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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

So, here's my update.

The group advocated for people leaving. About half of Waldsby left. However, the group didn't provide an escort to the Winter Portal. I had the townsfolk intercepted by the Pale Tower Guard and ravens and they were overwhelmed and massacred. After the adventurers returned from the Pale Tower (passing the guard patrol who was behind the massacre) they came across stake after stake with the heads of townsfolk mounted on them. Only those who remained behind were left untouched (mostly).


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Well, that went fast...

As I'd previously written yesterday, I made a couple of changes to Reign of Winter's Pale Tower. First, the existing Key system didn't work very well. It risked having the group killed off piecemeal, especially if the players failed to get intelligence sources worked out ahead of time. In fact, the entire Teleporter system was less-than-enjoyable for the group, especially given that I had a group of five players, and each new turn took progressively longer. It was an interesting concept... but in practice it didn't work so well.

That said, the changes I implemented turned the game from a series of fights to some interesting roleplaying, background reveals, and crafting a more interesting and involved session for nearly everyone in my group (with the exception being the barbarian player who is a newer player and hasn't yet thought out how to embrace roleplaying as a means of continuing the plot instead of crushing things with his axe or sword.

One other aside is that when you implement new rules, be sure the players fully understand those new rules. One example is with Automatic Bonus Progression from Pathfinder Unchained. I had one player misunderstand the system, feeling it meant magic weapons and items no longer existed, when instead it allows for more special items to appear in the game. These arguments can get rather spirited, and in this case was resolved when I called the entire group together and those fears were expressed more coherently and then laid to rest.

Anyway, on to the game.

We'd last left off with Mierul having surrendered to the group (much to Alak's dismay - the surrender happened before he came through the teleporter so he didn't have much to say about things. That said, after Mierul waffled a few times she came clear about being Queen Elvanna's agent, at which point the group one-upped her and outright admitted they were Baba Yaga's agents.

Fortunately, Mierul was able to bluff successfully and hide the fact she knew what the Queen had been doing and instead was an innocent ice fae just doing her duty and unable to betray Elvanna because of the ice shard in her heart. She also let drop a few tidbits to prove she would not be a threat to the PCs (even offering her Ice floe elixir) including the fact Radosek was trying to get in the priestess's pants which was pissing off the Captain of the Guard whom Mierul was fairly certain was sleeping with her. (Note, she didn't mention Hestrig's name or that she is a woman. Amusingly, the group didn't react when that bit was revealed when they found her.)

After tying up Mierul and tucking her in at her bed (while back in the dining room Thelin amused himself by stripping the atomies and posing them on the dinner plates as appetizers) (jokes were also bandied about on Zvezda having a fairy wing hanging from her mouth, seeing she's catfolk), taking Mierul's Ice floe elixir and fiddle (as bardic instruments are dangerous!), the group readied themselves to enter through the back door into the library. While Hestrig had failed every single one of her Perception checks to hear the fight, I didn't actually bother with a surprise round (which to be honest I probably should have). Instead, Nadya entered the room, readied her bow at Hestrig, and demanded she surrender.

Hestrig promptly cast Shield. Nadya's readied action... rolled a Natural 1. A confirmed critical failure resulted in something that made no sense, so I went with a different result and got her taking a full action to make a single attack for three rounds. Basically her bow string went along her clothed arm and that sort of thing hurts (it's why you wear bracers). Fortunately for the group, Freya went next and she promptly hit Hestrig with a Charm Person... and Hestrig (who I'd rewritten as a level 5 Eldritch Scion Magus) promptly failed her Will save. She DID however see the Spell Effect that Freya isn't able to conceal (not having the right Feats to hide that) and was able to figure out she'd been enchanted. I mean, she's not stupid. Hell, being the Captain of the Guard would suggest that even with a 10 Intelligence that she's good at her job... and part of that would be knowing these intruders don't want to kill her (yet).

