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Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

roysier wrote:

Corps is a great title. But it should be corpses.

I would suggest Press corp in Karlsgard now that would be a twist.

True that, true that... I blame my phone :)

@Michael: Thanks for the reply! That looks more in line with what's to be expected in the high tier.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

Hi all,

It looks like a fun scenario, but what's the idea of the final encounter in the high tier?

Tactics: Use the same as subtier 5-6.

You get a lot of fun 5th and 6th level spells that are not supposed to be used, and the wall of 3 skeletons with 42 HP each is not going to stop anyone with a +5 to hit. Both the attack and the defense of the enemies (both the seriously weakened gnome and the skeletons) is way below what should be expected at knoll 8-9.

Am I missing something, or is this a case of editing gone wrong, in which case, how to proceed?

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

Exactly: Since the DC between the two options varies, imo cross-skill assists lead to weird situations, as Lau described above.
Also, the rules for Aid Another on skill checks indicate you have to make the same skill check to assist in the check. Allowing cross-skill assists is usually a GM fiat, based on a specific situation.

As for how to deal with the rolling: It's as Lau described above. I give them max 1 minute to decide the approach (ending with a "5... 4... 3... 2... 1... Choose!), and have them all roll at once. You want to keep up the speed in a chase scene, which should in turn keep the players more towards the edge of their seats.
In my experience, it usually ends either with a decision based on "a majority of the players is good at one of the approaches", or with "one player is excessively good at one of the approach".

One thing that usually comes up that has not been covered by chase rules so far since the introduction of Group Chases in Season 6, is the question if companions, familiars, etc can make their own check to help the party. I usually let them assist their 'owner', which allows every PC with a companion to have a better result, without having to face trivialisation of the Chase DC's due to the sheer number of rolls.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

Same happened to me, and it's not necessarily a bad thing: You don't have to 'punish' players for being prepared :).
WOW are pretty nasty creatures for their CR, so it's ok that the players get fair warning if they're not familiar with the creature.

Giving the party time to go to a library and investigate what they can find about the creature goes a bit far, since there is a time constraint to the scenario.
But they do know the creature is a WOW, so you could allow them the Kn. Dungeoneering check to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the basic creature (excluding templates, so basically the entry about the creature in the PRD/ Bestiary).
Stretching what's technically allowed by the rules, if the players are really inexperienced, you could allow them to make the check untrained, or reduce the DC a bit, since they have an eye witness that can maybe tell something about what he saw.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

PC's with the Blessing of Ashava have the Scent ability. As soon as they get within 30ft, they know something is up, so the surprise round makes sense.
Once they get within 5ft, they can pinpoint the location of a lurker (but it still has concealment).

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

Depending on how you read the entry in the text, the "effects" of the haunt trigger at initiative 10, so they should not be able to get out before running before that. But I get your point.
Still, explaining that they the party instinctively knows they can bite the haunt to death should be an incentive to fight it, rather than run away.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

Bret Indrelee wrote:

So with the haunt “Into the Mist”, does it attack each PC still in the area or only one PC? It wasn’t clear to me which way it was meant to work.

I expect it will often go down before it becomes a problem, but want to make sure I run it correctly.

The haunt should be attacking everyone, since everyone is supposed to be within the extra-dimensional mist.

Don't forget to mention the special mechanics from the sidebar to the first player that's up :).

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

Lau Bannenberg wrote:


For GMs, I would suggest staggering the initiative of the Lurkers so that they don't all go at once that way after they show off how dangerous their Blindness is, players have a chance to react, rather than all three of them going at the same time.

I absolutely agree on the principle: In the low tier, both Lurkers should have a different initiative count. In the high tier, I'd suggest at least pairing them up (2 groups of 2 for 4- players, 3 groups of 2 for 5+ players) Sadly in my case, they were split into 2 initiative groups that came immediately one after the other due to an almost similar roll without any players in between :(.

Also, mind that technically the tactics dictate casting Blindness during the first round, then engage into melee.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

Ran this yesterday at the 4-player high tier.
Due to playing in a store, the spookiness suffered a bit from it, but the scenario was well received by the players.

First off, there was some confusion about the Blessing of Ashava: Is it a Curse effect?
The reason this came up, was because there was a druid at the table.
Can the player still use polymorph abilities? Normally AFAIK, with a curse, this would not be possible.
If so, what happens with the boosts granted by the Blessing?

The first encounter felt a bit weak, but I assume this was intentional to have the players test out their newfound strengths.
Is there a reason the Inquisitor isn't going for 2 Judgments in the first round?
It's a level 8 ability and he's level 9, so I assumed he would activate both the attack and the damage bonus.

