I do wonder whether he was built on the expectation that the negative level loss from the images will make him lose Wail (under 3.5 rules, not Pathfinder), because it's even more brutal than the obvious Disintegrate/Quickened Disintegrate one-two punch.
Personally, I gave him epic levels and bunches of Quickened spells and compensated for that by pulling Wail of the Banshee from his spell list (and spell book). I was also going to run his level loss from the images using the 3.5 rules, but as it turned out he never lost any.
The party barbarian horrified most of the group when he started wearing the zebra-skin rug from the Foxglove townhouse (see the map) as a loincloth, so nobody complained when he elected to take the lacy pink Gloves of Swimming and Climbing from the dam in the next adventure. He proceeded to wear them for the remainder of the campaign, talking to them occasionally and acquiring an odd tea sipping habit.
So naturally, when they triumphed in the final battle, I decided that they would become intelligent gloves, with the spirit of Lucretia stuffed in them. Needless to say, she was less than thrilled, but she can't out-ego the barbarian now.
Chalk up another PC victory. Their plan was for their illusionist (with See Invis and a Wand of Faerie Fire with UMD) to cover the door with a "wall" illusion before opening, then to light up Malfeshnekor for their heavy, his mount and the ratfolk magus (shrunk to Tiny size but with Longarm for 5' reach) to engage. The illusionist would provide Magic Missile backup via spell and wand while their Oracle of Life did her thing from further back.
Upon seeing Malfeshnekor levitating, the illusionist opted instead to drop an illusion of the ceiling being lower to keep Malfeshnekor from getting out of the ratfolk's reach, then dropped a Ray of Enfeeblement (-2 Str). The key play was having the ratfolk start out with a Tanglefoot bag, which managed to connect and kept Malfeshnekor entangled through the fight. Malfeshnekor nearly killed their warrior on the second round after scoring a crit (dropping him to -12 hit points) and knocked him unconscious for three rounds in a row, but the life oracle was healing 10-15 points every round with life link. If Malfeshnekor had made his untrained Heal check on the second round that he knocked out the fighter, he'd have killed him, but he blew it and turned on the mount instead with his last attack. The magus rolled terribly and delivered only one hit; the illusionist's magic missiles were the most reliable damage delivery system, though their warrior managed to get a crit past Malfeshnekor's Blink spell, too.
Battle lasted six rounds in total and Malfeshnekor ultimately wasn't able to make enough damage stick once the fighter switched from two-handing his bastard sword to one-hand and shield, dropping Mal's hit chances to under 50% per attack once the blink was factored in.
If you posted because of temporary upset, then it sounds like things are back on track. But I do get a sense (especially given the arbitrary decision to increase a PC's weight to make evacuating him impossible) that there's been a loss of trust between you and your GM. If that's the case, and assuming the three of you aren't non-communicative emotionally, I suggest having a conversation with your GM to express your concerns and see what he has to say.
As a player, I'd mainly be upset about the "he's now beyond what you can carry with Fly" ruling at a clutch moment. From your later post, it sounds like the GM may have something interesting in mind, and killing or capturing a PC when you each play more than one matters less than when it's a single PC per player, but it's worth bringing up to clear the air. The other potential trust issue is with your GM running the ogre defenders in tactically optimal ways, not in ways that are more RP-appropriate. When I ran the Fort, the PCs came from below and triggered an alarm, leaving them rushing to clear the interior from attackers before the ogres outside the keep came calling. Had the ogres been tactically optimal instead of approaching piecemeal, the PCs probably would have been overwhelmed.
My favorite unexpected player choices include:
2. Deciding when first entering Magnimar to all wear Hats of Disguise to make themselves look like a different group of adventurers. Cue some very confused enemies.
3. Their main spellcaster (a custom wizard/cleric hybrid based on the Arcanist class) decided after they defeated the Grauls that he wanted to try to get spells out of her familiar while it was still alive. He ended up cutting a deal with a hunger-wisp that I decided was a shred of the Runelord of Gluttony's spirit.
4. After entering the area beneath Jorgenfist via the Wyvern lair, they decided to rest and recover immediately following the fight with the Headless Lord. Instead of leaving, they elected to fly up to the roof of one of the chambers, use Wall of Stone to create a floor and all went to sleep with only one PC on watch.
Until they did that, I hadn't expected the Hounds' Discern Location and Locate Creature abilities to be of particular interest...
5. Returning to the surface, they decided to try negotiating with the harpies by going invisible and surrounding their nest. Upon revealing they wanted to enter and loot the Black Tower, the PCs got split up when two harpies went in opposite directions and got charms off. Their bard with Countersong went too late in the round to be very helpful. The ensuing combat proved more dangerous than the Black Monk fight and almost led to inter-party conflict as one PC wanted to capture the Rocs as pets.
6. In adventure 6, after recovering the dwarf bones, the PCs entered the cabin again from below and ran afoul of several haunts which had reset. Given that reminder, I really didn't expect the lowest-hp PC to stride confidently into the larder carrying the skeleton and get ripped to shreds by the hungry haunt just as the Wendigo arrived...
It's Thassilonian magic. Spell traps can duplicate any spell in the game. The problem isn't coming up with traps that matter, it's being sufficiently restrained. Aside from dispel or disjunction traps, your best bets are teleportation traps that split the party, in conjunction with summoning traps to dump enemies on the victims. Or you can pair an encounter with magical traps which synergize. Even the humble Symbol of Slow can do a number on a party if it goes off at the right time.
