect is how much they like to be surprised. I think you should ask them ahead of time what they would like. Do they want to run the AP exactly as before or do they want to be surprised by some fresh ideas? They might be perfectly happy just running through the dungeons again (the AP is full of dungeons with lots of hack n' slash goodness). At the same time there is also a lot of really cool story which might be enjoyed from different angles.

If your players want to focus on the dungeon aspect but expect some new and exciting things or have particularly good memories, then straight-up change the dungeons but keep the story intact. Since the first 3-4 chapters are basically just dungeon crawls with a story quite separated from the dungeons themselves you can pick 3-4 appropriately leveled adventure modules and substitute the dungeons nearly wholesale unless you want to design them yourself. In Life's Bazaar all you need to keep is the missing children and the dungeon slaver encounter where the beholder takes Terrem. Drakthar's Way is entirely unnecessary anyway. It's essentially a side-quest to give the PCs more loot and XP before Flood Season. In Flood Season the PCs battle a cult that never even appears again. The only detail you need to keep here is that the cult of whatever dungeon you use made one of the thirteen cages for the tree of shackled souls. And finally, for Zenith Trajectory you just need a dungeon where Zenith is trapped. And there you are at Demonskar Legacy right where you left off. You can even call the dungeons the same thing. In My SCAP my players never remembered much of the early dungeons anyway aside from Jzadirune. The truth is a lot of these dungeons are pretty generic in the sense that they could be plopped into just about any story with a few details changed. Bear in mind these adventures were written originally for Dungeon Magazine in installments with the assumption that some people were running them as one-shots.

If your players have more of a storyteller mindset, well then the SCAP hardcover provides so much to create memorable roleplaying encounters. You have the chance to play-up all sorts of elements that you likely missed the first time around. Cauldron is exhaustively detailed.

Personally, I am running Rise of the Runelords right now and playing it with a separate group as a player at the same time (the GM doesn't mind). Both games are being run pretty much straight from the book. The other GM and I are each making our own little tweaks but all the major plot points are the same. And it's actually a lot of fun to see things from both sides at once. The game I am playing in is a bit ahead of mine which suits me just fine, but there are a lot of things that don't surprise me and I've given my character a self-imposed handicap to make things a little more challenging.

If it has been three years, I would just run it as it is and maybe make a few tweaks along the way as the muse strikes. Feel free to eliminate encounters you feel are repetitive or were overplayed last time and nudge the PCs to make sure they explore things they missed before. It's my experience that most D&D groups play for the socialization and the satisfaction of monster killing and looting rather than a novel experience every time. If you look at things like Pathfinder Society and it's origins in the RPGA Living campaigns, those adventures are so formulaic and predictable yet people continue to turn out in droves to play them because character-building is fun and so is hanging out with your buddies and meeting new folks.

Hope I've made some helpful suggestions.

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I just wanted to post this here for posterity and for others to use as inspiration when running the SCAP in Eberron. Use what you like and discard what you don't. Much of this was developed over the last year as I ran the SCAP for my group in My Eberron. My Eberron might be a little different from Your Eberron, but Eberron fans everywhere always seem to enjoy sharing their ideas and borrowing from each other. I've used a lot of ideas from Your Eberron in the crafting of this guide (many from the threads here at Paizo), including a little help from Keith Baker the man himself, so thank you all! Quotes are attributed below.

And for those who didn't read the title very carefully: HERE THAR BE SPOILERS! If you're playing in the SCAP for the first time and don't want to know what happens next, you should probably hold off on reading this thread until you are done. You've been warned twice now.

Most of these conversions assume you are using the hardcover SCAP, so if you are using the Dungeon magazines only, a few things might be unfamiliar as content was added to the hardcover. Important key elements which are converted are in bold

Adimarchus is an Overlord from the Age of Fiends. He ruled over Eberron with other fiendish Overlords during the Age of Demons. Unlike most Overlords, Adimarchus initially avoided being banished to Khyber. He fled to Shavarath where he came to rule a demonic horde and conquered a portion of the realm which came to be known as Occipitus. Like the rest of Shavarath, Occipitus has traded hands between devils, demons, and archons many times. The story behind Athux remains essentially the same, although Graz’zt, the imprisoned Overlord worshiped by the Enshrouded (Player’s Guide to Eberron 35) was forced to work through his agents in dreams and portents. In My Eberron, Adimarchus is a rakshasa rajah (see also Vhalantru below), but this is not necessary.

Skullrot is a prison in Khyber originally created for Adimarchus and his minions but never fully used due to Adimarchus’ escape. Graz’zt had always resented Adimarchus’ escape and worked through his agents for tens of thousands of years to force Adimarchus into the same fate as he.