The chase was extremely well received:
One player said this was the best chase he ever played.
Another said only the Scions of the Sky Key chase topped this one (for flavor reasons).
Right during the first read-through, I found the DC's pretty high, but spot on due to the possibility of changing into wolf form for a +20 speed, the party has easy access to a +4 on all the skill checks.
My party did not realize this was a possibility until I told them about it afterwards.
As usual with group chase scenes, I did not allow cross-skill assists since madness lies that way.
Without speed boosts, they still achieved 5 of the 8 obstacles.
I'd also like to shout my approval for both 4- and 5-player adjustments for the chase scene.
The fight with the lurkers had more oomph than I expected: The spiritualist's phantom and the druid were blinded, with no solution to clear the condition.
I realized the Lurkers could technically cast Blindness 3 rounds in a row, but I decided against that, instead going for the sneak attack after the first round: The tactics were a bit unclear on that one.

The wolves encounter felt a bit strange on the mechanical side:
The players don't know the wolves, so how do players know the alternative skill they can use?
There appears to be nothing that prevents every player from both rolling checks and assisting someone else on the same wolf.
I ruled a player could make only 1 roll per wolf, so the player can either make a check or assist another player, and I warned the players a single success might not be sufficient.
On the flavor side, it was an excellent encounter.

The Mists section was interesting, and I had to think on how to present this.
In the end I went with:
0- At the beginning of the session, have players write down their character's worst fear
1- Have all players hear a question in their head at the same time
2- Once all players have answered or decided not to answer, roll for initiative
3- As the first player comes up, explain what's written in the Sidebar
In the end, the Spiritualist won initiative and blast the haunt away with Purge Spirit.

The boss fight was awesome.
The party knew off the bat what they were up against, so after the fight against the lurkers, they had See Invisibility up (if they weren't blind).
After rescuing Cubelle, I ruled she would know the Glade wasn't too far off (I'm missing a timeline/ distance in the scenario), so they cast their 10min/level buffs.
The party was concerned with the damage they got from the Grasp of the Haunted ability, and then by the haunt.
The spiritualist almost blast the haunt away in the first round (but came 1 damage short).
But after the second round, with Tulvatha with nowhere to hide, the fight was pretty much decided, although it lasted for another 4 rounds.
I'm also impressed by how well thought out the 4-player adjustment is for this scene.
Adjusting the action economy for a single boss with crowd control abilities/environment effects is always difficult to manage, but this one is really spot on!

All in all, the scenario was top notch, even with the few remarks above.
The flavor of the encounters was great, and the encounters were meaningful, and the players were challenged.
Also kudos for keeping a scenario with such "complexity" so easy to prep!

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

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Me too, I'm impressed by the setup, so far... though I find it's a shame to have a swamp without the swamp flip-mat ;)

I'm impressed by the DC's in the chase scene. I understand players get a big speed boost from the Wolf form, but still, I recently encountered DC's like this in a 10-11 subtier. Don't get me wrong, I'm all in favour of higher DC's in "group" chase scenes, as they always appear to easy.
I'm also intrigued by the use of both a 4- and a 5-player adjustment for that.

As to the "convince the wolves" part... I'm not entirely convinced that allowing Diplomacy at the same DC as the alternate skill is a good move...

For the final encounter: What are the Mist squares that are being referred to?

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

andreww wrote:
Sure it hits hard if you choose to stand and trade full attacks with it but its maneuverability is awful as are its saves, even with the second save thing.

I beg to differ slightly about the damage: The Greater Vital Strike and Power Attack make it an attack for 12d6+21 (33 to 93 dmg, avg. 53 dmg) with a 19-20 threat range.

But in general I agree: The monster gets way too weak with all the rituals.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

I played at Kwinten's table last night, and agree the Reaver had us pretty scared until we faced it.
The initial encounter could be enhanced by describing a halo in the form of the helmet the party is looking for, located around the Reaver's head from the long exposure to the helmet.

On now reading the monster entry and tactics: Yikes!
But having the Reaver roar in the first round, throw a DC19 save against a Fear effect is pointless at this level since you're reasonably likely to find the ritual for a +3 on all saves, so that feels like a wasted action. On the other hand, should he get to attack, it's probably going to hurt.
The Roar should only be used to initiate the chase scene (no save): It's an iconic ability for a King Kong-like monster, but mechanically it's far too weak for a CR14 creature.