You can also create your own traps. Dump a Mind Fog spell trap right before a Confusion or Envious Urge spell trap and even a party with good saves can get into trouble.
A trap on its own will be uninteresting; you need traps paired with encounters or traps that trigger other traps that trigger encounters.
Well, besides the flight ability, I could have the wraiths either engage the PCs in the chamber, or glide inside the wall to hit those on the surface, or even cork the entrance to split the PCs in two. And of course, their touch attacks make them dangerous despite the low CR, where a juju zombie might have trouble hitting.
Two wraiths plus the Monk only enabled him to last for three rounds of combat, so if you want a big fight you'll need to give him some additional help.
The Unchained version worked well for my Black Monk and the Harpies. Enga got hit by a Hold Person on round 1 and then killed, so I can't speak to her.
In particular, giving the Monk Flying Kick helps him get at least one full attack sequence off during the fight. (As my players beat Mokmurian before engaging the Monk, I added a few wraiths to the battle, too.)
That's just good play. I'd have rewarded it by having Karzoug use a Wish to trap the PCs with him. Killing him would then be the only way to get out.
Rides Water wrote:
The Mayflower (according to Wikipedia) held 102 passengers and around 30 crew plus supplies for a two month journey. 100' length and up to 20' width, with four decks.
The Sellen Starling, at half that size, would presumably have enough room for over 50 people. 20 plus cargo seems perfectly reasonable.
My players have been discouraged from doing the teleport and attack scheme because I've made it clear their enemies can do the same thing. Khalid and some lamia with Dimension Door could get the drop on the PCs and fight for a round or two, then blip away again. Of course, this assumes that the PCs can be located via magic. (My players have been constantly maintaining a Detect Scrying spell since adventure four.)
Mr. Grogg wrote:
I had already decided way back in the first adventure that the coins went to a secondary vault Karzoug maintained on a demi-plane, so they'd have ended up there. Given that I could force them to go to the dwarf cabin via a side-quest one of the characters got himself into by dealing with Mammy Graul's witch patron in order to get a hold of some of her spells, after they'd killed Mammy off, I probably would have allowed them to get to Xin-Shalast by breaking out of the vault.
Here's one related to that special doorway:
My group just hit the gap between Sins of the Saviors and Spires of Xin-Shalast and was discussing approaches to the city.
When they encountered the doorway under Thistletop, they deduced that the coins must be magically transported into a vault. So one of the players suggested using Polymorph Any Object to turn themselves into gold coins and then have someone insert them into the coin slots! Then, when the spell expires, they escape the vault and are in Xin-Shalast.
Fortunately, the idea was shot down.
The Imperator wrote:
Given that the ecology portion of the Zygomind specifically says that Mindscape Door can be used to get out of its Mindscape, I'd say that usage is supported.
I've made a number of changes, but one fairly simple one: give him a Shield Guardian, linked to the Runewell Amulet.
Here's the stat block for the one I'm using, but there's lot of other ways to build such a thing.
Karzoug's Shield Guardian CR 18 XP 153,600
Shield guardian mithral golem (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 158, Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 2 139)
N Huge construct
Init +7; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +1
AC 32, touch 16, flat-footed 24 (+7 Dex, +1 dodge, +16 natural, -2 size)
hp 172 (24d10+40); fast healing 5
Fort +8, Ref +15, Will +9
DR 15/adamantine; Immune construct traits, magic
Speed 50 ft.
Melee 2 slams +34 (4d10+12)
Space 15 ft.; Reach 15 ft.
Special Attacks fluid form, quickness
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 24th; concentration +20)
—spell storing (Haste spell, heals golem 10d6 hp)
Str 34, Dex 24, Con —, Int —, Wis 12, Cha 2
Base Atk +24; CMB +38; CMD 56
Feats Dodge[B], Mobility[B], Run[B], Spring Attack[B]
Skills Acrobatics +7 (+11 to jump with a running start, +15 to jump)
SQ controlled, find master, guard, shield other
Find Master (Su) As long as a shield guardian and its amulet are on the same plane, the shield guardian can locate the amulet's wearer (or just the amulet, if it is removed after the guardian is called).
Fluid Form (10 rounds/day) (Ex) Take the form of silvery liquid as a swift action up to 10 rounds/day. Gain DR 15/bludgeoning and adamant and 30 ft reach
Guard (Ex) If ordered to do so, a shield guardian moves to defend the wearer of its amulet. All attacks against the amulet wearer take a –2 penalty when the shield guardian is adjacent to its master.
Immunity to Ability Damage and Drain, Immunity to Bleed, Immunity to Death and Necromancy effects, Immunity to Disease, Immunity to Energy Drain, Immunity to Exhausted,
Immunity to Fatigue, Immunity to Magic (Ex) Immune to spells that allow SR, with exceptions below, Immunity to Mind-Affecting effects, Immunity to Nonlethal Damage, Immunity to Paralysis, Immunity to Poison, Immunity to Sleep, Immunity to Stunning
Slow = lose Quickness for 1d6 rounds, Haste = Heal up to 10d6, 6L+ Cold spells while in fluid form do 10d6 no save and prevent fluid form for 24 hours.
