Skylark Jones's page
32 posts. Organized Play character for Skyknight.
For DMs that have already completed the adventure path, or anyone who's studied his stat block, how should I prepare for this final and hopefully epic battle?
Adimarchus is a tough opponent, and the party has to kill him twice. Do you think I should have them fight one form all the way to the end, and then have the other appear? Or should he randomly change forms as a free action whenever it helps him to do so?
Here is the party facing him:
Fighter 20 with very high melee damage
Transmuter 20 wielding a staff of the magi (engagement present from Boccob)
Cleric 20 (smoking eye, demigod rank 1)
Rogue/Monk/Acrobat 20 who flurries with Alakast
super-archer cohort 18
A major problem in planning for this combat is that the halfling cleric of Yondalla has conquered Occipitus and ascended to demigod power. This gives him all kinds of immunities, DR, SR, an AC in the forties, and a buffing aura that helps the rest of the party. With this in mind, do you think I should also give Adimarchus a divine rank of 1 as detailed in the Deities and Demigods book? Of course this would take an already scary boss and make him just sick.
One of the best abilities Adimarchus has is Blasphemy, which if used as written would be a TPK in one round. The CL 30 is likely a typo and should be CL 20, but I might keep it that high and simply reduce the effects of blasphemy in this case to only the milder ones, not dead or stunned.
From what I've read, it looks like his Implosion ability is the next scariest, since it completely destroys an enemy.
Maze could be useful if successfully cast on the demigod cleric, since it removes him from the fight for at least a couple rounds and he is the biggest threat to Adimarchus.
In the experience of others, is Adimarchus the sort of foe you have to whittle down with hit point damage, or is there a spell or effect that will basically take him out if it breaks his spell resistance? What are his main strengths and weaknesses?
Do you think I should use his 1/day powers right from the beginning, or is that unfair and should I save them for later in the fight?
The party all recently purchased demonbane and/or cold iron weapons before going to Carceri, so I think they have a sporting chance.
The fight against Hookface was something I had been looking forward to for some time. It comes at the end of a chapter, when the PCs should be worn down. And dragons in general are quite deadly.
In this case the party was not very worn down at all. The party's bard has levels in a prestige class called "seeker of the song" which gives her access to a song that gives the whole party fire resistance 15. So the evacuation was easy for them.
I gave the players spot checks to see the dragon flying into the city. Anyone who made their spot check was given a surprise round to cast a buff, drink a potion, etc.
The wizard cast Polymorph Any Object on the monk, turning him into a storm giant.
The sorceror cohort casts haste on everyone.
So combat begins. The halfling cleric runs in the direction of Hookface and shouts out a challenge, getting his attention.
The wizard casts Enlarge Person on the monk, who is already a storm giant. I argue with the players that they can't do that, it's against the rules. We bicker for a while. Eventually I give in. The monk is now bigger and has more strength than Hookface.
The (now gargantuan) monk readies an action to charge the dragon if it flies to a low altitude. Other people also hold their actions until the dragon approaches.
Hookface dives down and bites the cleric, quickening a breath weapon against everyone. The rogue evades all damage, and everyone else still has resistance 15 to it anyway. The cleric seems very pleased that he has been bitten. At this point Hookface would normally fly away and drop the cleric from a high altitude.
But no, the giant monk had readied an action. He runs over and TRIPS the dragon. Shit, my dragon is now prone! Improved Trip feat gets the monk a free unarmed attack, and he crits. The damage is unbelievable. Everybody in the party runs over to join in the smackdown. Wizard casts Greater Dispel on Hookface. Fighter starts laying in with his greatsword and full power attack. Sorceror succesfully casts Ray of Exhaustion on Hookface. The bard shoots some ice crap at him a couple times with her bardic music, just for good measure.
The cleric uses his Divine Quicken feat to cast a quickened Freedom of Movement, which releases him from the dragon's jaws. With a maniacal grin, he runs straight into Hookface's mouth and jumps into his stomach.
For Hookface's 2nd action, he tries to stand up and fly away. Standing up provokes attacks of opportunity from just about everybody. Then I figured everyone has used up their attacks for this round, I'll have him fly away before he dies. But the monk has the Combat Reflexes feat. He decides to (you guessed it) TRIP Hookface again and punch him. Everyone continues to beat on the dragon mercilessly.
