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That is a phenomenal passage, thank you for that, Evil Paul. My takeaway is that it's not so much about destruction as it is about infiltration and the long game. That's very helpful, thank you!

So the players released a certain entity at Skull's Crossing in exchange for a wish. That entity is currently invisible and flying around the Turtleback Ferry/Skull's Crossing area, gathering his strength before returning to his prior position in the Hells. It's been a day since his release.

What would such a creature do on the Material Plane? There are villages nearby but it doesn't necessarily feel like wanton destruction is a devil's thing. Would he plot to take over a major city? Why do it if he's just going to head back to the Hells soon? I honestly have no idea what to do with him but I really don't want to waste an opportunity to use him in some fun way.

I'd love for whatever he does to be a reminder to the party that entering into contracts with a devil almost never ends well. I'm also finding opportunities wherever possible to put the party into morally ambiguous or morally challenging situations, if that's helpful.

Any thoughts about what he would be doing while he's still on the Material Plane would be truly appreciated, many thanks in advance!

Thanks for the thoughts and input, Lawrencelot and Tangent101! Both very helpful. I think I'm going to do just that. . . suggest that there is something lurking within the Storval Deep but not highlight Black Magga enough to entice the group to go after her.

Ok great. Then maybe. . .

skip Black Magga altogether? Seems like a bit of a red herring if I simply show her to the party without having them engage her. Unfortunately I never really set her up so they will have no idea what she's there for and will probably want to fight her assuming that, "If the DM showed her to us, she must be beatable."

Thoughts? I appreciate the help, thanks again. I've been running this AP for awhile but I'm still very green.

Many thanks for the reply, ckdragons! So you're saying...

just have them succeed at the dam and skip the entire flooding of Turtleback Ferry? I'm trying to think off the top of my head if that interferes with story in any way. I don't think it does, does it?

Thanks again!

Help! My PC's went straight from Fort Rannick to Skull's Crossing. My question is:

when should I have Black Magga break through the dam? They've just engaged the ogres on the top of the dam. Should I have them see Black Magga approach and crash into the dam from up there? Should I wait until they're negotiating with the pit fiend below and just have them hear a terrible crash and have the entire dam quake as a result? They run out and see this massive monster floating down the river toward Turtleback?

If Black Magga breaks through the dam while they're up there, it will be eight hours or so before they can get to Turtleback Ferry. But if I have Black Magga break through the dam after they've already been up there, then they'll feel as though they went to the dam to stave off it's breaking, succeeded in stopping the ogres, and then failed anyway because some random monster that has never been properly established wrecked all of their efforts.

Any help would be hugely appreciated, thanks!

Hi and apologies for the delay in responding to the responses! Many thanks to you both!

Spoilers below but I could really use some help with an idea, thanks!

For a variety of reasons which actually work really well for my campaign, I made Lamatar Bayden (the former, now undead, Commander of Fort Rannick) the father of one of my PC's. The PC has been looking for his father for years and his search is about to lead him to the hags at Hook Mountain where Lamatar is under their sway.

I'm trying to craft a deal that the hags would want to make with the PC's in return for Lamatar. I also really want the PC to have to fight his undead father. Good drama. Most likely he'll want to take the corpse back to Fort Rannick and eventually to Myriana for resurrection.

What kinds of deals do hags like to make? What would they want from the pc's whom they know, from scrying, to be more powerful than they are?

Any help would be greatly appreciated, thanks so much!

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Straightforward and easily implemented ideas to create a little variation, Askar Avari, thanks for the input. That said, I think you convinced me to keep them as they are with your point about their characteristics being the point. Their given nature and stats will make stumbling upon the boss ogres more surprising and will also make a great counter to the Lucrecia fight.

Thanks again!

So things have changed and they no longer want to wait for troops lol. They're going to draw a number of ogres out somehow and then set up traps all over the surrounding area to try to thin the herd a bit. Then will probably set fire to the old barracks.

Question now becomes. . . anybody know of a way to make fighting ogres over and over again interesting? I'll be using terrain, some tactical positioning during fights, etc. But at the end of the day, they're basically a big sack of hp that hit hard. Trying to come up with ways to make the fights somewhat varied but a little stumped.

Thanks as ever for any thoughts!

Thanks for the thoughts, Lawrencelot! Yeah, that's probably my most difficult challenge with an AP this long. I get concerned that if I skip something or forget the smallest detail, I'll derail a plot point two chapters down the line.

I don't have time to constantly reread the AP and so I forget the details of what's upcoming. Because of that, I can get a little railroad-y because I don't want them to miss any part of a chapter for fear of that leading them someplace completely off the rails without my being able to get them back.

Anyway, thanks again for the input, very much appreciated!

That's perfect, Mudfoot, thanks! Will definitely implement these ideas if they wind up going down this path. Much appreciated.