Quickness (Ex) Take one extra move action each round.
Shield Other (Sp) The wearer of a shield guardian's amulet can activate this defensive ability as a standard action if within 100 feet of the shield guardian. Just as the spell of the same name, this ability transfers to the shield guardian half the damage that would be dealt to the amulet wearer (note that this ability does not provide the spell’s AC or save bonuses). Damage transferred in this manner bypasses any defensive abilities (such as immunity or damage reduction) the golem possesses.
Spell Storing (Sp) A shield guardian can store one spell of 4th level or lower that is cast into it by another creature. It “casts” this spell when commanded to do so or when a predefined situation arises. Once this spell is used, the shield guardian can store another spell (or the same spell again).
Spring Attack You can move - attack - move when attacking with a melee weapon.
It'd be perfectly reasonable to boost such a golem further if you wanted. I didn't because I moved some of the spire occupants into Karzoug's demiplane.
I found most of the combats in Wrath worked out better (from a GM perspective) on a 5' square scale. In particular, there's nowhere to hide from massed Fireballs from the Warriors of Wrath unless it's on a 10' per square scale. Any party with flight and Haste isn't going to find the extra space to be a problem for them.
And the teleport circles look to be 20' diameter although the 9L spell creates 10' diameter circles.
For GM reference, the next adventure (What Grows Within) features details of the Necronomicon, including a protection placed upon the book and the one who carries it against scrying. Not only do attempts to scry fail, but the caster must pass a DC 30 caster level check to avoid drawing the notice of eldritch powers. If failed, she suffers horrific visions and must make a DC 20 Will save, taking 1d8 Wis drain on a failure and 1d4 Wisdom damage on a success.
As PCs may be likely to attempt to scry Lowls at some stage in this adventure, GMs should be aware of the consequences.
Here's the Part 3 follow-up. (Part 1 seems pretty good and Grolick already caught the missing greater invisibility spell in Mun's stats.)
14. Kisetz and Hakoor, if they stay together, move at a speed of 20 ft. If the PCs all move at 30 ft or faster, they can simply outrun the two should they choose. Hakoor's Haste spell is unlikely to make a difference. (I'd suggest replacing his Slow or his Dispel Magic with Fly, though that's only a partial solution. Or just let the PCs get away.)
15. Nikta's plan in Meeting the Kidnapper (pg 43) won't work. If she sees the princess, she demands the Hyena Princess come with her "using dimension door to reach the tannery with her." Except that her dimension door doesn't allow her to take other people along. The logistics of telling the Hyena Princess to go to the tannery on foot would seem to make that a terrible plan; surely, Nikta would have a building or alley nearby to take the princess to and attempt to charm her. Sadly, making this section make sense almost certainly guarantees that meeting the kidnapper fails the side quest. I'd almost prefer to cut this section and have the Whispers lead the PCs to Blossoming Thorn, expecting extra Hound XP to make up for any deficit, though that short-circuits the Kisetz/Hakoor stuff.
16. C6: The Tannery Guards should have 61 hp, not 16 hp.
17. C7: aside from wanting to make the quest achievable, why does Nikta fight first instead of Dim Dooring to her hostage and threatening to tear him apart? Is she using her Int 12 instead of her Wis 18?
18. The Great Dome section anticipates PC use of Flight, so it's unfortunate that the same can't be said for Blossoming Thorn, which has a lovely rooftop garden the PCs can just fly right into, bypassing all the fortress defenses. Given that teleporting in is mentioned but that the Gnoll defenders have no specific plan against that, either, I suppose it's not a huge flaw, but the map art of the roof level shows what appear to be four ballista neither mentioned in the description nor specifically manned. The 6 personal guards wouldn't be enough to fire all four effectively.
19. The map of Blossoming Thorn has a solid wall between D4 and D5 where an opening should exist between the cage wall and the wall shared with D3.
20. The description of D13 should include a notation of (CR 6) and an indicator that 2 Gnoll Guards occupy the room.
21. At the end of the adventure, the PCs are 13th level. That means they could potentially have the Greater Teleport spell. With Greater Teleport and the information available to them, they could teleport straight to Neruzavin, which, given that Lowls is only a few days ahead of them, allows them to get there first. Will Adventure 5 either take this into account or explain why it won't work? (Even if they can't teleport straight to Neruzavin, surely there's some kind of oasis along the way they could teleport to in order to either ambush Lowls or get a big head-start.)
22. Given the timeline clarification in Concluding the Adventure, it's clear the PCs were probably several days behind when they enter the Mysterium. So if you're like me, add rations and barrels of water to the trapped guards and to Mun to account for their surviving several days cut off from the outside world. Or if you want to be really clever about it, include parts of several additional people in both encounter areas which appear to have been eaten by human teeth.
Note that there's an option in the final section of the adventure for the GM to underline that something which should be squicky (Gnoll slavers misusing their slaves) instead seems downright homey when compared to the horrors of other places in the campaign. If Biting Lash is ultimately responsible for enslaving one or more of the PCs, there's an opportunity to use that when they meet again, too.
It's the space from the guards and wards spell that has a suggestion tied to it, mention in the paragraph above B17. Sadly, its suggestion to leave is not very effective, as once the PCs descend to level 3 they can't go back up again, according to B14.