Also, she kind of hates Radosek. The man is hitting on her girlfriend, after all, and is in good enough with Nazhena that if Hestrig tried complaining to Nazhena (who she now has a reason to distrust, having learned that Nazhena's mother had slain Auburphex, whose blood courses through her veins). She even admitted as such (her "best friend" was asking her questions after all, and Freya's Charisma is 20 so that also helped), and even how it was normally impossible to reach Radosek... but that her girlfriend had a key... and how the keys work (with me having altered them so they keep the Teleporter live for 30 seconds - enough to allow six people to pass through).

She brought the group to Jairess (with her Shield spell still up and functioning, and quite prepared for a fight in case the PCs tried to betray them) and together she and the group explained what was up. Jairess was already upset because Radosek had ordered her to send her ravens out to attack "dissidents" - originally she'd thought that meant the PCs, but obviously they were already here so she had no idea who the birds were attacking. Hestrig urged Jairess to give up the key and then they'd pack their stuff and flee Irrisen.

Jairess refused. She said she was loyal to Nazhena. As such, she could not give up the key without a fight... and then turned to the group and offered a duel. Unarmed combat, until one person gives up or was knocked out. And while Araval was chomping at the bit to punch out some blue-skinned priestess girl, the group decided that Zvezda was the better choice here.

The fight was decidedly one-sided. It lasted three rounds. Zvezda actually landed a critical hit in her second round of combat while using Flurry of Blows, and at the end of three rounds Jairess admitted defeat, having not laid a single finger on the agile catfolk. She surrendered the key to the group and they promptly didn't slaughter the two women, allowing them to pack up their belongings and flee the Pale Tower.

We then spent the next hour leveling up characters, as the AP recommends the group be level 4 before fighting Radosek. While the group didn't encounter quite a few things that were meant to help give the PCs enough XPs to level up, they DID effectively bypass encounters and work their way to facing down Radosek.

Alak: Level 4 Aasimar Witch
Ciri: Level 3 Bard, Level 1 Unchained Rogue
Thelin: Level 4 Dwarvish Mountain Druid
Freya: Level 4 Kitsune Oracle of Stone
Aravael: Level 4 Half-Orc Barbarian
Zvezda: Level 4 Catfolk Unchained Monk

As a side note, I've decided to drop the Secondary Class rules. Multiclassing should work just fine and taking one level of a class really gives far greater benefit than the Secondary Class rules did over time. Alak plans at a later time to possibly take a level of Gunslinger.

The group planned out their line of attack. They'd start with Araval, followed by Zvezda, then Ciri (who buffed the group initially with Bardic Song so her Lingering Performance would help Araval while upstairs), then Alak, then Freya, and finally Thelin. (I forgot that Nadya was with the group at that point but the way I was working the keys, she'd not have been able to join the fight. The group likely returned and collected her after the fight was over.)

Radosek knew they were coming. I'd implemented the changes mentioned in the post above this one, and he'd come across signs that the group had invaded the Tower. He was spying on the group through the mirrors and when he'd seen they had the Key, he knew the jig was up. He promptly cast his two defensive spells and was busy casting Summon Monster III when Araval went through. The first round of combat saw five Small Ice Elementals appear between the two of them and while Araval's player initially contemplated just waiting for the others, he finally chose to close and attack one of the Elementals. And he promptly shattered it, seeing he was under Lingering Performance, Bull Strength, Rage, Sun Metal, and Power Attacking with his Greataxe.

Zvezda came through on the second round and actually managed to connect with Radosek with a Stunning Fist... which he promptly saved against. He fled, using a Withdraw motion while using his Flight Hex to Levitate 30 feet straight up, and for the rest of the fight remained out of reach of the group while they used ranged weapons against him.

In the end he was Webbed, hit by various rocks, crossbow bolts, had his goat knocked unconscious by Zvezda (as BOTH he AND Alak begged the monk not to kill the goat... and Thelin urged them to do so as it had been a while since he had last eaten goat), brought Alak down to single digit hit points with a couple Ice Spears from his wand, and was generally a nuisance to most of the group. If he'd failed his Fortitude Save, the fight would have been decidedly shorter.