This is all fantastic, thanks so much, The Raven Black. I'm a relatively new DM so coming up with motivating story elements without taking the AP off the rails is still something that I'm learning to balance. This is really helpful!

Thanks for the reply, The Raven Black. Yep, all good points. If the PC's are unwilling to do reconnaissance inside the fort, any thoughts on how I could get the information to them about reinforcements coming from Hook Mountain and the surrounding areas?

I was also thinking of their coming across giant tracks in the area but I worry that that might make them want to wait to attack all the more.

I'm not sure that they'll care much about xp our the loot (they're an unusual bunch).

Thanks for any further thoughts!

So my players are dead set on waiting for troops from Magnimar before assaulting Fort Rannick. Help!

Jakardros is no fan of the Magnimarian army and has told the party that they're an untested bunch and will be slaughtered in minutes. Nevertheless the party is too afraid to try to take the fort themselves so they want to wait.

So. . . I'm having Magnimar send a number of troops (30? 50?). I plan on having a number of them lost en route. While they wait, I'll get the party to head into the Shimmerglens to engage Myriana and I'll probably have them deal with Black Magga in Turtleback.

Questions. . . how do I run mass combat for Rannick if it becomes necessary? Secondly, how do I keep the time crunch on the party while they wait for the troops and maybe even get them to realize that they've got to attack Rannick alone or all will be lost?

Many thanks in advance for any help!

So the PC's cast Animate Dead on Ironbriar. Why, I don't exactly know. They were able to cover his face as they exited the burning mill so that the eyewitnesses didn't see his face. That night, they had him walk into the water and told him to continue out to sea. They're not terribly experienced players and honestly believed that this was a wise solution.

What would be the penalty for using such necromantic magic on a city Justice given that they have solid proof of Ironbriar's guilt (the journal)? They're already wanted for arson.

Once the Mayor gets word that he was on the Skinsaw's list, does he intervene and excuse their vigilantism as thanks knowing that if he punishes them, it may discourage other citizens from saving his hide in the future?

Or do their crimes negate the good they've done which would steer me toward using your system for a courtroom drama, Lawrencelot?

Thanks as always for any thoughts!

Thanks for the reply, Nicolas Paradise. Getting involved with some inter-Sczarni feuds could be great.

And I'd forgotten that Justice Argentine would be the logical entity to get the info they're harboring to, rather than Mayor Grobaras. Eventually they'll get to him but I really like sending them through the proper channels first. Makes the city feel larger, more bureaucratic, etc.

Thanks for the input, very much appreciated.

Not to commandeer the forums but I now have a question about a gang in Magnimar. My PC's are going to be hidden away by the Tower Girls for a few days because there's a manhunt being conducted by the City Watch for them (they burned down the mill during their fight with Ironbriar and are wanted for arson).

I'm trying to think of some good encounters they could have with this gang during those few days. Combat encounters are a-ok if it comes too that but I'm also looking for some interesting/complex social encounters. Many thanks in advance for any thoughts!

Quick note that I started a separate thread to discuss the Tower Girls question if anyone's interested in commenting, thanks.

Amazing, Lawrencelot, thanks so much for these notes! Absolutely fantastic and truly appreciated.

Before I get to a potential trial. . . the PC's are currently on the lam and are about to be given hiding by the Tower Girls for a few days for a price. Anybody have any ideas of good encounters with the Tower Girls? They don't necessarily have to be combat encounters, just interesting and fun. I may make a separate post to ask about this but don't want to clog up the forums.

Thanks again, Lawrencelot, and to all others who want to chime in!

Oh, man, that’d be amazing, Lawrencelot! Many thanks for the offer. Feel free to pm me or post here, whichever you prefer. For what it’s worth, the session is tomorrow night so if you have time to post prior to then, great! If not, no worries at all.

Many thanks again!

That’s a great point, Phntm888, thanks for the reply. And for the reminder about keeping them in the holding cells in the Arvensoar. Will do.

Phntm888 and Sunderstone, those are great options, thanks! Phntm888, not to ask you to build this thing for me but any thoughts as to why (with a high diplomacy roll) the commander of the Watch would let a group of unknowns go in after Xanesha as opposed to sending in her most elite and skilled group of twenty fighters? I'm a little stumped but reading your post made me feel like I wasn't backed into quite the corner I thought I was.

Thinking maybe this:

1.) They're spotted coming out of the burning building.

2.) They realize they need to lay low while deciphering the journal for a couple of days.

3.) They're tipped off by Sunderstone's good constable that there's manhunt on for them.

4.) They have a close call involving nearly being caught or something.

5.) They go to Xanesha, defeat her, find her journal and discover that they just saved the Mayor's life.

6.) They're caught by the City Watch, thrown in the Hells for a day or two, then are interrogated and clear their name via the journal, Lucrecia's letter, and the good word of Mayor Deverin and Sheriff Hemlock.