Ah, helpful. If the suggestion is located right at the exit of the way down, it's still reasonable as anyone descending has 1 minute to get back out again. But it'd have to be positioned where it's basically unavoidable.
On page 24, Thyrr tells the PCs that there's an angel head with no eyes in the Soul that can be used to reset the wards. That is presumably the PCs' goal in getting into the Soul, although curiously it's not mentioned in B26's description. Once the wards are reset, they can presumably teleport out and collect their reward.
That's because the angel head in question isn't IN the Soul, but in B25 (see second paragraph after the box text on pg 35).
OK, there are some really nice creepy touches in this adventure. But there's also a lot more errata and other problems than in the previous ones in the path. I'll stick to Part 2 for this post:
1. Elder Lythiin is referred to as a woman on page 27 ("When Elder Lythiin subsequently came down here with her own guards") despite being described everywhere else as male.
2. The arrangement with Elder Thyrr to enter the library doesn't mention anything about looting or the books, and the adventure doesn't provide value for any of the library's textual content with the strange exception of the misfiled book in B23. (So don't steal from the library unless a book has been mis-shelved?) This seems especially problematic if the PCs break into the library without talking to Thyrr. Worse, what happens if the PCs decide to read or take some of the other books in the Soul?
3. Thyrr tells the PCs about the enchanted mirror and the Hounds. She doesn't ask them not to smash the mirror. I find it very hard to tell, but it looks to me like the adventure expects that the PCs will find and destroy it but also suggests the possibility that they won't. But if they don't, quite aside from the problems of giving the PCs 14,400 XP per group of Hounds (which if a GM tracks XP could easily get out of hand), there's multiple spots in the adventure where the Hound interference will be crazy: 10 minutes to clear rubble in B13 = 5+ Hound attacks. B25 will also be quite dangerous. Either the Hounds should "restock" a limited number of times, or they should reappear less frequently. (It would also help if the pack emerging from the mirror were "new" Hounds instead of the same old pack, as "new" Hounds couldn't Discern Location to find the PCs instantly.)
4. The Hounds are problematic in other ways, too. It's not unreasonable that they've avoided attacking other Mythos creatures (although given how the Mythos works, it's still a bit odd). But what about the guards at B15? Mun at B16? Why wouldn't the Hounds tear apart the Axiomites in B22 or the Aerial Servants in B23? I suppose they might not recognize the Clockwork Mages as targets in B24, and I assume they don't enter the Soul because it's extradimensional and Dimensionally Locked.
5. It's a little odd that the exits from the shafts down aren't indicated on the map, unless that single dotted square near B17 is supposed to be the shaft exit, in which case, why isn't there a similar square at the crossroads on Level 2 or on Level 4? And if the dotted square near B17 isn't the shaft exit, what is it?
6. Most of the haunts can only be destroyed if books are burnt. One imagines that the Stewards frown on such behavior, but unless Thyrr (see 2) specifically forbids taking or destroying books, how would the Stewards respond upon discovering that the PCs helpfully "cured" the Haunt problem by destroying large parts of the library's collection?
7. The B10 Dread Wraith description suggests that the wraith "sticks to the two eastern sections of bedrock," which is the only explanation for why it hasn't attacked Mun or the guards, much less the Mythos creatures. Would it stick to that after the PCs arrive?
8. The adventure implies without spelling out that the 6 guards in B15, when killed, will each produce a Proto-Shoggoth in 2d6 hours. If the PCs clear the Mysterium and leave, that will be a nasty surprise later on for the Stewards. But if they rest while in the Mysterium, that adds six CR 11 monsters to the level. Aside from again messing with expected XP gains, there's a small but non-zero chance that these six Proto-Shoggoths will be able to merge, and with lucky merge rolls, a smaller but still non-zero chance of producing a CR 19 Shoggoth. That seems like an issue, as well as a potential nasty surprise if the PCs clear the place rapidly and then try to cash in on their week's research.
9. B14 as-written is a mess. "Each round, randomly choose a target in the room (including the spawn of Yog-Sothoth) as a target for one of these falling stones." Shouldn't there be a sentence explaining that the rockfall stops once the Spawn (which is actively damaging the room) has been killed? Otherwise, not only is there evidently an infinite number of rocks that fall without the whole room actually caving in, but clearing the rubble from the gate (10 minutes of work) triggers 100 DC 15 Reflex saves!
10. B14 also traps the PCs on levels 3 & 4, although teleport is possible since the Dimensional Lock only affects the Soul itself. Do the Stewards come down to rescue them once the wards are disabled? Note also that if the mirror at B2 isn't smashed, resting is extremely difficult once the PCs get to B17.
11. If the PCs manage to trick Mun into telling what he knows, they would seem to have no need to continue with part 3 as they can go straight to the Parchlands. (For that matter, what if they disable and capture Mun, or use Speak with Dead on him? I guess all that extra Hound XP may be necessary after all!) This is a huge problem as they need to find Kaklatath; presumably it has to get more direct in its Whispers to get the PCs to come after it?
12. If the PCs do get to B26--and in theory there's no reason for them to do so--the adventure doesn't explain how they can get out again! Is there a shaft they can climb out? Because the Dimensional Lock prevents other forms of exit.