Sovereign Court

I can only agree with the complaint about everything being called a feat. I would have preferred something like Ancestry Attributes, Background Features and Class Abilities or something, to easily reference the kind of ability, without it becoming too general, as is now the case.

Intelligence gives you additional Trained skills. No way that's weak... But you have to like skills for that, and accept the shift in game balance.
Also Language unlocks becoming more rare is an interesting story component.

I'm sorry, but comparing the balance of a new edition by basing it on the previous edition makes no sense. This is a totally different game: Play it and judge based on those experiences, rather than on fear of losing power.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

I concur with Kwinten: I ran it this afternoon in approx. 3 hours as well, because most fights can be avoided by having a minor investment in Diplomacy.

The final fight was a setup I enjoyed though, even if quite punishing for a level 1 party with the potential amount of swarms.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

1 person marked this as a favorite.

MO-BO-GO!... TA-BOO!!... WHY?!?!

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

All in all, I enjoyed the scenario: Unusual environment, interesting enemies, and a final encounter that had an answer to a lot of player tactics.

In response to Quentin and Lau:

Page 5, Intro wrote:
I would ask that find her and bring her back with you—if she is willing.”

This I presented as such: If she is willing.

It was when players were starting to suggest using violence to bring her along that I had Sorrina say "No. If violence is necessary to bring her along, then leave her be."
Maybe that's the part that stuck with the players, which would be unfortunate.

Page 19, Conclusion wrote:
She’s considering staying with Sundered Stone, working with Pamari (assuming the ifrit survived) to transform it into a legitimate mercenary group, perhaps with Reyshal’s aid. She is also pondering disbanding the group and going her own way. If she leaves, she could either go out to research on her own or rejoin the Pathfinder Society. Whatever decision she comes to, she doesn’t want anything bad to happen to the bandits, since, in her view, many of them were just trying to survive in the war-ravaged area. The PCs can attempt a DC 18 Diplomacy check (DC 22 in Subtier 6–7) to convince Grave Treader to rejoin the Pathfinder Society. Otherwise, she decides to stick around and reform Sundered Stone. Regardless of her decision, Grave Treader thanks the PCs for their input and promises to meet with Sorrina Westyr to talk things out.

The interpretation of the conclusion I went along for, was as follows:

If the party wants her to come along to the Grand Lodge, then they get the check. The party preferred her to stay behind, so they didn't get a check to convince her.
I agree though I find it strange that the one choice, which is clearly a very good choice for the Society as well (I mean you have to check a box if she stays behind?), is punished.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

I agree that it's short, although I ran it in a little over 4 hours, giving players ample time to roleplay and enjoy the unique environment and encounters. Also the fact that someone failed their save against the Dominate from the Graveknight caused some delay.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

At APL 9.8 I hit the Earthquake as the first random event. I forgot the round of "no action" for players. Then the lvl 11 druid demolished the juggernaut with the first 3 of his 5 attacks.

Remark: The hint that you're going to fight a juggernaut is given. Squishy/ ranged characters can just stand on the bridge instead of going down. There's no way the construct is going to be there for at least the first 3 rounds. Also I chose for a relatively straight trample-line, which limits the amount of targets hit at once.

Still a Question: Can the gargantuan construct end its movement on an opponent? As far as I know, it can't, which marginally limits its trample paths, as the area isn't that large, compared to its size.

Still, I have compliments for the writer from the party I ran for, for the flavour of the scenario.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

The key question, I suppose, is "When does the AoO against Overrun occur?"

Barring Reach, the AoO for an Overrun attempt happens the moment you attempt to enter someone's square. Otherwise it wouldn't make sense for you to stop right before them as soon as the attempt fails.

If the target has reach (or if you move through someone else's threatened area), you are provoking for a different "offense".

The major difference between Trample and Overrun is that the former has an automatic success on the Overrun attempt. All the rest appears to be a rider effect.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

Trample (works as Overrun), like any combat maneuver, only provokes from a target of the trample.
The movement itself (as opposed to the overrunning) provokes from everyone who can make an AoO.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

Thurston Hillman wrote:

The last line in the section Terminalmancer quoted is correct: there are some further detailed rules on how to handle cave-ins.

I did want to address some of the concern about the effectiveness of this hazard. My original interpretation of the earthquake spell, which upon re-reading could easily be incorrect, is that a successful Reflex save should allow the character to avoid getting pinned under rubble. Having every creature automatically forced under the rubble without a save was not how I interpreted the encounter in development.