Demodands are keepers of the prisons of Khyber. They are outsiders with the native subtype like the rakshasa, "children of Khyber herself. Legends say that the dragons were formed when drops of Siberys' blood struck Eberron (while the couatl formed from drops in midair, which is why they are outsiders and the dragons are mortal)... The demodands were formed from the blood of wounded Khyber, [giving] their liquid forms a crimson sheen."1 With the advent of the Age of Demons, the demodands were quick to ally themselves with the Overlords, becoming the wardens of fiendish prisons. They made an egregious tactical blunder during the Dragon-Fiend Wars which forced upon them a peculiar irony. Their entire race was pressed into becoming jailers for the masters they once served. Although allowed to come and go from Khyber, they know they must always return.

The Cagewrights are a Cult of the Dragon which seeks to bring Xoriat coterminous to Eberron. Dyr’ryd hopes that the influx of daelkyr and aberrations from Xoriat will force the denizens of the Material Plane to banish more creatures to Khyber, enhancing his status as a warden. Rather than sending fecund demodands to Eberron, he sought out thirteen pairs of dragonmarked individuals and manipulated them to interbreed, resulting in thirteen lines of unique aberrant dragonmarks. Individuals with these aberrant dragonmarks are known as the Shackleborn and their particular aberrant dragonmarks are known as the Xorian Sign (rather than the Carcerian Sign). The ritual of planar junction is designed to bring Xoriat coterminous to Eberron for the first time in thousands of years. (Luckily for most of Khorvaire, the dimensional seals created by the Gatekeepers prevent denizens of Xoriat from entering Eberron through the Shadow Marches.)

When the ritual of planar junction occurs in Foundation of Flame, aberrations from Xoriat of whatever variety you choose fall from the sky instead of demodands. If you want to take the easy route, you can more closely associate demodands with Xoriat in some way. Perhaps it is their original native plane, or perhaps the demodands pouring out of the gate to Xoriat were captured during the daelkyr invasion and brought back to Xoriat until the ritual released them. They would of course be completely mad from the experience.

The Ebon Triad is also known as The Three (Faiths of Eberron 28), a cult which believes Dol Arrah, Dol Dorn, and The Mockery are all a single aspect of the same war deity. Because Eberron allows worshipers and clerics to serve any deity regardless of alignment, no change is needed to the cultists in Flood Season aside from cosmetics. Substitute Erythnul for Dol Dorn, Hextor for Dol Arrah, and Vecna for The Mockery. I would not worry about changing Triel's and Tarkilar's domains. Your players likely won't notice unless you are converting the stat blocks to Pathfinder, and even then it shouldn't matter much.

Cauldron is a city in Xen’drik located in the center of the Skyfall Peninsula, about 70 miles south of Stormreach (which replaces Sasserine). This places it close to the unelaborated Throne Gate Ruins (Secrets of Xen’drik 24), which could become the Keep of the Jarl Khurok if you desire. Alternatively, the city could be placed deep inside Xen’drik if you want to isolate Cauldron more or have some fun with the Traveler’s Curse (Secrets of Xen’drik 25); this could require some adjustments to the story behind Flood Season and Sarcem’s journey, or perhaps it could simply explain why he has been gone so long. Another excellent choice is to place Cauldron somewhere within Q’Barra, such as the Endworld Mountains. The environment would be more temperate than the jungle climate described in the SCAP, and it could be a bit more difficult to explain the presence of nearby sites like the Demonskar and Shatterhorn, but traveling to these locations could be turned into long-term journeys to the Demon Wastes and Xen'drik respectively to more easily fit Eberron canon. Keith Baker actually suggested placing Cauldron in the Demon Wastes, which would fit the Demonskar storyline well enough but might make other things a bit more difficult. I prefer Xen’drik because large parts were intentionally left as a blank canvas for DMs to do with as they like.

Cauldron exists within a manifest zone to Xoriat, unknown to most people. In this case the primary side effect is a larger proportion of madness within the population.

The Cauldron Timeline requires no changes to the dates themselves, simply the modification of a few details.
• The spellweavers emerged from Khyber 3,000 years ago, placing it about a thousand years after the Age of Monsters.
• The portal opened accidentally by the spellweavers 1,820 years ago leads to an area of Shavarath which has been mostly ruled by demons. An alternative explanation is that the Demonskar is located somewhere in the Demon Wastes, although this disrupts much of the history regarding Surabar Spellmason’s settlers.
• After passing through the recently founded pirate city of Stormreach 710 years ago, Surabar Spellmason and his plucky followers focused their efforts on the Demonskar, explaining why the settlement of Cauldron has gone mostly unnoticed by historians in Khorvaire if you go the isolated route.
• The prospectors and adventurers attracted to the region 680 years ago are mostly former pirates and Stormreachers. They keep the discoveries relatively secret if you go the isolated route; most of the goods exported from Stormreach are assumed to be pirated or recovered from ruins by adventurers anyway.

The Church of St. Cuthbert is instead devoted to the Silver Flame. All unnamed clerics should be converted to adepts or experts.

Maavu’s Imports could be associated with the Transportation Guild of House Orien, running trade caravans between Cauldron and Stormreach. Maavu might be an Orien heir.

Garthûn’s Imports could be associated with the Windwrights Guild of House Lyrandar and have access to an airship for carrying cargo between Cauldron and Stormreach. This is a good explanation for the competitive relationship between Maavu and Garthûn. Garthûn might be a Lyrandar heir and pilot the airship himself; make sure to change him to a half-elf in this case.