The halfling cleric is in the dragon's stomach, taking acid damage. He casts Harm. Before the end of the 3rd round, Hookface slumps to the ground, dead.
The spell weavers are a very interesting part of the region's history, and the loremaster in my party has decided to specialize in studying them. She was amazed by the Starry Mirror, Amaranth Elixir, and other aspects of their advanced society. When she heard about Karran-Kurral she got really excited about going there and making additional discoveries.
While Karran-Kurral is a rather small dungeon and only has a handful of encounters, it displays more spell weaver artifacts and is very creepy. I think this needs to be expanded upon. If the spell weavers had enough mastery of magic and technology to travel the stars and the planes, then why don't their bases look more futuristic?
I was thinking of changing the walls and doors to titanium alloy, making the doors motion-activated, (or even locked by a passcode in some cases) adding lots of pretty blinking lights and buttons... having harmless little spy drones flying around inspecting the characters. Maybe even adding some security robots that try to arrest them. It would add a flavor similar to "Expedition to the Barrier Peaks". I was even contemplating making a CD of futuristic, appropriately creepy background music.
Fetor Abradius is possibly one of the most intelligent villains in the game. His unhealthy obsession with the Soul Pillars is driving him mad, to be sure, but he is still a difficult boss to defeat. If he has been studying this area for months, then maybe he has figured out how to operate the technology. The face of Fetor Abradius could appear on big video screens at random parts of the dungeon, taunting the adventurers or remotely setting off traps making it harder to get to him.
Another example: one could replace the iron golem with a similar giant "hunter-killer" robot armed with gatling guns, flame throwers or laser beams... making sure to keep it balanced and increasing the CR by 1 or 2. Anyone who has played a Final Fantasy game and battled Ultima Weapon can appreciate the potential coolness of such an encounter.
My PC loremaster always has 'comprehend languages' on so she can read any writings the spell weavers might have around the dungeon. I think there should be a way to raise the spell weaver coffins with a button so they are not buried in the floor. Then would be the appropriate time for the corpse to momentarily animate, scaring the crap out of the players and making them creeped out for the rest of the dungeon.
I was also contemplating including some futuristic weapons as treasure. Giving everyone in the party a laser pistol would be okay since it has limited charges and there is no way to reload.
But I also think that the SCAP is lacking in good challenging puzzles. The Starry Mirror is the only one I can think of. I would like to incorporate some fun and thought-provoking puzzles in Karran-Kurral that must be solved in order to advance to certain rooms. I'm not sure what they would be just yet... and searching for ideas on the web hasn't been very helpful. A large puzzle that consists of several smaller ones in different locations would be ideal.
When the spell weavers inhabited this area, they had a huge metropolis. Then a huge explosion at the Planar Travel Installation 1800 years ago killed just about everyone and everything. But what went wrong? If the Planar Travel Installation had worked, the spell weavers could have used it to conquer Oerth and the entire universe. Their only real competition would be the illithids.
What about this: while in Karran-Kurral the PCs stumble upon some sort of space-time portal (a miniature version of the Planar Travel Installation) and accidentally (or intentionally!) use it to travel back in time and cause some horrible damage to the power core somehow. Meaning that the PCs are directly responsible for killing the spell weavers and creating the demonskar. This would create a very satisfying time paradox in which the PCs retroactively save the universe... again.
While I've got some exciting ideas, I might be going overboard making so many changes to the dungeon as presented in the hardcover. Any suggestions or input are very appreciated.
The fighter PC in my group found out during the course of the game that he was actually a descendant of Surabar Spellmason. This elevated him from the status of blacksmith's apprentice, to a founding member of Cauldron's nobility. And that means... he was eligible under the Law of Peers to challenge Captain Skellerang for his position.
After returning from Occipitus, the party arrived at Redgorge and put an abrupt end to the siege. Laharl Spellmason challenged the captain to a duel and won easily, instantly getting control of the whole militia. The Blue Duke would not accept his authority, so the battle continued with those loyal to the PC joining forces with Redgorge.
Nabthatoron and his army of demons chose that time to attack. They marched over the hill with a huge legion of dretches, babaus, and hezrou. What followed was an epic three-way battle in which many soldiers died, but the city of Redgorge was victorious.