Given my interpretation was just a DC 15 Reflex save, and that this only occurs in higher Subtier 10–11, I thought it was completely reasonable, and a means of allowing 'high level shenanigans' to shine. Obviously there's a lot of room for additional GM interpretation with this hazard, and as a GM running this, I'd encourage out-of-the-box uses of class abilities/spells/items to free any trapped allies. Given that I've got multiple reports of '1 or 2 rounding' the juggernaut, the hazard should be fairly potent... just not 'no save, enjoy being trapped under rocks before the lava eats you alive' potent.

Anywho, hope that clears up some of the intent with this encounter! Sorry for not responding sooner; I've been in the midst of battling other projects.

Thank you for the clarification. That is a lot less rough, and about what I was expecting. Still brutal if one players fails his save at that point, as freeing him still requires 10 rounds per attempt. But it is indeed high tier.

It is mentioned the juggernaut is not impeded by the Earthquake effect. I suppose that's in regard to the "cannot do anything for one round" part of the Earthquake?

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

Now that I look at this closer because my table is steering towards high tier, how is the Earthquake supposed to work? Since it's a cave, they can attempt a Reflex save for half damage, but they are pinned by rubble anyway (as worded by the spell), despite the mention of "potential" in the hazard description.

I don't have much experience with this high level spells: How does that work exactly? The spell states the duration is 1 round, but there is a clause for taking damage from being crushed every minute.
Can people somehow get out, or is this a case of "get flooded in lava, fail the mission and pay for resurrection"?

Using the Cave-in rules seems harsh as well, since that gives you a DC25 strength check to get out every minute (in an erupting volcano with 40% chance of progressing lava every round + an unaffected trampling Juggernaut waltzing over the party, for 10 rounds).

Also: What does the Caster level 20 for the spell have to do with anything? I see no relevant level-dependant variables except Range. Is this for the unlikely case of a Counterspell?

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

andreww wrote:
The end encounter looks like it will either by very deadly or very easy. Using pretty much the same stats for the opponent looks like a terrible idea I can see a number of low tier groups being very surprised by this. I don't see it lasting long against high tier anything. Either way it doesn't look too hard to avoid this encounter given the opposition is mindless.

The boys is nearly the same, but the environment greys much harder: The high tier has 40% chance to have an Earthquake cast, which is reasonably rough when your caster gets buried in an erupting volcano. Also is still a crapload of damage possibly coming at everyone at the same time.

Quote:

This looks like it could run extremely short. With only 3 encounters, two of which can be bypassed quite easily, I can see completing this in about two hours which brings me to my last observation.

Season 7 was often called season of the skill check, season 8 seems to be turning into the season of the very easy skill check. The DC's throughout the adventure are extremely low, especially for tier 10-11. I think we have a DC above 30 maybe once or twice through the whole thing, most are 20-27. That's not putting up much of a challenge even to groups with only moderate optimisation. 10 ranks, the class skill bonus, a +5 stat modifier and a masterwork tool are getting you up to 70-90% success rate on most of the DC's here. Anyone with even a bit of focus in the area is autopassing the lot.

Ward Asunder want that long either. The encounters can be bypassed, but some DC are still rough at 35. But I agree that many of the checks seem trivial.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

Running this next week: I have a question concerning the tavern scene: It states CR8 or 11, but apart from the loot, I see no difference between low and high tier. Is this correct? Are the DC supposed to be different? Am I missing something?

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

Quote:


I'm prepping to run this in a couple of weeks at a small local convention - has anyone found the cleric's tactics coming into play - ** spoiler omitted **

There are more scenarios where this is the case, even at this tier. Sometimes tactics are to raise dead PC's as undead out of spite. So this is not uncommon.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

It's a pretty dangerous encounter, even for a strong party. The problem your party is facing, is that they are scattered all over the place, meaning whatever frontliners can't protect the squishies. You could try and hint at it by having the ghuls herd the PC's towards one of the corners/rooms and by having the statue not leave the area where it comes from.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

DesolateHarmony wrote:
Much like Nefreet, I haven't gotten around to training away my Investigator's Technologist feat. I am scheduled to play tonight.

Yes, glad I didn't trade it away on my Savage Technologist either.

*Warms up the Railgun
*Starts the chainsaw
*Checks if the e-picks are charged

Looking forward to playing it on Sunday.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

The cost is mentioned in the 3-4 Subtier.
After that, you can upgrade the item little by little to arrive at the 90k-or-so value.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

The +30 CMD vs Grapple should prevent any grapple except on a natural 20. These are Secondary attacks and thus should suffer the -5 to attacks on their CMB to Grapple.

