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Silver Crusade

These are GREAT ideas, everyone. Thanks!

This encounter will be taking place within the Shudderwood in the middle of winter, so conditions will heavily favor the wolves (snow, brush, poor LOS, etc.) I had forgotten about targeting horses, but that is a great idea. Waking up to a screaming animal in the middle of the night should be good atmosphere.

One question about harassment tactics - I know wizards need 8 hours rest, but what about clerics/witches? What about ki pools and the like? Can they be prevented from regeneration by not getting a night's sleep?

I like the idea about splitting the party with a stream. I will have to design a nice choke point.

You're probably right, therealthom, about the Wolves not hitting and needing more numbers. The way I've got it set up, Wolves are the most common encounter for the travel. Once the wolves start following, every time I roll wolves again the pack will be joined by more wolves, or even dire wolves, winter wolves, or werewolves appropriate to the area.

I don't want to soup up the normal wolves too much, as I still want them to seem like animals. I might make them a little tougher than a regular wolf - call them a "Shudderwood Wolf" and give them full hit points and maybe a +1 morale bonus to hit/dmg due to being all riled up by the events in Broken Moon.

Logan, the Howling/hunted feeling is right on - that's the effect I'm going for.

I really, really like Nebelwerfer's suggestion of harassment attacks - make the PCs groan and say "time to scare the wolves off again" then hit them with the full pack.

Silver Crusade

Dosgamer wrote:

My encounter had a wide river with the scrags setting up shop in the middle of the river where they capsize and sink vessels. The latest capture was capsized and largely underwater except for the hull. This was to give the PCs a base to work from as they rescued the stranded victims off the wreckage.

Hey, thanks, this gives me a great idea! I'll have a few very small islands in the river. These will give folks a good place to run/swim to if they get in trouble, and they could even choose to make for one in the boat to make a stand there. Plus, one of them could have an entrance to a troll cave (kind of like a beaver dam) below the waterline which could be searched for treasure.

I think plopping a few islands in there alleviates the last misgivings I had about such an encounter.

Wiggz wrote:

Boat Tipping:

Opposed Strength (Scrags) vs. Dexterity (PC's) check, OR vs. Profession: Sailing with the possibility of other PC's using the aid another on one side and multiple Scrags using aid another on the other side.

Anyone not aiding one side or the other can make attacks, but the Scrags get partial cover for being partially submerged.
Finally, consider rolling for a random hazard every round, just a d6 with results something like this:

Like it. A random event table is a really good idea. I'll probably use a d12 (it gets so little love) and add some things like an eddy (boat spins, scrags may be spun away also.) Thanks guy!s

Silver Crusade

Rumtum wrote:
Fighting underwater is serious business. Especially if the players aren't fully prepared for it.

Yeah, I want to try and avoid that. :D I won't pull punches, but I'm not out to kill either. They have a witch that can fly at will, a character with a ring of invisibility, and then 3 pretty tough martial characters. I think they should be able to pull it off if they play smart and aren't afraid to run.

Silver Crusade

Recently I've been inspired by some DMs I've seen use low CR monsters very effectively due to numbers and good tactics. The prime example being militarized hobgoblins using readied action to move and attack in formation, granting flanking bonuses and really hemming the party in.

I am about to have my the level party enter the Shudderwood, and want to use wolf packs in a way that reflects how wolfs actually hunt, and see if I can make a bunch of cr 1/2 critters really dangerous.

My thoughts are:

1. Tail the party: Wolves should be able to track them and attack when they are separated/unprepared. There will be a whole pack of wolves, 12-15, with an "alpha pair" that are advanced and have a single combat maneuver feat.

2. Separate the weak: If the wolves can pull off an ambush, they will charge and attempt bite/trips in the first round, targeting the smallest/ weakest looking characters. Should any be successful, in successive rounds wolves that are adjacent to a downed character will attempt to aid a Drag combat maneuver to pull the character away from the "herd".

If noone is tripped in the first round, they will surround a "weak" member of the party and use flanking and aid another to try and get trips or drags going.

One a character is separated, additional wolves that have delayed or readied will then step in to block the path and either fight defensively or take total defense to try and cover the retreat, as the remaining wolves try and drag off and kill the prey.

3. Morale: Being animals, they are out to hunt and will flee if getting the worst of it.


Would trying to grapple, then grapple/move in later turns be better than drag as far as gaining distance?

Even with good hunting tactics, are basic wolves likely to put much fear into a level 7 party? (ACs are 18-22 ish, CMD on the weakest member is around 15/16.)

Any other thoughts for cool hunting tactics?


Silver Crusade

Looks like that Dragon can turn rock to lava. That's pretty brootal.

Silver Crusade

Ok, so my 5 level 7 PCs are set to try and cross a large river soon, and lurking in the river are 3 scrags.

