Wormcaller

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This came up in a fight against ghouls the other night, and while I ruled in the player's favor, it sparked a number of interesting questions that I couldn't find an answer to as written, so here's the example:

A ghoul moves up to a PC, strikes him, and the PC fails its fortitude save against its attack, enabling the ghoul's paralysis. As the 1d4+1 rounds is rolled, does:
A) the PC know how long to the exact round that he is paralyzed,
B) does the ghoul know the duration of its paralysis effect and,
C) does anyone else present (other ghouls or PCs) know this as well?
Obviously, this knowledge would likely affect the course of actions for both PC and the ghoul. For example, if the ghoul knew it only had 1 round before a highly dangerous combatant returned, it might be more inclined to coup-de-grace that individual than to attempt to paralyze others, where in a PC's case, he might neglect casting Remove Paralysis on his ally if he knew that he was about to un-paralyze. Also, does intelligence or any mental acuity play into the ability to deduce this? (would an iron golem 'know' that its breath is about to come back?).

Another example: A red dragon breathes on a group of PCs. Its recharge for the breath weapon is rolled, and it comes up 1 on the d4. Does either the red dragon or the PCs know the amount of time between breaths? Again, this knowledge would readily change tactics of both the PCs and the dragon.

Thoughts? I can't seem to find anything written supporting either.


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After about four years of playing this adventure path (we alternate with Kingmaker, which we are in Book 6 of also), we have completed Brandon Hodge's excellent module Shadows of Gallowspire and the Carrion Crown adventure path. Since I have reviewed each module individually thus far, I will do the same with this one then move onto my overall thoughts about the adventure path and how it stacks against the others I have played in or ran (Age of Worms, Savage Tide, Rise of the Runelords, Legacy of Fire, Council of Thieves, Kingmaker). It should be noted that my PCs had two Mythic Tiers at the beginning of the module but lost them right before Adorak, affecting how I built some of the encounters, haunts, and other things that I added or changed. Nonetheless, the stuff that I critique mechanically or thematically has little bearing overall on power level affected by these tiers; my biggest problem with the module in terms of power level was the presence of normal spells from the Core RuleBook.

WHAT WAS LIKED

Renchurch as a locale:
We all loved everything about Renchurch, from the history, to most of its denizens, to its various mechanical effects in the game. The numerous haunts were cool, especially for the level they are encountered; they still felt like a credible enough threat that the PCs had to treat the place with the same respect as they would any other haunted place. I absolutely loved the fact that any living creature that dies there becomes a haunt of itself; this let me get extremely creative with reflecting the manner in which my PCs killed some of the enemies. Also, getting one's soul trapped within the walls beyond the prospect of raising kept a imminent threat that kept the PCs on their toes. However, the best thing of all was the Tyrant's Whispers haunt, the ability for the DM every ten rounds to go completely creative with whatever spell or effect adds to the horror of the place. While admittedly I used the haunt to try and dispel my group's buffs numerous times, there were lot of other effects that I utilized as well that added to the ambiance of the place.

Good bad guy roster:
There's a fair amount of interesting enemies the PCs face, and for the most part, they all make sense contextually. We really loved Nathalazar, Lucimar, Marrowgarth, and some of the other named enemies; they all had cool backstory and made for some interesting fights. While there's inherent problems with Adivion due to the nature of the path and its lack of written buildup, even he can be fixed with enough foreshadowing and creative DMing. Overall, most of the written-up enemies were worth their word count. While I had problems with some of the inserted enemies due to spell interactions, this occurred less than half of the time and there weren't too many fights that felt like a waste of game time.

Some addressing of high level play:
Another thing that really worked well was the addressing of some of the tricks of high level play that PCs use. PCs cannot necessarily wind walk directly to their destinations nor can they teleport due to the nature of Virlych. The soul trapping ability of Renchurch stops attempts at raising the dead and escaping the area is a tricky proposition with the presence of the Witchgates. These are all really good ways to keep the standard tactics that high level characters employ in check.. mostly. There are a few spells that I wish had been addressed with equal measure (see below)

Flavor country:
Overall, the description of every location in Virlych including the country itself was rich, full of flavor and background. Mr. Hodge did a great job of instilling a sense of ancient dread lurking beneath the surface at all times. The descriptiveness of Adorak will be well remembered.

WHAT WAS DISLIKED

Freedom of Movement/Death Ward/Pro Evil/ Disrupting Weapon ruining the fun:
I must admit that this was due to one of the PCs being an Oracle and able to constantly spam such spells, but buying wands would achieve the same effect for most parties; the constant spamming of these spells made for some really boring fights. Other than Disrupting Weapon, all these spells have a decent duration (at 1/minute per CL, and PCs being 13-15, a minimum of 13 minutes) that can be stretched through an entire run-through of a dungeon. Each of these spells and their interactions with certain monsters are just offensive in terms of what they do to the story narrative, especially in a horror themed game. Let's examine each of them and why they're so bad.
-Death Ward: This one absolutely drives me bonkers, to the point that I changed a feature of Renchurch to at least make the final fights more memorable. Its either blanket immunity to certain monsters, or you gamble with dying from negative energy, ability damage, or other bad effects. It totally shuts down Shadows, completely hampers anyone channeling negative energy (Cenobites, Nightshades, Grey Friar) and hinders anything that utilizes that energy as an attack (Banshee, Devourers, Vampires, Marrowgarth and a host of other undead). Some of these fights might as well not be ran if the monsters don't have a way to remove the protection, and for those that can, it turns into a game of whether or not the monster can waste an action to dispel the protection or use one of its awesome abilities instead. I think there were at least 3 fights where instead of doing something cool, (especially when cinematicly appropriate), the monster was forced to dispel a PC, often to simply have the spell recast the next turn. Doing this is a death sentence for any singular foes the PCs might face.
-Freedom of Movement: While Death Ward can be maintained throughout a dungeon to some extent (healing and other activities can eat up some duration time on min/level spells), Freedom of Movement at high level is one of those spells that's always on every PC; I mean, you'd be stupid to not have this spell up at all times of adventuring since what it stops from happening is ridiculously powerful. I can't think of anything in the 5th-7th level range that even comes close to what this spell does. In a lot of ways, Freedom of Movement is ten times worse in terms of what it shuts down, turning a lot of interesting and awesome creatures into simple melee monsters incapable of achieving what they are thematically designed to do, especially in the context of horror. In terms of this module, it severely hampers, if not shutting down outright the following encounters: all mummies, mohrgs, ghouls, liches, leng spider, the omox, some of the haunts, revenants, quickwoods, the Adorak sinkholes.
Protection from Evil: While the amount of things it stops pales compared to Death Ward, it still is powerful enough (especially for a 1st-level spell) that I can't think of a reason somebody wouldn't have this on them at all times. Stopping possession and domination outright without even a check to remove said protection is pretty darned good. While we're mainly talking about the vampire and the ghosts, anything that gives blanket immunity to any effect really bugs me.
Disrupting Weapon: For not having a lot of save-or-die effects in the game system itself, this one sure wrecks that rule, even if it is against one type of creature that most PCs will never play as. Think about how powerful this is if it worked the other way; every time someone gets scratched with said weapon, they could just turn to ash. Such a spell (if it worked on the living) would be outlawed in every good-aligned community in the world. There is no other version of this spell that effects other creature types ,so why do undead get all the hate? In my opinion, this helped speed up some fights, but definitely took the threat level out of others. I think I rolled Adivion's saves in secret because having him die to the first hit from a weapon seemed super-anticlimatic. Keep in mind I'm not talking about Raven's Head but the actual spell, with the adjusted DC of our group's oracle (DC 24).

High level Bog-Down:
While not always true, high level play is just slower. More numbers, more player options, more possible actions, and more spells added together means a lot more game time per encounter. With this in mind, a DM needs to assess each and every encounter and decide "Is this worth the limited game time we have to run, and if not, should it be substituted or skipped? Does it add to the story, does it deplete resources, and does it have any actual threat level to the party?" This is absolutely true of high level play, which is why that while I hated what disrupting weapon did sometimes, it was good for speeding up boring fights. I broke down the encounters below that worked well for us and those that didn't.

Repeated Save or Die: I guess this balances out disrupting weapon, but there sure are a lot of haunts that just try and flat-out kill you, I think at least 3. I get that Renchurch and Adorak are dangerous places, but I thought that haunts rarely duplicate save-or-die effects. While PCs should have at least a scroll of Resurrection at this point, dying to a haunt and then having one's soul trapped beyond raising seems likely a really disruptive way to end a group's foray into Renchurch, especially since you can't teleport away to acquire such a scroll if you don't have it. I wish those specific haunts had done something cooler than outright kill with an effect. If you're gonna kill someone with a haunt, it should be done with as much horrible flourish as possible (Skinsaw Murders) to give their death greater impact. As it is, it just feels like random death (Roll a save! Fail? You're Dead!).
End guy
As I said above, at high level your job as a DM is encounter assessment; as I looked over Adivion's stats and compared him to my PCs' stats, I saw a fight that would last less time than some the random fights on the way to Adorak, even with the presence of Nightwings. Narratively, I wanted something more than what was provided, especially for the end fight of the campaign. Had their not been a plethora of printed material on these forums with alternate versions of Adivion, I would have devised something myself. The final fight went really well, with pretty much every spell, ability, and harrow card used to deal with Adivion and his two forms (forsaken lich, then ghost empowered by Tyrant). To make it memorable I recommend the following:
-Involve AA as much as possible in the campaign before this module so he has impact and meaning as a final enemy.
-Utilize extra monlogue as the players ascend the tower, such as what Zhangar did here.
-Work in whatever stats will provide the most climatic fight for your party. I used a version of him from the boards here that I reworked slightly to suit my group.

-GOOD ENCOUNTERS-
Linnorn: Hagmouth is a good opener to the module; he's a unqiue menace with an awesome backstory. He's also slightly unexpected, meaning he has a chance to make use of his breath weapon and formidable attack array before the heroes can buff themselves beyond the reach of such threats. Its also worth noting that his death curse can have dire repercussions on anyone going into the coming fights, especially the Witchfires at the next gate.
Banshee: This one's interesting for a few reasons. Its entirely possible that the PCs don't know that they're about to appear at Renchurch if they're teleporting (its not like there's a map showing how the Witchgates connect), meaning there's a good chance that the PCs won't have Death Ward up when the Banshee attacks. In my opinion, the banshee is a poorly designed monster (high level creature stopped by a single low-level spell commonly used with no way to remove said spell), so this setup at least gives her a chance to be effective, and death ward doesn't stop the wail, just gives a bonus against it.
Svoak and the Trees: At high level play, these are the fights that seem to work the best; a trio of opponents at a CR a few levels lower than the PCs, all with inter-meshing abilities that work together well, making the fight like a puzzle that the players have to dissect. While the DCs on the trees abilities weren't super high (and FoM again nerfed some abilities), the combination of ranged abilities with a beefy melee monster made for a good fight. It should be noted that I gave Svoac the divine guardian template and one fighter level so he could use the favored weapon of the goddess that the site he's protecting is dedicated to.
Revenants: Yeah, between their Reason to Hate, Advanced, and Shrine blessed gifts, these guys stats pile up into a very credible threat against their higher level murderers. Coupling near guaranteed attacks with the flavor of showcasing the bloody history of the PCs (I kept track as best I could of which PC had killed which Revenant) made for a really memorable fight.
Totenmaske: Its the monster's abilities that can sometimes make a fight really interesting or really boring. In this case, I used the undead creatures' fleshdrinking ability to have all sorts of decoys and confusion during the various battles, from having a fake Lucimar to a trio of attacking Kendras. It made for some interesting fights, especially when they joined an already occurring one.
Lucimar: Perfect design on this guy as far as a hit and run opponent. I think my group of PCs encountered him four times over the course of the dungeon before he was finally cornered in the room with the Urgathoan fly. Of course, I couldn't help myself and decided to tweak him into an Arcanist to give him more hit and run options, but I think the stats presented would have done just fine, provided my group wasn't Mythic.
Nathalazar: Cool flavor, good abilities, and great support to block for him. Overall, the contents of the room and the powers of the monsters made for a really good fight, especially with consideration to the unusual nature of the opponents. When opponents have multiple options for dealing with the PCs, it makes for a good battle everytime.
Urgathoan Fly: Unlike the Stone Golems (see below) this one really shines for some reason. Maybe its the flavor, the illustration, or the dual purpose as a brazen bull that makes the fly so creepily awesome. This thing got to do a lot of damage, especially when coupled with the Cenobites and the spellcasting threat they possess. A solid fight.
Marrogarth: I must admit that even though this fight lasted five rounds, it was awesome. Marrowgarth was able to use the sinkhole smash, his breath weapon, and his devastating full attack routine to put my PCS on the ropes. HPs swung back and forth, Heal was cast three times, and he even retreated to his lair to recharge his soul energy, only to be chased down and finished off.
Nightshades: Everytime one of these guys hit the table, it was a fight worth remembering. Unlike some of their undead equivalent CR, the Nightshades all possess devastating attacks, powerful summons, and the ability to dispel magic. Every nightshade is worth its salt in terms of actual challenge rating and what it brings to the table. I wish there were more...

Knights of Ozem: A solid role-playing encounter for my group, especially with a vampire PC that had to convince the paladins he wasn't dominating the other party members. There were a few tense moments here, especially when the voice of the possessing demon chimed in on the matter. I ended up swapping the daemon for a seraptis demon since my PCs possessed Mythic tiers still and I needed to up the threat level.

Lake mummies: So paralysis and mummy rot just weren't going to happen to my group (high saves and Freedom of Movement), but man, these guys hit like tanks. Since I ran the banshee fight as a continuous assault all the way up to the doors of the cathedral (incorporating the mummies, the barbed devil's substitute, and Svoac and the trees), these guys were able to pile on some damage before they could be dealt with. Their advanced statistics insure they are capable of that. I imagine that a group without Freedom of Movement might have a problem against their paralysis, but I don't know of anyone who would do that. I mean, that spell is really that good.

Witchfires: The key here is to use absolutely every ability they have, as detailed in their tactics section and then some. I had a number of charmed giants and zombie giants under their control, using veil to disguise them and the weird weather to further assault the PCs. The witchfires got pretty close to taking down one PC before they were wiped out by Disrupting Weapon. Still, a fun, flavorful fight.

Cenobites: Solid, they possess variety of spells and abilities to provide a credible threat to my players. My favorite trick was to try and take control of the PC vampire with their channeling, which one actually succeeded at before getting dusted by disrupting weapon. With a few save-or-sucks, the ability to dispel and capability of going into melee combined with the numerous immunities conferred by their templates made them worth running, despite the fact that I figured they would be speed bumps.

-ENCOUNTERS THAT WERE BORING OR FELT LIKE FILLER-

Bodaks: Death Ward turned them into melee monsters barely worth remembering.

Shadows: I mean, can they sense that the whole party has death ward and that they should just hide?? Or do they pop out, try touching the PCs, then get wiped? A prime example of a spell robbing a monster of its agency. Yet if you fight them without said spell, its a TPK waiting to happen. I love and hate shadows.

Stone Golems: Unfortunately, some of the old tricks my players are familiar with (grease, create pit) work just as well on these golems as they do on their lower -level counterparts. I ran with it because I figured it would eat up resources. It didn't; it simply ate up game time. In hindsight, I think making one of their slams x4 and slashing to reflect their scythes would make the fight a little more interesting.

Invisible Stalkers and Mummies: I get the flavor of this room, but the threat just isn't there. Between StoneSkin and Freedom of Movement, these guys could do absolutely nothing to my party. It got interesting for a moment when a Tyrant's Whispers dispelled a couple of those buffs, but the threat of the monster's DCs and attack bonuses versus the statistics of my party made it into a game of fishing for 20s or hoping the PCs roll a 1.

Ghost Teachers: This encounter needs something else to it. As it is, it just feels like you're fighting a pair of wizards who happen to be incorporeal; the two of them have very few effects that make them memorable as ghosts. Possession is pretty standard fair at this point (as is Protection from Evil); I would have liked to have seen more unique effects from them like imparting dread knowledge, attacking with spectral barrages of scrolls, or trapping PCs in desks. As it is, the two of them at best can hope to focus on a single PC with their spells and hope they get unlucky.

Gallowdead: I LOVE the flavor of these guys, but really wish they could do more. The chains of the dead ability shouldn't require a standard action for a CR 13+ creature, especially with its limited range, its reliance on negative energy (Death Ward), and its inferior damage output for its challenge rating (compared to its melee routine). I feel like these guys are a pale imitation of the Swords of Kyuss; I really wanted an awesomely unique undead specific to Adorak and Gallowspire, and while they deliver in some ways, they weren't exactly what I wanted when they actually performed. One or even two of these guys do not have the action economy to stand up to a group of 13th level PCs dedicated to killing undead.

Worm that Walks: Even swapping her stats up a bit (to reflect a previously defeated opponent), this fight was a bit of a letdown; I wanted it to be more but at the end of the day, the worm that walks is only as good as its spells. I utilized some of her damage dealing spells then went anti-magic field on the party, but even an anti-magicked fighter can get some serious damage beyond her damage reduction with two handed power attacking, forcing her to drop it in favor of healing. A singular opponent against a group of PCs is never going to do well, and this was most certainly the case.

FIGHTS THAT I CHANGED OR ALTERED AND WHY
There were a few encounters I swapped out to either fit either the flavor of my campaign or its power level. Some of those stat blocks (including mythic stat-blocks for Hagmouth and The Grey Friar) can be found here.

Barbed Devil: (Shining Child) The occupants of Renchurch know that the PCs are coming and they also have the power to at least cast Greater Planar Binding (Qlippoth). Since one of my PCs is a vampire, I thought it'd be fun to have something that could actually kill him and so replaced the Barbed Devil with a Shining Child. While the vampire had nearly been misted a couple of times, nothing really provided his character with a tangible threat up to this point. This gave the vampire pause and also informed my characters that their enemies probably knew their capabilities quite well at this point.

Ghouls/ Cultists: (Stat change) For the corpulent ghouls, I changed their rogue levels for brawler levels, giving them a bit more flexibility when dealing with my PCs and whatever buffs they may or may not possess. The monk cultists became arcanists for a better way to harry my group of PCs (increase raw damage and the capability of dispelling).

Mohrgs: (Location swap/Festering Spirit) In the Mohrg's location, I placed more cultists, then replaced another area that had cultists with Glutton Spectres (variant Festering Spirits), omitting the Mohrgs entirely. Mohrgs supposably can't control their murderous urges so I found their placement with other living allies strange. Furthermore, they are stopped handily by a readily available buff (Freedom of Movement), so I knew that a fight against them would just eat up time rather than hit points, let alone create any threat or tension.

Vampire: (Mythic Glabrezu) Again, her placement and is a bit odd; I imagine she's meant to be used as a hit and run assailant with her spells, but most of those would prove ineffective against my PCs. Instead, I had the encounter be a diplomatic one, one with a Mythic Glabrezu from Wrath of the Righteous visiting Renchurch to observe the potentially momentous events occurring. This is sort of a mirror of something that happens in that AP, where an undead emissary from Ustalav comes to observe the events taking place, not necessarily to fight the PCs. I used her as a way to drop information the PCs needed concerning their targets.

Omox and Mihstu: (Hellwasp Swarms)I looked extensively at the statistics for the Mihstu but didn't think they stood much of a chance against my group. Since Urgathoa was quite prominent in her role within Renchurch, I though a monstrous callback to her would be more appropriate. I kept the Omox intact but swapped each Mihstu for a Hellwasp Swarm, changing the makeup from wasps into black flies. Everytime one got released, I had it join with any swarms present, having the mass of flies begin to form into a face. My players inferred that if all the swarms were to join together it would have done something... which made me go "Yeah, it totally would have summoned Urgathoa's herald!" (I hadn't planned on that, but sometimes you can't ignore a really cool idea.)

Mirror of Life Trapping: (affects undead) I altered the power of the mirror slightly to allow it to capture undead as well as living creatures. This let me pull a nasty trick by having a Totenmaske that looked like Kendra inside the mirror, making the PCs more likely to shatter it. Also, I put a Glabrezu inside the mirror for added fun.

Qlippoth: (Advanced, feat swap) I altered to Qlippoth into an advanced version of itself, an Augnagur Qlippoth on the verge of apotheosis into a Thulgaunt. Besides the advanced template, I gave it dimension door 7 times per day and swapped some of its feats for the dimensional assault tree. This made for a fairly memorable fight as the thing warped around the room and was able to use the terrain to its advantage.

Leng Spider: (Nightskitters)I get that the barriers between worlds are supposed to be thin at Gallowspire, etc; Why wouldn't any and all undead within the tower just pounce upon this thing and drain its life energy? As it is, it has no protection against the numerous undead threats within the tower and isn't necessarily aligned in goals with the residents.. its just sort of there. I removed it and added two Nightskitters (Undead Revisited) to fit thematically and up the challenge rating. While this did up the number of Nightshade encounters in Gallowspire to 3, each of those fights was interesting in of itself.

Devourers: (Gallowdead) Not a fan of these guys mechanically. Some monsters got really nerfed when they crossed over to Pathfinder, and the reasons behind that nerfing make sense; but the removal of the 'save-or-die' mechanic from Devourers (and Bodaks to a lesser extent) really took the scare out of them. As it is, Death Ward nullifies too many of their abilities, turning them into sub-par spellcasters with an unimpressive slam attack. I swapped them out for Gallowdead, placing them here rather than inside the tower structure. It made more sense for them to wrestle free from their chains and launch themselves at the PCs outside the tower rather than inside.

The Grey Friar (Mythic)This guys has really solid stats, I just wanted to give him mythic to counter my PCs abilities. Oh, I also had two Forsaken Liches at his side to foreshadow Adivion's fate in the final battle.

Adivion Adrissant I utilized the Wizard/Fighter/ Arcane Duelist build of Magnuskn found here, with a couple variations to account for my party build on the first phase, and a host of completely different ghost abilities for his second phase, ending after the 'conjoined spirits of Adivion and Tar-Baphon' were destroyed. I didn't do a third phase since it took everything my PCs had left to take him down, with a couple of PCs going down during the fight. It took about 12 rounds total, which is good in the high level game of rocket tag.

OTHER CHANGES
Kendra as Tar Baphon's Vessel
As has been written about on the numerous threads within, Kendra makes a better choice as Tar Baphon's vessel, especially if the PCs can tie this thread to other story elements in the previous modules, specifically with regards to any interactions with Adivion Adrissant.

-A Vampire PC-
As per some of the suggestions in the prior module, I allowed our Dhampir PC to become a full vampire at the end of Ashes at Dawn, realizing that his power level would be about a match with the mythic tiers the PCs already possessed. I ended up removing the vampire's mythic tiers to keep him in balance with the others and for story reasons as well (Desna was the source of the PCs mythic power and the vampire could no longer dream). This made for some interesting fights and encounters (specifically the Knights of Ozem and anyone with the Command Undead feat). Furthermore, since most of the PCs usually walked around with Death Ward, his negative energy affinity didn't really make a difference in most fights. Also, the moments after the final fight were really awesome as the spirit of the Tyrant tried to get the vampire to take his power, which said vampire resisted.

-Mythic PCs- (Mindscape)
I introduced mythic during the final fight of module 4, giving the PCs one mythic tier and a second one at the end of module 5. Originally, this was done to allow me more customization with the bad guys to counter the incredible synergy possessed by my party and also to give further backstory concerning the Dhampir PC. While I kept this intact throughout most of the module, I decided that it would turn the final fights into rocket tag, and decided to remove mythic tiers right before Adorak. I did this by having the PCs mythic power used to suppress the dreams of the whispering Tyrant while they were in Adorak, which I had function as a Mindscape, the details of which can be found here . Nonetheless, I had a few mythic enemies to challenge the PCs as detailed above, which made for pretty good fights.

-Scrying and frying with liches- (Phylactery room)
To start the module off with a bang, I had Nathalazar and two other liches (including the one reforming in the phylactery room) scry and fry my group of PCs, having acquired some of the vampire PCs blood through various dealings. I changed the nature of the Phylactery room of Renchurch to empower undead rejuvenation, minimizing the number of days it would take for any undead that can rejuvenate itself if its source of essence (phylactery) was stored within that room. This let me do a couple of things; I had a solid force capable of kidnapping Kendra and I could harry the PCs every day until they could get to Renchurch and deal with them. I called this a side effect of the power of the negative energy well.

-The negative energy well (Renchurch, Age of Worms callback)
Death Ward was getting really annoying, to the point that I saw it completely destroying the mood, theme, and tension of the final fights within Renchurch. I wanted the last fight against the Grey Friar and the rescue of Kendra to be special, so I had the negative energy well within the building's last room be empowered. There is something similar in the final module of

Age of Worms:
, within Lashonna's dungeon where there is also a portal to the negative energy plane
. I had something like that where on the lowest level of Renchurch, undead got Fast Healing 20 and living creatures took double the amount of all listed effects from negative energy including level drain. Death Ward would basically be suppressed as it would reduce the amount of damage to normal but not negate it entirely. This made the final fight against the Grey Friar a lot more tense and memorable since negative energy could actually be used (and channel smite is one of the GF's main things).

-Keyboard room in Renchurch- (It's Good Enough For Me? Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah..)
I can't help putting callbacks to certain movies when thematically it absolutely fits, and in this case, it's The Goonies. I had the keyboard be one of the few ways to open the path ahead in the room, needing 3 DC 25 Perform checks to unlock the door, with a failure forcing a save against Crushing Despair. Besides this unlocking the door, I then had the keyboard reveal a secret compartment with a second musical sheet. Playing this required 2 DC 35 perform checks, with failure causing the keyboard to produce a Wail of the Banshee effect. This unlocked another secret compartment that contained a number of magical musical sheets (Scrolls for the Bard PC since there wasn't really a lot of treasure for her) as well as the phlactery of the Lich Bard that's originally in the phylactery room. I had the lich able to telepathically bargain for its life with the bard (which worked since it was able to impart knowledge about what was in the complex and weaknesses of some of their enemies) and made for interesting role-playing considering the makeup of the PC (dirgesinger bard) and the backstory of the lich himself. In the end, she kept the phylactery and moved on after the campaign to pursue forbidden music.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON MODULE:
For the word count, the writer does a good job presenting a decent high level romp within a uniquely dangerous environment that contains numerous flavorful enemies. The locations of Renchurch and Gallowspire were well detailed and a blast to run through. My only criticisms are leveled at the obvious, the lack of development of the end character and the difficulties presented by the interactions of certain spells and certain monsters.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE CARRION CROWN ADVENTURE PATH:
While individually the modules are strong, there is a lot of work for DMs trying to tie the adventure into one cohesive path that is something more than the monster of the week coupled with a "we go here next because.. bad guys" linear plot-line. There was no one like Vanthus Vanderborn, Lashonna, Queen Ileosa, the Skinsaw Man or any other bad guys that really struck a memorable cord. The enemies, while all well crafted with decent backstories, just sort of show up and then die rather ran having continuity through the campaign. Adventure Paths beyond this one seemed to fix this problem, but I wished that some of the enemies spanned multiple encounters, let alone modules. Even foreshadowing some of them, most of the time the bad guys wouldn't have any history with the PCs and therefore not a lot of context to make the fight as meaningful as it could be. The modules also seem to forget at times that the PCs are aware that they are in an undead heavy adventure path, so the presence of certain spells and abilities can take a lot of excitement out of it. I get that it is all supposed to be balanced for a group of four PCs with little experience, but once you figure out what works, its hard to go back to other tactics, and the spells that are mentioned in the review destroy this and the previous module. Heck, I had problems with Freedom of Movement all the way back in the fourth module, forcing me to add Mythic to at least give the monsters some agency. It is afterall, a horror path, and should be about how horrific the monster is, not how it ineffectually tries to grab you but can't because... magic.
Also, I made a lot of additions to my campaign over the time I ran it. All of my extra material can be found here
Hope this review and everything else there helps anyone else running this AP!


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So, I am nearing the end-game of Carrion Crown as my group has wiped out Renchurch and rescued its kidnapped prisoner to begin marching on Gallowspire. Having ran the Tyrant's Whispers haunt for nearly 7 sessions (using around 20 different effects from unwilling dimension door-ing to simple dispels), I knew I needed something different to represent the growing power and closeness of Tar-Baphon's mind as they neared Gallowspire. I had been looking heavily at Occult Adventures and was especially fascinated by the concept of a Mindscape as a projection of a powerful individual's dreams, sort of like Silvanesti in DragonLance's Dragons of Winter Twilight. I also wanted a way to get rid of my player's mythic power before they faced the very last part of the campaign.

Reasons:
I gave my players Mythic power at the end of Wake of the Watcher to help me balance the monsters that I had upgraded to combat the increasing number of blanket immunity spells my PCs employ (Death Ward, Freedom of Movement, and Protection from Evil), making the fights more interesting. Unfortunately, the higher level they got, the more the force multiplier of Mythic made each fight into rocket tag for both sides, so I wanted a reason for their Mythic power to be used up. IMC, since it was originally Desna who gave them Mythic power to combat the manifestation of Shubb-Niggurath, I decided it would ultimately be her who would take it back, ultimately to save the PCs from the waking dreams of the Tyrant (one of her profiles is dreams).
Below is the descriptions for an 8-stage dream that reflects some of the thoughts and fears of the Whispering Tyrant, slightly coupled with that of the module's main villain to represent the closeness of their minds. It follows some of the rules for mindscapes:

-Every character gains a pool of MP (manifestation points, or dream points) equal to their HD+ the average of their intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma scores. These points are used to affect the dream sequence that takes place.

-Every character may spend a number of MP equal either to 1/4 of their HD or their highest spell-level. Typically this will be once a 'round' within the sequence.

-Any of the following can be used to fuel additional MP at a cost of 2 points spent: arcane, grit, ki, panache, and phrenic. Treat this as an additional pool of MP for the player.

-Keep in mind that I do not have any psychic classes in my group with access to spells that can affect such things as dreamscapes, so its possible that PCs that did have access to such spells and abilities might want to play out or alter the visions differently than scripted. Let them, but remember that these dreams are being backed by someone with the ego, power, and spellcraft to annihilate anyone who tries to directly brush his mind.

The players emerge into the dreamscape as they start to close in on Adorak but before they encounter Marrowgarth. With my group, I had it happen right as they entered the outskirts of the city. After the first sequence, the PCs are wholly in the mindscape with the exception of creatures immune to mind-affecting effects (such as the vampire PC in my party). For them, they get to guard their friends' helpless bodies against ever increasing hordes of skeletons that are just drawn up by the presence of the living (Adorak is like that.). This can be drawn out or shortened to increase the dramatic tension, but I basically spaced it out like this for my group (with number of rounds between): 1 skeleton.. (4 rounds), 4 skeletons (2 rounds), 6 skeletons (2 rounds), 12 skeletons (10 rounds after all of the last ones are destroyed), 16 skeletons (1 round). I chose skeletons because of the minor threat of coup-de grace (a fortitude save of 10+2d4+4 averages about 21, which is easy for most 14th-level PCs) coupled with ease of destruction. Obviously I would run no skeletons if the group had no fail-safe while they were in the mindscape; the above is optional to keep any players not in the mindscape engaged. The sequences in order are listed below. The first one starts out with the PC's deaths. Be sure to alert any PCs not in the mindscape of what is happening and have them play along with their on-screen deaths in the first vision.

1)Orc Slaughter:

-Call for Perception checks, as if for surprise against a DC of 35. No matter the result, read the following below:

"The torn landscape somehow seems different. There might be more trees that somehow look newer and healthier, as if untouched by the supernatural ravages that plague this fell country. As you look again, you see plumes of smoke drifting above the treeline, hear the distant shouts of a brutish language (Orc- "Kill them all! etc.") and smell the scent of burning flesh. A confused murmuring behind you alerts you to the presence of a huddle of frightened, unarmed humans that stare agape at the dozens of massive orcs that burst through the treeline ahead of you, staring you down with sadistic malice."

Roll for initiative, assuming the dream has a +15 (if asked explain 'improved init, trait bonus, spell, dex bonus, magic item bonus and move on as quick as possible. since players are going to "die", this might rankle some until they figure out whats going on and numeric reasons might be asked for) The dream orcs are 'buffed' to the gills. There are 16 of them and try to systematically kill off the PCs one of by. The numbers are stacked as such a way (CR 21) that it should be possible. Assume that they are all rangers (12th level) with favored enemy, bloodrager and bardic buffs, spells,etc. to get their damage and attack:(Bow) +31/+31/+26/+21 6d6 +20 (bane+gravity+holy/unholy). The point is to have the numbers seem real enough that the 'where did all of this come from' factor is displaced by the threat of death. Even something clever done to survive (putting up a wall of force, teleporting away, burrowing as a wild-shaped elemental), results in an almost dream-like worst case scenario (wall disintegrated, teleport blocked or followed, stone to mud or move earth, etc.). Once everyone's dead, have them make will saves against a DC of 30, duplicating the spell phantasmal killer. Before announcing that anyone fails, (which some should), inform them that they feel "an inner reserve of willpower-giving strength that you feel can be used to escape the terror before you". Explain their dream pool (MP) and the number they can spend. Each one spent in this case adds +1d6 to their Will saving throw. When this is resolved read to the mindscaped PCs, " As your bodies go numb from the phantom death blows suffered, the villagers behind you are in turn slaughtered. Your attention is finally affixed to a pasty-faced boy with eyes like a faded moon, eyes that peer from beneath a bloodstained cart surrounded by bodies. As he stares out, he suddenly seems to age before you into an adolescent. Even as your bodies lay prone as all this happen, you see your view rise up from them as they being to meld into the landscape and you get a nagging sense of forgetting where they went, like the minor detail of a half-remembered conversation from a dream.." Inform any conscious PCs that their friends have dropped prone and let the skeleton party commence.

2)Classroom:

"The trees begin to grow and close in, as if everything were drawing in on itself. They thicken, becoming wooden supports for the interior of a building that encompasses you as the stumps and rocks warps into desks and chairs, their shadows forming into the adolescent occupants of a classroom. A familiar adolescent sits in one of the desks, drifting in and out of a discussion, even as the class laughs at the teacher's jokes. As glows of adoration settle over the teacher from his progeny, a sudden explosion rocks the area and a mass of wall topples onto the teacher, striking him dead . Rather than the shock and terror radiated by every other child in the room, you see the child... or yourself, its getting harder to tell which is which.. move over to the dead teacher with a mixture of curiosity and excitement. Distantly approaching voices scream over and over, "what are you doing? What Are You Doing? WHAT ARE YOU DOING??" filling your head with an inescapable urge you can't seem to shake, an urge to..."

Have the PCs a make Will Saves against a DC of 31, allowing the use of MP to augment their saves as before. This is against an Insanity effect duplicating waves of morbid ennui; PCs so effected are permanently fatigued, this only can be lifted if a PC sheds blood or sees being shed blood, which lifts the fatigue for 1 round. Additionally, the PCs alignment shifts one step towards evil.

3)Warscape:

"Beyond the blasted walls, a panorama stretches before you, one entirely filled with the clash of blades, the eruption of spells, and the screams at the realization of horrifying atrocity. The warscape before you engulfs the building, a sea of violence foaming and frothing with blood and shadow. Scores of orcs, unliving abominations, and the shades of men clash with hardened phalanxes of knights and formations of archers lead by clerics and magi. As the tide of darkness ebbs and rolls, it almost seems as if some force, a feeling of malignant intelligence is pouring its thoughts and fears into the battle itself, and where it does, the flow of evil swells. You feel the weight of this opposing force for the first time since everything around you changed, a weight so deep it feels like it eclipses all of reality, and as you feel it, it almost seems as if its attention is directed on you, as if keenly aware of your presence..."

Have the PCs make Will saving throws against a DC of 32, with failure resulting in 1d6 Charisma drain, with MP usable to augment their saves at +1d6 per point spent. Then continue,

"...but it quickly redirects itself back to the battle at hand, as if the outcome were more important than you. You feel your minds drawn to the battle as well, as if your thoughts could also influence the outcome."

This represents memories of the battles the Tyrant lead as well as the "what-if-I'd-lost" mental scenario coupled together. The Tyrant is trying to control the dream so that the tide of darkness wins and he has total control of his dream. Mechanically, this works as follows:
The first to reach 100 points in this segment, either the PCs or the mind of the tyrant, "wins". Each turn, the mind of the Tyrant spends 10 points (or 10d6) to affect the dream which can be opposed by the PCs spending up to their maximum allowed amount to add xd6 to their pool. For example two 14th-level PCs with no magical abilities could both spend up to 3 points a turn each to add up to 6d6. Continue tallying the point totals of both groups until one reaches 100. If the PCs succeed, the vision changes with no repercussions. If the Tyrant beats them, the phantom warscape rolls over the PCs, inflicting another 1d6 charisma drain, but still progressing onto the next segment. Any PC taken to 0 charisma by this drain dies, their beings consumed by the waking dream of one of the most powerful minds on the plane.

4)The Sea of Darkness:

"The battle culminates as smoke and shadow envelope you, concealing all, even the clash of steel and the screams of war. As those sounds become more and more muted, a distant rumbling of thunder begins to build and grow louder. As the smoke starts to swirl away, it joins into a massive, roiling cloudscape beneath you. As you gaze downward, you see tumultuous storm that stretches across the horizon in all directions, pierced only by jagged mountaintops. The sunlight above seems utterly absorbed the by the dark clouds beneath, only occasionally broken by the storm's own chaotic churning. As the occasional churn of the clouds breaks open, the revealing sunrays show an undead apocalypse beneath. Where the land is visible, hundreds of spectral and shadowy undead flee from the sun's blazing rays, and while some appear to be annihilated by the radiance, the majority flee to the edge of the break, joining thousands of their brethren along the its perimeter. You feel that same force of will from earlier doing everything it can to keep the storm intact, and every time a break appears, a feeling of intense fear radiates to mirror the desperate flight and subsequent annihilation of the undead beneath. As a radiance from above fills you, you feel as if your very force of will could direct the sun's strength to pierce the clouds..."

The Tyrant was never one content to rest on his laurels, his own thirst for power fueled by the fear of losing that power. This vision represents that very feeling of inability to maintain a balance in victory, that even after a Wraith apocalypse, the very sun would move to snuff out all his plans for even a far-flung fantasy victory. Every round, the Whispering Tyrant must make a DC 27 Will Save (ignoring 1's) against DC 28. PCs may add to this DC by spending MP, up to their max allowed per round to add to the DC by +1. Even if the Tyrant succeeds on a save, he must save again at the same raised DC each turn until he fails. However, each turn that the PCs spend within this nightmare, they take 1 point of Charisma drain as they feel themselves sink towards the churning mass, becoming part of it. Once the tyrant fails, the dream keeps progressing.

5)Gallowspire:

"Even as the massive breaks appear that obliterate the majority of undead host, the landscape beneath rushes up to meet you, the remains of a freshly sacked city smoking in charred rings encircling a singular central tower, a shaft of geometrical hatred. Your view rushes forward until you find yourself standing atop the tower of forsaken architecture, one born of spikes and chains. As you look further down, you see a massive barbed chain descending to one of the many jagged landings beneath, its links fastened to the cruel, spiked crenelations that guard the tower. The spiked chain wraps itself up around you to a throbbing chain in your chest. You suddenly feel unable to move and wracked with pain as the chain affixed to your chest slides forward, pulling you to the edge on its own accord. From behind, words of cruelty resound and echo downward into some sort of mass of a monstrous horde. As a dread proclamation is finally made, you feel yourself pulled forward again a final time before toppling end over end downward, until your descent is suddenly stopped by the barbed chain running through your chest, as it rips you open..."

As this part of the dream ends, PCs must make DC 33 Will saving throws or be affected as if by the spell weird. The resulting ability damage that occurs on a successful save happens when they awaken from the mindscape as resounding memories of phantom pain ache through them.


6)Revolt of the Living:

"As the feeling from your wound drives you to the fading black of oblivion, the landscape beneath you begins to fade and the pain resides to a dull numb. As you slowly descend, you see that beneath is not broken ruins full of monsters but instead a quaint village, with thatched roofs, chimneys blowing cheerful plumes of smoke, well maintained gardens and freshly landscaped yards. Your attention is immediately drawn towards the town's residents moving about, all corporeal undead, from wight smithy to lich mayor. As your vision begins moving through the town, past a mummy gardener and ghoul constable, it settles upon what appears to be a farm at the edge of town. However, inside of its outer pen are not animals but dozens of people of all races, their shoulders slumped in the eternal defeat that is their broken life. As they are bought, sold, and consumed, one of the humans suddenly grabs a scythe and rises up in revolt. His features and attire change and warp as if embodying the form of different heroic warriors, from General Arnissant with his Shield of Aroden to [insert name of fighter type PC in group] to other less recognizable figures. As he fights back the undead farmers, a feeling of desperate fear fills the vision, empowering the flesh farmers as they attempt to reign the human in.."

Representing the feeling that something will always be moving to oppose his plans, the rebellious figure represents many of the foes the tyrant has faced over the years, even now. He pours all of his energy into manifesting forces to destroy this depiction. Assume a normal combat sequence with one heroic personification against the forces of the undead farmers. The hero goes first in the initiative sequence, alternating to the undead and then back again. The hero has the following relevant stats (no feats, weapons, etc..)
Heroic Personification

AC 20 HP 80 Attack +10, Dmg 5

PCs may spend any number of MP each turn up to their maximum allowed to give the heroic personification the following effects.

1 MP: +2 AC (Up to 4 times), or +2 Attack (Up to 4 times), +5 damage (Once per turn)
2 MP: Heal 10 (Once per turn), 1 extra attack (Up to twice per turn)

The fight begins against against one undead manifestation with more joining each round with the following frequency: 2, 3, none, 3, then 3 with a more powerful manifestation. This more powerful manifestation represents the Tyrant's last effort to control the vision, pouring his energy into it. The statistics beneath are divided to show the normal undead and the more powerful manifestation:

Undead Manifestations
AC 20(25) HP 5(15) Attack +10( +15/+15), Dmg 10

If victorious, the vision drifts away from the hero and changes as described below. If the undead succeed, all PCs must make a DC 34 Will save (MP are usable to add to their roll) or be affected by a variant insanity spell duplicating a permanent crushing despair that also induces the shaken condition whenever the character is within sight of any form of undead. The vision then proceeds into the next part

7) Of Blood and Demons:

"The slaughter of the farmyard warps before you, changing the townscape into a horrifying version of itself. The bricks of the buildings are bones , the thatching stretched skin, and a nearby fountain bubbles blood instead of water, mirroring a dull red sky above. A distant fading orb of a half-shrunken sun casts its dwindling light over the demonic landscape complete with warped, eye-ball covered trees and lashing thorn growths topped with blood-drenched red roses. As a group of vampiric figures comes to slack their thirst at the fountain, a huge demonic figure suddenly appears from nowhere in the middle of the town's square. The towering multi-limbed monstrosity, for all its size and ferocity, elicits a feeling of near panic as its eyes glow. There is the beginning of a flash that is consumed like a fizzling bubble as some sort of magic projected by the demon is initiated but fails. As it does, dozens of the vampiric host swarm over the demon like ravenous ants. While a couple are cleaved asunder by the monster's massive claws and reduced to mist, more join to fill in the gaps of the fallen until the creature's struggles begin to slow. As it weakens to the point of near-paralysis, a lord among vampires, at once General Malyas, then changing into Ludvick,then becoming (our vampire PC) a host of other noble-looking vampires strides forward into view, and as he does, the vampiric throng backs away from the near-death demon. They inquire as one of their lord, "Feast or become? Feast or become??" and he hisses back with lethal clarity, "Become." As one the throng tears into the demon, ripping out flesh and essence alike until there is little but a husk that breathes its last. As it does, that breath forms around its body and pulls away its very shadow until its physical form is nothing but a hollow grey shell that disintegrates into the wind. There is a feeling of unavoidable centrification on the darkening shadowy form, as if you can't avoid looking at it as it seems to grow in size and darkness. Everything feels drawn to the form, even the muted light and sound as the black begins to envelope everything... until it draws itself in even further, this time into the shape of a giant, a giant made of pure shadow. Its eyes open and a red that pulses with the light of a dying star shines forth, a light that holds you and pulls you towards it..."

Fascinated by theories on the origin of undeath, Tar Baphon had many hypothesis on the creation of Nightshades and how their birth might be induced under certain conditions. This, if anything, represents what would constitute a happy dream for the Tyrant, his academic interest given bizarre form. PCs who witness this horribly strange vision must make a DC 35 Will Save (MP may be used, and any PC may spend 2 MP to reduce the DC by 1) or be cursed by a bizarre form of blindness that reduces vision to 10 feet away, as if affected by the blind oracle curse with a range of 10 feet. Remove Blindness suppresses this effect for an hour per caster level. This curse also makes the character more susceptible to nightmare spells and effects, imparting a -2 penalty on saving throws as the darkness beyond joins with their sleeping visions occasionally.


8)A Broken World:

"The horrible shadow swirls around you until the umbra encompasses everything. The darkness is slowly pierced by the gradual appearance of dozens of stars, the land around you lit by the faded light of what once may have been the sun, now merely a dwindling candle in a sea of darkness. You stand upon what initially appears to be a jagged cliff, but as you gaze over the edge, you see that that it is instead one side of a rocky, broken island floating among hundreds of others that encircle a dimly glowing, red orb. Beneath you, opposite the sea of orbital debris and planet core lies the other shattered half of the planet, a broken rocky husk completely absorbed in shadow. Your view swirls from floating island to island, where occasional pockets of the meager humans constantly move and hide from roving packs of beings made of shadow. As you gaze upon the hunt between predator and prey, a pack of the creatures streaks into your view, massing straight towards you. As they do, you feel your will drawn towards a flaring comet that streaks through the sky toward you, striking one of the shadows monsters and reducing it to ash."

Knowing fully what his eventual plans might bring about, The Tyrant's mind has imagined many endgame scenarios, including this one. Treating the PCs as invading viruses, the Tyrant has empowered the shadow monsters with the hope that they'll function as perfect antibodies. Fortunately for the PCs, they are given a mental anchor to use in fighting back against these entities. In this case, this anchor is given by Desna in the form of comets. The contests of wills between the PCs and the Tyrant has gained her attention, enough that she has seen certain pathways of destiny that are unfolding within reality, paths that reflect some of the visions within the dreams. Her affiliation with the heavens has allowed her to infiltrate this dream and lend the PCs aid against the mind that would have those visions realized. Inform the PCs that as the shadow horde closes in, they feel the ability to call forth fire from the heavens to stop their attackers. This sequence works as follows:

-There are 12 shadow monsters attacking the PCs. They divide themselves evenly among them. The first round, each PC is attacked by one, draining one MP. Thereafter, each monster drains one MP per PC it is engaging. The monsters go first.

-Each PC may spend up to their maximum limit of MP to try and destroy the creatures. Each creature has 10 hp. PCs may spend 1 MP to do 1d6 damage to a creature, with a roll of 6 adding an additional 1d6 to that damage roll. This appears as comets striking the monsters.

-If the PCs run out of MP completely, allow them to utilize spell slots and other abilities to fuel their MP, having such abilities being used up when the PCs awaken.

Once all foes are destroyed:

"As the sky fills with thousands of bright comets, everything fades to a state of surreal, muted tranquility. A feeling of one-ness permeates you as all of the stars above feel intensely connected to you. Harmony flows through your being, a feeling (you haven't felt since a brief moment during your fight with the manifestation of the Outer God) you've felt few times in the last months, a unifying calmness (of Desna). A voice fills your head as the stars surround you..."


Desna's Words:

"Even now you are trapped, trapped by the wandering nightmares of the most powerful sleeping mind on your world, and yet you must awaken, for those dreams cannot come to be as real as they are desired to be. Yet to waken you, I must waken him, and his power will flair for a brief time. He is trapped, thus has he dreamed for so long, long enough to desire a moment like this. Yet if you do not waken you will dream forever, until your bodies are no more. There is a choice before me.. shall I awaken a slumbering tyrant and allow him a brief chance at freedom even as the best chance of stopping him moves in opposition.. or should I leave you forever shrouded in the greatest dreams you could ever desire, content that no little chance of his stirring will happen?"

(Allow any argument)

"I am pleased to hear that. [Loss of Mythic-]( I must use the power I had bestowed upon you to keep his dreams at bay; his mind will no longer be able to affect you through dreams and nightmares, waking or otherwise. He may yet physically manifest these to try and stop you, but what has been given form can be unmade.) I will continue to watch over you by giving you some control of your own fate. May the grace of the heavens shine upon you..."

(At this point I removed my PC's mythic power, giving them one Harrow point for each unused Mythic point remaining. Other rewards such as Hero Points would be equally suitable).

"A ring of energy formed from starlight begins to pass around you, circling above. It shrinks, then rapidly expands again to reveal the real world within its center. It moves to surround you again, and as it flows downward, its passing changes reality back to where you were before the dreams began. The ring of light completes the transformation of reality and then contracts, its shape becoming an ever-shrinking butterfly that swallows the last vestiges of the dreamscape before finally winking out of existence."


Hope this gives some additional flavor and material for GMs to use for this final leg of the module. It worked really well for my group.


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I am aware that all undead do not require sleep anymore, yet there are corner cases with Vampires resting in their coffins, Liches entering torpor, and other random examples of undead "sleeping until disturbed" Obviously, unintelligent undead would not dream at all, but what about some of the other cases? Do any undead dream even though none of them specifically require sleep? Can an undead creature use the Dream spell? Can it or Nightmare be used on them? I ask because its slightly relevent to our Carrion Crown game:

Details:
The source of my PC's mythic power (two tiers for the sixth module) comes from Desna and her influence in stopping outer horrors and curbing the waking dreams of the Whispering Tyrant. One of the PCs, a Dhampir, has decided to go full vampire for the next module. From a balance standpoint, there's no way I'm going to give him access to both the template and mythic tiers. My justification is that if he becomes a vampire, he cuts himself off from the source of his mythic power, dreaming. While we've agreed that this is acceptable, it did raise the question of whether undead were capable of dreaming at all.

Thoughts?


Like the title says, these are mentioned in Lords of Chaos, Book of the Damned Volume 2 but I don't recall seeing stats for them anywhere. Are they creatures that have appeared in an APs bestiary (if so, which ones), are have they yet to be given stats? More Qlippoth!


Below are slight changes I am making to some of the monsters to account for the two Mythic tiers my PCs possess. I also statted out some of the monsters in the module that have templates so DM's don't have to adjust them on the fly. Enjoy!

A. Witchgate Grove:
I revised this encounter to emphasize the creepy landscape of Virlych beyond the hangman trees, which I feel are just another hungry plant, one that the PCs have fought before in book 3. Instead I substitued the following:
'For ages, the dryad Fheridia protected a grove of great verdance where the trees grew massive and came alive, situated in the shadow of Virlych's haunted mountains. When the Whispering Tyrant's forces conquered the area, the were drawn to the site for the same reason as Fheridia, the powerful ley-lines wove the mystical energies of the area into a tight fabric, one they sought to take for themselves. They overpowerd the dryad, murdering a number of her treant guardians with fire, then held her within her own tree while they warped its form and purpose into one of the first Witchgates. The process drove the dryad insane, transforming her into a broken soul that now guards the Witchgate along with the spirits of her slain companions. Fheridia appears as a comely female with scorched wooden skin carved with runes , her hair a nest of blackened, sickly leaves.'
"This scarred clearing is dominated by a single warped tree, a once great oak that has been twisted back down upon itself to form a massive archway carved with blackened runes. The forms of several withered, lesser trees dot the clearing like skeletal husks."