The Drunken Morkoth Inn is a prime location for a House Ghallanda enclave.

Skie’s Treasury notes several other adventuring companies, one of which is The Singers of Ehlonna. Convert them to The Singers of Arawai if you use that detail. Also, if you want to keep Skie closer to the right side of the law, instead of being associated with the Last Laugh, Skie could have an arrangement with the Warding Guild of House Kundarak or the Warning Guild of House Medani. The sigil of either guild would be a clear message to Eberron PCs against robbing her. Skie herself might be a Sivis heir or have a relative who Sivis heir who runs a Sivis message station.

The Coy Nixie or Cusp of Sunrise is an ideal location for a House Phiarlan enclave and Cauldron’s home for the Entertainers and Artisans Guild. Be sure to include some elves on staff. Lady Ophelia ir'Knowlern might be a Phiarlan heir.

Nobility should have the prefix ir’ attached to their names, as in ir’Vanderboren, ir'Taskerhill, or ir'Rhiavadi. The Lathenmires are not officially nobility so you don't need to add the prefix to their names.

The Last Laugh is part of the Shadow Network of House Thuranni. This does not necessitate changing any of the stats of the characters, but perhaps Jil or Velior could become Thuranni heirs (make sure to make them elves in that event). Alternately, Jil would make a fine changeling.

The Sure Foot Livery is a good location for a House Vadalis enclave and/or location of a local chapter of the Handlers Guild, as well as a place to purchase magebred animals.

Gurnezarn’s Smithy could include magewright apprentices. Gurnezarn himself ought to at least be a magewright or even an artificer instead of an expert and might even have the Mark of Making. You could even make Gurnezarn and the Lathenmires both associated with House Cannith and the Fabricators Guild, but owing allegiance to a different patriarch.

Temple of Lordly Might is devoted to the Sovereign Host and Asfelkir is a disciple of Dol Dorn. The unnamed clerics should be converted to adepts or experts. Another option is to transform this into a House Jorasco enclave, i.e. a place the PCs can go to purchase healing, since that is not something churches generally sell in Eberron. It also fits with the story of Embril having a large number of good priests assassinated and leaving few behind to thwart her; she wouldn't feel as threatened by House Jorasco.

Weer’s Elixirs could be run by an artificer instead of a wizard.

The Cathedral of Wee Jas is instead devoted to the Blood of Vol. The unnamed clerics should be converted to adepts or experts. Embril could secretly be a cleric of the Keeper or the Cult of the Dragon Below, but she could just as easily be one of the evil members of Vol's church.

Bluecrater Academy could be an establishment run by The Twelve, housing lesser enclaves for those houses that do not have their own.

The Church of Pelor can be dedicated to The Path of Light or The Undying Court if you wish for kalashtar or elves to have a greater presence in the city. Otherwise it is simply another church devoted to the Sovereign Host. If you convert the Temple of Lordly Might to a House Jorasco enclave then this could simply be the only church to the Sovereign Host left in town.

Taskerhill Manor could be associated with the Fabricators Guild through the family workshops. The contact Ankhin ir’Taskerhill made in Stormreach to kill Cauldron's Lord Mayor prior to the beginning of the campaign might be associated with the Order of the Emerald Claw, which operates quite openly there. This might explain how the Cagewrights silenced his contact so easily given their connection to the Blood of Vol.

The Half-Orc Mercenary Camp ir'Vhalantru sets up is a perfect place to become a camp for House Tharashk mercenaries when it appears. Since those with the Mark of Finding can also be human, and House Tharashk has mercenaries of all races, it does not have to be all half-orcs. It could simply be the House Tharashk mercenary camp. Most of them should be warriors, however, not fighters.

The Striders of Fharlanghn can be handled in a variety of ways. The simplest and most aligned with Eberron canon is to convert them to Gatekeepers. Meerthan could be a druid instead of a wizard, but not all Gatekeepers are druids so this is not necessary. Another option is to make the Striders followers of The Traveler. Although The Traveler is in some ways similar to Fharlanghn, being the patron of travelers, this presents an interesting conundrum, since The Traveler embraces change, which is certainly going to happen if the Cagewrights get their way. On the other hand, The Traveler is a god of evolution and creation, and the Striders might be trying to nudge evolution in a particular direction rather than striving to “preserve the balance of power.” This option at least offers some interesting possibilities, such as making Meerthan a changeling (removing the need for a hat of disguise), or converting Fario and Fellian to shifters. For a truly interesting twist, Meerthan or one of the other Striders could be The Traveler himself! However, if you really want to keep the nature of the Striders in line with their original purpose and do not feel like making them Gatekeepers or followers of the Traveler is appropriate, there are many other possibilities, such as making them agents of the Chamber who have noticed the appearance of the Xorian Signs as a harbinger of danger (Meerthan could be a dragon in alternate form). There are quite a few directions you could go with this. Plenty of organizations in Eberron would have a vested interest in keeping the Cagewrights from bringing Xoriat coterminous to Eberron.

