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Sure, there's plenty of ways to insert an old NPC, but I was hoping they'd be more prevalent in a way that mattered to the plot, not just as a cameo appearance. Just wishful thinking.

One of the PC's ended up as King of Korvosa, but they were chaotic good and won't be hard to write off-screen, leaving Seneschal Cressida effectively in charge. They did rescue Neolandus but I figured he has probably retired.

I ran CotCT for my group several years ago - it was the first campaign for many of them. I'm thinking of running Shadows for them, but was a little disappointed there aren't more NPC tie-ins from CotCT. The main one is obviously Cressida, followed by Thousand Bones. Blackjack does little more than leave a clue for them.

Any ideas for working more of the old NPCs into the actual plot? Given the intrigue, Glorio Arkona/Bahor would have been great, or even Boule. I can work in a little fan-service and maybe have Vencarlo come to their aid (in his Old Man Batman role), or a run with Grau Soldado, but I was hoping for something a little more meaningful.

Ahhhh, interesting! Thanks. This is going to take some getting used to!

Brand new to PF2e, and I'm a little puzzled by the escape action. It takes one action, and does not seem to have a limitation on multiple uses per round. The text reads:

Critical Success You get free and remove the grabbed, immobilized, and restrained conditions imposed by your chosen target. You can then Stride up to 5 feet.

Success You get free and remove the grabbed, immobilized, and restrained conditions imposed by your chosen target.

Critical Failure You don’t get free, and you can’t attempt to Escape again until your next turn.

This seems to imply that if you "normal" fail on your first escape action, you can try again with your subsequent actions? That doesn't seem to make a lot of sense to me - doesn't it make grappling an almost impossible strategy?

So I'm looking for a good one-shot to introduce myself and my group of 6 to PF2e. I'm an old grognard and introduced my (now adult) son and his friends to PF1 with a CotCT campaign that lasted several years. One of the group took over DMing and they switched to 5e, basically just to try something new.

I'd like to run a PF2e one-shot to get them to look at the "new" system but have no idea which is best for a larger group. It can be Paizo or third-party.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

One question about the taniniver. Does the saving throw against the breath weapon negate both the strength drain and the disease, or just the disease? It seems really underwhelming if a single save counters all the effects.

Poor taniniver. Finale Part 1 went pretty well for the party, except for the druid who found her wolf companion dominated and herself down to 7 hp. The taniniver found itself matched up against their barbarian who used Come and Get Me to counter its full attack with 3 criticals, and that was before getting at least 1 more crit when she full attacked on her turn. She was rolling really well. Unlike the druid.

Overall, they've taken very little damage, as they have Protection from Energy, Communal, against both electricity and fire. That will get whittled down before the battle with Kazavon but in the interim all that feared AoE damage is doing very little. Other than Ileosa dominating the wolf companion and Togomor hitting the druid with polar ray and cloudkill, they've pretty much had their way so far.

Might be a while until Part 2 due to scheduling issues but they're having fun "flexing".

Hmmm. You may well be right. So the solution might be to make the simulacrums something else. Perhaps some sort of regenerative, vampiric variation, something to help tie up the party along while Ileosa and Togomor work from a distance, and the Erinyes swoop down on spellcasters to disrupt them. I opted for the sorcerer version of Ileosa as in 25+ years I've never played a bard or had a bard in a party - this doesn't seem like the time to experiment!

Thanks for the feedback!

The Havero would have been great but they already encountered it, and I used Ileosa golems (her statues) during their battle against Zarmangarof. :(

So I agree that I need more Erinyes. In addition to them and the Taniniver, there's a 16th level warpriest and 3 Nessian hell hounds for melee. Ileosa, the false Ileosas, and Togomor would be spellcasters. I'm not using the Sunken Queen at all, but the immortal ichor and ithier could be interesting additions. And of course Kazavon at the very end - so the Ileosa battle is really just a precursor to the true finale. But I'm very open to suggestions!

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It just feels extremely disjointed to me to battle through Castle Korvosa only to take another journey out to some remote location for the finale. Korvosa's fate hangs in the balance, so having it resolved elsewhere just doesn't feel right. And there's nothing really special about the Sunken Queen - no puzzles or traps, just several pretty meaningless encounters.

And don't get me started on the final room! The culmination to the entire AP is a 30 x 30 featureless room with a pool of blood? No room to maneuver, columns or ledges to hide behind, etc. It was just a disappointing final setting for me. I'm using the Save vs. Cave Bloodshrine.