Fheridia, Broken Guardian CR 10
XP 3,200
Female broken-soul dryad sorcerer 10
CE Medium Fey
Init +8; Senses Perception +20
DEFENSE____________________________________________________________________ ______
AC 33, touch 15, flat 25 (+4 armor, +1 dodge, +4 Dex, +10 natural, +4 shield)
hp152 (16d6+96)
Fort +12, Ref +13, Will +13; +4 vs. poison and sleep
DR 5/ - Resist acid 5, cold 5, electric 5, fire 5, sonic 5;
OFFENSE____________________________________________________________________ ______
Speed 20 ft.
Melee torturous touch +13 touch (2d6 plus 1d6 dex damage and convulsions)
Ranged ranged touch +13 (per spell)
Special Attacks agonized wail (DC 25), baleful gaze (DC 25)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 6th)
Constant - speak with plants
At will - entangle (DC 18), tree shape, wood shape (1 lb. only)
3/day - charm person (DC 18), deep slumber (DC 20), tree stride
1/day - suggestion (DC 20)
Bloodline Spell-Like Abilities (CL 10th, concentration +7)
10/day - tanglevine (10/day, 15 ft. range; disarm, steal or trip +17)
Sorcerer Spells Known (CL 8th, concentration +7)
5th (4/day) possession (DC 23)
4th (6/day) command plants (DC 21), dimension door, fear[/i] (DC 22)
3rd (8/day) dispel magic, lightning bolt (DC 20), speak with plants, vampiric touch
2nd (8/day) barkskin,command undead (DC 20), create pit (DC 19), mirror image, see invisibility
1st (8/day) charm person (DC 18), entangle (DC 18), mage armor, ray of enfeeblement (DC 19),shield, vanish
0 (at will) detect magic, light, read magic, mage hand
Bloodline verdant
STATISTICS_________________________________________________________________ _______
Str 10, Dex20, Con 20, Int 8, Wis 13, Cha 24
Base Atk +8; CMB +8, CMD 24
Feats Ability Focus (torturous touch), Acrobatic Steps, Diehard, Dodge, Endurance, Eschew Materials, Great Fortitude, Nimble Moves, Spell Focus (necromancy), Stealthy, Still Spell, Toughness, Weapon Finesse
Skills Climb +9, Craft (sculpture) +8, Escape Artist +15, Handle Animal +13, Intimidate +15, Knowledge (nature) +8, Perception +20, Stealth +15, Survival +7
Languages Common, Sylvan, speak with plants
SQmassmorph,photosynthesis
Combat Gear potion of cure serious woundsOther Gear ring of counterspells (dispel magic), headband of alluring charisma +4,
SPECIAL ABILITIES_________________________________________________________________
Agonized Wail (Su) Standard action, all creatures in 120 ft. range; Will DC 25 or shaken as long as within 120 ft. of Fheridia. Creatures that save are immune for 24 hours; sonic, mind-affecting fear effect.
Baleful Gaze (su) 60 ft. range, Fortitude DC 25 or 1d4 Strength, Constituion, and Charisma drain. Whatever the result of the saving throw, a creature cannot be affected by this ability again for 1 minute.
Torturous Touch (Su) 2d6 slashing damage and 1d6 Dex damage and fall prone and dazed 1d4 rounds. Fortitude DC 27 negates Dex damage, falling prone, and dazed condition.

Grove Spectre CR 10 (3)
XP 3,200
Ghost Treant
NE Huge Undead (Incorporeal)
Init -1; Senses low light vision, darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +20
DEFENSE____________________________________________________________________ ______
AC 10, touch 10, flat 10 ( +3 deflection, -1 Dex, -2 size)
hp90 (12d6+36)
Fort +11, Ref +3, Will +9
Defensive Abilities channel resistance +4, incorporeal, rejuvenation; DR 10/slashing; Immune undead traits
Weaknesses vulnerability to fire
OFFENSE____________________________________________________________________ ______
Speed fly 30 ft. (good)
Melee incorporeal touch +7 (10d6/ 19-20, Fortitude DC 21 half)
Space 15 ft.; Reach 15 ft.
Special Attacks fire hater, trample (10d6, DC 19)
Spell-like Abilities (CL 12th; concentration +15)
3/day- invisibility, pyrotechnics (DC 15),summon swarm
STATISTICS_________________________________________________________________ _______
Str - Dex 8, Con - Int 12. Wis 16, Cha 17
Base Atk +9; CMB +11, CMD 20
Feats Ability Focus (corrupting touch), Alertness, Flyby Attack, Improved Critical (incorporeal touch), Weapon Focus (incorporeal touch)
Skills Intimidate +11, Knowledge (religion) +9, Perception +20, Sense Motive +12, Stealth -1 (+15 in forests)
Languages Common, Sylvan, Treant
SQ animate trees, frightener, treespeech
SPECIAL ABILITIES_________________________________________________________________
Animate Trees (Su) The corrupting influence of Virlych and the treant's spectral nature has altered this ability, granted the trees a hungry mouth full of sharp wooden teeth.. Animated trees have the following statistics: Animated Tree Darkvision 60, Perception +12; AC 21, touch 7, flat 21; hp 114 (12d8+60); Save F +13, R +3, W +9, DR 10/Slashing , vulnerable to fire; Speed 10; 1 Bite attack +17 (2d6+9 and grab), swallow whole (2d6+13 bludgeoning, AC 23, 11 hp), CMD +20 (+24 grapple) CMD 29 (33 vs grapple)
Fire Hater (Su) Against opponents visibly wielding flaming weapons or using any fire spells or effects, the Grove Spectres gains a +4 profane bonus to AC, attack rolls, saving throws, and to the DC of all of its supernatural and spell-like abilities. This bonus extends to any trees animated by its animate trees ability.This bonus lasts as long as the opponents are visible and for 14 minutes after.
Frightener (Su) (Classic Horrors Re-visited 25) The Grove Spectres gain invisibility, pyrotechnics and summon swarm as spell-like abilities usable 3 times per day.
Rejuvenation (Su) The Grove Wardens can only permenantly laid to rest by destroying the Witchgate and either killing or curing Fheridia's broken mind.

Tactics When confronted with intruders who don't display symbols of the Whispering Way (who she is terrified of), Fheridia tree strides out of perception range. She typically already has Mage Armor active, then begins buffing with Barksin, Mirror Image, See Invisibility, and Shield, before tree-striding back into range and using the total cover afforded by the trees to attempt Possession, Lighting Bolt, or Create Pit on intruders. Meanwhile the Spectral Treants hide within the tree-husks themselves, animating them from cover to attack. Once any opponent wields fire, their hatred drives them forward to attack with their trample and corrupting touch abilties.

Hagmouth (Mythic):

I knew that with Hagmouth, I would need to give him some extra power if he was to survive for more than three rounds against my group of PCs. This version can be significantly lethal and should only be used with mythic parties; he could prove TPK material especially with his breath weapon and inferno abilities.
Hagmouth CR 16/ MR 6
XP 76,800
Male mythic variant crag linnorn (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 190)
CE Gargantuan Dragon
Init +7, dual initiative; Senses darkvision 120 ft., low light vision, scent, true seeing; Perception +22
Aura choking ash (10 ft., DC 25), stench (30 ft., DC 25)

DEFENSE
AC 34, touch 9, flat-footed 31 (+3 dex, +25 natural, -4 size)
hp 277 (15d12+180); regeneration 10 (cold iron)
Fort +19 Ref +12 Will +13
Defensive Abilities beyond prophecy, freedom of movement; DR 15/ mythic and cold iron; Immune curse effects, fire, mind-affecting effects, paralysis, poison, sleep SR 31
Weakness Mytbic Weakness (Remove Disease)

-OFFENSE-
Speed 30 ft., fly 50 ft. (clumsy), swim 30 ft.
Melee bite +25 (2d8+12/19-20 plus 4d6 fire plus poison), 2 claws +25 (1d8+12 plus 4d6 fire)
Space 20 ft.; Reach 20 ft.
Special Attacks breath weapon (120-ft. line, 15d8 fire damage, Reflex DC 25 half, usable every 1d4 rounds), death curse, inferno, lava claws, melt stone mythic power 6/day (surge +1d8)

-STATISTICS-
Str 34 Dex 16 Con 27 Int 5 Wis 18 Cha 21
Base Attack +15 CMB +31; CMD 44 (can't be tripped)
Feats Cleave (Mythic), Combat Reflexes, Great Fortitude, Improved Critical (bite), Improved Initiative, Powere Attack, Weapon Focus (bite) [mythic], Weapon Focus (claw) [mythic]
Skills Fly +7, Perception +22, Swim +38
Languages Aklo, Draconic, Necril

-SPECIAL ABILITIES
Beyond Prophecy (Su) Hagmouth was once bound for a much greater destiny among dragon-kind only to have that cut short by the fate forced onto him by his wounds. He has since fallen outside the spectrum of omens and prophecy and as such, can neither receive insight bonuses nor do insight bonuses function against his attacks, armor class, saves, or special abilities.

Breath Weapon (Su) Once every 1d4 rounds as a standard action, a crag linnorm can expel a 120-foot line of magma, dealing 15d8 points of fire damage to all creatures struck (Reflex DC 25 halves). This line of magma remains red-hot for 1 round after the linnorm creates it. Creatures that took damage on the first round take 6d6 fire damage the second round (Reflex DC 25 negates), as does any creature that walks across the line of magma. If the magma was expelled while the linnorm was airborne, it instead rains downward during the second round as a sheet of fire no more than 60 feet high that does 6d6 damage (Reflex DC 25 negates) to any creature that passes through it. On the third round, the line of magma cools to a thin layer of brittle stone that quickly degrades to powder and sand over the course of several hours; magma that's turned to a sheet of fire is consumed entirely during the second round, leaving behind only a stain of smoke in the air that swiftly disperses. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Choking Ash (Su) Any creature that starts its turn in Hagmouth's aura is nauseated for 1 round (Fortitude DC 25 negates). The ash provides Hagmouth with 50% concealment against ranged attacks. Strong wind or fire-quenching magic disperse it for 1d4 rounds. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Death Curse (Su) When a creature slays Hagmouth, the slayer is affected by the curse of fire.Curse of Fire: save Will DC 22; effect creature gains vulnerability to fire. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Dual Initiative (Ex) Hagmouth gets two turns each round, one on its initiative count and another on its initiative count – 20.

Inferno (Ex) Hagmouth can expend one use of mythic power as an immediate action to have fire damage he deals ignore fire resistance and fire immunity for 1 round.

Lava Weapons (Su) All melee attacks made by Hagmouth deal an additional 4d6 points of fire damage.

Melt Stone (Su) Hagmouth can use his breath weapon to melt rock at a range of 100 feet, affecting a 55-foot-radius area. The area becomes lava to a depth of 1 foot. Any creature in contact with the lava takes 20d6 points of fire damage on the first round, 10d6 on the second, and none thereafter as the lava hardens and cools. If used on a wall or ceiling, treat this ability as an avalanche that deals fire damage.

Mythic Weakness (Su) Hagmouth's ascension is partially fueled by his horrific wound suffered at the claws of Scrivanier V. While his wounded tail perpetually drips bloody pus and constantly provides the Linnorn with a dull pain, it also is the source of his mythic power. If Hagmouth fails a saving throw against a remove disease spell or effect (that passes his spell resistance), his mythic power is temporarily repressed, rendered unusable by the Linnorn for a number of rounds equal to the level of the spell used to “cure” him.

Poison (Su) Bite—injury; save Fort DC 25; frequency 1/round for 10 rounds; effect 2d6 fire damage and 1d4 Con drain; cure 2 consecutive saves. The save DC is Constitution-based.


Possessing Leukodaemon and the Knights of Ozem:

In this particular encounter, I have decided to substitute a Seraptis Demon (Book of the Damned, Vol. 2) for the Leukodaemon present here. This is for a few reasons:
1)While thematically and alignment-wise the Leukodaemon fits better with Urgathoa, it seems strange that in a countryside devoid of the living that something dedicated to spreading disease would flourish, or even be drawn to it in the first place.
2)The proximity of the Worldwound to Ustalav gives a number of reasons why a demon would more likely be encountered than a daemon, especially considering the Witchgates and the demon's teleportation abilities.
3) The Leukodaemon isn't really a threat to the paladins. They are immune to its disease and a lot of its spell-like abilities, and ganging up with smite attacks is going to kill the thing in two turns. The Seraptis's suicidal whispers would be a serious threat to such a group, especially if the paladins can't attack it because of possession, being forced to listen to its corrupting words while they figure out how to deal with it. I'm not saying the Leukodaemon isn't entirely capable of this, but the Seraptis fills more of an active role in this regard versus the almost backgrounded nature of the encounter.
4)I have already used two Leukodaemons against my party, so want a little variety.

Svoac the Gate Tender:

For Svoac, I noticed a glaring weakness with regards to his saving throws; the lower CR'd quickwoods actually have a better chance of giving a good fight versus the Attach's high chance of getting one shotted by Hold Monster or worse, Dominate Person. I gave him the Divine Guardian template to give him immunity to such tactics so my players have to actually fight him, as well as one fighter level to give him access to the favored weapon of the holy site he's protecting.

Svoac The Gate Tender CR 14
XP 38,400
Male divine guardian attach fighter 1
CE Huge Giant (evil)
Init +5; Senses darkvision 60 ft., scent; Perception +22
DEFENSE____________________________________________________________________ ______
AC 31, touch 12, flat 29 (+6 armor, + 1 dodge, +1 Dex, +15 natural, -2 size)
hp 173 (15d8+1d10+105); fast healing 5
Fort +13, Ref +5, Will +9; +2 vs. good creatures.
Defensive Abilities ability healing; Immune disease, mind-affeccting effects, poison.
OFFENSE____________________________________________________________________ ______
Speed 100 ft.
Melee +1 unholy scythe +22/+17/+12 (3d6+17 x4), bite +20 (2d6+5 plus poison)
-Power Attack +19/+14/+9 (3d6+26), +17 (2d6+11 plus poison)
Ranged Rock +10/+5/+0 (2d6+16)
Special Attacks rock throwing (140 ft.), swift claw
Spell-like Abilities (CL 15th, concentration +14)
At Will - dimension door (within Renchurch grounds only), see invisibility
3/day - aura sight,alarm
1/day augury, clairvoyance/clairaudience, commune, dismissmal (DC 15), hold portal,true seeing
STATISTICS_________________________________________________________________ _______
Str 32 Dex13, Con 25 Int 7, Wis 16, Cha 10
Base Atk +11; CMB +23 CMD 34
Feats Dodge, Iron Will, Lunge, Mobility, Multiattack, Power Attack, Spring Attack, Weapon Focus: Scythe
Skills Acrobatics +1 (+29 jump), Climb +20, Escape Artist +10, Knowledge (religion) +1, Perception +19, Sense Motive +8, Stealth +0
Languages Giant
SQ blessed life, divine swiftness, sacred site, sighted
Combat Gear potion of keen edge (2), potion of cure light wounds (3), 10 rocksOther Gear +1 unholy scythe, +2 chain shirt
SPECIAL ABILITIES
Ability Healing (Ex) Each round heals 1 point of ability damage to all abilities suffering from ability damage.
Blessed Life (Ex) Does not age or breath. Does not require food, drink or sleep.
Poison (Ex) injury; save Fort DC 24; frequency 1/round for 6 rounds; effect 1d4 Str; cure 2 consecutive saves.
Sacred Site (Ex) May not leave grounds of Renchurh. Loses Divine Guardian template if leaving the grounds of Renchurch, and must seek atonement or take 6d6 constitution drain.
Sighted (Su) Svoac's Divine Guardian template has a few minor changes to reflect his purpose in the defense of Renchurch. He loses his arcane lock,guards and wards, knock and forbiddance spell-like abilities, but gains see invisbility at will, alignment sight 3/day, and true seeing 1/day.
Swift Claw (Ex) Swift action, Attack Bonus +20, 1d10+11

Corpulent Ghouls:

I swapped the Ghoul's rogue levels for brawler levels for purely mechanical reasons' the extra BAB and feats are a big deal in making them a significant threat. Not that I'm being a total DM munckin jerk, if that were the case, they would all be anti-paladins.
Corpulent Ghouls CR 7
XP 3,200
Shrine-blessed human dread ghoul brawler 6
CE Medium undead (augmented humanoid)
Init +5; Senses darkvision 60 ft., scent; Perception +12
DEFENSE____________________________________________________________________ ______
AC 22, touch 17, flat 15 (+3 armor, +2 dodge, +5 Dex, +2 natural)
hp 78 (6d8+48)
Fort +11, Ref +12, Will +7; +2 vs. good creatures
Defensive Abilities channel resistance +2 Immune Undead Traits
OFFENSE____________________________________________________________________ ______
Speed 30 ft, climb 30 ft.
Melee Bite +15 (1d8+8 plus paralysis) and 2 Claws +14 (1d6+6 plus paralysis)
Special Attacks command ghouls, create spawn, death burst, paralysis (1d4+1 rounds, DC 19; elves are immune to this effect)
STATISTICS_________________________________________________________________ _______
Str 16, Dex20, Con - Int 12, Wis 16, Cha 18
Base Atk +6; CMB +9, (+14 grapple) CMD 26 (+31 vs grapple)
Feats Ability Focus: Paralysis, Dodge, Greater Grapple*, Improved Grapple*, Toughness, Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus:(bite), Weapon Specialization (bite)
Skills Acrobatics +14, Climb +20, Escape Artist +10, Knowledge (dungeoneering) +5, Knowledge (local) +6, Perception +12, Sense Motive +7, Stealth +10
Languages Common, Necril
SQKnockout (DC 18)Martial Flexibility (6/day)
Gear +1 leather armor, amulet of might fists +1
*Gained from Martial Flexibility

Dread Wraith:

One of the spirits of last slain defenders of the abbey, I've placed this guy in the ground floor's nave to give a further threat to the huge, should-have-combat-in-it, size of the area. Its stats were taken from 'The Dead Heart of Xin', another excellent Part 6 Brandon Hodge adventure.

Unhallowed Dread Wraith CR 13
XP 25,600
LE Large undead (incorporeal)
Init +9; Sensesdarkvision 60 ft., lifesense; Perception +23
Aura unnatural aura (30 ft.)
DEFENSE____________________________________________________________________ ______
AC 22, touch 22, flat 16 (+8 armor, +3 deflection, +2 Dex, +3 natural)
hp184 (16d8+112)
Fort +12, Ref +10, Will +16; +2 vs. good creatures
Defensive Abilities channel resistance +6; incorporeal Immune undead traits
Weaknesses sunlight powerlessness
OFFENSE____________________________________________________________________ ______
Speed fly 60 ft. (good)
Melee incorporeal touch +16 (2d6/ 19-20 plus 1d8 Con drain)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Special Attacks constitution drain (Fort DC25 negates), create spawn (wraith, 1d4 rounds)
STATISTICS_________________________________________________________________ _______
Str - Dex20, Con - Int 18. Wis 18, Cha 25
Base Atk +12; CMB +18, CMD 36
Feats Combat Expertise, Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Improved Critical (incorporeal touch), Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Mobility, Spring Attack
Skills Acrobatics +0 (-12 when jumping), Fly +26, Intimidate +26, Knowledge (arcana) +23, Knowledge (planes) +20, Knowledge (religion) +23, Sense Motive +23, Stealth +20
Languages Common, Varisian


Renchurch Initiates:

Maybe someone can illuminate me, but I'm having a hard time seeing ascetics (monks) being present in a holy place to a Goddess that preaches gluttony and sensuism. In this regard I decided to turn the initiates into Arcanists. I feel that thematically it makes more sense from not only a divine portfolio standpoint (Magic) but also with regards to the Whispering Way as an organization, its members being primarily those that are either undead or deal with the undead.

Renchurch Initiates CR 7
XP 3,200
Male and Female Human Arcanist 8
NE Medium Humanoid (Human)
Init +8; Senses Perception +8
DEFENSE____________________________________________________________________ ______
AC 24, touch 15, flat 19 (+4 armor, +1 dodge, +4 Dex, +1 natural, +4 shield)
hp36 (8d6+8)
Fort +3, Ref +4, Will +6
OFFENSE____________________________________________________________________ ______
Speed 30 ft, dimensional slide 80 ft.
Melee Touch +3 (per spell)
Ranged Ranged Touch +8 (per spell)
Special Attacks Force Missle, Spells
Arcanist Spells Known* (CL 8, concentration +13)
4th (3/day)enervation (DC 19)
3rd (5/day)dispel magic, vampiric touch
2nd (5/day)cat's grace,frigid touch, mirror image
1st (6/day)mage armor, ray of enfeeblement (DC 16),shield, shocking grasp, stunning barrier (DC 16)
0 (at will) detect magic, light, read magic, mage hand
STATISTICS_________________________________________________________________ _______
Str 8, Dex18**, Con 12, Int 20. Wis 10, Cha 14
Base Atk +4; CMB +3, CMD 18
Feats Combat Casting, Dispel Synergy, Dodge, Improved Initiative, Reach Spell
Skills Knowledge (arcana) +11, Knowledge (planes) +10, Knowledge (religion) +16, Linguistics +13, Profession (mortician) +9, Spellcraft: 16, Use Magic Device +13
Languages Abyssal, Ancient Osirion, Azlanti,Common, Draconic, Elven,Giant, Infernal, Necril, Thassilonian, Varisian
SQ Arcane Exploits (Dimensional Slide, Force Missle, Metamixing, Potent Magic)Arcane Reservoir (11 points)
Combat Gear potion of cure light wound, potion of resist energy (fire), scroll of arcane sight,scroll of command undead,scroll of fog cloud, scroll of see invisibilityOther Gear amulet of natural armor +1, headband of intellect +2, fine robes worth 100 gp, 3 obsidian worth 50 gp, spellbook, 50 gp
*See other spell suites **Altered by cat's grace
Before Combat The Arcanists cast cat's grace, mage armor, and shield. If they have time, they cast mirror image and stunning barrier before wading in with augmented reach spells (using their exploits).
*Other spell suites: All keep dispel magic, cat's grace, mirror image, mage armor, shield, and stunning barrier and then substitute all other spells for the following
-Suite (A) Suite (B) Suite (C)
(4th) resilient sphere (DC 19) dimensional anchor shout(DC 19)
(3rd) force punch (DC 18) blindness/deafness halt undead (DC 18)
(2nd) scorching ray glitterdust (DC 17) command undead
(1st)true strike color spray (DC 16) chill touch (DC 17)
magic missle touch of gracelessness burning hands (DC 17)


Area F1 Dorter- Mohrgs are murderhobos, so why are these novices sleeping next to them?:
Adding the following text to the description: "In the rooms center sits a table filled with empty plates and goblets, all covered in a translucent, greenish slime."
I decided to replace the Mohgrs for two reasons:
1) I can't really see something addicted to murder controlling its impulses while possible victims are sleeping ten feet away it.
2)Since this is the first room of the second floor, I know my party will be buffed or re-buffed since the divides between levels always means in a meta-gaming sense that you should be healed and buffed before going down. This means everyone will have Freedom of Movement up, which will make the Mohrgs nothing more than smart zombies with lots of hitpoints, capable of doing little but slamming over and over. That's not scary, so I replaced them with a variant of the Festering Spirit from Bestiary 4, one that I felt tied into the themes of gluttony and consumption.

Glutton SpectreCR 8
XP 6,400
Unhallowed variant festering spirit (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 4 98)
CE Medium undead (incorporeal)
Init +9; Sensesdarkvision 60 ft.; Perception +13
Aura insatiable hunger 30 ft.
DEFENSE____________________________________________________________________ ______
AC 18, touch 18, flat 12 ( +2 deflection, +5 Dex, +1 dodge); +2 deflection vs. good
hp58 (9d8+18)
Fort +5, Ref +8, Will +7; +2 vs. good creatures
Defensive Abilities channel resistance +2, +6 vs. negative energy; Immune undead traits
Weaknesses Glutton
OFFENSE____________________________________________________________________ ______
Speed fly 40 ft. (good)
Melee incorporeal touch +11 (1d4 Con damage plus slime)
Special Attacks create spawn, slime, trample (1 Con plus slime, DC 16)
STATISTICS_________________________________________________________________ _______
Str - Dex 20, Con - Int 6, Wis 12, Cha 15
Base Atk +6; CMB +11; CMD 24
Feats Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Flyby Attack, Improved Initiative, Mobility
Skills Fly +9, Perception +13, Stealth +17
SQ ghost touch

SPECIAL ABILITIES
Create Spawn (Su) Creatures killed by a festering spirit's Constitution damage rise as a festering spirit under its killer's control in 1d4 days. Creamtion or proper burial of the corpse prevents it from becoming a festering spirit.
Ghost Touch (Su) Can manipulate objects weighing less than 25 pounds as if those objects had the ghost toucn special ability.
Glutton (Ex) A glutton spectre craves all forms of corporeal food and beverage. If presented with any amount of food or beverage weighing more than 1 lb., it must make a DC 16 Will save or be compelled to attempt to consume the food or drink before it, taking no other action. Doing so usually takes 1 round per 5 lbs. of food, ruining whatever food or drink that passes through its body with its slime ability. The glutton spectre is still free to defend itself while consuming food.
Insatiable Hunger (Su) Creatures within 30 feet of a Glutton Spectre must make a DC 16 Fortitude save or take 1d6 points of non-lethal damage and become fatigued as intense hunger course through them. This damage cannot be healed until a creature spends a minute consuming a full meal or eats some form of magical sustenance such as goodberry.
Slime (Su) Any creature hit by a festering spirit's incorporeal touch attack, passing through its square, or hitting it with a natural weapon or unarmed strike must make a DC 16 Fortitude. Failure means the creature is nauseated for 1d4 rounds while it is staggered for 1 round on a success. Creatures immune to poison or disease are immune to this effect.


Renchurch Cenobites:

"We have so much to show you..." (sorry couldn't resist with the whole Cenobite thing). No real changes here, just a few spell swaps.

Renchurch Cenobites CR 10
XP 9,600
Male and female unhallowed juju zombie cleric of Urgathoa 10
NE Medium Undead (augmented humanoid)
Init +6; Sensesdarkvision 60 ft.; Perception +14
DEFENSE____________________________________________________________________ ______
AC 26, touch 15, flat 24 (+8 armor, +3 deflection, +2 Dex, +3 natural)
hp128 (10d8+80)
Fort +11, Ref +7, Will +11; +2 vs. good creatures
Defensive Abilities channel resistance +4; DR 5/magic and slashing; Immune cold, electricity, magic missle[/i, undead traits; Resist fire 10
OFFENSE__________________________________________________________________________
Speed 20 ft.
Melee [/i]+1 scythe[/i] |+14/+9 (2d4+9/ 19-20 x4) or Slam +12 (1d6+7)
Ranged Ranged Touch +9 (per spell)
Special Attacks channel negative energy 7/day (DC 21, 5d6), killing blow (1/day critical hit causes 5 bleed), whispering evil (10 rds., standard action, 30 ft. range, DC 19, fascinated)
Domain Spell-Like Abilities (CL 10, concentration +14) bleeding touch (7/day, touch causes 1d6 points of bleed), touch of evil (7/day, touch sickens 5 rds)
Cleric Spells Prepared (CL 10, concentration +14)
5th - caustic blood (DC 19), suffocation (D) (DC 19), true seeing
4th - divine power, freedom of movement, spell immunity, unholy blight (D) (DC 18)
3rd - animate dead, contagion DC 17), dispel magic, keen edge (D),magic vestment
2nd - bull's strength,death knell (D)(DC 16), eagle's splendor, grace, sound burst (DC 16) (2)
1st -cause fear (DC 15), deathwatch,magic weapon, murderous command (DC 15), obscuring mist, shield of faith,
0 (at will) bleed (DC 14), detect magic, read magic, resistance
(D) Domain spell Domains Death (murder subdomain), Evil (daemon subdomain)
STATISTICS_________________________________________________________________ _______
Str 21, Dex14, Con - Int 10. Wis 19, Cha 18
Base Atk +7; CMB +12, CMD 27
Feats Channel Smite, Combat Casting, Command Undead, Improved Channel, Improved Initiative(B), Lightning Reflexex, Toughness(B), Weapon Focus (scythe)
Skills Climb +10, Knowledge (religion) +13, Linguistics +13, Perception +14,, Spellcraft +13
Languages Common
Gear +1 breastplate, +1 scythe, robe of bones, 10 onyx gems worth 50 gp each, spell component pouch, unholy symbol of Urgathoa
Before Combat Magic vestment during most of day. If warned of danger, casts bull's strength, eagle's splendor, freedom of movement, magic weapon,keen edge, shield of faith, and spell immunity. If melee combat is at hand, casts divine power (Attack +17/+17/+12 {2d4+12 19/20x4, +10 temp. hp.).

Revenants:

I've statted these guys out since there's not only the advanced template to recalculate but also the Shrine blessed template, let alone the bonuses they get against their murderers. For sake of ease, they are below:

Shrine Blessed Advanced Revenants CR 8
XP 4,800
LE Medium undead
Init +9; Sensesdarkvision 60 ft., sense murderer; Perception +15
DEFENSE____________________________________________________________________ ______
AC 24, touch 15, flat 18 ( +1 dodge, +5 Dex, +8 natural); +2 deflection vs. good
hp94 (9d8+54)
Fort +11, Ref +10, Will +11; +2 vs. good creatures
DR5/slashing; Immune undead traits; SR 19
OFFENSE____________________________________________________________________ ______
Speed 30 ft.
Melee 2 Claws +18 (1d8+11 plus grab)
or 3 Claws +21 (1d8+13 plus grab {+23}), constict (1d6+13) vs. murderer
Special Attacks baleful shriek, constrict (1d6+11)
STATISTICS_________________________________________________________________ _______
Str 28, Dex 21, Con - Int 11. Wis 16, Cha 23
Base Atk +6; CMB +17 (+21 grapple); CMD 32
Feats Dodge,Improved Initiative, Mobility,Power Attack, Weapon Focus (claw)
Skills Intimidate +18, Percpetion +15
Languages Common
SQ reason to hate
SPECIAL ABILITIES
Baleful Shriek (Su) 1/1d4 rds, standard action. 60 ft. spread, DC 20 Will or cower in fear 1d4 rounds. Sonic, mind-affecting fear effect.
Reason to Hate +4 profane bonus on attack, damage, grapple, and saves against murderer (overrides +2 profane bonus from unhallow effect). Also gains haste (CL 20).
Self Loathing If confronted with objects from life, must make DC 20 Will save or do everything it can to destroy that object.
Sense MurdererAgainst murderer, knows its direction and gains true seeing and discern lies (CL 20th) against it that cannot be dispelled.


Totenmaskes:

For the same reason as the Revenants, here's the stats for these guys so no one has to do them on the fly.
Shrine Blessed Advanced Totenmaske CR 9
XP 6,400
Shrine-blessed advanced totenmaske (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 2 269)
NE Medium undead
Init +12; Sensesdarkvision 60 ft.; Perception +17
DEFENSE____________________________________________________________________ ______
AC 24, touch 15, flat 18 ( +8 Dex, +6 natural); +2 deflection vs. good
hp125 (10d8+80)
Fort +11, Ref +13, Will +13; +2 vs. good creatures
Immune undead traits; Resist cold 20
OFFENSE____________________________________________________________________ ______
Speed 50 ft.
Melee bite +17 (1d8+8 plus 1d4 Cha drain), 2 claws +17 (1d6+8)
Special Attacks devour memories, fleshdrink, shape flesh
STATISTICS_________________________________________________________________ _______
Str 22, Dex 27, Con - Int 20, Wis 19, Cha 23
Base Atk +7; CMB +15; CMD 31
Feats Ability Focus (Charisma drain), Ability Focus (fleshdrink), Combat Reflexes, Improved Initiative,, Weapon Finesse
Skills Acrobatics +18 (+26 jump), Bluff +16, Diplomacy +16, Disguise +19, Percpetion +17, Sense Motive +17, Stealth +21
Languages Abyssal, Celestial, Common, Infernal
SQ change shape (the previous humanoid it successfully used its fleshdrink ability on; alter self
SPECIAL ABILITIES
Charisma Drain (Su) Bite, 1d4 Cha drain, Will DC 23 negates
Fleshdrink (Su) If both claws hit one creature, 1d6 Con dmg and sickened 1d4 rounds. Fortitude DC 23 negates Con dmg and reduce sickened to one round.
Shape Flesh (Su) DC 21 Fortitude (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 2 p.269

Bodaks:
. I'm still on the fence on this one; if everyone has Death Ward up, its a laughable fight. If not, it might be scary for a round or two. Sometimes I do miss the lethality of the 3.5 incarnations of certain monsters, negative levels just isn't a scary as insta-kill. Nonetheless, if they get used, here they are.

Advanced Unhallowed BodakCR 9
XP 6,400
Advanced unhallowed bodak (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 2 48)
CE Medium undead (extraplanar)
Init +8; Sensesdarkvision 60 ft.; Perception +16
DEFENSE____________________________________________________________________ ______
AC 25, touch 15, flat 20 ( +4 Dex, +1 dodge,+10 natural); +2 deflection vs. good
hp105 (10d8+60)
Fort +8, Ref +7, Will +10; +2 vs. good creatures
DR 10/cold iron; Immune electricity, undead traits; Resist acid 10, fire 10
Weaknesses vulnerability to sunlight
OFFENSE____________________________________________________________________ ______
Speed 20 ft.
Melee 2 slams +11 (1d8+3)
Special Attacks death gaze
STATISTICS_________________________________________________________________ _______
Str 17, Dex 19, Con - Int 10, Wis 17, Cha 20
Base Atk +7; CMB +10; CMD 25
Feats Ability Focus (death gaze), Dodge, Improved Initiative, Toughness, Weapon Focus (slam)
Skills Intimidate +13, Perception +16, Stealth +12
Languages Commonl
SPECIAL ABILITIES
Death Gaze (Su) 1d4 negative levels, 30 ft; Fortitude DC 22 negates. Death-effect, gaze attack.
Vulnerability to Sunlight Direct sunlight deals 2d6 points of damage per round to the Bodak.

Lucimar the Lich Wolf:

I felt that the Agent of the Grave prestiege class was extremely underused in the entire AP, so to give it further life, I've swapped around Lucimar's levels to make him not only maximized with his hit and run abilities but to also give him some defensive power. The tactic I'm looking most forward to is hiding in the catacombs, using Arcane Eye to find the PCs, then use repeated Possession attempts to wreak havoc on them.

Lucimar the Lich Wolf CR 15
XP 76,800
Male unique worg-bodied undead arcanist 10/ agent of the grave 5
LE Medium undead
Init +4; Sensesdarkvision 60 ft., see magic; Perception +20
DEFENSE____________________________________________________________________ ______
AC 28, touch 18, flat 23 ( +4 armor, +3 deflection+1 dodge, +4 Dex, +2 natural, +4 shield)
hp160 (10d6+5d8++88)
Fort +13, Ref +12, Will +15
Defensive Abilities channel resistance +4, DR10/bludgeoning and magic; Immune cold, electric, undead traits
OFFENSE____________________________________________________________________ ______
Speed 40 ft.
Melee bite +11 (1d8+4 plus trip), slam +11 (1d6+4)
Special Attacks channel negative energy (DC 19, 9/day), lich's touch (7/day, 5d6)
Arcanist Spells Known (CL 14th; concentration +20)
7th - (2/day) waves of exhaustion
6th - (5/day) disintegrate (DC 22), harm (DC 24)
5th - (5/day) cone of cold (DC 21), hungry pit (DC 21), possession (DC 23)
4th- (5/day) arcane eye, bestow curse (DC 22), confusion (DC 20), greater invisibility
3rd - (5/day) fireball (DC 19), force punch (DC 19), stinking cloud (DC 19), vampiric touch
2nd - (6/day) blindness/deafness (DC 20), false life, frigid touch, ghoul touch (DC 20), mirror image
1st - (6/day) mage armor,magic missle, shield, shocking grasp, stunning barrier (DC 17)
0 - (at will) detect magic, ray of frost, read magic, touch of fatigue (DC 16)
STATISTICS_________________________________________________________________ _______
Str 18, Dex 18, Con - Int 22, Wis 15, Cha 18
Base Atk +7; CMB +11; CMD 29
Feats Command Undead, Combat Casting, Dodge, Empower Spell, Greater Spell Focus (necromancy), Reach Spell,Scribe Scroll, Silent Spell, Spell Focus (necromancy),Still Spell, Toughness (B)
Skills Bluff +18, Intimidate +18,Knowledge (arcana) +24, Knowledge (history) +24, Knowledge (nature) +24, Knowledge (religion) +22, Perception +20, Sense Motive +15, Spellcraft +24, Stealth +21, Survival +4
Languages Abyssal,Common, Giant, Goblin, Infernal, Necril, Varisian
SQ arcane reservoir (13 points), change shape (hybrid or worg, beast shape III), death's shroud,dimensional slide, inspired necromancy,metamixing, negative energy conduit (1/day), school understanding, see magic, secrets of death, spell disruption, undead initiate, undead manipulator, unholy fortitude
Combat Gear elixir of hiding (2), scroll of animate dead, scroll of dimension door, scroll of dimensional anchor,scroll of enervation Other Gear cloak of resistance +3, headband of mental prowess +2 (Charisma and Intelligence, bluff), ring of protection +3, spellbook,

SPECIAL ABILITIES
Death's Shroud (Su): 1/day nondetection or undetectable alignment (CL 14)
Dimensional Slide (Su): 1 arcane point, 100 ft. of movement;, must have line of sight, used as move action or withdraw, counts as five feet of movement; does not provoke.
Inspired Necromancy (Su): Agent of the Grave levels count twice for purposes of controlling undead.
Lich's Touch (Su): Touch deals 5d6 points of negative energy, which may heal undead.
Metamixing (Su): 1 arcane point, using metamagic feat does not increase casting time
Negative Energy Conduit (Su): 1/day desecrate as aura, stanadard action, lasts 140 minutes
School Understanding Gains Power over Undead Necromancy Wizard School Power.
See Magic (Su): See magical auras; spending 1 arcane point allows to act as if each aura was studided for 3 rounds and Knowledge (arcana) check to identify them is treated as if a 15 were rolled (39), which lasts 1 minute.
Secrets of Death (Ex) Adds the following divine spells to spell list: death watch, death knell, destruction, inflict light wounds, inflict critical wounds, harm
Spell Disruption 1 arcane point, standard action, surpresses 1 magical effect on a successful dispel magic check for 3 rounds.
Undead Initiate (Ex): Add +5 on any ability check, skill check, or saving throw related to the process of transforming into an undead creature.
Undead Manipulator (Ex): Mind-affecting effects treat undead as their original type

The Urgathoan Fly:

To up its power and make it unique, I gave the Iron Golem the mythic Divine template, giving it ranged attacks and a bit more hit points to deal with my PCs.
The Urgathoan Fly CR 14/ MR 2
XP 38,400
Divine Iron Golem (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 162, Pathfinder Mythic Adventures 224)
N Large Construct (mythic)
Init -1; Sensesdarkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +0
Aura of Grace 10 ft.
DEFENSE____________________________________________________________________ ______
AC 30, touch 10, flat 30 ( +2 deflection, -1 Dex, +20 natural, -1 size)
hp189 (18d10+90)
Fort +8, Ref +7, Will +8
DR 15/ adamantine; Immune construct traits, magic
OFFENSE____________________________________________________________________ ______
Speed 20 ft.
Melee 2 slams +28 (2d10+16 19/20)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Special Attacks breath weapon, mythic spellcasting, powerful blows, simple divine magic
Cleric Spells Prepared (CL 18th, Concentration +18)
7th - blasphemy (DC 17), mass inflict serious wounds (DC 17)
4th - divine power, unholy blight (DC 14) (2)
2nd - silence (DC 12)
STATISTICS_________________________________________________________________ _______
Str 32, Dex 9, Con - Int - Wis 11, Cha 1
Base Atk +18; CMB +30; CMD 39
SPECIAL ABILITIES
Aura of Grace (Su) This creature and all allies in 10 ft. gain a +2 profane bonus to saving throws.
Breath Weapom (Su) Free action 1/ 1d4+1 rds; 10 ft. cube,poison; Fortitude DC 19, 1/rd for 4 rds, 1d4 Con dmg, Cure 2 Consecutive Saves
Mythic Magic (Su) 3/day may cast mythic version of any spell prepared.
Tactics The Fly has been programmed to respond to intruders with its spells in the following order: Mythic Unholy Blight, Blasphemy, Mass Inflict Serious Wounds, its second Mythic Unholy Blight, then finishing with divine power and mythic silence, selecting anyone wielding a holy symbol of Urgathoa to be immune. If it is attacked in melee, it ceases these and attacks whoever struck it, resuming its spells if physical engagement isn't possible or its foe is dead. If the DM is feeling like a jerk, use the Mythic version of Blasphemy.

Worm that Walks/Flies:

I've altered the Worm that Walks from the stock one to give more personalized campaign flavor to it. In this instance, these particular worm that walks is composed of flies; this is one of Ludvick Sievrage's children who my PCs destroyed in Ashes at Dawn, only to be brought back by Urgathoa to be given a third chance to exact revenge on my PCs.
Urca Namat/ (Averith Sievrage) CR 14
XP 38,400
Female worm that walks variant (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 2 286
NE Medium Vermin (augmented undead)
Init +6; Senses blindsight 30 ft, darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +26
DEFENSE____________________________________________________________________ ______
AC 31, touch 22, flat 23 ( +9 armor, +4 deflection, +1 dodge, +2 Dex, +5 insight)
hp 136 (13d8+78)
Fort +17, Ref +10, Will +17
Defensive Abilities worm that walks traits; DR15/ - ; Immune critical hits, disease, paralysis, poison, sleep; undead traits
OFFENSE____________________________________________________________________ ______
Speed 20 ft., Fly 30 ft. (perfect)
Melee slam +12 (1d4+3 plus grab)
Special Attacks bleeding touch (8/day), channel negative energy (8/day, 7d6, DC 21)discorporate, dispelling touch (2/day), grab (large), hand of the acolyte (8/day), squirming embrace, lich's touch (7/day, 5d6)
Cleric Spells Prepared (CL 13th; concentration +18)
7th - destruction (DC 22), spell turning (D)
6th - antimagic field (D), blade barrier (DC 22), harm (DC 22)
5th - flamestrike (DC 21), greater command (DC 21), slay living (DC 21), spell resistance, wall of stone
4th- divine power, death ward (D), giant vermin, inflict critical wounds (DC 19), spell immunity, unholy blight (DC 19)
3rd - bestow curse (DC 18), blindness/deafness (DC 18), contagion (DC 18), dispel magic, magic vestment, searing light
2nd - bull's strength, death knell (D) (DC 17), eagle's splendor, ghoul hunger (DC 17), resist energy (2)[/i], silence
1st - cause fear (D) (DC 16), command (DC 16), divine favor, entropic shield, inflict light wounds (2) (DC 16), shield of faith
0 - (at will) bleed (DC 15), detect magic, detect poison, read magic
(D) Domain Spell Domains Death, Magic
STATISTICS_________________________________________________________________ _______
Str 16, Dex 14, Con - Int 10, Wis 21, Cha 17
Base Atk +9; CMB +12 (+20 vs. grapple); CMD 29
Feats Command Undead, Combat Casting, Diehard, Dodge, Extra Channel, Improved Channel, Improved Initiative, Quick Channel, Shatter Resolve,Toughness
Skills Diplomacy +7, Fly +10, Knowledge (history) +5, Knowledge (planes) +5, Knowledge (religion) +5, Linguistics +5, Perception +26, Sense Motive +21, Spellcraft +10, Stealth +9
Languages Abyssal,Common, Necril, Varisian
SQ death's embrace
Combat Gearmalleable symbol,lesser meta-magic rod of persistent spell, meta-magic rod of reach spell,ring of counterspells (dispel magic)[/i] Other Gear mwk breastplate, cloak of resistance +4

SPECIAL ABILITIES
Discorporate (Su) Free action, change into swarm form (weapon immunity, fly 30 ft., reach 0, lose all defensive qualities, special attacks and special qualities. Swarm damage (3d6 and distraction- DC 19)

Squirming Embrace On successful grapple check, swarm damage (3d6+4 and distraction- DC 19). Automatic swarm damage each turn embraced, does not have to maintain the grapple but must remain within 5 ft.. Area effect or strong winds end the embrace.

Worm that Walks Traits Immune to critical hits and flanking, immune single-target effects with exception of command undead, control undead, and halt undead. Takes 50% more damage from area effects, susceptible to high winds

Undead Traits Averith's transformation and ties to Urgathoa have altered her Worm that Walks abilities slightly. Her Death's Embrace domain ability coupled with her death have fully turned her into a mass of vicious, biting, undead flies instead of worms, giving her full undead traits. Additionally, she and her swarm form gain Fly 30 ft.


The Grey Friar:

In running a mythic game, I decided that this enemy was the most deserving of the Renchurch part in being made mythic.
The Grey Friar CR 16/ MR 5
XP 76,800
Male advanced shrine-blessed huecuva cleric of Urgathoa 11/hierophant 5
NE Medium Undead (mythic)
Init +9(M); Sensesdarkvision 60 ft.; Perception +22
Aura faithless (30 ft.)
DEFENSE____________________________________________________________________ ______
AC 33, touch 19, flat 31 (+8 armor, +5 deflection, +3 Dex, +7 natural)
hp236 (11d8+177)*
Fort +22, Ref +15, Will +25; mythic saves
DR 5/epic and silver; Immune undead traits
OFFENSE____________________________________________________________________ ______
Speed 20 ft.
Melee 2 claws +21 (1d6+9 plus 2d6 vs. good creatures plus disease)
Special Attacks channel negative energy 10/day (DC 30*, 8d6), inspired spell,mythic power (13/day, surge +1d8)
Domain Spell-Like Abilities (CL 11, concentration +19) bleeding touch (9/day, touch causes 1d6 points of bleed), touch of evil (9/day, touch sickens 5 rds)
Cleric Spells Prepared (CL 11, concentration +19)
6th- create undead(D), harm (M, DC 24), source severance
5th - caustic blood (DC 23), righteous might, slay living (D) (DC 23), true seeing
4th - divine power, freedom of movement, spell immunity, unholy blight (D) (DC 22)
3rd - animate dead (D), blindness/deafness (DC 21)dispel magic (M), inflict serious wounds (DC 21), invisibility purge,magic vestment*, prayer (M)
2nd - bull's strength*,death knell (D)(DC 16), eagle's splendor*, grace, resist energy, sound burst (DC 20) (2),spiritual weapon {+18/+13 (1d8+3)}
1st -cause fear (D) (DC 19),command (M)(DC 19) deathwatch, inflict light wounds (DC 19), murderous command (DC 15), obscuring mist, shield of faith (M)*
0 (at will) bleed (DC 18), detect magic, read magic, resistance
STATISTICS_________________________________________________________________ _______
Str 22*, Dex18, Con - Int 12. Wis 26, Cha 24*
Base Atk +10; CMB +16*, CMD 33*
Feats Channel Smite (M), Combat Casting, Extra Channel, Improved Channel, Toughness (M), Weapon Focus (claw) (M)
Skills Knowledge (religion) +18, Perception +22,, Sense Motive +22, Spellcraft +15, Stealth +5
Languages Common, Necril
SQ amazing initiative, death's embrace,recuperation,
Combat Gear lesser rod of extend spell, potion of inflict serious wounds, scroll of antilife shell, scroll of destruction; Other Gear masterwork breastplate, masterwork dagger,+1 unholy amulet of might fists, phylactery of negative channeling. 30 onyx gems worth 50 gp each, silver unholy symbol of Urgathoa, 95 gp
*Includes adjustments for ]bull's strength, eagle's splendor, magic vestment, and shield of faith(mythic)
SPECIAL ABILITIES__________________________________________________________________
Alter Channel (Su, mythic) Immediate action and 1 mythic point; If in area of channeled positive energy, may convert energy into negative, either harming living or healing undead. This deals or heals half the normal amount.
Amazing Initiative (Ex,mythic) Spend 1 mythic point to take extra standard action, which can't be used to cast a spell
Channel Smite (Su, mythic) Swift action, expend 1 use of channel, +8 attack and +8d6 negative energy (Will DC 30* halves). If miss, may expend 1 mythic point to release channel as a normal burst.
Disease (Su) Claw - injury; save DC 24; onset immediate; frequency 1 hour; effect 1d3 Dex damage and 1d3 Con damage; cure 2 consecutive saves
Faithless (su) The huecuva and all undead creatures within 30 feet receive a +2 profane bonus on Will saves made to resist channeled energy and any effects based on that ability. The bonus stacks with channel resistance.
Flexible Counterspell (Su, mythic) Immediate action and spend 1 mythic point, must identify spell as its being cast (DC 15 + spell level) and expend spell slot equal to or greater than spell being cast.
Inspired Spell (Su, mythic) Spend 1 mythic point, cast any one divine spell on cleric list at +2 CL, does not expend spell slot.
Instrument of Faith (Su, mythic) Gains DR 15/- vs. scythes. As a standard action expend 1 mythic point to attempt sunder or disarm against each opponent wielding a scythe (+22)
Instrument of Incubation (Su, mythic) The Grey Friar is blessed by Urgathoa to spread her diseased touch to all living creatures. The DC for his disease is equal to half his HD plus his charisma modifier. Creatures infected immediately suffer the disease's effects and have its frequency increased to once an hour. The DC to remove his disease with spells and effects is increased by his mythic tiers (DC 29)
Mythic Spellcasting (Ex, mythic) May cast mythic versions of command, dispel magic, harm, prayer, and shield of faith

Before Combat Casts magic vestment, then when combat seems likely continues with cat's grace, eagle's splendor, invisibility purge, resist energy (fire), mythic shield of faith, and spell immunity (searing light, cure critical wounds).