The nearby Demonskar is a manifest zone to Shavarath; side effects are as described in Demonskar Legacy.

Orbius ir'Vhalantru requires no conversion aside from the name change. As a beholder with gauth minions, you should consider making him a minion of Belashyrra, Daelkyr Lord of Eyes. His first name makes his true identity a dead giveaway in my humble opinion, but this actually fits better within Eberron due to the inscrutable nature of aberrations and their thought patterns. It might not actually seem so obvious to Vhalantru with his alien mind.

In My Eberron, I decided to make Vhalantru an ak'chazar rakshasa (MM3) with the Cloak of Khyber spell (City of Stormreach 59), which I found to be a much more compelling, Eberron-fitting villain and far less silly than a beholder in a simulacrum suit. However, I turned "the beholder" into a sort of alter-ego. I kept the encounters with the beholder virtually the same. The chief difference was that the beholder was simply a powerful illusion the entire time, designed to throw the PCs off Vhalantru's actual intent and identity; I even threw in a few references to Belashyrra as a red herring to make the PCs think perhaps the Lord of Eyes was the mastermind behind Cauldron's woes. In Life's Bazaar for example, Vhalantru himself teleported down to the Malachite Hold rather than Thifirane, crafting a powerful illusion of a beholder to "rescue" Terrem while remaining invisible himself. In Lords of Oblivion, I replaced the gauths with zakya rakshasas disguised to look like Vhalantru's House Tharashk cronies. Rather than being an unwitting tool of Adimarchus' mad dreams, he is a willing and able Lord of Dust who desired to release his master Adimarchus from Skullrot and manipulated the Cagewrights to achieve his ends, a plot hundreds of years in the making. This is a twist from the default SCAP story, in which the Cagewrights help elevate Vhalantru to power, believing him a pliable individual.

Those are the primary conversions. Throughout the AP there are isolated cases in which you will need to make a few other changes based on religion and Eberron flavor. The Wee Jas followers in Test of the Smoking Eye could become agents of the Emerald Claw, and the eladrin and angels should be converted to archons. Aberrations like the grell in Life's Bazaar should always be portrayed as having alien and inscrutable minds. Aside from things like this, you should have everything else you need.

Hope you enjoy running the SCAP in Eberron! I sure did.

1 Keith Baker

I am running into a bit of a conundrum regarding Golarion goblins, and maybe it stems from my lack of familiarity with the setting. I have very little experience with Golarion. I recently joined a Pathfinder group which was starting up a Rise of the Runelords campaign set in the default setting of Golarion. Not being familiar with the campaign setting or region, I deliberately chose an outsider style character, a Mwangi human from a faraway land. He is Lawful Good, believes in ancestor worship, and holds all sentient life sacred, believing even the wicked may be redeemed or at the very least ought to be granted a chance to repent for their crimes.

So, not really a spoiler here as I understand it, but goblins attack from the start, and everyone other character in the party, including the good-aligned ones, seem to find no problem with exterminating goblins on sight from that point forward. And to the other players, all of whom have played quite a bit in other Adventure Paths set in Golarion or Pathfinder Society, this does not seem abnormal. To them, goblins are categorically evil, irredeemable creatures essentially deserving of genocide. (They also seem to think goblins are stupid, but that's another discussion.) And the GM portrays them much the same way. But to my character, goblins are sentient creatures, and like any other sentient creatures, they have free will, including the choice to do evil or good. Now I am not saying that my character does not recognize that there is not a general racial tendency among goblins toward evil, simply that they are not automatons programmed to do evil, and therefore laws should apply fairly to them and mercy should be applied when possible.

I went through the Pathfinder setting books which I have and the Bestiary. I also read the ten facts about goblins. I found one reference to goblins being described as insane, but aside from being generally evil creatures and stories of a horrific war against goblins in Isger, I couldn't really find enough justification for their depiction as completely insane and irredeemable creatures.

I understand that Pathfinder goblins are not the same as D&D goblins. I also recognize that D&D goblins are largely based on Tolkien goblins (who were categorically wicked creatures by all accounts). But D&D always seemed to leave some grey areas for creatures like them. Many GMs have allowed players to play goblins who are not evil throughout D&D's history. It is even my understanding that there is a rare cert out there that allows players in Pathfinder Society to play a goblin as a PC. And some settings (such as Eberron) even go so far as to give their culture a touch of nobility, even if it is rather brutal. Goblins in some settings co-exist alongside humans, sometimes peacefully.

This depiction of goblins to me, as a player, seems extreme, far more on the Tolkien-esque side of things than the D&D side of things. But my character has been insisting on taking captives when possible while my fellow players have been engaging in summary execution at every opportunity. It has caused no small amount of party tension. (We are rational players however, and this does not extend to player-player interactions, simply in-character actions.) Now I can continue to play off my character's attitude as simply ignorant of goblin nature (he does not, after all, have any ranks in Knowledge (local) and is not native to the region) as well as Varisian custom regarding the treatment of goblins. But I do not feel my opinion as a player, that goblins are theoretically capable of any alignment, is necessarily wrong. But perhaps I simply don't have the context of having played in Golarion enough to understand what all of my fellow players take for granted.