One thing I did do differently was pull Araval's player into the other room (and get their marching order prior to starting the event) so that there was no outside interferance. That said, I have started using the Jukebox feature on Roll20, and I uploaded the Wilhelm Scream onto the Jukebox. I use that every time the PCs kill someone, and it was hilarious hearing from the other room people snarking about how Araval wouldn't leave anything alive for them. Especially amusing was the double-Wilhelm-Scream when Araval Cleaved two (burning his Temporary Hero Point to ensure one of the attacks hit) and when the group saw an "angry goat" attacking.

The fight ended up lasting past midnight. I feel rather bad about that as one of my players usually gets off to bed by 11. I'll have to apologize to her again later... but the Pale Tower is nearly complete. Well, except for looting the treasury, shutting down the Winter Portal, and probably fighting their way out of the Pale Tower.

So. If I were to do things differently, what would I do? Well, I might be tempted to have tossed a tier of Mythic onto Radosek. It would have improved his survivability a tad, given him more diversity to his spells, and helped compensate for the fact there were two more bodies fighting him. But to be honest... Ciri never hit him (and was primarily a support character), Thelin's involvement was minimal, and there was no way Radosek could have prevailed against Araval, especially once he'd fired off his Blindness/Deafness spell to no effect. I might also have tossed another level onto him, let him memorize Summon Monster III a second time, and given him another Hex. And he was STILL a tough fight. But the real problem was that he was alone (even with his Summons).

Once Book 1 is finished, I'm going to be taking a break. Alak's player has been wanting to GM again, and I gave him Book 2 to go through. It will be interesting being a just a player again (running Ciri) for the first time in a couple decades. I'll still put up campaign journals, written from Ciri's point of view. And then I'll probably take the reins again for Book 3, and maybe switch off again for Book 4. We'll have to see.

That said, before I sign off, I'll make sure to craft maps and maybe Roll20 NPC sheets for Book 2 for Alak's player, just to make things a tad easier. I find having everything available at the click of a button makes things easier... though he is an old-style GM and may very well want to do the NPCs and enemies using non-virtual dice. As I said above, we'll have to see. But it should be an interesting experience.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I'm double-posting this as I'm using elements of this for my game and also because folk might miss it on the Campaign Journal write-up, or just over at the RoW forum, but not on both. ^^

Ill Design: Radosek and the failings of the Pale Tower:

As I start to prepare for tonight's game I've come to the realization that the Pale Tower itself is poorly designed, in a fashion similar to how early dungeons failed to account for how various things stayed alive in there, or for that matter why they were there. In the case of the Pale Tower and Radosek? It's a fairly indefensible position, all things considered.

First, let's look at the exterior. You have three guards on the walls. If the PCs launched a frontal assault, they defend to the death... despite the presence of another ten soldiers inside the Tower. There is no way to effectively raise an alert other than for the guards to send one of their number running back to the barracks (which is not in the NPC write-up). Why don't they have one of those enchanted mirrors on their end? It could even be something built into the walls of the Pale Tower itself so the PCs can't loot it.

Second, the troll inside doesn't make that much sense. The players are expected to bluff their way inside at which point there's a troll and they're going to fight or bluff the troll? Why did the guards on the walls just sit by and let the troll eat all the other dogs there? How are new patrols expected to leave seeing this glutton devoured all the dogs here? What do the wall guard do when the people they let in turn around and start fighting the troll - do they attack their "fellow guards" or just sit back and eat popcorn or what?

I understand the ice troll was brought in for extra muscle, but having the troll having eaten all the sled dogs and probably be looking at the dogs the PCs arrive with as dessert... well, it essentially is saying "hey PCs, why not get in a big meaningless fight to eat your resources?" (My current group paid off the troll with a week's worth of rations. I'm still tempted at having the troll eat one or two of their dogs as well, though to be honest after eating all the other dogs here prior to the PCs arriving, the rations might actually fill the troll's belly.)

Third, the presence of the keys also doesn't make much sense. Honestly, you have Sergeants who get a key to automatically go through the teleporter without saying a simple phrase? It's not THAT much work. Similarly, you have the Captain of the guard... with the key to the Priestess's teleporter. Why?