But I agree about the 4-player adjustment: The action economy of the tails is of the charts.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

I'm no campaign leadership, but I think you should probably correct out of subtier gold yes. It currently doesn't add up to the sum of what is indicated in the scenario.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

Justin Turner wrote:
Seems like this would have a significant impact on the difficulty of the encounter.

That is the difficult part of the scenario, since the Xacarba has Combat Reflexes. If the party didn't get the hint "Abjuration = usually beneficial" and drank from the fountain, this is most likely a difficult encounter. This is the case especially with the 4-player adjustment, since the action economy is extremely in favor of the Xacarba.

When I ran it, I had two (of the 4) players run back to the fountain during the combat and fill waterskins with it to feed it to the others (while one player was uncouncious and the other one suffered the redirected Oppressive Boredom cast by one of the players, as well as the 3 attacks/round from the Xacarba.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

When Lau ran this for me, I thought it would probably be Dim Light since werebats have lowlight vision. But he ruled otherwise, in favour of all participants (normal lighting).

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

GM Lamplighter wrote:
2. I'd just provide the school, given the power of the object.

Given the nature on the final encounter, the fountain is key to the survival of the players. Abjuration is either a protection (generally), but also planes-related stuff and traps.

Also as mentioned: There is no DC to identify the aura of the fountain.

Quote:
3. Time is measured in game time, but estimated based on activities. I think I'll use mostly-real time, but modified for any time-consuming things the PCs do like Take 20's and so on.

That was also my conclusion, but that was speculating.

Quote:
6. Probably won't matter - most PCs will have much higher mods than the NPCs in any case.

So what to do? Automatic success then?

Quote:
7. Compulsion (suggestion) trumps regular enchantment (charm person/monster).

How about charm vs. charm? The Xacarba has a charm monster ability he has been using on the archeologists. Charm Person could technically work to overrule the enchantment, but how?

On a sidenote: Suggestion is also available to players in this tier. How does it work when a player attempts to use Suggestion on a PC that is victim of a Suggestion by the Xacarba?

Quote:
9. Putting discs in the slot do not provoke from the monster because the PC has improved cover from the wall. It seems like it should from other PCs if they're trying to stop the person.

Given that the Xacarba and the golem switch places before the combat starts (Confrontation box text), there is no cover at all and the thing has a reach of 15ft.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

Below, my remarks.

1- Chronicle Sheet: Out of Subtier gold is incorrect. It states 748/1496 instead of the 1122/2244 (half of the sum of low tier + high tier) or the 2245 from the accumulated gold from encounters.

2- I did not see a DC to identify the magical aura (Abjuration) or effects (Spellcraft) of the fountain. How would PCs identify this? There is not mention of a caster level either.

3- PC's have 1d20+60min before the door breaks. How is this time measured?

4- What happens if the PCs decide to wait for the next day before leaving the Azlant Ridge encampment? Just delay everything that unfolds in Starwatcher Tor?

5- What mechanics to use if the PCs want to use the Ivory Sphere's dust on Juliet Dias or one of the other archeologists?

6- What stats to use for Perception, Sense Motive, Will, etc. for Juliet and the other archeologists (exc. Arletta), when players attempt to use Bluff, Sleight of Hand, etc?

7- How does it work when a player attempts to use Suggestion on one of the archeologists? Is that a Caster Level check to overcome the Caster level ofnthe Xacarba ?

8- The Xacarba's Suggestion ability has the potential to create PvP due to conflicting interests concerning the tablets. How to handle conflicting interests within the party? With a DC23 Will save when looking into the crack, this is bound to happen.

9- Does placing the tablets in the slots in C11 provoke Attacks of Opportunity? I do not notice it does not.

10- In the Confrontation, how long does the stalemate between the Xacarba and the monolith last?
What does the Xacarba do when there are no legal targets in sight?
How does this impact the fight wit b the monolith?
How long do the PCs have to place the disks?

11- If the party manages to obscure themselves from sight (ex. Via Obscuring mist), can the Xacarba use Scent and Perception to pinpoint and attack blindly? Since this requires a Move Action, how is this handled, as the main body is focused on the monolith?

Sovereign Court

Since it's not mentioned as such, no. The exploit acts as if it were on the spell list.

Quote:
At 1st level, a white mage can expend 1 point from her arcane reservoir to use one of her spell slots to cast a cure spell (any spell with "cure" in its name) from the cleric spell list as if it were on her spell list and prepared.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

Dave Baker wrote:

though you might be able to talk nicely to people, if you don't actually talk about stuff that they're interested in, the conversation will eventually wane. Find the person or people whose interests are the same as yours, and you'll have great conversations all night long, perhaps even making a friend. The anti-social wizard in the back of the room who likes to talk about history and local politics will only ever have a polite surface conversation with the barbarian who wants to talk about the gladatorial fights and weaponry. Once he finds a like-mind, its open season.