So tell me, are Pathfinder goblins categorically insane? Incapable of reason? Are they innately evil? Can they be redeemed?

I am currently running a Pathfinder campaign set in the Eberron Campaign Setting. We meet weekly on Monday nights from 6:30 pm to 10:30 pm. My group currently has a spot for one new player, as one of our current players is likely to be leaving us very soon. The campaign is a new chapter in a previous Eberron campaign which used D&D 3.5 rules and ended back in June. We continue to use the same campaign setting and canon from the previous campaign, but it is not an important factor in the new campaign, merely window dressing and a way for my current players to see that their actions have had an impact on the world.

My group meets in the San Antonio area. At present we have five players, with one leaving soon, so I am looking for someone to take his place. The setting is the world of Eberron in the city of Stormreach, an independent city ruled by pirates on the edge of civilization where might makes right. Prior knowledge of the setting is not necessary, but might enhance your enjoyment of the game. I am looking for mature gamers in the age range of mid 20s and older. Our group is mostly male, but females are welcome to join as long as they are comfortable with mature conversation. I would term our group as casual powergamers. We like to optimize characters, but we also don't mind a bit of table-talk, usually limited to the beginning of the session during set-up. Language is adult and not kid-friendly. Role-playing is fun, but killing monsters and taking their stuff is more fun. We use miniatures and battle maps and I require players to bring miniatures, tokens, or some representation of their characters for the battle map (doesn't have to be anything fancy, just something that easily distinguishes your character from other stuff on the map).

My DM style is old-school with lots of hack-and-slash, dungeon-crawling, dice-rolling, and high fantasy adventure. Players are allowed to play multiple characters as adventuring can be a risky business and character mortality is high in this campaign. As a result, development of character personality and backgrounds is not so important in the beginning, and should develop organically as play progresses. I run a tight ship. I do NOT tolerate rules-lawyering and arguments at the table, although I have an open-door policy for players to contact me through email or phone if they wish to discuss elements of the campaign or their characters with which they are not happy. I am actually pretty easy going as far as how you want to play your character and provide many options for you to customize or change a character if some element didn't work out as planned or one of your characters isn't as fun as you imagined it would be.

As this is only my second campaign running Pathfinder (and the first was short), some options are currently limited due to my experience. Other options become available upon player request and as I become more comfortable with the system. I have lots of experience as a DM in various editions of D&D, especially with 3.5, so it doesn't take long for me to get the hang of things. If there are particular rules you are interested in, please make me aware of this and I will be happy to incorporate them sooner rather than later. I am always adding new things to the campaign, including unique and interesting items.

Joining the group will require an Obsidian Portal account and an email address which you regularly check as these are the two primary means through which I keep in touch with my players and provide supplementary material (house rules, character creation, etc.) to the group. You can check out the Obsidian Portal site by clicking here.

If you are interested in this campaign, please contact me via PM and by posting in this thread. Good hunting!

I appeciate the feedback everyone. I am sure this has been discussed to death in other threads in the past but I am relatively new to Pathfinder, having just adopted it about six months ago. I have a bit to chew on. I will search the forums for synthesist discussions and make my decision from there. One of the excellent points that I didn't consider was the fact that it breaks the polymorph SOP in PF. Thank you for that.

blackbloodtroll wrote:
What is the rules question?

I probably should have posted this in Advice. Sorry for that.

I am about to start running a Rise of the Runelords AEAP and one of my players has requested to play a summoner with the Synergist archetype. I have some experience with PF but mostly limited to the core rules. At first glance it seems the Synergist gets practically all of the benefits of the eidolon without the key disadvantage that taking out the summoner takes out the eidolon. At least in theory, this disadvantage had always been the thing that has kept me from believing the summoner itself is overpowered. The character and eidolon become one and the same which seems like a huge power boost. Tons of hp, AC, saves, high BAB and lot of versatility. It Almost seems like playing a 2nd or 3rd level character right off the bat. I am giving my players the individual option of using either the core rulebook only with 20 point buy and some bonus equipment or using anything available in the PRD with a 15 point buy. Game would be starting at 1st level.

So what is your opinion and experience with the Synergist archetype? I have never had a player play a summoner or a Synergist for that matter in my campaigns and I would like some advice.

First death just occurred in my SCAP. It happened when the PCs invaded House Rhiavadi in Lords of Oblivion and came across the encounter I shall heretofore refer to as the clusterf--- of all encounters. So many different NPCs...

They sneaked around the outside of the house invisibly and looked for an unoccupied room on the ground floor, then popped in with a dimension door. A couple Listen checks later, they could hear Lady Rhiavadi giving her spiel on the second floor and started heading that way. Then they ran into the shield guardian in front of the bedroom and the sneaky way went the way of the dodo. They dispatched the shield guardian quickly in one round, but soon after heard spellcasting a few rooms over. They cast a few spells themselves and set up in defensive positions. Then the s--- hit the fan.