Fourth, we already had the Captain with a nice backstory and the end of her write-up is "she's not wise enough to surrender so she fights to the death." Add in the key and you're left with HUGE questions and no valid answers. Seriously, why include this backstory when she's just fodder for the blades of the PCs? And why does the Captain of the Guard not have a method by which she can contact her boss, Radosek? Seriously.

This is where this part of the AP starts to fall apart. There are, however, ways of fixing it. And first, let's look at those keys.

The purpose of a key is to unlock a door. So... if the place is put on high alert, all of the Teleporters should be put on lockdown. Thus you can give passcodes all you want but you're stuck on your floor and can't get in or out. HOWEVER, someone with a key would be able to unlock a teleporter and thus get to another region.

Now the keys serve a real purpose. They unlock the doors so the PCs can get through. And if you want, they could even have a second function: for the next 30 seconds, they allow other people to quickly travel through the teleporter without the passcode.

This would mean the PCs can get Hestrig's key to Jairess's Aerie and so long as they all go one right after the next, not need to know a passcode. And likewise when they get the key to Radosek's chambers they could unlock it and quickly reach Radosek's chamber to fight him as a group. It only makes sense.

Now, let's look at Hestrig. First, give her a means of communicating with Radosek - be it a Message spell or another of those hand mirrors. If she has to talk to him and there's no way to reach his chamber... what is he going to do, go to Jairess and snag her key? That's a waste of her time and resources. Further, she has reason to be questioning her loyalty to the White Witches - or at least to Nazhena and Nazhena's mother (who Nazhena iced a while ago). Thus LET HER SURRENDER. It makes sense.

Finally, let's create an actual love triangle here. Hestrig has Jairess's key because she is having a quiet affair with Jairess. This may even be part of why she's questioning herself now. She finds Jairess to be exotic and delightful, she mentions how she was trying to find information on the dragon whose blood flows through her veins, Jairess has been encouraging her (and fully understands what it means to have the desire to fly in the blood)... and she finds out about the dragon's death.

Meanwhile, she knows Radosek is trying to worm his way into Jairess's bed. Maybe he spied on Jairess and Hestrig being together through the Irriseni Mirror Sight spell. Or maybe he heard scuttlebutt or the like... but he wants some. And while Jairess has said "no" Hestrig is still getting jealous. So while she fights the PCs... give her the chance to surrender. She insists that she talk to Jairess and Jairess may even agree but also insist she has to fight initially to show her "loyalty" to the White Witches so she fights non-lethally against one of the PCs and if the PC wins, she gives them the key. If she loses she gives it to Hestrig (who then gives it to the PCs).

Finally, we have Radosek. One of the comments about him is that he frequently spies on people with the Irriseni Mirror Sight spell. But he only has it memorized once. If he was using it to communicate with Teb back at the Winter Portal and to spy through Thora's mirror eye then... how was he doing all that?

The answer is simple: put a Magic Mirror in the work room where the PCs fight Radosek. It is linked to any mirror in the Tower, and thus at any time Radosek or Nazhena could peer through the mirror and see what is going on. Further, with a casting of Irriseni Mirror Sight on it, it allows two-way communication (which is lacking with the spell itself) and thus lets Radosek talk to (and get reports from) those on the other side of the mirror.

A wily GM could even have used this to have Radosek taunt the PCs (in a fashion similar to what another witch whose name starts with "R" later in the AP does with a different spell) at various times, be it through the mirror at the White Weasel tavern, or through the mirror they found on the guard sergeant, or even through Thora's mirror eye if they kept that one.

These are the elements I'll be using with the rest of my run through The Snows of Summer:

PCs don't look as this includes my current plans and you don't want spoilers:

First, I like the idea of the Hestrig-Jairess-Radosek "love triangle" and that's going to remain part of this. Thus if the PCs don't just kill Hestrig outright, they will learn about Jainess and have a chance to get her key to reach Radosek. Part of Hestrig's decision to surrender WILL be keeping Jairess alive. As an added benefit, this will also show the PCs that the enemy are not faceless ciphers but are living, breathing people... and that evil people are capable of love (seeing Hestrig's evil-aligned).