I could use some advice on the encounter, both in terms of tactics for the scrags and trying to make it more fun for the PCs.

1. Forewarning. They will likely have to rent/buy/steal a boat for the crossing. A nearby community can assist, with legends of the scrags. (Diplomacy to gather info.) Due to the hazards of the river, the community owns a Wand of Water Breathing. This could be be bought/stolen/ or simply the use of it could be paid for by party. Intense scanning of the river for hazards reveals much debris from recent storms, including whole trees, drifting in the river, and may reveal the presence of a scrag swimming with eyes above water to search for food (Perception vs. stealth + mods for distance, cover, etc.)

So with that forewarning, PCs who treat the river crossing as dangerous should at least have some preparation, and might even choose to delay crossing or better prepare.

2. The river. The river has an average width of 500', swim dc of 15, and a fair amount of debris moving with the current. (These either require a REF save if they move into your square for 1d6 bludgeoning, or can be mounted with an acrobatics roll to get out of the water and keep from drowning.) The scrags are hungry but smart, and will attack in the center, when shore is roughly 250' away. PCs who are watching the rear of the boat will have a chance to spot them swimming below the surface of the water.

3. Tactics. Here's where I can use the most help. The PCs will likely be in one or two small boats. I was thinking the scrags might start by striking the bottom of the boats to get them rocking, or even trying to tip them one way or the other. (Acrobatics checks to keep from sliding to the edge, or if at the edge, from falling in the River). Having them grab PCs and then try to drag them into the water seems like a fair way to have them attack - as it exposes them to AoO and also makes them sit out of the water for a round before they can try and move the character into the drink. Most of the time they won't be attacking in mass or with full attacks, as they are trying to come at the party from all sides and separate them.

4. Consequences. Anyone going for a swim may have a really tough time. Also, the scrags are going to try and split the party, taking PCs into the river to drown.

Is this too tough? They've fought trolls before, so know how tough they can be, so there should be no fooling around. My gut says it's a challenging encounter, but not too bad for a 7th Level Ninja/Witch/Fighter/Barbarian/Ranger unless they go in blindly or react foolishly. The scrags want to live, so will retreat if they get into the Danger Zone.

Your thoughts much appreciated.

Silver Crusade

The threat of death makes the reward of success sweeter.

Funny, I am planning out a Cyclops encounter also. They make a great monster for the scenario, and how fun is it going to be to have them rumble ominously "I have seen the hour of my death... and yours" before wading in to attack?

Now, their ability is totally brootal (and James Jacobs did allude to it being able to trigger a crit threat or confirm a crit, but not both.) I think the only way to be fair about it is to give the party some forewarning, and let them choose whether or not to face the cyclops or run.

Anyone making a sufficient knowledge check could get a hint as to the rules. They should also have plenty of forewarning when they see 10' tall, one-eyed giants with freaking great axes. That should be as intimidating as heck, and if they decide to charge in where they don't have the advantage, the PCs may pay for it.

Make the cyclops seem sinister, and if the PCs are smart, they should be able to set up the battle where they have the advantage in terrain, timing (attacking while they sleep, for instance) and preparedness. After all, if they can use some choice spells to force saving throws on the Cyclops, they may use up their ability before swinging the axe.

Dragons should make players quake in fear. They are also intelligent, greedy, and vain. Recently we played vs a dragon that trashed the party - 2 party members fleeing, 1 dead, and 2 as good as dead. They happened to be the Bard and the Rogue, who threw themselves at the mercy of the dragon and concoted a story of a fabulous, difficult to find treasure in the nearby hills. They ended up captured, stripped of possessions, and very frightened, but were able to escape once they had tricked the dragon into exploring a Hill Giant cave we had passed on the journey in.

While they should definitely act in their best tactical interest, intelligent or highly disciplined opponents may allow surrender, retreat, or other methods of quitting the field.

Silver Crusade

I just ordered my DMG up at the FLGS, and will be getting all the books. This is my favorite iteration of the D20 rules, and I'll enjoy having a nice set of books for the years when 3.5 is an even more distant memory. (Plus I like the covers better! I'm such a sucker for that stuff.)

Silver Crusade

I would like to see:

1. Reworked encounter math that does not make magic items mandatory
(Too much time spent after every encounter playing identify/appraise/sell go shopping mini-game. Takes the "magic" out of magic and takes up time we could be adventuring)

2. Perception broken back into listen and spot

3. The elimination of Grit, Ki, and other daily refresh pools. Replace with level-based mechanics that can work all day every day without being OP. (The last thing the game needs is MORE things to encourage a 15 minute adventuring day!)

4. More of a pipe dream, really, but if someone could actually make an Armor as DR and Defense Score system that worked, it would be sweet. The d20 revised Star Wars game had a pretty good version of this, where classes had boosts to Defense in their level progression.

Silver Crusade

Interesting topic.