The babaus teleported into the room they were in after one of the PCs made enough noise to alert the NPCs as to their presence in the adjacent room. The shadow and dread wraith proceeded to enter the room from the ethereal plane and pop into place in optimal flanking positions. The dwarves breached the door into the room and then the spells from the casters started flying. The Blue Duke assumed gaseous form and moved into the center of the room to have optimal attack range against all the PCs who were essentially cornered and separated from each other. The PCs were smart enough to cast death ward before entering and so Mhad the vampire ended up dealing with Shensen's summoned monsters as they appeared, which was a sufficient distraction nevertheless (Shensen is a cohort of one my PCs).

One of the PCs, a kalashtar soulknife got trapped in a forcecage cast by Thifirane, but was promptly rescued by the rogue heir of House Orien (my SCAP is set in Eberron) who used an action surge to dimension door in and out in a single round. Meanwhile, the dread wraith was pounding the hell out of the fighter/wizard in another corner sapping him for Con drain for several rounds. It was to be his downfall. He succumbed to the Con drain and died. I rolled a 1 on the time until he rose as a wraith and so the PCs had little time until they were dealing with two wraiths (although the spawn was not quite as bad, it was still a double whammy of Con drain).

In the meantime they had managed to kill one of the clerics, two of the dwarves, and knock the Blue Duke down with truly incredibly amounts of nonlethal damage, ensuring he would not arise for many rounds to come. Unfortunately, the spellcasters in the other room just kept harrying them spell after spell and the dread wraith moved on to the kalashtar. Two rounds later, after a couple lucky rolls on the Con drain and some damage that had been dealt by the dwarves, the kalashtar was unconscious (but not dead). It was about that time I had to step in with a little deus ex. The rogue heir of Orien was out of teleports and the situation was looking dire.

Meerthan teleported in with the other Striders as well as Alek Tercival and Jenya who proceeded to destroy the wraiths with searing lights as quickly as possible while Fario and Alek moved into to provide cover. Meerthan and Rhiavadi engaged in a mono a mono spell duel (which ended in a draw; DM fiat since they are both approximately equal in power level). Jenya revived the kalashtar soulknife and he and the rogue proceeded to take down the remaining dwarf and push the bad guys back further. Finally, Lady Rhiavadi determined that events had gotten out of control and teleported away with a handful of the remaining mercenaries (only three remained), vowing to meet them in Oblivion if they dared where she would finish the job.

Jenya resurrected the fighter/wizard and some fire damage was lobbed onto the Blue Duke to finish him off. Then the PCs got to ransack the manor for all its valuable goodies. It was an epic session. I am really looking forward to Oblivion now. The PCs have a definite grudge against Rhiavadi now and really want to even the score.

OP, as soon as your players rescued Star (Keygan's familiar) and got the prisoners out, there is no story-based reason not to seal the entrance to Jzadirune up for good and leave the monsters down there to rot. I don't think there is much to worry about in the long term unless you want to be nasty and have one of the NPCs return as a recurring villain.

I recycle bad guys all the time in my SCAP. My PCs rarely have a complete and total rout of every monster in a dungeon. There is always a race, a chase, and a jockeying for power going on. For example, Skaven got away in Flood Season when the PCs left the dungeon after killing Triel and Tarkilar and getting the minimum number of wands necessary. He later appeared in Secrets of the Soul Pillars as Fetor Abradius' apprentice (it seemed a good fit). Jil has also popped up several times as an antagonist before they finally stormed the Brass Trumpet and killed her off.

Just recently, Thifirane Rhiavadi teleported away to Oblivion with a handful of mercenaries after it became clear the battle was not on her side. The PCs have started to get smart and are preparing dimensional anchor more often, but sometimes these things happen.

They routinely skip out entire portions of dungeons. I often make mention when they gather rumors that the Stormblades (or some other adventuring party; there are a couple others in Cauldron I have created) went in and cleaned house afterwards. My players have complained to me that they are a bit under-equipped, but I always point out to them that if they were ransacking every dungeon along the way not only would they be higher level, but they would be raking in the loot. But they seem more interested in advancing the storyline and more the noble hero types than the greedy dungeon-looting types so I have given them a few other tangible benefits along the way to help make up for this. Jenya casts spells for them at cost (they only need provide expensive material components). One of the PCs has joined the Striders and gets assistance from them, even taking Shensen as a cohort. Another PC is a respected member of House Orien (my campaign is set in Eberron) and has all of his living expenses paid as well as the speedy messenger services of House Orien at his disposal.

So there are plenty of ways to handle things when the PCs decide to skip portions of dungeons. Truth be told there is enough loot and XP in this AP for a party of six to come out of it completely decked out in magical gear and levels (not to mention copious amounts of slippers of spider climbing which seem to pop up on every other NPC). So if they skip a little bit along the way they aren't missing out on vital components.