I think this might be one of the more sane explanations about how and why this works.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

I ran this a few weeks ago, among others for Lau/Ascalaphus.

First of all, let me say that I enjoyed the background of the various NPC's, and the flavor they were trying to bring, as well as the Kalistrade way of dealing with the rental of a whole city.
Not homes, no...
A whole city. Let that sink in.
It's like the state of New York renting off Manhattan to a few wealthy merchants, to do with as they please. Love it.

--
To the mechanics:

I used the following handouts:
* First handout: Skills for the Discovery checks and what you could get for type of information (Analyze, Strength, Weakness)

* A handout with each mechanic summarized in a sentence (Recognize, Discovery, Influence).
I added an explanation what the Influence check was about (= Convincing the NPC to spend more money), as well as that the first successfull Influence check would reveal the favored location

* A handout for each party:
- What skills were easier or harder (simply with the tag "Easier"/"Harder")
- And the skills how to impress the host
I always portrayed the host being at the entrance to the room, welcoming the guests. This gave the players the possibility to pick up on it immediately, and act upon it

--
Discovery checks
When I gave players the skills to influence after a successful Discovery check, I mentioned the special skills would be easier.
I mentioned nothing about other skills being harder, unless it was written in the description of the specific NPC.
I don't think any of the PCs was put off by that. They went on using "traditional" social skills like Bluff, Diplomacy and Sense Motive when they could, and left the NPC's for which they thought that would work less well on to other players.

All in all, the idea of the skill challenge is interesting, but really a lot for a GM to handle, between:
- The various DC's,
- Special environmental modifiers
- Special modifiers per individual PC (which could not be communicated to them (think of the bonuses/penalties for interaction from the biases, which forces you to keep track of which PC talks to which NPC).
- The amount of success for all 5 districts
At some point, you simply start making mistakes.

I have a question concerning the "selling out to Myrosype" part:
In the end, one of the players (playing the Meligaster pregen) decided to accept Myrosype's offer, causing the party to fail at the secondary objective.
Between the text in Myrosype's party and the conclusion text, I was unsure how to handle the Serpents boon.
One says to give "PC's who accept Myrosype's offer" the Serpents boon, while the other says "If the PC's struck a deal with Myrosype, each PC earns the Serpents boon".
I decided to go with the latter. Was that the correct interpretation?

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

I'd start by warning that desacrating a corpse could be considered an evil act.

Secondly, I'd remind Silver Crusade players about what their faction is all about, and what its goal is during season 6 before the scenario starts.
The Silver Crusade is a force of good and should not reward playing like a murder hobo.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

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Many solutions for that. Remember that this is a 5-9 adventure, and making use of terrain should be normal tactics by now:
Fireball is one.
Fly and hurl things from the distance is another.
Haste makes it possible to outrun and kite them.

My players had the monk and conjurer wizard (suddenly remembering Kyra had one of his MM rods) defeat them, while the paladin was cowering in a corner of the circular room (and laughing his a** off IRL).
Kyra was rusted out of her gear and started distracting the monsters with coins.

Anyway: My players had a blast when I ran it a few months ago.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

All resets for traps are either manual or 1 day. They should therefore only trigger once during the scenario.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

"Any time after the first that a skill is used at the location" is how I interpreted it. Which means the second player to attempt the skill at the same location will immediately face the increased difficulty.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

There is the potential for 1 very marginal minor combat in the case of a complication or something, but I decided not to use the map. It tends to invite players to focus on it rather than on what is happening.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

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I ran it this afternoon at 4-player high tier.

Party:
Rogue/Brawler 4
Rogue 3
Slayer 4
Medium 2
Monk 2
= APL 3 => 4-player High Tier

After a moment of "Oh cr*p, do we have to do a heist on a massively well protected caravan where everybody can kill us on sight?!", the investigation part went on swimmingly.
As the first successes of the investigation came in, the party got the hang of what the clues were meant for and were confronted with "failure" on the first check. I don't think there was any negative reaction at that point: Generally, the idea seems to have been well received.
Interestingly, they did not notice the increasing DC for repeated use of the same skill in a location because they decided to go wide with the vast amount of skills they were good, decent, or even bad at, trying to follow the theme of the location on the day, even if it was not necessarily their best choice (based on skill bonus).
I think the party only had 3 complications, one of which was the having to undergo the Modify Memory spell and subsequently botching the Bluff check to pass a secret message. The secret message being "I have hidden a note in the bathroom", having been distorted to "Don't go to the toilet: Someone went nuclear in there."