I've banned Gunslingers from my Carrion Crown campaign. It just breaks my suspension of disbelief. I also banned the "Eastern" classes, though relented because someone really, really wanted to play a Ninja. So he's skinned it differently, taking a level of Cleric and using that as a justification for the "magic" abilities.

It works pretty well for the most part, but I can't say I wouldn't rather do without it.

For me, the "Sweet Spot" in gaming rules comes when the rules reflect exactly what you would expect from the theme. Reskinning seems to involve making the theme match the rules, which to me is backwards.

Silver Crusade

Ok here, are my encounter tables. Some items are customized for my party. Viktor Kehr is the name of the inquisitor who was responsible for overseeing the destruction of the Beast and is now tracking the PCs, convinced that they are up to no good. I also made up one for the sewers, in case the party investigated from the V&G workshop in that direction.

Vieland General
01-07 Wolf Pack
08-15 Boar Pack
16-21 Assassin Vines
22-28 Goblin Raiding Party
29-33 Orc Raiding Party
34-40 1d4 Wraiths
41-48 1d8 Ghouls + 1d4 Ghasts
49-54 Troll
55-61 Shambling Mound
62-65 Revenant
66-67 Wyvern
68-75 Road Warden
76-83 Travelling Mountebanks
84-90 Viktor Kehr + Thugs
91-98 Bandits
99 Will o' Wisp
100 Vampire

Lepidstadt Sewers
01-10 2d8 Mongrelmen
01-17 1d3 Rat Swarms
18-21 Alchemical Oozes
22-27 1d12 Beggars
28-33 1d8 Thieves
34-39 Grey ooze
40-41 Otyugh
42-49 1d8 Gouls + 1d4 Ghasts
50-53 Scrag
54 Revenant
55-56 Will o' Wisp
57 Vampire
58-63 Lost Student
64-67 Whispering Way Cultist
68-73 Sewer Ranger
74-75 Green Hag
76-81 Cult Circle
82-87 Fey Investation
88-96 Dire Rats
97-100 Student Duellists

Silver Crusade

I did make some for Trial of the Beast and am working on ones for the Shudderwood and part III. I had the same problem you do. I'll upload them when I get home this evening.

Silver Crusade

Good ideas. I am expanding the time frame on my campaign to several months, to account for travel, exploration, etc.

I am also changing the Whispering Way plot line somewhat, so it is less about playing follow the leader and more about uncovering a wide-spread plot. I will have 6-12 important Lieutenants who make up the core of the Way, and who each hope to control a part of Ustalav after the "Rebirth of UnDeath" set to occur in the spring. While they are all assisting in creating the Carrion Crown ritual, after they have done their part they will be busy preparing their local forces for a mass uprising.

Lucimar would make a great lieutenant for the Shudder Wood. Perhaps I will have him in and out of the wood while the players are there. I may replace the final showdown at the stairs of the moon with the Werewolf captains being sworn to loyalty to Lucimar, who sets the Demon Wolves and their leader as his proxies before heading out to complete some sinister business. Dunno. I'll keep thinking.

Silver Crusade

Welsh Knight wrote:

Hi fellas.

In Caromacs flooded menagerie how do the players get to the top level?

Well, if they weren't greedy little grubbin's like my players, they still have the Rope of Climbing from Harrowstone. Or someone can fly up there and hammer in a piton if they have a climbing kit. Or conceivably they could bring in materials to fashion a laddder/scaffolding.

OR they could just do like my players and walk around, throw a rope over the bridge to the tower, and completely avoid it.

There is, after all, absolutely ZERO story reason to go in there.

Silver Crusade

I agree that the XP Tracks need to be switched up for Campaign Path style play, where the players have to be Level X when they reach point A.

It's not a problem for Sand Box style play.

Silver Crusade

Good idea, although Shadows of Gallowspire has got to be up there with Haunting of Harrowstone in my favorites from this path.

I do understand the burnout... it's a lot of horror, which is tough to maintain.

I'm hoping to make it through, but I'm starting to feel the burn myself...

Silver Crusade

Awesome. Raise a glass to William!

Silver Crusade

My current D&D character was modeled rather along these lines. She was an escaped gladiator from the evil Empire of Iuz, determined to one day raise an army to depose him. (You gotta dream big.)

In the game we didn't do all that much differently, except that I was always trying to recruit NPCs into a network that I could call on "When the Time Comes", and I was much more likely to jump at adventure hooks related to fighting the Cult of Iuz. It helped to give purpose to unrelated adventures and string them all together into experience, contacts, and resources, but really didn't affect game play that much.

Once you've got followers, a home-base helps to keep them out of the way. They're not much good in a scrap as they are so far beneath you in levels, that you'll end up losing them, so they're better garrisoned somewhere or performing side-missions for you.

I'd say pick up some property or establish near valuable resources as soon as possible. Gives them some way to be useful, and it's nice to have a "home" you can retire to and feel like someone's got your back while you rest.