The decoys:

To up their power a little, I gave the Juju zombies the advanced template and swapped the rogue levels for brawler.
Shrine-Blessed Advanced Juju Zombie CR 4
XP 4,800
Human advanced shrine-blessed juju zombie brawler 2 (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 2 291
LE Medium undead
Init +10; Sensesdarkvision 60 ft., sense murderer; Perception +15
DEFENSE____________________________________________________________________ ______
AC 24, touch 15, flat 18 ( +2 armor, +1 dodge, +6 Dex, +5 natural); +2 deflection vs. good
hp37 (3d8+24)
Fort +6, Ref +10, Will +5; +2 vs. good creatures
Defensive Abilities channel resistance +4; DR5/magic and slashing; Immune cold, electricity, magic missleundead traits; Resist fire 10
OFFENSE____________________________________________________________________ ______
Speed 30 ft.
Melee unarmed strike +11 (1d6+8)
or unarmed strike +9/+9 (1d6+8)
Ranged alchemist fire +8 (1d6 fire)
STATISTICS_________________________________________________________________ _______
Str 22, Dex 23, Con - Int 12, Wis 17, Cha 14
Base Atk +2; CMB +10 (+12 grapple); CMD 25 (27 vs. grapple)
Feats Dodge,Improved Grapple, Improved Initiative (B),Toughness (B) Weapon Focus (unarmed strike)
Skills Acrobatics +11 Climb+19, Intimidate +6, Escape Artist +11, Knowledge (dungeoneering) +5 Knowledge (local) +5, Knowledge (religion) +2,Perception +7, Sense Motive +7
Languages Common
SQ brawler's fury, martial flexibility (4/day) (Typically Coordinated Maneuvers)
Gear masterwork leather armor, alchemist fire (3), 15 gp


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I really love everything that is given for Renchurch in Shadows of Gallowspire, from its horrific soul haunting ability to its unique denizens. Since SoG is such a big module as far as what it has to detail in terms of grandness of locales and denizens (which at this level of play is unfortunately huge in terms of word count and what gets put in a 64 page adventure), I wanted to give my own spin on some of the haunts that fill primarily the upper reaches of the area while helping to give a history of the place. Since Renchurch is a former Pharasman Abbey that was taken over by the Whispering Tyrant's forces, I figured I could use some of the haunts presented and expand on them to detail what happened when the Abbey fell. I also wanted to use the haunts to help foreshadow some of the module's final villains, Lucimar, Marrowgarth, and General Sey'Lok. Here is what I am going to use:

Abbey Breaching Haunt:

E2 NarthexWhen this haunt manifests, the area suddenly appears to be restored:
"The rubble and broken bells littering the area seem to waver away, revealing a restored grand Narthex glowing with the rose light of the setting sun. As the last rays gleam off of the dozens of bells that adorn the walls, a great wind rises, chaotically clanging them as the night's darkness deepens quicker than it should. As screams rise to join the wailing wind, a voice seeps from beyond the now shut double door, one that speaks like a whisper scraped across shattered glass. 'The Last Stronghold of the Spiral.. Know this priests of a failing goddess; I defy you. My master defies you. Death will be cheated and the circle will be broken!' With that , there is a thunderous boom as the doors shatter open from a giant-sized fist made of shadow, as splinters and inky blackness fills the room."

Abbey Breaching Haunt CR 14
XP 38,400
CE Haunt (Area E2)
Caster Level 141th
Notice Perception DC 20 (to notice a subtle dimming of the ambient light)
hp 63 Trigger Proximity Reset 1 day
Effect This haunt is a repercussion of the massive loss of faith and life that occurred when the Whispering Tyrant's forces, lead by the Nightwalker General Sey'lok, broke down the centuries-old carved wooden doors with a word of power and a fist of shadow, preceding their assault into the monastery. When this haunt manifests, all creatures in the Narthex are subjected to a shatter spell except that its effects reach into any extra-dimensional spaces adjacent to living creatures (such as a bag of holding or handy haversack). Additionally, each creature in the haunt's area is pierced by dozens of shards of phantom splinters dealing 2d4 points of piercing damage (Reflex DC 23 reduces to half) and all light sources within the haunt have their illumination area reduced by half.
On the haunt's next turn, each creature in the area is subjected to a fear spell (DC 23) and all light sources are reduced to a quarter of their area of illumination. These reductions in illumination persist for as long as the creatures remain in the haunt's area and for 1d3 rounds after.
Destruction All of the Narthex's bells must be repaired or replaced after Renchurch itself has been re-consecrated, and the doors must be replaced with millennium-old hand carved frames similar to the design used by the former Pharasmans.


Cathedral Massacre Haunt:

E4 Nave This Haunt manifests whenever battle occurs within the Nave, echoing the last stand of the Pharasman priests against the Tyrant's forces. The haunt increases in power the longer it manifests, gaining strength from any conflict around it.

Cathedral Massacre HauntCR 14
XP 38,400
CE Haunt (Area E4)
Caster Level 141th
Notice Perception DC 25 (to hear sounds of battle other than the ones present)
hp 63 Trigger Proximity Reset 1 day
Effect This complex haunt grows each round of ongoing battle the PCs engage against any enemies in its area On the first round, there are faint distant (yet-near) sounds of arcane words, screams, and other sounds of battle that echo throughout the chamber, but no other effect.
-On the second round of combat, the haunt manifests more fully, "As you fight, you see dozens of spectral forms joining in the battle all around you, engaging in their own conflict with the faithful of Pharasma fighting against horrific odds as dozens of spectral zombies, orcs, and skeletal wizards flit in and out of view". Other than manifesting visually there is no other effect yet.
-On the third round of combat, the haunt gains enough strength to affect the characters directly. " Around each of the spectral priests the battle visually manifests more fully as the onslaught of ethereal undead move to swarm over each one. You can almost feel their battle bleeding into yours, as if the undead horde is aware of you as some of their weapons veer your direction." Each living creature is targeted by a spiritual weapon spell (attack +14 1d8+4) that can attack them anywhere within the haunt's vicinity and 1d2 rounds after they leave it.
-On the fourth round of combat, the haunt reflects the turning point of the former battle, "The ghostly panorama heightens in vividness around the swirling skeletal mages who utter words of power at the remaining priests and protectors. Looks of horror cross some of their faces though their is no immediate effect..." Each living creature in the haunt's vicinity is subjected to a dispel magic spell.
-On the fifth round, the tide appears to be turning against the priests, "Words of power are unleashed again and the dwindling numbers of priests are held in the air as if by unseen hands. As their weapons clatter to the ground, their armaments begin to float in front of them. Their protectors surge forth to stop the undead horde and their own weapons from attacking their helpless comrades.." All living creatures in the area are subject to a telekinesis spell with two simultaneous effects. The first attempts to grapple the PC while the second attempts to disarm them, both with a +14 CMB modifier.
On the sixth round, it is all but a slaughter in the Nave, " The swirling spectral siege plays out acts of battlefield horror before you as the phantom soldiers and clerics are burned by arcane magic, torn limb from limb by their re-animated comrades, cut by their animated swords, and stricken dead by their own animated shadows. Through it all, the high abbot of the abbey retreats backwards, toward's the altar, his face a mask of profane terror." For the duration of the haunt or until the PCs leave the area, each round they are subject to a random effect. The save DC on any of these effects is 23.
(d6) (1) Possessed: The PC must make a Will save or attack the nearest living creature that round ,as if confused.
(2) Phantom Evocation: Magical energy erupts around the PC, dealing 3d6 points of fire and 3d6 points of electricity. A Reflex save reduces the damage by half.
(3) Spectral Horde: The PC is attacked by 2d4 ghostly weapons this turn. Treat these attacks as if made by a spiritual weapon spell (attack bonus +14, 1d8+4 dmg).
(4) Telekinetic Confluence: A PC is subjected to violent thrust version of the telekinesis spell, hurling them 20 feet in a random direction. A Will save negates this effect.
(5)Shadow touch: Phantom shadows seek out the PC trying to sap their strength. The PC takes 2 points of strength damage. A Fortitude save negates this effect.
(6)Crime of War: The spectral mass depicts deeds of a particularly horrific nature. The PC is shaken. A Will saving thow reduces the penalty from the shaken condition to -1.
Destruction The entire Nave must be cleansed, restored, and stripped of its Urgathoan sacraments. In addition the site itself must be stripped of its ability to haunt the souls of those that die there, whether through magic or the complete re-sanctification of Renchurch.


Feast of the Fallen Haunt:

E5 Sancristy Substitute the following text for what's given in area E4, "The trail of blood leads to a pile of bodies that sits in the center of this bloodstained, rubble-filled chamber. What appears to be an altar covered with plates of food and cups of wine looks as if its contents have been left out to spoil for days judging by the amount of flies that buzz and clamor around it." Besides being a focal point of a desecrate effect, the breaking of the Grey Friar's spirit took place in this chamber. Over the years of bound imprisonment, his captors would bring him to this chamber to nourish him, giving him food and drink but eventually replacing some of his meals with rotten flesh and blood. This occurred several times until the truth was revealed to him, crushing his spirit and bringing him closer to Urgathoa's embrace.

Feast of the Fallen HauntCR 14
XP 38,400
CE Haunt (Area E5)
Caster Level 141th
Notice Perception DC 25 (to smell a delicious, fresh cooked meal blow through as if on the breeze)
hp 63 Trigger Proximity Reset 1 day
EffectWhen this haunt triggers, what appears to be a ghostly priest manifests next to the altar, sitting and bound in chains. As he reaches for the plates and goblets, the haunt randomly targets a PC in the area with a dominate person spell. A PC that fails moves over to the unholy altar and immediately begins attempting to consume the profane offerings on it. The haunt attempts to dominate a new PC every turn until either everyone leaves the haunt's area or everyone has eaten from the altar. Any PC eating from the altar must make a Fortitude save (DC 23) with a -4 penalty or be affected as if bt the spell feast of maggots. As this occurs, the ghostly priest also consumes the spectral version of the food on the table until eventually ceasing and doubling over. He continues this until all living creatures leave the haunt's area, at which point spectral maggots erupt from his mouth and he vanishes. The maggots manifest as a Rot Grub Swarm with the incorporeal sub-type, and immediately attacks the nearest living creature for 3 rounds before dispersing. Its infestation effect lingers,continuing until dealt with by the means listed in its entry.
Ghostly Rot Grub Swarm
hp 85, incorporeal sub-type, fly 20
(Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 3, p215)
Destruction The altar must be cleansed and then a hero's feast spell must be cast and consumed over the altar.


Failure of Faith Haunt:

E8 Apse This haunt represents the dwindling faith of the man who came to be the Grey Friar.

Failure of Faith Haunt CR 14
XP 38,400
NE Haunt (Area E8)
Caster Level 141th
Notice Perception DC 25 (to feel a simultaneous warmth and chill)
hp 63 Trigger Proximity Reset 1 day
Effect When this haunt manifests, an ordinary-looking middle aged man materializes and appears to be channeling with his Pharasman holy symbol, "The hideous Urgathoan altar disappears, replaced by a crystalline piece adorned with spirals. Materializing before you, draped in vestments and dweomers of great power, what appears to be the high abbot raises his carved spiral holy symbol and calls upon Pharasma to bring peace to the falsely risen. There is a wave of energy.." Each PC in the haunt's area is affected as if by a Cleric channeling positive energy for 5d6 points of damage (Will DC 23 halves this, see below).
-On the haunt's second turn, as the ghostly abbot channels again, a shadow seems to fall over the area, reducing any ambient light by one step. "There appears to be almost a palpable border between the light and shadow, which grows ever in the favor of the darkness. As the side of light pulses with energy, deeper shade answers with its own tendrils of midnight. The abbot's face is a look of uncertainty and strain.." Each living creature in the area heals 1d6 points from positive energy (Will DC 23 halves this, see below)
-On the third round, "As the abbot channels again, a look of uncertainty crosses his face as darkness swallows the room. Everything grows colder and a wave of sickening energy washes over area to counter the abbot's power." ." Each living creature takes 1d6 points of negative energy damage (Will DC 23 halves this, creatures that failed their saves or chose not to save against the previous healing effects take a -2 penalty on their saves against this effect and the effects of the next three rounds. This increases to -4 if a creature chose not to save against both effects.
-On the fourth round, the lasts survivors of the fight in the Nave stand with their abbot, "A trio of ghostly warriors move to support the faltering abbot. Even as they do, the abbot's strength appears to be waning as he leans on a great altar dedicated to Pharasma, calling upon everything he has to counter the darkness" Each living creature in the area takes 3d6 points of negative energy damage (Will DC 23 halves this damage).
-On the fifth round, the abbot continues to channel against the inky black, only to be countered again by the strengthening source of the darkness. Each PC takes 5d6 points of negative energy damage (Will DC 23 halves this damage).
-On the haunt's final round, the abbot's resolve appears to break, and he runs towards the eastern door. He barely escapes but abandons his compatriots, who seem to crumble in a wave of negative energy. Each living creature in the haunt's area takes 9d6 points of negative energy damage (Will DC 23 halves this damage).
Destruction To lay to rest this haunt permanently, the Grey Friar must be destroyed and his remains must be buried in an area under the effects of a hallow spell. Additionally, the unholy Urgathoan altar must be destroyed and replaced with its old Pharasman equivalent.

Collapsed Conflagration of Terror:

E15 Ruined Cloister This haunt results from the loss of life, terror, and loss of souls that occurred when the ravener Marrowgarth aided in the initial assault on the Pharasman abbey. As a result, the dead do not remain quiet in this ruined area.
Collapsed Conflagration Terror CR 14
XP 38,400
NE Haunt (Area E15)
Caster Level 141th
Notice Perception DC 25 (to notice the temperature suddenly rise and the smell of burnt flesh)
hp 63 Trigger Proximity Reset 1 day
Effect When this haunt manifests, each PC hears a thunderous crash against the crumbled roof of the cloister. They must make a Will saving throw (DC 23) or suddenly drop prone and are treated as if pinned. Treat this effect as if being in the bury zone of a cave-in for purposes of actions allowed and escaping. To a PC experiencing effect, it appears as if massive chunks of rock are holding the character down. Characters trying to the aid a trapped PC can attempt to give a +2 bonus on the DC 25 Strength check needed to escape by succeeding on a DC 10 Strength check.
-On the haunt's second round, a wave of sweltering heat blankets the area, dealing 2d6 points of damage to all creatures within the haunt. Creatures buried underneath the phantom collapse take an additional 3d6 points of fire damage that bypasses any fire resistance or immunity they may possess. The smell of burnt flesh intensifies and phantom screams can be heard.
-On the haunt's third round, the necromantic energy unleashed causes the remains of those slain in the cloister to rise. Clawing their way from the ground are 16 Burning Skeletal Champions, which rise up at a rate of 2d4 per round. The skeletons are quite free to attack any PC restrained by the phantom debris.
Unhallowed Burning Skeletal Champions
Pathfinder RPG Bestiary p251-252, as entry with following changes
( AC 14, touch 12, flat 12, +2 deflection vs. good, +2 save vs good creatures, Speed 30, 2 Claws +6 1d4+3+1d6 fire, replace feats Cleave, Power attack and Weapon Focus: longsword with Dodge, Nimble Moves and Weapon Focus: Claws (lose breastplate and shield).
Destruction The Ravener Marrowgarth must be slain and the bodies of those buried in the rubble-filled dirt must be recovered and properly buried.

Broken Faith on the Brink of Death Haunt:

F14 Scriptorium The final stages of the Black Friar's transformation occurred here where priests in service to The Whispering Tyrant used their magic to continually bring the former abbot back and forth from the edge of death, eventually driving him to renounce his old faith. Since Lucimar is responsible for this psychic trauma, he takes pleasure in using this chamber as a residence to unnerve any living guests that might visit him.
Broken Faith on the Brink of Death Haunt CR 14
XP 38,400
NE Haunt (Area F14)
Caster Level 14th
Notice Perception DC 25 (To hear whispers coming from the four glass tanks)
hp 63 Trigger Proximity Reset 1 day
Effect When the haunt manifests, the Whispers coalesce into hundreds of horrible truths. Each living creature in the room must make a Will saving throw (DC 23) or become fascinated. This effect persists for long as there are creatures in the room, expiring after 14 rounds. Fascinated creatures can defend themselves but take no actions while subjected to the duration of the haunt. Fascinated creatures see the following, "Each lectern suddenly seems to hold ancient blasphemous tomes, their pages open and baring their secrets. They surround the form of a bound man in a chair, the stricken form of an abbot. Pacing about him is the shadow of a half-man, half-wolf creature.
On the haunt's second turn, fascinated creatures hear a voice among the whispers (recognizable as Lucimar's if they have faced him) that speaks, "Do you hear their secrets priest? They speak truth from beyond your Lady's grasp! See for yourself!" All fascinated creatures are subject to an empowered inflict critical wounds (DC 23), as the ghostly abbot is stricken by a cloaked figure that strides into view. The abbot seems to die.
On the haunt's third turn, fascinated creatures are subjected to a breath of life spell (DC 23). Creatures subjected to this effect feel a certain wrongness to the effect; creatures that fail to save against this effect take 2 points of Wisdom damage echoing the madness felt from the abbot's moving back and forth between life and death so quickly. The voice speaks, "You're never going to her eternal embrace. You'll always get just within sight but never reach her, I promise you!Then you will realize her falseness!"
On the haunt's fourth turn, the events of the second round repeat themselves, cycling on the fifth round into the haunt's third round events. This repeats itself every other round until the haunt ends. Creatures that were affected by the haunt's effects must make a Will Save (DC 23) 1d6 rounds after leaving the haunt's area or act as if under the effects of a confusion spell for 1 minute, as half remembered truths spoken within the haunt take dangerous root in the PCs mind.
Destruction Both the Grey Friar and Lucimar the Lich Wolf must be destroyed and laid to rest.

Hope this helps anyone running Shadows at Gallowspire inspire their own ideas for haunts. I really want to do something similar for detailing the Whispering Tyrant as my PCs get closer and closer to Adorak, so we'll see what else crops up in these forums!


This came up in our Kingmaker game the other night and wanted to get clarification. Our druid has the Planar Wild Shape feat, which reads like this:

Planar Wild Shape:

You can infuse your wild shape with planar strength.

Prerequisites: Wild shape class feature, Knowledge (planes) 5 ranks.
Benefit: When you use wild shape to take the form of an animal, you can expend an additional daily use of your wild shape class feature to add the celestial template or fiendish template to your animal form. (Good druids must use the celestial template, while evil druids must use the fiendish template.) If your form has the celestial template and you score a critical threat against an evil creature while using your form's natural weapons, you gain a +2 bonus on the attack roll to confirm the critical hit. The same bonus applies if your form has the fiendish template and you score a critical threat against a good creature.

The celestial template gained from this ability gives the following:

Smite Evil:
1/day as a swift action (adds Cha bonus to attack rolls and damage bonus equal to HD against evil foes; smite persists until target is dead or the celestial creature rests).

During a fight against assassins, our druid wild-shaped into a Celestial Dire Tiger and declared Smite against their leader. While the leader was still alive, the druid shifted back into humanoid form and attacked him again. After shifting back, does the Smite persist (since it says until the target is dead, etc.) or is it an ability that is only inclusive to being Celestial that disappears once that form is gone? We ruled the former, but I'd like other thoughts on it since its bound to come up again.

So, if you have a celestial/fiendish template, smite something, then change back, does the smite ability persist?


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My group and I just completed Neil Spicer's Ashes at Dawn. Here is what was liked, what we (or I) didn't like, what I added and why. It should be noted that I made a few additions due to my PCs attaining a mythic tier at the end of the previous module's climax. This didn't really effect encounter balance too much, and I was even able to use the themes in Mythic to expand upon some of the aims and motives of the prime antagonists of the module. This was due to the excellent structuring of the fights, allowing a GM to escalate an encounter with the addition of enemies in proximity to the fight. Even those that don't escalate have excellent flavor

WHAT WE LIKED

You Can Play it both ways
Honestly, I wasn't sure which way my players were going to go with regards to this, so having the option to play either with or against the vampires was a bold move in my opinion, and with a little bit of fine tuning for each group, pays off in terms of role-playing opportunities and combats. Even if a DM doesn't want to structure the vampires as they are, there are a good half dozen stat blocks to mix and match in the module. For having to chew up so much word count for enemies that have to be classed by nature, the vampires all have unique and memorable flavor while still being transposable.

Caliphas
What's written for it within the module and in the gazetteer are fantastic in terms of re-establishing the Gothic mood as well as giving a DM the tools to setup their own expansions (which I did to a degree. See here). I liked the imagery of fog-shrouded castles sky lining dark streets thriving with decadent nobles. My players dug it as well. It should be noted that I also used Rule of Fear to further supplement the information above, providing a shadowy backdrop of memorable locales and personalities.

Vampire Culture
Half my players and myself are old World of Darkness (second edition) players
, so the individual vampire personalities resonated strongly with imagery of some of the vampire clans in that particular world. I ran with that of course, even having some of the various spawn work different than normal in terms of powers. My players chose to work with the vampires, which made for fantastic role-playing opportunities, especially since one of the players is a Dhampir. Good job on making the vampires memorable, which I think they would have been even without mythic and other back-story elements being added.

DISLIKED:

Vampiric Powers defeated by spells common in horror campaigns
Not so much of a gripe about the module but about Pathfinder Vampires; at the level you begin encountering them, its quite possible to have blanket immunity to their powers. Protection from evil and death ward stop all of their supernatural powers, leaving only the sum of their class levels. This makes a single vampire an easy fight for the most part. Fortunately, there are no single-vampire fights in the module (maybe Radvir, but why would he when he's right next his spawn and the mimics). That aside, there are a number of statistic blocks of different vampires (alchemists, brawlers, and archers) in the Ashes at Dawn DM thread to also throw buffed PCs for a loop. The brawlers in particular are fantastic, behaving exactly like a vampire should; they can actually grab someone and drink their blood without provoking, something I think a vampire should be able to do anyways.

Don't let them fight alone
With the three big bad evil guys, its possible to read the module literally and think that each person waits in the room where you encounter them. While in Aisa's case she has the Blood Knight and whoever it fights in direct view of her, the other two (Radvir and Hetna) are not so lucky. Remember guys, these are all supremely intelligent individuals who know what four experienced hunters can do to one single person (i.e. they understand D+D mechanics as far as their actions and survival) and also know that when outnumbered, its best to get reinforcements or delay the group until their protective magics run out. This might escalate some encounters, but it makes the game more believable and more horrific at the same time. Also, don't underestimate what a group of 11th level PCs with decent wealth and a slight dedication to killing undead can do, especially ones armed with a disrupting, undead-bane artifact.

ADDITIONS (STORYWISE FOR MYTHIC AND A DHAMPIR):

Curing Madness with Conte Ristomir:

Spoilered for Length: On Curing Madness, Dracula, and Shortening a Trip to Caliphas:
Our Dhampir player previously had interactions with Ramoska Arkminos in Trial of the Beast (I had introduced him as a supplier who could procure expensive inflict potions for him in trade for his blood), so I wanted to follow up on that interaction by introducing his employer. I had an agent of the Count contact the PCs after the events of the previous module, arriving in a black carriage and explaining that they were being hunted by the Whispering Way and that their master would provide solace in return for a favor. I then triggered the fight with Barliss Rask (Dullahan), having him reinforced by three other riders (Lich, Graveknight, Wight Lord) to overwehelm the PCs. This resulted in a running fight, with the Dullahan defeated but the other PCs having difficulty due to their madness. Since two of the four PCs had permanent insanity resulting from the previous module, accepting the Count's offer seemed the wiser course rather than trekking overland to Caliphas while being hunted and half the party insane. (The fighter had Multiple Personality Disorder, emulating the personalities of slain PCs while the Dhampir had Schizophrenia, believing that the human members of the party wanted him dead.) They escaped the other three riders via the carriage Shadow-walking then met with the Count. I used this encounter to gauge my PCs reactions to working with vampires, then used the backdrop of the castle to run a 'madness-curing-session' that as best as I can describe was a combination of Dracula and Flatliners. I had two afflicted PCs enter dream-like trances induced by alchemical regents where they relived events that composed the essence of their afflictions. In both cases, a few skill checks and Will saves were made during the course of the visions to represent their coming to understanding and overcoming the madness. The other two PCs were allowed to aid these skill checks with Heal and Diplomacy. They also had to defend the camatose PCs against the deprivations of some of the castle's less obedient servants (vampire spawn, and the like). This made for an awesome, off-the-rails session and helped setup some additional motivation for the next module. In exchange for the help they received, the Count tasked the PCs with finding Arkminos, who had gone missing on a contract in Caliphas. I then had an old teleportation gate provide a quick means of arriving in Caliphas, specifically in a basement attached to the Quarterfaux Archives, where lurked...

Nightskitter in Quartterfaux Basement
Other than the previous fight with the Dullahan, I was still unsure how powerful Mythic was, so introduced an extra fight before the main plot of the module began. This was the Nightskitter, an awesomely challenging Nightshade from Undead Revisited that proved tough, yet not tough enough for an 11th level party with one tier under their belt. I used the aftermath of the encounter to introduce the curator of the archives, a couple members of the Esoteric Order of the Palantine Eye (our bard PC is a member of the group), and generally began turning them loose into Caliphas, running the module as its written with some further expansions.

Vampire The Masquerade Tropes I played this up to a large degree as far as each main vampire encountered (Marrick Sais=Gangrel,Luvick Sievrage=Ventrue, Lady Evgenya Zunaida=Toreador, Radvir=Brujah), going even so far as to altering some of the powers of the Advanced Spawn so that removing the bonus in one stat resulting in an additonal power (like giving Merrick's spawn no bonus to intelligence but additonal armor in the form of barkskin. In this way, it made it more memorable when each set of spawn and their master were encountered. I omitted Desmond Kote from the vampires above because I knew his presence might start a fight, so I instead used him as an enemy in a later part.

A Player's PC Dhampir Backstory As I've written here, there's a lot to consider if you have
a Dhampir PC in the party. For my part, this paid off at the Noblemen's Stitch where the Dhampir's father, after being used as a red herring in the murders, was chained up in a vampire death-trap room (ropes tied to curtains, a triggered create water followed with control water trap and a dimensional lock in place.) This allowed me to have another personality who could expand on the goals of Radvir and the witches without directly having them do an unnecessary villain monolgue.

Involving the Churches and (pre-)Killing a Paladin:As written the Church of Pharasma seems kind of ineffectual in not only dealing with the vampire murders but also helping against the Whispering Way as a whole. I try to explain the reasoning for this in the aforementioned “Expanding Caliphas” thread I wrote, yet still had a hard time telling my players that one of the most powerful clerics of a religion dedicated to destroying the undead wouldn't help them in wiping out a group of vampires. Fortunately the Pharasmans aren't the only gang in town; there's also the Church of Iomedae. In this regard, I had relations between the two churches on good terms, further deciding that it would be awesome for the fallen vampire paladin (Halloran Indriss) encountered in the Abbey's basement to accompany my PCs as a living Paladin before his demise. In this regard I had favors exchanged between the two churches that allowed the Paladin to accompany them into what would be a glorious battle. In the big fight described beneath, I was able to have the Paladin die to Energy Dtain and then have his body retrieved by the plot's antagonists. A tricky act to pull off, but ultimately one that worked well.

The Urgathoan Vampires (The Biggest Plot Deviation)

This is long but involves the use of Mythic in the back-story:
Since I am utilizing Mythic, I wanted to add that element to the story aspects of the module. I did this mainly by making the primary characters (Ludvick, Aisa, and Radvir) Mythic, yet I needed reasons for this power to exist within them. With Ludvick, I decided his very nature and age afforded him unquestionable access to such abilities. I decided that his heightened power afforded him jealousy from his main four children. These were Radvir, Merrick, Evgenya, and a fourth vampire I introduced who wasn't part of the vampire underground, Averith. I decided that she exuded the most willfulness of his children, and thus took to traveling the most among them. It is she that wanders the mountains of Virlych, discovering the Blood Knight Konas Esprillon, who is Mythic by nature of his service to The Whispering Tyrant. She comes to worship Urgothoa and seeks her way to free herself from Ludvicks's control, using the Blood Knight and her clerical powers to augment herself with Mythic Tiers. She begins discovering a crude way to transfer this power to other vampires though the results often end in screams and ashen remains. Radvir discovers this and attempts to bargain for the secret to her power, but she refuses. He contacts the Whispering Way, who set about an elaborate plan. They kill the Dhampir PC's mother, framing the murders upon the Urgathoan vampires. The Dhampir's father, a powerful vampire noble, wants revenge but knows that Ludvick won't take it on his own daughter over a human. He confides in Radvir to go after the vampires, who agrees with the aid of his new allies. The Whispering Way's more powerful monsters and the two vampires assault the Urgathoans but while some are reduced to ashes, it is clear that the Blood Knight is the primary goal of the entirety of the group except the PC's father. The group of necromancers easily take control of the Blood Knight, and Alverith, bereft of her most powerful guardian, flees to the deepest depths of the catacombs with her surviving followers. This sets up the disappearance and reappearance of the PC's father in the module's context.
I had both the PC's father and the Urgathoan vampires serve as Red Herrings for the vampire murderer. The Urgathoan cabal consisted of the Death Priest given the vampire template and Five Tiers of Mythic Vampire, the sample Mythic Vampire in Mythic Adventures, Desmond Kote (re-skinned as an Urgathoan Inquisitor), three vampires swiped from the Council of Thieves AP (again re-skinned Urgathoan), and the other four vampires presented on the DM thread and in the bestiary. Wish I'd had the Monster Codex when I ran this, but in total, 10 unique vampires and 16 Advanced Spawn. They lurked in the deepest catacombs beneath the city in the remains of an abandoned theater and required the Dhampir's vampire rival (home-brewed Duelist, Feisty Hotspur re-skinned as human and given vampire template.) to guide them to it. This is the fight where the PCs lose their paladin ally to the vampires before Radvir (who follows them) shows up, kills the Dhampir's Rival (who he had just reconciled with), grabs the Paladin's body, then flees to let his allies prepare an ambush for the returning PCs. This helped me to set up the fact that Mythic power was being used among some the of the vampires and involve the Dhampir personally against Radvir.

Mythic Wight Lord
I took the Wight Lord from Undead Revisited and gave him four Mythic Tiers as well as a half dozen mythic wights from Mythic Monsters: Undead to setup an ambush on their way back from their strike against the Urgathoans. I began to realize that the biggest thing Mythic monsters need is survivability, whether the ability to avoid an attack, re-roll a save, or survive a high damage critical hit. Good fight nonetheless, and helped whittle down my four riders from the beginning to two.

Vampire Freedom, Mythic, and Elixirs A big theme I continually highlighted throughout the module was freedom versus blood-bound slavery that the vampires represented. In various dialogues, I reinforced the fact that vampirism was a form of slavery; one would constantly be enslaved to their hunger as well as the will of their creator. In this way, I gave Radvir a real, almost human reason for rebelling against Ludvick and setting so many other spawn “free”, though in a way, the drug that frees them represents a form of slavery all its own. To further up the ante, I decided that what truly made the Bloodbrew Elixir insidious was that it bestowed real power on its user temporarily, in this case Mythic. I felt that a small army of Mythic Vampire Spawn would constitute a real threat that would have to be dealt with whether by the PCs or by proxy. With the Blood Knight being Mythic, I had his blood be the catalyst for the creation of not only that elixir, but also a second kind, a potion that Aisa used to fuel her ascent into vampirism. This got me thinking about the overall plot of the module with regards to the AP itself: What if the endgame here was a potion that could turn a mortal into a vampire simply by drinking it? What if such a thing was to be used as a backup plan in case the Carrion Crown failed, what if they simply needed any sentient undead related to Tar Baphon to be present atop Gallowspire and accept his soul? It made sense to me to have the organization possess contingencies in case their main plot failed, and further helped cement the goals of the Whispering Way beyond “lets mess with the vampires because they might be enemies when our plan comes to fruition”. Finally, it let me give my PCs an ever-present physical temptation that could give them unspeakable power at great cost. This was not the only temptation of vampirism I presented, and the role-playing between my players discussing such things was utterly fantastic.

ENCOUNTERS

Encounters that I would have changed

-Bone Devil Trap:
Stopped by a bard, essentially. Never underestimate the power of this class, especially when they absolutely have to make a skill check. Not that I would have changed the encounter, it just never got triggered. I'm probably just being critical because I knew that it would have been a good fight had it happened.

-Invisible Stalkers:
I just wish these creatures could do more than they can. Even having four of them gang up on one PC, there's still the issues of mirror image, blur, and the ease with which a 12th level PC can see an invisible attacking creature (only DC 20). I had this fight occur while the party was engaged with Hetna and her guards (the Dhampir tried to take a piece of bone from the Oothi's skeleton as a 'threat'), and they still weren't enough of a threat to seriously hinder the players In hindsight, I would have put that new-fangled glyph from the ACG that lets you attach a hex to it on the bones, then perhaps summon something worse, like an Advanced Leukodaemon.

-Spirit Nagas:
In my opinion, where you encounter them in an anti-climatic afterthought to the main fights of the abbey, yet there needs to some form of guardian if the PCs take the alternate route in through these caverns (my players didn't, and did the typical top-to-bottom sweep). In this case, I would keep them if your players enter through the sea-side caverns, omit them if they've already fought Halloran, Aisa, and Konas.

Good Encounters

-Barliss Rask (Dullahan):
I gave the Dullahan's fighter levels to a Mythic Dullahan from Legendary Game's Mythic Monsters: Undead but other than the distant approach of three other horsemen ran this encounter as written. A good gauge to the powers and prowess of your players and a good setup for the module's path.

-Greenhouse of Doom:
Remember that if you have either Quinley in the party or a Dhampir with back-history, you will need to inform the PCs of the reason for the vampiric druid's stauch defense of her “grove”. There is also the issue of the high probability of a fight taking place in the daytime, in which case the DM will need to remember the druid's power over plant-life, cover, and that sort of thing. Without even altering it, all the tools are present here to make an awesome fight: a powerful singular guardian paired with a beefy monster and a number of minions to boot. In my opinion, this is meant to be a dynamic encounter, using all the tools at the DM's disposal to challenge their players. I of course used some of the alterations found with the DM thread, including an additional group of 7th level adventurers (nature lovers) and a number of advanced Topiary Guardians (from that module's bestiary) to augment Merrick to account for the Mythic tier my PCs possessed.

-The Nobleman's Stitch: A fun, dynamic fight to run. Remember about the lighting effects of daylight similar to the Greenhouse encounter, utilizing tapestries and heavy curtains to block sunlight where necessary. For my part, I changed the guards for a group of adventurers who had been charmed by Radvir and substituted some of the vampire sorcerers for alchemists, adding a Vetala Vampire contracted by Radvir to serve as the shop's face. (These additions are in the GM thread). Again, enough tools here for a GM to craft a good fight.

-The Nabassu:: I didn't really have high hopes for these guys, especially since I knew my PCs would likely be buffed with death ward and protection from evil, rendering most of the creatures' spell-like abilites useless, if not their powers. Surprisingly, despite the presence of the aforementioned spells, it was still kind of an interesting fight; some fai;ed saves against paralysis occurred through the combination of the ghouls and mass hold monster, while the creature's sneak attacks and silence kept the healing from not being quite-so-automatic from the Life Oracle. There is the slight chance that your entire party could have an unlucky round against paralysis, which makes this worth running.

-The Basement Vampires:
Couple of changes in my game: I made an alchemical mist-maker (like dry-ice) fill the big basement room with 5-foot-deep fog, then had the vampire spawn (huffed up on Mythic juice) and remaining vampires use their stealth and gaseous form (even attacking from prone to confuse their position) to harry the PCs. Made for an awesome fight that continued into the encounter with Radvir.

Radvir Giovanni
I hear he's quite effective when used as a hit and run rogue, but for my group of super-powered badasses, I decided to use a really dirty build to account for his ability to to single-handily take down vampires (others have pointed out the unlikeliness of using a wand of halt undead to accomplish this). I used the Tetori Monk rewrite in the Ashes at Dawn DM thread, which worked extraordinarily well. Between his grapple abilities, Body Shield, and his other feats, he proved quite an awesome fight, one lasting about ten rounds. If you think your PCs are having an easy time of it, use this substituion; just be careful, he's TPK material if played correctly.

Coffin Mimics:
I purposefully avoided having the mimics encountered in Trial of the Beast look like coffins so I could use the ones here. While they almost got the fighter, the memorable part was them surrendering and offering information in exchange for their lives. Overall, a fun one to run.

Glabrezu:
At the level you encounter him, the Glabrezu is a great, unexpected ecounter with lots of tool for a DM to use. In my case, he joined the fight with Hetna and her guards on the upper levels, using his summons and spell-like abilities to great effect. He eventually got annihilated by a critical hit, but not before nearly dropping two PCs.

Hetna Dublesse:
As stated above, don't let her fight alone; the nature of her hexes and spells insure that even if she locks down one PC, she still has three other ones to contend with. Witches have a strange spell list, so using what she has, its best to play her at range and use her minions to provide a melee threat. In my case, this was the entirety of the upper floor's enemies, but due to the length of the fight, made sense. She was nearly dropped (thanks to the bell trap of all things) but teleported away, only to die at her sister's vampiric hands.

Charmed Guards:
A decent stat block for the pre-NPC Codex , which can substitute these stats with a different 8th level NPC of another class with ease. They pack a decent punch, work alright in groups, have an okay ranged option, and are believable mooks for the witches and Radvir to have charmed. For my part, I made heavy use of the NPC Codex and NPCs from the GMG to substitute some of these out for different builds, though in the case of the abbey used only the printed adventure's due to the number of encounters that were likely to join together. Remember guys, just because they are charmed doesn't mean they are stupid. If they are looking to defend someone from intruders, they are going to move to and setup positions of superiority and use them to their advantage.

Falling Bell
Things like this are the stuff that I love to have present during any combat encounter: An obvious trap that can be utilized by either enemies or the PCs depending on their positioning. In this case, our Dhampir PC used it to whallop Hetna, forcing her to flee. In my opinion, traps always work the best when they are part of the environment of a fight and are either so obvious as to be usable or hidden enough that the PCs don't have time to look for them while fighting, triggering them during the fight.

Witchfires:
My PCs negotiated due to the mutual desire to end the plans of the Barstoi Witches and a fight was avoided. They already knew some of the backstory of Oothi, so this let me expand upon that a little bit. My players wanted to come back and clear them out, but the “rapid timeline” of the next module's events has assured that there going to leave them and go straight to Virlych. I like encounters that don't always end in combat, despite the obvious natures of its opposing sides.

Konas Esprillon (Blood Knight) As written, a very effective bruiser who should buy time and actions for Aisa to buff herself and eventually join the fight. What can I say, I know he's a templated 12th level fighter, but the artwork, flavor, and special abilities won me over. This was before I even added five mythic tiers, which made him an absolute beast. I will post his Mythic stats as well as Aisa's in my mythic additions for Carrion Crown thread.

Aisa Dublesse
I had similar problems with Aisa that I did Hetna, but in this case, the help augmenting her was a lot more effective than the charmed guards. I used the Blood Knight, all three Elemental Gems, and an Advanced Leukodaemon summoned by her scroll of planar ally to give her the range and time to be effective. Like Konas and Radvir, she had four mythic tiers to help her power level and a couple of different gear choices. Overall, my players really enjoyed the fight. My only gripe is the nature of witches as bad guys; most of their spells are save-or-suck, so either your PCs roll well and nothing happens or the exponentially get weaker with each loss, probably resulting in a TPK.

Wood Golems While this was an 'after-fight' (a term I use for battles that take place after the biggest fight of the module), I kept it intact due to the awesome flavor of the golems (stakes for arms). My PCs chewed right through them, but again, as long as a speedbump encounter is well detailed (which the room where you encounter them is), I like keeping it. Great flavor here.

Halloran Indriss I recommend pairing him with any vampiric survivors show he can spend the first few rounds trying to fight his vampire nature before it or Aisa's commands take over. Even still, since my PCs were completely depleted at this point, it made for a dicey fight when the ex-paladin actually decided to defend himself. Eventually, he was defeated, Aisa was killed, and Atonement was cast on him. Now to figure out what fight he will suicidally give his life to in the next module to repay his debt to my PCs… A great role-playing opportunity, good enough that I foreshadowed him earlier in the module.

In my opinion, this module was one of the stronger ones of the AP. This was due to the excellent writing, encounter diversity, and the ability to come at the story from multiple angles. I really want to thank Neil Spicer for being present on these boards to answer questions about what was printed, left out, and the backstory of some of the different elements within. Now, to take a slight break to play my Half Orc Inquisitor in War of the River Kings, then its onto the final part… Shadows at Gallowspire!


Simple question. Intellect devourers can ride in a number of devious and dangerous disguises. In some instances, the CR of the monster they have taken over can be higher than the IDs, though whether or not the host body is as combat effective depends on the nature of the host. Anyways, do you award XP for the host and the ID or just the ID?


Did any of your PCs become vampires after running "Ashes at Dawn"? If so, how did you handle it in the next module? One of my PCs (Dhampir Magus) made the conscious decision to become one at the end of the module. I've gone over the dangers that will present themselves to the PC including the possibility of being controlled, traveling only at night, the logistics of hauling a coffin around, and the need to constantly feed, but for story purposes, we both feel like this decision serves his character's storyline the best. I should note that the Oracle of Life also in our group is a devout worshiper of Pharasma, while our two-weapon fighter is considering multi-classing into Paladin next level. My group is extremely mature and am confident that they can handle the role-play challenge of such a change, but I'm worried about how some of the fights will play out. Is he going to be empowered by the same effects that empower the denizens of Renchurch? What about the Mortuary Storm surrounding Gallowspire? Can he just fly through it.
Secondly, my PCs are considering getting to Renchurch by teleporting to Ravengro, then riding horses south through the mountains to get to Renchurch, basically skipping the first third of the module. Has anyone else experienced any sort of alternative trek other than what's presented in the module? It seems like the only path to Renchurch would be to go through Adorak, which story-wise could jumble up everything. They've done their research on the region and know about the Witchgates, and I have yet to come up with a reason as to why they should travel the way that everyone expects them to.


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My group finished "Ashes at Dawn" yesterday, and I plan on writing a review of it as I have for the last four modules of the AP. I realized from the "List of Community Created Content" thread that most of my additions were scattered all over the forum, so here's an attempt to consolidate everything. As soon as I complete a freelance project (which is almost done), I will add my review of the fifth module as well. Hope this helps other DMs with some of the expanded material and tips in the first two modules for having 5 playes.

A review of Harrowstone and tips for running with 5 players
Expanding the Harrowstone Prisoners
The journey between Ravengro and Lepistatd (Clover's Crossing)
Expanding Herstag for 5 players (other minor changes)
A review of Trial of the Beast and tips for running with 5 players
A brief history of Ustalav
The Journey between Ascanor and Feldgrau expanded
Expanding some of the subplot in Broken Moon
Expanding the Furrows (Broken Moon)
A review of Broken Moon and tips for expanding Feldgrau
Tying in Carrion Hill (and Wake of the Watcher) into the AP.
My version of Carrion Hill
A review of Wake of the Watcher and some expansion of it
Expanding Caliphas for Ashes at Dawn
Historical Ustalavic Paintings (In Caliphas)
Incorporating Dhampirs into Ashes at Dawn
Mythic additions to Carrion Crown


...or do they just get full attacked, misted, and slain in their coffins? I am curious because I'm running a module with vampires (Ashes at Dawn), and so far, I've never seen garlic, holy water, or anything else used in any fight against vampires (after 10+ years of 3.5 and PF) Obviously, why would a PC waste an action on an uncertain result when they can just slash the poor vampire to death and track them to their coffin (which is easy for most PCs, just follow the 20' moving mist at a speed of 30')? Nonetheless, I am a huge fan of old mythology and folklore, and feel that sometimes, the vampire fight plays out like a fight against any other monster rather than embracing the stories about them. Anyone have anything or any stories where these weaknesses actually came into play? (Besides Sunlight.)


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So, I introduced Mythic during the final fight of Wake of the Watcher and it really made it over-the-top-awesome. Since then I've tried to use mythic monsters sparingly since I figured they're sort of the exception rather than the rule on Golarion, at least as far as what's written so far. I've noticed that certain powers are really awesome and have potential to be problematic. I'm already looking pretty closely at Mythic Haste and Fleet Warrior, but the amount of limitation I've placed on Mythic point recovery has made this somewhat manageable, though if my PCs hold back enough, they can have the few they need to ensure victory in a key fight. While I like this idea, I don't like my named bad guys getting pasted in a few rounds, so what follows are some of my Mythic additions to the game that I have used and will use. My PCs have one mythic tier and will probably cap at two (I've heard tier 3 is where it gets problematic) for reference. I've heavily been monitoring the Wrath of the Righteous threads for fore-warning on perils and pitfalls of having Mythic, especially in a Horror game. I highly recommend Legendary Games Mythic Monsters: Undead, there's a number of insert-able ones from that in that have significant threat presence What's below is meant to be survivable if nothing else. Besides the two beneath I plan to add more as our group progresses such as Radvir, the Witches, Konas, and what comes forth in Shadows at Gallowspire.

Mythic Vampire Spawn:
Mythic Vampire Spawn CR 5/MR 2
Advanced Mythic vampire spawn
LE Medium Undead
Init +3 Senses bloodsight 60 ft, darkvision 60 ft.; Perception+10
___________________________________________________________________________ ___________
AC 23, touch 15, flat 18 (+3 dex, +2 dodge, +8 natural)
hp 50 (4d8+36); fast healing 2
Fort +5, Ref +4, Will
Defensive Abilitieschannel resistance +2; DR 5/ epic and silver; Immune undead traits; Resist cold 10, electricity 10
Weaknesses blood intoxicated, vampire weaknesses
___________________________________________________________________________ ___________
Speed 60 ft.
Melee Slam +8 (1d4+6 plus energy drain)
Special Attacks blood drain,
dominate (DC 16), energy drain (1 levels DC 16), mythic power ( 2/day, surge +1d6)

______________________________________________________________________
Str 18, Dex 16, Con --, Int 15, Wis 17, Cha 19
Base Attack +3; CMB +6; CMD 19

Feats Dodge (m), Weapon Focus (Slam)

Skills Acrobatics +7, Disguise +11, Intimidate +11, Perception +10, Sense Motive +10, Stealth +18

Languages Common, Necril, Varisian
SQcelerity, gaseous form,shadowless, spider climb
Bloodsight A mythic vampire spawn can literally see the blood flowing in other creatures, and has blindsight to a range of 60 feet against any creature with blood in its body (including other fresh-fed vampires).
Celeiry A mythic vampire spawn is infused with incredible speed provided it maintains the source of its power. As long as a mythic vampire spawn has a mythic point remaining, it may use Mythic Dodge once per turn as an immediate action without spending a Mythic point, gaining a +10 dodge bonus against one attack. Additionally, it gains a +30 bonus to its land speed.
Intoxicated These mythic vampire spawn have only temporary power due to the addicting drug known as Bloodbrew Elixer. While under the effects of this drug, these advanced vampire spawn gain all the powers resulting from gaining two Mythic Tiers, though this power is fleeting. After 1 hour of use, the effects of the Bloodbrew elixer wears off, reverting them to Advanced vampire spawn with the sickened condition. A Remove Disease spell or effect made against caster level 12 immediately ends the effects of the elixer, reverting the spawn as noted in addition to staggering the spawn for 1d4 rounds.


Without arcane sight and detect magic as aids, I'm gonna say no.
Situation is this: PCs pre-buff before attacking a vampire lair. All have Death Ward up. During the fight, they enter an Unahllowed area with a Dispel Magic attached to it that targets non-believers of Urgathoa, hitting a couple Death Wards. Later, a vampire actively dispels one of the PCs and succeeds in taking out her highest spell, which is Death Ward. Without being interacted with by a negative energy effect or getting hit again by a vampire, is there any way the PCs know that Death Ward is down?
As a side note, do DMs typically announce which spell/spells they've taken out with a Dispel or do they wait until an interaction occurs that the absence of presence of the spell shows. (like taking fire damage after Resist Energy: Fire is dispelled)


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So, I am quite enamored of the gothic backdrop that is Ustalav. Jason Nelson and Wes Schneider’s take on the mist enshrouded metropolis that is represented by Caliphas in Ashes at Dawn andRule of Fear is fantastic, yet I wanted more for my players. Since this module details the PCs at a height of power (11th level) interacting with not only an ancient, legendary city and its citizens but also its undead underworld and secret societies, I wanted more details on what is written for the city to evoke feelings of nostalgia and brooding among my PCs, many of whom are World of Darkness veterans. There are a good 10+ pages of material written for the city with many names and locations listed, most of which do not coincide with the adventure as it is written. Of course, few DMs run adventures exactly as written, I feel it’s a shame to waste the time, energy and pages devoted to Caliphas itself. For this reason, I decided to expand certain facets of the culture and places presented in the two sources, while trying to incorporate them into the module as a whole. Here are some things I've added or expanded upon to help bring Caliphas to further ‘unlife’.

1)The Mists:

Being a coastal city, Caliphas is almost always enshrouded in a blanket of fog. This natural occurrence is heaviest from dawn to dusk when the temperature and closeness of the lake give rise to such conditions. When traveling in Caliphas from sunset to sunrise, all visibility for PCs lower than 20’ from the ground is reduced to 30 feet. Characters further than 10 feet away from each other have concealment, while those 30 feet away or more have total concealment. The 20 foot limitation allows airborn or rooftop characters to avoid the mist while exposing themselves to anything that might be watching from beneath.
The Why Besides giving a believable yet unassailable reason for people not to travel at night, this will help me to set up a few scenes where the PCs ‘almost catch’ the vampire killers. With unlimited visibility and the movement options available to my PCs (Dimension Door, Fly, Air Walk, Spider Climb, Haste), it might be difficult to mechanically set up any sort of remnants or leavings of the Vampire Killer without the PCs triggering the encounter. I plan on having a chase scene with him and the PCs, so this will help setting this up be a little easier and more believable.

2) Vampire in Caliphas Popular Culture:

In Caliphas, vampires have a long and sometimes bloody history intertwined with the city, yet for them to exist in such a large city without being hunted down, secrecy must be maintained. Sometimes the best secrets are those in plain sight, and for centuries the vampires of the city have maintained a semblance of anonymity through several businesses, services, and self portrayals in the city’s popular culture. While vampires are whispered about in myth and legend, few people believe the exist due to a number of devices that have become widespread throughout the city, such as decorative mediums, costuming services, and even a couple of popular ‘vampire clubs’, places full of young nobles pretending to be creatures of the night for their own amusement.

Decorative Mediums This includes items such as painted, wooden replicas of garlic cloves that adorn many doors (some of which are embellished with etched designs, inlaid metals or even encrusted jewels. Wolf and Bat themed gargoyles adorn many of the rooftops, Almost all the nobility wear heirloom holy symbols passed down from generation to generation, whether their current scions believe in the gods they represent or not. In fact, many of these antiques are used as fashion statements, much to the chagrin of the local churches.

Costume Shops Among others of its kind, the shop Cloak and Fangs helps cater to the young, bored nobility of the city, providing gothic clothing all the way up to the broad cloak, sunglasses, and even fixable 'vampire teeth'. These utilizes a variation of Sovereign Glue and Universal Solvent to fully embrace the 'creature of the night' fantasy. They also sell a cheap wine called 'Virgin's Blood', a thick. syrupy red concoction meant to resemble blood. For the right price, young nobles can also learn the weekly location of the Bloodtear Club, the most prestigious of the Vampire Clubs that the young nobles frequent.

Vampire Clubs Perpetuating the idea of vampires being 'cool and romantic' are a few different spots that gather Caliphas's wealthy and strange.in environments decidedly tributary to the ancient creatures. Foremost among these is the Bloodtear Club, a nightclub that moves every week to different spots in the catacombs beneath the streets. The location is usually kept secret since its openly known that illicit activities and substances present themselves beneath the avant-garde front of the club. Ran by Vivanny and Celric Gorboroff, the decadently wealthy nobles use their bardic skills to entrance and entertain the nobles simply to watch them take themselves to further and further excess. Bored with noble society and conventional gatherings, the two seem to thrive on the energy given off by the club's patrons when they dance in costume to eerie tunes beneath illusions such as swarms of bats, raining blood, mists, and other effects created by the two.
Besides this, Dawn's Requiem is a wine and poetry bar with strong vampire motifs. Run by Charmagne of Vauntil, the prosperous wine merchant uses his ever-changing stock to help compliment whatever spoken verse is being performed. While initially noble in its inception, the club has become a place that is more talked about than actually entered This combined with its small seating and wait-list to be allowed to watch have made it the worst thing possible, a hipster bar. Nonetheless, Charmagne's ever-changing bottles are rumored to be supplied by underground contacts, namely vampires. In a way, their aim with this place is to associate tales of vampires with eccentric wealth and a certain amount of gaucheness.
Last of note is Midnight's Song a group of players who perform at the Haraday Theater once per week. The costumed players usually perform their adaptations of popular works in vampire get-up, frequently swapping the play's message or meaning with a more humorous one. While the group has some underground popularity, they are in fact paid for by The Esoteric Order of The Palantine Eye, who uses the group's presence to help disguise their regular meetings, closing the theater for 'special performance rehearsals' on nights of such occasions. The Order is quite aware of the real vampire presence in the city and in fact uses the performances to help further de-mystify the existence of vampires.
The Why I needed a reason for Captain Boverde Hoptler to seem as inadequate as he does. If the majority of the population believes vampires long ago left the city, what follows with the leavings of the murders make them seem more like pranks, at least with the exception of the actual bodies. Also, I needed to slow the pacing of the beginning of the module, at least once they arrived in Caliphas. The above locales, attitudes and personas are helping to do that as they try and wrap their heads around the vampires and their relationship (or antipathy) towards the Whispering Way.