Also, in my campaign, Ileosa has started the ritual and citizens are randomly dropping dead one per minute, leaving desiccated corpses drained of all blood, as she claims another soul, so there's an element of urgency. And when all is said and done they can (hopefully) emerge triumphant from the castle to the newly liberated city!

Okey dokey, so my crew is ok with retconning the Harrow Deck effects to what's recommended in the appendix. They had some very lucky draws and have nothing to complain about.

They are heading into the final encounter. Does anybody have any tips or recommendations to make the encounter more interesting?

Here's the current situation. I have the Everdawn Pool located directly beneath the Korvosa Dungeon, as the Sunken Queen just didn't resonate with me. I found a new map to use that's much more spread out and interesting, with several blood pools conveniently linked to the skeleton of dragon. I'm planning to use the sorcerer version of Ileosa, without Timestop and Wish. In order to have several waves of combat, in addition to Ileosa, the false Ileosas, an Erinyes, and the taniniver, I'm going to have Togomor, a warpriest of Asmodeus (the church is one of her allies in my campaign as they stand to gain from her infernal contract), and some Nessian hell hounds teleport in to help her. It sounds like a lot, but I have 7 PCs, and with the action economy problem challenging them is well, a challenge! Oh, and since one of the PCs drew the Betrayal card, I will most likely have Vencarlo (the NPC most closely tied to her) swing in and backstab them.

After they defeat Ileosa, I will have Kazavon awaken, with his hit points tied to the number of rounds it takes them to defeat her.

So any additional wrinkles, effects, or ideas to make this truly epic? We have been playing this for 5 years (play was very sporadic while they were away at college) so this is a huge deal for us.

Thanks for all the help along the way!

I know this must seem pretty basic, but the attacks for the Axial Monitor completely confuse me. Here's what's listed:

Melee +1 merciful greatclub +26/+21/+16/+11 (2d8+10), tentacle +20 (1d6+3 plus grab), slam +20 (2d6+3 plus energized maul) or +1 axiomatic glaive +26 (2d8+10/×3), +1 merciful greatclub +26 (2d8+10), tentacle +25 (1d6+3 plus grab), slam +25 (2d6+3 plus energized maul)

Tripartite Assault (Ex)
When it makes a full attack, an Axial monitor can choose to make a full attack with one weapon and secondary attacks with its tentacle and slam, or it can choose to make a single attack with each weapon it wields, including its tentacle and slam attacks, with no penalties to its attack rolls for fighting with multiple weapons.

How does this translate to a single attack action and full attack actions? Thanks!

So the 15th level sorcerer in my group obtained a wish prior to the finale of CotCT, and is thinking of using it to polymorph himself into a gold dragon. What would happen to his sorcerer levels? And how many HD would he have?

My initial thought is that if he actually becomes a gold dragon, he gains all of the abilities of a gold dragon, including spells, but loses his sorcerer levels. He's a dragon now - his sorcerous ability was tied to his old body and is now replaced by his draconic abilities. He would obviously like to be a 15th level sorcerer in a dragon's body!

And how many HD would he have? If handled like the Polymorph spell, he would have the same HD as levels, so 15? Or can he become an adult gold dragon (18 HD)?

Any ideas on how to handle this? Not sure if this is strictly a polymorph or something else.

Thanks for the heads up, I totally missed that. I've been using the online campaign on Fantasy Grounds, which is great for running the combats, but I often forget to go check the appendices for more background info.

Just finished a great session that culminated with the Harrow Deck of Many Things. One of them drew the Tyrant, which will no doubt be used against Ileosa. One question about how it works. The description reads:

"The character gains the one-time ability to issue a single command to any creature in the multiverse and have the order obeyed. The target is affected as if by the spell dominate monster, and even orders for the target to kill itself are followed."

Does this mean that the targeted creature gets a Will saving throw as per Dominate Monster/Person? That seems to contradict the previous sentence about issuing a command "...and have the order obeyed." Which takes precedence?


So my group is finally in the castle, working their way from top to bottom, bypassing an enhanced encounter with the False Ileosa in the throne room. One way or the other, they're likely to end up in the dungeon next session, and I'm a little concerned about the potential encounter with the shining children. Even if they can each use their blinding light aura once (since a successful save makes you immune to a particular aura) I can imagine a good chunk of the party is going to fail at least one of those four saves! (Not to mention the Hold Person trap that initiates the encounter). And, finally, is the 2d6 Burning Touch damage cumulative per hit?