7.) Mayor Grobaras summons them, thanks them for saving his life, tells them that if they follow up on the "star murder" leads that he's received word of in Turtleback Ferry (maybe a corpse is in Magnimar for autopsy), he'll wave their liability with regard to the mill.

Of course, because it's D&D, what actually happens will look nothing like this but at least, thanks to you two, I have a skeleton.

TL;DR PC's burned down the Seven's sawmill, I was stumped about how to proceed but now have some idea of how to handle it (see numbered list above, if interested).

So the PC's just took down Ironbriar in the mill. The wizard tossed a fireball and the place is currently on fire and about to go completely ablaze, maybe even blow given the flammable particulates in the air. They grabbed the footlocker (thus, the evidence) and will most likely leave Ironbriar in the mill. That's where we ended the session.

Question. . . do I have witnesses see them leaving the now-burning mill? Time in-game is around 9 AM. If so, do I have the City Watch go after them? This seems like such a headache and might make getting them into the next chapter really, really difficult. Plus, I have no idea how to actually run a courtroom drama session.

However, I want to keep verisimilitude by having serious consequences for reckless approaches to problem-solving.

I searched around and apparently this has happened before (ha surprise, surprise) but in those instances Ironbriar was left alive which led to major involvement on his part.

Pretty new DM here, by the way, so I feel a little concerned about creating problems I don't yet have the experience to help resolve.

Thanks in advance for any help!!!

TL;DR: what are the consequences of burning down the mill in the process of defeating Ironbriar?

Lawrencelot and Askar Avari, thanks so much for the replies. I had already built in the potential for red tape plus the fact that the party's dispensable to the Mayor as a potential means to get them in there but I had just thought about the delay being a few days. Six weeks is much stronger story-wise without railroading the party. Love it.

And having another location for Xanesha to set up shop is a great idea which I'm going to go put together now. Thanks, all! What a great community!

Both great points and excellent input! Thank you, Sunderstone and tonyz. Going to find a way to incorporate these ideas asap.

So I've taken a fair amount of time to incorporate Ironbriar into the pc's experience in Sandpoint. They just found out via great rolls while interrogating a Skinsaw Cultist that Ironbriar's a major player within the Cult. The party is about to enter the Sawmill and my guess is that they will try to capture Ironbriar, interrogate him, and then turn him over to authorities once the journal has been translated.

My issue is this. . . once the authorities, maybe even the Mayor himself, get a look at this translated journal, why would they entrust the unknown PC's to go to the Shadow Clock rather than send a massive City Watch contingent (Swat team, essentially) to handle the job? I really want the PC's to encounter Xanesha now (rather than later) for a variety of reasons rather than simply have thirty City Watch bungle an attempt to bring her in and have her escape to be met down the road.

My only thought is that the PC's either go secretly or neither the Watch nor their higher-ups (the Mayor) want to make a great show of force only to come up empty handed. Very embarrassing. So they agree to send in the PC's because they're a small force and are completely dispensable.

Any thoughts would be tremendously appreciated, thanks! Session's in two days!

Many thanks for the excellent thoughts, Askar Avari. That doesn't seem overdone at this point at all as we took almost a year off from the campaign so are just starting to pick it up again. I'm absolutely going this route, thanks again!

Many thanks for the reply, Askar Avari!

PC's are currently level 7 but I can adjust Darvengian's levels as needed.

The McGuffin is a rune on parchment which will activate the powers of a homebrew sword I'm going to give the party paladin. Darvengian has the rune in his possession but doesn't know what it does, only that it contains great power. He will not want to part with it, especially seeing as someone else wants it very badly.

Would love it if the session were a one-shot. If it's one-and a half, though, that's ok, too.

I appreciate the NPC suggestions. I'm trying to figure out how many NPC's Darvengian has at his command. Is it an army of psychotic criminals down there or is itmore of a shock force? That type of thing.

Thanks again for any thoughts!

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So it looks like my party will be heading down to The Hells in Magnimar (the prison beneath the city). They must head down there to retrieve a McGuffin from Sir Aeryn Darvengian who is a prisoner who has taken over the lower levels of the prison and assembled an army of prisoners. I have this loosely tied into the main arc of the AP.

I can stat Darvengian but I could really use some help in figuring out how many prisoners ought to be with him, how they should be statted, and if the party should have any chance of killing him and getting out alive.

Any thoughts would be hugely appreciated. . . session is in a week!

Many thanks!

thanks again for the reply! Well, I had it somewhat wrong. She's an arms dealer for House Henderthane, not House Thrune. She supplies House Thrune with experimental weaponry regularly and is privy to numerous classified secrets where weaponry is concerned in House Henderthane.

