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I think you've got two problems: First, the AP doesn't hang together as cohesively as it should. The first four books rely on the PCs caring about the fate of Sandpoint: The town is constantly under threat, and the PCs only need to react to the Big Bad's attacks. In book five, however, once the threat of the Scribbler is dealt with the AP expects the PCs to get proactive. If your PCs are mercenaries or haven't developed a personal enmity for Karzoug by that point, you'll have trouble getting them to do the legwork required to take the fight to Xin Shalast.

As early as Book 2, I'd have the Pathfinder Society take an interest in the PCs: Venture Captain Shelia Heidmarch should reach out to the newfound Heroes of Sandpoint regarding the Catacombs of Wrath and any of the Thassilonian relics or lore they've recovered. At some point, possibly after uncovering the Thassilonian Library in book 4, if the PCs have been upfront about their discoveries she should either offer them membership into the Society or negotiate with them to arrange access for the Society to the Library. Lady Heidmarch, given access to the Thassilonian lore, is probably in a unique position to use her connections with the nobility of Magnimmar to persuade the Lord Mayor that Karzoug is an eminent threat to all of Varisia. At that point, Magnimmar should be willing to convene a war council and bankroll a fact-finding mission to Rimeskull. A new PC could be introduced as a Pathfinder Society expert at any point in this process.

The second problem is that your players seem to expect you to provide them with motivation for their characters to adventure. How about this: They're adventurers. Failing any personal investment, the characters should always find loot to be compelling. Here's a section from my "house rules" handout I give to new players:

Motivation Your characters are unique, as are their backstories and goals. However, they all have one thing in common: They are all Adventurers. Adventurers put their life at risk to accumulate wealth. Whatever your character's personal goal, accumulation of wealth is a means to that end. Want to raise an army to defend your homeland? That costs money. Want revenge on someone who did you wrong? Finding them and orchestrating their demise will be expensive. Just out for new sights and experiences? Even a hedonist needs coin for meals and lodging. There are no "reluctant heroes" at the table: When the game starts, your character is already convinced that Adventuring is the best way to pursue their individual goal.

Hythlodeus wrote:
another thing I'd like to add: when I was a player in RotRL our group had a very hard time fighting the Goblin, one of us, IIRC, was nearly killed in that encounter. Gresgurt has an AC, like every Goblin, that for lvl 1 adventureres is very hard to beat unless the dice are on their side. Our dice weren't.

Same. Given the space limitations (this is one of many of RotRL's "knife fight in a phone booth" battles) it can be very difficult for more than one PC to engage Gresgurt at once. My players brought 3 PCs to the encounter and were nearly TPW'd.

This fight, the fight with the skeletons in the graveyard, the Erylium encounter, and the final fight with Nualia are all deceptively challenging for the level your players will encounter them.

I've been running RotRL converted into D&D 5e, so I won't speak to the need for an Arcane caster mechanically. However, I will say that you absolutely need a character with Knowledge Arcana and a personal desire to learn about Ancient Thassilon and its magical traditions.

The PCs in my game are nearly entirely martial and while they've managed to make it to the Runeforge, they're totally missing a lot of the cool lore that informs the decisions that Karzoug and the other Runelords are making because the characters don't really care. I've had to have a number of NPCs step in to provide "Magic 101" context lectures and prod the party into gathering information because ultimately, if there's not a monetary reward, they're not inclined to bother.

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Can'tFindthePath wrote:
I think one symptom of a straight, as it comes, run-through is the seeming disconnectedness of the various layers of Karzoug's minions. Some of that is natural and right, but you have to go out of your way to show the players the rhyme and reason to much of it. Saving it for a big exposition at the end, or indeed after the end, is not very satisfying. We spent four YEARS playing that AP. Realizing the connections after the fact, and largely out...

I feel the same way, or even worse: I have a bad habit of only prepping the next "book" once the previous book is complete, so sometimes I don't even realize the connections as we're playing through.

One of the things I'd put in my hypothetical "DMs Guide to RotRL" is a Foreshadowing Guide. For each book it'd clearly indicate opportunities to foreshadow elements that will pay off in later books.

Other wishlist items;
- A guide to "What the PCs Should Know About Thassilon, and When They Should Know It."
- A brief update for each book about how Sandpoint has changed since the last chapter, and how the PCs reputations evolve and spread.
- An Org Chart for Karzoug's forces, detailing the roles and connections between the Lamias, the Giants, the Goblins, the Skinsaw Cult, and various human forces
- A Dramatis Personae section detailing all the NPCs, including individual motivations/goals
- Notes on the themes of each chapter: When the chapters were first published serially, there were great notes from each author about their inspirations and intentions. Knowing that the Kreeg Homestead is a Texas Chainsaw Massacre homage, or that all of Book 4 is an escalating series of races-against-the-clock is something that could be spelled out for GMs.
- Restored cut content. I'd love to see the Lamia's riverboat gambling den from book three, and the notes on dealing with the individual Runeforge factions through roleplaying rather than combat.

Can'tFindthePath wrote:

Holy crap dude. This sounds epic. Makes my group's run through the AP look really boring. In fact, it makes if feel really boring. Sigh.

I sometimes think of how I would run it, using many of the great ideas on these boards...but, I have played in the same group for 30 years now, and we just finished it....

Given that we only play twice a month gives me plenty of time to prep, but even then my best ideas are mostly borrowed from other users' contributions here on the boards. I've been playing various forms of D&D for 25 years, and I still see stuff here that makes me think "Wow, I'll never be as creative as this!"

Sometimes I fantasize about putting together a "DM's guide to RotRL" that combines "lessons learned" with cheat sheets and handouts, but I have a hard enough time working on the stuff my players will encounter next to go back back and clean up all the content they've already seen. Maybe when I finish the current campaign...