Now Chapter 7 is beginning and I am allowing the PCs some downtime to relax, research, and make items. But instead of relaxing they are talking about taking over Cauldron's government! With the Lord-Mayor gone missing, (they tried to scry his location and got nothing, you can't scry on the dead) Lord Vhalantru is the temporary ruler and they think he is corrupt. (actually they think all the nobles are corrupt). Since my PCs now control the militia, I don't know how to stop them from completely derailing the campaign!
Technically the captain of the guard has to take orders from the acting Lord-Mayor... in this case Vhalantru. He used to be a friend of the PCs and have wine and cakes with them at his estate. But with the mysterious disappearance of Celeste, and Vhalantru's constant drinking, followed by the huge tax on magic items, they now hate him. In fact, they almost tried to break into his house. If they tried that again, they would be powerful enough to make it past the half-orc guards but then probably be destroyed by Vhalantru himself.
The PCs have also considered firing or arresting all the council of nobles, and setting up whatever kind of government they feel like. They believe they are high enough level (12) to get away with that sort of thing. My fighter PC is the kind of guy who power-attacks the cohorts/NPCs with a Merciful greatsword if they dare to disagree with him.
Even if they don't invade the Vhalantru estate, the PC still intends to sit in on any future council meetings (he is a noble and as such has a vote in the council). He wants to pronounce the Lord-Mayor dead and call an immediate vote for a new mayor. This isn't supposed to happen until after the PCs have already killed both Rhiavadi and Vhalantru.
Has anyone else had trouble maintaining a challenging game when the Leadership feat is used extensively?
In my campaign, I have a party of six PCs and three of them have taken the Leadership feat. That means the party consists of six level 10 and three level 8 adventurers. Often, these odds are so overwhelming that the enemies don't even get a chance to have an initiative before they are dead.
I've been trying to increase the difficulty by giving monsters more hit dice (but not increasing the XP gained from them) and also by encouraging PCs to leave their cohorts behind in Cauldron as assistants who work behind the scenes.
Another problem with leadership in the SCAP is that the campaign is known to be low on treasure. How much worse will it be, then, when players have to use part of their share to equip their cohorts? Everyone's gear is sub-par for their level.
Having a party of usually 8-9 combatants also makes combats long and drawn out. In a game where we only play five-six hours a week, going through a long initiative order only to find the players have easily won is pretty annoying to all involved.
I would warn any DMs who are just starting this campaign to attempt to discourage leadership unless the party is small and needs to grow. Having followers is neat from a player's perspective, but it really complicates things. The SCAP hardcover says it is meant for six players, but I truly believe it is better suited for four. Either that, or my players have above average playing skill.
Also, does anyone have neat ideas for how players can use their followers? My wizard player used her leadership feat to become the leader of the Magical Threats Agency. My cleric turned the Kopru Ruins into an underground cult dedicated to fighting demons. And the female noble bard is using her many 'suitors' as spies and informants.
The leadership feat is just too powerful in my opinion. It's given me a lot of trouble as a DM. I'd like to hear what the rest of you think.
It be Talk Like a Pirate Day, mateys!
I be runnin' D&D in about 5 hours. How can we make Shackled City more piratey?!
Arrg. Have a look at me wooden leg, landlubbers. Morkoth done bit it off, curs'd son of a bilge-rat!
As written in the book, I had the Stormblades provoke the party while they were celebrating in the tavern. What followed was an exchange of insults which quickly escalated into a "let's take this outside" situation. The PCs, who were all drunk, didn't have the presence of mind to hold anything back. They did all lethal damage, and the fight quickly turned ugly. The fighter scored a critical hit on Todd Vanderboren with his greatsword, decapitating him. The sight of the noble's head rolling down the street was enough to sober them up, at which point the PCs all dropped their weapons in horror and were promptly arrested.
How do you think I should play this out, in such a way that nobody has to roll up new characters?
I have thought of a few things... for example, Lord Vhalantru intercedes on their behalf and negotiates a settlement with the other members of the council, whereby the PCs only have to pay a hefty fine... which Vhalantru graciously "loans" to them.