Silver Crusade

Name: The Aberrant Promethean
Race: Flesh Golem
Catalyst: Claymation Monster Fight

The Gory Details:

The players ended up skipping the menagerie entirely and only fighting a flock of Gargoyles I added in between the schloss and the tower. They entered the tower and defeated the guardian, but when were in pretty ragged shape when they rescued Coromarc.

In my game, they had witnessed The Beast return, pry open the roof of the tower, and then struggle with the Promethean before tumbling into the water. Thinking the tower clear, they rescued Coromarc and were able to get the gist of what the Way had done as well as the lowdown on the Bondslave Thrall.

As his speech concluded, they heard sounds of movement from below as the Promethean began moving back up through the tower, tearing away the stones to make passage in between levels.

Meanwhile "Boots" was spotted scaling the outer wall of the tower in a red fury. The Bondslave was activated and The Beas slid down the hanging chains to give battle to his brother.

The party was in no shape to go toe to toe with the Beast, and I didn't feel like they should be punished for rescuing the Count as the module had been pointed them to do, so the Promethean opened up with his Sonic fear ability, scaring off most of the Party and then tangled with the Beast.

At the end of the Day, the Beast had been reduced to zero hit points, and the party was at death's door, when they finally brought the thing down due to a combination of Acid Arrow, the Beast's Damage, and the Fighter and Barbarian leaping from the top of the tower from where they had fled to slam into the Promethean with their melee attacks. (Epicly funny. We ad-hoced that they added the falling damage done to themselves as a bonus to their melee damage if they hit.)

In the end a lot of punches were pulled, but it was a pretty ridiculous set up for the final battle and I'm just glad to have it behind us!

Silver Crusade

Awesome idea, Windspirit. I am doing the same thing, so this is very helpful.

Silver Crusade

That's pretty much the same sequence from when the Erinyes one-shotted the Magus last games session! Hilarious.

Silver Crusade

Glendwyr wrote:

But Gary was made of sterner stuff. "Take heart, men!" he shouted. "Iomedae is watching over us, and this opponent cannot harm us!" Whereupon, the scythe immediately decapitated him with the most ironic critical hit I've ever seen - particularly since if he'd only accepted the healing that had been urged on him, he'd have been recoverable!

Priceless! Sounds like you guys have a great group. Gary's player amused?

Silver Crusade

Eh. I'm against "Magic Emporiums" in all but the largest and most metropolitan of cities.

If they "need" mightier treasure for a module, let them discover or earn it. Keep a tab on what they are after or would prove useful, and you can seed the adventure with stuff that would make sense to be there.

for instance:
In Trial of the Beast, there is NO treasure in the main dungeon crawl portion unless they loot the Count of all his possessions and then presumably sell it back in Lepidstadt? Seems really odd that no one would inquire about the royal seal on the silver! Since my players so far have been disinclined to loot the place, I have created a secret room in which the count stored heirloom items he hoped to one day give to his son. When rescued, he is overwhelmed with the disasters that his experiments in creating "children" have become and will offer the players the heirloom items. These will include items passed down through generations of the Corormarc line, and will include some very nice magic armor, a magic arming sword, some utility items (stone of alarm) and a few other items I know my particular players will be interested in.

This way you can provide appropriate tools for the party level without taking the "magic" out of magic by having every town have a MagicMart(tm) where they can instantly unload items for exactly what they want.

Silver Crusade

Name: Fenton the Weaponsmith
Race: Human
Classes/levels: Magus 6
Adventure: Trial of the Beast
Location: The Rope Bridge
Catalyst: The Full Fury of the Fury

The Gory Details::
The party had been pretty trap shy when entering the Schloss, but were lulled into false confidence after exploring the place and then beating the tar out of some Rust Monsters. (Aside: Man did Paizo take the teeth out of those things! Wasn't even worth going through. RM should strike fear into the heart of the bravest knight! But I digress...)

The halfing witch flew across the bridge and secured a rope on the far side, allowing the party to cross with a +5 bonus for a secure hand hold (but meaning they had no weapons out).

The Magus was the first to cross, triggering the trap and summoning the Erinyes. On his turn he rushed to the other side while the party repositioned in the Alchemy lab and took some ineffectual arrow fire at the Devil.

The Erinyes then turned her full fury on the Magus, as he was the only one across the bridge. Two hits and a crit later, and his lifeless body plummeted into the river.

He was the only one to go down, however, as the rest of the party really pulled out all the stops in terms of teamwork to deal with her. The hafling witch managed to put her to sleep, which ended when she hit the water. The rapid-shot ranger got aid from the Ninja/cleric with a "touch of luck" and plinked away at her hit points the whole time. The final blow came at the hands of the barbarian and the fighter (who was the crippled survivor of the near TPK in the gatehouse, and who came in to replace the fallen magus) who hauled a wooden mixing tub out of the wreckage and hurled it at the lady Devil as she flew over the bridge.