Almost seems more deadly than the Zev Ravenka encounter if they don't get some sort of energy protection up!

Thanks for all the feedback - I'm reading everything and taking notes. There are probably only 3 major combats left in the campaign (2 after this one), and some smaller encounter as they work their way into and through the castle. I keep forgetting this and then realize I shouldn't be holding anything back.

I'm starting to see the humor in this!

Great suggestions! Yes, I already buff all the fights as the AP was designed for 4 PCs, so I typically use a combination of advanced templates, increase the number of enemies, and/or add a couple of levels to NPCs.

So I added a 15th level warpriest with TWF and agile kukris, with improved critical, critical focus, and bleeding critical, and the greater disarm chain. I'll give him Caustic Critical and Righteous Might, increasing his reach, and I'll work in some sort of hint about the acid, even if they rush straight to the throne room and just get a Perception check to detect the faint acidic tang hanging in the air.

Will look to see what other adjustments are helpful. There's another major spellcaster (wizard 7/bloat mage 9) I can move to this encounter, who was just going to be another one off encounter they would steamroll. Plus I can have additional waves of guards responding from other areas of the castle. We're at the point where I'd rather have fewer but harder encounters than a string of insignificant ones.

Those are good points. They're pretty smart players, so they'll need to redirect the bloodrager and let the monk and others deal with the champion. I shouldn't complain - I did say I wanted to challenge them!

So Caustic Blood does 1d6 damage per caster level per attack? So if a 15th level warpriest gets hit 3 times by the bloodrager, the bloodrager will take 45d6 damage or Reflex for half (average damage 157.5 or 78.75 for half)? And since the duration is 1 round per level this will last for 15 rounds?

Um, ouch? Am I reading this right? I have a feeling if I used this at our table my players would not be amused. I like the concept, but are there any suggestions for nerfing this, or is it a commonly accepted spell.

Ryze Kuja wrote:
@OP We could slightly derail this thread into a "Pimp My CR15 Encounter" thread if you want. What are the other PC classes? And what setting are you in-- is this an AP or a homebrew world, and are you in a cavern, city, mountainous terrain? What/who are they after? What's the mcguffin?

Well, this is actually a slightly modded version of CotCT, with the encounter against Vavana Dashi and the false simulacrum Ileosa. The Church of Asmodeus is allied with Ileosa as they stand to gain from the contract she struck with Sermignatto, so they have their champion (whether this be a warpriest or something else) currently assigned to Ileosa's defenders to protect their investment.

The PCs just hit 15th level as there's 7 of them so I slowed their advancement. But their action economy advantage is just too significant. They consist of:

Bloodrager abyssal primalist
Draconic sorcerer
Cleric of Desna
Eldritch scion
Druid mooncaller

The official encounter calls for:

Vavana (enchanter 9)
Simulacrum Ileosa (aristocrat 1/bard 9)
3 x Grey Maiden Palace Guards (fighter 9)
3 x Nessian Hellhounds

I was going to add the Asmodeus champion and, possibly, Togomor (wizard 7/bloatmage 9).

Other than a battle against some devils and possible minor encounters with guards during the attack, there's really only this battle and the final confrontation with Ileosa (I'm placing the Sunken Queen directly under the city and skipping all the boggard stuff). The Red Mantis are not in the castle and have been dealt with already.

The bloodrager is basically a crit fisher, using a +1 keen elven curve blade, with bloodrage, power attack, demonic bulk, long arm, and come and get me (she gets 3 attacks of opportunity per round with combat reflexes) and is usually buffed with bull's strength, among other things. She's pretty easy to hit, but sucks up damage, gets heals from either the cleric or druid, and with so many other PCs if I target her with more than 2 enemies the other PCs run rampant, unless I want to have a LOT of enemies to tie them all up, which makes for really, really long combats.

I appreciate the feedback. Sorry if it seems simplistic for some, but I don't do a ton of builds and we don't use all the handbooks so I'm not as savvy on all the options and synchronicities.

Wow, a lot of great ideas here - will need to read up on a lot of them as I'm honestly not familiar with them. The problem/advantage with Pathfinder is there's soooo many options!