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My group only plays twice a month, for 3-4 hours a session (we're all adults with jobs and families), so we're just hitting Book 5 after 3 years of play. I've also got the challenge of having no Arcane casters in the party, and no characters particularly interested in Thassilonian history, so it's been a challenge getting the characters invested in the Karzoug's machinations.

What my characters/players are invested in is Sandpoint; The characters have been devoting a large chunk of their wealth to the "economic/political minigame" of becoming members of the Mercantile League - establishing the party as an official Adventurers' Guild, buying property, rebuilding the destroyed mills, and repairing the town following the Giant attack in book 4.

Given the span we've been playing, I occasionally run "side adventures" for lower-level characters to give the players a chance to try out other classes/builds. These characters are young recruits to the Sandpoint Adventurers' Guild, and deal with sidequests that don't seem to be connected to ongoing metaplot of Karzoug's return. These are the characters that explored Chopper's Isle and the Vault of Greed (both from Wayfinder #7).

I ran the Stone Giant attack on Sandpoint at the start of Book 4 as a 13th Warrior homage; The players had forewarning of the attack (as revealed at the end of Book 3), so they had an opportunity to prepare the town's defenses. I gave them access to the town gaurd, the Sandpoint Militia, as well as some noteable NPCs and all their PCs. I printed out Chinchbug's map of Sandpoint and overlaid a centimeter-scale grid, where each square equaled 30'. Given the scale of the map, the players knew they'd have to break their forces into groups and stage them at logical defensive points within the town in order to prevent the most mayhem. Then I played the whole raid out as one big combat, using a spreadsheet to keep track when (and where on the map) each event began.

When the dust settled, the players got to choose which of their PCs they wanted to play next; Their high-level PCs took on the mission to track the fleeing giants to Jorgenfist, while their lower-level PCs traveled to Magnimmar: During the attack on Sandpoint a sorceress had stolen a flaming sword from the Temple of Abadar and escaped riding a red dragon, and the temple wanted it returned. Both segments of the game took place at the same time in-campaign, with the players choosing to follow the lead in Magnimmar first and then play out the Journey to Jorgenfist.

I ran the lower-level PCs through the Seven Swords of Sin, revealing at the end that Tirana had been collecting runeswords for Mokmurian on the behalf of Karzoug (the red dragon she rides being one of Longtooth's clutch-mates). The journey to/from Kaer Maga having taken a month each way, these PCs return to Sandpoint and on their first night back home they're awakened by an earthqueake and sounds of screaming townsfolk! Cue cliffhanger!

We then switched to the higher-level PCs, who I ran through King of the Storval Stair followed by the assault on Jorgenfist. After they'd defeated Mokmurian, scattered his army, and secured the Thassilonian Library, we switched back to the lower-level PCs. Rather than play out the Scribbler's Lair as written, with the PCs being asked by Mayor Deverin to explore the sinkholes after-the-fact, I'm having them run their lower-level characters through the earthquake as it happens. To add a little spice, I'm having a variety of mutant Sinspawn boil out of each sinkhole as it appears:

In my new version of this portion of the campaign, the Scribbler has chained the demon servant that Lamashtu gave him over a Runewell similar to the one found in Erylium's lair. He's also exposed the demon to the Waters of Lamashtu (also from Catacombs of Wrath) turning it into a creature I'm calling the Womb of Sin: Constantly oozing wounds on the bound demon drip into the Runewell, full of souls of the casualties of the Stone Giant raid. Twisted Sinspawn abominations (Sinspawn with Skirmisher, Controller, Artillery, and Brute templates pasted on) emerge, growing in number until released by the earthquake.

The plan is to have the PCs fight their way across Sandpoint, dealing with Sinspawn incursions until they can rally the militia and plan a counter-attack. From there they'll storm the revised Scribbler's lair, which culminates in a boss fight where the Womb of Sin acts as a Monster Generator and the Scribbler bounces around slinging spells. It should hopefully be a bit more tactically interesting that the encounter-as-written.

You can push the encounters in Whitewillow ahead of Retaking Rannick, or at least foreshadow them; Perhaps a party of gnomes who came up the Old Sanos Trail have encountered Myriana or the fallout from her death.

In my game, the PCs never ventured into the swamp; They went directly from Rannick to Hook Mountain, and I regret not getting to run that bit. Of course, now it gives me a hook for a side-game where the players get to play their side PCs, on a mission to reinforce the depleted garrison at Fort Rannick and deal with Myriana in full "The Grudge" mode.

Kalshane wrote:

The idea behind this thread is to discuss what I've done to convert Burnt Offerings, any issues that came up, things I might want to do different if I did it again, etc. If this ends up being popular, I'll create like threads for the later chapters as we reach them.

I am working from the Anniversary Edition of the AP.

I am using the general rule of "Divide PF DC by 2, then add 5, adjust if needed."

My group switched from Pathfinder to 5e during Hook Mountain Massacre, so I didn't have to worry about the prior books. Mark Lenser did much of the work converting the first 3 books, if you want a comparison to what you've got.

I also found some 4e conversions of RotRL online that I mined for 5e Skill challenges. I'll see if I can find those docs on my home PC and post them to google docs.

My group is currently about to assault Jorgenfist after a number of sidetreks, and at this point I do most of my conversions on the fly. If you have the table from DMG pg 274 handy, it's pretty easy to scale monsters appropriately.

As a side note, I've found that the encounters presented in RotRL really need to be re-conceived, as they favor large solo Boss-monster encounters. Unless you give each one Legendary abilities, your PCs are going to crush them based on the action economy disparity. I suggest converting with the premise that no more than 1/2 of an encounter's XP budget should be used for the Boss, and then use the other 1/2 on additional creatures. Sly Flourish's tips are instructive.