13. Some of the details of Lowls' last trip to steal the Necronomicon are unclear. Did he bribe Lythiin to tell him how to open the Key of the Soul? (I assume Lythiin would do that as he tells the PCs despite not knowing who they are and that information being the deepest secret he can keep.) Once in the Soul, Lowls broke the chain, triggering the wards. Presumably the Keeper showed up then (instead of being on constant guard, which would in theory have allowed it to wipe the Necronomicon's pages clean though in practice that power wouldn't work on an artifact) and got corrupted, but Lowls decided to bail anyway. The adventure specifies that he Teleports away. But surely the Dimensional Lock would have been triggered with the rest of the wards? If it got warped, why is it normal now? Did he use the unspecified method of exiting the Soul and then teleport, and if so, why didn't the Keeper use that method as well to exit?
I want to say that this is, hands down, my favorite book of all the AP books I've read so far, and I am so very much looking forward to when I get to run it. Each of the dream-quests evokes the same feeling from me that I get when drawing an Other World encounter in Arkham Horror. They're short, sweet, bizarre, alien, and I love them all to pieces.
Yes, this one is quite "pleasant" in that way.
Things people may not have noticed that a cunning GM can turn into something interesting for the campaign:
1. Bokrug can send his Vengeful Dreams against any creature that has ever damaged him or killed one of his priests. There's a bit of chance that a PC will trigger the former condition and an extremely high chance one unlucky PC will trigger the latter condition. Meaning at some point you can hit that PC with an unhappy night's sleep, 3d6 Wis drain and (most likely) a random insanity.
2. "the very knowledge of Xhamen-Dor was enough to put sleeping minds at risk of infestation." By the end of this adventure, the PCs know of Xhamen-Dor. I'll be interested to see if this pays off in later adventures. Even if it doesn't, it creates some interesting opportunities for a GM.
I made some notes on all the things mentioned which the PCs did in the past and where to find them. This might be of use to others.
Past PC doings:
PC traded insults with agent of Cesadia Wrentz, nearly came to blows. (9)
PCs banned from Silver Wagon because one ran up unpaid bar tab (39 gp, 6 sp) and started a bar fight. (16)
PC was friendly with Keldrin Mon, stevedore, and met once a week for ale, cards and conversation. (17)
Keldrin saw PCs poking around Pier 19 (Worm's Hook) and hiding something there. Items have Keldrin's friend's sigil or initials. (17-18)
PC beat Klyn Murik to death. (Optionally, multiple PCs were involved.) (18)
Arrest record of PC who started brawl at the Silver Wagon. (27)
Notes in dream books in Iris Hill library refer to assistants whose minds were sacrificed to the Mad Poet. (44)
The PCs stayed in two guest rooms in the Iris Hill house and evidence of that can be found within one of them. Descriptions confirm them as Lowls' assistants. (45)
Lowls' journal identifies the PCs as companions in the dream of the Mad Poet and that their minds were sacrificed. (47)
One option given is that multiple PCs were involved in the death. That has the disadvantage of giving the thing its profane bonus against all of them. But you could then justify it not going for the kill immediately.
Some other options:
2. Have it wait until the PCs go to the fort, then creep up on them. The odds are good of at least one combat against the fort's inhabitants where the enemies will be between the target PC and the Revenant. Have it enter the fight by attacking the fort defenders, in an attempt to break through to its target. That gives the players a chance to see how deadly this foe is and buys them a little time to respond, plus they may have some buffs already running. On the down side, they may have expended a lot of resources already. But if a zombie, a skum or an Id Ooze lands a few hits on the Revenant it'll be weakened for when it arrives at its target.
True Seeing: Interacting with Spells, Curses, and Supernatural Effects which alter the nature of a target
Plausible Pseudonym wrote:
This misses one of the more potentially overpowered uses of the spell, one only balanced out by the cost of its material components:True Seeing penetrates all illusions, including Illusory Wall. So if you have a friendly caster who can use illusions, you can see through them and your opponents cannot.
And True Seeing is touch range, so you can cast it on other party members.
Illusory Wall, an illusionary fog, anything that blocks line of sight can shut down opponents while allowing you and anyone else in the group with True Seeing to function normally. The Wall doesn't even allow your foes to make a save.
As for Belefauntes' desire to use the spell as written in a way which I assume would provoke PC on PC combat, perhaps the first step should to be discuss the situation with your GM? Maybe even your fellow players, out-of-character, to point out that their choices mean your PC would feel honor-bound to kill the vampire and exorcise the others? Sounds like your GM is trying to preclude the inevitable, regardless of RAW for the spell. If you have to seek ammo for your position on the forums instead of talking things out with your group, you've got bigger problems than a spell interpretation to deal with.
What would be Karzoug motivations not to kill him on sight?
That's easy: killing him allows his associates to successfully True Resurrect him. So Karzoug wouldn't.
Karzoug could disable him and take his gear, or Polymorph or Flesh to Stone him (assuming you restrict yourself to his spells as provided in the adventure path). Offering to spare his life as an opening gambit might make sense. Of course, if he spends his first round of battle stunned and then fails a Fort save the offer wouldn't be necessary.
Still no suggestions for the Schrodinger's guard then?
How much trouble do you want to cause? Because one extra guard and a bunch of doppelgangers sounds like one of those guards may not always have been a guard. Let the players get the names from Winter and see if they notice a discrepancy.