If you knew the player as well as I do, you would probably be as certain as I am that he is not metagaming. He reads blogs written by folks who still like to adapt the old Red Box rules and doesn't care much for adventure modules, let alone adventure paths in general. I can't rule out the possibility that he somehow stumbled across it long ago and the memory is being subconsciously expressed, but I honestly believe that his only justification is the name Vhalantru.

Anyway, we are coming upon on Oblivion soon. They will all learn the "truth" soon. I will certainly update you when they do.

Quite frankly I am surprised to hear someone say this about Eberron. I have always believed one of Eberron's greatest strengths is its lack of excessive detail. I would urge you to take another look at the setting, but this time with a different set of lenses on. This time, look at is as, "Here are some ideas. Take them and run with them in whatever direction you like!" Vast swathes of the world are undetailed or left specifically vague. The whole world, except for a couple cities, is practically a giant sandbox. Xen'Drik is the perfect example. Secrets of Xen'Drik doesn't tell you so much what is in Xen'Drik and where, but what MIGHT be there and where it MIGHT be located. Aside from a small map of a BIG continent with a mere handful of landmarks, the continent is practically a blank slate.

Compare Eberron to a more established setting like Forgotten Realms or Greyhawk. Now those are two settings that I would definitely call a bit constrained, unless you want to go "off the map." And if you consider the novels to be canon, well then you don't hardly have a single story that hasn't already been told. But with Eberron you get a total of two cities (count 'em, there's two) that are given any significant detail and both are on the same continent. The Five Nations are given their own book, but the descriptions of them leave so much room for interpretation. And let us also remember the "alignment is gray" rule within Eberron. You don't like the Church of the Silver Flame being Lawful Good? No one said it absolutely had to be. Heck, of the few priests who are actually given write-ups, a good number are Lawful Evil.

But if you don't like anything about Eberron lore, using the mechanics in a setting of your own design, or even mashing it with another setting is perfectly acceptable. It might be a lot of work, but the magipunk is a great deal of fun. I run my D&D campaigns in Eberron almost exclusively these days and I find the more players who discover it, the more they like it. But it's MY Eberron. There is very little true canon to adhere to (if you even care to adhere to canon) and so many potential plot hooks left for you to develop in any direction you wish.

Best thing about Eberron: no one has claimed it. There are no Harpers who dominate the affairs of an entire continent. There is no ultimate Circle of Eight wizards who are far and away more powerful than your PCs will ever be. There are no Sorcerer Kings who rule with an iron fist. Few Eberron NPCs are even beyond level 10! (And many of those who are have levels in NPC classes like Aristocrat or Warrior.) Eberron is a true world for your players to make their own mark upon and I love it for that.

This is my third time running the SCAP (not counting an online pbp attempt which was prematurely aborted during chapter 1). We just finished Secrets of the Soul Pillars and so far there have been ZERO deaths. I think my PCs are lucky because it did not go that way the first two times around. We also started with seven players, but now we have three (plus one of the players took Shensen as a cohort). And they are still doing well. They play very smart. They do a lot of planning, a lot of scouting, and think things through before charging head-long into battle. They have actually managed to avoid a good number of encounters entirely (such as Dugobras, Dhorlot, and Vhorkaire). Their chief scout is a rogue/dragonmarked heir of Orien (campaign set in Eberron) who teleports quite frequently and has an incredible Hide and Move Silently skill to gather information. They have also been wise and curried good will with many NPCs. One of them (a LG kalashtar soulknife) zealously tithes to the Church of the Silver Flame (St. Cuthbert) for which I have rewarded him with a number of helpful long-term spells from Jenya. Another has joined the Striders of the Traveler (Fharlanghn) and taken Shensen as a cohort. They even made nice with the Stormblades and cooperate with them on a regular basis now. I am actually very impressed with how well a small team has tackled the AP so far. There have been some close calls to be sure, and no one has botched a saving throw versus death (there have been a handful from massive damage and spells). But they play together very well as a team and play smart.

I don't want to reinvent the wheel here, so I figured I would ask first before I spend a lot of time on this. I own a limited supply of minis. And my players are starting to get a little tired of the vrock and the slaad representing every large evil outsider, not to mention orcs being most of the random mooks. So I want to know if anyone has produced a set of original printable monster tokens for the SCAP. If Paizo had a pdf or hard copy set for sale I would buy it in a pinch, but I did not see anything of that nature in the online store. I am certain someone out there has done something similar, at least to a point, and wanted to see what was out there before I go making my own.

I have the dungeon magazines on my iPhone and it actually works great! I use the stat blocks on my iPhone while following along the plot in the hardcover. Works like a charm.

Thanks for your comments, everyone.

I never thought the idea of Vhalantru being a beholder as a very good idea. I liked the foreshadowing of the fact that there is a beholder behind things (especially so since beholders are aberrations, and in my campaign which is based in Eberron, aberrations are tied closely to the plane of Xoriat, which has replaced Carceri in my campaign). So I never wanted to do this just to spite the player. I was thinking of changing the background a bit all along; I am just concerned now that the player will miss a chance to say "Yes! I was right!" if I change things.