TexSIN wrote:
Haladir wrote:

I posted this in another thread, but I'll repeat it here...

Given that the number seven is so prevalent throughout this AP, I decided to add another chapter of Rise of the Runelords, to give it a Seven Book format.

Book 1: Burnt Offerings
Book 2: The Skinsaw Murders
Book 3: Hook Mountain Massacre
Book 4: The Seven Swords of Sin
Book 5: Fortress of the Stone Giants
Book 6: Sins of the Saviors
Book 7: Spires of Xin-Shalast

Here's my outline for Book 4...

Chapter 1: The Golemworks Incident
** spoiler omitted **.

Chapter 2: The Road to Kaer Maga
** spoiler omitted **...

Haladir I was wondering if you had any notes about how you presented the start of this chapter to them. I am gonna totally take this idea and I'm a bit stuck on how to proceed.

I'd like to caution you against running the Seven Swords of Sin module as published; It was designed as convention meat-grinder, built by committee, and success is measured not by completing the module but by how far into the dungeon you get before TPK. Each room is essentially a deathtrap, and there's little thought in how the rooms connect (or what happens if the PCs retreat from an encounter in one room and spring another). It's a classic dungeon crawl, which is generally at odds with how RotRL is designed.

That having been said, I did insert the module into my RotRL campaign (converted to 5e). Here's how it worked;

My PCs are operators of an Adventurers Guild in Sandpoint; At different points in the campaign they've switched from their "main" (10th level) characters to playing side-adventures that they've assigned to the guild recruits (6th level). This gives my players the chance to try out different character builds/personalities.

In the case of SSoS, in the aftermath of Stones over Sandpoint, authorities in Magnimmar reached out to the Guild to let the PCs know that they'd been unable to provide support to Sandpoint because of chaos in the city; A woman (Tirana) riding a black dragon (Casuval) attacked the Temple of Abadar and made off with the Sword of Lust. The temple priests had contacted the Pathfinders and learned that similar raids on storehouses of Thassilonian artifacts had been reported throughout Varisia. The temple then communed with their god and received portents that the power of ancient Thassilon is re-awakening (true); The priests fear that the Swords of Sin may be the key (false).

I gave my players the opportunity to choose which lead to play first; Tracking the fleeing giants to the Storval Stair, or sending the junior Guild recruits after Tirana. Narratively, both adventures would be occurring simultaneously. The players chose to go after Tirana first.

To better tie the module into RotRL, in my game Tirana was originally a collector of antiquities who'd come into possession of a Sword of Greed; As Karzoug began to awaken (at the same time the campaign kicks off), the sword also awoke and began to influence Tirana, making her Greedy. Because the connection is not complete, however, it only caused her to want to acquire more Thassilonian artifacts and knowledge, rather than make her Karzoug's direct thrall. When the adventure starts, she's obsessed with gathering the other Swords of Sin together so they can "talk" to her like the Sword of Greed is. She thinks that once she has them all she can become a Runelord herself.

Other things to consider;
- Make it clear to the players that the Temple of Abadar is offering a bounty on *any* of the Thassilonian artifacts recovered, not just the Sword of Lust. My players were half convinced by Tirana's ranting, so were reluctant to bring all the recovered Swords back with them - They ended up leaving the Sword of Sloth with Casuval as insurance against having all the swords in one place.
- If the PCs do any research or talk to Gadka, they should learn that Tirana is a noted collector/hoarder of the exotic, which explains the menagerie she's using as her lair in Kaer Maga. Gadka has been acting as her fixer for years, but recently she's been acting a bit unhinged - taking over the Splitstreet Thugs was his last straw in dealing with her.
- Your players will likely skip/avoid a number of the encounters if you make the goal "Confront Tirana and recover the sword," as opposed to "See how many rooms you can beat." My players stayed "on mission" and took the most direct path possible, so they missed a bunch of the traps/treasure.

Given the travel time involved in going to/from Kaer Maga, I had the Guild recruit PCs arrive back in Sandpoint just as the earthquake/sinkhole that starts Book 6 kicks off. We then switched back to the main characters; The players now know that something bad is going to happen to Sandpoint while they're off dealing with Mokmurian, but have no idea what/why. It was an effective cliffhanger.

I stole a page from thelesuit's book, and made the Seven into a Brotherhood of serial killers.

Each of the Seven had claimed a district of Magnimar as their "hunting grounds," and under Ironbriar's influence (as Eldest Brother) they'd begun to kill at a frenzied pace (always marking their victims with the Sihedron Rune). When the PCs arrived in the city, people were being advised to stay off the streets after dark, and members of the Order of the Nail were augmenting the harried police effort to catch the killers. In exploring the city's districts, the players stumbled onto a number leads.

  • Naos District: Youngest Brother, the protege of Aeryn Darvengian. "Scarlet Fog" from Missions in Magnimar, Asylum Stone (Shattered Star chapter 1)
  • Underbridge District: Sister Scarlet, a reskinned Zadendi from Dawn of the Scarlet Sun, as per Basillicum's suggestion.
  • Dockaway District: Sabriyya Kalmeralm's people had been paying the Night Scales for protection. In the face of continuing murders by Sister Skintaker, Theryn Raccas enlisted the PCs help tracking the killer.
  • Ordelia District: Eldest Brother, Lord Justice Ironbriar operating out of the Seven's Sawmill.

And three others, which the players never investigated on their own. After Ironbriar was revealed, the remaining Senior Brothers met up in their sewer cathedral (map from Missions in Magnimar, Asylum Stone) and the PCs had a big old fight. Only two of the Senior Brothers managed to escape...