Awesome fight.

Silver Crusade

King of Vrock wrote:

It's not that odd really...

The whole point of the AP is a smorgasbord of gothic horror of which Lovecraft is absolutely a part of. The Madness mechanic is awesome! I have 4 of 7 PCs contract an insanity!

Congratulations! That's excellent.

I dunno, the gothic horror of Stoker and Shelley feels very different to me from the cosmic horror of HPL. After all, The Mummy, Frankenstein's Monster, The Wolfman, and Dracula all met up at some point in a Universal Monster Movie, but they never made Dagon meets Dracula. :D

Also, the module really moves the atmosphere too far towards the 19th centure - we've got a submarine and top hats, for crying out loud. It's a little too anachronistic to have that in the same module as folks running around in chainmail with broadswords.

Pathfinder already feels more like late Rennaisance to me, no need to jump the atmosphere even further away from the psuedo-medieval in my personal tastes.

Silver Crusade

Helaman wrote:
Nathonicus wrote:
Interesting stuff.

I like the tie together - thats one of the things I feel is lacking in TotB - a more solid plot tie in on the hows and the whys of the WW for doing what they did instead of try other methods.

My one is that the University has trapped the exhibits with a lightning equiviilent of burning hands spells on their cabinents etc.

The Way, knowing the exhibits are trapped but not the extent or strength of the traps wont risk themselves, nor, given that failure may result in their prize being moved or hidden, can they use lackeys or hired thieves... their minds turn to Golems and thus Caromac.

The other stuff you put in is good and I may work with that...

Awesome! I took a lot of inspiration from this thread, glad my permutations keep the creativity rolling.

I like the idea of traps, and probably would have used them except I was running with very little prep that week. They went to investigate the College, and then started asking which I had no good answers. :/

Inkwell wrote:

Is there a list about map errors for the final dungeon?

I'm looking specifically for encounters/monsters that I need to adjust for.

Inkwell, the ones that come to mind are the Gatehouse which is tiny for 3 trolls to be running around in and the musuem where the guardian is moving around in a very small place.

Silver Crusade

Yeah, I found a copy to read before I bought it, and I think I have to give it a miss.

For one, directly transplanting Innsmouth to a fantasy world just seems...wrong. I mean, influence is one thing, this seems pretty much like just changing the name and calling it fantasy.

Then there also appears to be the same problem that plagued a lot of the Call of Cthulhu campaigns back in the day; the "Mythos Hoe-down" syndrome where you've got a Cult of Dagon, Mi-Go, and the Spawn of Shub-nigguruth all in the same mix. It's a little crowded, especially in the space of a single adventure.

I think it will also be really nice to take a break from horror a little bit and do the Harrowing - creepy and weird, but more surreal than gothic.

Cheers for the suggestions, folks.

Silver Crusade

There's nothing wrong with it, per se, I just prefer to keep the Lovecraft stuff in a game of Call of Cthulhu. If I were to DM the mythos in Pathfinder, I would want it to be the focus of the campaign, and not just an aside in one of six parts.

Hmm... if it's that good, maybe I'll buy it an re-skin the baddies as Demonic in nature.

Thanks, Vrock. If I do skip it, I'll find a way to get Raven's Head into their hands. I'm already planning a few more leads pointing our noble friend AA.

Silver Crusade

Hi folks,

Despite it's apparent merits, I'll be replacing Wake of the Watcher with a bit of homebrew and the module the Harrowing. As the players have a long-standing feud with a group of Varisian circus performers, it will fit in nicely.

Are there any critical elements to the ongoing pursuit of the Whispering Way that I need to work in, or can I just put in clues in Feldgrau that lead to Caliphas to lead into Ashes at Dawn?

Most of the modules seem relatively unrelated in Carrion Crown, so I suspect it will work ok to replace it, but wanted to check for important stuff I might be missing.

Thanks for any help.

Silver Crusade

It might also be wroth having a discussion with your GM about the "distracted" penalty for perception and when it applies. Stealth should be easier vs. folks that are just travelling vs. an active guard/patrol.

Silver Crusade

Lots of other skills help, also. (Especially if your GM is more into the creative side of things )

Climb and the tools for it are great. Climbing a tree can get you a good vantage point, and also be a great hiding place.

Mirrors for looking around corners.

Knowing a good number of languages will help you eavesdrop.

Acrobatics and /or escape artist to help make quick getaways. Escape artist could also be useful for squeezing through tiny gaps to hide.

Silver Crusade

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Interesting story. The neighbors across the street decided that it was time for Car Dance Party Moscow at 3 AM this morning. It wasn't all bad, though, cuz after the cops came inspiration struck!