In terms of the metagame question, though, it's a mistake in the description of Tolman Leolies. He's described on page 25 as one of the chapel guards but in the description of B6 (page 17) he's indicated as having "the statistics of a normal survivor." I'd guess someone counted names and compared with the number of guards and didn't notice one of the names matches an NPC who isn't a guard.
GM Thing wrote:
Given the strong hints about the kind of things Lowls may have been up to with the patients' help, I'm not surprised she's being cagey. If the PCs admit to their memory loss, she would have to wonder if they're lying or not. Why reveal anything known or suspected about them and their connection with Lowls if it turns out they already know all about it and are trying to pump you to find out what you may know yourself?
It's also unclear just how many patients may have just been killed. If there were twenty patients recently admitted and fifteen of them are dead now, why would you assume that the ones you were looking for were coincidentally the only ones to survive?
Unless you're wedded to running the encounter as written, it seems like there's plenty of adjustments you can make to increase the challenge and drama of the fight. How to make adjustments depends upon both players and PCs, of course.
2. The Tatterman appears as written. If more than 2 PCs resist the fear, he declares that he will hunt easier prey and Shadow Walks out of the room, or, if you prefer, causes the room to collapse, allowing him an exit (via flight) and potentially delaying the PCs as they dig out pinned party members. (Obviously this shouldn't be a "rocks fall" collapse and damage should be low and/or non-lethal.) He then proceeds to one of the refugee groups and starts slaughtering them, with the PCs forced to pursue to try and stop him.
He also has three Suggestion spells and can make himself look like one of the PCs. He could appear AS a PC, shout that the Tatterman has been hiding amongst the group since last they slept, then follow with a Suggestion that they tie him up or knock him out aimed at the strongest member of the group.
Create challenge through the circumstances as much as through the tactics and your players will find the fight memorable even if the statistical challenge is minimal.
Plausible Pseudonym wrote:
The wall behind the throne is covered with books filled with knowledge about present-day Golarian. He's clearly had his servants go into the world and buy up a lot of information. All someone needed to do was teleport to a major city and purchase a scroll of Anti-Tech Field and Karzoug has it.
Wait, you can scry on Siheidron items when they aren't being used? .-. I was under impression that Karzoug can use Siheidron Medallion for scrying only when its weared
Wearing the Medallion means a -4 to the save to resist the at-will Scrying from the Runewell of Greed (see its description) and grants the power to speak through the wearer's mouth. But Karzoug can scry the PCs normally, too.
1 day definitely means Karzoug recovers negative levels and any spells he cast. When it becomes clear the PCs aren't attacking the following day, Karzoug has some options. (If he overhears them discussing how long they're going to rest, he has more.)
At the least, he could use 1 Wish to gather reinforcements. This is a good opportunity if the PCs missed a major foe earlier in the adventure or if someone escaped them to bring that enemy back, though obviously Xanesha isn't going to be as effective a reinforcement as, say, Ghlorofaex.
In theory, 1 Wish could bring 20 of Karzoug's Rune Giants to him, but doing that essentially makes winning the campaign impossible.
If you want to be mean but fair, Karzoug uses his ability to speak through a Sihedron Medallion to communicate with his servants in Xin-Shalast, who gather a huge attack force of dozens of giants and lamia and rush the Pinnacle. Allow the PCs to hear or detect this group on its approach, leaving them with the option of fleeing (which means having to fight through restocked foes in the Pinnacle) or hopping through the portal to kill Karzoug. If they flee, the replacement defenders of the Pinnacle should be on constant watch, their numbers limited only by the available Sihedron Rings and Medallions, until Karzoug is able to emerge.
If Karzoug has spoken to the PCs through their Medallions, they should know that he could also do that to any servitor wearing one, so I wouldn't let them get away with the false assumption that they've cut his lines of communication.
I'm running Fortress of the Stone Giants and my PCs have gotten into a frankly hilarious situation. I'm looking for ideas about how Mokmurian might respond if it develops in one of two ways I anticipate. What Would Mokmurian Do?
The situation: the PCs entered through the River cave, rushed past the Redcaps straight into the kobold, but killed her and the Stone Giant guards in four rounds of combat. After consulting with Conna, they opted to stealth up the summoner's Eidolon, who snuck past the trolls, and the rest of the party Dimension Doored into the ramp leading to the Library level.
Some highly amusing and tough encounters saw the Headless Lord and Forgefiend slain but the PCs low on resources. After discussing teleporting or Dim Dooring away to rest, they opted to use several Walls of Stone to fashion themselves a hidey hole ninety feet up in C5 (the Forgefiend's hangout). Leaving one PC on watch, the others Nap Stack'ed.
Mokmurian observed the fight with the Headless Lord. He knows the party are the Heroes of Sandpoint: a Summoner, a Bard, a Barbarian, a Witch, and a modified Arcanist who can cast some divine spells. When the Lord fell, he cast a few 10 min/level preps and waited. About an hour later, he concluded the PCs weren't on their way and he consulted with his dogs to figure out where they were. Six Greater Scrying attempts and a Discern Location later, and he isolated them and is springing an attack while they nap.
I don't need help with that part. Where I need help is in how Mokmurian would respond if they do one of two things I expect them to do: escape to a nearby location through Dimension Door (probably the caves under Jorgenfist), or Teleport to somewhere less than a day from Jorgenfist. (If they Teleport to Magnimar, Mokmurian can't do much but prepare for their return.)