There's also the matter of the Kaijutsu Villa, which has become occupied by squatters; Ameiko had acompanied the PCs to Magnimar to attend the probate hearings for her father's will. Afterwards, she enlisted the PCs in helping evict the squatters (Urban Blight, also from Missions in Magnimar, Asylum Stone)

Basically, pick up Asylum Stone, it's got a bunch of Magnimmar side-missions that can easily be integrated into RotRL.

Tracked down Steve Greer's post as referenced in the original thread: Here is is.

I like giving Erylium some Lair actions, and the "splash" effect is great. I have problems with your second and third choices, however;

- Singling out female PCs is a questionable, especially for an effect that takes control of the character away and has lasting negative consequences.
- There's a lot of thematic overlap on the third effect with the 3 Wrath effect.

Up to this point, Erylium will be the toughest foe the players have faced; The original Pathfinder encounter is set up to teach the players how combat with invisible creatures works, with only a small chance of TPK. Reliably causing the PCs to attack each other kind of goes against that, and will make for a frustrating and more deadly fight.

Here's what I'd do;

Minor Runewell of Wrath: If a PC touches the freezing orange waters of the Runewell, they make a WIS save DC 12 or enter a barbarian rage and attack the nearest creature. This effect lasts for 1 round.

Lair Actions
- Erylium can use the barest amount of telekinesis to make the Runewell bubble and flare, causing the water to splash on all creatures adjacent to the runewell; DC 15 Dex save to avoid being splashed, effects per above.
- Fog of Wrath; Erylium darts through the mist bubbling out the Runewell, which acts as a zone of Heavy Obscurement (PHB 183), and may immediately Hide. If Erylium leaves the fog, or takes any Action, players can make a Wisdom (Perception) check to discern her location.
- Wrathspawn; Erylium cuts her palm, allowing the blood to drip into the Runewell. A Sinspawn emerges.

Erylium should spend the fight going in and out of invisibility, casting spells and taunting the PCs with hints of plot while the Sinspawn soak the hits.

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In my campaign, I thought it was a bit of a waste for Karzoug to wait until the last books of the campaign before reaching out to the PCs. I've modified the Sihedron Medallion in a number of ways from how they're presented in the AE, without changing the mechanics.

- Anyone wearing a Sihedron Medallion can "see" the death of a creature marked with the Sihedron Rune: When slain, a burst of violet energy emerges from the chest of a marked creature and arcs skyward, heading vaguely northeast (to Kaer Maga).

[This serves to make the PCs more hesitant about killing every intelligent enemy they come across; In my campaign, they finally realized after Stones over Sandpoint that sending more souls to the mysterious BBEG is probably not in their best interest. Now they're starting to ask how to remove the Rune from incapacitated foes.]

- When the wearer of a Sihedron Medallion is slain, their spirit is imprinted onto the medallion. Anyone who wears the medallion from that point onward suffers vivid dreams where the original owner appears and attempts to subtly persuade them to continue to act in Karzoug's interests, usually by appealing to whichever Sin drives them.

[In my campaign, the Lustful character has been wearing Nualia's medallion since the first book, and he's been having some pretty awkward dreams. On the eve of Stones over Sandpoint, Nualia revealed to him that two of his fellow PCs (who just starting wearing medallions of their own) are marked with their own sins (Wrath and Greed, respectively).]

Kalshane wrote:

I'm definitely going to consider Karzoug a Legendary creature, so he'd get Legendary Resistance and Actions. So far I've got:

  • Cast a Cantrip (as per lich)
  • Melee Attack
  • ?
  • I don't have much to add, as my group is just finishing Book 3, but I also switched from Pathfinder to 5e for Runelords. Going through the conversions myself, I'm a big proponent of making almost every named enemy a Legendary creature. One of my big problems with Runelords is the tendency of "bosses" to go down in less than 3 rounds due to the action-economy disparity. Legendary and Lair actions go a long way to ensuring the badguys get their licks in.

    As for Legendary actions, three suggestions;
    - If you give him free Cantrips, you need to take a hard look at his choice of Cantrips. Simple damage-dealers like Ray of Frost, Chill Touch, and Acid Splash are fine, but self-buffs like Blade Ward and True Strike can really shift the balance toward the monster.
    - A bonus melee attack is good, but I'd add a status effect just to mix it up. For example, I gave Barl Breakbones a Legendary attack that adds a save-or-be-knocked-Prone effect.
    - Look at Karzoug's magic items, maybe give him a Legendary Action to use them. For Barl Breakbones, I let him use his Wand of Enervation as a 3-Legendary action.

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    Ashkar wrote:
    So, by me, there was a month between the attack on the Fort and Grobaras being informed.

    I think I'll go with something similar:

    Timeline of the Fall

    8 weeks ago: Black Arrows on the Northern patrol route spot forge fires on Jorgenfist. Half the patrol heads off to investigate, but do not return.
    7 weeks ago: Lamatar leaves on his communion walk, Jakadros leaves on patrol to investigate the missing scouts.
    6 weeks ago: Rannick falls. Jakadros' patrol returns, but is cut off from the fort by the Kreeg ogres. Jakadros attempts to retreat to Turtleback for aid, but is waylaid by the Grauls. Ominous rain begins.
    5 weeks ago: The Paradise sinks. Mayor Shreed sends word to Ilsurian about the disaster. Also noted is the lack of visitors from Fort Rannick.
    4 weeks ago: An official from Ilsurian arrives in Turtleback, travelling with Magnimmar's monthly supply caravan for Fort Rannick. The caravan begins the return journey to Magnimmar with news of the Black Arrows' absence.
    3 weeks ago: The official from Ilsurian concludes his half-hearted inquest, ruling the Paradise's sinking a tragic accident.
    2 week ago: The supply caravan arrives in Magimmar and passes its news to Mayor Grobaras.
    Today: PCs arrive in Turtleback Ferry.