3) Witches in Caliphas Popular Culture

Unlike Vampires, Witches are talked about in hushed, fearful whispers that is frequently followed with a sign against evil. Due to the recent machinations of The Dublesse's mentor Oothi and her subsequent demise, people not only believe in witches and witchcraft but fear it enough to create physical memories of such activities within the city.
Hex WardsLike the decorative garlic cloves and holy symbols, people also tend to adorn their doors with small wood-carvings containing ancient Kellid runes warding against witchcraft. Unlike the other adornments, these plaques contain a very real power that wards against witches. Whenever a witch within 30' of one of these]Hex Wards attempts to use a Hex, they must make a DC 11 will save or gain a 20% hex failure chance. While not even remotely effective against all but the most uninitiated novices, these items are sold in a number of shops around the city. Their creation is in fact a machination of The Esoteric Order of The Palantine Eye, who counts no witches among its members in Ustalav proper. It is in fact believed that they helped to sponsor the adventuring group that ultimately confronted Oothi.
The Burnt Lot Outside the main city wall but within the confines of the city itself (near The Haraday Theater) is a burnt out shell of a lot. Containing nothing but a blackened stretch of earth centered around a single scorched pole, this plot of land is avoided by all locale and even those that must pass by it are sure to ward themselves against evil. This is the sight of Oothi's execution, where she was brought before the town (she was rightfully accused of eating children) to be killed in open sight, an attempt to alleviate their fears. It backfired horribly when Oothi escaped the attempt (as detailed in the module), turning the Hag into somewhat of a 'Boogie-man'.for Caliphas. Furthermore, every person who has attempted to buy the burnt property and erect a dwelling on its surface has met with mysterious ends within a week of acquiring it. It should be noted that while the execution occurred years ago, the ground is still blackened and nothing will grow there.Detect Magic reveals a lingering aura of transmutation and evocation magic that seems just at the brink of fading yet never does so.
It Ain't Carrion Crown without more kids singing creepy Nursery Rhymes, eh?? Yeah, I can't help myself here, and had to have some freaky children singing freak songs while skipping or jumping rope (or whatever other games scamps play on Golarion). The first is a tribute to our Kingmaker game (where witches and Gyrnonna are a big theme) but works for my campaign too. The second one directly relates to Oothi and her daughters.

1)"Gnurly Witch, Gnurly Witch, Better Run
Gnurly Witch, Gnurly Witch, Here she comes
Up on a Broomstick, Down by her Pot,
She'll cook you up boling hot."

2)"The Old Green Crone, she wasn't home,
her daughters came to play
She lost her head but wasn't dead,
her spiders came to stay."

Spectral Witch Those who have cause to travel above the mists at nighttime have occasionally seen a strange sight in the sky, a ghostly witch. This spectral, withered old crone riding a broom shoots through the air above the city, only to vanish an instant later. Seeing her requires a DC 25 perception check, but those that do recognize her as a human woman wearing clothing that predates the founding of Caliphas. This is an echo of pre-Ustalavic Kellid's powers. They counted many witches among their numbers, and because of the ancient people's association with savagery and unknowable gods, witches have been lumped into this same superstitious category.

The Why Not trying to single out Witches, but most forms of Magic (oracles excluded) can be divined to their source of power. Wizards follow universally formula-laden spells, those that require the same material components worldwide, regardless of region, race, or power level of the user. This makes Wizard's spellcasting almost like a form of science; the methods are almost always the same and the results are always the same. Sorcerers are similar, minus the material components, and powerful ancestors are an understandable sources of magic. Likewise, druids through nature, clerics through their deities, bards through the power of song, and alchemist through scientific formula all make sense to the average layman about where their power comes from. Not so with Witches, who follow mysterious Patrons that have their own agenda. Consider asking any of the above to explain their source of power, and most not only would tell but even try to pitch their philosophy as decreed by their power (druid professing nature, etc.) Not so with witches, who themselves aren't necessarily sure where their power comes from.Also, hexes don't follow most of the rules for magic, making them slightly more frightening and less predictable to other practitioners. This is the reason for the rampant mistrust of witches among not only the populace of Caliphas, but specifically the Esoteric Order. Finally, the people assocaite witchcraft with those who were here before them, the ancient Kellids, tying witchcraft to old ways that are not the ways of the current populace, ways believed to be bloody and savage. It should be noted that no one is playing a Witch in my game, but if they were, I would still run with this just for the RP opportunity, especially when Aisa and Hetna ask the PC in question to join them in scouring the prejudiced populace of the city. (not their goal, I know, but goals can change, especially if Countess Caliphvaso forces their hands and sends people to kick them out of the abbey.

4)]Noble Families and Red Herrings

Radvir Giovanni is using the pretext of the nobility of Caliphas being responsible for the murders to start a war between the vampires and humans of the city. While the module suggests that Radovir is using minor nobles that have conveniently left the city as scapegoats, I fail to understand how he plans to influence Luvick to take retribution on these families if the vampires have no targets to go after. With the nobles all gone, why would they start killing people randomly? Also, his story of Ramoska being responsible falls flat if the Nosferatu denies it; neither has proof or a proper refutal of proof that the Nosferatu is behind the killings, making it an uneven question of who do you believe more, monster A or monster B? Also, our Dhampir player has had past dealings with Ramoska (he traded vials of his blood (2 con dmg) for potions of inflict wounds that he desperately needed), so if possible, I don't want to arouse suspicion of Radvir too early by having Ramoska call him a liar. My thoughts: what if Radvir had actual targets that he or the Whispering Way wanted eliminated? I therefore wanted the PCs to have the opportunity to talk to these targets to help unravel the investigation rather than have it hinge on a dice roll or an unprovoked attack from Radvir. (which despite its CR equivalency, I could see killing a couple PCs. Its a weighted encounter because the Vampires will certainly get a surprise round with their stealth scores, drop two fireballs, probably win initiative, then drop two more. Dropping 32d6 fire damage on the group without any warning just seems like cheese.) Below are families and groups I've detailed with known motivations for going after vampires or at least supporting those who do.

Vronds Brigadier Holladybe Vronds, official commander of Castle Mashir, once had a young son he was trying to groom into a postion in the Caliphas military, trying to get him to follow in his footsteps. His efforts created a form of resentment in the boy, named Astion, who eventually escaped the authoritarian upbringing by frequenting the night-life of the city. This lead the boy to the Bloodtear Club and resulted in one of the few times that the vampires almost compromised their masquerade. When he disappeared, the club's weekly location was unfortunately very near Restoration Park and the entrance into the vampire underground. Wandering from the club entrance and encroaching on vampire territory, intoxicated on substances purchased from a patron, Astion found himself in the greenhouse and there met his end. The Vampires thought little of it until Vronds heavily funded an investigation into his son's disappearance, one that forced the vampires to act quickly to cover their existence. Due to several castings of Divinations that he had performed, Vronds was certain that vampires were involved. He was disappointed when a ring of human kidnappers believed to have worked for the mysterious "Dr Low" turned themselves in a week after the investigation began, right when his primary investigator had finally tracked down a lead on a vampire. He remembers the vacant, glassy looks that the accused suspects displayed when they were caught, confessed their crimes, and even when executed. He feels as if he has never had closure on the affair, and though he contacted the church of Pharasma to garner their support against a possible undead threat, their refusal to help him has left him a rattled man with a grudge against both the church and the unliving..

Boxmon Shaid Boxmon, owner of the Hound's Tooth and former adventurer, may not be a noble but wields a fair amount of personal power from his business. Not only coin and services are given at the tavern he maintains, but also the free flow of information and secrets. He was the man hired to track down Holladyne's son, and the one who remembers all the details of the investigation. His strongest memory was the conclusion of the investigation, where the human kidnapping ring he tracked down were pretending to be vampires, draining blood from their victims and selling it to practitioners of dark magic. The details of the investigation never sat well with him; Dr. Low had a shadowy reputation as a criminal mastermind that never made mistakes, so to have a breadcrumb trail that lead to the hideout of his men and a lack of a real fight to take them in lead him to believe something else was happening behind the scenes. He never did catch Dr. Low, and as such has never been certain whether or not he truly was behind it or if his men were setup. Worst of all, he was certain through contacts at the Bloodtear Club that a vampire was behind the killing, one he had managed to track towards Restoration Park, until the new lead presented itself to him.

Gorboroffs As detailed in the Bloodtear Club, these foppish, decadent nobles are responsible for maintaining the underground scene while keeping their profile low. They are in fact aided by Radvir, who has long served as a liaison between Ludvick's decrees and their choices of location for the club's weekly placement. Since bards are the best liars in the game (thanks to Charisma as a main stat, Bluff as class skill, and spells like Glibness), pinning this down is exceedingly hard (assume a bluff check of +15, +25 if they know an investigation is coming). Nonetheless, they know the details surrounding the disappearance of Holladyne's son and it's this knowledge that Radvir points out as a possible motive for wanting to kill the vampires, besides having unlimited freedom to expand their enterprise into all corners of the catacombs. While Radvir has often used the club to occasionally pick off lonely disenfranchised youths with no noble ties for food, he rankles under the false pretext and glamorization of the vampire lifestyle. His desire is to make all of the pretenders dreams come true, turning them into real vampires. If things escalate without the PCs finding the trail to him in time, he will succeed, secretly freeing whatever spawn that aren't created by him with Bloodbrew Elixir. When this is done, he will sequester the mass of spawn away and use them as foot soldiers against Ludvick when he makes his move to kll him.

Corvettis Besides Vronds, the most public instance of vampire activity that has appeared within the last century occurred with the Corvettis some thirty years ago. A noble up-and coming family headed by Lena and Titham ,they came into Caliphas riding the curtails of the rush from Ardis when Ustalav's capital changed. Their daughters Vaanica and Triasa quickly adapted to life in the burgeoning and decadent capital, to the point that they quickly became involved in the undergound vampire culture. Vaanica, the eldest daughter, supposedly was followed and courted for weeks by a mysterious lover who would only show up at night. While few believe it, the parents came to understand that their daughter's love interest was a vampire. This vampire, Matet, decided to break a number of rules of Ludvick and the ruling vampires by revealing himself to the family and a number of others. He revealed secrets of the underground that were never meant to be known by the living. Professing love as his reason for doing so, he was alienated and isolated from the vampire community. In fact, it was the vampires, not the parents, who whispered in enough ears to initiate a hunt for the vampire by the Church of Pharasma. Taking great pains to make Matet appear as an isolated wanderer, It took Vaanica walking into Ludvick's Court to almost put everything right, at least until she was mistakenly killed by the church when they went to confront Matet afterward. It is believe that in his grief, Matet walked into the sun rather than deal with the loss of love that he had felt for the first time in centuries. (Yeah, this smacks of Twilight, which I am not a fan of, but I feel like the Vampires=Sex trope should have some representation here.) The family's current scion, Triasa, still harbors dark feelings over the loss of her sister decades ago and would love for any other vampires that might still be in the city to take a long morning walk.

The Church of Pharasma This one's the most intersting to me, as one has to wonder how much the church knows about the vampires and how they find a balance between their goddess's decrees and a foe far beyond their power. For my part, I've created a rift between the Inquisitor Zetiah Mardhalas and the high cleric Mother Verith Thestia. Thestia is quite aware of the existence of the vampires and the extent of their influence on the city. Ultimately, she struck a philosophical balance between the greater good of preserving the living while the are alive rather than fighting an enemy beyond her abilities. While able to call upon numerous branches of the church throughout Ustalav to mount a force against the 'Vampire Problem', she has never done so. She knows that if such a thing were to happen, thousands would die even if they were successful in destroying the current vampiric inhabitants of the city. This philosophy has put her at odds with her inquisitor, who sees no reason why they don't just wipe them out. Furthermore, over the years, Thestia has had to occasionally lie to the inquisitor about their quarry to keep any encounters with vampires from escalating, something that the Inquisitor is keenly aware of (since Inquisitors Sense Motive like no one else). The church's official stance when the PCs arrive is to divert them from starting a war with the vampires, even if Thestia has to lie them. Of course, being who they are, they are most definitely on Radvir's hit-list, something the Inquisitor is aware of due to a divination she had performed (not from Thestia, but Corbakas at the DawnGrace Memorial. I wanted a reason for them to go there since there's very little Iomedae in the campaign as a whole, despite the fact that she was one of the staunchest enemies of Tar Baphon.) This lack of trust between its two most powerful members makes the church a little more ineffectual in affecting the module, which I approve of. (Otherwise, why wouldn't the PCs just ask the 12th level NpC cleric responsible for eradicating undead to come with them and help them do just that, especially in her own city.)

The Why More or less explained at the beginning, also allows me to play with the nobility of Caliphas more than whats written in the adventure itself.

Hope this helps anyone out there to expand Caliphas from what's written and show some of the motivations of the players involved in this chapter of the AP. So far, I've used all of the above in my PC's investigations of the vampire killings, and its not only slowed the beginning to less of a frenetic pace but also given more motivation to not only the main players of these events but also those who lurk in the background. As always, if anyone decides to use any of the above, I would be overjoyed. (Thanks again of course to Wes and Jason for all the details they've already given to help flush everything out.)

(My next write up will be about what I'm doing to incorporate Dhampir PCs into this part of the AP and how to make this story more personal for such a player.)


I am designing a lair for some vampires and their spawn, and the vampires are gonna be using every trick they can to survive my 11th level, Mythic Tier 1 PCs. Besides grates for gaseous form and 30' ceilings for dominate/spider climb shenanigans, I was wondering about utilizing mirrors so they can use their dominate gaze without being directly in front of the PCs. I searched the forums and the Core for any references, but couldn't find any... so,

Written as anything (worded or intended):

Do mirrors allow gaze attacks to reflect?
Can this be done at angles or does it have to be at 180 degrees from the reflecting surface?
Alternatively for my PCs: Can sunlight be reflected like that (like in Legend.
Thanks!


This is sort of for my own DMing knowledge, but I am curious about single spells that completely nerf encounters. In this regard, I am looking for the spell that nullifies the biggest threat of the monster, taking almost all of the threat out of it. Here's some I thought of, but I'd love to see other examples.

Harpy- Silence
Rogues- Obscuring Mist
Will-O-Wisp- Resist Energy
Demi-Lich- Anti-Magic Field
Chuul- Freedom of Movement (this spell will come up a lot)
Shadows- Death Ward


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I imagine this is Wes's territory, but since he's been quiet as of late, I figured I'd through it out there to anyone else. Here's the jist of it: I am planning an encounter that will run kind of like this:

-PCs are traveling via enchanted carriage to Castle Corvischor
-Whispering Ways's Tyrants encounter them on road, demanding Raven's Head. This consists of the Dullahan from the beginning of Book 5, but will also consist of 3 other more powerful riders, all of whom need to be named.
-Carriage will attempt to escape, using a Shadow-Walk power to ferry the PCs into the Plane of Shadows.
-The Dullahan will pursue them using the Nightmare's Plane Shift ability, taking the Ghoul Wolves also (I know it needs to roll percentage, but I'm going to hand-wave that for cinematic coolness)
-PCs will fight Dullahan encounter as normal.
-PCs escape to Castle Corviscor.

My other riders consist of a Graveknight (standard from Bestiary 3 with a few feat swaps [lance]), Wight Lord, and a Demi-Lich. I plan on having the Demi-Lich animating a Skeletal body and mount beneath it to allow it to move around, yet have to watch the range on that Trap the Soul ability. Currently, two PCs are suffering from Madness that's reducing their Will saves significantly, so running any encounter with High DC will saves isn't remotely fair. The Demi-Lich might get swapped out for something else more martial-esque, but besides the three above, I'm hard pressed to find another I want to use. Anyways, the heart of my question:

I want these guys to be named; I want players to be able to roll their Knowledge: Nobility or History to know who these guys are rather than what they are. What family names or bloodlines are associated with the Whispering Tyrant?


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My group just completed Greg A. Vaughan's excellent module, Wake of the Watcher. With the last three modules, I had ran with five players, and so had to make minor adjustments to the encounters in order to present an accurate depiction of the difficulty the author intended. With this module, I am only running with four players, and so decided that I would run it 'as is', and see how it played out. This philosophy changed halfway through the module when certain encounters demanded that things outside the text occur in order to keep the mood horrific and engaging. Here's the PCs as they are now:

Alucard, Dhampir Magus- Magus 9--> Magus 11, Archmage Tier 1 (Currently still infected with Lycanthropy from Broken Moon and the subject of the Paranoia madness after witnessing the disembodied brains in the Mi-Go caverns)

Willem, Human Fighter- Fighter 9 -->Fighter 11, Champion Tier 1 (Currently suffering from Multiple Personality Disorder, embodies personalities of slain PCs Nethys (cleric), Foxglove (rogue), Aella (Barbarian). Specializes in Scythe, with Furious Focus, Power Attack, Weapon Foucs/Spec/Training, and Improved Critical. In short, he has a 10% chance every swing of just outright killing most monsters (doing about 100 damage on a crit).

Gwynnis, Human Bard -Bard 9 --> Bard 11, Marshal Tier 1 (Made every sanity check, but also a member of the Esoteric Order of the Palantine Eye, so that's not surprising. Also possesses the Soundstriker and Dirgesinger archetypes, the former of which is using SKR's updated rules on the archetype to great effect.

Calcifer, Human Oracle - Oracle 9 --Oracle 11, Hierophant Tier 1 (Oracle of Life, Worshipper of Pharasma, currently carries Raven's Head. The party's healer and the a big part of the group's synergy. Lifelink and channeling give the Fighter and Magus much needed healing while they cut things to pieces. Now that Inflict Light-Serious potions don't reliably cure combat damage for the Dhampir, sometimes its only the Oracle who is keeping him alive.

Now. here's what we liked:

1) Excellent treatment of Mythos and mythos monsters: Most of the Mythos monsters used in this module excel at what they do, frightening and unnerving the players. The Dimensional Shamblers, Slugspawn, Spawning Cancre, Dark Young, and the rest are handled respectfully and have enough strange abilities that they aren't taken for granted as just another monster. What's better is that the effects of these menaces on the environment are shown in all their horror, whether its the color bleaching and insanity brought on by The Colour out of Space or the Brain Cannisters. Everything has a subtly creepy air about it that pushes over the top at just the right moments.

2) Great encounter diversity While the majority of the AP has been like this (further disenfranchising the notion that this is the 'Undead AP'), this module has a great diversity of opponents to challenge the party, from humans and humanoids (skum and giant) to outer-space plant monsters and incorporeal oozes. Fantastic array across the board to challenge PCs.

3) Atmospherically the creepiest of all 6 modules Most of my players are familiar with the Mythos, so having their characters encounter aspects of this type of horror while keeping it fresh seemed like it might be difficult. in fact, some stuff (such as the Fostering) was taken for granted, but once they came across stuff like the after-effects of the Colour out of Space, the Brain jars, and the Spawning cancre, the horror of the module seeped in to great effect. Good job, Mr Vaughan, of keeping it subtly creepy and then delivering the horror at just the right moments. The potential escalation of a Slugspawn outbreak taking over part of Golarion was not lost on the PCs and raised the stakes for them.

4) A small but memorable cast of NPCs Horace Croon, Early Greedle, The Deputy, the non-native shopkeeper (name escapes me), and even the criminal on the rock all had good personalities to run with, and most of the role-playing interactions were high points, allowing me to portray the different facets of the creepy town that is Illmarsh. I particularly enjoyed playing Horace Croon and want to use him again at some point to give them some sort of technological boon to use in the final module. I believe they genuinely felt bad about the fate of Greedle, more so than the other townsfolk. Even the deluded couple who give up their baby were fun to play out, giving the PCs a sense of being a tiny nettle brushing against the thick hide of tradition.

What was not liked:

1)Beginning of high level math disparity. Well, they're 11th level, so its to be expected. Still, there were a number of encounters where the enemies (specifically, the Mi-Go) would need to roll a 17 or higher to hit either the Magus or Fighter, and still at least a 13 for the Oracle or Bard. To be fair, a lot of the DCs on the main bad guys' abilities (such as the Dark Young) could only be made on a 15+ if the save was one of the PCs bad ones. It is also getting to the point that with the backing of the bard, there are few enemies that aren't outright hit on either the Fighter or Magus's primary attack (typically coming at a +22 with the bard boosting) on any roll but a 1. This is true of any of the lesser, unnamed bad guys (including the Mi-Go unfortunately), but since almost every unnamed enemy is at least moderately intelligent, I did a few things to make them a challenge other than just throwing themselves at the fighter.

2)Link to overall Whispering Way plot is weak. This is the biggest criticism of the module that most people voice, and it is a valid one. As written, there's no clear reason why the WW needs Raven's Head, so other than the note saying, 'Go to Caliphas' there's very little linking everything that's happened to everything that will happen. That aside, the module is cool enough that I didn't mind, and since I had just ran Carrion Hill as a side-quest involving the WW's plot to disrupt the leylines ,I used this as a further link to the overall plot, with the appearances of the Spawn of YS and the Dark Young weakening the ley lines enough to allow the Tyrant's mind to wander further as well as his dreams. The repercussions of this (along with the PC's insanity) will be dealt with at the beginning of the next module.

3) Variable amounts of listed monsters lead to mass escalation. "There are a toal of 14 skum sentries in these chambers; any given room has a 50% chance of containing 3d4 skum" and "There are a total of 10 mi-go in these chambers; each of the compartments has a 50% chance of containing 2d3 Mi-go..." are problematic if one just runs them as written, except what is written is slightly contradictory. Do I: ( A) place X monsters in the chamber before the PCs reach the area as listed (14 skum spread throughout the different rooms listed), (B) roll the 50% and XdX number of monsters, potentially getting either way under or way over the listed amount, or (C, what I chose), use creative pacing tricks to use the listed amount without it turning into a monster-free-for-all? As listed, 14 Skum Sentries (CR 5) is almost an EL 13, and while it suggests they don't all act at once, their placement makes this illogical. Same with the Mi Go, except much more dangerous. 10 Mi-Go is a EL 13, but add in the proximity of the Cerebric Fungus and the Gug and you have the making of a EL 14+, winnable but someone's probably going to die. Also, the Mi-Go have an intelligence of 25, so there is no reason why they wouldn't use the most bloody efficient tactics for neutralizing threats to their livelihood. Why wouldn't they all attack at once? As written, I made their doors absorb sound better than a normal barrier of its size, so I had different groupings enter at different times of the fight in that chamber. Keep in mind that your PCs will must likely be looking to accomplish the entire complex in one sitting, and going from an EL 10 to an EL 13, to an EL 14, plus 3 other encounters is going to annihilate most 10th level partys. DMs, be careful about how you pace the fights in the last dungeon!

4)Sanity mechanic is okay, needs fine tuning. DC 15 WIll save is a little clumsy. I get that for the sake of space and cohesiveness the mechanic needs to be simple, but for 9th-11th level PCs, DC 15 is almost laughable but when you do fail, the limited amount of sanity points PCs have versus the amount of damage suggested turns every alien encounter into an almost 'Save or Suck, but don't roll a 1' situation. I foresaw this and changed the mechanic slightly. While this might not work in a group running a straight Wisdom based character (such as a spellcasting dedicated Cleric with a 20 and up Wisdom), it worked perfect for my group. I'll detail this beneath.

5)Freedom of Movement Ruins This Module Not completely, since the PC Oracle has it as one of her spells and I obviously like this module. Still if anyone has this buff up, they are immune to 75% of the module's monsters and their special attacks. It stops The Dark Young, Mi Go, Dimensional Shambler, Spawning Cancre, Shantak, The Fiendish Devilfish, and the Lake Octopus. While only one or two PCs in my group typically had it up at once, I felt like it took away from some of the horrific aspects that should have been occurring during combat. This spell alone was my entire impetus for introducing Mythic at the module's last fight, though I and the players are glad that I did. Still, get ready to be ready to say about a dozen times "If it had grabbed you" to your PCs. Stupid overpowered spell.

Good encounters:
Clantus the Assassin Fun to run, unexpected, and it almost got the Fighter. Judging by the Obits, he's gotten at least 5 other people too.

Church of Gozreh/ Recondite Order... The "Church of Gozreh" is well written because of the way its encounter site is designed; there are enough intervening walls and doorways that the DM can pace the encounter by having other cultists, the Vicar, or the Scion joining in at the appropriate times.

.. and the Scion of the Sea I like monsters with lots of tool-kit abilites that interact with the battlefield, and this thing's damage output combined with its ability to lock down passages with Hold Portal and Arcane Lock let me control how the fight was taking place. I realize its just a Chuul with the Divine Guardian template, but its abilities combined with the environment make it a good opponent.

Spawning Cancre Yeah, that's just creepy. Anyone else reminded of Resident Evil 4 when describing this and showing the picture? Anyways, the sheer horror of the encounter makes it quite memorable for our PCs. Also, the state of its host's armor and spell effects let me adjust its AC up to a challenging task of hitting it, making the lack of danger the FoM-enchanted players faced offset by its eventual success in hitting non-enchanted characters

Marsh Giant and Cultists The ground floor of Undiomede house in my opinion should run like a big, dynamic encounter. I knew that the Marsh Giant would probably get about 3 rounds off unless everyone botched their roll against its Confusion, but they didn't, so I had the cultist, the Vicar, and the Vizier all join in at alternating rounds. This let me escalate the fight appropriately and give the cultists and cleric the space they need to fight, which they wouldn't have found in the rooms where they are.

Insane Broodchief/ SKum/ Fetid Shambler The main thing here is to not let the PCs bottleneck the monsters, which I didn't by having the Skum Bull-Rush through one passage and then flank from the side passage, goading the Mound into the fight. While essentially a massive melee brawl, the Shambler's abilities combined (the compression and spores, not the Grab which got nerfed again by FoM) with the Insane Broodchief's antics made the fight memorable. The Broodchief, for his part, consistently chose some of the weirdest tactics I could think of, but crazily enough, everytime he swung with his greataxe, he rolled a 20. He crit over 3 times in that fight, forcing the Oracle to use up every resource to keep the fighter alive.

Colour out of Space This thing rocks. Perfect monster, my only regret is that during the fight against it, I messed up as a DM. (The fighter used Stand-Still with a Ghost-Touch weapon to keep it from moving away. We discovered later that Incorporeal creatures are immune to any effect that causes them to be moved or prevented from moving, though what caused us to question this in the first place are Ghost Touch Nets and how they work.) Whoever got to design the stats on this one, perfect job capturing everything about this monster that I imagined it having. Out of all the Mythos monsters present, this one rings truest to bringing the horror of that type into the Pathfinder world.

Cerebric Fungus/Gug/ Mi-Go Another dynamic, escalating encounter that walked the fine line between excitingly challenging to unnwinnably hard. The Cerebric Fungus has an array of interesting abilites and spells that complement the Mi-Go's blindsight and sneak attack well. Throw the brute force of the Gug in, and you have a perfect fight. My players like dissecting encounters like a puzzle, so dealing the spellcaster, brute, and flying harriers made this setup interesting for everyone. To keep the encounter properly paced, I made the DC to hear through the doors into the Mi-Go chambers exceedingly difficult (30), so the Mi-Go that entered the fight at different points did so only when I felt appropriate for keeping the difficulty steady. Worked pretty well.

Encounters I would have changed or did alter:

Lake Octopus This was an encounter that was hard to setup without arousing suspicion and hard to force characters not to just run from once it began. Since all the PCs really have to do is get away from the water to end the fight, I raised the stakes by having Horace Croon arguing with the dockworkers about his right to moor there, having him be an innocent bystander in need of rescue. The monster itself looks good on paper; its in the water so gets all the AC benefits and damage reduction to non piercing weapons as well as having 8 attacks. Surprisingly, it wasn't Freedom of Movement that ruined this encounter but the grapple rules themselves. As written, there's no way for the Octopus to either grab multiple PCs or grab one with multiple tentacles since it always has to spend the Standard action to maintain the grapple. I felt like cinemtaticly, the thing should have been going for everyone but instead just grabbed the Magus for a few rounds, despite everyone being within its reach the entire fight.

Hounds of Tindalos My biggest problem here was their location. They seem to just be.. hanging out(?) in a room with a shut door, despite the fact that they are not bound to the area. For dimensional shifting horrors able to teleport to dozens of right angles all over the house, it seemed weird that they would just sit there, especially if a fight broke out just beyond the other side of the doorway. I made their appearance linked to anyone using teleportation effects in the area since that's sort of what their M.O. is. (Almost like a spider sensing its web, they could feel dimensional travel). As soon as the Magus utilized a Dimension Door to tactically withdraw, I had the two of them 'ride' along' with him, attacking both the PCs and the Cultists they were engaging. Not only did my players LOVE the Hounds 'riding along' but it made they whole fight over the top.

Shantak I wanted this to be cooler, but it wasted a few of its grab attempts on PCs with Freedom of Movement and got cut to pieces by Flying PCs. This encounter was probably the most disappointing in the module, definitely not due to design but simple mechanics.

Spectres Maybe its the amount of incorporeal hate via ghost-touch weapons, channeling, cure spells, or the Dirgesinger's ability to completely screw them up , but these guys lasted two rounds, inflicting 4 levels before dying (two on the Dhampir), which were quickly remedied. Also, for such intelligent undead, where you encounter them doesn't make a lot of sense (since its exposed to the outside/ sunlight). It was day when my group encountered them, so I had to be creative with where the sunlight was in the room, which still limited them greatly.

Tick Swarm I felt like there were about to be dice chucked at my head after running this thing. This has to be one of the worst swarms in the game, and while I appreciate the fact that its near insta-kill factor reinforces the horror setting, it was one of those things that chewed up so many resources to kill it that it almost destroyed the pacing of the exploration, nearly making the players abandon the house after exploring and fighting in it for about ten minutes. Its goes without saying that if you know your players don't have a lot of area of effect abilites, you may want to omit this monster rather than killing off a PC in a very anti-climatic way.

Dhuggatoa Just not enough here to threaten my group. At this point between the Helm of Underwate Action, Elixers of Swimming, Trident of Warning, and other supplies found throughout the module, my PCs were decked out for underwater combat. That took away most of the Devilfish's advantages, turning him into a 7th level Sorcerer with a grab attack versus a group of 10th level PCs enchanted with Freedom of Movement and elemental resistances. His summoned sharks had absolutely no chance of hitting or doing meaningful damage to my group. Were I to redesign him, I would make him into an Inquisitor of Dagon instead of a Sorcerer...

Dimensional Shamblers These guys are actually pretty awesome and well designed. In the interest of making them mechanically unusual from other teleporting monsters, I made their Dimension Door ability usable as a Move action, with actions allowed after the 'port. It made them uniquely challenging to lock down, and the threat of abducting someone to another plane made them highly dangerous. In hindsight, the one other detail I would have changed would be to switch their DR/Lawful for Regeneration / Lawful. This way, they could play more hit and run tactics instead of having to try to get their rocks off all in one fight.

Mi-Go I really want to like the Mi-Go, but most of the encounters where they didn't have some sort of technology helping them were disappointing. For CR 6s, the numbers are right, but without tactical positioning and other ways to raise their attack, they are going to be hard pressed to hit most front-line fighters. To be fair, the main place you encounter them has the Cerebric Fungus and Gug present, but once these are gone, the Mi-Go need something beyond themselves to give the players pause. For my part, I gave the Mi-Go three other pieces of technology to give them some sorely needed range capabilities and to keep a group of 25 intelligence monsters from devolving into a swarming melee mass. See below.

Dark Young I knew Freedom of Movement was going to ruin this fight as well as the 10% chance that the Scythe fighter critically hit the thing. For the pinnacle of the module, I didn't want the encounter against the Monster from Beyond turning into an anti-climatic after-thought. To this degree I decided to utilize the Mythic rules to give some extra abilities to the Dark Young, as well as a Tier to the PCs so it wouldn't be overwhelming for them.See below.

Other Changes I made

Sanity: As stated above, I changed the sanity mechanic as follows. Players roll a d20 every time they encounter a 'madness-inducing situation'. Players want to roll a number equal to or less than their Wisdom score. Players have a number of sanity points equal to their character level plus their wisdom modifier, and lose half the number of sanity points listed in the module whenever they fail (by rolling above their Wisdom Score). It made it more feasible for my players to eventually go mad from what they were facing. Of course, I took extra care in describing every situation that required a check so the horror wasn't lost on them, as well as noting which characters failed against which checks.

Mi-Go Technology: Beyond what was listed, I gave them the following:

Stun Gun:
Aura Moderate Enchantment; CL 9th
Slot none; Price 21,060gp Weight 4 lbs
"This crystalline rod resembles a twisted branch carved into a squared off tip. Upon activation, the wielder makes a Ranged Touch attack at any other creature. Any creature struck by the ray must succeed at a DC 17 Will save or be affected as if by a Hold Monster spell. A Mi-Go Stun Gun normally contains 13 charges."
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, Hold Monster; Cost 10,530

Podriatic Disabler:
Aura Moderate Evocation; CL 9th
Slot none; Price 9,000 Weight 3 lbs
"This metallic cube contains multiple indentations a facets, with one end containing a glowing hole. Using a Podiatric Disabler requires 3 appendages to use. Upon activation, it fires a single blast of force at any target within 100', functioning as a Magic Missle spell. A creature that takes damage from the Disabler is subjected to a Trip attempt, with the CMB equal to the damage dealt. A Podriatic Disabler normally has 3 charges and then must be recharged."
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, Magic Missle, Toppling Spell; Cost 4,500 gp

Force Rifle:
Aura Moderate Evocation; CL 9th
Slot none; Price 14,580 Weight 10 lbs
"This metallic, rifle-like object's tip ends in a seemingly jagged array of clear gems. Upon activation, the gems focus their energy to deliver a ranged touch attack to any creature within 60 feet. Any creature struck by the rifle takes 4d6 points of force damage. Mi-go rifles require a verbal trigger to activate that is usually only able to be duplicated by Mi-Go speech, though can be simulated with a DC 30 Use magic Device check, with a failure of 5 or more damaging the wielder. A Mi-Go Force Rifle has enough energy for 9 shots, and recharges itself it at a rate of one shot per hour.
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, Force Punch; Cost 7,290gp

Making it Mythic As described above I wanted the final encounter to be memorable and so decided to use the Mythic rules to give the fight more weight. In the two fights preceding the underwater dome, I had a spectral butterfly began meaningfully fly towards their next destination. When they got in the dome and the Dark Young appeared, I allowed it to have a full round with its new found Mythic powers before the PCs got their moment of ascension. I gave it the following:
-Mythic Tier 3 (Surge, DR 15/ Epic and Slashing, +3 Nat Armor, +24 HP)
-Dual Initative special ability
-Block Attacks special ability
-Inescapable Grasp (as the 11th level Tetori Monk power, with Mythic points powering the ability instead of Ki). This ability alone made the fight memorable.
-Summoning (2 Evil Treants that formed off of its body)
After fighting it out for the round, I had time itself seem to stop and the presence of Desna appeared before them. She spoke: 'She has weakened the barrier. She has come forth to propagate unto your world. She will devour you and rebirth you, and she cares nothing for the dreams of mortals. But she has weakened the barrier, and as she seeks to come through, so can I. Would you like some help against her?'
After a resounding 'Yes!', I read this (near bottom of thread) for their moment of ascension and then handed each of my players a sheet of paper with their new Mythic abilities. From there, it was on, and seven rounds later, the Dark Young was defeated. Adding Mythic gave the fight a sense of importance that heightened the tension of the encounter.

Overall, we loved this module, and felt the author did a great job offering a variety of interesting encounters while capturing the Mythos feel. I am also excited about the incorporation of Mythic rules into the campaign, and look forward to seeing how they play out in the next two. Now, on to Ashes at Dawn!


I know this is opening a giant can of worms, but I am quite excited about one monster in particular from the Bestiary 4, the Time Dragon. For the first time ever in PF (and maybe 3.5 D+D) we have an ability that can allow a group of PCs to travel back in time to witness, and potentially interact with Golarion-shaking events. Starfall? The Tarrasque's rampage? Ringside seats at the fight between Aroden and Tar-Baphon? Just convince the a Great Wyrm Time Dragon to port you back! (Or forward...) In case anywone's glossed over the entry or doesn't have a copy, here it is:

Time Travel Up to three times in its life, a great wyrm time dragon can travel to any point in time, taking with it a number of willing creatures equal to its Charisma modifier.

With this in existence, all sorts of adventuring potential comes forth, from traveling back to witness an unknown key event to going for the whole, "Let's go back in time, kill (Hitler)/Tar Baphon/ Geb" so this 'x-event' never comes to pass. I could easily see the Pathfinder society funding a fortune just for the chance to see and record any number of events. Obviously, convincing the Dragon to use this power would be a quest unto itself.
Nonetheless, this begs an integral world-building question: Is Golarion on a fixed time-stream or is it mutable? Can events that are changed in the past effect and change the future, or has everything that has happened already come to pass. Obviously, there's lots of 'Butterfly Effect' possibilities if time is mutable.
1)Do any other DMs plan on integrating this ability in their campaign, and if so, how will you deal with the time-stream: static or flowing?
2) (Should be in the "Next AP idea, but whatever): Any of you Devs think about integrating this into an AP, and if so, what is your stance on Golarion's timestream? I would love a time-traveling adventure where one also has to keep the Dragon safe or do favors for it to keep adventuring. Getting to interact with a living, breathing Runelord (that didn't want to kill you) would be sweet, sweeter still if said Runelord survives Earthfall because of the future knowledge gleaned from the PCs...


Anybody else have any PCs go insane from the Sanity mechanic in Wake of the Watcher? Right now, two of my four PCs are halfway there. They are getting ready to

spoiler:
face the Colour out of Sapce
, and my PC sanity scores are as follows:

Sanity Scores:

Dhampir Magus: 4/10 sanity points remaining.
Cause of loss: Dimensional Shambler (early appearance in Carrion Hill) and Slugspawn Eruption
Human Oracle: 8/10 sanity points remaining.
Cause of loss: Spawn of Yog-Sothoth
Human Bard :8/12 sanity points remaining.
Cause of loss: Slugspawn Eruption, Hounds of Tindalos
Human Fighter: 7/13 sanity points remaining.
Cause of loss: Otherwordly artwork in Mansions before Feldgrau, Shantak

Given a couple bad rolls, I could see the spoilered monster driving a couple PCs insane, and there's more to come. What makes this interesting is that except for Ardis (which is miles away) there's no settlement in Ustalav that has higher than 6th level spellcasting services... Which means there's no cure for mental illness in Ustalav except in one place. By the time they complete the module, they still won't have access to Heal since the Oracle is on a different spell progression, which means the entire plot gets hijacked to deal with the character's debilitation. Personally, I think it's cool to play a character with a drawback, at least for a few encounters, but I'm afraid afflicting a character with mental illness might be too destabilizing. My options seem like the following:
1)Forced retirement- The PC can't adventure anymore and spends their career dealing with their illness.
2)Integrated Dementia- The PC has the affliction, but only manifests during stressful situations. (Because if anyone has ever actually ran the spell Insanity nothing destabilizes a game more than forcing a PC to continuously roll confusion effects outside of combat.
3) Mad until Cured- The PCs deal with the normal effects but are able to find their way to a sanitarium (an actual, working, not-housing-evil-experiments, place of healing. Those do exist in Ustalav, right?.. Right?!) From there, its coming up with some sort of mechanic for mundanely treating mental illness. (which should be possible, otherwise there wouldn't be any insane asylums in Golartion that actually worked without an 11th level Cleric)
4) Hand-waived with Heal And then there's that. The least exciting of the solutions. Why have a mechanic in place only to have it washed away by finding a scroll of the spell somewhere. Also, I'm a little reluctant to start making scrolls of this spell super available if the next module has a TON of undead. This is the solution I am least likely to employ.

And then, there's picking the Insanity for each PC.. Anyone else use experience anything similar when running this module?


Again, we're in old Ustalav, with potentially a 100+ mile journey on our hands with a little bit of detail to flesh it out. Obviously, I want to continue showcasing the wonder and horror that comprises this country. The PCs will travel overland,(since no one has the capability to Teleport, which I am overjoyed with), passing through the Varno/Ulcazar border into Verserx. While the wandering encounter chart is all well and good, a lot of the monsters featured are already present in Wake of the Watcher and I don't want to over-saturate the campaign with 'those' kind of monsters, especially since a lot of the horror element results in encountering them for the first time in the context of the adventure.

Sort of spoilers:

The planned land route is as follows:
*Carrion Hill --> Lantern Lake (50 miles)
*Road between Lantern Lake and Watching Wood (Old Wikeneim Road) --> Hyannis (55 miles)
*Hyannis --> Rosenport (Danver Road) (17 miles)
*Rosenport --> Thrushmoor (Danver Road) (14 miles)
*Thrushmoor --> Illmarsh (16 miles)

Encounter Ideas
1)Apostasy Wraiths (Inner Sea Bestiary) Being close enough to the border of Razmiran, this might be my only chance to ever use these awesome undead in the context of any campaign that's out right now. I think their ability to supress clerical powers could make for an interesting fight. I think maybe some sort of abandoned hamlet context, like a failed missionary attempt. Maybe I could even foreshadow what killed the priests with some sort of monster that appears later in the jounrey.

2) Aboleth Between Avalon Bay and the Destach River, there's all sorts of waterways the PCs are going to travel near, which begs for an aquatic encounter of some kind, if nothing else than to give the PCs a refresher on the possibility of underwater combat and its rules. I could see an Aboleth keeping tabs on what's transpiring in Illmarsh, using dominated proxies to gather information and watch from afar. In this regard, I think an Advanced Aboleth with some Scrag minions could prove a good encounter; even if the Aboleth charms/domnates everyone, it still wants them to go to Illmarsh anyway and gather information.

3) Savage Dire Bats I like the idea of the wildlife itself being tainted by the 'Phage' described in Rule of Fear, that the whole of Versex county has an palpable aura of wrongness that sometimes poisons the animals into something else. AP #74 (Sword of Valor) gives the Man-Eating Animal template for creatures of the Animal Type, allowing a number of horrors to have plausible reason for attacking the PCs. In this way, I plan on having some sort of 'natural' spring tainted by the leyline energies in a way that animals that drink from the spring or eat the flesh of those who did become 'diseased'. (Like rabies, I get to play out the whole Cujo trope). In this regard, I think I'm going to mainly have Dire Bats and a Dire Bear be the main adversaries, but I have to get a hold of those Troop rules. I think a Troop of Man-Eating Elk would be terrifying...

4)Shining Child? I'm worried that this thing might be overpowered for a group of 4 9th level PCs, sort of like encountering the Witchfire randomly in Broken Moon. This could prove a horrifically awesome fight or a potential TPK. I'm on the fence on this one (It should be noted that the thing IS on the random encounter chart in the module).

5)Nuckalavee Since Hyannis is supposedly a sight of great environmental desolation, I feel that the inclusion and CR of this monster would be appropriate. The question is what else to include with it... I'm loathe to run solo monsters for a number of reasons.

Thoughts on any of this? Also what,if any, random encounters have other DMS used to detail this journey?


Edited for spoilers.


So this popped up on Facebook
Looks like Paizo's medusa artwork...
Thought you should know.


I love PF and have playing ever since the tranisition from 3.5. Something I have noticed that has been a repeated problem is the bindings of the Adventure Paths. I looked through the forums to see if others have had similar problems, mainly finding that the CRB and APG have had issues. For me, this began with AP #26 (Six Fold Trial) and has continued up with my last purchase (PF #74, Sword of Valor). Out of all the APs I've bought, the following have had bad bindings that consist of loose pages:
AP#26
AP#27
AP#28
(This three, combined with AP #25 I combined into a binder, but I miss having them in their intact format)
AP#43
AP#44
AP#64
AP#74
I am not rough with my soft-covers, and have never had lssues with any of the Campaign Setting books, it seems like a problem that only occurs with the APs. My 'Sword of Valor' started coming out of the binding by the time I had gotten home from the FLGS where I purchased it. This never occured before #24, so I'm simply curious if something changed in the way the APs are produced. I am certainly more wary of buying an AP if I think that within a couple weeks, its going to be a pile of papers stuck loosely between two covers. Yeah, I could bind them, but that's not why I pay 20$ a pop for these books. Anyone else having this problem??
Also, I am aware o similar threads, but none seemed to be related to the quality of the APs specifically. (Though sometimes search-fu fails)


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Well, my group is further along the way through the Carrion Crown path, having just completed Tim Hitchcock's adventure Broken Moon. Here's some group statistics and then what we thought of the module itself, what I thought were good encounters or bad encounters, and of course the changes I made. It should be noted that while this adventure started with five players, one of the players could no longer play and retired her character after the Stairs of the Moon, sort of the halfway point of the module. Up to that point, I had made minor changes for five players, which I'll note below. Also, to encourage the usage of more MAD classes, the group I run is given a 20 point build. This allows me to retroactively adjust for some of the weaknesses that this module's main adversaries feature, which I'll get to.

The PCS:

-Willem, Human Fighter 7--> 9 (He started as a farmer. Now, he specializes in the Scythe, taking Improved Critical: Scythe at 8th level, so he has a 1 in 10 chance every round to basically cut something in half)
-Aella, Human Barbarian 7--.8 (PC who ended up leaving the game, two weapon fighter, superstistious, of old Kellid bloodline)
-Gwynnis, Human Bard 7-->9 (A replacement PC for this player's rogue, who died in the Schloss. Soundstriker and Dirgesinger archetypes give her lots of utility)
-Calcifer, Human Oracle (life) 7-->9 (A primary healer, able to do so as a quickened ability and the main means of healing for the Dhampir (Life link ability))
-Alucard, Dhampir Magus 7-->9 ( Specializes in Bastard Sword, has ties to NPCs in fifth module)

WHAT WAS LIKED::

1)Personalities of the Lodge are Well Written. It was fun to roleplay and for my group to interact with the varying personalities within the lodge. While slightly 'red herring' in their pertinence to the overall plot-line, they can be used to detail the history of the countryside around the Shudderwood (specifically Ardis) as well as the political statements that the nobility of the country embodies. The Margrave and Corvin were particularly fun to detail in their attitudes.

2)Estovian is Ben Linus Nothing like an evil genius to throw off a group's guesswork. I played him as a sympathetic, if condescending person who's just trying to keep everyone in the lodge safe, despite his hidden agendas. When he does finally confront the party, its in the blood haze of emerging Lycanthropy, making him slightly sympathetic. I raised his villainy by having him arrange the murder one of the PC's parents, who came to the Shudderwood seeking a way to reincarnate his wife (via the Druid, Cybrissa). When this parent began learning the secret that Estovian possessed (control of the Vilkicis), Estovian made arrangements to have him silenced by Mathus's tribe. This created a side investigation for the PC that let me play up Estovian even further. When the PC went to confront Mathus and Estovian at the stairs (upon learning the truth) it made the fight for her personal. If you've watched Lost, you know what I mean when I say play him like Ben Linus.

3)Good new Monsters The Vilkicis, The Weaverworm, and the host of Zombie enemies are all awesome new additions. Great Bestiary, I wish there was like.. a 6 page spread on zombie enemies; I can see myself using the few given here in other games besides this. Keep doing this for monsters: Take classic monsters and give us a whole bunch of variant stat blocks.

4)Great Locales: Oh, the places you go in this module. From the darkest, most primeval forest to ancient Stairs of the Moon, to the civilized comfort of Ascanor Lodge, to the atrocity laden landscape of Feldgrau, this module has great detail on some memorable sights, giving resonance with the Horror element present within the campaign. The sights that are detailed are awesome, providing a rich history to link PCs to Ustalav itself. If anything, this module covers the largest geographic expanse of all the other ones, making this a walking tour of old, horror-hiding Ustalav. This is a bonus but also a drawback, which I'll get to below.

5)The Five Tribes are Cool: Maybe it's because I'm a huge fan of the old Werewolf: The Apocalypse game, but I instantly picked up on the five tribes and what seperetes them from each other. I loved the fact that one group of humanoids (werewolves) could be presented with so many different variations of motivation and lifestyle. In a way, I tied the underlying themes of each tribe with a concept the PCs could easily identify with, which as written in the module is easy to do. Silverhides were elitist pure-bloods wanting to keep the status quo and cull the ranks of lesser blood, keeping Lycanthropy only in the hands of nobility. The Prince's Wolves kept their charge from the old days and served as wandering scouts, representing the alliance of the Werewolves against the Whispering Way. The Broken Ones represented the natural order of the forest and the werewolves place within it. The Primals represented just that, the primal, hunter aspect of the werewolves that lead them to hunt and kill all other prey in the forest, setting their dominance above all others. Finally the Jezeldens represented the dark side of the Werewolves, the horrible tales of rampant Lycanthropy come to life as every encounter with them resulted with someone being bitten.


WHAT WAS NOT LIKED::

1)Need better motivation than 'We're pursuing after the Whispering Way'. I get that part of the module is investigating the reason for the Whispering Way's involvement in the woods, but up to this point, there's no stake for the PCs to do so other than, "They're bad". Why should be the PCs pursue a death cult through one of the darkest forests of Golarion for just this reason? If the extent of the Way's plans aren't hinted at or the stakes aren't personal (as I made them for one PC), there's little motivation for the players to go after these guys, other than the sympathy created by the NPCs that the WW has hurt (Vesorianna and Caromarc).

-FiX: I utilized a fair amount of historical descriptions as well as dreams to give motivation to the players. If the players feel that they learning about a conspiracy that will bring about something horrible, they will fell compelled to stop it. The dreams were especially important; each player received about three to four of them, detailing things in the past or things to come (and in the case of one, the sheltering influence of Desna against Things from Beyond). This helped to foster a connection to Desna which helped tie the PCs to The Stairs of the Moon later in the module. Desna's connection with the Outer Void also helped me preview some of the themes in the next module.

2)Module is too geographically ambitious: From Schloss Caromarc to Feldgrau, this module encompasses hundreds of miles of traveling, all of which the PCs must accomplish. I stated this in my review of 'Trial of the Beast', but if one is traveling through Ustalav, one should be encountering a few horrifying and terrible things every so often. What is presented is awesome, but for the hundreds of miles of journey in between, DMs are left to fend for themselves. Random encounter tables are all well and good, but I like be given the occasional set encounter to define the journey (The ettercaps and Weaverworm were a great example of this!) Of all the modules, I feel that this one most requires Rule of Fear to run correctly. Of course if you're going to run the whole AP, you really should have this book anyways.