We just finished up the combat, and poor Zarmangarof never made it out of the Forcecage. She nearly broke out of the first one, but the sorcerer hit her with Icy Prison and another Forcecage and I continued to roll crappy. Their cleric of Desna actually abundant stepped into the Forcecage and teleported Sabina out, only to realize that was a mistake when she dealt out some major damage, but they managed to incapacitate and capture her.

The Ileosa golems were the stars of the show. An unfinished, one-armed golem rose up out of the bay to join the first, killed their slayer and nearly killed the cocky sorcerer in dragon form who forgot about its reach. But they too eventually succumbed.

The poor Grey Maidens tried to move on the Citadel but the druid had cast Spike Growth, and as they attempted to extricate themselves the sorcerer Fireballed them. Nope, the party has no sympathy for them.

They had the option of moving on Castle Korvosa while the defenders were still surprised, but the party had to regroup and rest due to the slayer's death. So Togomor will be healed and the castle's defenders will be a little more organized.

Thanks again for all the great suggestions - much appreciated!

Thanks for the suggestions - those are some good ideas. The NPC is a champion of Asmodeus, so fighter, cleric, warpriest, and rogue levels would all be appropriate. Had not considered Caustic Blood - sounds fantastic! With Combat Reflexes she gets 3 attacks of opportunity per round when raging, so if she has multiple opponents there's only so many attacks she can respond to. There will be others in the combat, principally an enchanter, a bard, some more basic guards, and some Nessian hell hounds, the latter of which I could nerf to give them a trip attack like a wolf.

The bloodrager will have the rest of the party with her, but I was hoping to focus the combat on her since she normally just wades through everything. And to be clear, I have absolutely nothing against the player or the character, just looking to up the challenge for her since they're entering the home stretch of the campaign and the combats should feel more desperate.

So I have a player who is using an Abyssal Bloodrager Primalist. They're 15th level and reaching the end of the campaign, and I'm looking to design a fight against an NPC that can actually challenge her. Between rage, Demonic Bulk, Long Arm, and Come and Get Me she pretty much pulverizes anything that attacks her.

Are there any melee builds that might stand up to her? Come and Get Me is just a killer.

Well that...did not go as expected!

My group has moments of brilliance, and moments of not-so-brilliance. Despite having oodles time to prepare and ballistae on the towers of the Citadel, they didn't have much of a plan for engaging Zarmangarof once they lured him there. The dragon flies in, uses it's acid breath on the illusionary rioters, and the Party springs its ambush. Sabina summons reinforcements with her horn, but things were going pretty badly for the Party as Zarmangarof was rolling well and just mauling them.

The Party was kind of in chaos. Some of them belatedly thought about the ballistae and started loading them, even though I told them it would take 2 rounds. But right before Togomor appears, the sorcerer gets off Forcecage, which ignores spell resistance, on Zarmangarof and they use their Harrow points to make me reroll until he fails.

I had completely reworked Togomor's spells, so when he shows up and the sorcerer tries to Feeblemind him it rebounded from Spell Turning and the sorcerer failed his save. But their cleric zooms over and uses a Heal scroll to undo it. Togomor gets off Horrid Wilting but almost all of them save and the damage roll is pretty low. The sorcerer uses a quickened magic missile to take out the rest of Togomor's Spell Turning, and since the sorcerer has Shield active the rebound doesn't affect him. He casts Feeblemind again and Togomor fails. They also manage to shoot him with one of the ballistae that they had finally gotten loaded.

Zarmangarof and Sabina slowly start breaking out of the Forcecage, while the Ileosa statue golem arrives and gets in some heavy damage. Their barbarian flies to Togomor and wails on him. Togomor, now stupid but very afraid, turns to flee, gets wailed on again by the attack of opportunity, but has a Contingency spell teleport him back to his study.

That is where we left off. Despite not having much of a plan other than Forcecage and nearly losing their monk in Zarmangarof's initial onslaught, they're doing fairly well. But Zarmangarof and Sabina are about to break out and are still pretty healthy, and the Ileosa golem is dealing out damage and also pretty healthy, with a second (incomplete) one about to emerge from the bay. There's a unit of Grey Maiden foot soldiers set up outside the Citadel as a blocking force, but this is way above their paygrade and most of the combat is happening up in the air.