    Fort Logistics

    - The Fort maintains a minimum complement of 24 fighting men and women in the fort at all times, with 16 on duty and 8 off.
    - Duty at the fort consists of standing watch at the walls, patrolling within line-of-sight of the fort, training, and maintenance of gear and the fort.
    - An additional 12 soldiers are on long-range patrol outside the fort at any given time. Patrols do not leave the fort at any set interval, for fear of creating a pattern the ogres might exploit.
    - Assignments are divvied up on a volunteer, first-come-first-served basis, making for a somewhat haphazard schedule. A Black Arrow's typical month will see them at the fort for two weeks, and on long-range patrol the other two. Consideration is usually given so that no soldier is outside the fort two weeks in a row.
    - Regulars are those soldiers who've served the Black Arrows with loyalty and been voted into the fold by their peers in a ceremony held in the Fort tribunal chamber. Regulars are expected to mentor/discipline Recruits, and the current makeup of the Arrows ensures that Recruits never outnumber Regulars on an assignment at any given time.

    Patrol Duty

    Long-range patrols consist of two routes:
    - The Northern Route, which skirts the northern edge of the Kreegwood and provides recon of the Skulltaker trolls of Skull's Crossing and the ogres of the Hook Mountain clanhold. This patrol generally lasts a week, and consists of 8 Black Arrows in two teams of 4 (2 Regulars and 2 Initiates per team).
    - The Southern Route, which covers the roads from Rannick to Pendaka along the eastern shore of Claybottom lake. This is considered "light" duty for a 4-man patrol; It usually also lasts a week, though the Arrows spend at least two days of it in Turtleback collecting supplies and taking R&R.

    Final Disposition of the Black Arrows
    Given the above, here's the final fate of the Arrows:
    4 scouts lost investigating Jorgenfist
    24 soldiers slain defending the fort
    2 members of Jakadros' patrol died in a rearguard action covering the retreat from Fort Rannick
    2 members of Jakadros' patrol slain by the Grauls
    4 survivors rescued by the PCs after 6 weeks of captivity.

    My group's next session begins part two of The Hook Mountain Massacre: Retaking Rannick. They've managed to put an end to the threat of the Grauls, and now it's time for Jakadros to fill them in on what befell Fort Rannick. The only problem I have is identifying what information Jakadros and Vale have to share. I'm trying to piece together details about Fort Rannick before its fall, so the PCs have some idea about the defense the Black Arrows mounted (and by deduction, the force that was able to defeat them).

    How many Black Arrows defended the fort?

    The Anniversary Edition says the Black Arrows numbered in the "dozens." This thread assumes that means three dozen or so:
    ~ 12 Recruits
    ~ 16 Regulars (Kaven)
    ~ 4 Officers (Jakadros, Vale)
    ~ 1 Commander (Lamatar)

    The entry for the Fort mentions at least two noncombatants:
    - Drannnis, the resident architect who taught Vale about fortifications
    - a fat priest of Erastil, who ran the Fort's chapel
    - Petter, the mumbling simpleton poet (possibly an Arrow recruit rather than noncombatant)
    Given that they had a stable of horses, I suspect a farrier was also on site. They possibly also had a cook (for the kitchens) and an archivist (map room).

    How many Black Arrows were on patrol?

    I'm also curious about day-to-day operations of the Fort. For example, Kaven's bio mentions a "Southern Patrol Route" that covers the eastern shore of Claybottom Lake, and that it's a boring duty that give the Arrows plenty of time to kill at the Paradise before it's sunk.
    - What are the other patrol routes? The "heights of Hook Mountain" are also mentioned...
    - How many men are assigned to each patrol route? The "Southern Route" is at least 3, and Jakadros' patrol a similar number.
    - How often do patrols leave the Fort?
    - How many scouts were sent to investigate Jorgenfist before the Kreegs retaliated?
    - The entry for Turtleback Ferry indicates that one or two Black Arrows visit the town on a weekly basis for supplies and entertainment, and that they arrive on Fireday. How long does the Arrows liberty last?
    - How many Black Arrows were in Jakadros' patrol before the Grauls got ahold of them?
    - Was the patrol waylaid by the Grauls before they knew what happened to Fort Rannick, or were Jakadros and company captured trying to return to Turtleback with news of Rannick's fall?

    When/How did the news reach Magnimmar?

    Finally, there's the question of how, and how often, the Arrows are in contact with Magnimmar:
    - The Sanos trail overland route from Magnimmar to Turtleback is two weeks in each direction. I think we can assume a monthly supply train drops goods off in Turtleback for the Fort.
    - It also been mentioned that the Arrows may be in contact with Magnimmmar via messenger raven or wand of sending.

    According to the Anniversary Edition timeline;
    - A month ago, the Black Arrows spotted plumes of smoke from the Jorgenfist forges, and sent several scouts to spy on the Kreegs. None ever returned.
    - 3 weeks ago, Commander Lamatar Bayden left Fort Rannick on one of his monthly 3-day "communion walks"
    - Shortly after that, Jakadros left to lead a "long range" patrol. Kaven volunteered to join him, and Vale went along as well.
    - Kaven engineered a few convenient delays to keep the patrol from returning in time to join the defense of the fort.
    - Jakadros' patrol was captured by the Grauls

    Grobaras sends the PCs on a two-week journey to the Fort after hearing that Turtleback has seen no sign of the Arrows for "weeks." If the Fort only fell three weeks ago, that only leaves a week of "radio silence" before Turtleback sends word overland to Magnimmmar...

    Any input from Paizo and/or fellow GMs to clear up the ambiguities in the AE would appreciated!

    JDragon_ITTS wrote:

    Update - more help needed.

    Based on Askren & Kalshanes suggestions I plan to have Ironbriar visit Sandpoint to collect the prisoners and meet the "Hero's of Sandpoint".