He can pinpoint their location with the Hounds. He still has the Trolls, the Lamia, Lokansir and everybody on the surface. Does he hole up on the Library level? Leg it up to the Lamia and gather a hit squad? Send one of the giant tribes after them? Does he risk a Hound slipping its bonds to send it with a hit squad? And most importantly, does he lead a group out himself or does he stick around Jorgenfist until the invaders are killed?
I have some ideas, but I'm curious to see what people come up with, especially given what we know of Mokmurian's character. These guys killed Longtooth during the Sandpoint attack, so he knows they are dangerous.
The boring/too-samey problem could be most easily addressed by increasing the differences between clerics based upon their deity of worship. 2nd Edition tried limiting spell lists through domains, but that was a real pain both in terms of maintaining those lists and in terms of imbalances. Having clerics of one faith be less awesome as combat casters wasn't the problem so much as some clerics having 4-5 4th level spells on their list while others had dozens.
For Pathfinder, I'd be tempted to adapt the archetype system. Replace clerical domains with a set of cleric archetypes based upon the deity, and build domain choices into each archetype instead of making them generic. That also allows you to differentiate between how Gorum clerics perceive war and how Iomedae clerics perceive war, instead of simply giving them both the exact same abilities via the War domain.
Then you can tailor each individual archetype to grant the feel you want for clerics of that type, while building in development options.
Character Name: Alain
Character Name: Enora
Character Name: Adowyn
Character Name: Kyra
Cards Redeemed: Fasciculus Labyrinthum, Helm of the Serpent King, Soulshear
The space limitations in Sins of the Saviors lead to tactics that simply aren't particularly interesting or challenging. I want this thread to feature either redesigns of some of the Runeforge encounters or expanded tactics for existing encounters.
Let's take I2: False Vraxerises. Part of the problem with the tactics here is the classic "doesn't work with the description," as these six go invisible and then shout at intruders, giving away their positions. This should be a confusing and exciting encounter fit for the Illusion faction.
Before Combat: Upon hearing movement or combat nearby, the Vraxerises cast spells as follows: false life, then shield. Four of them then cast invisibility and scatter around the room. The fifth casts mirror image, while the last casts displacement and stands next to the fifth.
When the party arrives, they'll see one Vraxeris with multiple mirror images (one of whom is actually a displaced Vraxeris). That visible Vraxeris delivers the threat and then attacks.
When combat begins, three of the invisible Vraxerises open with greater invisibility, while the fourth casts displacement. Both visible Vraxerises cast spells, leading to a situation where the PCs see a mirror image casting.
On the following rounds, invisible Vraxerises cast major images of Vraxerises appearing in various spots and spellcasting. Coupled with confusion spells, the intent is to utterly confuse the players as well as the PCs and leave them uncertain how many actual Vraxerises there are, as well as which are images.
Stone to Flesh in a spellbook won't help if the PC wizard can't cast it, nor will Break Enchantment if the wizard's stuck with 4th level spells.
And given that the PCs can't know who has a Stone to Flesh scroll and may well get killed off trying to fight in some of the encounter areas, letting them wander around seems unwise.
I have two suggestions:
2. The waters of the runeforge pool or the pool of elemental arcana may have properties beyond those stated in the adventure. Perhaps the arcane trickster can "hack" one of them to reverse the Flesh to Stone effect. You can decide what side-effects that reversal may have, if any.
After enjoying the WotR Adventure Card Game and after finding RotR much more enjoyable to run with all the resources from the RotR Card Game, I picked up WotR and just finished reading through it. Despite all the problems people have (accurately) identified here, I'm thinking about running the path in a few years. I wanted to open a thread to discuss a specific kind of reworking with anyone who's run the path or is interested in improving it.
Some quick background first: I've been a GM for over 30 years and ran several campaigns that went into the 40's in level; when 3.0 came out, my group spent about 6 months familiarizing ourselves with the system and then I wrote a set of epic rules so they could convert their 20+ level characters. When the actual epic rules came out, I thought most of the choices they made were bad ones; I was such a balance hawk that that campaign ran until the end with 3.0 haste allowing two spells per round without being overpowered or broken. Whether I eventually decide to make massive changes to the Mythic rules or whether I simply patch in my epic rules to Pathfinder and fast-track the PCs to 25th level or higher, I’m not worried about making the encounters challenging or the game-balance right for my players. I’m also not worried about any minor errors in monster or encounter design (although I’m still annoyed that several Paizo writers don’t seem to know that Sending has a 10 minute casting time).
Where I want to rework involves a lot of story elements and choices that feel off to me, sometimes bafflingly so. I’ll provide a quick overview and then give two concrete examples of how to rework the path, one for The Worldwound Incursion and one for City of Locusts.
Themes of Redemption and Corruption: this sort of thing is tough to pull off in a published adventure, but I find WotR frustrating because it sketches out something thematically wonderful and then keeps dropping the thread. Redemption is basically clear, and rules are provided for it, but the adventures do a lousy job of providing opportunities. Adventures 1 & 4 don’t even seem to realize redemption as a theme. And stressing to players that they should look to redeem their foes, except demons who are evil and they can just kill (except for the pre-redeemed demon they’ll meet, who isn’t and they shouldn’t), not only massively oversimplifies the issue but IMO ruins the whole point of the theme.