I've been fretting about what to do at the Schloss re: roleplay, logical reason for Vrood to have used the beast, and why the Beast is just on hand in the nick of time, and I think I've finally got it.

Drawing on inspiration from several posters in this thread, I think it goes like this:

In the Schloss, there are signs that guests (beyond the engineers) were expected, maybe even some letters left behind, books left out in the library as if they had been consulted. Vrood had arrived as a guest on a whim, stopping by to check on the count who was an old Comrade/nemesis. (Perhaps he hated the count for refusing to join the Whispering Way when it was obviously the superior path to understanding life and death.) He learned of the counts wife's condition and convinced the count that his own researches into death could help her. (Sheer malice on his part.) Traveling to the tower, he witnessed the sad state of affairs there with the count's deceased wife, and realized the best revenge was to seal him away facing his wife's body, then vandalize his life's work after defeating him.

Having helped build the device that controls the Beast, Vrood quickly figured out it's use once more and utilized the beast to release all the critters in the menagerie, kill the guards, and generally wreck shop, then remembered his original purpose in visiting Lepidstadt and sent the beast there to get the Effigy. (This should creep the players out when they enter the musuem, as there will be signs that the beast went amok in there, and they will be nervous about running into him.)

Vrood abandoned the Beast after stealing the idol, trusting that the authorities would chase the Beast back to the Schloss, revealing the perverse experiments of the Count and finalizing his ultimate humiliation. He left the Erinyes trap to ensure that the counts reputation would be further besmirched as a Dibolist, and also to cause general havoc.

When the players exit the museum and get their first view of the tower, they will see the beast scaling the walls and prying open the doorway from above - at which point something HUGE lunges forward, dwarfing the mighty beast with it's size, before overpowering him tumbling out of sight behind the tower.

When they reach the tower, the two assailants are nowhere to be seen, presumably at the bottom of the river.

This gives the party a chance to fight the guardian, then rescue the count and get his story. As they wrap up, attentive PCs may have a chance to hear the Promethean haul itself out of the water and scale the tower, followed by a Bezerking Beast. They will have the opportunity to try and activate the controlling device and use the Beast to attack, or flee, or fight without the machine, trusting on the Beast's Bezerk state to keep it attacking the Promethean.

It may not be a stroke of brilliance, but I think I've finally adapted the end in a way I like. Thanks to everyone here whose ideas I borrowed!

For the transition to Broken Moon, I have a handy aid in the addition of a fifth player who is playing a Ranger specializing in hunting down the creatures of the night. Altering the story a bit, he was hired by Estovion to serve as a tracker for Vrood to find the Packlord. Once he had done so, the Way moved in to make the kill, and the ranger was alarmed by the Necormancy he witnessed, knowing that general chaos would break out in the Werewolf tribes. He decided to make for Lepidstadt to contact his ranger buddy for help (the poor dead ranger from the starting group.) From there he'll be directed to join the party at the Schloss, and after getting over the sad news can alert them to the activities of the Way in the Shudderwood.

Maybe it's just the sleep-dep, but I feel like I finally have a handle on how to wrap up this "Beast" of a module! :D

Silver Crusade

King of Vrock wrote:
Quite honestly many of those things you have listed are something the players should already be doing. Someone should be taking notes (everyone ideally), all the players should be ready when you call for initiative, and everyone should be playing by the rules.

Yeah, I know they should be doing that, but I find the table in need of uh...reminders, and I don't want to sound like a jerk and start hammering them unless I have to.

The idea of calling out actions evocatively is a good one, and I try to do that as much as possible.

They really don't have a problem RPing with NPCs, either (in fact, sometimes they're TOO damn chatty). The problem comes in when a player takes an action that another player doesn't agree with, and then someone else steps out of character to advise them.

Mark, I really like the idea of milestone bonus traits. Everyone has a pretty good character background, so I think I will adopt that. Play your character consistently and convincingly, and you'll be on your way to a bonus trait. When do you have them in the progression? At the end of modules, or every so many levels?

Silver Crusade

Math is really hard in the middle of a brawl! Good writeup.

Silver Crusade

Well said Boring7. More words of wisdom on the topic are here:

Silver Crusade

I'm working on an achievement system for my Carrion Crown campaign. I'm trying to bring a lot of atmosphere and depth to the setting, but I'm finding lately that my enthusiasm for creating evocative set pieces is getting drained by long combats where we spend more time looking up rules and describing the game mechanics of what a character does versus keeping it "in-game".

To encourage the players to be more evocative and help create the world (and also just to keep the mechanics rolling) I hit on the idea of creating a list of achievements which they could unlock for excellent role-playing or spot-on management of the mechanics.

Can you help me think of ways to encourage excellent play mechanically?
What about ways to keep the roleplaying going?
What would be good rewards for unlocking an achievement? I was thinking of just doing bonus xp, or potentially they could get a bonus themed to the achievement. Maybe I'll even do tokens that they could turn in to use.