    I plan on having the mayor host a formal dinner at her family home. The party and all the important people of Sandpoint will be invited. Now the trick is, who are the important people of Sandpoint?

    Sheriff Hemlock
    Father Zantus
    Ameiko Kaijitsu
    Belvin Valdemar
    Ethram Valdemar
    Sir Jasper Korvaski
    Titus Scarnetti
    Lucia Scarnetti

    Am I missing anyone?


    Madame Niska Mvashti might also be invited, as a sign of respect to the Varisian people.

    Also, I would think about having Ironbriar being escorted by his lovely valet Xanesha (in her human form).

    Dynas wrote:

    I am curious as to what people have done to keep her consistently in the campaign?

    Thoughts on some good sub plot arcs with her?

    In my game Tsuto survived the confrontation at the Glassworks and was apprehended, so YMMV.

    - The extended Kaijitsu family is involved in a highly contentious probate case regarding Lonjiku's will. The settlement of the case hinges on Tsuto being tried for his crimes in Magnimmar: If found guilty, he forfeits any claim on the Kaijitsu estate. In my game Tsuto will be tried before Justice Ironbriar, with the PCs acting as prosecution witnesses.
    - Per chapter 3 of the Shattered Star AP, a group of squatters has taken up residence in the Kaijitsu Villa in Magnimar (Urban Blight, from the section "Missions in Magnimar"). Once the probate case is settled, Ameiko or the family may ask for the PCs help in evicting the squatters.
    - Ameiko, if awarded the Glassworks in Lonjiku's will, will need help recruiting Minkaian glass artisans to get it back up and running. Or perhaps she wants little to do with the Glassworks, and offers to sell it to the PCs rather than having her distant relatives move in to take it over.
    - Ameiko plays a role in the Jade Regent AP, but I haven't done any reading to see what her role entails.

    Askren wrote:
    EDIT: I know this is dumb, but SoylentG; The image you used for Father Zantus sort of contradicts the fact that he's supposed to be a younger man compared to the much-older Father Tobyn he took over for. Doesn't mean much, I know, I'm just sayin'.

    That's an in-joke with my players, who love creating nicknames for the NPCs: Father Zantus is known as "Father Christmas" in my game, hence the portrait with the flowing white beard. Similarly you'll notice that Vachedi (the garrison's jailer) is portrayed by Danny Trejo, because I pronounce his name very much like "Machete."

    Yossarian created a Sandpoint NPC guide using art from DeviantArt, which is essentially what I've done on my Pintrest page. We even used some of the same art, but I changed a few to be specific to my game.

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    Italian FAN wrote:
    On Monday I'll share a version 3 of the file but then we'd start defining better where to go and how to reach that destination.

    I'd been thinking it might be smart to separate the info on Sandpoint into its own document: Players will be returning to Sandpoint throughout each chapter, so having all the info thrown in with Burnt Offerings makes that chapter's document unwieldy.

    I've been thinking about fleshing out each NPC with notes ala RMcD's NPC Tables concept, with information how NPC's develop as the chapters progress. Jacen also had some good ideas about fleshing out individual NPCs. I also have been putting together a gallery of suitable Sandpoint NPC portraits for my own game that might be worth picking over.

    Also, I was thinking of writing up foreshadowing hints for each chapter, which kind of ties into the ways the NPCs develop.

    Italian FAN wrote:
    Updated V0.2 of the document with different revisions and improvements.

    I'm also interested in contributing. You've got my permission to add anything I contributed to the Community Created Stuff thread, and I've got some ideas for other materials.

    The Rising Phoenix wrote:

    I'm trying to prepare all knowledge checks that can be made by my PCs for Burnt Offerings against the creatures they will fight in advance. I've been searching the beastiaries and other material to try and create a list in advance. Does this seem accurate to everyone? Should I add more/less to this list?

    ** spoiler omitted **...

    I'd include the creatures that Erylium can summon using Summon Monster. Also, you might want to let the players identify she (and the Barghest) have Damage Resistance and how to bypass it.

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    In my game, with a bunch of Pathfinder newbies, Erylium was used to demonstrate what the "next step up" in encounter difficulty. She's got DR, which introduces the concept of carrying silver/cold iron weapons (well within a pc's budget even at that level). She's got invisibility, which gives the PCs a chance to brainstorm methods for defeating it. She's got spells that target saves, which show the PCs which classes will be vulnerable to similar attacks based on their save progressions. Erylium is actually a rather forgiving fight: PCs can safely ignore he while dealing with her minions for the most part, and she can't really put out any damage on her own. In return, her regen lets PCs beat on her until they get the hint that there *must* a better way to take her on.

    Finally, I used Erylium to introduce the idea of *being prepared*. Using Knowledge checks to get an idea of what they're facing, rather than wading in and using the same default attack over and over. In my game, a PC received a Harrow reading from Madame Mvashti that hinted at a demonic influence below the town, and the PCs wisely went to Father Zantus for advice. A scroll of Weapons Against Evil was something he had handy, but wouldn't have supplied if the PCs hadn't thought to ask ;-)

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    RuyanVe wrote:

    Remember that the original entrance was another one which changes the order of rooms (+ this is no MMORPG with trash mobs and a boss fight).


    She started the fight rather imperious that her "kingdom" had been invaded. When the first wave of Wrathspawn closed in on the party fighter, she told him that they could "smell the Wrath on him," and that he must have slain "many of the half-elf's goblins."

    As the fight wore on, she dropped some hints about the Scribbler, and the ages that had passed since the catacombs had collapsed. She told the PCs that soon her runewell would be overflowing with the wrath of "innocent souls, brutally ripped from life" in the "world above," and she'd finally lead them to freedom.

    As the fight turned against her, she tried to bargain, telling the PCs she'd teach them "the Mother's secrets," just as she'd taught the "silver-haired witch."