The creating and printing of small hand-outs with all the possible modifiers players could receive, was a good idea.
Their reminder factor was very useful also as a GM.
Tip for others who would do that: Color-code them. That'll avoid a lot of searching.

The assault itself was nice and felt like an original heist movie because the party was prepared for what was to come. Since it was not clear (I may have skipped it, over the multiple read-throughs) while running the scenario whether the investigation part was playing in Aspenthar or in Pashow, I ruled it took place in Pashow, since that is way closer to the Citadel of the Alchemist. Since Pashow does not have over 5000 inhabitants, the players spent the 3500gp on an interesting and effective array of items, instead of 1 very expensive item: Mainly Feather Tokens (Tree), various potions of healing, Pass without a Trace, Invisibility, which were actually all used during the heist. It was fun to give players that kind of money and see them buy and use everything during the whole heist.
If part 1 was supposed to be played in Aspenthar, please disregard this comment, although this ad hoc decision ended in a lot of fun for everyone.

They knew of the location of the secret door, of the secret compartment and they ended up not fighting the Altar due to it failing a saving throw against a Tanglefoot Bag.
After that, one of the rogues used a potion of Invisibility to retreive the "real" dummy elixir.

The Aspis encounter was fun as well. I did not know exactly what to do when the Medium started spamming Create Water on the tent. In the end I ruled the spell drenched a square, and reduced the damage to the tent by 1 during every round in which the spell was cast to delay the flames. After successfully saving against the Blue Whinnis poison, the rogue ended up storming into the tent to find out (and save) whatever was so important to have it torched as soon as strangers approached the camp.

All in all, I really enjoyed running this. The scenario is fun, and does not punish failure.
I therefore stand by my first remark in this thread: Well done, Sir!

--

A few further questions/remarks, that I couldn't find the answer to in the scenario:
* Where does the information gathering part happen? Since the original meeting with Ziralia and Gloriana Morilla happens in Aspenthar, it was unclear whether this happened there or in Pashow.
This is relevant, since Pashow does not have 5000 or more inhabitants, meaning you cannot acquire any item you need.

* I immensely enjoyed the freedom that was given to each player to come up with what skill to use for his chosen method. The first inclination of some of the players was "Yeah, we're going to sneak up and snatch what information we can get". After that, they became more creative when I drew the attention to the various themes at the locations on the various days.

* I was lucky to have a very skilled party, but I have to concur with James's remark above: What to do if you have a cleric? A fighter? A sorcerer? Or any other of the non-Int based 2 SP/Level classes? I agree you can be extensively lenient in the checks that are required, but without skills, you'll quickly be repeating checks (which would result in an increased difficulty).
I know that it is possible to do the heist without all the available information, but those characters may be having a bad time.
As I mentioned in my earlier post, I think the DC's are spot on. But still, it's a lót of skill checks in a part that is bound to run for 1-1.5 hour.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

I think that would give the best result yes.

There seems to be the assumption that a player is supposed to continue on the same location, but based on 2 of the Complications, I get the idea you should be able to switch.
I don't think the characters spend the night at the location, so they should be able to regroup and discuss what they have learned. I wouldn't let that take more than a few minutes (real time) per night though.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

This adventure looks hilarious. Well done, Sir!

A few remarks/questions:

Concerning DC's and skill checks in parts A &B:
I think the DC's are spot on, but there are lots of opportunities to make small mistakes due to the vast amount of modifiers that can be inflicted upon single or multiple targets. This makes in interesting, but requires vast prep.
I think I'll go with small hand-outs for both successes and results of complications, as well as for the gear they receive at the beginning of part C...
And with chocolate if they find the stash :p

Concerning splitting up the party:
Emphasis should clearly be give to the "Split the party" aspect, as it is quite necessary.
I suppose every table could require a different approach, but how would you recommend the GM splitting his attention?
Day 1 location
Day 1 location 2?

Or a further splitting up into:
Day 1 location 1 player 1
Day 1 location 2 player 1
Day 1 location 1 player 2
Etc.?

Concerning travel time:

Page 10 wrote:
Cartographer’s Code: Enyro used ciphers and decoy maps to disguise his true instructions. The PC must succeed at a Knowledge (geography) or Linguistics check to identify the correct routes or the misinformation gets the party lost before ambushing the convoy. The party can locate the convoy, but doing so requires 1d4 hours of travel in very hot conditions (Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook 444).