Second, I'm definitely using the Keys as I wrote above. It makes sense and helps the game become less frustrating. Having the group rush through the Teleporters also will make things more interesting and fun, especially by limiting what each PC sees by taking each tabletop player aside as they go through.

Third, the Magic Mirror that's built into the side of the Pale Tower in the work room is too intelligent a concept not to use and I'd planned on his having this for some time. Radosek may very well end up learning about the PCs and thus be casting preparatory spells... or even alerting the guards down below (as the PCs left them alive for the time being) so the PCs have to fight their way through guards they'd bypassed (or abandoning Hestrig and Jairess to die as traitors as they go after Radosek himself).


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Ill Design: Radosek and the failings of the Pale Tower

As I start to prepare for tonight's game I've come to the realization that the Pale Tower itself is poorly designed, in a fashion similar to how early dungeons failed to account for how various things stayed alive in there, or for that matter why they were there. In the case of the Pale Tower and Radosek? It's a fairly indefensible position, all things considered.

First, let's look at the exterior. You have three guards on the walls. If the PCs launched a frontal assault, they defend to the death... despite the presence of another ten soldiers inside the Tower. There is no way to effectively raise an alert other than for the guards to send one of their number running back to the barracks (which is not in the NPC write-up). Why don't they have one of those enchanted mirrors on their end? It could even be something built into the walls of the Pale Tower itself so the PCs can't loot it.

Second, the troll inside doesn't make that much sense. The players are expected to bluff their way inside at which point there's a troll and they're going to fight or bluff the troll? Why did the guards on the walls just sit by and let the troll eat all the other dogs there? How are new patrols expected to leave seeing this glutton devoured all the dogs here? What do the wall guard do when the people they let in turn around and start fighting the troll - do they attack their "fellow guards" or just sit back and eat popcorn or what?

I understand the ice troll was brought in for extra muscle, but having the troll having eaten all the sled dogs and probably be looking at the dogs the PCs arrive with as dessert... well, it essentially is saying "hey PCs, why not get in a big meaningless fight to eat your resources?" (My current group paid off the troll with a week's worth of rations. I'm still tempted at having the troll eat one or two of their dogs as well, though to be honest after eating all the other dogs here prior to the PCs arriving, the rations might actually fill the troll's belly.)

Third, the presence of the keys also doesn't make much sense. Honestly, you have Sergeants who get a key to automatically go through the teleporter without saying a simple phrase? It's not THAT much work. Similarly, you have the Captain of the guard... with the key to the Priestess's teleporter. Why?

Fourth, we already had the Captain with a nice backstory and the end of her write-up is "she's not wise enough to surrender so she fights to the death." Add in the key and you're left with HUGE questions and no valid answers. Seriously, why include this backstory when she's just fodder for the blades of the PCs? And why does the Captain of the Guard not have a method by which she can contact her boss, Radosek? Seriously.

This is where this part of the AP starts to fall apart. There are, however, ways of fixing it. And first, let's look at those keys.

The purpose of a key is to unlock a door. So... if the place is put on high alert, all of the Teleporters should be put on lockdown. Thus you can give passcodes all you want but you're stuck on your floor and can't get in or out. HOWEVER, someone with a key would be able to unlock a teleporter and thus get to another region.

Now the keys serve a real purpose. They unlock the doors so the PCs can get through. And if you want, they could even have a second function: for the next 30 seconds, they allow other people to quickly travel through the teleporter without the passcode.

This would mean the PCs can get Hestrig's key to Jairess's Aerie and so long as they all go one right after the next, not need to know a passcode. And likewise when they get the key to Radosek's chambers they could unlock it and quickly reach Radosek's chamber to fight him as a group. It only makes sense.