Thanks for all the good suggestions. The open air combat is a nice change of pace and they had fun flexing some of their powers (the sorcerer is really vested in his draconic bloodline and enjoyed being able to use his Form of the Dragon II body) but they've also had some close calls. Poor Togomor, will have to find a way to rehabilitate him for round 2 in the castle.

Thank you both for the great suggestions - really appreciate the thoughtful responses! Even after uncovering the torture treatment the Grey Maidens go through under the Longacre Building, my group hasn't shown a whole lot of sympathy to them, although they did free the ones being held there. So while a contingent of Grey Maiden foot soldiers will respond to the "riot" they'll still only be basic 3rd level fighters and easily wiped out. Still, they're smart enough to split into groups so they can't all be taken out with a single fireball, and it's something else the Party has to worry about with everything else that will be going on.

The beauty of it is this will quickly escalate beyond what the Party originally anticipated. This all goes down tomorrow so I'll let you know what happens!

Love it! Will definitely be using this. The problem I face with them is that, with 7 PCs, they almost always have the advantage in action economy. I need multiple threats to challenge them that aren't overpowering in of themselves, but when combined it pushes them to fight intelligently or pay the consequences!

Lotta good stuff there! Yes, an appearance by Togomor for a couple of rounds might be just the thing, setting up a showdown with him in the castle.

Not sure how much they intend to rely on Cressida and the rebels. They want to simulate an uprising/riot at the citadel to draw out Sabina and Zarmangarof. Their sorcerer has Major Image so he can create a heckuva ruckus if he wants to. If they don't involve the rebels I'll have to scale it back a bit, but I do want multiple threats so they can't just focus on the dragon. As for Cressida, I could have her offer to lead a reserve force hiding in a nearby warehouse in case the s**t hits the fan and leave it to the Party to decide. If she's there, she will certainly be a very tempting target for the Queen's forces. Let the chips fall where they may!


So bear with me.

My group is starting Chapter 6 of CotCT and I'm completely underwhelmed by the Sunken Queen. I was looking forward to a mystical location, the source of Runelord Sorshen's power, with traps, puzzles, and challenges for the Party before they finally reach the final battle. And what will they find, boggards? And the final battle is in a featureless box? Ugh!

So, I'm looking for some sort of small, high level dungeon, with mystical traps and guardians, to replace the Sunken Queen. Something that's going to feel like the final challenges before they face down Ileosa! Anything out there like this?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

So after meeting with Cressida and the other resistance leaders, my group is planning to take on Zarmangarof and Sabina (who will NOT switch sides, for multiple reasons). Instead of attacking the dragon at Castle Korvosa, where they think Ileosa's minions are likely to come to its' aid, and also risk civilian casualties if the dragon lands/crashes into the homes and buildings around the castle, they have a plan to lure Zarmangarof to the abandoned Citadel Volshyenek, where they can prepare for it. No prob, I created a map for that.

But, since Chapter 6 really doesn't have any larger scale battles, I'm planning to turn the encounter into the Battle for Citadel Volshyenek. Accompanying Zarmangarof will be several "swarms" of charmed pseudodragons, and a force of Grey Maidens will gather outside the Citadel and attempt to storm it as Zarmangarof, Sabina, and the pseudodragon swarms provide air support.

Any other ideas to make this more interesting and/or how to handle this? I don't want to get the devils involved, since I made clear that they're only seen at night and I want to keep them for the assault on the castle.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

A rooftop view of Citadel Volshyenek, my first attempt at creating a map in Inkarnate. Created at a fairly large scale as my group intends to lure Zarmangarof to fight at/around the abandoned Citadel since they want to fight on ground of their choosing and avoid civilian casualties.

Citadel Volshyenek

Thanks, this helps! So even once combat is initiated and they know the attacker is there, the attacker will still get stealth attack damage from the Greater Invisibility?

Okay, I'm sure this is answered somewhere but I haven't been able to find it (or maybe I just don't understand it?)

I have a hostile NPC assassin with Greater Invisibility about to attack the Party.

The Stealth rules read, "If you are invisible, you gain a +40 bonus on Stealth checks if you are immobile, or a +20 bonus on Stealth checks if you’re moving."

That seems pretty straight forward.