-FIX: Fortunately, dozens of DMs like myself have left their notes on this Forum for reading and adding into your campaign. Specifically, I wrote a whole bunch of stuff detailing the journey from Ardis to Feldgrau, the links for which are beneath.

3)Werewolves are too weak: I'll get more into this below under the Encounters section, but I think almost everyone's groups chew through the werewolves. This is for a few reasons.

-FIX: Well, I guess one should just let the PCs feel powerful for half a module. They deserve it after probably getting their butts handed to them in the Schloss.

4) Your group has Lycanthropy? Good luck!!!: In a module with a high probability of having PCs infected with Lycanthropy and few ways to deal with it, surprisingly little advice is given for this scenario. As written, there's enough cures for the curse that each PC could deal with it once, but not twice. This can be problematic, especially if combat breaks at and some but not all of the PCs change. No one wants to sit and watch while one player goes through multiple combats by them-self, and I also didn't want the infected PCs to just 'split'. I felt that if a Lycanthropic version of themselves went off and then came back alone, they might feel that the Shudderwood wasn't a dangerous place, while killing them for being infected and encountering something beyond them (like a lone PC versus a Witchfire) seemed dirty.

-FIX: Since in my game 4 out of 5 PCs were infected, I created a couple of in game fixes, which I detail in This thread.

5) Werewolf Politics.. or not. Just a side quip, but I wish more could have been given about the nature of the werewolves with each other. Getting information about where each tribe primarily resides within the Shudderwood, their relationship with Ascanor Lodge, and their relationship with each other would have been valuable for when my PCs were role-playing with some of them. Saying, "You know nothing of wolf affairs," over and over felt like being a jerk, so had to come up with stuff on the fly. Mostly, this is the nature of my PCs as they usually want to know the How and Why of things, but again more information to connect the PCs to the NPCs would have been better.

Good Encounters:

Ettercaps: In this instance, I had two waves of Ettercaps attack, with the first group comprised of four normal ones while the second group contained an Advanced ettercap riding an Ogre Spider (Bestiary 2) and a Giant Ettercap. The second group helped lure them within range of the Weaverworm's song, which everyone failed against. Overall, a dynamic encounter if the DM uses web terrain, trees, and the ettercap's traps and abilities in the combat.

Weaverworm: Despite the statistic misprint (See the Broken Moon GM thread), and its feat selections (which I changed), this monster makes for a good singular foe .I ran this monster as is except changed Weapon Finesse (which it doesn't need or benefit from) to Weapon Focus: Claw Its ability to slightly equalize the action economy with its Song ability can make for a dicey fight. In fact, three of the five PCs failed their saves against the song, and if not for the Bard being one of the few who did make it, the fight might have resulted in a dead PC. New forms of Lamia are always cool and welcome additions to other games.

Hail of Bolts: While traps in general are kind of annoying and easy to foil, this one stands out because its unexpected while also helping to foreshadow Duristan and his crazed hunt against the Werewolves. Furthermore, giving the PCs Wolfsbane was invaluable given the sheer number of enemies with Lycanthropy around the lodge.

Giant Tarantula: This creature is another good singular foe that is a an applicable barometer of the party's capabilities. Its immunity to mind affects and ease of which it delivers massive, poisoned blows makes fighting this thing a ticking timer on the party's healing capabilities. 2 to 3 hits from this thing will down most PCs of 7th level. My PCs were successful due to the Hex-Magus's Misfortune Hex, which gave the party a couple of lucky rounds against it.

Vilkacis: This thing is just awesome-sauce. The fact that it has rejuvenation makes it good as a recurring foe, and its ability to possess throws an interesting wrinkle into the mix of combat. It should be noted that I changed the Mathus encounter at Highthrone into a one-on one-combat; the Vilkicis aided the PC participating by possessing it if they agreed to destroy its stone, which was held in the cataombs beneath by the then-fugitive Estovian.

Esotivian Its all about the spells you use and how you use them. In my game he held the Poker face all the way until the moment that he unleashed the Vilkicis attacks on them, then dimensional stepped away when they finally went to confront him. He Charmed Delgros on the way out of town, having him guard the road and prevent any guests from 'facing the dangers of the forest due to the dangers of the wereolves', including my PCs. Finally, I swapped out a few spells when they encountered him underneath the Stairs of the Moon, including a few of the Pit spells. This, coupled with Black Tentacles and Stinking Cloud made a nasty fight, ending ironically with a Rage spell cast on him. Oh, and I had him accompanied by Belik, who I made into a 7th level rogue.

Admiraius Ionacu A badass. I made two minor changes, swapping Cleave for Furious Focus and Great Cleave for Dodge to let him deliver the big hit while surviving a little longer against the +18 to attack, Scythe-wielding Fighter with improved critical. It made for a really good fight, especially since we used both floors of the mill to make the fight dynamic. Make sure he doesn't fight alone; give him his two lieutenants as the module suggests, even joining in with the fight with the other werewolves below if need be. Way to make Anti-paladins scary (especially coupled with the Fiendish template).

The Ghost Even using the stock Ghost from the Bestiary, the innkeeper's spirit made for a memorable role-playing encounter and subsequent fight. It's a shame, because as written, a lot of PCs might just skip over the Inn, going straight for Vrood.

Mendoran Festrog I love Festrogs in general as ghoul variants (kind of like ghoul dogs), and the giant version of these things made for a decent brute to occupy the PCs while the cultists and clerics did their thing. While the attacks bonuses aren't high, given buffs like Bull's Strength, Prayer and some of the Cleric Domain/Arcane School abilites and they can be a good threat, especially with their ability to stay in the fight with Feed.

Auren Vrood My fight went pretty well, but I made a few minor changes to him. See below.


Encounters that didn't work well:

PF Werewolves in General: I just don't think that the template gives enough bang for the buck, and when a template is defined by the class levels of the creature taking it, the class levels need to stand out for the adjusted CR to make sense. Part of the problem is the issue with Damage Reduction; I believe it is an over-CR'd ability in terms of what it actually brings to the monster. While at low level DR can be significant, most PCs have the means to overcome it pretty quickly simply by expending resources to have the appropriate weapon. Even without the resources, there are enough ways around it at mid-level for a martial character to use (such as Power Attack, Sneak Attack, Smite, and Bane) that the ability becomes negligible. Further compounding this issue is the fact that most PCs know what they are getting into if they spend even a moment researching or asking about the Shudderwood, meanning that most PCs that venture into the woods will have a variety of Silver Weapons. The biggest problem here is that most of the werewolves not only fall easily in melee as a result, but are classed out as Fighters, Rangers, and Barbarians, making them highly susceptible to multiple Will save-or-suck effects. Heck, even a guy throwing around Color Spray can do pretty well against almost all of the werewolves in the module. This makes one encounter (The Vollensag) extremely problematic.

Vollensag As written, these guys aren't going to have much chance against a group of 7th level PCs, which is a shame; the idea of Dire Werewolves is friggin cool and allows a number of other Dire animals to be used in this capacity as giant threats. While Superstitious helps get their saves up there, their ACs are too low, as are their melee attacks (due to using medium-sized weapons in large size). The idea that one of them is a singular threat can quickly be lost on a group if they are taken down in two rounds, and only by creating the possibility of a dozen joining in the fight can the DM actually give a group of PCs pause. Their feat choices are a bit strange as well, so I made the following changes: Change Improved Unarmed Strike to Dodge, Improved Initiative to Extra Rage Power: Reckless Abandon, change Powerful Blows to Guarded Stance, and give them the Savage Barbarian Archetype. This let them get their AC up there while occasionally dropping their defenses to drop a powerful blow via reckless abandon.

Mathus (and Cybrisa): Again Mathus doesn't have what it takes to contend with a party of 7th-8th level PCs. Action economy and the weakness of his saves are going to let most parties mop him, even if Cybrisa is aiding him. To make this fight somewhat memorable, I implemented some changes, which I'll describe below.

Hangman Tree: Maybe its just my group's nature, but this thing's illusion immediately evoked suspicion (expecting some sort of undead, werewolf hybrid to drop down from the nooses), and the fact that if part of your group makes the saves and the others don't, more suspicion ensues. What results is a monster that can't get surprise and can't reasonably hit an 8th level party with only a +11 to attack. I did get one round on the Magus and strangled him, until the rest of the PCs dog-piled on the thing. The vine attacks should have the option of just doing touch attacks to initiate a noose grapple. Definitely a fight that looked cooler on paper, I recommend giving the thing the Advanced template. At least it wasn't vulnerable to fire..

Acretia Not necessarily a bad encounter, but one that needs a rewrite. She worked very well in my game, but I used the Flowing Monk rewrite for her featured in the 'Broken Moon GM Thread', giving her and the Wights a chance, especially once she started tripping people and attacking them prone. Flowing Dodge, Vicious stomp, and the other tricks made her shine for a few rounds, taking 5 levels from the 8th level fighter before dying to channeled Positive Energy and magic missles. As she is, she is again going to have problems hitting most 8th level PCs and her hp aren't high enough for her to survive a few dedicatted attacks. Giving her the trip route helps her mitigate some of the action economy against her, even with the assistance of the Wights, as grappling simply lowers her AC against everyone else.

Curators If you run these guys as written, they are going to get smoked, even by a non-optimized party. As with Estovian, sometimes its about spell choices, and there are a number that the Clerics can take instead of the ones that they have. For starters, I recommend giving them the Undeath sub-domain, granting them access to Enervation as a domain spell as well as a number of others. Besides this, their spell choices should reflect their purpose. One going directly after the PCs would probably buff themselves to the gills (Prayer, Spell Immunity, Shield of Faith, Bull's Strength, etc.) while another that aims at support might pack attack spells (Hold person, Sound Burst, Blindness/Deafness) coupled with Air Walk. I would certainly have them change their spell lists after the PC's first encounter with the WW forces in Feldgrau.

Cultists The main problem with these guys is similar to the Curators; their spells and items should be varied enough to make them believable enemies. As CR 5s against 8th level PCs, they have their work cut out for them. Most save or suck spells are going to end them and their AC and hp are low enough to die to two attacks from a front-line fighter. Once I varied a few of their spells (with Create Pit, Grease, and Magic Missle), they became a little more effective. I also gave each one a different wand, including a Wand of Darkness, Invisibility, and Darkvision, so the PCs wouldn't be running around with 6-7 identical wands with identical charges. Still, these guys are going to be speed bumps to most PCs, but with the exception of Adimarius, the Ghost, and Vrood, none of the encounters in Feldgrau are very difficult, more there to make the PCs feel like 'Hey, we're finally fighting the Whispering Way and even though there are a bunch of wizards and clerics, we're kicking their butts!', at least until Vrood shows up. One thing of note: These cultists (as well as the Curators) do not possess Darkvision, so if you're going for the whole 'ghost town at night' ambiance, give them access to scrolls or potions of Darkvision so they can still pull off their sneak attacks.

CHANGES I MADE FOR 5 PLAYERS or FOR GIVING MORE DETAIL TO THE JOURNEY

PRE-SHUDDERWOOD:

Troll's Tail : The main thing I did with this town is to note the passing of the Whispering Way and its agents. Besides attacking them with one of the cultists from Feldgrau, I had the town a somber place due to the loss of its priest. A cleric of Erastil, the man was killed when facing down a group of dark clad figures making their way through town with undead creatures. (Vrood and his crew). While his body was never recovered, the PCs encountered him as a Baykok later in the Shudderwood.

Dullahan You encounter one in part 5, but I wanted to feature one as they entered the big, scary, dark woods. To further tie it to the campaign and the PCs, I made it into a nephew of Count Neska by the name of Armitage. I had him be the one responsible for the carnage in Feldgrau but now a Whispering Way agent. I also had him execute the mob that was approaching the Schloss in the last adventure, partly because I didn't want to run another mob encounter but also because I wanted to freak out the players with a "What could cut the heads off of fifty men?" moment. It proved even more disconcerting when they brought they town guard from Lepistadt to investigate, only to find that the bodies had been animated and moved at some point. Freaked them out, and let me use it as an impetus for another bit of horror later in the woods. Also, this Dullahan wielded a scythe as his primary weapon, mainly so the Fighter (who specializes in Scythes) could have an awesome trophy. They learned the Dullahan's identity later when Lucimar taunted them "So you're the ones who killed Neska?"


SHUDDERWOOD/Pre-Ascanor:

Ettercaps and Weaverworm As noted above, I increased their numbers.

Witchfire and Atomies Well, the random encounter chart has one listed in the upper tier of percentages.. Here's the deal: This thing will eat 7th and 8th level PCs for breakfast, even ones equipped to deal with incorporeal undead. I personally love the monster but feel that its a bit overpowered, so wanted to feature the monster without having the PCs fight it. I've always liked the idea of creatures more powerful than the PCs occasionally making appearances to let them know that they don't adventure in a self-created vacuum completely (i.e.. things that can't be fought and killed will never be encountered). In this regard, a had an Atomie (Bestiary 3) burial site off of the side of the path, representing a battle between the faeries and the Whispering Way recently, with a strung up body covered in dozens of tiny cuts representing a small victory for them while tiny mounds with sticks poking out of them representing losses. I had the Atomies interact with the PCs as being distrustful of any humanoids, going as far as to attack a couple times. When talked down with diplomacy, I had them reveal what had happened. By successfully making relations with the Fae, I had them serve as a delaying mechanism for the arrival of the Witchfire. As it arrived, the Fae grew scared and encouraged them to run. A bit headstrong at the time, the PCs remained until the Witchfire came into view. One of the players, another DM, recognized the monster and immediately told everyone that they should have listened to the fae. I then had the Atomies engage the thing, buying the PCs time so they were able to run away from it.

Manaanagal I featured a hut with a Manaanagal (Bestiary 3) dwelling in it, disguised as a harmless old woman who collected herbs from the forest. I had her attempt to serve the PCs stew poisoned with concentrated Oil of Taggit(DC 17 fortitude or lights out and cooked into stew). When this didn't work, they attacked and she revealed her true form.

Relentless Brain Eating Dire Bear Zombies (and Cybrisa) I knew that I wanted Cybrisa as a potential ally before the Stairs of the Moon and also wanted to use her as a thematic symbol of the natural order of the Shudderwood. To this degree, I had her make an appearance as an ally along the path before Ascanor. I had the Whispering Way leave two guardians on the trail, a pair of Relentless, Brain-Eating, Dire Bear Zombies that proved tough opponents. Having decided Cybrisa would be 9th level, (So she is capable of casting Reincarnation, which is a story reason for one of the PCs to venture into the Shudderwood) I had her appear in wolf form on the outskirts of the fight and deliver a Flamestrike to the zombies. After the fight, she told the PCs to leave the forest and stay out of wolf affairs, that the balance of the forest had been upset. She then disappeared, but made one other appearance before the Stairs of the Moon. I feel that even with minor NPCs, sometimes getting the most out of them requires using them before their scheduled appearance, either through rumor or actual interaction.

Demonwolves and a Horror from Beyond! I also knew that I needed a werewolf encounter before the PCs arrived at Ascanor. Afterall, if they are going to trek through that much of the forest (dozens of miles) that is known for the things, it wouldn't make sense to not have them make one appearance. I threw a pack of 'lesser' Demon Wolves at the party, a group of eight Fiendish Werewolves (straight from the Bestiary) accompanied by the Cleric of Jezelda from Classic Horrors Revisited. I had the fight take place on the outskirts of a set of old Kellid runes composed of standing stones on a rise. Since some of the original Kellids worshipped 'things from beyond', I helped to punctuate this fact by the arrival of a horrible monster, a Giant, Advanced, Neh-Thelgu (Bestiary 2) that appeared through the 'thinness' present at the apex of the ruins. Responding to the fight, the thing appeared and telepathically taunted everyone about consuming their delicious thoughts, forcing both sides to stop and turn on the thing before resuming their fight.


ASCANOR LODGE:

Hunting something for Lodge membership: I wanted to make the most out of interacting with the lodge's guests, so I knew I needed something to keep the PCs occupied while they mentally mulled over the new personalities they had just met. They immediately suspected Estovian offhand, so I knew I would need a way to throw them off his tracks, if only for a little bit. Since Alpon Caromarc is no longer a member of the Palantine council, I wanted to also emphasize some of the politics present in Ustalav; their invitation into the lodge was rejected, but Delgros the Ranger (who believed their tales of werewolves and other things) told them that they could gain membership by bringing a 'trophy' back. They were allowed to stay for one night in the guest lodges, but had to leave until they had the credentials to be members. This included one of the following monsters that were geographically within a couple miles of the lodge, all in different directions:
1)Gorgon (the activities of which were seen by the PCs on the way to the lodge)
2)River Behir (Behir with Swim instead of Climb speed)
3) Moonflower (a fallen meteorite that the PCs witnessed during their journey, it also contained 6 Akata (Bestiary 2) and a small trove of skymetal in its crater)
4) Titan Centipede
5) Alpha Peryton (Leader of a peryton pack that plagued the southern trail out of Ascanor)

Estovian Not a lot of changes here except I utilized his Dimensional Steps ability to move around silently when needed and utilized his Charm spells to their fullest extent. The idea is to let him play his hand without giving it away, at least until the last possible moment. Also, since at the time I had five players, I gave him a Lesser Rod of Quicken Spell to help mitigate the action economy against him, besides giving him the aid of Belik.

Belik Here's the best way to give Estovian time: give him a scapegoat. When the activities of the Tarantula took place, I had Estovian tell Belik to go out and hide himself on the grounds for a few days. This let Estovian shift the blame on the halfling and gave a chance for the Vilkicis attack to occur later. Later, when Estovian re-appeared under the Stairs of the Moon, I had Belik accompany him to give him much needed action economy, giving him the statistics of a 7th level rogue.

The Boar Hunt and The Vollensag I increased the number of Vollensag by one to account for a fifth player. This worked since with the re-worked stats, they hit like tanks and could take a beating in turn. When the woods errupted with howls, it had the effect that was needed.

Prince's Wolves in Peril As the PCs researched the 5 tribes, they came to learn that the Prince's Wolves were ancient enemies of the Whispering Way. This let me set them up early as potential allies, and through the use of spells and investigations, learned that they had not answered Highthrone's call for their tribe to stand before the new Packlord. Seeking insight into the werewolf affairs and figuring that enemies of the Whispering Way might be willing to help them, they went to seek them out. I designed an encampment they were using, an ancient ring of broken-down carriages that had become make-shift shelters for them. I had them being sieged by a Lesser Charnel Colossus. Basically, I had the Way utilize all the animated bodies from the mob killed by the Dullahan to perform the ritual, fusing their essence into an uncontrollable undead abomination. I took the stats of the CR 19 Charnel Colossus from the Inner Sea Bestiary and devolved them into a CR 10, huge monstrosity (using the CR guidelines from the Bestiary). The thing was besieging their camp, killing any who attempted to leave. Killing it gave the Prince's wolves reason to trust the PCs and let me set up lots of role-playing and lore-giving with them. (The document that had the stats got eaten unfortunately)

STAIRS OF THE MOON:

Battle up the Stairs The Moon turned full the night that this took place, and all of the PCs had Lycanthropy except one. I utilized a couple of methods to deal with this. I had a few minor changes, having over two dozen werewolves positioned at Highthrone awaiting the other tribe's arrival (the Prince's Wolves finally show up with the PCs but are rejected because of the PCs). Resembling a moot, I forced the PCs to fight up the stairs against both the Silverhide Rangers (E7) and the Dorzhanev Archers (E5) to compensate for five players, with the goal to arrive at the top of the stairs.

Highthrone and Mathus If the 'honorable way' of becoming Packlord is challenging the current Packlord to single combat, I wanted to give the PCs this option to gain face with the Werewolves, so once they reached the top level of Highthrone, I allowed the place's properties as a former church to Desna take place: each PC could act normally while under the Full Moon at the top of the Stairs. I also knew that while Mathus didn't stand a chance against five PCs, a fight against one could result in a player death. To mitigate this, I utilized the Vilkicis, having it offer the dueling PC in question its aid if it would release them from the control of one below them. I portrayed it as a weary ancestor spirit that was chafing at being controlled by one who had nothing to do with them (Estovian), and while it possessed the PC to give them huge stat bumps, it also gave them control so they could fight it out. Also, since Rhakis was present, I had him consume Mathus's heart and detail some the information presented in the above link. This worked exceptionally well. While I did skip the final encounter with the Vilkicis, its presence in the aforementioned fight help me convey some of its history.

The JOURNEY FROM ASCANOR ALL THE WAY TO FELDGRAU:

-For the huge expanse between Ardis and the Furrows, I used This.
-For The Furrows, I used This.

RUNNING FELDRAU:

1) Limiting visibility: I didn't want the PCs to just look at the Tower and think, 'That must be it. Let's go there first.'. I also wanted to control the pacing and number of encounters the PC faced with each day they were within the town. To this degree, I had mist encompassing the entire town at all hours, making it so that PCs couldn't see further than 60 feet from them. This let me make it so that encounters wouldn't just escalate where every enemy within viewing distance of a battle joining in. It also let me add the occasional strange sounds of skeletal marching, chanting, or battle, some of them real, some of them produced by the town's ghosts.

2)Unhallowed ground: Something I did was to give the entire town a Desecration effect. This lets the Skeletons, Skeletal Warriors, and Festrogs all have a chance against 8th level PCs and survive more than just one channel or fireball. The effect can't be lifted until the townsfolk in the mass grave are given a proper burial. If I had 5 players at this point still, I would have made it double-strength, and in hindsight, probably should have done that anyways.

3)Utilizing Rhakis and the Prince's Wolves: Having an ally with a name and face the PCs remembered helps give them a sense of direction. I had Rhakis and his mates fortifying one of the buildings as detailed for The Prince's Wolves in the module. I had the PCs first encounter one of them on the outskirts of town (F1), injured from an encounter with a Giant Zombie that patrolled the field between the farmhouse and the town (page 90 of the module, this giant will later be found by the WW , whereupon they will severe its hands and utilize them for Vrood's guardians.). The Prince's Wolf directs the PCs to Rhakis's stronghold, which I allowed the PCs to utilize as a place to rest while they engaged in strikes on the cultists. I had the werewolves assuming a defensive posture since they had encountered Acretia and had suffered multiple level losses to her attacks (i.e. no shape to fight or aid, just trying to last long enough for the Demon Wolves and WW to destroy each other). They provided the PCs with a map of the town and its hotspots, which let me direct them to the Mill (Demon Wolves), Town Square (Cultist Leaders) and the Armory/Tower (Acretia, The Packlord's Heart, and Vrood). It also let me warn them about the potential for escalation and being flanked by two hostile forces if they didn't systematically take them out. Thus, my party didn't just head straight to the tower, even when its location was revealed.

4)Getting the PCs to meet the Innkeeper: Unless the DM directs it so, there is little chance that the PCs will encounter the inn , deal with the ghost, and use it to get the information from Vrood. To make this a place necessary to investigate, I had the Prince's Wolves tell the PCs that they've seen the Whispring Way to go out of their way to avoid the place, so perhaps it is haunted. After the PCs foray against Adimarius and the rest of the Jezeldens (which escalated with a couple patrols converging on the fight immediately after it finished), they returned to find the Prince's Wolves outside of their hiding place; the Whispering Way had discovered the place and launched a strike against them. While there were casualties primarily on the cultists side (and a couple for the Prince's Wolves), one of them escaped, compromising the place as a safe place to rest. I had them urge the PCs to take control of the inn since the cultists seemed to avoid the place. They both brokered a deal with the ghost and then dispatched him when he turned hostile, freeing the place of his presence for the couple days required to deal with the rest of the WW and Vrood.

5)Stacking encounters Utilizing the mist element, I was able to group encounters together so that the PCs had to deal with the town in portions. To this degree, I broke the town up into different sections. The entry (Giant Zombie, Duristan, the Haunt, a Patrol composed of Cleric, two Cultists and a chained Mendador Festrog and finding the Prince's Wolves), the Jezledens (The Mill, a joining patrol of four cultists and Two Festrogs and the further joining of one of the Clerics) and the Way Itself (Town Square, Armory, then the Tower)
6)Dust of Sneezing Be nice and get rid of this thing. Chances are that your PCs will use it against Vrood or some other high-end monster, which can result in an instant TPK. If they discover that its cursed, they can use it offensively to nullify even the toughest enemy. I don't usually shy away from cursed items, but this one is horrible, a throwback to 2nd edition where everything killed you, and sometimes without a save. In this case, our Oracle used it in the second round against Vrood, failed her save, and took 13 constitution damage, dropping her HP to the teens. Without the Oracle to cast Remove Fear, the Fighter who failed his save against Eyebite would have fled, letting Vrood annihilate the two remaining PCs. Before this chain of unforseeable events occured, I mitigated the damage by allowing the Oracle to cast Remove Curse against the Caster Level of the Dust to restore her constitution damage. A horrible magic item, for the love of your bad guys and your players, don't include it.
7)Auren Vrood My biggest change for Vrood was the inclusion of the last two levels of Agent of the Grave, raising his Caster Level to 12, offsetting the stat-block error present between his prestige class spell progression and his printed stats. All it really did was give him a few bonuses, and against a 20 point build, seemed to make the fight long yet climatic. Overall, doing this changed the following:
+11 Perception (8 ranks), 9 Extra HP, +1 to all saves, a bonus 6th and 5th level spell slot, a bonus feat (Eschew Material Components) and most importantly, the ability to heal himself via Lich's Touch and Negative Energy Affinity. Most important were his new spells, and while I figured Create Undead would be his new 6th level slot, I played with his 5th level slots a little. I took away Telekinesis and Waves of Fatigue and substituted them for two castings of Suffocation. For his new 5th level slot, I gave him Magic Jar, which let me do a lot of awesome things with him before they actually even got close. For one, I had him possess one of the Skeletal Champions, having it fall from the tower, only to rise up and cast spells at them (a couple lower level ones, but also one of the Suffocation spells). At first, they thought it a special form of undead (an unknown general), but when they easily dispatched it and then felt Vrood's life-force trying to steal their bodies, they ran in fear. In fact, they steered clear of the whole area until they thought the spells had run its course, which let me stage the final fight inside the tower at sunset.
With Vrood, I had him cast Alarm on the tower door, which let me get his buffs off. Due to dreams and the discovered aftermath left by Vrood, the party had a pretty good idea that he would be slinging a Circle of Death at some point. I love the fact that Death Ward doesn't provide complete immunity, as it made for the diciest round of the fight (Harrow Points and a couple of awesome Bard's reroll-your-save spells barely kept everyone alive). I had Vrood turn Invisible the first round of combat, knowing what my PCs would do if they got up close to him. From there, he flew around, raining spells and avoiding that DC 20 Perception check to pinpoint him. When he did get nailed with a Glitterdust, he used the Dispel he'd been saving to remove it and continue on. The fight lasted 11 rounds, with every spell of 3rd level or higher of his being spent. I thought it was an awesomely climatic fight for the end of the module, and everyone seemed to enjoy it. My advice for DMs: don't fear the Circle of Death, as long as you give your players warning of its existence and likely use as a Necromancer's attack spell.


Anyways, a huge thanks to Tim Hitchcock for tackling and detailing such an ambitious module, as well as F. Wes Schneider for helping to make the countryside of Ustalav come alive. My players really dug the module, even if they slaughtered lots of bad guys. Now, onto Carrion Hill and Wake of the Watcher!!!


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Since I'm getting ready to post my review (still writing), I thought I'd paste some of my campaign notes for reference in one spot. Some of this is simple extrapolation on the ideas presented within the module while other parts are bits of lore hinted at, with a lot of it being my own creations. Some of this deals directly with the difficulty of running Lycanthropic characters (who have no free will during a full moon) with a couple of methods.

Powers of the Packlord's Heart:

'Rhakis Szadro, leader of the Prince's Wolves, tells you of some of the known powers associated with the Packlord's Heart. The legends about it having supernatural powers are correct; once someone has slain the current packlord and their heart is eaten, the power of that packlord and all of the ones before that one come flooding into the heart's eater. This had happened for thousands of years, at least until recent events. Fully intact, the Heart of the Packlord granted its possessor the following powers: the ability to command other Werewolves with a word, the ability to force a werewolf to change into any form with but a glare, the ability to ignore silver weapons, and the ability to grow enormous in strength and size. These abilites diminished in effect when the heart was cut into pieces, and the majority of its power now resides with Auren Vrood, leader of the Whispering Way cultists responsible for the events at Ravengro, Lepistadt, and recently, Ascanor Lodge.'

Basically as it sounds, plus it let me throw some control over the blood madness that was the Stairs of the Moon (in my campaign, 4 out of 5 had Lycanthropy during the Stairs encounter, but I wanted to let them have moments of lucidity. To this degree, I allowed Mathus the power to change them into human form with a glare (he bluffed, telling them he could take their 'gift' away since they weren't fit to carry such 'Royal' blood). I also gave Mathus DR 2/- to against silver to show the diminished abilities of the heart in him.


The Devil in Grey:

Legend:
"...Some of these powers of the packlord have given rise to the legend of 'The Devil in Grey', especially since the owner of the heart can grow in size, and not every pack leader has always seen humans as kin. Nonetheless, the legend of the creature is very real, one of the few menaces of the Shudderwood that the Werewolves have always gone out of their way to avoid. For the most part, the creature, which appears as a grey dire wolf of enormous size, seems to leave the werewolves alone, but not the communities that surround the forest. Despite having little contact with the creature, the werewolves have seen the aftermath of its hunts enough times over the centuries to have their own theories about the monster (a few even claimed to have known someone who knew somebody that talked to it). They claim it is a vengeance sent from The First World to wreak the works of man, a twisted guardian of the forest. That it seems to have appeared and disappearied throughout the millenia long history of the Shudderwood suggests an ancient unknowable force, one that despite supposably having been killed a few times throughout the years keeps coming back. Rhakis warns you that the rumors state that it often targets those trying to take things from the forest, such as trophies, and although the creature doesn't attack werewolves, it is rare for him and his kind to accompany humans to the edge of the forest, so he is unsure of what will happen should an encounter with the creature take place."

For statistics (since I had them encounter it before they left the forest), I used a Giant, Advanced Winter Wolf with Three Mythic Tiers. This was before the final book for Mythic was released, so I won't bother reprinting the erroneous stats, but I will detail the unique abilites I gave him, besides raising his Breath Weapon to 10d6.

Stormwinds The Devil in Grey can infuse the area around him with whirling snow and sleet, out to a radius of 15 feet around him. Within this area, all creatures within 5 feet of each other gain concealment, or total concealment if they are 10 or more feet away. Creatures within the effect automatically take 1d6 cold damage whenever they begin their turn within the radius of the effect. The Devil in Grey ignores this concealment.

Heart of Winter Any spell or spell-like ability with the Fire descriptor targeting the Devil in Grey or catching it in its radius most succeed on a DC 20 caster level check, or the spell is harmlessly absorbed by the sheer cold of the creature, having no effect. Whenever this occurs, treat the Breath Weapon's recharge roll as if it had rolled a 1.

Immortal: Despite having been killed several times, The Devil in Grey is a primal force and cannot be killed by normal means. 1 day after its apparent death, it returns to life as if a True Resurrection were cast on it. The only way to permenantly lay the creature to rest is to carve out the creature's heart and carry it to the center of an active volcano, immersing it in lava for one hour. Doing so forever renders the volcano inactive. Once cut out of the creature, its heart exudes a Dimensional Anchor effect on it (Caster Level 20), making arriving at at such a destination exceptionally difficult.

Lucimar:

I posted a thread elsewhere about this, but for sake of having everything in one place, its repeated beneath. It should be noted that I had Lucimar make an early appearance during the journey through the Shudderwood to Ascanor. I had him unleash a Baykok on the group and had him watch their tactics before disappearing. He taunted them, trying to get them to serve in earnest that which they already left in their wake, Death. He further taunted them, telling them that if they continued, they would help to kill the staunchest enemies of The Whispering Way (the werewolves, which is partially true). Anyway, the history I came up for him (Since I don't own Hungry are the Damned and think its probably too late to run it in this campaign anyways) is as follows:

"Rhakis also relegates the tail of Lucimar, the Lich Wolf, a former pack leader of a forgotten sixth tribe of werewolves. Comprised of Varisians who held deep fascination with the runes in the Shudderwood, the Varlith were a proud tribe of wanderers who became infected with Lycanthropy during their long journeys through a dark forest to the west (Darkmoon Vale). Having heard of the Shudderwood, the group came to settle among the others of their kind there and became nestled within its boughs. Storytellers and practicioners of ancient magic, the tribe, while small compared to others, quickly became intermingled with their shapeshifting cousins, and grew in size over the decades. Yet as they became embroiled in the politics of the packs, ambition grew in their ranks.

Seeking a way to claim lands for their own and cease their wandering, their tribal leader Lucimar, somewhat of a runt but said to be exceedingly clever, learned the stories of all of the tribes and eventually came to a revelation. Each of the tribes possessed a power that gave them advantages over the others except for his; the Dorzenhavs possessed strong ties to the natural world, the Mordinachts possessed the backing of wealth and nobility, the Prince's Wolves held numerous allies amongst the human population, the Jezelden's held the greatest in numbers and the means to increase them, while the Vollensag had their sheer size and primal ferocity. Digging deeper, Lucimar realized that his tribe's wanderings and stories would have to be the strength that carried them, and to this end, he scoured the collected treasures that they had amassed over the centuries of travel. No one knows where the item came from, but Lucimar supposably found a thing of great power that had been carried for decades unknowingly, an ancient Thassilonian spellbook of potent arcane might. This tome, said to be related to a Runelord Zutha of ancient times, was laced with spells of necromantic power, powers related specifically to the raising of undead. Utilizing the tome, Lucimar quickly solidifed the power of his tribe and staked out an area of the forest for his people. This created a schism within his tribe as many reviled the leader's use of an ancient, unknowable power while others believed that as Varisians, they were bound to wander as part of their blood. Refusing to accept the rejection of his plan and the sacrifices he had made to acheive it, Lucimar turned on his own people. Somehow, the spellbook had changed him, to the point that he saw his own tribe as a means to become Packlord. As each dissentor was killed and then re-animated to serve his cause without complaint, his tribe broke. A final stand was made by the tribe elders against him, where he in turn killed everyone with his unstoppable necromantic powers. Those that didn't attempt to make a final stand against him scattered to the far eaves of the forest, joining with other tribes and forgotting their own.
As Lucimar slaughtered the final elder of his tribe, it breathed a terrible Varisian Curse upon him, "You, who have killed your own people to further yourself, will forever be cursed by us, your blood. I Spite you Lucimar, may you forever be seen as the beast that you are, forever wander without ever resting, forever be seen as an enemy of your people" Supposably, his Thassilonian Tome burst into flames but the runes that ensorcelled it became burned upon his skin. Hindered but unrepentent, Lucimar set his sights on Packlord and marched his undead pack to HighThrone. Unfortunately, the five other tribes were ready for him. Silverhide blademasters joined fang with Primal tooth and claw while Broken One Druids wove powerful natural magics amidst the songs of The Prince's Wolves Even the Demon Wolves were said to wade in , conjuring abyssal horrors to counter the undead menaces of Lucimar. Though powerful, Lucimar stood no match against the collective might of the five tribes, especially without the ancient spellbook that had fueld his rise to power. Overwhelmed, he was executed within moments of his last zombie minion falling, his still beating heart cut out of his chest and devoured. Yet, he did not die. As the werewolves moved to destroy his body, he supoosably woke up and fled into the woods, where he disappeared for years. The legend has stuck with every werewolf in the Shudderwood over the years since its one of the few times in history that all five tribes worked together. As a result, a werewolf covered in Thassiloian runes has become akin to a Bogeyman to them, an enemy of all werewolves who was killed but did not die, someone who lurks in the forest waiting to snatch up lone children. This legend is about 500 years old."

Wolf Songs:

Since Rhakis is a Bard and one of our PCs is one as well, I knew I needed songs that the wolves would sing. I thought the idea of songs about the forest and its history as sung by the wolves would be pretty sweet, but I wanted to describe them as more than just howls, singing, or drumming. What follows is a collection of these that I used, including one I posted elsewhere as a 'fix' to the Lycanthropy problem that occured at the Stairs of the Moon, giving me another way to give the PCs lucidity while they dealt with a multi-stage combat

Rhakis further relates that songs have always been part of his tribe, and in a way, are a way for them to carry the stories of their people from generation to generation. Some of their songs have been adopted from the Varlith while others are their own, but all of them either have a significant moral, a historical connection, or a means to evoke supernatural power. The following are songs that Rhakis sings, their 'sound', their meaning if any, and any supernatural connection:

-Lucimar's Last Stand: A rousing chorus of uplifting voices and up-tempo major chords that change keys in verses that describe the defilement of the Lich-wolf. A historical relegation of the 5 tribes stand against the common foe, and mean to be an uplifting reminder of teamwork in the face of horror.

-Heart of the Forest: A slowly progressing build up of brooding notes, the song is meant to evoke the beauty and oldness of the Shudderwood. Subtle minor chords in the middle verses hint at hidden dangers residing within that rise to a crescendo of balance between the end and middle.

-Highthrone: A simple, non rhythmic vocal chord progression, the song ellicts a feeling of peace and contemplation. The progression of notes seems impossibly old but nonetheless unplaceable.

- Song of the Broken Boughs: A fast paced, ballad filled with ever changing note scales, the song evokes feelings of heroic defiance in the face of overwhelming odds. The song commemorates a particular battle that the Werewolves of the Shudderwood fought against the Whispering Way in days of old. Apparently, the werewolves lost the battle but ensured that the Way never invaded the woods again.

-Song of Packlord's Choosing: A somber battle hymn, this song draws into a steady, thrumming beat filled with repeating note structures. Meant to commemorate any fight for the choosing of any Packlord, the song is also hummed during many life or death struggles amongst the tribe.

-Ballad of the Fallen King: (For our Bard) Rhakis will inform you that the dream like-notes you've heard are part of a song, a Ballad used by the Bastard prince Andriadus Virholt, a member of the royal bloodline of Ustalav. During the War against The Whispering Tyrant, he abdicated his royal birthright in favor of recruiting and joining with the lycanthropic Sczarni of the Shudderwood. Supposably, this series of notes you've been hearing are similar to the main verse of the song, but its entirety has been lost over the years. Rhakis believes that the Varlith were collectors of every song, so if it survived at all, some of their descendents may carry it. However, since what was left of their bloodline either intermingled with the other tribes or left the forest entirely, tracking the whereabouts of any of such blood relative or a copy of the song would be difficult at best. Supposably, the song is Supernatural in nature and has the power to bend time, allowing Andriadus to accomplish incredible feats on the battlefield. (This would function as the Bardic Masterpiece The Requiem of the Fallen Priest King from Ultimate Magic, p.24.)

-Song of Moon's Ebb: This song is in fact a supernatural ballad capable of being performed by only a select few. Capable of surpressing Lycanthropy, this Bardic Masterpiece has been passed down through The Prince's Wolves to aid in their dealings with their human kin, and is has been used by Rhakis numerous times, including just recently.
Prerequisite: Perform (Sing) 5 ranks or Perform (String) 5 Ranks
Cost: Feat or 2nd Level Bard Spell Known
Effect: Upon beginning this Performance, all afflicted Lycanthropes that can hear this song may attempt to gain control of their mental facilities. A character who has lost control of their character to Lycnathropy may attempt a Will saving Throw (DC 15)at the beginning of their turn to act normally. They may take any actions that their current form allows, including changing forms, casting spells, and using magic items. Using this Masterpiece replaces any current Bardic performance the bard may have active and requires the normal action to maintain every round as a standard bardic performance. As long as this performance is maintained, afflicted Lycantrhopes may continue to gain control of their actions every round with successful saving throws. Additional performers of this Masterpiece do not grant multiple saving throws, but they do lower the DC required to gain control by 2 for each accompanying bard.
Use: 1 baric performance per minute
Action: Standard to begin, then as Bardic Performace to maintain.


If I cast Spell Immunity can I legally select a spell that is 4th level on one spell-list while 5th on another? (I'm specifically thinking of Flamestrike, which is a 5th level spell for clerics but 4th level for Druids.)


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As I posted about the road from Ardis to Feldgrau, I also wanted to detail a few things about the journey through The Furrows. I came up with four encounters I plan on using for my group as they travel through the salted, war-torn landscape, some of which I borrowed from Rule of Fear. expanded into stat form.. Below is a social encounter with the Knights of Ozem, two "battlefield haunts" (which I love the idea of), and an adpated monster from 3.5, the Ragewind,restatted into an undead menace.Anyone wishing to use any of this for their campaign is more than welcome.

RISE OF SEY'LOK:

This encounter happens after passing the last estate but before entering the Furrows themselves, along what road remains to Feldgrau. While probably not a combat encounter, it helps to foreshadow allies and an enemy they will meet in Shadows at Gallowspire as well as some forewarning of the haunts in The Furrows.

"The field ahead bears an unnatural phenomenon; a nearly 100 foot ovoid area completely scoured of all grass and other plant life, as if someone had salted the earth. Within this clearing of barren earth lies a stretch of huge footprints, prints that are nearly 10 feet in length and almost seem to be darker than they should, as if the shadows cling deeper to the depressions than the surrounding areas. The unnatural, shadowed prints are being examined by a group of men and women bearing gleaming, heavy mail and weapons"

As the machinations of the Whispering Way come to further fruition, many of the Whispering Tyrants minions begin stirring in anticipation of their lord's return. One of the more powerful of these minions is the Nightwalker known as General Sey'lok. His re-emergence into the world has not gone unnoticed, and as he moves to regain his power and travel towards Gallowspire, his activities are being tracked by a group of Paladins known as the Knights of Ozem. Currently, their group numbers seven: Sir Garvis Karst, Miras Barnholdt, Filip Andreve, Anca Viorica (from module 6), Marcus Arasti, Orin Verheim, and Danis Meliene. Arasti is the oldest of the group, nearing his sixties but a fount of knowledge while Orin is the youngest, barely 20 and quite brash. Danis is quiet and very stoic, as if overtaken by the near legendary proportions of their quarry. The latter three knights are destined to perish when they track their prey to the borders of Virlych and underestimate the strength and intelligence of their foe. A DC 15 Knowledge: Local identifies the Knights of Ozem.

The clearing itself is the sight of Sey'lok's reappearance via Plane Shift. He spent some time orienting his location in relation to Gallowspire before finally taking to flight with Air Walk. The Knights have also noticed groups of humanoid tracks that came through the area twice before the appearance of Sey'Lok, the Whispering Way and the Demon Wolves. The Knights consider the hunt for Sey'Lok of paramount importance and will not divert from their course for any reason. In fact, if the PCs wait long enough, the Knights eventually leave the site, heading west to Ardis to report their findings and to resupply. While the offer to go after agents of the Whispering Way is extremely tempting to the group, they consider one Tar baphon's generals to be of greater importance than what they perceive to be an isolated group of fanatics. At this point, the PCs don't have any concrete proof that Vrood intends to re-awaken Tar Baphon. so at best, the PCs can hope for healing services.

The Knights begin Unfriendly, believing (rightly so) that few armed groups would venture eastward towards Feldgrau without some fell purpose. If there are any Paladins or members of Iomedae's faith amongst the party members, their attitude begins as Indifferent. The Knights have a Sense Motive skill of +4. The following occurs based on the Knight's attitude via negotiation:

-Hostile: The Knights insist that the group immediately leave the area. If the party attacks, the knights respond in turn, attempting to use subdual damage until one of their number takes half of hit point total in damage, at which point they fight to neutralize their foes by whatever means are necessary. As a group of 9th level characters (and an EL14), it should quickly become apparent that the PCs are in over their heads. If the PCs surrender, the Knights allow them to go on their way; they consider their quarry more important than a group of beligerent mercenaries. However, if any of their number are killed, the knights attempt to subdue and arrest the group, bringing them to justice in Ardis.

-Unfriendly: The Knights tell the group of the other sets of tracks but insist that they leave while they conduct their own findings. By the time that they are done with their investigation, the tracks from the Demon Wolves and Whispering Way cultists have been muffled by the armored knights, covering most traces of their passing.

-Indifferent: The Knights allow the group to investigate the tracks.If the PCs are using the tracks of either group to navigate towards Feldgrau, this task is made easier by the Knights. In addition, any PCs investigating the area that makes a DC 25 perception check comes across a scrap of paper covered by the despoiled silt. It reads ".. for Mutineer's Grove.. Silence?...as for the Haunted Trench, removing fear? Something besides that.." This is a bit of musings by on the Whispering Way Curates about how to bypass some of the haunts before Feldgrau.

-Friendly: The Knights allow the PCs to investigate the area and even offer to briefly aid them. While the investigation is happening, Sir Arasti relegates some of the history of Tar Baphon's minions to anyone not investigating, even giving some hints about the recent activities reported at Renchurch and some of the history of its leader, the Grey Friar.

-Helpful: As Friendly, except the Knights also offer healing and the removal of any Curses via their mercies. Additionally, Arasti warns them of what rumors exist about the Furrows since Feldgrau lies within them.

If the Knights are made friendly, award the PCS 3,200 xp for the additional information they recover. If they are made helpful, award 4,800 xp.

First View of The Furrows::

"The overgrown, untended fields and hills of Ardeal give way eastward to a blasted panorama, a stretching landscape scarred with old trenches, blasted earth, and small sickly groves of twisted trees. (Periodically, swirls of snow dance across the pocked stretches, forming up like men grasping for the sky in desperation. )" (seasonal)
(By Day): "Light somehow seems dimmer, as if they sun was covered in a haze despite the clear sky."
(By Night): "The wind occasionally crescendos into eerie howls that sound like screams as it cuts across they trenches in the earth."

FAILED MUTINY HAUNT:

"The scarred hellscape gives way to a strange sight, a grove of trees that nestles near a dead stream. "

This grove is the sight of a mass dissension in the ranks of the Barstoi's soldiers. Because no funeral rights were performed for any of the soldier slain in the mutiny, the grove is now haunted. Additionally, when the Demon Wolves came through this way, a number of their group sub-combed to the haunt and died before the group could escape. PCs 100 feet away from the grove can see further details:

"The center of the grove seems to have signs of being used as a campsite. There are a couple of old, rock-lined fire pits, scattered, rusty tent stakes, and other signs of old use. Besides this, the most noticeable feature are a trio of human corpses, probably recently made by their smell and appearance"

PCs that enter the grove can see further details about the corpses. Doing so causes the haunt to manifest.

"The human's cause of death is readily apparent. Each of their corpses is stabbing the other in a circle of murder. Their longswords and daggers are clearly silver."

Knowledge History DC 20: Not everyone who participated in the War Without Rivals agreed with its cause, especially when the scorched earth tactics of its later days became widespread. When a group of soldiers encamped at this sight, an argument occurred within their ranks that eventually lead to an attempted mutiny. Soldiers turned on each other, and ultimately, a third of their number were killed in the ensuing skirmish. There wasn't time to bury their bodies, so they were gathered in the center of this grove and burnt.

Knowledge History DC 25: The grove has an ill reputation as being haunted by the spirits of the unburied soldiers. It is believed that the mutiny occurred due to a group of them coming to the realization that they had slain blood relatives on the other side of the conflict. Cail Locknave, the commanding officer, supposably not only confirmed this but also revealed that the troops were responsible for the eradication of lesser noble houses that were tied by blood to many of the soldiers. The motives for the soldiers' own actions in the conflict came into question in their minds, and it quickly escalated into a full-blown mutiny.

Failed Mutiny Haunt CR 8
XP 4,800
CE Haunt (40' radius area in the center of a grove of trees)
Caster Level 8th
Notice Perception DC 20 (to hear a chorus of angry whispers grow louder and louder)
hp 16 Trigger Proximity Reset 1 day
Effect When this haunt manifests, the chorus of whispers rises to fill the entire grove. Many of the whispers seem to come directly from the mouths of any PCs in the area, and as they rise, they begin forming conspiratorial words. Any creature in the area must make a Will save (DC 17) or be affected as if by a Song of Discord as the whispers urge the PCs that their companions are murderers and will eventually kill their families.
Destruction A Consecrate spell must be cast in the center of the grove, followed up with a Calm Emotions spell. That spell must be maintained either through concentration or multiple castings for no less than 4 minutes (40 rounds, the length of the mutiny) to completely set the restless sprits at peace. Casting Calm Emotions in the area of the haunt automatically causes the haunt to reset its manifestation time, forcing those seeking to put the spirits here at rest to contend with the haunt one last time.

Treasure The three dead demon wolves each have a masterwork silver dagger, masterwork silver longswords, and a set of half plate. There is also two potions of Remove Fear, a potion of Bull's Strength, and 270 gp in assorted coins.


PEASANT MASSACRE HAUNT:

"As you come to another long stretch of treeless ruin, there appears to be a fair amount of clutter covering the way area ahead of you; old broken weapons, bits of armor, and scraps of charred wood and metal littering the areas around two trenches. Amidst the litter can be seen the occasional bone fragment, though most of these appear to be half buried in the bruised soil as if the tortured earth were attempting to forget whatever occurred here. While tufts of sickly grass sprout up occasionally amidst the litter, none of it grows near the two trenches"

It is possible that the PCs are able to see into the trenches before they trigger the haunt. In this case (or after the haunt is dealt with), read the following:

"The trench has old burnt look to it as if a fire occurred within its expanse. Charred bone fragments line the depths of the depression, most of them covered in old layers of dirt and soot. "

Knowkedge History: DC 20 This particular area is the sight of an event known as the Reinhart Massacre. A tailing event during the War without Rivals, the Reinhart massacre occurred when a large group of serfs left homeless by the war converged on a diminished battalion of Count Neska's troops. Lead by an emittered former land-holder named Alkan Reinhart, the mob of serfs attacked the outnumbered soldiers. Despite their superiority of numbers and ferocity by perceived injustice, the peasants were slaughtered by the soldiers almost to the man due to better equipment and entrenched positions.
Knowledge History DC 25: During the massacre, the peasants were pushed into the trenches by the soldiers and then burned alive. Each soldier carried a vial of alchemist fire for dealing with incursions from the 'natural world', but instead utilized these against their former countrymen in an act of mass-execution. The commanding officer, Borrik Reinhold, received commendations for the 'victory against overwhelming odds' , which he publicly refused. Two years later, on the anniversary of the massacre, he was found in his home by his servants, apparently burnt to death. Strangely, no traces of any fire were found in his manor.

Peasant Slaughter Haunt CR 9
XP 6,400
-LE Persistent Haunt (Sight of old battle amidst the Furrows, 45' radius area between two trenches)
Caster Level 9th
Notice Perception DC 15 (to notice horrible ghostly screams that begin joining with the wind and a sudden rise of temperature in the area)
hp 40 Trigger Proximity Reset 1 day
Effect When this haunt manifests, the ghostly screams and burning air are accompanied by the corporealiziation of dozens of spectral soldiers and armed peasants that seem to encompass everyone in the haunt's vicinity. This haunt manifests over the course of several rounds, heightening in strength until it either drives away or kills all creatures in its area. On the first round, the feelings of slaughter and horror heighten with the arrival of the spectral mass. All creatures in the area are targeted by a Doom Spell (save DC 11)
-On the second round, the wailing intensifies as the spectral soldiers begin grouping into formations and driving the peasants into the trenches. A feeling of hopeless futility against the cold machinery of war washes over those in the area, duplicating a Fear spell (save DC 16). Creatures that are affected by the Frightened or Panicked state from this affect view the trenches as safe area, and depending on their position may flee into them instead of out of the haunt's area.
-On the third round, as the majority of the phantom peasants are dispatched or driven into the trenches, the ghostly soldiers turn their attention to the PCS. A surge of them presses forward, rushing around and through the PCs as they attempt to push them into the trenches. This duplicates a Telekenisis spell, using the Combat Maneuver to attempt to Bull Rush each PC into the nearest Trench. This check is at a +14 bonus, and continues every round until the haunt is neutralized or the PCs leave the haunt's vicinity.
-On the fourth round, any PC that is in one of the haunted trenches sees the spectral soldiers each launch dozens of alchemist fires into the pit that engulfs the peasant mob. This duplicates the spell Sirroco (save DC 19) except the downdraft resembles spectral soldiers pushing back any escaping peasants with spears. This effect continues every round until the PC leaves the trench or the haunt is destroyed.