Here are some examples, please let me know if you have ideas. Also curious as to what people thing appropriate rewards might be.


On the ball: Be ready to act at initiative step without delay for an entire combat.

In character: Speak In-Character for an entire combat or rp encounter

Evocative description: Preface a key attack, action or skill attempt with a flavorful description of how they are going about it that still makes it clear what is being attempted.

Rules mastery: Use the time other players are taking their turn to look up any relevant rules for an unusual circumstance or action that will occur on their turn. (i.e. Have the book open to acrobatics if they know they are going to tumble through an opponent, getting to the monster manual if they are summoning)

The masochist: Handle any environmental hazards, saving throws, etc. that negatively impact their character at start of turn without having to be asked.

Cartographer: Volunteer to map the party's progress

Loremaster: Volunteer to keep notes on the session for the party


To go beyond just handing out DM boons, I might also give each of the players a token that they can award each session to the other player who helped keep the action moving or who most amused them with their rp.

What do you guys think? My hope is to speed up the initiative order and also to get the players more involved in building atmosphere and the world.

What would make good rewards?

Silver Crusade

Let the dice fall where they may.

I had a very similar issue in Carrion Crown - over emphasis on Melee and minor amounts of Clerical do-goodery. Worked real well until they ran into a threat that was better at dishing and soaking melee damage than they were. Instead of running, they tried to blow through and it would have been a TPK except I forgot several bad guy abilities.

The three folks who did go down rolled up new characters, and now the party is much more balanced.

I think you do a disservice to the players if you change things TOO much. Let them find a way around problems. Let them work out their differences in character. Don't, under any circumstances, start littering their path with treasure that is only martial, but do give them the opportunity to get what they need if they are clever about making good in-game allies and friends. Let them haul around a bunch of wands and scrolls until they can convince a Wizard to be their patron enchanter in return for all the arcane crap they find. Give them the opportunity to have a clerical organization back their cause and provide major healing in return for influence in their kingdom.

I think atypical parties are great opportunities!

Silver Crusade

Dark_Mistress wrote:
You have a big and nice list of songs Nathonicus but for what ever reason when I open one of the links nothing played. just showed the big list of songs I could play.

Just click "Play All" and it should do the trick!

Silver Crusade

I made up some Grooveshark playlists for my Carrion Crown game. I've stayed away from anything with a "modern" feel and gone heavy on the strings. Some of these are more fleshed out than others.

Carrion Crown general music:

Harrowstone 1st floor: (especially good for introducing the Warden's wife)

Harrowstone Dungeon: (A lot of dread-filled ambience)

Trial of the Beast General: (Back to the strings, with the Ghost Writer soundtrack implying the mood of a hunt or pursuit)

Trail of the Beast - The Schloss: (Grandiose entrance, followed by mystery and dread ambience)

Silver Crusade

Glad to help! It's an awesome location, and I can't wait to get inside.

Silver Crusade

I'm taking a different approach than trying to redraw the whole Schloss.

I'll be using verbal descriptions only to set up the rooms as they explore, and am going to stick to generalities such as "large room", "corridor wide enough for 2 men to fight abreast", etc., until they actually get into combat. Then wherever they are I will map with the teeny map as a guideline, and generally applying a 1.5 to 2 x multiplier.

I don't think there's a good way to convert the whole map, as some places don't need conversion (the living quarters or the alchemy lab) and some places are obviously in need of at least twice the space (the musuem), though they abut areas that are fine at current scale (the landing).

As they are unlikely to return to fight in any location after passing through, I think it will be fine to eyeball it on the go with what seems appropriate for the stuff that's described as being in the room.

Silver Crusade

Kirth Gersen wrote:

I've decoupled magic items from gold. Instead, the amount an item would otherwise be worth is "mojo." Each PC is limited as to how much mojo he can handle before it becomes too much for him and he loses it/it backfires/it doesn't operate/someone takes it away from him.

This is genius!

Silver Crusade

Probably one of the best ideas I've heard for handling this was on a Fear the Boot podcast wherein the DM had a single day out of the in-game year in which there was a giant magical bazaar in the Underdark. This made buying and selling magic make sense in game, and also made it an adventure in itself.

Silver Crusade

I just want to chime in and say that I whole-heartedly agree that the Carrion Crown is a flawed jewel.

I disagree with the assessment of the final module - I cannot wait to run it, and the encounters are all very interesting, thematic, and exciting. Marrowgarth in a collapsing city? Top notch! Indeed, while the combat is heavy, they are so interesting that there is lots of room for role-playing during them and leading up to them. After all, the first half of the books are very roleplay heavy, and an all-out dungeon crawl at the end (which is imaginative and doesn't feel like a dungeon crawl) is a welcome chance to get stuck in.