    I didn't have her come out and explain any of it directly, but here's stuff she hinted at:
    - Killings in Sandpoint refill the runewells and allow for Sinspawn to be summoned
    - Sinspawn hunt those that indulge in their sin
    - Both Nualia and Erylium serve Lamashtu, and that Nualia was Lamashtu's "chosen"
    - The Catacombs were originally the home of her master, the Scribbler
    - Erylium had taught Nualia the ritual she was using to excise her celestial heritage

    Nobody had a high enough Knowledge skill to get the connection between "innocent souls" and the Barghest's favored food, but I was prepared to reveal that as well.

    Peet wrote:

    Yeah, I figure Erylium's "script" will probably go something like this:

    1. Cause Fear 30' radius
    2. Invisibility
    3. Summon Monster II
    4. Summon Monster I
    5. Slumber Hex or Hold Person (breaks invisibility) on someone close to her monsters
    6. Ray of Enfeeblement or Slumber Hex
    7. Slumber Hex
    8. Slumber Hex
    9. Command someone to "approach" as she hovers above the runewell


    Basically she can sling things that immobilize or weaken players and that is valid as long as she has critters available. But once her minions are dead, she doesn't have a lot she can do to people other than throw the dagger or engage in melee. I might have her use invisibility to get into someone's space to attack since her melee attacks are poisonous. At first she probably figures she can take a few hits, with her DR and fast healing.


    I had Erylium monologuing every round despite her invisibility, which gave the PCs Per-check opportunities to determine which square she currently occupied (cutting her +40 to stealth checks to +20 - rough, but possible). She still had 50% concealment, but the Alchemist managed to tag her with a bomb or two.

    Of course, one of the PCs failed a save vs. Fear and fled the chamber, only recovering after she'd alerted the two Sinspawn in the "jail" area. She ended up dragging them with her when she ran back to rejoin the fight.

    The first thing to keep in mind that Erylium's "at-will" invisibility still requires a standard action to activate and provokes attacks-of-opportunity (if activated in melee). The standard tactic is to wait for Erylium to exhaust her spells (summon monster) and provoke her into making melee attacks to break her invisibility. PCs can ready an action with ranged weapons to "shoot her when she becomes visible."

    The other standard method is to grapple her and then drown her in the conveniently-placed pool in the center of her room. My PCs used Enlarge Person to give the fighter the reach, strength and size difference to make his grapple essentially inescapable (grappled creatures get a -4 penalty to Dex which, as a Tiny creature, is Erylium's only bonus to CMB).

    Finally, if the PCs reach a stalemate with Erylium, they can always try to talk to her. If they threaten to seal her in her room, she'll make a bolt for the door, shapechange into her centipede form and try and dig her way to escape. I'd give a PC waiting in the doorway a bonus to detect her as she flies through, invisible or no.

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    Jack Assery wrote:

    Oh I also wanted to add about Sandpoint the fact that one PC grew up there so I try to have him know a lot of the cast, he went to school with X or his old friend is Y, stuff like that. Also their contacts are minor people I liked their entry of, but minor players; I listed them earlier.

    One thing is that one of them have a faction, and I need to figure out where to place possible TPA bonuses that make sense. I made some stuff for in town but I plan on putting in bonus potential in the adventure; so far I have a few: like a virisian caravan was attacked in the raid and goblins abducted one or two, stopping a group of goblins from waylaying the roads, helping the mayor of magnimar to get caravan trade contacts for the faction. Trying for more.

    It never hurts to take a look at the Community Created Stuff thread and borrow liberally. I put some text lists together for my own reference, and Yossarian polished them into something that could almost be it's own Sandpoint supplement.

    Mavrickindigo wrote:
    Most of the ones in Sandpoint are Chelaxian unless otherwise specified, as far as I can tell. Some don't look it (the scarnettis look pretty Ulfen to me).

    There are some native Varisians (the szcarni, Madame Mvashti, the Magravi family), some Shoanti (Belor Hemlock, Garridan Viskalai, Vachedi), and the Kaijutsu family are Tian. Otherwise, you can assume they're Chelish or mixed Varisian/Chelish (Aldern Foxglove).

    Take a look at the Community Created Stuff thread under Cast of Characters for Yossarian's NPC guide, it's great work.

    Kalshane wrote:
    Yossarian wrote:

    SoylentG did a very handy compiled quick-reference list of Sandpoint NPCs here: DM resources thread

    I've started using it for my campaign, and have added to it, most noticeably by finding suitable portraits for the NPCs not already illustrated by Paizo Illustrated Sandpoint NPC list

    This is awesome, but why are so many of Sandpoint's residents listed as "Varisian"? Shouldn't they be Chelaxian? Only members of the native Varisian people (such as the Mvashtis and Risa) should be listed as such.

    Also, Ameiko is listed as Tian/Varisian. My understanding was both her mother and father were Tian (Minkai).

    Both Dwarves (the locksmith and the carpenter) appear to have the same picture.

    Finally, I'm pretty sure Aldern Foxglove is supposed to be Chaotic Neutral before his conversion to a ghast, not Chaotic Evil. At least that's how he's listed in the Anniversary Edition.

    Not trying to take away from something that's really well put together and useful, (and I'll certainly be using for my game) but those things jumped out at me.

    I think I can answer this, at least based on the material that I provided: The nationalities/origins of the NPCs and their stats were pulled from the excellent HeroLab Community Bestiary files for HeroLab. I wish I could tell you who was diligent enough to stat up each and every NPC from the adventure path in HeroLab, but that unknown saint is responsible for the info in my reference docs.