Destruction Each trench must have its basin filled with Holy Water, requiring no less than 50 gallons worth (400 flasks) spread over each trench, combined with a Control Water spell to raise the holy water's level up to 5 feet. Attempting to completely fill the trenches without Control Water requires an astronomical amount of funding to produce the Holy Water required, funding beyond the scope of most small kingdoms, let alone adventurers.

Treasure Within one of the trenches lies a forgotten officer's sash, lost beneath the mass of bodies and charred remains during the fight. It is in fact q Sash of the War Champion. (or other appropriate 4,000 gp item)


Ragewind:

Ragewind (Sword Spirit) CR 10
XP 9,600
LE Large Undead (incorporeal)
Init +11; Senses darkvison 60 ft., Swordsight 120 ft; Perception +22
-DEFENSE-
AC 21, touch 21, flat 11 (+4 deflection, +7 dex, + 1 dodge -1 size)
hp 127 (15d8 +60)
Fort +9 Ref +12 Will +13
Defensive Abilities , channel resistance +2, incorporeal, rejuvenation; weapon-bound regenration; Immune undead traits Weakness channel vulnerability, site bound
-OFFENSE-
Speed Fly 60 ft. (perfect)
Melee 6 +1 Longswords +15 (1d8 +5 19/20)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft
Special Attacks: blade fury, spectral manuevers, supernatural weapon mastery,
-STATISTICS-
Str -, Dex 25, Con -, Int 7, Wis 18, Cha 19
Base Atk +11; CMB +11; CMD 29
Feats Critical Focus, Dodge, Improved Initiative, Improved Vital Strike,Lightning Stance, Mobility, Wind Stance, Vital Strike
Skills Perception +22, Stealth +25
Languages Common
ECOLOGY
Environment any
Organization Solitary
Treasure Standard (All weapons)
SPECIAL ABILITIES

Blade Fury (Su) Despite their incorporeal nature, Ragewinds can animate dozens of weapons to physically fight for them. Three times per day as a full-round action , a Ragewind can concentrate its fury to attack with every weapon within its mass, creating a cloud of whirling destruction that extends 15 ft. from the Ragewind. This effect lasts until the Ragewind's next turn, but creatures that start their turn within the radius or enter it's area take 13d6 slashing, piercing, and bludgeoning damage. A Reflex save (DC 21) reduces this damage to half. This effect grants concealment to the Ragewind from any creatures not adjacent to it.

Channel Vulnerability (Su) Being comprised of numerous spirits, a Ragewind is more vulnerable to channeled positive energy. It takes 50% more damage from channeled positive energy used to harm undead.

Rejuvenation (Su) Similar to ghosts, Ragewinds are a conglomeration of souls still locked in whatever battle they died in. Even after being destroyed, a Ragewind reforms at the sight of its formation within 2d4 days. The only way to permanently lay a Ragewind to rest is to gather every weapon within a 1000 ft. of its location and cast Bless on them, following up with either a Consecrate or Hallow cast at it the location of its formation. Failing to cast Bless on all the weapons before Consecrating the area usually results in the spirit of the Ragewind fleeing permanently into one of the weapons. While this prevents the spirit from reappearing, it often results in a powerfully cursed or evil, intelligent weapon.

Site Bound (Su) A Ragewind is tied to the place of its creation and as such may not travel far from the site. A Ragewind may move no further than 1000 ft. from the site of its creation. If forced to move beyond this range by any means, it immediately teleports to the center of this site at the beginning of its turn.

Spectral Maneuvers (Su) Whenever a Ragewind is attacked with a manufactured melee weapon, it can make a disarm attempt after the attack is resolved. The Ragewind may roll its CMB and add its Charisma modifier on the attempt (+15 for a typical Ragewind)

Supernatural-Weapon Mastery (Ex) Ragewinds can animate up to six weapons at once to attack for them. When attacking with any weapon in this manner, the Ragewind applies its Charisma modifier to all attack rolls and damage rolls. Furthermore, any weapon animated is treated as if under the effects of a Magic Weapon while animated. Most Ragewinds typically utilzie longswords, but any weapon can be utilized, even exotic ones. Exotic Weapons take no penalty on attack rolls when utilized in this manner.

Swordsight (Su) The Ragewind can sense the location of all manufactured weapons within 120' as if under the effects of Arcane Sight, except the Ragewind can sense even nonmagical or broken weapons. This ability is limited to only weapons, but the Ragewind can sense the most powerful magical weapon within this area, even through effects like Nondetection. Opponents within this area wielding any manufactured are treated as if the Ragewind had blindsight.

Weapon Bound Regeneration (Su) Spirits of carnage, Ragewinds gain sustenance from others using manufactured weapons. As long as there are any humanoids wielding manufactured weapons within 60' of it, it gains Fast Healing 5.


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Broken Moon Stuff:
While my group has taken a slight break, I'm been getting ready to prep the second half of 'Broken Moon'. One thing I have noticed is that the 134 miles of open road between Ascanor Lodge and Feldgrau has very little written for it in the module, in fact only one printed encounter before the PCs enter The Furrows (a place that has nothing written for it in the module, despite the sheer coolness of the site's description in Rule of Fear) and onto Feldgrau. I wanted to detail some of the farmsteads and estates that might populate the road between Ardis and Feldgrau. Below are a list of 15 estates, including details, and possible encounters that might arise from passing by or interacting with the residents within. In this way, I wanted to give more flavor than a simple "You pass some farms. Roll for random encounter. You pass some more farms. Roll random encounter." In this way, I could help showcase the economic ruin felt by the country from The War Without Rivals and the moving of the capital from Ardis to Caliphas. Every estate has a Knowledge section, which can be rolled for information by the PCs. In most case, Knowledge: Local, Knowledge: Nobility, or Knowledge: History can be used to remember details about each of the estates. Most of the land that comprises the estates varies from 3 to 7 square miles, but assume that passing through each one takes about four miles of overland movement. Also,it bears mentioning that in my game, one of the events that takes place while the PCs are in Ardis is the revelation of a serial murderer's escape. The killer, a man known as Umbereth, escaped his locked carriage while being transported to Ardis for justice. In fact, Vrood's group attacked the security guarding the killer and proceeded to add him to their ranks. He appears in the thirteenth estate.

1)TRELEN ESTATE:

Description: "The first estate you come across almost seems like a small village by the sheer number of people tending the crops. Rows of flax are be tended by what seems like an overabundance of peasants, easily four times the number required to tend the fields. Almost all of them regard the fine clothes and armor your group wears with looks of muted envy."

Details:
-Knowledge (DC 15)]This estate belongs to the Trelens, an old family recently come into wealth by the friendship between their scion Markand and a druid of the Shudderwood, Kelia. The relationship is openly scorned among Ardis's elite, but it is rumored that the scion's wealth has nearly quadruped since its inception. While some suspect demonic pacts or fell magic, the truth of the recent prosperity is due to Markland's paramour's skill at druidic magic. Though her name is little known, this "Green Woman" is responsible for an unsurpassed growth of flax and wheat among the estate farms, drawing a number of peasants from some of the other, less successful farms. This, coupled with his failure to marry into noble blood, have gained him the enmity among numerous other noble houses.

-Unknown Details: The farm is at its limit, and it is rumored that any farmer who is not one of Trelen's serfs that tries to enter the land is viciously attacked, either by the sheer number of peasants or by the lord and lady of the estate itself. Because of this, the Trelens have few guests despite their prosperity. Should statistics become necssary, use the statistics for the Hermit (GMG p277) for Lady Trelen and the Sellsword (GMG p283) for Markland.
In all there are about 200 workers on the field, an unusually large amount. Every day at dawn, Lady Trelen utilizes her druidic magic to cause the fields to grow with supernatural verdance. (despite the season) The lord and lady treat most visitors as either speculative rivals at best or assassins at worst, and usually won't agree to see uninvited guests for any reason. In any case, neither the lord nor lady witnessed the passing of either the Whispering Way or the Demon Wolves since the two groups instinctively circled around such a large gathering of people. For the most part, the serfs leave the PCs alone, though the PC's obvious wealth begins to gain the notice of the greedier of the peasants, especially after the PCs reach the border of the estate.


The disinherited mob:

As the PCs move along eastward through the rest of the estates, the PCs are trailed at a distance by the occasional serf. This is in fact the beginning of a forming group of disinherited peasants who mean to take the PCs' food and any other possessions that they can eat. The mob numbers 50, and try to overwhelm the PCs the first night they camp but not until they've passed the third estate. They have statistics of Farmers (GMG p309), with 4 points of non-lethal damage and the fatigued condition from starvation. The trailing farmers gain bonuses on stealth and bluff in each of the following estates as noted to avoid giving away the fact that the are part of a increasingly growing group that's following the PCs. A Farmer typically has a Stealth modifier of -1 (from fatigue) and a Bluff modifier of +0, but the terrain of the various estates can alter this, as noted in their total score below. Confronting the lone tailing farmer causes them to disperse, but they are quickly replaced by a different farmer from the group. Placating one of the farmers doesn't satisfy the group as rumors of the PCs wealth escalate further.

When the group "attacks" they all attempt the 'steal' combat maneuver on every PC, despite any attacks of opportunity it might incur. The mob cares little for their safety; in their eyes, they are already dead if they don't eat. Placating the mob is difficult at best. Clearly hostile at the inset, the mob isn't looking to hurt the PCs, only take whatever they can. It should be obvious that the farmers are emaciated and waif-ish from malnutrition, but feeding 50 people is a difficult task, even for 9th level PCs. Nonetheless, even if fed, many of the peasants realize that a day of food will make their situation no different. To placate the mob without violence (even with an offering of food)the PCs most do one of the following:
1)Succeed on a DC 30 Diplomacy check.
2) Give forth 500 gp of items or goods that can be divided 50 ways (or the number of surviving peasants).
3)Give the peasants some means to re-work and harvest the land.
4) Scare them off with a DC 35 Intimidate check. The DC is decreased by 2 for each peasant killed.
Killing half of the mob or killing 10 of them with one attack or effect causes them to disperse. This is meant to test the alignments of the PCs and offer them moral choices based on the PC's characteristics. Though the PCs are 'being attacked', this is essentially a role-playing encounter. If the PCs are available to diffuse the situation peacefully, award them 4,800. If mob is driven off, award 50 xp for each surviving peasant. If the mob is killed off completely, award 1,000 xp.

2)BEAUTURNE ESTATE:

Description: "This dilapidated estate is surrounded by fields desperately in need of tending. A fraction of the peasants at the previous estate work the rows of crops, a few of which have overgrown to the point of being unharvestable. The mansion itself, while large, is clearly in need of desperate repairs and looks as if either neglect or the sheer size of the building is responsible for the grime that clings to the windows"

Details:
-Knowledge (DC 18): This farm is owned by Nantius Beauturne, a man who is squandering most of his fortunes on living what little is left of the decadent lifestyle in Ardis. As a result, the fields have been allowed to fester, especially since most of his staff has been "dismissed" so he can spend more money and attention in Ardis's few gambling circles. As a result, the lord is rarely present, leaving his three cruel nephews to loaf off the estate and drive away any interloping serfs from other farms.

-Unknown Details: The nephews have a reputation for performing sadistic games of death on any attempting to poach off of their land. Despite this, the few serfs who remain have an elitist attitude towards their situation since the fortunes of the Beauturne are very old.

Optional Encounter: The brothers remain aloof unless the PCs make a big display of attention or force, at which point the brothers realize they have found worthy "prey". Men who hunt and kill other men, the brothers are an example of the dangerous power of decadent nobility and are an EL 9. Named Galvis, Theolith, and Boder, they use the statistics of the following GMPCs from the GMG: Galvis- Beastmaster (p263), Theolith- Highwayman (p259), and Boder- Archaeologist (p. 297). They typically knock out their prey, leave them somewhere on their estate grounds, then hunt their captive. Galvis is a big brute who enjoys methodically breaking bones, Theolith is a sadistic, wiry man who tries to learn one valuable thing from every person he kills, while Boder simply enjoys inflicting pain, be it mental or physical. All three are of Neutral Evil alignment and have killed over 50 men and women over the course of the last year and a half. Unfortunately for all parties, they didn't see either the passing of the cultists or the Demon Wolves.

Farmer Skill Bonuses: Stealth +7, Bluff +8 (Overgrown fields and dangerous caretakers)


3)KARINIOV ESTATE:

Description "This estate has clearly been abandoned to nature. The once ordered rows of crops sprout in all directions like a living explosion of verdant wheat and flax. The few trees that do dot the landscape are massive, hulking things with branches like gnarled claws that reach in all directions. While a ruined stable and servant's quarter still remain amidst the overgrowth, the central mansion is gone. In its place is a massive sinkhole."

Details:
-Knowledge (DC 20): This estate was acquired by the Karinov family a few centuries ago. Possession of the property was been given to the least of the family members since the property's smaller size made it somewhat of a dishonor to have to caretake. What cemented this position of disregard was the mansion itself; the foundations had continually been sinking into the earth since the mansion's first construction some 500 years ago. Thousands of gold worth of repairs had been sunk into the dwelling, but to no avail. Without the magical means to deal with the unstable limestone deposits and hollow pockets beneath the mansion, nature slowly but inevitably caused more and more of the foundations to slip into the earth. The apex of this erosion occurred a year ago following a great party held by the mansion's owner, Trevor Karinov. Over the course of the following week, the mansion began to crumble into the earth, causing a chain reaction that eventually lead to the sinkhole that engulfed the entirety of the mansion.

-Unknown details: The rubble and ruins are still visible at the bottom of the massive 100 ft. wide pit, though nothing of value remains. Given enough warning, Trevor was able to sequester most of his possessions away and abandoned the estate to the elements. Despite the natural causes of the mansion's destruction, almost all peasants believe the grounds to be cursed and won't generally come anywhere near them.

Optional Encounter: While the point of this site is to show that not every malady in Ustalav is supernatural, anything could occupy the remains of the sinkhole, such as a Goliath Beetle, a Tick Swarm, Recaps (Bestiary 2), or even a Spectre.

Farmer Skill Bonus Stealth +7, Bluff -2 (Overgrown, but hard to bluff due to unease from the environment)


4)VIANCI ESTATE:

Description: "The fields here have all been salted; nothing grows amidst the rows of barren grey and brown dirt. Despite this, a small mansion looms in the center of the grounds, and judging by the chimney smoke, is currently inhabited. "

Details:
-Knowledge (DC 18) This estate is owned by Remos and Sanick Vianci, feuding brothers who vied for years over the favor of the family patriarch, their father Jothrick. Upon his eventual passing, the two brothers fought over their fortunes and the rights to their land. Eventually the feuding escalated to encompass the property itself, to the point that each brother split the land in two and then proceeded to sabotage and ruin the other's portion. Finally, Remos acquiesced and moved to Ardis while Sanick remained behind amidst the ruined fields. The mansion still remains inhabited by Sanick, his pet hound, and his four servants, living off the small inheritance left by his father.

Optional Encounter: Should statistics for Sanick be necessary, use the Noble Scion (GMG p288) with the following exceptions. He has no weapons or armor except his dagger, but does have a small box hidden inside of his home that contains two Elemental Gems (Earth and Wind). If desperate, he will flee inside and lock the doors. He then opens the top panes of his windows and tosses the gems outside to deal with the intruders. The gems are a parting gift from a late uncle, and will not use them, let alone mention them except under the direst circumstances. (Like being robbed by a group of 7th level "heroes"). Somewhat of a racist, Sanick entertains no notions of non-humans sticking around on his land, even if they offer to "fix" it. While he was sleeping when the Demon Wolves passed, he remembers the Whispering Way cultists. A group of only humans who succeed on a DC 25 Diplomacy check learn that the cultists were condescending of the state of his lands, but told him not to worry, that soon all of Ardis would look that his farm. He also remembers the number of "leaders" within the group; (My campaign specific detail::)8 men on horses (the three carriers, the four curates, and Vrood himself) who lead a large band of men and dead things down the road. He doesn't know enough about religion to know what they were, but is disturbed to talk about them.

Farmer Skill Bonus Stealth -1 Bluff -2. (No one really has much business on the salted earth of this estate.)


5)MILWYND ESTATE:

Description: "Comprised of one-half orchards and the other half fields, this lush estate seems prosperous. Dozens of cattle and goats mill about in a distant pasture, unconcerned with the troubles of Ustalav. Smoke plumes from the top of the mansion's third story chimneys, and flickers of movement in the windows and the pacing of groundskeepers outside suggest a busied state of affairs within. The barking of dozens of dogs indicates a kennel of some sort on the premises. "

Details:
Knowledge (DC 15) (Not every estate on the road to Feldgrau has befallen tragedy or strangeness) The Milwynds have had a steady if not prosperous run over the years. An old family who owns a large orchard and several acres of wilderness (used for hunting), they still cling to the traditional elitist views of nobility and title in the face of their county's decline. The patriarch, Heinler Milwynd, is rumored to possess numerous contacts and ties within Ardis's higher circles, including bankers, business owners, assassins, and even members of Pharasma's clergy. As a result of this and the sizable number of hounds kept in the kennels, most leave the Milwynds to their own devices.

Optional Encounter: If statistics become necessary, use the Noble (GMG p289) for Heinler, 2 Watch Captains (GMG p261) for his bodyguards, 12 riding dogs, and 4 Advanced riding dogs (his personal pedigrees of the mix). Quite aloof and involved in his own affairs, Heinler doesn't usually accept visitors unless they are well spoken or have urgent business, but a DC 20 Diplomacy check allows a meeting (and usually refreshment, depending on the time of day). Heinler himself recalls the passing of both the cultists and the Demon Wolves, especially the negative reactions that all of the dogs had (from frightful whimpering when the cultists passed to raised heckles upon sensing the werewolves.). He can confirm that they were both heading east. (My campaign details:) He kept clear enough to be unable to recount their numbers, but notes that the werewolves scorned his kennel openly. When this occured, ten of their numbers shifted into their half-man forms, and began growling and barking at his dogs, frightening them. He notes that the ten werewolves wore full-plate but seemed to carry no weapons. He thought they were going to slaughter them but the leader, a demonic wolf of nightmares, urged them down the path.

Farmer Skill Bonus Stealth +9, Bluff +10. (Prosperity unfortunately has given way to a number of hiding places and ways to fit in for a few minutes, despite the presence of the kennels)


6)PRATONIA ESTATE:

Description: "This estate bears similarities to the previous one, though it seems less grand in scale in subtle ways. The same trees that comprised the last estate's orchard are present here but obviously less cared for. Many of the fields and small hills that comprise the grounds are overgrown and could easily hide any number of small hazards. Despite this, the central mansion, while smaller in scale, appears to be somewhat cared for and inhabited."

Details:
-Knowledge (DC 20) The Pratonias are a newly rich bloodline, an offshoot of the Auradora line recently come into power through the opening of onyx veins on a property further north in the county. The veins quickly brought the family a small fortune but ran their course soon enough. After the mines, the family bought this property and quickly attempted to emulate their neighbors by establishing a large orchard and a number of wheat fields. However, without the lasting capitol to fund the upkeep of their lands, the size and grandeur of their fields and orchards began to diminish until they reached their present state. Currently, the property is used as a summer home rented out to nobles seeking time away from their own properties. Unfortunately, it has proven unpopular amongst the Ardis nobility due to the property's condition and the Pratonia's "new blood" status.
-Unknown Details: Currently, it is unoccupied except for a skeleton crew of four servants. They have not had a guest in three months, and are willing to host a group of well dressed or obviously wealthy adventurers with a DC 15 Diplomacy check and 10 gold for expenses. In truth, some of their stores are getting ready to go bad, and they are eager to try and get rid of some of these perishables in whatever way that can get them the most money, such as hosting wealthy adventurers.

Optional Encounter: The four servants have statistics of Barmaids (GMG p303) with Profession (Housekeeper) instead of Profession (barmaid). The manor has about 500 gp worth of trinkets (silverware, goblets, paintings) that can be stolen by unscrupulous groups, though any surviving servants give a description of the group who robbed the manor. The Pratonias then use what resources they have left to send bounty hunters after the PCs. Strangely enough, the Pratonias are connected to the Whispering Way indirectly; they frequently sold the mined onyx to the group's agents and still are on speaking terms with some of its members. Though unaware of their buyer's true purposes, they have enough connections to unknowingly involve the Whispering Way in attempts at retribution.

Farmer Skill Bonus: Stealth +6, Bluff+0 (While the overgrowth gives ample hiding places, the small amount of help at the estate makes fitting in here kind of hard.) It should also be noted that it is unlikely that even the fastest group will make it past this sixth estate in the first day, so further statistics bonuses for the farmers aren't listed in the other estates. Furthermore, the reputation of the Deverauts make it so that the farmers will more likely attempt an attack in broad daylight or in someone else's house rather than trifle with witches. As such, if the farmer mob hasn't made its move, it does so either while the PCs sleep in this estate or before they arrive at the next one. The four servants in this case quickly disappear and lock themselves in the manor's cellar with all of the food. The mob still attempts to take all of the PCs food and any other pouches that might contain any.


7)DEVERAUT ESTATE:

Description: "Though supporting no full-blown orchards or crop fields, the verdant hills and groves that surround this estate are filled with old growth that seems somehow carefully cultivated. An immense, three story mansion draped with gargoyles and intricate stonework merrily puffs smoke from its numerous chimneys, and a small array of servants and gardners mill about the outer grounds. The main path that leads to the massive front edifice is flanked by about a dozen statues, many of them depicting fantastic beasts."

Details:
-Knoweldge (DC 22) An old family even by Ustalavic standards, the Deveraut can trace their original ancestry to the Winter Witches of Irrisen. As a result, magic and witchcraft run in the bloodline, and the present family's matriarch is no exception. The family's source of income seems to stem from ancestral inheritances and one of the largest private libraries in Ardeal (+6 on Knowledge History and Arcana checks). While the Deverauts have lived in this particular mansion as long as anyone can remember, they have never been trusted by their neighbors due to their prosperity. What cements this relationship is the fact that the Deverauts rarely mingle with the country's nobility. While the family's goals have varied from generation to generation, for the most part, the family seems content to be left alone, entertaining the occasional strange visitor.
-Unknown details: In truth, the family has been hiding in Ustalav for centuries, attempting to escape the pogrom of murder enacted on their bloodline by the paranoid rulers of Irrisen. Furthermore, the family has been searching for and cataloging the location of weapons in Ustalav, things that they might be able to use to defend themselves or even return home.

Optional encounter: While seeking information about weapons to aid them in eventually returning to Irrisen, the Deverauts have been largely unconcerned with the activities of the Whispering Way, let alone the Demon Wolves. Both groups avoided the estate, even going so much as to circle slightly wide of the grounds rather than getting close (tracking reveals this). Both groups had heard the rumors of powerful witches in the area and upon seeing the petrified collection of monsters flanking the way into the mansion, thought better of getting too close. The 12 statues are indeed petrified monsters and listed in paired order from nearest to the mansion to the furthest. They are a young green dragon and dracolisk, a manticore and a chimera, an owlbear and a chuul, an ettin and a troll,a medusa and a green hag, and finally a Recap and a Quickling. For Eidrette's statistics, use Hetna Dublesse (Witch 12) from Ashes at Dawn with the following changes: Instead of the Cauldron Hex, give her the Flight Hex, change her Toughness feat to Scribe Scroll, lose her Broom of Flying and in its place, give her three scrolls of Stone to Flesh, two Scrolls of Flesh to Stone, and a Wand of Lightning Bolt. Almost every petrified creature was previously charmed (or dominated in the case of the giants) before it was petrified, and as such will more likely attack land-bound PCs than a flying witch. (Eidrette utilized trickery and invisibility to continue the charm even though petrification is considered an attack.) She had planned on utilizing some of dangerous properties of these creatures in further developing magic to help her cause. She is curious about the activities of the groups that the PCs are tailing, but still harbors paranoid feelings about agents of the Witch Queens coming upon her in disguise.
As such, there is little chance that the witch will offer them any assistance, short of a DC 25 Diplomacy check coupled a minor trophy taken from an unusual creature. If the PCs somehow are able to communicate, they find that the witch is forthcoming about the following piece of information: Recently, a number of areas that form the nexus of ley-lines in the region have begun to become disrupted. She believes that this fraying on the natural energies is either a symptom or a cause of a greater evil. She points out three areas she believes are the most central of this weakening; Feldgrau, Carrion Hill, and Illmarsh. Concerned with the raising of her daughters more than anything, Eidrette would rather monitor the PCs activities from afar than accompany them, and as such will not go after the cultists. Should any combat ensue, Eidrette keeps her three daughters (Calyn, Riassa, Arlin), and her husband Cormack inside while she utilizes her spells and petrified help to drive away intruders.


8)CARRIGON ESTATE:

Description: "Nature has completely reclaimed the fields and groves of this estate. In fact, little marks it as a dwelling of man other than an overgrown fence and the plant covered structure that once have must been a great mansion. Overgrowth covers every patch of ground except for the rotten, sagging wooden porch that abuttes the front of the house, looking as if it is about to collapse from the vine covered columns that support the upper story."

Details:
-Knowledge (DC 18) The Carrigons are one the victims of the economic decline in Ardeal. Once a prosperous farm and hunting ground, a number of factors have contributed to the abandonment of this property to the elements. The Carrigons were once celebrated for their grand contributions to the art scene in Ardis, a number of their line even being celebrated painters who commissioned royal portraits. The moving of the capital to Caliphas signaled the decline of the nobility in Ardis, and after a number of bad investments intended to restore the art movement there, the family was forced to move to Caliphas also in hopes of joining the emerging scene. The estate was left in charge of lesser vassals who failed to reinvest what money could be made from its farms, instead using most of the profits to fund their own short lived shots at nobility. This repeated itself until the Carrigons visited and upon seeing the estate, immediately sold it to the current caretaker for a pittance. Soon after, the place became abandoned by its new lord for reasons unknown. For a number of years, the place remained uninhabited, then found itself occupied by squatters and runaways.

EL 8: Something far more dangerous has claimed the ruins as their own over the last couple years. A trio of Lurkers in Light (Bestiary 2) lives amidst the ruins. Refugees from the breach in reality on the Langitheath estate, the three have slowly been amassing a death count in the area in an attempt to bring more of their number in with their Ritual Gate ability. While they don't attack large groups and don't kill lone travelers (preferring to scare them out of the area with horrible pranks), any group of 3-7 people is enough of an impetus to drive them to murderous action. Searching their lair reveals 163gp in coins, four 20gp pearls (one of which is in fact a Pearl of Power), and 3 paintings made by Carrigons during their height of glory. They depict Ardis's skyline at different times during sunrise and are each worth 300 gold, or 1,000 gold as a set.

9)PANWICK ESTATE:

Description: "Much like the previous estate, this particular sight is largely overgrown. Unlike the previous one, a loosely cut path winds through the undergrowth and up to the door of the small, two story house. Though losing the battle against nature, someone clearly has taken some efforts to keep the wooden dwelling intact. In a glen beyond the house lies a small pond around which a number of cows mill."
Perception DC 25 "There is something weird about the way that the cows are milling about, almost bumping into each other and uttering no sounds whatsoever."

Details:
-Knowledge (DC 24) Like so many in Ardeal, the Panwicks have fallen on hard times. An old family noted for their vast fields and pedigree livestock, their fortunes have taken a sudden turn when the underground water that supplies a number of the springs and ponds on their property was poisoned by an exposure of an strange mineral vein. While the reasons for this are unknown, the results were quickly clear; within a week, all of the cattle had grown sick. Despite the efforts and gold utilized to try and fix the malady, within a few days of contracting their illness, the cattle all fell dead. Dwelling on the immensity of the financial loss, the patriarch Jeeger committed suicide. The family had to tend to their deceased father and as such, the cows were left in the field. The next night, the cows all began moving again and rose up. For whatever reason, the cows had returned as zombies, yet they seemed content to mindlessly mill about almost as they had done before rather than eating flesh.

-Unknown Details: Since the incident, the newest head of the house, Parrin, has had the water sources plugged where he can, but has left the cows in the field, unsure of what to do with them. Part of him wants to figure out how to make money off of them, and as such is waiting for correspondence from a wizard in Caliphas. He hopes to either sell them for research or figure out some way to control them and form a zombie-cow circus. While his neighbors know of the zombie cows, the sheer number of them and Parrin's indifferent greed has stopped any attempts to "put the things out of their misery." He did not see the Demon Wolves pass through, but noted the passage of the Whispering Way. They paid particular interest to the cows, even using a spell to cause one to follow the group. For whatever reason, he recalls that this caused an argument in their ranks and led to some sort of violence beyond sight of the farm. In fact, Vrood argued with one of the cultists about the merits of bringing the cow. The ambitious cultist countered with the need to study the phenomenon to bring the Way greatness. Vrood stated that "You shall have everlasting greatness as well as all of the time you need to study it," and proceeded to murder the cultist. He then put his remains atop the cow and set it wandering around the road to the east of the estate, where it still lurks, waiting to be encountered. Stripped clean and only a few weeks old, the cultist nonetheless contains a peculiar deathmark, a missing jawbone.

Optional Encounter: In all, there are 47 zombie cows, using the statistics of Auroch Zombies.
(Init-1, AC 15, HP 25(5d8+3), Fort+1 Ref +0 Will +4 Gore +9 (1d8+10)
The zombies do not attack unless attacked first, and even then only respond on an individual basis. For example, attacking a single zombie cow surrounded by 10 of its herd will only cause the single zombie to attack. There is little danger here for 7th level parties unless someone with an area-of-effect incites multiple cows without killing them. As such, they are only worth a 1/4 of their experience. (1,600xp for destroying the group) Doing so angers Parrin, but he has little offense to offer a group of high level adventureres.
EL 8:The dead, jawless cultist riding atop the cow wanders half a mile east of the farm, almost within sight of the farm itself. Vrood left a trap on the cultist for anyone seeking to end the "glory of unliving". The cultist's two possessions are a silver necklace with a gagged skull worth 10 gold and a Handy Haversack, seemingly hidden on his person and requiring a DC 20 Perception check to notice. This is done on purpose as Vrood expects that anyone capable of following them is probably good at noticing fine details, and thus doesn't want anyone to be suspicious of the item's contents. A character searching the Haversack finds it completely empty, except for the central pounch. Inside lurk 6 Allips (Bestiary 3, p12) who rush out and immediately attack anyone in the vicinity.


10)KINDLERSON ESTATE:

Description: "This estate hosts no crops but the well ordered paths of trees and small gardens ringing the central mansion indicate not only inhabitance but also prosperity. Strangely enough, a bubbling brook surrounds the house like a small moat, its source an overflowing and intricately carved fountain next to the mansion. The windowframes and doorway all appear to be made from a sheenish, dull grey material: cold iron. A couple of gardners slowly move about the edge of the house, pulling weeds up as needed."

Details:
-Knowledge (DC 20) Offshoots of the famous Kindler bloodline, the Kindlersons have followed in their cousins' footsteps, having birthed numerous hunters of foul things over the years. The family's success seems to ebb and flow with regular frequency, with some generations having no hunters amongst their kin while others having several. As a result of the varied success of killing supernatural entities , the family has a small fortune to fall back on, part of which has funded this country home. The present scions of the bloodline are Gavin and Terk, hunters who actively patrol their land when not seeking prey in the alleys of Ardis. The bubbling brook is a landscaping feat long ago accomplished by a druid to give the mansion a constant source of running water surrounding it, hindering the passage of vampires.

-Unknown details: Further inspection of the manor itself reveals that the front door and several interior doors are trapped with Glyphs of Warding cued against undead. Additonally, an array of weaponry lines several of the manor's walls, some even being made of silver or cold iron. As a defense against the non-supernatural, the brothers also have a pair of "bound" Hound Archons guarding the house, creatures they saved from an earlier binding at the hands of a Lich. While bound to serve the brothers for a year, the two (named Cathik and Leost) value and adore the brothers and will do all within their power to keep them safe.

Optional Encounter: If necessary, use the stastics of a Conjurerer (GMG p279) for Gavin and a Beastmaster (GMG p263) for Terk with Favored Enemy: Undead (+4) instead of Human and Favored Enemy: Aberration (+2) instead of Animal. The brothers are sympathetic to the stopping the Whispering Way but have been busy tracking the movements of an Intellect Devourer that has inflicted personal losses on them. Maps of its movements are pinned up in one of the rooms, and the brothers have come to the belief that the thing is lairing in a set of Kellid ruins beneath their property. Neither brother saw the passing of the other two groups, but one of the Hound Archons did. Leost, noted that the while the cultist gave a wide enough berth to almost not be noticed, the Demon Wolves did not. (What follows is campaign specific:) He counted a massive pack of wolves that was four dozen strong, lead by one with clearly demonic markings. He knew they were not wolves by the way they moved and crept, posting guards and forward postions while stealthfully sticking to the shadows. They left the manor alone, as if tracking something along the road. He speculates (correctly) that they were tracking the cultists.
If made Helpful with a Diplomacy check (DC 20) the brothers will offer them a safe place to sleep and a silver weapon of their choice (assume that they have one of the PCs' favored weapons plus 5 others that the PCs might use) to take against the supernatural threat. Additionally, the estate possesses a small yet valuable library pertaining to the occult, which can be used to grant a +2 bonus on Knowledge: Religion and Knowledge: Dungeoneering checks for research purposes.


11)VARCESTER ESTATE:

Description "Tall even amongst the dwellings you have passed so far, the verdant hunting glens and trails that surround this estate clear away before a high, wrought, iron fence that surrounds the narrow five-story, central mansion. A large, overly-embelished sign prefaces the front gate, its elegently lettered Common words belieing its hateful message, 'Non-humans not admitted for any reason. Violators will be killed!' A circular area of blasted grass at the fence's corner reveals the presence of recent magical activity, and a trio of incessently barking hounds stands further testament to the owner's hostility."

Details
-Knowledge (DC 22): The Varcesters are an old, numerous family who conduct most of their dealings in Caliphas proper, brokering the dealings of numerous artifacts and imported relics. Their current patriarch, Valus, is a cantankerous 71-year-old former adventurerer with a profund distrust of anyone who isn't human, and even most who are. This is further exasperated by his numerous offspring, some of whom are eagerly awaiting his passing so they can collect their due inheritance. Valus resents almost all of them, and lives alone in the estate with only a trope of invisible servants to keep him company.

-Unknown Details: Eager to spite his offspring by outliving them, Valus idles his years playing piano, reading, and holding grudges. He has recently come into possessing the services of an Invisible Stalker due to past dealings, a creature that he tends to overpay simply to spite his children. In fact, while jokingly saying that the creature was a better child than any of them ever were, he unknowingly changed the behavior of the fickle creature. Prone to detesting tasks dictated by petty mortals, a further offhand comment about including it in his will over any of his children has not only enflamed the creature's ego but also developed a sense of protective friendship over the old man. Coupled with their mutual distrust of other mortals (even if Valus sees it as distrusting non-humans) and Valus's allowance of the Stalker's access to the old man's magical trinkets, the Invisble Stalker has made itself a formidable if not almost affectionate guardian. For his part, Valus realizes that he will eventually have to choose the least reprehensible of his actual children to take his place, an event that will have unforeseen consequences for any heirs coming to into possession of the estate. For now, the racially intolerant old man regards the invisible creature better than his human kin, an irony not lost on his relatives.

Optional Encounter Mistrusting of any non-human for reasons real and half-imagined from his years of adventuring, Valus refuses to see unannounced visitors and even most of those that do announce themselves, believing anyone could be one of numerous foes from his past. Valus Varcster, though old and alone, is hardly defenseless. He himself has the statistics of a Celeberity Bard (GMG p273) with the Venerable Age category applied (-6 str,dex, con, +3 int,wis,cha). His estate is warded by a number of defenses; his front gate and front door are each warded with a Glyph of Wading cued against any non-humans that pass through. The main lawn is riddled with Spiked Pit Traps (CR 2, CRB p420), while the front porch contains a Hail of Arrow Traps (CR 9, CRB p421) with silver arrowheads. Finally, the highly perceptive Invisble Stalker guardian has full access to the old man's treasury, which gives it access to the following magic items: Necklace of Fireballs (Type VI) with one 8d6 bead missing, 3 Beads of Force, a Ring of the Ram, and a Rod of Wonder.
The missing bead was recently used when the demon wolves attempted to silence the guard hounds and teach the owner of the property's sign a lesson. They made it as far as the fence before the Stalker moved to the defense, killing several and scattering the rest. Their burnt bodies still remain inside one the pit traps on the front lawn. Valus fights until first suffering any injury, at which point he attempts to bribe off the PCs in exchange for his life. Assuming he survives, he holds a grudge and eventually utilizes what resources he can to hire assassins. Having spent years among the horrors and burdens of adventuring in Ustalav, he cares little for the schemes of others and has only one real interest, prolonging his life as long as possible while enjoying the fruits of his labors. Belligerently antagonstic PCs find that besides the magic items, the manor itself contains a staggering 15,000 gp worth of art objects and coins. Strangely enough, while the family seeks no retribution for the killing of the family patriarch, they do take steps if the PCs decide to loot the manor. Many of the art objects are family relics, and the collective size of the Varcester family in sheer numbers allows them to amass a small fortune to aid in the recovery of these objects and the punishment of those who stole them. This retribution fund can easily reach as high as 500,000 gold pieces if the PCs take particularly heinous actions, such as burning the manor down, allowing a wide array of powerful creatures to be hired for hunting down the PCs.

12)TIRANEIM ESTATE:

Description: "As you approach, a distinct lack of activity amidst the well tended estate and a sickly scent on the breeze reveals something is amiss. Ahead, the front door on the immense mansion swings lazily open in the wind and a number of heaps toward the left side of the house buzz with clouds of insects. An empty kennel and stable stand further testament to the quiet strangeness."

Details:
-Knowledge (DC 15) The Tiraneims are an offshoot of the Tiriac bloodline of Varno, and have for centuries acted as lesser agents amongst that family's affairs. Known for producing a number of fruits and vegetables as well as a stock breed of Varisian chargers, the family has long utilized its bloodline connections to further enhance its wealth, enabling the massive vegetable garden and exotic "glass house" behind the mansion.

-Unknown Details:Because of these exotic connections, Keldon, the estate's caretaker had an unfortunate word exchange with the Whispering Way cultists, believing them to be Tiriac agents. When he mispoke about studies in the east, Vrood assumed that the man had been warned about the cultists and without warning had everyone in the the estate slaughtered, starting with Keldon. The bodies of Keldon and his servants have all been stashed in the green house behind the house. PCs who Inspect this area must make a DC 10 Fortitude save upon entering or become nauseated as long as they are within sight and smell of the greenhouse. The combination in sunlight, heat, and insects in this area have ripened the bodies, all of which lie in large soil beds in the middle of the structure. Inspecting the bodies reveals something vile: most of them have been bled dry as evidenced by numerous empty, bloody bowls near them. Some of these bowls also contain stains of other colors and fleshy chunks: the tiny remains of removed organs that can be correlated with wounds on the bodies. A DC 25 survival reveals old skeletal claw marks on the edges of several bowls. A DC 30 Heal check reveals that the wounds on all the bodies except Keldon were inflicted while they weren't struggling, meaning they were either unconscious or paralyzed. This is the handiwork of the Mohrg Umbereth, a murderer who lingers behind to deal with the PCs at the next estate.
The mansion has not been looted, and avaricious PCs can spend two hours sacking it to gain 1,500 gp in silverware, plates, paintings, and other art objects.


13)THELLMORACK ESTATE:

Description: "The same feeling of quiet wrongness pervades the next farm well before the well-cared for house comes into view. Comprised of a massive orchard and wooded hills, the property seems idyllic except for the utter lack of people. A well constructed central manor looms in ghostly silence, permeated occasionally by a distant buzzing sound. Despite the well tended nature lending itself to the feeling of habitation, no signs of life stir in the wind, other than the open front door swaying in the breeze."

If PCs get approach within 60' of the door, read the following:
"There was clearly some sort of struggle here. One of the manor's front windows is cracked, and old red spatters across the porch's wood indicate blood. A sickly, dead smell rises on the wind as you approach, coming not from the manor itself but from somewhere around it."

Details
-Knowledge (DC 22): A newer family amongst the wealthy circles, the Thellmoracks had brokered a number of profitable land acquisitions amongst the Ardeal countryside. A bloodline rooted deep in hunting and foraging, the Thellmoracks have always had an understanding of the land and only recently have put this to use in a profitable way, advising in the buying and selling of properties based on their likeliness to produce crops. The present patriarch, a hunter of some reknown named Liaten, bought the property ten years ago upon announcing his retirement. Since then, his potent family of hunters uses the estate as their place of dwelling and starting points for forays deep into the forested hills of southern Ardis.

-Unknown Details: Though potent hunters, the Thellmoracks were no match for Vrood and his followers. Immediately offended by the obvious presence of undead amidst the cultists, the Thellmoracks assumed that Vrood and his group were just another death cult up to no good, and immediately attacked the undead while yelling for the cultists to get clear of their land. Former adventureres, Liaten and his sons Nesson and Plavis were still no match for the arcane might of Vrood, and though some of the cult's lesser members were slain and his Curates injured, Vrood simply replaced these losses by animating the fallen. Wanting no witnesses to the group's activities or to his display of power, Vrood left behind the newly-risen undead murderer Umbereth to kill anyone remaining there and to wait for anyone who might come after them. Over the course of three days, Umbereth wiped out the entire family and worse, made a macabre display of them depicting the raging obsessions in his fractured mind.

EL 8 As the PCs move closer to the backyard of the house, describe how the smell and buzzing seem to be gaining in strength. Once they can see the backyard, read the following:
"Up ahead, a large open barn creaks softly in the wind, its interior clearly the sight of some sort of horror show. Bowls and pails spattered with reddish fluids lie about with numerous make-shift paint brushes drying against or beside them. However its not the barn that produces the feeling of nauseating horror that assaults you; the yard between the house and the barn is so horrifically surreal that it at first doesn't register. The fence that separates the barnyard from the backyard has been.. replaced. Where once lined a wooden fence stands a row of decomposing bodies in its place. Propped up on fenceposts and their arms entwined by a reddish, ropy substance, the row of standing bodies has been stripped of clothing, their naked flesh covered in multiple horrific hues resembling a massive painting. Despite the numerous wounds that mar their bodies, the painting's subject matter is clear enough, even working in the numerous cuts that clearly caused the victim's death into the artwork. It depicts an alien landscape filled with horrific tentacled monsters that seem to be erupting out of the heads of humans."
Psychotically obsessed in life with monsters lurking in humans and the reason he began murdering people in the first place, Umbereth became terrified upon seeing the huge pack of Demon Wolves and hid while they passed. Upon reflecting, his fractured mind has begun to realize that he might have failed Vrood and has just begun to think about pursuing them when the PCs arrive. Incredibly perceptive, the Vrood sees the PCs as a chance to not only redeem himself but to also add their bodies to his panorama. Even if the PCs don't investigate the estate, he easily notices them and attempts to trail them until they sleep, where he tries to murder them. Otherwise, he attempts to hide amongst his artwork, trying to gain a surprise attack before attempting to paralyze as many people as possible.
Umbereth, Mohrg. CR 8
Treasure: While unscrupulous PCs can loot the manor of about 3,000 gp in dinnerware, fine tobacco, and paintings, the Mohrg took a few trophies from his kills as well. This includes a pair ofBoots of elvenkind, a comb inlaid with rubies worth 100 gold, a Wand of Cure Light Wounds, a Masterwork War Razor, and a piece of Jade worth 25 gold, the remains of a statue depicting an Octopus that the Mohrg smashed inside the manor. (worth 250 gp if restored by magical means). Unfortunately for the family, the Mohrg was quite thorough in his killings, and it will be weeks before distant cousins hear of the tragedy here and attempt to avenge their family and reclaim the estate. While PCs rarely need encouragement to loot, the murder of their kin is far worse than the taking of any newly acquired treasures the family might have possessed, and any avenging kin are more concerned with the killings than any incidental theft that the PCs might do.


14) LANGITHEATH ESTATE:

15)GHALMURK ESTATE:

For this one,I plan on using the Abandoned Farm encounter from the module (p45)

Questions, Comments? Hope this helps other DMs running Broken Moon in detailing their journey through the Ardis countryside. I plan on having something up soon about The Furrows, including a couple battlefield haunts.


I am definitely thinking of running Carrion Hill before Wake of the Watcher and am looking to help foreshadow some of the plots and themes found within these two module. My group is currently halfway through Broken Moon, and as soon as I finalize some details about the journey through Ardis, we plan to continue. Some of these details will involve the Outer Gods, leylines, and aspects of the ancient Kellid rituals, which will invariably tie in with the two, title-mentioned beings. With two cults dedicated to super-evil, other-worldly entities, I'm curious about overlap between the two. Questions for anyone:
1)Are the two cults aware of each other?
2)Does one cult have any goals that would help or overlap with the other? It seems like Yog-Sothoth cultists want to unleash all of the Old Ones, which I think includes SN.
3)How would these goals interact with those of the Whispering Way? I already came up with something about Leylines,, but if anyone has come up with anything else, I'd be curious to hear about it.
Thanks!


So, this abandoned rural estate lies directly on the path between Feldgrau and Ascanor Lodge. Rule of Fear gives some details about the grounds, with crop circles and strange creatures resembling blue eyed children being the two most relevant details. My question for anyone is if anything has been done with the sight?

I'd like to have something the players either have to run from, possibly even something that the Whispering Way or Demon Wolves that passed through couldn't deal with. The whole crop circle thing is kind of neat and makes me want to use the sight as some sort of 'thinny' (a thin spot between two worlds). However which plane or dimension would this spot be thin towards and what would inhabit it as a result?

1)First World This might involve Lurkers in Light (pale blue-eyed children) or some other kind of Fey.

2)Dimension of Dreams Perhaps the crop circles are massive protective runes designed to keep the realm from creeping in, which could be something like an Animate Dream

3)The Void Again, maybe the strange circles and inlaid geometry somehow correspond to the outer void, and someone or something wants to bring things into the world. This would help tie in with the next module, but what monster or persona would fit this role?

Any ideas would be appreciated, I'm kind of leaning towards idea #1 unless something strikes me for idea #3. Also, If Mr. Schneider has any input on what's there, I would be immensely grateful! Thanks!


There have been a total of two threads before on this subject before, but they are a getting older and don't necesarily answer the specific questions that I have on this spell.
I need someone to break down Windwalk for me. The spell is about as vague as can be in its desciptive text as to what exactly it allows. Specifically the magical winds carrying a player part. Here's a link to the spell itself for reference. I've reprinted the part of the main text below and marked the areas in bold that I am unsure about.

Normally, a wind walker flies at a speed of 10 feet with perfect maneuverability. (1)If desired by the subject, a magical wind (2)wafts a wind walker along (3)at up to 600 feet per round (60 mph) with poor maneuverability. Wind walkers are not invisible but rather appear misty and translucent. If fully clothed in white, they are 80% likely to be mistaken for clouds, fog, vapors, or the like.

1) "If Desired by the subject"- what sort of action is this exactly? It seems free, but if so, is there a limit to the number of times a turn? Like: turn up wind to 60 mph, go 600 feet, turn off wind? If not free, is it part of the movement (see below)

2)"Wafts"-Does this mean the character is required to make any sort of action here or does the wind do the moving for them? I've always thought it was a move action to do so, but dissecting the text makes it pretty unclear.

3)"At up to"- This seems to indicate that the speed is somehow variable, allowing the Windwalker to ride the wind at any speed up to 600 feet. Again, if its free actions to raise the wind speed, does a player have to worry about stating their intended speed and then complete their movement at the stated speed? Can they change their speed mid-flight? Also, the question of the actions required to 'ride the wind' come into play if you have players that can take advantage of gaseous form... like a sorcerer with the right meta-magic feats and blast spells. I mean, could a blaster poof around and drop meta-magiced fireballs at 120 squares of movement a turn? Would Fly-by-Attack be applicable? Cause... that seems kind of cheesy.

4) [i]"with poor maneuverability"[i/]- If the wind is a separate part of the spell itself, is the Windwalker affected by high winds? Would the wind have to be greater than 60 mph to override the spell or are Fly checks necessary for even minor winds?

Finally, how do DMs deal with this spell on an adventure level? Usually 11th level modules try to account for such things, but sometimes the authors forget, and what I've gotten in the past are gaseous PCs scouting entire dungeons at high speed and avoiding a lot of the adventure itself. Its hard to refute the logic of 'Why wouldn't our super-smart good guys buff like crazy, windwalk past all the random encounters, and find out where the BBEG is?'.
Help with this troublesome spell would be appreciated!


So I'm faced with kind of an interesting role-playing challenge for my group that I'm running in Carrion Crown. The PCs consist of the following currently:

Male Dhampir Magus 7 (Infected)
Male Human Fighter 7 (Infected)
Male Human Oracle(Life) 7 (Infected)
Female Human Barbarian 7 (Infected)
Female Bard (Diresinger) 7

Broken Moon spoilers:

Between four seperate werewolf encounters and the Vilkicis, almost every PC is infected. I had a lot of the wandering encounters in the Shudderwood consist of werewolves, with a couple of major exceptions. It should be noted that I roll all of my Lycanthropy checks in secret, so none of the players know whether or not they are infected. My timeline is this:

-Estovian and Belik (who in my gave is a 7th level rogue) have already done their deeds and fled to the Stairs of the Moon.

-Minor details not pertinent to situation at hand but give background:
The PCs have finished their investigations at the lodge, but in my game, I had the Princes Wolves being besieged by a CR 10 Charnel Colossus (Inner Sea Bestiary, re-statted) in an effort by the WW to wipe out their old enemies. The PCs dealt with this, and have just met up with the Princes Wolves campsite. In my game, this is a hilltop covered in a ring of whee-less carriages about a day's journey from the Stairs of the Moon.

-The Moon cycle is currently 1 day away from the 3 day Full Moon period.

-The journey to Highthrone will take the group enoughh time that they should arrive a little after the full moon rises.

With all that in mind, I foresee that everyone is going to transform as soon as combat breaks out at the Stairs. The massive clearing between the treeline and the Stairs themselves is definitely big enough to allow even a low moon to shine its light in. Tentatively, I think I will allow those overtaken by the beast to make whatever rolls are necessary for the actions they take, but having me control their characters movements and actual actions instead of them. Questions for anyone:

1)Does having me control their character's actions seem fair or unfair? I am not going to have them turn on each other but instead almost be directed toward Highthrone and Mathus, carving a bloody swath as they do.
2) Should I allow any mechanic for the PCs to maybe gain coherence (control of their character) for a turn? Say, maybe a DC 15 or 17 Will save to control the character normally?
3)Will the Vilkicis treat infected PCs as 'allies' since it would see them as Werewolves?
4) How easy is Wolfsbane to find? Has anyone come up with quests or anything related for their PCs when searching for this stuff? The PCs are all out, though there is some 'Wolfsbane potion' in the lower part of the Stairs, IIRC.
5) Has anyone else had an entire group or a majority or a group transform, and if so, how did you handle it?