1- I assume this come in addition to the text below? Or is it instead of, without having to make the check?

2- I assume the 1d4 hours above is not multiplied in case of failure below?

Page 12 wrote:
Tracking the convoy without knowing its route requires successful DC 12 Survival check (DC 16 in Subtier 4–5) and 1d4+1 hours traveling in very hot conditions (Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook 444). Failure on the Survival check doubles the time required to find the convoy.

Concerning the Snakes in the Sand part:

I may have missed it while reading, but are PC's no longer required to make fortitude saves against the heat?

--

@jcg: 3) I was planning to do them in increasing order.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

CorvusMask wrote:
So uh, a question: Tactics for Valenti says he uses studied target in attacks but normal inquisitors do not have that as far as I know? Did I miss something from his statblock or is this an error?

I didn't read the scenario (only played it), but the Sanctified Slayer archetype gets it. But that should be mentioned, and he would not be getting Judgment then.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

Andrew Hoskins wrote:


  • If there are pesky archers or spell casters bothering the mimic, it can use its telekinesis ability to attack itself with the offending party members. It can "violent thrust" up to 225 lbs (275 lbs on subtier 8-9) of objects or creatures as long as they are within 10 feet of each other. The creatures get a Will save.
  • That ís nasty.

    Laktharis's Disarm worked like a charm for me. The paladin couldn't make a single full round attack with his twohander because of it.
    Using Telekinesis to toss around people is a fun but weird ability though, due to the way the spell is written.
    But between the various options and Valais fumbling on her will save, the fight was cool. The party did not try to calm her down, but they left an animal companion taking her full attacks.

    Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

    Joshua Hancock wrote:
    Apparently, it's based on the treasonous and heretical weapon enchants from Quests and Campaigns, which are both +2 equivalents.

    Then that would mean the Greater Blade is underpriced.

    Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

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    Christopher Wasko wrote:
    I'm glad you enjoyed the scenario, and thanks to you and Lau for your feedback! I'm favoriting all of the reviews and breakdowns to look back on and inform my crunch work for future projects, which will hopefully maintain the flavor while moving closer to that sweet spot for challenge. As my first scenario, which was also a Tier 1–5, I definitely erred on the side of lowballing the challenge rather than clobbering beginning players. I think it's easier to forgive an overly easy scenario than an overly difficult one, especially if it has decent flavor.

    And a review is up. I hope others will enjoy it as much!

    Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Den Haag aka Monkhound

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    Lau Bannenberg wrote:
    They didn't ask many questions; I was a bit disappointed that nobody even asked about Tamrin's Aspis ties.

    This information may have gotten lost due background noise. I was sitting next to you twice while you gave the briefing and totally missed it.

    Quote:
    The player who played the infiltrator inquisitor was very happy that in this scenario, playing an infiltration build really paid off. He ruled the Bluff checks and the Sleigh of Hand to spice up the soup. It's nice to see that while the scenario is probably playable for PCs that aren't that savvy, it's not dumbed down so savvy people feel redundant.

    I was the inquisitor in the game, and I would like to emphasize this quote. It's nice to have a scenario where an infiltraton specialist can show off (for lack of a better word) without overshadowing the rest of the players. Quote from the party: "With that kind of Take 10 Disguise, you ARE an Aspis agent".

    Also, infiltrating a Chelaxian prison as a Twilight Talon to liberate people feels epic to say the least.
    The temptation was too great during the Parade card of the chase scene not to perform a speech condemning slavery to cause chaos (Liberty's Edge faction card).

    Quote:
    One player grumbled a bit that the +4 DC hike for high tier was harsh on ability checks; I disagreed. At high tier PCs have had more opportunities to access class skills so the balance swings towards relying on skills instead.

    Yes, that was also me. I understand Lau's argument, but still:

    I still think that, since ability modifiers do not substantially increase between levels 1 and 5, the DC should not increase from 13 (which is moderately high, usually requiring between an 11 and a 14 to succeed) to 17 (which is very high, and unlikely to succeed, usually requiring a roll between 15 and 18 to succeed).
    The offer should not be the primary choice for the check, but still be a decent offer for a secondary. Therefore a +2 increase should suffice for the ability checks.
    The +4 difficulty for the skills is in my opinion spot on though.

    The final combat indeed felt like a bit like push over, even though it was entertaining.

    What was the deal of the Elixir of Love in the care package, by the way? I can imagine a few things, but did it tie into the scenario in any way?

    --
    I would like to give compliments to Christopher for writing this scenario. I enjoyed playing it very much.

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