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?
Exactly: Since the DC between the two options varies, imo cross-skill assists lead to weird situations, as Lau described above.
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.
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.
Same happened to me, and it's not necessarily a bad thing: You don't have to 'punish' players for being prepared :).
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.
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.
Bret Indrelee wrote:
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 :).
Lau Bannenberg wrote:
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.
Ran this yesterday at the 4-player high tier.
First off, there was some confusion about the Blessing of Ashava: Is it a Curse effect?
The first encounter felt a bit weak, but I assume this was intentional to have the players test out their newfound strengths.
The chase was extremely well received:
The wolves encounter felt a bit strange on the mechanical side:
The Mists section was interesting, and I had to think on how to present this.
The boss fight was awesome.
All in all, the scenario was top notch, even with the few remarks above.
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.
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?
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.
I played at Kwinten's table last night, and agree the Reaver had us pretty scared until we faced it.
On now reading the monster entry and tactics: Yikes!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Thurston Hillman wrote:
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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.
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?
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?
Since it's not mentioned as such, no. The exploit acts as if it were on the spell list.
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.
Dave Baker wrote:
I think this might be one of the more sane explanations about how and why this works.
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.
I used the following handouts:
* A handout with each mechanic summarized in a sentence (Recognize, Discovery, Influence).
* A handout for each party:
All in all, the idea of the skill challenge is interesting, but really a lot for a GM to handle, between:
I have a question concerning the "selling out to Myrosype" part:
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.
Many solutions for that. Remember that this is a 5-9 adventure, and making use of terrain should be normal tactics by now:
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).
Anyway: My players had a blast when I ran it a few months ago.
I ran it this afternoon at 4-player high tier.
= 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.
The creating and printing of small hand-outs with all the possible modifiers players could receive, was a good idea.
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.
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.
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.
A few further questions/remarks, that I couldn't find the answer to in the scenario:
* 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 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.
This adventure looks hilarious. Well done, Sir!
A few remarks/questions:
Concerning DC's and skill checks in parts A &B:
Concerning splitting up the party:
Or a further splitting up into:
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.
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.
Andrew Hoskins wrote:
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.
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!
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.
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).
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?