Of course, Todd's parents will raise him if they can. What are the rules for raise dead, exactly? I know the body has to be 'whole' but if the severed head is present, can they sew it back on or something and revive him in that condition?
Even if Todd were raised from the dead, he still spent some time being dead. As an evil NPC, what sort of afterlife would he go to? Having experienced that (probably unpleasant) afterlife, do you think it would be unreasonable for his alignment to shift to neutral or even good?
Even if the PCs do make it out of the situation as free men, won't this drastically change the way the Stormblades, and the general public, look on them? The nobles would likely look upon them as little more than drunkards and savages.
The rivalry between the PCs and the Stormblades has always intrigued me and I see it as a great roleplaying opportunity. There are many ways that it can pan out, from all-out war to a friendly alliance. What do you think?
Hi everyone, I'm still fairly new to being a DM and this is my second attempt to run the SC hardcover... my first group dissolved due to scheduling problems.
My regular players are as follows:
Half-Orc Druid (worships Gruumsh)
My campaign has only gone through two sessions so far, and the action has gone at a surprising pace. There were a few problems I wanted to ask your advice about, so I'll go through them one at a time.
Firstly, game balance. These skulks the party has been fighting are CR2, yet they die quite easily to the fighter's greatsword. Nobody else got a chance to even fight, really. Weapon Focus, Power Attack and Cleave make him unstoppable. The question has never been IF the party will win, but how quickly. Even when half the party fell into a spike pit, and the fighter was caught alone by four hobgoblins, he defeated them all. Basically I'm wondering if I need to make things a little more difficult to keep it interesting.
The players were wounded in the fight, so naturally they decide to leave and heal for the night. There is no sense of urgency to saving the children... they've slept three times despite skipping most of Jzadirune. Having raised a general alarm, I have all the remaining hobgoblins in the fortress chase them but they still make it out. Now I've decided when the elevator reaches the top they will have to deal with some very angry dark creepers (none of whom they have seen yet). Hopefully all the crossbows pointed at them will make diplomacy look favorable, and maybe they'll go slay the Grell or find a cure for the Vanishing. Or maybe they'll continue killing anything that moves. We'll see.
I'm thinking of increasing the number of hobgoblins down there, and having them use all the equipment in the armory combined with a solid defense plan to fight the characters once they come back down. It's only fair the hobgoblins get to prepare if the adventurers are going to use hit-and-run tactics. Maybe I will have a single hobgoblin wave a flag of truce, informing the party that Kazmojen is in the middle of an important business deal and therefore would rather speak with them than have a pitched battle. Then, have all the other hobgoblins waiting in ambush inside the main room. Perhaps I will punish their lack of speed by having one of the four orphans already sold off to an anonymous buyer. Some of you on these boards have said the battle with Kazmojen is already pretty tough for a group of level two adventurers... but I disagree. When I ran a group of four adventurers last year, they made short work of him. In any event, I think it's more exciting to totally outnumber the players with hobgoblins, then have Fario and Fellian emerge from invisibility to sneak attack a couple of them.
Secondly there is the issue of roleplaying. How do I promote it more when all my players seem too eager to advance the action? These aren't newbies... I have seen in other tabletop and LARP settings that they're perfectly capable of good roleplaying. But they aren't. They're just reveling in their stats, and shouting OOC excitedly about "oooh i know what monster that is" etc. etc. The first session was a joke as all the characters scrambled to "coincidentally" choose each other as companions for an adventurer's group. There was the feeling of "let's hurry and get this done so we can get to the meat of the game." There's nothing wrong with that, exactly, but for a game this huge in scope and length, there has to be involving roleplay or they'll eventually get bored with their characters and lose interest in the game. So I'm totally open to any advice you guys have for me in that regard. I want to bring these characters to life.
The fighter has some decent roleplaying, I guess. He is a blacksmith's apprentice who seeks to bring business to the shop by converting himself into a walking advertisement. He has "Gurnezarn's Smithy" etched onto his banded mail, and frequently boasts of how he will one day slay Hookface.