    Yossarian, I wanted to express my thanks and admiration for the work you've put up in this thread. I've made extensive use of the maps and other pdfs you've provided in my own game. I'm glad you found my simple references worthy of being the raw grist for your mill of excellence ;-)

    I put together this RTF document of the NPCs in Sandpoint, which may be a good place for you to start. I've only included the NPC's significant Social, Knowledge, and Craft stats, which I pulled from the HeroLab Community Bestiary at the Pathfinder SRD site. If you have a copy of HeroLab, you can use the Community Bestiary files to export full statblocks or even character sheets for all the NPCs in the campaign.

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    In_digo wrote:
    I've been trying to think of ways to get the PCs invested with the town in other ways, but I haven't been able to come up with much.

    So, I made getting the PCs invested one of themes of our RotRL campaign. I specified that any character concepts would be welcome, but all they PCs had one thing in common: They had never lived up to their potential, never tasted true glory, and were altogether the dregs of the "adventuring" life.

    The game opened with the PCs arriving in Magnimar and signing on as cheap caravan guards with an unscrupulous merchant for the 2-day travel along the goblin-infested Lost Coast Road to Sandpoint. As they were getting ready to leave the city, they overheard a dandy from Absalom arguing with a Magnimar gate guard, who was attempting to persuade the dandy that it was too dangerous to travel alone. The dandy laughed off the gaurd's suggestion, and departed moments before the PCs left themselves.

    Midway along their journey, the PCs found the dandy's horse wandering the woods alone - The party Ranger tracked it's erstwhile owner to a small goblin camp, where the dandy was roasting over a spit. After dispatching the goblins, the PCs investigated the dandy's saddlebags, and learned:

    - That the dandy was Lord Vancil, a minor noble who had donated his inheritance to the effort to rebuild Sandpoint Cathedral. In exchange, Father Zanthus had promised him the title to the temporary chapel the town had been using during the reconstruction.
    - That Lord Vancil fancied himself a member of the Pathfinder Society, and had told Father Zanthus that he intended to set a new Lodge in Sandpoint, the better to discover the secrets of Old Light
    - That Sheila Heidmarch, the Ventrue Captain of the Pathfinder Society in Magnimar, most definitely did *not* consider him a Pathfinder, and warned him against using the name of the Society in his future endeavors.

    The party's thief, a halfling con-man, immediately conceived a plan: The party's fighter would pass himself off as Lord Vancil and take possession of the property in Sandpoint. They'd then sell the property once they'd bled the town dry with simple cons and schemes.

    Of course, once the goblins attacked the consecration ceremony, the PCs were forced to play the part of heroes. Now they're finding it hard not to live up to the town's expectations of them as the Heroes of Sandpoint.

    I plan on siccing Shayless on the party's duelist (fighter, cad archetype), who's currently playing at being a minor noble. I don't think I'll have much luck convincing him with the "rats in the basement" story, so I'm working up some double entendres to entice him:

    "Milord, I, uh, my family would like to show their appreciation for saving the town from those wretched goblins. My father has a prize he's been guarding for sixteen summers, waiting for someone as handsome, er worthy, as you to claim it. It's in the basement of his shop, would you come with me and take your reward?"

    Of course, the prize is Shayliss's virtue, and Ven has no idea about her plan to get knocked up by a noble and move on to the good life. ;-)

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    Cross-posted from Nynphaiel's advice request thread:

    I've just started running RotRL for the first time, and one of the thing that I find crucial is having all the information for Sandpoint at my fingertips. As much as love the design work that went into the Anniversary edition, it's not the best laid-out for quick reference. I went through the Sandpoint info, and put together the following cheat-sheets:

    Sandpoint NPCs - This is an alphabetical list of NPCs (by first name), with summaries of the details presented in the Anniversary edition. All the stats were pulled from the Community templates for HeroLab. 16 pages.

    Sandpoint Resources - A shorter (2 page) summary of the resources available to PCs in Sandpoint: Local experts listed by their area of expertise, Mentors listed by class, and Goods & Services.

    Sandpoint Info - Another short (3 page) document with lists of some of the more pertinent info for Sandpoint: Who makes up the Sandpoint Mercantile League and other significant families in town, a list of the Chopper's notable victims*, a list of the local Goblin tribes (and their heroes and territories), and a list of the gods with shrines in the Cathedral.

    Feel free to use these lists: I probably got even more out of making them up than you will reading them, because I had to read over the Sandpoint material multiple times to get everything down. It gave me a much better understanding of the ties between the characters, and what role they play in the AP.

    * I included Das Korvut's wife and child from the excellent Chopper's Isle adventure in the list of Chopper's victims.

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    I've just started running RotRL for the first time, and one of the thing that I find crucial is having all the information for Sandpoint at my fingertips. As much as love the design work that went into the Anniversary edition, it's not the best laid-out for quick reference. I went through the Sandpoint info, and put together the following cheat-sheets:

    Sandpoint NPCs - This is an alphabetical list of NPCs (by first name), with summaries of the details presented in the Anniversary edition. All the stats were pulled from the Community templates for HeroLab. 16 pages.

    Sandpoint Resources - A shorter (2 page) summary of the resources available to PCs in Sandpoint: Local experts listed by their area of expertise, Mentors listed by class, and Goods & Services.

    Sandpoint Info - Another short (3 page) document with lists of some of the more pertinent info for Sandpoint: Who makes up the Sandpoint Mercantile League and other significant families in town, a list of the Chopper's notable victims*, a list of the local Goblin tribes (and their heroes and territories), and a list of the gods with shrines in the Cathedral.

    Feel free to use these lists: I probably got even more out of making them up than you will reading them, because I had to read over the Sandpoint material multiple times to get everything down. It gave me a much better understanding of the ties between the characters, and what role they play in the AP.

    * I included Das Korvut's wife and child from the excellent Chopper's Isle adventure in the list of Chopper's victims.