Well, I've gone and made up my mind. Someone on EN World made an exceptional suggestion, that Vhalantru is actually a Rakshasa. I love that, since I can tie it in with the Lords of Dust (Vhalantru is an agent of the Lords of Dust seeking to use the Cagewrights to his own ends). One of the ideas that I believe I liked the most however was the suggestion that the whole beholder incident was a sophisticated illusion, a ruse which Vhalantru trots out from time to time to intimidate people. There is no beholder! Thifirane (a transmuter) is the one who turns adventurers to stone when they get to be too troublesome and gifts the statues to Vhalantru who has an odd sense of humor. Vhalantru has the same position in the story as stated, but is a Rakshasa who follows the Lords of Dust and is an independent associate of the Cagewrights merely interested in ruling Cauldron in the new era and using his influence to help free the Overlords (in the grand scheme of things he is a minor player). Rather than have a simulacrum suit (which I always thought was a silly item), Vhalantru has a unique ring of greater mind shielding which works like a ring of mind shielding but also prevents true seeing from revealing his true form. I feel like this fits the meta-plot of Eberron better and is a better background than the one given.

The player in question has already had a few "Aha!" moments. I don't think I am going to feel bad about this one.

Spoiler Alert!
If you are currently a player in a Shackled City campaign you might want to just skip this entire thread.

You've been warned.

TL;DR version: Is it okay to change a background secret of the campaign which a player has figured out, regardless of how spurious the player's evidence is or how silly the secret as written is?

So I have been wrestling with this, and wanted to ask some fellow players and DMs what they think. For those who are not in the know, one of the chief villains of the first half of this campaign is a beholder who masquerades as a member of the nobility in the city of Cauldron, where the campaign is based. The beholder makes an ominous appearance in the very first chapter of the campaign as a beholder, call it a cameo appearance. But the PCs learn scant little about him at this point. He shows up to whisk a child away for "safe-keeping." Anyway, all of that is beside the point.

The point is the PCs know from the very beginning of the campaign that there is a beholder in Cauldron, but they don't know where he is. Now, I have refrained from using his full name in my campaign, that of "Orbius Vhalantru" because it is just too obvious. I always refer to him simply as "Lord Vhalantru." The PCs are 13th level and have met Lord Vhalantru at several points now. One of the PCs has even gone into business with him. Because of their level they are expecting to run into the beholder literally any moment. And one of the players has figured it out (more on that later).

Now I have never given the PCs any real solid clues as to who the beholder is. That is because all of the important players in Cauldron have secrets to hide, whether they are good guys or bad guys, and they have the means to keep those secrets pretty well. Now the PCs know one thing for certain: Vhalantru is a bad guy. They have recently learned that he gave the order to have them killed. And they are about to deal with it. And when they do, the time of truth will arrive.

You see, this whole time I have kept the Vhalantru/beholder identity under tight wraps because to be frank, I always felt it was a little to obvious myself, not to mention ridiculous. The explanation is that the beholder has an item called a simulacrum suit that makes him seem human. I find it hard to believe that for someone in the public eye as much as Vhalantru, not one person has ever pierced his illusion one way or another. So I have kept an alternative explanation tucked away and now is the time when I need to decide whether or not to use it. The alternative explanation is that "the beholder" is actually the Lord Mayor (or the Lord Mayor is the beholder's puppet), who has been missing for a few months (and guess who stepped in to take his place, Vhalantru). This explanation works perfectly because prior to encountering him, the beholder has been away tending to matters with the evil Cagewrights, a group plotting to open a permanent gate to Carceri (in my campaign, it is Xoriat because I have set it in Eberron). If the Lord Mayor is the beholder, this explains why the Lord Mayor might have gone missing. And if Vhalantru is just another noble, he could have easily been charmed by the beholder and forced to make a lot of bad decisions, like trying to have the party killed and raising taxes to pay for the Cagewrights' plans, especially if Vhalantru is an otherwise self-serving type individual (and most nobles are). Vhalantru might not be a paragon of virtue, but he's not necessarily a bad guy, a beholder has charmed him and brought out the worst in him and used him for his purposes.

So here is where the ethical dilemma comes in. As I mentioned earlier, one of the players has figured it out, so to speak. He doesn't really have any good reason. Every session he reiterates his position (and he has done this since the first session he heard the name "Vhalantru"): "Vhalantru must be the beholder because only a beholder would be named Vhalantru." That's his evidence right there. He rarely, if ever, points to anything else. Even some of the other players doubt him because they think it is silly to make accusations based on such "logic." I know all of the players pretty well. We sometimes hang out outside of gaming. None of the players (the one who guessed it included) has ever subscribed to Dungeon or purchased the Shackled City campaign book. So I am relatively certain they don't have any "insider information." In other words, they would never know the difference if I change the beholder and make it the Lord Mayor who "disappeared." But I would know that I took what might seem like an "I knew it!" moment away from a player.

So what do you think I should do? Go with the campaign as written and keep the silly "Orbius Vhalantru is a beholder!" moment but give the player his moment to feel gratified? Or go with the alternative explanation which I feel makes more sense?