I should note that I gave the Packlord's Heart mystical powers, and while Mathus doesn't have all of it, I think I'm going to give him a power akin to forcing a Lycanthrope into their human form, as well as a couple others. From the reports of how he has fared against other groups, it looks like he needs the help. Besides this, I'm on the fence on whether I want my characters in control of their PCs for this fight or not, since defeating him heralds the turning point of the module.


Thanks for any help!


I have some questions about how DMs handled certain aspects of the events within 'Broken Moon'. I run a search-and-question heavy group who love seeing how the dots connect, so I want to fill in some possible gaps. For example:

1) What happened to Kvalca Sain's body? Does the Whispering Way keep it? Do they reanimate it? Do the werewolves get it and bury it? (Speak with dead comes to mind)

2)Were their any witnesses of the Packlord's assassination that live?

3)What way does Auren Vrood and his compnay travel to Feldgrau? Do they avoid all towns altogether? Or.. Do they go through Morcei? Do they cut down to Chastel and then head West? Maybe make a pit-stop in Ardis (probably not)? Maybe try and recruit some undead on the way through House Beumhal in Odranto?

4)Finally, (something from part 4) as far as Raven's Head goes, how did it get all the way from Gallowspire to Avalon Bay? Anyone come up with ideas of its fate after its last use by Bishop Virholt during the fall of Ustalav? Seems like something my players will no doubt ask about, and while I can no doubt come up with something, I'd like to stick to canon as much as possible.


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Loving this path so far, but since Golarion is a new setting for some of my players, I wanted them to know about some of the events that shaped the land where they are adventuring. I felt that there should be someone to explain some of the reasons why things are the way that they are, as well as providing background information on some of the people that the PCs meet. Somewhat inspired by the Prologue of Fellowship and the Erebor scenes from 'The Hobbit' I thought a Galadriel-like narrative detailing the history of Ustalav would prove enlightening to my players. I plan on reading this history as a narrative from Alpon Caromarc at the beginning of the third module, helping me foreshadow some of the things that they'll face in modules 3-6. What is below is taken from the Inner SeaWorld Guide, Rule of Fear, and the AP itself. I'm pretty sure the content is accurate to canon, though if anyone sees any errors, let me know!

A Brief History of Ustalav:

It can be said that the earliest inhabitants that we know of were the ancient Kellids. They were a superstitious lot who worshiped things far older than our present pantheon. For untold years, they lay claim to these lands, still evidenced by their ancient runes and standing stones. All things change though, and the Kellid tribes' dominion over the area was no different.

Over 7 millenia ago, the legendary hero Soivida Ustav drove the Kellid tribes from the region. Though possessed of strange powers bestowed by their inhuman deities, the Kellids stood no chance against the forged steel and formulated spell-power of Ustav's company. Victorious, he claimed and divided the country amongst his allies and lieutenants, who passed their holdings onto their descendents in turn. This created the foundations of the country of Ustalav, a loosely knit union of supporters who eventually forgot the reason for their purpose of unity. 500 years of tentative peace passed, but as more Varisians became integrated amongst the people of the country, the more disputes over familial rights came into play. Some of these conflicts, particularly ones centering around land holdings, escalated into of open conflicts. Rather than face civil war, the then-appointed King Kaldemov divided the country into sixteen regions, each controlled by the most influential families. This created a lasting peace, one that would endure for nearly 3,000 years. Again, all thing change, and the glory days of Ustalav were no different.

Tar Baphon, known today as The Whispering Tyrant, was once a mortal wizard, born some 6,000 years ago. It is said that in life he was born of greatness, possessed of an incredibly gifted mind that also bore the cruelty of detachment. It is perhaps this cold, calculating mindset that led him to the arcane arts and more specifically, Necromancy. Dozens of conflicting tales are remembered about his rise to power, that he murdered his professors at his arcane academy and then brought back them back as undead so they might continue to teach him; that he turned an entire city into a town of zombies overnight, that his undead could not be harmed by all but the most powerful clerics, that he could alter reality on a whim. His power began to rise, for with each horror he committed, his dead foes would rise up to join his ranks. Eventually, he began to amass a small army that in turn began to swell into a legion. As the numbers grew, so did his necromantic prowess, for each victory afforded him new test material. Furthermore, as word of his atrocities traveled, dark souls sought him out to learn from him and in turn teach him new secrets. However, as his power and might grew, so did his hubris. In an act of supreme arrogance, Tar Baphon attempted to utilize his great magic to lure the god of Humanity down to fight him, whether to simply destroy him or to supplant him is not known. The histories speak of a great battle fought on The Isle of Terror, many leagues south of here, a battle where the combined might of the-then-great nation of Taldor and a manifestation of Aroden himself came forth to battle Tar Baphon. Aroden is recorded to have mortally wounded him, but it is believed that the wizard king somehow used his necromancy to survive and to retreat to the depths of The Isle of Terror. Some say, particularly The Whispering Way, that Tar Baphon succeeded in the end, and it simply took him a few millenia to accomplish his goal. Nonetheless, all trace of Tar Baphon vanished for nearly 2,000 years. When he returned, he had at some point made the transition between life and death, reappearing as the most powerful Lich Golarion has ever known. Again, all things change, and Tar Baphon was no different.

In the year 3203, Tar Baphon reappeared as the leader of the orcs in The Hold of Belkzen. Having somehow united all of the constantly warring orc tribes into one force, Tar Baphon, whose name soon became known as The Whispering Tyrant, began to raise a force that no country was prepared to withstand. Some say that after his defeat and during his long absence, it was The Whispering Way that taught him the deepest secrets of necromancy and how to pass between the threshold of life and death. Whatever the case, his power was greater than any spellcaster the world has seen, as he summoned forth legions of ancient dead to join with the already swelling orc horde. Leading his armies were the most powerful undead known to exist, the Nightshades. These creatures of unliving darkness exist only to see the world consumed of life, and few could stand before the apocalyptic onslaught that these terrors wrought. Ustalav was the first country to face The Whispering Tyrant's wrath, as he began his assault with the siege of the Grodlych, a n Ustalavic county now part of the nation of Lastwall. He then spread eastward towards the capital, quickly taking the land of Virlych from its former owner, a count whose name is stricken from all records. It is believed that the nameless count sold the Whispering Tyrant the lives of his people and his city in exchange for wealth and freedom. Whatever the case, Adorak became The Tyrant's new capital and the staging point for the rest of his conquest. From there, dozens of great heroes perished as they tried to wrest the Lich's control of the land from him. This culiminated with the loss of the heir to the throne, Prince Ardurras Virholt II, as he rode forth to confront the Lich Lord with his undead-destroying blade, Corpselight, only to be felled by the Lich's powerful magic and reanimated as an undead blasphemy. The entire nation, at the backing of the church of Pharasma, led a crusade to destroy the Lich King. This crusade, comprised of holy warriors and crusaders, were lead by Pharasma's High Arch-Bishop at-the-time, Prince Adamondais Virholt, who wielded the holy artifact Raven's Head.Even with this divine relic and their strength of purpose, the crusade was slaughtered to the man when they attempted to march upon Gallowspire, the Tyrant's seat of power. Further betrayal occurred within the very heartland of Ustalav itself, when the powerful wizard known as Socorro, a well respected scholar and leader in the town of Carrion Hill, lead an uprising that butchered thousands of citizens in the name of the Tyrant. Beset from within and from without, the fractured counties of Ustalav crumbled to the assaults of the monstrous hordes. By 3206, The Whispering Tyrant had secured all of Ustalav. A final stand was made at The Battle of Dawnmarsh by the last King of Ustalav, King Ardruras Virholt, a massacre where he and his company were slain to the last . The fallen king, reanimated as the grim jongleur called the Shrieking Sovreign, preceded the Tyrant's legions into the capital city of Ardis where he crushed all hope by hanging himself from the Palace Tower. With the destruction of the noble line, the annihilation of the armies, and the eradication of the church from the land, The Whispering Tyrant made Ustalav his seat of power, spreading from there like a cancer across Golarion. For 6 centuries he ruled the land in fear, uncontested. However, all things change, and even the mightiest wizards can fall when they have enough enemies.

Two elements contested the Tyrant's rule from within the country's borders, two supernatural elements that had long resided within the nation, Ustalav's vampires and werewolves. The nation's vampires, having long established themselves within its cities, found themselves at odds with the purposes of The Whispering Way and its most powerful member, for a world devoid of life was a world devoid of blood. This split the vampires into two factions, those that supported The Tyrant and those that did not. Powerful enough to not be beneath the Lich's notice, a purge of the vampires not loyal to The Tyrant was lead by the vampire lord, Malyas. This further schismed the vampires into warring factions, and a number of them escaped to other countries where they spent centuries rousing forces against the Lich King. How much of the vampires' influence might be responsible for the campaign launched against him centuries later is unknown, but the absence of vampires amongst his forces during the final years of his rule suggests that the vampires eventually withdrew their support from the Tyrant's forces. All things change, and loyalty from something centuries or millenia old is always a questionable gamble.
The nation's Werewolves are believed to be the descendents of Kellid tribes who were never fully driven from the region, people who hid amongst the unassailable Shudderwood and over the years integrated themselves and their customs amongst the Ustalav populace. Some of these customs and religions are very old and blur the line between man and beast. For those of their ancient line, the curse of Lycanthropy is seen as a hereditary blessing, one passed on by the blood of their ancestors. Indeed, what few accounts of the werewolves of the Shudderwood exist depict re-enactment of old Kellid rituals and gatherings around their old standing stones. Despite their old bloodlines, a number of them had relatives and friends who were citizens of the country, if not lords. When the Tyrant invaded Ustalav and killed the two sons of King Ardurras Virholt, his bastard Prince Andriadus Virholt was selected to be the next heir of the crown. Rather than accepting the crown's responsibility of leading what little forces were left on a suicide mission against The Tyrant, the Bastard Prince retreated to the Shudderwood, where he went about a campaign of rousing the forests's Lycanthropes against The Tyrant, recruiting the lycanthropic Sczarni in a shadow war against the Lich. Even years after the Lich's complete control of Ustalav, the Shudderwood can never truly be considered to be within his grasp. Even to this day, few tread into the deeper parts of the forest for fear of what ancient things lay undisturbed. As for the Prince, it is said this his blood mingled with that of the ancient shapeshifters, and that even now, some Lycanthropes can trace their blood back to the first king of the realm. The werewolves were thus the staunchest enemies of the Whispering Tyrant and his forces until something changed, the completion of The Shining Crusade.

At last, after years of horror piled upon atrocities, the people of Avistan began to resist. Spurred on by righteous indignation at the blasphemies within Tar Baphon's kingdom, the nation of Taldor began what is known as The Shining Crusade. Besides Taldor, the crusade was comprised of dwarves from the kingdom of Kraggodan and the Knights of Ozem, a dedicated order of Iomedaen paladins, clerics, and other holy warriors. For 26 years the crusade fought a long and bloody path to the heart of Ustalav, where lead by Taldan General Arnisant, they emerged at the gates of Adorak, the Lich's capital city. Many legendary battles were fought in the campaign to reclaim the land from darkness, and in the end, the crusaders succeeded. There before the Lich's stronghold of Gallowspire, General Arnisant sacrificed his very life to finally defeat the Lich, destroying The Tyrant and himself in a final, epic battle. Yet despite his destruction, Tar Baphon's spirit remained intact. Given enough time, the Lich would rebuild his body and begin his conquest of terror anew. Rather than face their foe again with a less certain outcome, the remaining crusaders and holy warriors utilized their most powerful magics to create a prison for Tar Baphon, an oubliette to hold their enemy for all time. Even to this day, almost 4,000 years later, the prison still supposedly contains Tar Baphon within it, left to plot his revenge against the world of the living...


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Overall, my group immensely enjoyed this module. Here's what we liked, what we didn't like, what I changed, and why. Our group consists of five players using a 20 point buy. Here's where they started at in the module and where they ended up. See obituaries for details on deaths (There were two)
-Calcifer: Varisian Human Oracle(Life) 4----> 7
-Willem: Human Fighter (Scythe Specialist) 4----> 7
-Alucard: Dhampir Magus 4 ----> 7
-Aella: Human Barbarian 4----> 5, Deceased----Returned--->7
-Foxglove: Tiefling Rogue 4----> 6, Deceased

The Good

(1)Trial itself is Awesome: The amount of role playing present in this situation really allows players who enjoy such aspects of playing to really shine. Impassioned speeches were given, evidence was unveiled dramatically, and through it all the crowd gasped, booed, roared and otherwise gave voice to the overall feeling of unwarranted prejudice and superstitious thick-headedness that even a great city like Lepistatd possessed its elements of. The fact that two of my players had demi-human characters helped this sentiment to echo, if not also providing emotional resonance with the Beast. If done right, the Trial can be an extremely powerful scene of great role-playing. The mechanics for presenting evidence made for good role-playing. When Pett develops social scenarios for modules, he utterly rocks them (Sixfold Trial, Prince of Redhand, and Serpents of Scuttlecove come to mind in this regard).

(2)The Beast: The Beast has by far been my favorite NPC to role-play, especially if one does not treat him cartoonish and break into the whole, "Fire BAD!!" trope. Instead, I played him as a tormented, lonely soul, one who would occasionally use the wrong word or sentence structures but still able to convey a deeper meaning behind his words. Initially, I played him almost as if unmoving, as if he had formed a mental barrier against the torments of the townsfolk. It took several diplomacy checks to even get him to talk, and even then, it was like a captive who was expecting to be tortured again. Finally, the PCs got him to understand their intentions and even befriended them by the end of the module. Any time you can make players teary eyed during a session from the emotional impact of a scene is a sign that your being given the correct tools to create it. Good job, guys.

3)Vorstag and Grine's: I love dynamic fights, and the factory is a great setup for this. Three levels, hazardous terrain, plenty of mooks, callable reinforcements, and two horribly reprehensible villains behind it all make for one badass fight. Out of all the fights in this module, this is the best one. For one thing, it allows DMs to adjust for the difficulty of the fight, allowing them to add additional Mongrelfolk, alchemical equipment, the Juju Zombies, or both villians at once as needed. The pacing here is entirely up to the DM, with villains entering as required to heighten the tension. The environment itself is memorable, and I particularly like using Vorstag and Grine's array of abilities while requiring the PCs to navigate the room. Well designed encounter, and its a shame that a number of groups miss this because of character motivation (not ours). My only quibble is the Mongrelfolk; they don't possess Acrobatics, yet are able to somehow cross the wooden planks that they are supposed to fight on (in melee!). Behind the screen, I fudged this and treated them as if they had +4 to their normal checks due to being used to the conditions. Still, a number of them ended up in the acid vats..

(4) Good use of Horror Tropes: Frankenstein, Candyman, The Blair Witch Project all have hints of them, which help remind the players of the fear these things can represent without representing the fictional work itself. For my part, I sprinkled in a little bit of Children of the Corn in at Herstag, but more on that below.

Good Encounters:
-Vorstag and Grine's (See above)
-Golem Hound (I gave it scent)
-Ghasts (It should be noted that I gave them the Warren Digger feat from Classic Horrors Revisited so they could burst from the ground.)
-Faceless Flesh Golem (Extra flavor on 'ordinary' monsters is always awesome)
-Guardian of the Tower (Besides the Promethian, one of the few monsters that the PCs couldn't just stand toe to toe with and swing it out, that thing just does too much damage on a full attack to one person. Also, it went berserk during the fight, changing its orders from guarding the lower level to attacking the nearest living creature.)
-Aberrant Promethian Vs the Beast. (I gave the Promethian 3 rounds of foreshadowing, 3 round of "combat" vs the PCs, and then the Beast took over, with the PCs controlling him amidst the rain and thunder, with Alpon Caromarc yelling instructions at them over the storm like Doctor Emmett Brown. Very memorable fight, and a good climax to the module.)

Encounters that deserve special mention:
-Huge Air Elemental: Before running this, everyone should read the thread in this AP's forum of the same name. Depending on how you run it, you have the power to kill your entire party, which is a scary thing. In the interest of players actually having fun and story continuity, I decided to not slaughter my entire party but created a setup that made for one of the diciest encounters my players have faced. Air Elemental on the Bridge thread

-Erinyes: Again, this is another nasty one where you're probably going to kill at least one PC. 6th level parties just aren't ready for the firepower the Erinyes can dish out. I had two PC near deaths where instead of opting for her bow's x3 damage (avg 34 dmg) I told them I would not kill them outright and instead drew three cards from the critical hit deck, reducing it to double (with other effects). Fortunately, I possess an extremely creative party who tangelfoot bagged her to the bridge, cut the bridge,dropping her into the river (which didn't kill her) and then slugged it out until the duration of her summoning expired. Despite all this, this is not a bad encounter; this is one where the DM has a lot of abilities at their disposal so that if they don't want to outright kill a PC, they don't have to (You can use Fear and her rope if you want her to neutralize a threat in a quicker manner than her bow).

-Trolls: The biggest danger here is escalation. For my part, this was an awesome encounter because I had the trolls enter at different rounds. While I did change the map here to make everything almost double in size, the stairs and doorways remained 5' in width, forcing the trolls to spend extra time squeezing down to the main floor of the gatehouse. Thus, I had the the two trollhounds begin the fight, with the Advanced Troll hearing the noise on the third round and firing potshots with his crossbow. By then, they opened the gatehouse doors, with the two trolls beneath engaging. The leader continues shooting unless someone engages him (which happened in mine), or joins in three rounds if everyone enters the gatehouse. Finally, I thought the location of the final troll and trollhound a bit strange: they are barricaded from the gatehouse on the bridge, with no real way to get into the fight. I wasn't sure why they would just be stuck out there, especially considering the troll's appetites and the lack of food present. Also, why are there working fires in the main gatehouse if that's the one thing the Trolls fear? I didn't think trolls cooked their food, so I removed them. Instead, I placed all of the goblins on the bridge in the troll and hound's spot, as if the trolls were utilizing them to occasionally test the golem hound.

What we didn't like:

(1) Module's key information is scattered: While the overarching story is brilliant, the layout of the module is not. There is a lot of important times, places, and other pieces of information that are not put in a concise place. Details of the 'Beast's' activities at different locations are given in the locations themselves, but also towards the beginning of the module, and again during the trial. I occasionally had to spend several minutes looking frantically for a key piece of information that the players uncovered. Usually I am prepare to run a module by reviewing all the key information relevant to the adventure, but sometimes my players will ask questions to requiring referencing the module itself. Doing so here was difficult. When players ask how far away something is and how long its been there, I shouldn't have to consult two different sections of the module. An overall timeline of the module's events (including Herstag) would have been very helpful, as well as a bit more information on the various NPCs that the PCs are going to interview.
(2) Isn't this Ustalav?: I know its up to the DMs to do this, but as written, there's little to nothing given to help heighten the tension of the various treks the PCs must make along the road to Lepistatd and around its environments. While I never use the random encounter tables in the back, I thought that with the amount of traveling, there would at least be some traveling events described, let alone random weird sights for the players to see. There's a few things in 'Rule of Fear' to help detail this, but a lot of it represents the worst that can happen to a player as they journey, which doesn't always translate to horror. A sense of subtly is required to build the mood before unveiling something horrible, and if players get used to seeing overpowered creatures and locations (like the Saffron House or The Devil in Grey), they lose their sense of menace, let alone the logistical problems as to how a group of 4th-6th level PCs is supposed to face these kind of challenges that are far beyond them. Players like being able to affect things, and if all they do is run away from one thing to the next, the horrors become window dressing.

Bad Encounters:
-Second Golem Hound: So, someone has a factory making these things or what? I kind of have a problem with a few things here: 1) A unique creation like a golem shouldn't be the same as another of its kind, let alone possess the same body, appearance, and game statistics as another one. 2)Its location doesn't make sense. Why can't the trolls just range attack it to death? Why is the thing there if somebody could just shut the gatehouse doors and attack it from the towers? As written, there's nothing it can do against this tactic, yet the trolls (with a giant crossbow that can easily overcome its DR) won't do this? 3) The hound's tactics won't work. The AoO its going to incur for not having Improved Bull Rush will raise somebody's CMD high enough that it has to roll exceptionally well. My solution was to give it Improved Bull Rush, but its position caused a few of my players to scratch their heads.

-Leech Swarms: Where you encounter them doesn't make sense; Where the heck did they come from and why are they on the top of the Schloss? As I understood it, the Drowned Menagerie wasn't originally flooded, nor were its pit traps. The leeches obviously came in from the flood, but why are they all under the trip trap and not just swimming about? I don't think even Auren Vrood has a certificate in Leech handling, so there's no way the WW could have herded them into the pit trap. That alone is confusing, but what is so bad about this encounter is its destabilizing effect. Most likely, the leech will encompass 2-3 PCs, inflicting two kinds of ability damage and drain. That's right, Drain. At 6th level, where there has been no treasure that can remove Drain and PC's won't have the spellcasting capabilities to deal with it. Collectively, our group lost 15 points of Dexterity, forcing them to retreat back to Lepistattd. The two times my PCs returned to Lepistatd, it noticeably destroyed the tension and mood that had been building from the exploration of the castle. This encounter makes no sense, destabilizes the mood, and disrupts the party. I recommend removing it and adding four more Draugrs, who at least have to hit in combat to inflict level drain, can't fight all at once in a 10' hallway, and can't hit attack every PC at once. Stupid swarms...

What I changed and why:

Phase Spider:
I liked the Crooked Kin, but I really hate the Phase Spider for a number of reasons (I also have a player who is an arachnophobe, and since there's a spider of some sort in every module except the fourth ones, I included an alternate journey from Ravengro to Lepistatd that had no Phase Spider: Clover's Crossing and the rest of the journey

Morast:
I made Lazne a misogynistic racist old man, kind of like Craster in Game of Thrones. This made the PCs hate him but need to keep him alive since he was a prime witness for the trial. I created mechanics for using a two person rowboat, since I planned on having encounters on the boats. I specifically did this because since they were exploring a swampy island by boat at sunset, I had to have something creepy happen. (Move action- DC 10 STR to move 10', +5' per 5 over 10. Also, I had muddier water that was difficult, increasing DC to 15. There's probably better rules in Skulls and Shackles I imagine)
Anyways, I removed the Manticore from the island, and added 2 Merrow and and their pet Hyrdra as replacements, which let me use the aspect of lurking aquatic horror (swamp thing and such) to re-emphasize the fear aspect of the game. I also changed the Blood Caiman into a very specific specimen of its kind, an advanced elite CR 5 version called old RedMaw so the PCs could identify the one who "bit the beast". This let me set up another encounter that reemphasized the aspect of lurking underwater monsters, and I had the Huge crocodile use his stealth against the PCs (which in the murky swamp and in the dark, had a prety good roll (+14). I then had him on the surprise round attempt to "swallow the boat", giving the PCs in a randomly selected boat a DC 15 reflex save to jump out as the crocodile destroys the boat. I then gave the crocodile a free grapple attempt at the PC that failed. (Cinematically, as if the crocodile comes from underneath, opens his giant maw, and attempts to snap the boat in two and swallow up anyone inside it. Freaked the players out). Once killed, it let the PCs take one of its teeth to match against the Beast's skin as a piece of minor evidence. Finally, I had the hoots and hollers of distant Marsh giants echo as the PCs rowed by the humanoid effigies that lead back from the island to the village. Since the PCs took their time exploring the entire island, it was well into dark when the last two encounters took place, furthering heightening the tension once Knowledge: Local rolls were made to identify the source of the calls.

Herstag:
: Again I made some major changes in the interest of flavor of cohesiveness: My Herstag

Hobbling Hook Claw Apparatus:
: I could tell just from the creature's stats that this thing would prove to be no more than a speedbump to my group of 5 PCs, so I changed it to give more flavor to the Whispering Way. I swapped the creature out for a Totenmaske disguised as Alpon Caromarc, which let me roleplay him up a little bit as he tried to isolate the PCs inside his manor house. It was fun to let him give the backstory, however warped, and then have him attack.

The Black Pudding:
: Having already faced Rust Monsters and a host of creatures that inflict ability damage (or Drain), I felt like a jerk throwing something else at the party that ate their treasure. Since one of the PCs had made Knowledge Dungeoneering checks on the Promethian and knew some the creatures that composed it, I decided to swap out the creature for a combination of a Cloaker and a Gibbering Mouther, who were each immune to each other's sonic attacks.

Adding a Chimeric Manticore:
: I had a Chimera with a Manticore's tail (as detailed in the Bestiary) harry PCs who attempted to climb The Stretching Way (J11), with his nest in the center of the cranny between the four towers. This let me add tension to the dramatic height, give additional XP for my 5 PCs, and have a slight hoard to augment the lack of treasure in this part of the module (my PCs got the goats but sold them to deal with the huge amount of ability drain and level drain they suffered in the Scloss)

The Mimic:
; My advice is to change the Mimic's disguise from the sarcophagus to an ornate rug. The reason for this is that the same trick is used again in 'Ashes at Dawn' by the Mimic Rogues who are disguised as the vampire's coffins, and its sometimes best not to play the same trick twice.

Involving the Promethian and the Use of Horror:
I felt like something as uniquely horrible as The Aberrant Promethian deserved some foreshadowing before the PCs fought it. Here's what I did in order as the PCs neared and progressed through the Schloss:

-As the PCs journey toward the Schloss, I had the PCs see a Froghemoth battling it out with the Promethian at a distance. The Froghemoth is clearly losing to the monster, which gave my PCs pause.

-As the PCs near the gatehouse, I had the Beast appear, as if to accompany them through the Schloss. I then had the Promethian show up, and after a short dialogue (really a monologue since the Ab-Pro doesn't speak, just roar), the two of them are grappling end over end into the depths of the water. This let the PCs know that the thing they just saw is probably made by the same person as the Beast, the Count. (The Beast calls it 'Brother')

-Next, I Had the Promethian climb the cliffs while the PCs rested inside the manor house. I had him climb the central tower, up to the top where the lightning rod and Bondslave Thrall is. Eventually, he is struck by lightning and the damage from the fall begins to heal. No sign of the Beast as the Promethian eventually descends out of view.

-As the PCs explore the manor house and The Living Museum, I had signs of destruction evident throughout, as if something had gone on a rampage. This made it eerie when the PCs encountered Totenmasked-Caromarc, calmly sitting amidst the destruction, sipping his wine. I also had a massive hole in the side of the main Tower's monster prison (L2) to show the terrific force the Promethian was capable of.

-The Promethian finally took notice of the PCs as they rested amidst a massie thunderstorm. The Promethian attempts to climb up and perch precariously in some spot where it has to Balance (like on of the bridges) as it attempts to break inside whatever structure the PCs are in (in my case, the Manor house). This let the Promethian let loose some of its abilities like its Moan and Webs while the PCs attempted to damage it and knock it back into the abyss below. In my case, the rogue used her Ring of the Ram to eventually score a hit and knock him off the bridge, not to reappear until the final part, though its presence made the PCs nervous about resting anywhere in the castle

-While not visible again until the last part, I still had the lurking presence of the Ab-Pro. When my PCs left the Schloss to get healing back at Lepistatd for the Leech Swarms, they saw something strange when they returned; someone had taken the remains of the chopped up and burnt trolls and smashed them together into a dead pile that resembled a crude attempt at a golem. This made my PCs nervous about the thing lurking somewhere and jumping out to make their bodies into its personal effigy..

Dealing with Mobs, during and post-trial:
I thought the mechanics for dealing with the mob were pretty neat, but since I have a lot of miniatures, I wanted to have a visual means to show the numbers the PCs were facing. I took 56 townsfolk miniatures (mob of 50 for my group + 6 ringleaders) and set them on the Paizo TownSqaure flip-map, placing them 25' from the entrance to the courthouse. I then had them advance at a rate of 5' a turn, during which the PCs made their Diplomacy and Intimidate checks against the crowd. Before the six rounds had passed, the PCs had dispersed the required 25% without engaging the ringleaders. This helped to visually demonstrate the 5 minutes the PCs have to talk down the crowd. I had the ringleaders mostly static during the event, assuming that they were using their skills to form the mob in the first place. After the trial, I had the same ringleaders responsible for whipping up the mob that marches on the Schloss. As for that...
I sort of used the mob to further illustrate the forces that the PCs were up against and to foreshadow an encounter I will run at the beginning of "Broken Moon". The PCs were well ahead of the mob but after the fiasco with the Leech Swarms, were forced to return to town. I knew it would take probably 3 days of adventuring to clear the manor and I didn't want the angry mob interrupting the pacing of the dungeon, so decided to do something about them. Rather than getting to the Schloss, the PCs come upon the remains of the 50+ mob that had marched up the road. All of them are scattered as if they were all running from something, and all are missing their heads. When the PCs gathered some of the town guard to help them deal with burying and identifying the bodies of its citizens on the return trip, they found that all of the bodies had gotten up and walked away to the southeast, leaving an easy trail but not one the PCs wanted to follow. This made the PCs a little bit wary about running back and forth between the Schloss and Lepistatd and also lets me foreshadow the cause of the decapitations, a Dullahan I will use on the journey to the Ascanor Lodge. As for the newly created zombies and beheaded, I plan on utilizing them in the Shudderwood and Feldgrau.

Overall, this was a fun module to run, though I must admit that the second part (The Schloss) has to be one of the more difficult dungeons I've seen in a while. My group is usually pretty good at tactics, but tactics are meaningless against some of the monsters by nature of their sheer power, like the Erinyes and Air Elemental. However, my players like good fights and I feel that the fight's deadliness contributes to the feeling of what it means to fight against evil in a horror setting. The only real complaint it the overabundance of monsters with ability damage, drain, curses, and diseases present within the module. I feel that while these types of afflictions are valid in a horror game, but the overuse of them destabilizes the pacing of the adventure. If PCs feel incapable of adventuring because of taking too much ability damage, they are going to return to town, and this will happen repeatedly , regardless of any type of countdown you might put them on. Also, considering how light on treasure the module is, its sort of like salt in a wound when players have to spend what little they have on Restorations. Otherwise, I rate the module about an 8 out 10. Looking forward to running "Broken Moon"!!


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I liked the feel of an abandoned farming town as the sight for an investigation. It definitely had a creepy description from the outset, but I knew my players would ask about the details of the town, why it was abandoned, and the truth of Brother Swarm. I used a lot of what Pett wrote when I ran that part, but felt like some of the encounters needed to be expanded. I did this because I have five players and not only wanted to have more experience given for the encounters but also wanted to add my own flavor. I used the same map presented in the module but hand-drew a copy to show the players. The three locations that I hinted at being important were the town's chapel (C1), Karin's house, and the hilltop (c5). I wanted to give Brother Swarm more of a horror-movie feel than I felt that a Wraith could give, and so developed some history for him.
The Three sisters Garrow, Starle, and Flicht are witnesses in the trial, so my PCs decided to question them. When they told them about the disappearances of the children, the players already had a suspicion that the Beast was innocent, especially since they had already investigated Morast and interviewed the Beast. My PCs immediately cut to the chase and asked the sisters if there had been any strange occurrences before the disappearances. I had the PCs make a Diplomacy check (DC 25) to get the story from the sisters, which they were able to do.

Brother Swarm:
Gilwyn Treyes who came to later be known as Brother Swarm was a local beekeeper in the town of Herstag who had an unhealthy obsession: the town's children. At first, he would have them visit his apiary and tell them old nursery tales, but once he would get them alone, he would abuse them to fulfill his debased desires, and then threaten them to keep silent or worse would happen. He used to have children of his own but years ago a plague had claimed them and his wife, leaving him alone and bitter for years. He blamed the other townsfolk for his loss, for when lots were drawn during the plague to determine who would receive the healer's care first, Treyes family drew last; by the time the healer came upon Gilwyn, it was all the healer could do just to save him. Over the years, he grew hateful for his loss and while he tried to reconnect to the town by providing honey and telling old stories, this only brought its children closer to him, a reminder of all that he lost. Eventually, something in him snapped, and the abuse began, abuse that was concealed for a couple of years before his neighbors found out, especially one fateful night when one of the children, Rachel, came home covered in bee-stings. They rose up against him, surrounding his apiary and dragging him out of it. They tied him to a stake and covered him in honey, releasing every bee-pen and letting them do their grisly work. Even as he screamed his death screams, he cursed the townsfolk, telling them that he would take from them what was taken from him. After his death, the townsfolk burned his apiary to the ground and left his corpse unburied, still tied to the stake where his bees had stung him to death.
From there, events play out pretty much as described in the book, with the children going missing one at a time. However, instead of him rising as a Wraith, I had him rise as a Ghost, one who had strange powers tied to the creatures that brought about his death. By using his swarms and horrific nature, Brother Swarm was able to single out each of the children and either lure or chase them to the remains of the apiary, where he would claim them one by one. When the Beast came to the defense of Elsa, he could do nothing against him but was able to bring back her body, which shifts all of the blame onto him.

Attic Whisperers instead of Wraith Spawn:
Based on the timeline of the trial, its hard for a group of PCs to not be exploring Herstag during the daytime, especially if they're able to get there quickly through either magic or mounts. If they are quick in their movement and investigations (the DCs at both the churchyard and Karin's house are easy), they may never encounter either Brother Swarm or his children. This could be a problem, especially if the PCs aren't close to being 6th level when they hit the Schloss because they missed out on 8400 xp worth of monsters. I believe Attic Whisperers (Bestiary 2)are a perfect stand-in for the wraith spawn as a physical rather than incorporeal manifestation of the children's spirits. Attic Whisperers normally are a physical representation of the psychic trauma a neglected child feels and thus make perfect stand ins for a number of reasons:
1)They can be out during daytime
2)Their abilities are more in tune with a Horror game (voice stealing and putting people to sleep)
3)They can have more individualistic flavor based on the child, with the possessions making up each Whisperer describing the child's personality.
4)Ability Drain for a 4th level (possibly 5th) party is extremely harsh, with Restoration not being cheap. This module already has a few threads about its treasure content and is already ripe with monsters that have ability damage, curses, diseases, and other effects that either require a cleric or lots of money (I'm looking at you, Rust Monsters and Black Pudding). This just feels like overkill, and a bad night against the Wraith Spawn could lead to a party's early retirement.
5)(Personal Reason) Most of my group is familiar with Children of the Corn, so the Whisperers make a better monster to use for that trope. Also, stealing someone's voice and then running off into a field of corn is just plain creepy in-game.
While the PCs fight the Attic Whisperers, they sing an eerie rhyme that helps to identify each of the children:

Little Marten loved to run, until he ran to Brother Swarm
Shooting bow's was Garad's fun, until he was no longer warm
Allen wanted to be a knight, now he takes another form
Rachel's pranks were filled with fright, now she fears a different storm
Elsa and her glitter-staff, more to keep the keeper warm
Karin he did save for last, now they all buzz as his swarm


Initial Description of Herstag:
Since there isn't a verbal description in the module, I made one. "This overgrown farming village has fallen into ruin. Periodic clusters of dilapidated houses lay scattered amidst the borders of immense fields burgeoning with untended rows of corn. A dank morass of a river filters into a swampy lowland that borders the northern edge of the town, a bog that seems to occasionally intrude into the village like a growth of fungus reclaiming a dead tree. A pair of bridges, one nearby and the other further downriver span the sloughish river."

Southern Bridge (EL 6):
"This wooden bridge is old but appears sturdy"
-Perception DC 20= "There is a thrum of buzzing coming from beneath the bridge"
-Perception DC 25= "Some of the planks on the bridge look quite rotten"
The southern bridge has become a nest for the some of the remnants of Brother Swarm's bees. A host of them has gathered under the bridge, which immediately swarm out to attack anyone who sets foot on the bridge. The bridge is roughly 20 ft above the water, which is quite muddy (DC 15 Swim). Two of the planks on the 40' x 10' bridge are rotten as well, functioning basically as pit traps.

Killer Honey Bee Swarm (CR 5): As Centipede Swarm, except replace Climb with Fly 30 (perfect), Raise Constitution to 10 (+3 hp, Fort +1, Poison and Distraction DC +1), and also give swarm the following trait:
Vicious (ex) Whenever the swarm deals damage to a living creature, it deals an additional 2d6 points of damage as the bees pour over each other to deal deadly stings. However, a number of the bees die from the act of giving their sting, and as a result, the swarm takes 1d6 points of damage every time it deals this additional damage. Characters in the same square as any smoke (but not fog) are immune to this extra damage.

Broken Planks (CR 1 Hazard)
Two planks (randomly determined by the DM are rotten). An adjacent PC can spot the hazard with a DC 20 perception check, Otherwise, the planks break when over 50 pounds of stress is put on them. PCs who break through are entitled a DC 15 Reflex save to grab the edge of the bridge. Otherwise, they take 2d6 points of falling damage and 1d6 points of piercing damage (from wood shards) and land in bottom the river, (10' deep at widest) .


Northern Bridge (EL 5):
"This rotten bridge leans precariously off one of its supports. It still holds, but just barely"
This bridge is the same length and width as the southern one, but requires a DC 15 acrobatics check to cross. Furthermore, three sections of planks are rotten here and harder to spot from a distance since the whole bridge appears to be in the same state. They otherwise function as the hazards above. The slow water beneath this bridge contains a Leech Swarm (CR 4), which ferociously attacks any living creatures that enter the water.

Entering Herstag (EL 5):
Upon crossing either bridge, The first of the children, "Allen" engages the PCs, coming out from behind one of the buildings or fields. He is a parody of a the knight he wanted to become, with mock armor composed partially of dishes and cloth, topped with a toy knight's helmet. He rides a steed, a skeletal horse.
-Allen, Attic Whisperer (CR 4,Bestiary 2) As Attic Whisperer, but change the feats Dodge and Improved Initiative for Weapon Proficiency: Lance and Mounted Combat. Change the Ranks of Knowledge: History for Ride. (Giving a Ride skill of +10 with 3 ranks) Normal and Touch AC goes down by one, but he gains an attack with a Lance, at +4 for 1d6 dmg or at +6 for 2d6 dmg while charging. He attempts to charge the first person to cross either bridge, spying the group from afar with his superior perception skill, then utilizes his breath-stealing ability and voice stealing against divine spellcasters. His mount attacks at Allen's direction.
Allen's Mount -Advanced Skeletal Mount (CR 2, Trial of the Beast page 86)with Following changes for Advanced: Init +11, Perception +2, AC 19, Touch 15, Flat 13, HP 13, Fort +2 Ref +7 Will +5; Bite +7 (1d4+7, 2 hooves +2 (1d6+3), CMB +9 CMD 26 (30 vs trip)

The Corn Fields (EL 6):
This can occur at any point that the PCs cross through the village. Two Attic Whisperers lay an ambush at one of the most dangerous parts of the path through the village. Using the same description for area C3, they see the fallen man about 60 feet ahead of them. Stepping out just in front of the scarecrow is a manifestation of Garad, armed with a small bow. He stands directly behind a slick of quicksand that extends outwards 15' from him. If PCs immediately charge him, they get no chance to roll perception as they near the slick. Also littered strategically along the path are the Bear Traps mentioned in the module, in the case of my five PCs, 3.
-Joining the fight after the second or third round is the most powerful of the Attic Whisperers, the manifestation of Marten. He activates his Expeditious Retreat spell-like ability and darts in and out of the corn fields, stealing voices and breath as appropriate.
-The corn rows themselves can be transversed at normal speed if moving east to west but cost double movement going north to south (direction being subjective, but the idea of rows that go one direction.) They also provide partial concealment to someone in an adjacent row and total concealment beyond that. The extra cost of movement does not affect anyone of size Small or smaller, including the Attic Whisperers.
Garad, Attic Whisperer (CR 4, Bestiary 2) As normal except remove Improved Initiative and gain Weapon Proficiency: Short Bow; Gain Ranged Attack- Shortbow: +9 (1d4 and Steal Breath (as Attic Whisperer), DC 16)
Marten, 8HD Attic Whisperer (CR 5) As Attic Whisperer, except:
Init: +5; Perception +14; AC 21, Touch 18 Flat 14; HP 58 (8d8+24) Fort +5, Ref +8, Will +9
Speed 20 (30/50*); Bite+12 1d4-1 and steal breath (DC 17), touch +6 steal voice (DC 17)
Feats: Dodge, Mobility, Spring Attack, Weapon Finesse. Skills: Bluff +10, Acrobatics +14, Knowledge History+10, Knowledge Local +10, Perception +14, Stealth +19; Spell-like ability: 1/day Expeditious Retreat, CL 8. Treasure: Boots of Striding and Springing

The Churchyard (EL 5):
"A small, white-washed timber building stands in the center of the village, its faded paint and dusty windows a testament to months of neglect. Beside the chapel, a small graveyard lies. There are a cluster of six burial lots that stand out due to a number of discarded shovels and other tools that lie scattered around them."
Lying in wait is Rachel, the fourth Attic Whisperer. She stands at the edge of the clearing in which the churchyard rests, easily detecting any party not using stealth to approach and employing her own stealth to spring out at the opportune time. The opportune time is the triggering of a haunt, an echo of the mental anguish and psychic trauma that the townspeople felt when they had to decide to lay burial plots for their missing children.
Gravedigger's Sorrow Haunt (CR 4)
-CN Haunt (Anywhere within 10' of the six children's gravestones)
-Caster Level: 4
-Notice: Perception DC 20 ("You begin to hear uncontrollable sobbing that seems to grow louder")
-HP: 8 -Trigger: Proximity - Reset: 1 day
-Effect: When this haunt is triggered, anyone in proximity suddenly feels an overwhelming urge to dig a fresh plot with the discarded shovels. All creatures within proximity of the haunt are targeted by an Extended Suggestion spell (save DC 16). The suggestion is to dig a fresh grave, which takes 3d4x10 minutes. A PC under the influence of the suggestion that is interrupted from their work (by being grappled, disarmed, or taking damage) attacks whoever interrupts them with their shovel (as if Confused) . Treat this attack as an improvised weapon ( -4 attack, 1d6+str dmg , x2 crit). After either completing the digging or one round after being interrupted, the suggestion ends.
-Destruction: Laying to rest the Attic Whisperers or recovering the four missing bodies causes the psycic trauma to fade away.

Rachel, Attic Whisperer. Wearing a necklace of small toy skulls, this Attic Whisperer specifically attacks anyone not under the influence of the haunt.

Karin's House:
I kept this unchanged, leaving Karin as a Wraithspawn, just to give my players an idea of what they might have faced. As I predicted, a lone Wraithspawn isn't a very exciting fight, even using the ample cover and passable walls within the house. Nonetheless, the threat of Ability Drain once was enough to set them on edge. Doing it 7 times might have made my players walk. When our group finished Herstag, I told my players that every Attic Whisperer was supposed to be a Wraithspawn, which made them grumble about Pett hating the players he writes the modules for.

The Hilltop(EL 7):
"This hilltop has some sort of burnt out building at its peak, a silhouette of a husk broken in the dying light. A few overgrown rows of immense flowers ring part of the hilltop, while beyond them lie the charred remains of this building that is flanked by six, small pens, their iron meshed doors shut. One other striking feature catches the crimson light of the dying sun, the skeletal remains of a man tied to a large, wooden post."
Once the sight of Brother Swarm's apiary, its charred remains still crown the hilltop. Almost all of the structure except for the foundation and a a couple walls are burnt away. Near the structure stands a human skeleton that is still bound by ropes to a tall wooden pole. Circ;ling the eastern half of the hilltop are three rows of overgrown flowers which have grown unchecked over the months. They obscure the details of the burnt out building until crossed through, at which point Brother Swarm manifests to destroy those who have taken his "children". Finally, there are six bee pens, four of which contain the skeletalized remains of the missing four children.
Brother Swarm (CR 6)
NE Undead
Old Human Male Expert 6 Ghost
Init+0 Darkvision 60', Perception +18
AC 16 (Touch 16, Flat 15)
HP 57 (6d8+30)
Fort+7 Ref +4 Will +7; Rejuvenation, Incorporeal, Undead Traits
Speed: Fly 30(perfect)
Touch: +4 (6d6 dmg, Fort DC 18 halves)
Special Attack- Swarmcall: Standard Action, summons a cloud of bees that surrounds Brother Swarm out to a 15' radius centered on him. Treat the swarm as a Centipede Swarm except with Fly 30' (perfect) instead of Climb. The swarm acts (deals damage) on the same turn as Brother Swarm. As a Full-Round action, Brother Swarm can extend the swarm out to a 30' radius but must continue to maintain a full-round to keep it to that radius (moving reduces it back to 15') (HP 31, AC 18, Saves as Brother Swarm, 2d6 dmg+distraction+poison: DC 14)
Str: - Dex: 11 Con: - Int: 14 Wis: 15 Cha:20
Base: +4 CMB: +4 CMD: 15
Feats: Dodge, Lightning Reflexes, Master Craftsman, Stealthy
Skills: Bluff +14, Disable Device +11, Escape Artist +10, Know: Arcana +7, Know: Religion +7, Know: Nature:+8, Perception +18, Perform: Oratory +13, Profession: Bee Keeper +11, Stealth +18 Survival +8.
Elsa, Attic Whisperer (CR 4) Treasure: Lesser Metamagic Rod of Reach Spell (her baton)

I made these changes to fit the personal tastes of my group, but a lot of the above is simply giving descriptions to the areas on the map that don't have them. The major cosmetic changes (the encounters) worked really well for me, especially the fear of losing one's voice to a childish horror the day before a very public trial, let alone hitting a spellcaster with such a curse before or during an important fight. I would be very happy if anyone used anything above for their Carrion Crown group, especially if you don't fancy fighting 7 wraiths.


Lucimar:
So, I want the players in my group to have some ideas about who the movers and shakers are in The Whispering Way by part 6. I think its a lot cooler when players exclaim, "Oh crap, it's the Lich Wolf!" rather than "So he's some kind of undead werewolf spellcaster...neat." I always love recurring villains and NPCs, and have already had Adivion Adrissant, Alpon Caromarc, Abraum Chalest (in attendance at funeral)and Ramoska Arkminos make appearances up to where we are now, which in in the middle of Schloss Caromarc.
When I look at part 6, (which I can't wait to run) I can't help but notice that there's a variety of near legendary foes that the party faces, yet I wish there was a way to harry the party with them or at least foreshadow them. I can see some of these guys being hinted at in legends, like Marrowgarth, The Grey Friar, and the Nightwalker Sey'Lok. Lucimar is strange enough to not be unknown, yet by his description, he seems secretive and powerful enough to leave no witnesses to his activities, besides other WW members. I guess my issue is that I feel that he's cool enough to have some pre-SoG appearance, and since I'm getting ready to run 'Broken Moon' that might be the place to do it. Hear me out here...
The trap in Schloss Carmomarc can't technically have been placed by Auren Vrood, at least not if you take into account his CL reduction from Agent of the Grave. Some players may notice this, some may not, but it leaves sort of a tiny plot hole nonetheless, which I feel can be filled by the Lich Wolf. I plan on having him do the following sometime after their victory at the Schloss (assuming they're victorious, but they just got past the huge AE without anyone dying.)
1) Begin scrying them from afar, first daily. As they get closer to the Shudderwood, I may increase this to twice a day. This will be due to the fact that the group is becoming a threat to the machinations of the WW.
2)Silently observe them from afar with Invisibility while they investigate the woods and The Stairs.
3)If fights are ever extremely easy for PCs, have him make an appearance. He'll introduce himself or mock the PCs, or something equally villainous, before dropping a Summon Monster V or VI and disappearing.
4)Anytime he's appeared, have him refer to his master being close to succeeding. When the PCs kill Vrood, have Lucimar appear and mock their efforts, and inform them that they've only killed a soldier.

Has anyone else had him make an appearance before the end and what have they done with him?


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So, my group just finished "The Haunting of Harrowstone" after 8 sessions. Here's our group's impressions, what worked, what didn't, what I would have changed, and what I added.
Our Group consists of pretty experienced players, one long time veteran (DM of our Kingmaker game), two players who are fairly experienced (completed CoT, nearly at end of Savage Tide, halfway through Kingmaker), and two newer players (who also have a little experience in our Kingmaker game). Group consists of the following:
-Aella- Female Human Barbarian (Taking Superstistious route)
-Alucard- (Yeah, I've tried to kill him for the ridiculous name, but what can you do...)
Male Dhampir Magus
-Foxglove- Female Tiefling Rogue
-Nepthys- Female Elven Cleric (Pharasma)
-Willum- Human Male Fighter (Specializing in the Scythe)

For the campaign, I allowed a 20 pt buy build. In addition, we utilized the Harrow-point systen instead of Hero points, which made for some great flavor and interesting dynamic in combats, especially since some of the cards could be used on allies. Anyways, here's what I thought were the strongest points and weakest points to the module:
The Good

(1)Overall Story is Awesome- The idea of a haunted prison where the ghosts of the worst prisoners are in danger of escaping is awesome. The detail given to the five prisoners and the various other personalities within the dungeon is well done. My players were quite interested in discovering what happened during the final hours of the prison, and almost every haunt elicited not only dread but also curiousity. The tie in with the Whispering Way is good for propelling forward the overall story arc, and the events centering around Vesorianna's losing of her husband twice makes her story downright tragic and sets up the organization to be real villians.

(2)Interesting, unique encounters- There's lots of bits of flavor that I like having in each of the encounters. Risen skeletons burst into flames after a few rounds, a raging Poltergeist flings about vials of alchemical equipment, animated straight-jackets and chains come to life, and the unique five prisoners themselves are all pretty good. There's a few encounters I didn't like and a few I added to to compensate for five playes, but I'll get to those.

(3)Good expansion of haunts- Not only are the haunts within the prison all unique and awesome but there's also the slew in the back of the module to add in, which also helps define more guidelines as far as the upper limits of what a haunt can do. None of them were singularly as lethal as the ones in "The Skinsaw Murders" (with the exception of the furnace) but still pretty effective in evoking terror.
(4)Good Doom-Clock-Counter Mechanism- The use of the bloody letters and the rising power of the Splatter Man created a good sense of impending doom. (I coupled this with a couple DM tricks too, which I'll get to)

Good Encounters:
-Murky Pond Blazing Skeletons (and ones in basement)
-Ghostly Brands
-Animated Straijacket
-Cold Spot
-Piper of Illmarsh
-Father Charlatan
-Gortis Vortch
-The Splatter Man

What I didn't Like

(1)Kind of bland personaltities- While this didn't occur in my game, I've heard about groups that basically wanted to burn the town to the ground and then the prison, since they thought that the whole town was a bunch of racist, narrow-minded simpletons. Other than Father Grimburrow and Kendra, not a lot of warmth is given as written to the other NPCs in town. In fact, there's very little to connect adventurering types to the homely councilmen and merchants of Ravengro. This is partly due to the Trust System as written, as any interactions the PCs initially might have are gonna be laced by a negative modifier and having to pay higher prices for necessary goods. Fortunately, most of this has been remedied with the awesome amount of community created content.

(2)Some encounters were weak- This might have been my group's build (which stayed straight-class until the end), but because of the dungeon's design, the placement of the monster, and the abilities of the monster, some fights went from scary after the first round to boring after four.