But then the chart under Invisibility for the Perception roll DC specifies:

In combat or speaking –20
Moving at half speed –5
Moving at full speed –10
Running or charging –20
Not moving +20
Using Stealth Stealth check +20
Some distance away +1 per 10 feet
Behind an obstacle (door) +5
Behind an obstacle (stone wall) +15

So the NPC rolls their Stealth check +20 if moving and adds it to the base DC of 20, which the defender has to beat with Perception to get a hunch there's something there, and to pinpoint there would be another +20 to the DC? The modifiers for in combat, moving at half speed, etc, only apply if not using stealth? It would make no sense to penalize them twice for moving, since the Stealth check has already gone from +40 to +20.

And for sneak attack, does sneak attack damage only apply to the first strike, since the defender can pinpoint the square from which the attack came?

Thanks. I have to say I probably hate these rules more than any other in PF.

Yossarian wrote:
I haven't made an alternative map of the everdawn pool chamber, but I did make an isometric map of the whole of the sunken queen. Might come in handy for keeping track of things, I found the place hard to visualise based on the existing maps due to the unusual layout and angles.

That's fabulous! Will definitely be using this as it makes things so much clearer. Thank you!

Sounds like an exciting encounter, and maybe put a little fear into them as well!

Keep in mind that you don't HAVE to play the vampire spawn optimally and have them all attempt to dominate at once, i.e., most are too blood-crazed or overconfident that they simply leap to attack rather than using dominate. Either save the dominate attempts for when the battle starts to turn against the vampire spawn or only have 1 vampire spawn per round attempt to dominate, that way you can judge how they're doing and how much would be overkill. You're the DM - play them however you think best for your campaign.

*just saw the date on the first post - any updates on how this went?*

AwesomenessDog wrote:

There really isn't another solution for the cramped map part unless you wanted to just blow the entire Sunken Queen map up to 10ft squares instead of 5ft. What you could do instead is just make Ileosa's drawing of power to create the Taniniver cause a surge in the blood pool that just destroys the upper walls of the Sunken Queen, essentially creating a platform with an open area around it for flight combat with Ileosa and her simulacrums while the Taniniver guards the blood pool (or just respawns there).

Once Ileosa has been defeated, you can reflavor the fort save they have to make to not be stunned as just a pulse emanating from the pool, not the floor that they no longer need to be standing on vibrating. (Of course, if they fail that stun, then they could now plummet several hundred feet.)

I took a closer look at the map and apparently they are 10' squares, making it 60'x60', but I have to admit I'm still disappointed in the map. This is the finale for the entire AP and, other than the pool, it's basically in a featureless box? I'm looking at several alternative maps on DriveThruRPG, but what you've suggested would be a good backup plan. Fortunately we only play every 2 - 4 weeks and I've got several sessions to figure this out.

As always, thanks for the feedback!

Has anyone used or can anyone recommend a larger/more interesting battle map for the final battle against Ileosa? Even at 60'x60', and with a portion of that taken up by the pool, it seems awfully cramped and a little plain. I have 6 (sometimes 7 PCs) as well a large animal companion, so once you include Ileosa, the tanniver, the false Ileosas, and any leftover monsters, the battle is just going to be a big blob.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

Warped Savant wrote:
Players are clever. They can also use magic to find her, or question allies... trust your players to find a way to overcome the problem. Sometimes they'll come up with really creative ways you wouldn't've thought of.

Yes. Yes they are! Case in point - following up on the kidnapping of Vencarlo, Trinia, and Jasan's children I mentioned previously, my players used scrying to find where the children were being held at night, teleported in, and hid them using Rope Trick. Using a combination of Invisibility Sphere, Muffle Sound, Teleport, Dimension Door, and the cleric's Dimensional Hop ability, they managed to infiltrate the lower level dungeon cells where Vencarlo and Trinia were being held and teleport back to the kids without alerting any guards.

Now, do they take the opportunity to teleport out without literally alerting a soul in the Red Mantis hideout? Of course not! They want their pound of flesh so, after silently taking out a lower level Red Mantis guard but inadvertently setting off a Glyph of Warding and alerting everyone in the complex, they're in the middle of John Wicking their way through the waves of Red Mantis assassins responding to the attack, and loving every minute of it. As the sorcerer put it, "They think we're trapped in here with them, but they're the ones trapped in here with us."

I was coming to a similar conclusion. It's actually a Red Mantis hideout/temple, so I'm going to use significantly lower level Red Mantis assassins in most locations with the elite assassins and leaders in reserve. They'll be able to wipe the regulars pretty easily, but if they screw up or just go in guns blazing, so to speak, the response team will hit hard. So if they play it right they could be in and out without raising an alarm. Or it could get bloody!