And while I agree that haunts seem to be used as a way to inflate XP totals quickly and easily, I have the same criticism of many of the RP encounters. (Some of the "deductions" in Trial of the Beast are so laughably simple that I'm astounded to be giving out XP equal to slaying a troll!)

Of much larger concern to me are the clearly visible railroad tracks throughout the module, a lack of good motivation for the characters to do almost anything, (especially given how frightful and deadly some of the encounters are), and a general lack of cohesion between modules.

What makes Carrion Crown worthwhile are some of the incredible locations and encounters. HarrowStone Prison, Schloss Coromarc, and Renchurch are all fantastic locations. (And did I mention Marrowgarth in her domain?)

Aside from straight adventure content, I would give my eye-teeth if APs adopted the Encounter format from the end of 3.5 in modules such as "Expedition to the Ruins of Castle Greyhawk" where you have everything you need to run even a complex, high-level encounter on two pages. Nothing makes combats slow down like juggling rule books

Chop out the fiction, articles, and the Bestiary and I think it could be done. If you have great source material/fiction for the campaign, release it in an AP "Module 0" which hits the streets alongside book 1. Not only would the APs be more useable, so would the "extra" content. I mean, how many of us wish we had the article on the Whispering Way which appears in Broken Moon when we started handing out clues about them in Trial of the Beast? Or the info on the Church of Pharasma which appears in Trial of the Beast when there is ZERO interaction with Gravecharge in that module but one of the key NPCs in HoH is a Priest of Pharasma and an important location is a Pharasman temple?

I know the AP model is probably set in stone, but I think that would be a massive improvement to the product.

Anyhow, thanks to the OP for the summary and everyone else for chiming in.

(And did I mention thanks for creating that encounter with Marrowgarth? I CANNOT WAIT!)

Silver Crusade

Another great option would be to let the riot go on at the courthouse, then use the chaos to slip into the PC's rooms and plant some very compromising evidence, then come back wearing the skin of an Inquisitor/Captain of the Guard and make life difficult for the PCs.

Rather than ending up in Jail, perhaps they might end up with an official escort courtesy of the Judges, which would help keep them from doing things like breaking into a certain Chymic Works.

Silver Crusade

There definitely should be things in random encounter tables that are above the party level if it makes sense in the world... I guess you just have to figure out why it doesn't murder the whole forest. Or replace it with something as tough which you think makes more sense.

Silver Crusade

I am in the simulationist boat right there with you. That thing is brutal.

Mechanics-wise, you are right - it should rule the roost.

I would probably introduce some motivational limitations to it if I were to keep it in the game - it is undead, so like a ghost it might be tied to a certain area, goal, or only attack those it perceived as being a threat to the plans it left unfinished at time of death.

The party encounters it only because they camped next to the hag's bones who spawned it, or one of the party resembles the person who slew it, or some such. If they can't beat it in a surprise fight, they can flee and the witchfire returns to muttering and haunting that portion of the forest....

Yeah, that thing is brutal.

Silver Crusade

Voomer wrote:

What was included in the stock Order adventuring gear?

They all got weapons enchanted up to +2 equivalent and Handy Haversacks.

The point is moot due to the near TPK, though.

Silver Crusade

Thanks. I had spaced that there are 2 x 50' waterfalls.

DC20, you say? I was getting a lot of help from players to reference rules while running, and those scallywags came up with DC15. >:(

I'll jut be sure and map everything out carefully next time and explain that the first guy in just got really, really lucky!

Silver Crusade

Helaman wrote:
Yep - was thinking the Order give them some choice items at the end of Chapter 2.

Yes, I also took this approach. Nothing kills atmosphere like turning the game into endless commercial exchanges.

I front-loaded the rewards by having Daramid arrange for the party to be inducted into the Order after being impressed by their handling of V&G. After the initiation, she called in a favor with a Wizard who owed her and arranged for some enchanting to be done upon their weapons, plus issued them some stock Order adventuring gear before sending them off to the schloss.

I don't intend to make it easy for them to loot the place. I had introduced an Inquisitor NPC who had been charged with the execution of the beast and is now following the party with a gang of henchmen, convinced that they are up to no good. If they head back to town with a bunch of Royal Candlesticks and Tapestries, they're either heading to jail or fighting an officer of the law and risking being branded as outlaws.

I have a simple question about how folks have handled characters who fall into the river. The construct dog bull-rushed the rogue into the water first turn last time, but the flying witch rescued the rogue before he had been in the water more than one round. Then the Barbarian bull-rushed the dog in the water. I made five or six swim rolls, then said they saw it drag itself up the bank to safety.

Now the thing is, I am all but positive they are going to trigger the guardian of air trap, and then I am pretty sure more folks are going back in the drink.

How many rolls have you asked people to make to reach shore? What about the current and going over the falls? What do you use for the swim DCs, and how many chances do you give before they go over the next fall?


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