Which brings me to Corruption, which is understandably trickier but utterly mishandled in the published path. There’s very little trust shown in either GM or players to handle difficult issues here, particularly issues like working with demon lords out of necessity. The Midnight Isles, in particular, trivializes the whole railroaded plot point by handing out talismans of true faith which render any matter of corruption for the PCs entirely moot. It’s perhaps understandable that the writers didn’t opt to explore PC corruption, on the assumption that a CE PC becomes unplayable in the path, but this sort of binary approach is too simplistic even for a strict alignment-system. Players shouldn’t be worried that a single bad decision strips their characters of power or renders them unplayable, but that’s a matter of trust between players and GM and not Paizo’s responsibility. I want my players discussing when they’re doing the right or wrong thing and I want consequences when they make choices, whatever the choices are. The Adventure Card Game does a much better job of tempting characters than this path does.
An easy fix for the Corruption problem is to focus, as Sword of Valor does, on possible or actual corruption of NPCs. That runs the risk of making the game about NPCs, not PCs, but if players like certain NPCs that can work out. A harder approach would be to have actual rewards and costs for PC behavior throughout, perhaps by extending the Devotion Point mechanic of The Worldwound Incursion. Have the deities or mythic beings associated with the PCs monitor their progress and reward them for acting “properly,” for varying definitions of “proper.” Actually, making mythic progression work in this way, with new powers and abilities as gifts or rewards, could also solve the balance issues as PCs would be awarded things like mythic feats and spells instead of selecting them. The players wouldn’t control what they get, but instead would determine whether they get anything at all based on the play decisions they make.
Epic Scope/Epic Confrontation: Early WotR seems to do better at this sort of thing than late WotR. As I suggested, I have a lot of past experience with epic play, and I’m shocked at some of the missed opportunities here. I’m certainly going to do a lot more with the Lexicon of Paradox, following some suggestions in other threads here, including having the PCs discover it and having its study (and the potential corruption one risks through said study) be a part of the campaign. Reworking things like army combat, depending on my players’ interests, could also help. But I’m interested in anything which can be added or modified to produce a sense of scale and significance, as opposed to fighting another epic foe in a cave or a brothel.
For Anevia, the temptation will be despair. Vagorg will declare that he’s already killed Irabeth, both to hurt her and to gain an advantage in the subsequent fight, and she’ll believe him. Distressed, she’ll not think to check the secret alcove and if left alone, she’ll kill herself. The PCs will have to restore her hope, mainly through role-play, at which point she’ll find the note and thank them profusely.
Aravashnial is trickier, especially as I don’t want despair to be his thing. Anyone have ideas?
With Horgus, I think I’ll have someone stop by his manor and claim to have taken his servants hostage, so the temptation will be one of greed. He’ll naturally pay the ransom, even though the servants in question robbed him of everything they could get their hands on, but the PCs could intervene to make certain the hostages are returned unharmed and the evil-doers punished. (Faxon could turn out to be behind the thing himself.)
For the City of Locusts ending, I’ll do what seems obvious and up the stakes of the Closing ritual. The previous closing in The Midnight Isles required people doing things at both sides of the rift in question. Clearly, that should be the case here, too. Doing the logical, Queen Galfrey sets the Sword of Valor up in Threshold on the Prime Material, but someone will have to take part of the Lexicon through to F21 and Deskari’s realm to do the ceremony there. Deskari can attack this group directly during the performance of the ceremony—much more epic a conclusion, and also much more sensible than the present version, IMO.
When the ceremony is successfully completed, I’ll use the description of the world dropping away for anyone on the Rifts-side, then cut to the folks in Threshold (probably mostly or all NPCs given the obvious differences in safety between the two sides). After a brief discussion of how the PCs haven’t returned despite the ceremony’s success, they’ll drop some divinations and determine that the PCs (or whoever) are now incapacitated and in the center of Deskari’s realm.
Cue the rescue attempt, with players running cohorts, NPCs and the like as needed. All those the PCs helped and redeemed in the past adventures will gather together to help in whatever way they can. I can just picture Alderpash handing a PC a spare spellbook, immediately post-rescue, and saying, “While I appreciate the opportunity to advance my own redemption, I’d appreciate it if you were a little more careful about throwing your life away next time!”
The rescued PCs then likely take the opportunity to finish Deskari for good, if that hasn’t already happened as part of the rescue.
So, that’s a glimpse of where I’d start and end things. What ideas do other people have for the vast in-between?
I finished with two different groups. One of them fluctuated between 3 and 5 players and two of the characters break the rules as they didn't complete every single scenario, and I can't report on that group as I no longer have all the deck information. The second group had its 3 players for every scenario and I report on it below:
Character Name: Sajan
Character Name: Lem
Character Name: Valeros
From the other campaign, I only have my character information, but I'll post it anyway:
Character Name: Ezren
Submitted subscription order Sunday, got a "card declined" Monday, went back and rekeyed and hit Try Payment Method Again button. (Something odd went down with the "billing address" selection dialog when I first ordered, but all the currently listed data is correct.)
I've heard nothing since and the order is still listed as pending. Don't want to hit "Try Again" and be charged twice. What's going on, and can I expect a confirmation e-mail when the order goes through?