14th level, so could have taken Assassinate but hasn't. I guess I should stop worrying about them and let them figure it out!

So, we've all seen and read the scenarios in which a hero or team infiltrate an enemy base and stealthily pick off guards as they work they way through. My Party is about to infiltrate an evil temple to rescue some prisoners and, unless I make the guards extremely low level so they can be one-shotted, running a stealth mission scenario is difficult.

They're fairly high level so they can use Invisibility easily, but even if the slayer sneaks up behind a lone guard he'll get one shot with sneak attack damage (unless he takes the risk of "pausing" for a new round so he can start the combat with a full-attack). The guard isn't helpless, so coup de grace really wouldn't apply.

The monk has a stealth of 13 so she has a decent chance of sneaking, but the rest all have stealth in the single digits. The druid could wildshape into something sneaky but, again, how much damage is a wolf going to do on a guard unless it's extremely low level?

Any suggestions on how to run this so stealth is a viable option if they choose to do so?

Thanks, that's what I suspected!

Yeah, I understand why they make lawful evil creatures immune (for example, you wouldn't want a group of lawful evil clerics to be incapacitated by one of their own spells).

There's a psychological difference between people who basically embrace being evil and probably imagine they will be rewarded in hell (because, after all, they're superior!), and those who are evil but don't think they are because they rationalize their behavior, e.g., the slave trader who rationalizes she's not only supporting her family and those of her crew, but also providing cheap labor to help keep the economy strong. An end justifies the means approach. Does she think she's going to hell - probably not! And "realistically" (although that's a funny term to use in these discussions) she should probably be affected by the spell.

Vision of Hell reads:

"You overlay a realistic illusion of a terrifying hellscape upon an area. Structures, equipment, and creatures within the area are not hidden, though environmental features take on an infernal appearance. While you are prepared for these images and are not affected by them, any other creature within the area must make a Will save or become shaken and also take a –2 penalty on saves versus fear effects; the fear and penalty persists as long as the creature remains in the area. Devils and any lawful evil creatures suffer no negative effects from this spell."

While it's clear that creatures who fail their save are affected by the penalty and fear as long as they remain in the area, what about creatures who make their save? Do they need to save every round or are they immune once they make the initial save?

I'm guessing it's the latter, since most illusion effects end after a successful save, but I'd like to make sure.

Thanks in advance for any assistance!

My group is deliberately underleveled, as there are six, sometimes seven, of them, so I'm always buffing encounters to challenge them. They're starting Chapter 6 at level 14, and will hit 15 after clearing out Castle Korvosa. They pretty much steamrolled most encounters until they hit Scarwall. The only PC death before then was at the hands of the leukadaemon, and in Scarwall 2 of the 3 deaths was due to Zev Ravenka! Somehow they make rolls when they need them and the monsters don't!

Those are extremely thoughtful points - thanks! I hadn't mulled over the alignment issue yet as her resurrection just occurred, although I'm not going to worry too much over that, since this is really just a story element without any long-term consequences.

I'm not sure how much prepping my group is going to do. They seem to be feeling a little urgent now that their return to Korvosa is imminent, and they're concerned about reports that the Shoanti are massing for an invasion to dethrone Ileosa, and the suffering that would undoubtedly inflict upon Korvosa's ordinary citizens. Considering how little preparation they did before Scarwall, I wouldn't be surprised if they jump straight in.

Yeah, I know, I'm overthinking this. I just like everything to "fit" and having the only map to the final location hidden away in an easily overlooked spot seemed a bit off.

Evilthorne wrote:
I would say Laori needs to spend time retraining her abilities in order to change her religion. At least her domains.

Agreed. I suspect she's stuck for the rest of the campaign as an 11th level cleric in terms of her base stats, but without any actual clerical spells or powers. If she survives, maybe as part of the finale she'll get 1st level powers from Desna so she finishes the adventure with a new path ahead of her.

Bjørn Røyrvik wrote:
You lose spellcasting, channeling, domain powers, and any other spell-like or supernatural ability you may have gotten from the god that abandoned you. You keep skills, saves, feats, hit points, BAB, proficiencies and any other ability you may have received from a source other than the abandoning god.

That makes sense - thanks!

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