(3)Inactive Antagonist Syndrome: As written, there's nothing to stop extremely wary PCs from tackling the encounters in the prison at a rate of one or two per day. This is due to the proximity of the the town to the dungeon and the fact that other than The Splatter Man, none of the prisoners take any active role in trying to stop the PCs from foiling the plan for a spiritual uprising. While the bloody lettes are good, they don't really do anything to hinder or interefere with the PC'sattempts to stop the ghosts. I wish there had been some sort of mechanic or haunt that tried to keep PCs from returning to town (Unable to leave or escape, like the ghosts of the prisoners, or interfered with by skeletal guards and hounds.)

Weak encounters
1)Headman's Scythe: It's not even the fact that the hardness bogs down the fight, but the Scythe can't do enough damage in one turn that anyone couldn't heal it with a CLW or channel. Action and damage economy make this one boring fight. There's a chance the DM might roll a 20, but this is the only threat here (which obviously didn't happen in my game, and since we open-roll, I wasn't about to fudge just for the sake of arbitrarily killing a character).
2)Slamming Portal Haunt: It was scary the first time it happened, since no one knew what was in the dungeon, and it was used to split up the party. After about the third time, the haunt was a little less of a threat, and after the fifth, would have been forgettable if not for me altering it. (Altering which doors opened and closed, and having bloody letters on them after the Splatter Man's optional dream event) I like traps and haunts that isolate or split up the party, especially in a horror game. It would have been cooler to be able to capitalize on this.
3)Animated Manacles: Creatures with Hardness and low-damage outputs make for pretty boring fights. Why are these things CR 1s and not 1/3, since they can't really do any damage.. Again, its a lot cooler in horror to capitilize on things that isolate, seperate, or hinder a character.
4)Old Ember Maw: I've read about this haunt being fantastically scary in other groups when it worked. My problem here is with haunts in general: I don't feel that they should have attack rolls (they don't roll initative after all). Maybe its because in my game the Haunt missed five consecutive attack rolls, taking away from the horror as flames licked every direction except at the party. This takes away from the horror: When a haunt has to make an attack roll, it makes it seem more like a creature than part of the environment or history of the place. (Unrelated example "If you go upstairs, the dead-lady's touch will send you into endless slumber like hers... if she can roll above a 7.") These are haunts, not creatures. They should be recreating the moments that lead to their events, not trusting into the luck of an attack roll.
5)The Lopper: Action economy hurts the Lopper. His problem isn't hitting, its the fact that every hit he scores can be mitigated by a cleric or someone with a wand of CLW. As long as he's not healing, its easy to pile on the damage. Interestingly enough, Willem the Fighter critically hit him with his own Handaxe, making the fight even more one-sided. Even using the environment and his acrobatics, his damage output even with the fast-healing wasn't enough to pose a threat. I should think a real Wraith would've been worse. Also, the Dhampir was completly immune to the Lopper (a minor quip since Dhampirs ARE one of the suggested playable races for the AP) due to his negative energy affinity.
6)The Mosswater Marauder: Again, what should have been a scary encounter ruined by the necessity of a Haunt rolling a d20 (which missed 3 times, hit once and got saved against). The Beheaded would've been a nice addition had they not become a liability; when the cleric's channel affects not just the haunts but also destroys all the beheaded, it piles up the damage pretty quick, well past the 13 hp the haunt is supposed to have. Of all the encounters with the Prisoners, this one was the most disappointing, even after doubling the HP of the haunt.

Changes I Made
1)Trust Points: Obviously, I had read a lot about the trust point issue before running the module and was aware that a fix was needed. I didn't want to do away with the system entirely since a fellow player and DM was using it in our Kingmaker game (using some of the conversion work in those threads). I looked and decided partially on Mortagon's awesome expanded system of Trust points. Some of the encounters and personalities I used, some I didn't (Used the Avanki's, Alendru, Jominda, Old River and the Silk Purse Patrons from that, as well as their side-quests) Basically, I gave a Trust Point for every person they made helpful in town (instead of 1 for friendly and 3 for helpful) since I thought their trust score might inflate too high. This proved a good mathematical estimation, as the PCs did what they could to get the scores as high as possible while simultaneously coupling that with minor mishaps (like killing Gibs), the Splatter Man's daily trust loss, and my own device, the chiming bells haunt.

2)Expanding the Role of the Prisoners in Town. This seemed to work pretty well in my campaign, and since I ran 5 players, it made me make it a little more personal for each player.

3)Other Sidequests: Besides the quest with the Cursed Well (which I thought was well written), I needed a few more things to get my PCs up to second level before the tackled the prison.
Vampiric Cattle Mutilations (abridged version) Father Grimburrow is contacted by a local farmer describing attacks on his livestock. The father leaves for the day then comes back, unable to solve the mystery (blood drain attacks, but not the work of a vampire) before being called back to town to cure some ailments. When the PCs pry, he tells them of what he's seen and sends them on his behalf to help the farmer. The farm is about a 2 hour journey by foot, and the creature appears only at sunset. The creature is not a vampire but a Vampiric Mist. Worse still, the creature is using a local pond about half-a mile away as a blood depository, feeding a swarm of leeches with its contents then gathering more blood. Ridding the cow-fields of the menace (and keeping it from fleeing back to its pond) nets the PCs 3 trust points, 5 bottles of Ardeal Gold Brandy (25 gp a bottle) and a Masterwork Dagger.

4)Speed Up the Clock: After they stopped Gibs and were about to clear the top level (with 16 days gone of 30), I wanted to create a since of doom and show the desperation present within the Splatter Man. The next Bloody Letters drawn on the monument were two letters this time, making the PCs second-guess the regularity of their appearance. My counter got as high as VESORI, with four to go. Not bad.

5)Encounters Changed: With five players, I either added some things, changed some encounters, and so forth.

R7)Removed Xtabay (I knew they would never encounter it)
R10)Added one Skeleton
S7)Added another Manacle
S8)Added Giant Black Widow Spider (Bestiary 2)
S10) Added Yellow Musk Creeper Zombie Rat Swarm
s18) Added Extended Doom Haunt (Showing final moments as Vesorianna and guards panic), replaced flaming skulls with Ectoplasmic Humans.
T2)Moved all stirges to R7, Added 4 Yellow Musk Creeper Zombie Dire Rats
T3)Added Giant Yellow Musk Creeper
T4)Had Stirges from R7 and Giant Stirge appear 1 round after haunt began. Gave Piper 5 more HP.
T5)Added Ear Seekers to pantry door.
U1)Changed to Two Crawling hands and Screaming Skull Swarm (which rises as dozens of skulls from the water)
U2)Added two skeletons
U3) Added 8 HP to Vortch
U4)Added 14 HP to Lopper
U6)Added 6 HP, added one extra Beheaded.
U7)Added Advanced Gelatinous Cube (The old floating Skeleton trick, replaces Grey Ooze in U9.
U8)Added two Animated Manacles
U9)Alchemical Runoff ("There is a faint alkaline smell", chemical runoff from the drugs and agents used on prisoners here.) Removed Grey Ooze, added Alchemical Ooze Swarms (1 Sanguine, 1 Phlegmatic, 1 Melancholic)

MY RANT ABOUT HAUNTS: As stated above, I don't like the fact that haunts require an attack role to achieve their effects. It seems the opposite of horror when the searing flames from Old Ember Maw can't touch the slowest character in the party (flat-footed). Are the angry spirits also very clumsy? ...Cause that makes them not scary at all. I think my problem is the fact that a haunt's attack bonus is equal to its CR. At low level, a haunt has a 1 in 2 chance of hitting most flat-footed PC with an attack, versus mid-level where its more like 2 in 3. I feel that a Haunt should have a Charisma score that influences things like its HP and attack rolls. I've found HP to be another slight problem, since haunts only get double their CR unless they're persistent, which even then doesn't get high enough to escape a channel (especially since it doesn't get a save against it.) Low level is when haunts should be the scariest, yet the fact remains that the attack bonuses and HPs of most haunts encountered at this point won't be high enough to be a serious threat. Worse, its possible that the cleric channels before a "meaningful, story-driven" haunt manifests, even a persistent one. I know, I could always not do open-die rolling, but that also takes away from the horror in its own way.

Despite my criticisms, a big thanks to the online community, Michael Kortes, Brandon Hodge and F.Wesley Schneider for developing this fine piece of work, its definitely in my top 10 modules.
Now, to start running "Trial Of the Beast"


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I've just started running Carrion Crown's first module, The Haunting of Harrowstone , and am liking everything so far about Ravengro. Because of the issues with the Trust mechanic, I'm incorporating a few minor changes into the parts of the module before the exploration of Harrowstone. I like the active role that the SplatterMan and the Piper of Illmarsh take in projecting themselves on Ravengro, and like the idea of a progressively stronger presence of spiritual disturbance. The only problem is, other than those two, no one else takes a really active role in the frightening of the town (and for the piper, this only happens once). Since I have five players, I like the idea of pairing off a different prisoner with a different player, making the fights against them a little more personal. To foreshadow the five prisoners, I plan on having minor hauntings occur around town. To give a mechanic to allowing a haunt to not be tied to a place (or at least roam from its origin)-

Roaming Haunt:
A roaming haunt is a manifestation of an unquiet spirit that possesses enough force of will to project itself beyond the sight of its demise. Roaming haunts can never be persistent. A roaming haunt typically manifests when a triggering activity associated with the spirit's demise occurs within a certain range of where the spirit perished, usually the haunt's CR x 1,000 ft. Certain powerful haunts can increase this range up to a mile per CR rating. (Like the Whispering Tyrant)

I plan on having the haunting effects of the prisoners grow in strength as Vesorianna's wanes. Here's what I've come up with for each prisoner, from order of least magnitude to greatest.
MossWater Marauder:

1) 1st Manifestation:
Head Inspection Haunt CR 1/3
XP 135
CE Roaming Haunt
Caster Level 1st
Trigger Combing hair or inspecting one's head, using a mirror.
NoticePerception DC 10 (To feel a slight pressure on the back of the skull and a sudden coldness in the air)
HP: 1 Reset: 4 days
Effect When this haunt manifests, a visual image of The Mosswater Marauder appears standing behind the PC, gazing intently at the back of the PC's skull and then reaching for it before vanishing. This duplicates a Cause Fear effect (save DC 11).
Destruction:: Laying to rest the Mosswater Marauder Haunt.

2) Haunted Hammer :
At some point, an idle hammer springs to life, attacking whatever PC saw the Head Inspection Haunt.

Haunted Hammer CR 1/2
XP 200
N Tiny construct
Init: +2 Senses Darkvision 60., Low-light vision; Perception -5
DEFENSE
AC 14, touch 14, flat-footed 12 (+2 dex, +2 size)
hp 5 (1d10)
Fort +0 Ref +2 Will -5
Defensive Abilities hardness 5; Immune construct traits
Weaknesses Haunted
OFFENSE
Speed 30ft. Fly 40 (clumsy)
Melee Hammer +1 (1d4-2)
STATISTICS
Str 6 Dex 14 Con - Int - Wis 1 Cha 1
Base Attack +1 CMB -3 CMD 9
SQ construction points (additional movement [fly], faster [fly], flaws (haunted)

3) The Third Manifestation again targets the Marauder's chosen, working like the first manifestation.
Headache Haunt CR 2
XP 600
CE Roaming Haunt
Caster Level 2nd
Trigger Examing head or combing hair while looking in a mirror
Notice Perception DC 15 (To see the Mosswater Marauder standing behind the PC and feel a coldness in the air)
hp 4 Reset 4 days
Effect The Mosswater Marauder's apparition unneringly strikes the back of the PC's skull. The PC struck must make a DC 13 Will save or suffer a terrible headache. This acts as a minor curse that imposes a -2 penalty on all Intelligence based checks. Additionally, the first time the PC takes damage, regardless of the source, he immediately also suffers 1 point of bleed damage from a tiny wound in the back of the skull. These effects end after 3 days or the first time the character takes damage. Break Enchantment, Remove Curse, and similiar magic will also end the effect.
Destruction Laying to rest the spirit of The Mosswater Marauder.

Piper of Illmarsh:

1) Hungry Stirges (CR 1) I like this as its written, and serves as an good introduction to the Piper.

2)Bloody Performance: This occurs preferably in a crowded area. If the PCs are able to stop any loss of life, award them 1 trust point. If they can prove that the performer in question isn't resposbile for what happened, award an additional trust point.
Bloody performance CR 2
XP 600
CE Roaming Haunt
Caster Level 2nd
Trigger Performing with any wind instrument in front of a crowd.
Notice Perception DC 20 (To notice change in tempo and tone of performance)
hp 4 reset never
Effect The ghostly dirge of the Piper of Illmarsh overplays whatever tune is currently being played. All listeners within 30' of the performer must make a DC 11 Will Save. Those that fail immediately suffer 1 bleed as tiny, beak-like wounds appear all along their bodies. Assume that at least 2d4+2 people are effected besides any PCs that fail(since every commoner getting lucky on the save kind of takes away from the creepiness)
Destruction Laying to rest the Piper of Illmarsh.

3)Lichdust dinner: This poweful manifestation of the piper occurs at some point after the PC's first foray into the prison. The Piper realizes the threat the PCs represent to the prisoner's plans for escape, and makes a direct move against them.

Lichdust dinner CR 3
XP 600
CE Roaming Haunt
Caster Level 3rd
Trigger Whenever the PCs are gathered for dinner and are all eating.
Notice Perception DC 20 to hear faint music and feel a notice a difference in the taste of the food.
hp 6 Reset 4 days
Effect All off the food immediately becomes laced with an accelerated form of Lichdust. Everyone eating must immediately save against the poison or be effected. (Fort DC 14;frequency 1/round for 6 rounds; effect 1d3 Strength damage; cure 1 save.)


Father Charlatan:

1) Midnight Bells: While not a haunt that actively targets anyone or cause any immediate harm, this first manifestation is nonetheless disturbing to the peace of the town, and causes 1 loss of trust anytime it occurs until permenantly stopped. Unlike the other roaming haunts, this one is more sight specific.

Haunted Bells At midnight, the bells in the church of Pharasma are wrung erratically, waking its citizens and disturbing the peace. Upon investigation, there appears to be nothing present except for one thing: an unrecognizable, melted holy symbol left near the bells. This occurs again every 1d3+2 days, with a different melted holy symbol being left. If someone decides to wait at the bells until midnight, they can attempt to stop the haunt from occuring by noticing it and stopping it before it manifests. However, anyone in the Belltower that fails to notice the haunt or beat it on initiative must make a DC 10 Fortitude save for 3 rounds or be deafened for 1 day from the loudness of the bells. The melted holy symbol seems to fly into the belltower on the wind.
NoticePerception DC 20 to notice a crescendo of whispers center around the bell.
hp 4

2)Verbal Cacaphony: This haunt targets one person who decides to investigate the Haunted Bells haunt or follows anyone carrying the melted holy symbol from the eariler haunt.
Blasphemous Cacaphony Haunt CR 1
XP 400
CE Roaming Haunt
Caster Level 1st
Trigger Casting any divine spell with a verbal component. Before the spell can be cast, the haunt begins to manifest
Notice Perception DC 20 (To hear a chorus of laughter and false, mocking prayers to different gods.)
hp 2 Reset 4 days
Effect The ghostly laughter and mocking prayers reach a cresecendo, intermingling with the words needed to cast most divine spells. The next divine spell cast with verbal components gains a 20% spell failure chance due to the ghostly voices. Furthermore, that character's Holy Symbol is targeted with a Break spell (Will DC 11 negates.)
Destruction Laying to rest Father Charlatan's spirit.

3) Mark of Faithlessness: This haunt continues to target whoever it selected in the previous haunt. This haunt occurs when the target sleeps, making it difficult to detect or get rid of before it manifests fully.

Dreams of Blasphemy CR 3
XP 600
CE Roaming Haunt
Caster Level 3rd
Trigger Sleeping after gaining the attention of Father Charlatan. This usually occurs directly before the Bells at Midnight haunt.
Notice Percpetion DC 25 (To hear faint whispers coming from the mouth of the sleeping PC, whispers that aren't in the same voice as the PC's.
hp 6 Reset None
Effect The target dreams of walking the ruined halls of Harrowstone and encountering the walking, shambling remains of its prisoners. As the PC instinctively grasps for a holy symbol around their neck (whether they can channel or not), they find that the chain holding it is in fact wrapped around their entire body in peculiar ways, tightening painfully as they go to grasp it. As the PC goes to let go of the impossibly long chain wrapped around them, it begins to tighten of its own accord. Ghostly laughter errupts as the chains painfully constrict around the PC's body, dragging him down before the advancing, walking dead. At this point, have the PC make a DC 14 Will save. A PC that fails wakens to find the strange imprint marks of chains all over their body. The target is affected as if by a Fester spell, lasting for 1 day, at which point the imprints fade.
Destruction Laying to rest Father Charlatan's Spirit


The Lopper:

1)Phantom Stalker: As he did in life, The Lopper chooses one PC to be its victim, stalking them with increasingly more powerful manifestations.

Phantom Stalker Haunt CR 1
XP 400
NE Roaming Haunt
Caster Level 1st
Trigger Traveling alone at any point, isolating onelself through the use of a privy, or any other activity that seperates the PC from the party for just an instant.
Notice Perception DC 20 (To hear an intake of breath behind the PC)
hp 2 Reset 3 days
Effect The visage of The Lopper leaps out at the PC from some impossibly hidden place (under a stack of clothing, behind a drape, etc.) He leers and rushes them, handaxe raised, vanishing just before he strikes. This duplicates a Cause Fear spell (Will DC 11)
Destruction: Laying to rest the Lopper's spirit.

2) Chosen Prey: As The Lopper's haunt persists against his chosen target, the murderer's spirit exerts more willpower over his ability to affect the physical world, causing one of his Phantom Stalker Haunts to take on a more lethal tone.

Chosen Prey CR 1
XP 400
NE Roaming Haunt
Caster Level 1st
Trigger As Phantom Stalker Haunt.
Notice Perception DC 20 (As Phantom Stalker Haunt.)
hp 2 Reset Replaces Phantom Stalker Haunt(3 days)
Effect The Lopper leaps forward again, only this time, his handaxe materializes for an instant. This acts as an Inflict Light Wounds spell (+1 touch, Will DC 11), with the effect leaving a dark scar on the victim's neck.
Destruction Laying the Lopper's spirit to rest.

3)Phantom Killer: This occurs only if the PCs have destroyed any of the other five prisoners and returned from Harrowstone without destroying the Lopper. The Lopper realizes the direct threat they represent to him and uses all of his Willpower to create a violent manifestation against his chosen victim.

Phantom Axe CR 4
1,200 XP
NE Roaming Haunt
Caster Level 4th
Trigger As Phantom Stalker Haunt
NoticePerception DC 20 (As Phantom Stalker Haunt)
hp 8 Reset Daily
Effect The Lopper materializes momentarily again, only this time when he strikes, his ghostly handaxe remains and begins attacking of its own accord. Treat this effect as the spell Spiritual Weapon (+4 attack, 1d8+1 [x3]) except any wounds caused by the weapon also deal 1d6 points of bleed. If a PC is killed by this effect, the wound manifests as if the PC were decapitated. This effect persists for 4 rounds then fades.
Destruction Laying to rest the Lopper's spirit.


The Splatter Man:

I like the Bloody Letters event and the optional Vision of Imprisonment events as manifestations of the Splatter Man's growing power. To make it more personal, I'm gonna add one other haunt, probably manifesting once the PCs take out any of the Five prisoners besides him. Like The Lopper, he'll realize the growing threat that the PCs represent to his plans for escape, and makes a move.
Bloody Bed Haunt CR 3
XP 800
CE Roaming Haunt
Caster Level 3rd
Trigger This haunt targets any sleeping PC.
Notice Perception DC 20 to smell the thick scent of blood and a splattering sound
hp 6 Reset 2 Days
Effect As the PC sleeps, he experiences vivid dreams of walking the lower halls of Harrowstone. As he does, he sees the names of his companions splattered in blood across the walls. As he comes to an intersection, he sees his name splattered on the floor, with the blood trailing from where he's standing. Looking down, he sees a huge gash across his belly and hears ghostly laughter erupt. As this dream occurs, the target begins taking 1 point of bleed (from seemigly the same wounds as in the dream) and must make a DC 11 Will save to wake up. Shaking the PC or doing any other form of damage while this occurs grants a +4 save bonus, and any form of healing magic cast on the PC will immediately end the haunt, as will Protection from Evil. Otherwise, the PC bleeds until awake or dead. The blood flow seems to flow letters of the PC's name.
Destruction Laying to rest The Splatter Man.

Thoughts? I'm gonna use the least of the five prisoner's haunts presented here to increase the creep factor in my next session (tuesday), and possibly escalate to the mid-range haunts after that, depending on how far we get. In any case, I'll let people know how it goes.


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I'm getting ready to start running CC, and as I look at the progression of the modules and other notes that DMs have made about running them, I've decided I want to incorporate Carrion Hill into the path. For me, this is mainly to adjust for having an extra PC playing but also to expand on the history and flavor of Ustalav, which I feel the town captures nicely.
I've noticed that a few people have had a couple issues with Wake of the Watcher and how it connects to the rest of the path as a whole. Afterall, the Whispering Way seems to be the primary motivation for the PCs actions in every module, with the exception of this one (apart from chasing one of their agents). I began wondering what motivations the PCs might have not only for this module but also for 'Carrion Hill' . Afterall, if they're in hot pursuit of the rider, they'e not going to want to stop in Carrion Hill and investigate some Old Gods cultists. I then began wondering what aims the Whispering Way might have in Carrion Hill and Illmarsh as a whole, and as I looked at the Carrion Crown poster map, I noticed something neat: Feldgrau, Carrion Hill, and Illmarsh all connect in a straight geographic line. I then began wondering about the lines that could connect these places.. like ley lines. Since Ustalav is a sight of ancient structures, I hypothesized that the WW might have reason to disrupt these ley lines.. like by releasing a manifestation of a Great Old One at one of these sights. Why would they want to do this? A couple of reasons are below, in an info dump I plan on giving to my players sometime before the end of Broken Moon. Below is my attempt at giving my players an extra reason for wanting to investigate Carrion Hill and Illmarsh:

Letter to Professor Chalest of Caliphas:

Professor Chalest,
I believe that your theories may be correct with regards to the spiritual energies present within the sights you mentioned. All three form a geographic line that links straight to the natural borders of the water, suggesting that the ancient Kellids chose these sights more for their spiritual energies rather than any geographic significance. Of the three, Feldgrau is probably the most famous within Ustalav since every soldier's widow knows the tales of that cursed place. Whether the bloodshed that transpired there is a result of these spiritual energies or something else is a mystery that would require a dangerous investigation. Nonetheless, the reputed small size of the Kellid ruins mark it as possibly the least significant of the three. Clearly, the opposite is true with Carrion Hill, as our studies have detailed extensive Kellid burial mounds, monoliths, and even catacombs beneath the city itself. The ley energies are very strong here, possibly a focal point for whatever is diverting their energy to the west. As for Illmarsh, a preliminary investigation from one of our men has resulted in a lack of correspondance. That place has always been insular and little is known of it; as soon as contact is re-established, our findings will be made clear.
As you have stated, the geocentric ley energies connecting those places definitely form a spiritual border, and based on your earlier records of the Shining Crusade, it is possible that the Knights of Ozrem chose Gallowspire because of its geocentric location with regards to these ley lines, not because of its strategic location. Afterall, why imprison the Tyrant so close to so many of his uncontested strongholds and allies? It is possible that whatever magics were used in imprisoning The Whispering Tyrant are augmented by these ley energies to increase the strength of the prison, giving it enough power to keep him and his thoughts contained. If this is the case, it would clearly be in the best interest of The Whispering Way to disrupt or redirect the spiritual energies of these places, though the semi-permenant nature of the structures at these sights would make acheiving this difficult. To disrupt the spiritual energy enough that a ley line would be redirected or disrupted, the Way would have to achieve one of the following:

-Catastrophic-scale destruction of landscape itself, an act that would be noticed for miles around.
-Repeated use of reality altering magic.
-Long term presence of reality altering outsider. (See Manifestations of the Divine, Volume 1)
-Short term presence (no less than 4 days and 4 hours) of a manifestation of an Outer God or Great Old One (See Catalogue of the Void, Volume 3).

The consequences of such actions performed at these three places sight would be unpredictable at best, but it is possible to hypothesize a couple of results, as they would pertain to the goals of The Whispering Way:

-Disruption of Ley lines resulting in weakening of wards at Gallowspire. This would be the worst case scenario, but if this is all it took, the Whispering Way probably would have already tried it.
-Weakening or rerouting of ley lines, allowing the mind of the Tyrant to wander further from his sight. Its been reported by our few men that have crossed Virlych that manifestations of the Tyrant's mind appear in their dreams as horrific nightmares and in the waking hours as phantoms. As stated, it's entirely possible that Gallowspire contains The Tyrant not just bodily but also mentally, with these ley lines augmenting his spiritual prison.
-Warping or expanding the field of the "Witchgates" that guard The Hungry Mountains. Since these wards utilize miles-wide magical energies, it can only be assumed that some of the ley lines present within the region are connected to them. Disrupting the regional ley energies could theoretically allow them to expand the range of these wards, or perhaps allow them to construct new ones.

In any case, any of these events could potentially cause unknown peril. I recommend the further consultation of a professional Geomancer with regards to the energies of these sights as my limited insight and second-hand observation could use the full knowledge available to the Order. Khu Ba Heteph,
Professor Petros Lorrimor


Still unsure as to when to give this info dump, or if Petros should be the writer of the letter (possibly Alpon Carmorac instead). Thoughts?


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I'm curious as far as PF system goes, what monsters do you consider overpowered for their CR? For instance, what creatures are likely to cause a TPK if they're encountered by either an unprepared party, a strange party build, or are encountered at a CR 2 levels higher than the APL? I've noticed a trend with certain APs that sometimes the monsters pulled from the Bestiary give the players more fits than the written up ones, so I'm wondering what people think are some of the deadliest monsters in the Bestiaries?
For my own part, I mainly am concerned with monsters of CRs of 10 or below. since these monsters are more likely to be encountered by players. (Though if there's any standouts in the upper levels, list them!)
Bestiary 1
1)Will o' Wisp: A 6th level party better be prepared for magic immunity, natural invisiblity, an unbeatable flight speed, and an abnormally high AC and touch attack. Oh, and a Fast Healing ability. Elemental resistance is all that will save you, better hope you have enough packed for every PC.
2)Shadow: The only thing that makes fights with shadows fair is that Death Ward provides immunity to them. The problem is that they are a low enough CR for a party facing them to not have access to such magic. Combine near auto-stealth and the ability to outright kill a number of PCs with a lucky critical hit (with no save) make fighting these things a nightmare, especially in multiples. A single one can TPK a whole party if it can spawn off those it kills, quite likely with a surprise round and a high initiative check.
3) Erinyes: An 8th level party has a lot to contend with here, and one of lower level could certainly get wiped. A decently mobile, flying artillery piece packing True Seeing, a very reliable ranged attack, and two extremely debilitating at-will SLAs (Fear and Unholy Blight) make the Erinyes deadly. Combining that with all the immunites, resistances, and abilities that Devils have (DR, SR, teleporting, summoning) and you have a creature that's pretty hard to take down unless you know you're up against one. Unholy Blight at will is the main threat here, as nothing but being Evil or a 12th level Inquisitor can stop the repeated auto-damage the Erinyes can deliver over and over. No other Demon or Devil in the Bestiary of a CR less than 10 can do this.
4) Shadow Demon : In some ways better and worse than fighting an Erinyes, these things have enough potent abilities to wreak havoc on a party. Piggybacking on other creatures with Magic Jar is pretty bad, but the creativity allowed with their Shadow magics as well as being incorporeal (and not undead: only really affected by force spells with the resistances they possess) make them very hard to hurt.Sunlight powerlessness doesn't really mean much if they don't come out during the day or are underground.
5)Mummy : Everytime I've seen someone fight one of these things, something bad happens. Sometimes, its watching the fire-tossing sorcerer get paralyzed and coup-de graced. Other times, its watching as the monk realizes he can't hurt the monster with its DR. Oftentimes, its watching the thing automatically hit any 5th level PC with its +14 attack and inflicting the worst thing about it: Mummy Rot. If you're not packing a 5th level Cleric or don't have spell-casting services nearby (like in a dungeon), you may be kissing your character goodbye, simply because they got hit once... kind of like shadows.
Thoughts?


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Part 1

After about two years of playing time, we just completed our "Council of Thieves" campaign. While I have DM'd about 6 APs now, this will be the third one that actually saw its way from start to finish. In order to help the developers of these modules perfect the art of module design, I have decided to list off our group's impressions of the campaign overall, each chapter, specific moments that were really awesome or really weak, and so forth.

-Overall Campaign, Story, and Mood-:

This was the first campaign that I ran as the modules were released, and so a lot of plot points and NPCs for me weren't really available until certain points of running the campaign. For instance, I would loved to have foreshadowed Vuiper Ghivel, The Mhartises and Ciuccis, and some of the other major families that appear in the sixth part. This is sort of the inherent danger of running an AP as the modules are released: there may be a disconnect between modules in what occurred in a group's story versus what is written in the module. It's a lot harder to wander off the railroad if you don't have all the pieces present to build the sandbox. The only thing I wish would be an extra page maybe in the Campaign Summary in the first module that lists off key NPCs (with whatever class levels are envisioned for that NPC, even if they are changed by the end) and what events they have to play in the campaign.
Overall, this seemed to be a very event driven campaign, with the majority of the campaign taking place in one city. This worked very well for my group, as all of them were interested in role-playing with the various citizens of Westcrown and forming relationships within. It helped to raise the importance of cetain events if NPCs such as Janiven, Arael, Calseinica,and Paralictor Chard were taking place in them. For instance, in the final module, when the Bearded Devils mounted on Hellcats are terrifying the nobility, I had their current victim be the Paralictor, valiantly fighting off the legion and giving the PCs a chance to join swords with him again, possibly saving his life.
At any rate, I feel that the over-arching story of the campaign is strong as a whole, its just the disconnection between the various modules that weakens it and makes it not as strong as other APs (like RotR and KM). Players who reclaimed the Marrowfall in part 3 may not understand why they're going after a Pit Fiend in Part 4 or going into the woods in part 5. I made it work, but I can easily see how other groups lose their motivation to react to certain events. Individually, the modules (with one exception) are written very well. My players all loved the idea of reclaiming a benighted city and eventually controlling it, and the elements of theater, nobility, and shadow conspiracies are done quite well. Overall, this campaign lends itself quite easily to the Gothic mood, with the presence of the dangerous night, vampires, and Faustian contracts reinforcing this feel . Its important for DMs not to forget this: Westcrown starts out not as an ordinary city but a center of decay suffering under the intangible horror of the shadow curse.

-The PCs- :

This campaign, we used a 'roll 4d6 and drop the lowest result' six times, resulting in heroic stat builds. At the time, this seemed like a time honored tradition for campaigns and thus a good idea. In hindsight, I now realize that most APs and even Bestiary monsters to a degree utilize an assumption that the PCs will have a 15 point build. As the sixth module began, we calculated our point buys, and they were about 40 point builds. This might be why I find some disparity between the power levels of the PCs and the modules as written, especially at higher levels. Without getting into the current argument about what sort of point buy is best, I WISH PAIZO HAD SOME GUIDELINES FOR RUNNING THEIR APS WITH HIGHER POINT BUILDS. I feel like this is different than having more players, as higher stats means higher DCs, better saves, more HPs, and the extreme viability of many of the MAD classes like Paladin or (as in our campaign), Monk. However, since at the time I only had three players for the AP, I considered adding my own NPC to the party to add survivability.. Three was the fewest number I'd ever ran, and felt like the party wouldn't be balanced enough without 4 players. [Again, Pathfinder had just come out when we began the AP, and since I had run Age of Worms twice and Runelords by then, I expected a deadly path that would be brutal with just 3 PCs]. Thus, I added my own NPC, who I thought would be relatively easy to run and able to springboard story events due to his abilities. Anyways.we start with a variant of the classic four:

-Blaustein Aalfanger: Dwarf Monk
-Fiamma Diosa: Half Elf Cleric (Calistra)
-Alario Jeggare: Human Rogue
-Elias Lucca: Human Wizard (Diviner)

My NPC is the Wizard, whose background I loosely tied to Rance Lucca but also made him a former colleague of Sandor the Strange (added later). Blaustein's background was fairly neutral and easy to tie in as well. Alario and Fiamma had very extensive backgrounds that eventually influenced how the remainder of the path played out, especially the fifith and sixth modules; This deserves a bit of explanation. While Fiamma's adopted name is Diosa, her half elf status makes that name inherited rather than her true bloodline. This is due to some minor events written to tie the PC backgrounds in that I created:

-In 4681, An ancient elfgate was discovered in the depths of the catacombs of Westcrown, a portal that connected the city to a clearing outside of the capital of Kyonin.

-A diplomatic envoy consisting of Alario's father (Volaire Jeggare), Fiamma's real father (Meggare Thrune), Sidonnai Drovenge, and Andreo Diosa was sent to Iadara. Over the course of a year, the group convinced the xenophobic elves to trade a powerful magical relic (The Maleficus Spike from 'A Memory of Darkness') for a large amount of Evil-Outsider Bane Weapons, tools normally used to hold the devils of the empire in check, re-purposed for the conflict against the Tanglebrair.

-During these meetings, an elven maiden (Shuraneen Thurwyn) had a dalliance with Meggare Thrune, resulting in the birth of Fiamma. However, to protect to the good name of Thrune, the offspring was neither claimed by the maiden (also a priestess of Calistra) nor by Meggare Thrune, whose family name would be tarnished by the presence of the offspring. Rather than do the unthinkable, the child was passed onto Andreo Diosa by Meggare Thrune (for the price of the ownership of a lucrative brothel.)

-In the end, Andreo grew bolder with the knowledge and possession off this bastard, so eventually he was silenced by the Council of Thieves (specifically Maglin from part 5).

-As a side-clause of the contract between Meggare and Andreo, possession of the brothel reverted to Fiamma upon her coming of age. Thus, at the start of the campaign, Fiamma was a Half-Elven Cleric of Calistra who owned a brothel, using it as a cover for her outlawed religion.

-As for house Jeggare, I set Alario up with a two-story manor house owned by his family (in the crown sector). I liked the idea of a home-base, but felt like the safehouse to Aroden was a little impersonal and I wanted somewhere that really was a player's home. I must admit, some of what follows got inspired by a combination of Assassin's Creed and Batman. I gave the manor its own secret vault whose contents weren't made immediately accessible (due to be completely hidden in plain sight) until later in the path. Eventually, a poster-map version of the manor was created so I could send assassination attempts against the PC and run assaults on his manor with a tactical map. Storywise, Alario's father became involved with the Pathfinders in the years following the Kyonin excursion. Eventually, the power of the Maleficus Spike became a focal point of a power struggle between the Pathfinders and agents of Thrune. Coupled with events in Delvehaven, Volaire Jeggare took possession of the Spike and hid it in the depths of manor's vault. After this, he is presumed to have disappeared (player's knowledge for first four modules) while in fact was he assailed by the same purge that took the other pathfinders, petrified into a statue and stored inside the vaults of Walcourt.

-As the campaign began, Alario's family fortunes had begun to run out and tax collectors began growing bolder and bolder in attempts to extort what little funds Alario possessed. This setup a couple minor villains in the employ of the Council that I could use later.

(1) The Bastards of Erebus::

-Negatives-

A) Janiven's Speech: The biggest criticism that has been voiced about this module is the largely anti-Thrune sentiment that sets sort of the wrong tone about the events to come. I tried to mitigate Janiven's speech a little bit about taking back the city from Thrune and instead utilized the idea that only those with the courage to stand against the night could help lift the city, and Arael was one of those. There's already been threads about this, and they are relevant.

-Fix: Tempering her speech with the themes mentioned above.

B) Hellknight Interactions: As it is, the Hellknights are setup as the bad guys, stomping on freedom of speech and wronglfully incarcerating the good priest of Iomedae, Arael. I do like the idea that the PCs get an extra Fame point for not killing any of them, though the module gives the PCs no indication of this as written (in a way, rewarding actions based on alignment and in some ways, circumstance). Also, I've heard of many groups (not mine) that butchered the Armigers and dared any pursuers to go after them into the sewers. As written, there's nothing that suggests what the Hellknights will do if the PCs slaughter the entire platoon of them, escalating the conflict. Indeed, after the firebrand political speech of Janiven, I could see unscrupulous PCs leaving dead Hellknights as messages. At any rate, the heart of the module isn't about fighting the Hellknights, yet the first part makes fighting them somewhat of a red herring. Indeed, as far as an organization, they are completely silent until module 6, despite any actions the PCs may or may not take against them, which at the very least involves defeating a small group of them to rescue Arael. I and a lot of other players were disappointed that despite the excellent side articles published in the later modules, very little was used with them in the actual modules themselves.

-Fix: Wish I'd done more with this. I'd take some work, but Hellknights could be used as a more interactive force of law that supplements the Dottari. In a way, the PCs powers will eventually eclipse that of the guards. That's where the Hellknights come in, the least of which is a 5th level fighter/ Hellknight 1. I would show them as a force that hounds the PCs efforts in modules 1-3, and then tries to maintain order in the city in parts 4-6. This makes the schism all the more dramatic in part 6, especially when it becomes clear that all the efforts against the PC are being directed by a Hellknight in the pocket of the Council of Thieves (Signifer Verennie). This allows her and the Paralictor to be introduced far earlier and make them more memorable.

C)Great Backstories... Why are they left on the shelf??: As written, you've got 11 pseudo-PCs in the Children of Westcrown, one for each core class, all of whom have interesting backstories. Unfortunately, after this module, little is done with them as a whole. I know its up to the DM to utilize these extras in their own way, but little is given in any other module as to how to use these NPCs. This is also the case with almost all of the nobility presented in the 'Westcrown' article, leaving it up to the DM to expand upon these. Personally, I think it would have added a lot of depth if one of them had turned out to be a mole for the council, forcing the PCs to investigate the backgrounds and events surrounding their allies.

-Fix: DMs should consider using the Children for a lot of the errand work that the PCs might normally do, such as gathering information, sending and spreading messages, buying mundane items, and so forth. This allows them to be used as a way to gauge the 'word on the street' for purposes of events and rumors. Also, I utilized the Children heaviliy in part 6 where the expenditure of Fame Points reflected the Children of Westcrown "spreading the word" about the PCs deeds.

D) Shadowcurse: There is a fundamental lack of menace to the shadowcurse as written. The main thing that people need to fear on the darkened streets of Westcrown are the lowly Shadowgarms and the outrageously powerful Shadow Mastiffs, two creatures with a great disparity of power levels. Also, the Mastiffs bay constantly, which is not mentioned anywhere in the description of Westcrown despite the fact that something like that would be very noticeable and disturbing. At any rate, with only these two creatures (and possibly the even deadlier Shadow), its unclear what the true menace of the Shadow Curse is other than the fact that sometimes you might cross paths with a weird shadow creature that gets staggered in any kind of light (which every non-darkvision using PC is going to carry). There's just not enough shadow creatures in all of the modules to give that feeling of wonder and menace that the PCs might very well be swallowed up by the night.

-Fix: Well, at least the newer Bestiarys have some interesting Shadow based critters, like the Gloomwing, Tenebrous Worm, and Dark Slayer, so this helps a little. I would honestly consider giving the Totemrix a special power that causes the ambient light within a mile to grow one step darker as long as the sun isn't shining. Also, having areas of the deepest shadow be areas where the boundaries between the Material Plane and the Plane of Shadow are thin is also an idea... alleyways where its always colder and a little bit darker. This makes finding a Shadowgarm to kill for a fame point more of a memorable and dangerous task. Perhaps the PCs have to shore up the light in certain places to lessen the chances of leaks from the Plane of Shadow. Just a couple tips to help increase the menace of what has caused an entire city to decline artistically and spiritually. I'm sure this has been said before, but it'd be awesome if the Bestiaries in the back of the modules actually used most of their monsters in the adventure. I don't buy the APs for more monsters, I buy them for cool encounters which sometimes utilize new and unknown menaces. This has gotten better with the Carrion Crown AP, so others words are being taken to heart.

-Positives-:

A) Good Rescue Encounter: Despite the above critique, rescuing Arael is a pretty good part of the module and well written as an encounter.

B) Well designed mini-dungeon: The final lair where the Bastards live is well thought out, being slightly sand-boxy as far as how the PCs can approach it, and the way the enemies respond is completely dynamic based on the PCs actions. These are my favorite kind of fights, especially when they have flavor (like the fake mummy tieflings and the dog). It reminds me of the another well-written encounter, the final one of the 'Stolen Lands' from KM as far as encounter flexibility.

C)Well designed city!: Everyone loved the feel and flavor of Westcrown as presented. The waterways and alleyways, curfews and decadence, and secret organizations all give the city a gritty, realistic feel. Well done. Also, a lot of information on the noble lines and city sectors, which is very flavorful, if underused in the rest of the path.

-PC Advancement-
No character deaths in this module. Overall, no specific encounter was really hard, though I remember that the group got lucky against Palaveen. PCs advanced as follows: [Monk 3, Wizard 3, Rogue 2/Fighter 1, Cleric 2/Rogue 1]

-Encounter Assessment-
Good Encounters: Arael's Rescue, Tieflings, Scabby, Wolf Skeletons, Giant Rot Grub, Ostengo, Hell dogs,Dravano, Palaveen
Bad Encounters: Hellknight Armigers, Sewer Goblins, Shadowgarms
Toughest fight: Palaveen
Weakest fight: Shadowgarms


(2) The Sixfold Trial::

-Negatives-

A)Trickiness of "Become Actors to Get into the Mayor's party" Hook: This completely worked for my group, but I would warn other GMs to gauge their groups motivations and use those to get them to perform the play. If its going after the girl, use Calseinica as a hook, or if its safeguarding an actor using clerical magic, PCs need a good motivation to be actors beyond what's given in the module. My group had no problem playing actors (the player of Fiamma even cross-classed into rogue so she could have Perform as a class skill), but I could see other groups rebelling against the idea of performing a play with not only extremely infernal overtones but also the possibility of being killed. Not necessarily a negative, just a caution for other DMs.

B) Room of Endless Shadows: Really?? No one saw the possible problem with this one? You either have the potential for an XP farm or a TPK for unwary players. Somehow, I was able to use the threat of this room to herd my PCs deeper into the Asmodean Knot, but I think it's only because of my group's build that they were able to survive without too much damage (Basically, buff the monk's AC as high as possible then make him the target of the shadows while everyone else runs by). There could be a huge potential problem here for some groups.

Fix: Either enforce an XP cap on the encounter as a whole (treating the Shadows almost like summoned monsters from a trap) for stronger groups, or lessen the number of rounds that pass between shadows appearing (even requiring a Shadow to take a full-round to materialize) for weaker groups.

C) Need more dinner guests!: Not really a weakness considered the space allowed by the module, its just an excellent place to introduce any future NPCs that have parts to play in the coming adventures, specifically parts 4 and 6. Considering how pervasive the Council of Thieves is supposed to be with the city's nobility, I was hoping for another dinner guest besides Chammady. This is a weakness of the AP as a whole: there isn't enough of the actual members of the Council of Thieves developed to present a clear picture of who they are and how they influence the city.

Fix: Use the dinner party to fill out with any NPCs that seem important to the future of the path, and allow more checks per PC to talk to the various dinner guests. This might make the dinner party itself an entire session (a la Prince of Redhand), but allows the DM to flush out whatever aspects of the city and nobility that they want to represent and at the same time serve mock-up version of the food presented in the module (though probably without as much alcohol).

-Positives-

A) The Six Trials...: Outstanding. Just absolutely brilliant. The whole idea of having the PCs perform a play, experience dangerous trials onstage, and possibly even act out lines if they wish is just a phenomenal idea, and this is brilliantly executed.

B) Asmodean Knot: This is a well thought out dungeon, with enough unique enemies and strange dungeon features to make it memorable. My group won't forget the endless staircases or infinite maze-like rooms, nor the insane bearded devil or imp with its various trials. Every monster within the dungeon had a unique backstory, which I absolutely loved.

C) Sian Daemodus: I completely love it when the writers give you a unique villian with lots of tools sent to wreck havoc on the party. Sian became a recurring villain, eventually a dark reflection of Alario's character. By the fifth module, she became a vampire under Ilnerik's control. I wish they would do this in every module: a unique villain with enough powers and gear to tax the PCs as they go about their other goals.

D) Dinner Party!: Well, I must admit that after 'Prince of Redhand', I have a soft spot for this sort of thing. I love this idea of impressing the nobility and other power players in a massive social setting. While sort of a lighter version of the aforementioned adventure, this was still good.

E)Runecurse: Wish this was used again in the AP, as the idea was brilliant. The only downside was that since I was playing the NPC with with highest Intelligence and Knowledge skills, it was hard to fudge the effectiveness of the runecurse. Still, the trap's potency was not lost on the PCs, and in the end, the item was gifted to the insane Imp. Again, I love the whole idea of this and wish it had been used again.

-PC Advancement-
No deaths again, but there was at one point an extreme potential for some character deaths. The party had just fought the mummy, bearded devil, and had tangled with Sian, besides suffering ability damage. I believe in the fight with the mummy, Rot was contracted. My solution was to have an extremely curious Calseinica Nymmis find the hidden cache of priestly gear in the spare room (which unless your PCs are the unscrupulous sort, there's no way they are going to find this huge cache of treasure), wander through the maze, and show up with 6 strength damage from the shadows but also a scroll of Remove Curse. This was the beginning of many acts that endeared Cal to the PCs, eventually setting her up to become a cohort with leadership.
PCs: [Wizard 5, Monk 5, Rogue 3/Fighter 2, Cleric 4/Rogue 1]

-Encounter Assessment-
Good Encounters: All but Shadow Room
Toughest Fight: Shadow Room
Weakest Fight: Nothing too bad here.. Maybe Troll Skeletons, but that's only because the Monk destroyed them in two breaths.


3)What Lies in Dust::

-Negatives:

A)Chained Quest Sequence:Getting the intelligence from the vanquished pathfinders feels too much like a chain-quest sequence. The items in the wave door, while extremely helpful aren't necessary for completing the path. What's more, a lot of the background information about the vanquished pathfinders isn't available for the PCs to recover unless they ask specific questions with the grave candles. Also, too much plot point hinges on a failed will save, which while statistically likely, might cause some problems for groups. Missing out on all this backstory due to hot rolling on the DM seems problematic. Also, some groups resent the idea of chained-quest sequences.

Fix: Not sure, except not giving a will save (or fudging roll) on grave candles. Or maybe instead, having some personal memento of the deceased imparting a -5 on the will save. Also, the riddle solution is kind of clunky so that even if the PCs solve the mystery with the candles, they might not interpret what they're supposed to do.

B)Devildrome: For a module written for 5th level PCs, the power level in the first part of the module (chained quest sequence) is horribly low, and the Devil Drome is the best case of this. If the PCs aren't playing a Summoner or Arcane Caster, they throw in their champion... except any 5th level fighter type is going to make mincemeat of any Summon Monster critter of 4th level or less, especially lots of low powered mooks. The dretches are no threat whatsoever, and this fight turned into a comedy. Even when Thrax attacked, it was treated as a joke as the Monk quickly beat and humiliated him. The other problem is that the rules for how the combat itself works aren't very clear, so many interpretations of what is or is not allowed in the arena can get thrown in.

Fix: Rewrite Thrax as a Summoner and up his levels by 2-3. This will give him more dangerous summons and make the fight more memorable. Also, make sure the rules of the Devildrome are clear. When Thrax attacked the monk with direct spells, it took a moment for the PCs to realize that he had broken the rules.

C)Imbalance in encounters: The fights in this module go from being ridiculously easy at points to downright deadly in others, with no warning given in either case. Some of the encounters, like the Sisters of Eiseth and the Evil Dolls, while very flavorful, have no potential to be challenging at all. I'm aware of the point build of my group, yet I think the Sisters would have just as hard a time hitting a 15 pt buy, 5th level Human Fighter. At any rate, this is imbalanced by ridiculous monsters like the Shadowy Triceratops and the Vampires.

D) Marrowfall Powers Inconsistency: Bisby eventually goes insane from possessing the Marrowfall, yet there is absolutely nothing in the description of its powers or abilities. From Bisby's fate, one might assume that the artifact has an ego, intelligence, or at least a curse, yet there's nothing written for it. This just doesn't seem to make sense, especially when there's a haunt present illustrating his insane demise. My PCs were initially afraid of touching the thing because of the flavor surrounding it. At any rate, I felt there should have been some drawback to the thing since its almost too good of an item against the path's enemies (vampires, shadow things).

Fix: Give the thing either an Ego or something similar to the point system that the Totemrix utilizes, having insanity instead of death being the end result.

E) Unnecessary Traps: While most of the traps in Delvehaven were pretty cool, the ones in the hallways (Transposition traps) are not only located in places the party is unlikely to encounter them but are also ineffective in terms of doing anything. It suggests using the dolls simultaneously with the traps, but since they are so weak on their own, neither is a challenge and just eats up game time.

-Positives:

A)Pathfinder Lodge: Everyone liked the feel and the flavor of the abandoned lodge. The flavorful treasure, paintings, and haunts all helped convey the dark ambiance of the lodge. Good use of descriptive text. Other than the encounter imbalance issues and the traps, the lodge is pretty solid.

B)Vampires!: This was a good introduction to PF Vampires, and the three presented here are all awesome. They all have interesting backstories (especially the former vampire-hunter) and each of them was fun to run. Again, I liked the versatility of their usage: I could use any of them in any combination in any room, depending on where I felt that they fit best thematically.

C)Cool Treasure: Marrowfall issues notwithstanding, the unique treasure presented in this path was pretty good. Grave Candles, the Chelish Crux and the head of the Erinyes were all nce bits of flavorful loot. I especially loved role-playing the crazy devil head, made for some fun RP.

-Added Stuff: We were all tired of Shadows at that point, so instead of using them again at the Wave Door, I created a monster I called "The Black Water", a homemade hybrid of a gray ooze and a shadow. I also began realizing the lack of shadow monsters in general and began taking the Shadowgarms and advancing them, giving them a few new powers and less of a weakness towards light.

-PC Advancement: First real death of the campaign with Fiamma perishing against the monstrosity that is the Shadowy Triceratops. This sort of stopped the module for a session as a sidequest was enacted to get her raised. Basically, we all felt it inappropriate for a Cleric of Calistra to be raised by a Cleric of Asmodeus, so a number of other means and Arael were utilized to bring her back. As far as leveling, it pretty much stays singular class for everyone except Alario. Again inspired by Assassin's Creed and Batman, his character begins developing fighting styles that utilize an enemy's weapons against them. He also wanted to keep a theme of 'no magical abilities, all mundane gear' with the character, an aesthetic I thought fit itself quite nicely to the feel of the city. [Monk 7, Wizard 7, Cleric 6/Rogue 1, Fighter 2/Monk 2/ Rogue 3]

-Encounter Assessment-
-Good Encounters: Shadow Mastiffs, Shadowy Triceratops, Water Elemental, Haunts, Hellcat, Vampires
-Bad Encounters:Devildrome, Sisters of Eiseth, Shadows, Evil Dolls, Will-o-Wisp,
-Toughest Fight: Shadowy Triceratops
-Weakest Fight: Evil Dolls


Continued...

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