The bard has frustrated me to no end. She is playing Anjali Lathenmire, the rich girl who ran away to join the pirates in Sasserine. Now she returns to Cauldron, and I give her plenty of opportunities to talk/fight with her parents/sister, but she just ignores them, instead asking if they will give her any weapons/potions. I even had Cora nearly DIE from the attack on the kobolds, and it didn't affect her one bit. The 'friendship' between her and Gurnezarn's apprentice is a bit weird, also. The following is only a *slight* abbreviation of the convo they actually had:
"Hey, I'm back after being gone for two years."
"Hey, we were childhood friends. What you been up to?"
"Y'know, being a pirate. playing the fiddle, eating limes, getting gangbanged by the rest of the crew."
"Oh, well I'm going to take this sword and go kill things until I'm famous. Do you want to come along?"
"Sure, why not."
The wizard is an interesting character in theory but needs work. She used to be a servant girl in Hollowsky but got sponsored by Lady Knowlern to attend the Academy for magical studies. No one knows she is part black dragon, complete with cute little vestigial wings on her back. She had NO reason to join the party, and hasn't really made friends with any of the other characters. Her character is timid and intellectual. When we encounter 'monsters' in Jzadirune, her first impulse is to befriend them and study them. Meanwhile the rest of the party just kills. And she says nothing.
The Half-Orc Druid was the toughest person to incorporate into the party. He lives as a hermit in the jungle, looking for mystic signs in the entrails of animals. The party wanted someone fierce to fight with them, so the fighter led them to this guy ("I hear he eats children.") I gave him the dream-haunted trait and wrote up some pretty awful nightmares for him...which he hasn't spoken of to anyone. His reasons for joining? Completely a mystery. No sparks flying between the follower of Gruumsh and the elf in his party, either.
The halfling rogue is your stereotypical prankster. She grew up in the orphanage and escaped frequently, learning the pickpocket trade all the while managing to stay independent from the guilds. She's in it for the money... even going so far as to steal weapons from the Lathenmire's Mansion.
The Illumian Monk is another character that just seems to be 'there'. He is the last of his kind and aids the adventurers out of respect for Jenya and St. Cuthbert. Again, rarely speaks in character.
Lastly, there is the issue of a new 7th player. When my roommate heard about the campaign I was running, he eagerly wanted to play. Unfortunately he is far from anyone's favorite person and behind his back is looked down on for being a snob. Still I wanted to be nice so I said he could play if the other players voted it was okay. Then when it came time to vote, nobody would vote or even speak, so I figured it was okay and he was introduced to the other characters as a Cleric of Kord. During the session he earned the annoyance of the other players twice, once by leaving to IM with a girl for nearly an HOUR, and secondly by trying to have a long conversation with the druid in the middle of a full-scale alert inside Kazmojen's Fortress! NOW after the fact I am slowly but surely hearing from the rest of my friends that he has got to go. The question is not if, but HOW I should break the news to him. I do have to live with him for another few months, after all.
To sum it all up, I have my hands full and I'm struggling. It's difficult enough to keep track of all that's going on, while six people are all talking to you at once it seems. I find myself concentrating on keeping the initiatives and HP tallied, and little else. You know that blue text you read to describe rooms? I might as well not even bother. As soon as they hear an object they can fight/loot, they interrupt my description. I'm getting frustrated and I need some tips how to:
1. keep the players happy
2. increase roleplay
3. avoid boring/killing my PCs
4. get my game to 'flow' more easily. it seems really awkward and forced.
Is it possible to go through the SCAP as written, fighting all the encounters, with a party of just four characters and not have a TPK?
I've only got three players:
Elf Cleric of Corellon-Larethian
...and to round out the party, I've had to add an NPC Sorceror to the group. I haven't been pulling any punches with the encounters... I've been running them pretty much as written. But they've been doing surprisingly well. They dispatched Kazmojen and his minions with ease, as well as the were-rat assassins (they had no silver weapons) and they've resisted Drakthar's numerous attempts to dominate them while navigating through his lair. Next session, they should enter the throne room and have the final battle with him, during which he'll unleash his most powerful attacks on them alongside his animated throne.
So, my players are very much against adding new people to our game. They also seem to have a contempt for all NPCs. They are very cocky due to their good rolls so far this campaign, but I'm worried they're all going to die and be discouraged from ever playing DnD again (yes 2/3 of my players are newbies).
Being a fairly inexperienced DM, I'd like some advice on how to proceed.