As a result, she a risk to have as an AWOL agent in foreign territory. Sounds like the Order of the Gate might be just the thing. . . an assassination attempt upon her rather than having a mere bounty on her head. Thanks for the tip, Phntm888, I'll consider using them!

Thanks for the thoughts! Ironbriar is a great idea. The only issue is that they’re just about to encounter him and I haven’t dropped in any clues to the pc about it but maybe I can make it a surprise in the moment.

The input’s very much appreciated, thanks!

This is great info, Phntm888, thanks. The pc has worked her way into the position she has within House Thrune in order eventually to topple it, but no one on their end is aware of that fact yet. Maybe I’ll have her intentions discovered and see if I can justify her capture as a saboteur.

The info about the Hellknights rarely venturing outside of Cheliax, tho, is tough to work around.

Thanks again for the thoughts, a lot to chew on!

Hey everyone, I have a pc who was in the employ of House Thrune in Cheliax as a weapons dealer. She loathes this position, as well as House Thrune, and has not been in contact with her employer since the events that begin the AP.

We're currently about to begin:

Chp. 2, Part Five. They're on their way to Magnimar to follow up on the leads discovered after defeating The Skinsaw Man. I plan to have them encounter the knights on the road or outside an Inn.

I plan to have two Hellknights from the Order of the Chain attempt to arrest her while in the company of her party and take her back to Egorian. They will be hired bounty hunters in the employ of the arms trading division of House Thrune.

My questions are as follows:

1.) Assuming the party defeats the Hellknights, what would be the response of the Order of the Chain? How far will they go to arrest this pc in the future considering she has killed or bested two of their order? How many future Hellknights might they send or would they escalate the search and send in higher ranking officers?

2.) What would be the response of House Thrune? Too far below their concerns to pursue outside of Cheliax? As she continues to evade and embarrass them, would they send in another type of force to arrest or assassinate her?

I'm new to the world of Golarion so am trying estimate as best I can their response but could really use some thoughts.

Many thanks in advance for any help you can offer!

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Hey everyone, I have a PC who's backstory includes seeking his father who left the family prior to the pc's birth. He's a full-blooded elf from Kyonin who was cast out of his small community within the region as it was suspicioned that he was not a pureblood elf. The pc has been the victim of a great deal of bigotry and seeks his father in order to prove to his community that he is, indeed, an elf. He then plans to rebuff any attempts to welcome him back into the clan.

I'm looking to find an npc in the AP who I could create a backstory for as this pc's father. If I need to fudge his race and make him an elf, that's fine so long as it doesn't interfere with the trajectory of the AP. Would be great if he were an evil npc that the party has to fight so that, after he discovers his father's identity, he is then forced into the choice of attempting to destroy him or not.

Many thanks in advance for any thoughts you can offer!

Wow. My current level of idiocy knows no bounds. Completely forgot that Tsuto's journal stated all that so explicitly. Thanks, all, for the help!

Hi All,

Title says it all. About to take my party through the Catacombs of Wrath and am not certain how to encourage them to head to Thistletop thereafter. Not trying to railroad them but I have minimal time to prepare for each session so would prefer to prep Thistletop.

Some ideas:

1.) Have them discover Thistletop-themed paraphernalia in the goblin "nest" in the caves off the Catacombs.

2.) Have Mayor Deverin ask them/offer them a bounty to bring to justice the instigators of the massacre at the Glassworks (I made all of the goblins at the Glassworks Thistletop goblins). For the record, Sheriff Hemlock is in Magnimar at the moment.

Just wondering what others have done to get their parties to head to Thistletop as opposed to sandboxing around for a long time.

Thanks for any help!

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I'm assuming that captain yesterday is a different handle than nobodyshome but the same writer. I'm awfully sorry to hear about the difficulty you've experienced with your daughter but very happy for you that it all ended out alright! Sending good thoughts toward continued smooth sailing in the future.

Thanks again for all of your hard work and wishing you the best!

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Oh, man, sorry to hear that work has been difficult, NobodysHome! Certainly not trying to create more stress on your end. Just a huge fan of the journal and am excited to see how you guys deal with the BBG. But what you've posted thus far has provided me with a tremendous amount of fun and countless ideas for my own campaign so I'm nothing but grateful.

Hope work improves for you and many thanks for sharing all of your hard work!

Oh, I think there may be typo at the end of the past entry. Do you perhaps mean that you intend to pick up this campaign once again on April 19, 2015 as opposed to 2014?

Wait. What? No. No no no no no. This cannot be. Nobodyshome, I'm not certain you understand. I have come to rely on this campaign journal for every subway I've been taking for days now (I live in New York). I honestly take the subway when I could easily walk just to have a few spare moments with your pages. Is there no update? Have you ended the campaign? I can't believe that there aren't pages and pages of requests for its continuation! It's sheer genius!

Please advise as to its current state. Please and thank you!