Now, let's look at Hestrig. First, give her a means of communicating with Radosek - be it a Message spell or another of those hand mirrors. If she has to talk to him and there's no way to reach his chamber... what is he going to do, go to Jairess and snag her key? That's a waste of her time and resources. Further, she has reason to be questioning her loyalty to the White Witches - or at least to Nazhena and Nazhena's mother (who Nazhena iced a while ago). Thus LET HER SURRENDER. It makes sense.

Finally, let's create an actual love triangle here. Hestrig has Jairess's key because she is having a quiet affair with Jairess. This may even be part of why she's questioning herself now. She finds Jairess to be exotic and delightful, she mentions how she was trying to find information on the dragon whose blood flows through her veins, Jairess has been encouraging her (and fully understands what it means to have the desire to fly in the blood)... and she finds out about the dragon's death.

Meanwhile, she knows Radosek is trying to worm his way into Jairess's bed. Maybe he spied on Jairess and Hestrig being together through the Irriseni Mirror Sight spell. Or maybe he heard scuttlebutt or the like... but he wants some. And while Jairess has said "no" Hestrig is still getting jealous. So while she fights the PCs... give her the chance to surrender. She insists that she talk to Jairess and Jairess may even agree but also insist she has to fight initially to show her "loyalty" to the White Witches so she fights non-lethally against one of the PCs and if the PC wins, she gives them the key. If she loses she gives it to Hestrig (who then gives it to the PCs).

Finally, we have Radosek. One of the comments about him is that he frequently spies on people with the Irriseni Mirror Sight spell. But he only has it memorized once. If he was using it to communicate with Teb back at the Winter Portal and to spy through Thora's mirror eye then... how was he doing all that?

The answer is simple: put a Magic Mirror in the work room where the PCs fight Radosek. It is linked to any mirror in the Tower, and thus at any time Radosek or Nazhena could peer through the mirror and see what is going on. Further, with a casting of Irriseni Mirror Sight on it, it allows two-way communication (which is lacking with the spell itself) and thus lets Radosek talk to (and get reports from) those on the other side of the mirror.

A wily GM could even have used this to have Radosek taunt the PCs (in a fashion similar to what another witch whose name starts with "R" later in the AP does with a different spell) at various times, be it through the mirror at the White Weasel tavern, or through the mirror they found on the guard sergeant, or even through Thora's mirror eye if they kept that one.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

That's because he has a fantastic role model.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

That bad?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

On a Wing and a Prayer

GM Note: As the fine gentlefolk at Paizo have admitted, the map for the Humbert House is wretched. When you read the description of the location, it's clear the players were intended to go into the buildings, find the ladder, ascend, and then get attacked from an ambush above. Instead, the obvious route is going through the rogues' sleeping quarters. Given this is a semi-secret hideout, there should not have been any obvious way in - the Red Jills could have tossed down a rope or even just used the rough building as a ladder instead.

I did have the ladder be more akin to a fire ladder, not going all the way down to the ground. That way people could get down easily enough, but would have to jump at the ladder or scale the side of the building to get in. But I probably should have created a new map with multiple stories, which probably would mean investing in another Roll20 map tool pack for building interiors. It's something to consider for the future and would benefit both of my games.

The game started out with some work on the various Silver Raven teams and planned actions before I went and asked what the group planned on doing for Week 6. The end result was recruiting two new teams (Sneaks and Freedom Fighters) to the Ravens, though the teams remain unnamed for the time being. Amusingly enough, despite Ironwood Jack (the group's Sentinel) tossing in his ability to modify an Action, efforts to recruit a group of Sneaks fell three short... at which point Kyofu burned her Temporary Hero Point to ensure the roll was successful.

The third Action chosen was having the Rag and Bone Merchant Team earn some money... but unfortunately a poor roll ended up with the group earning a mere 22 gold. I chose to use that as the catalyst for the next encounter... the Red Jills. And I have to say, the group is very lucky they gained their third level early because Scarplume is decidedly deadly. And to be honest? Either she should have been given a less effective spell for her 2nd level slot, or been crafted as a Wizard instead of a Sorcerer so she'd have fewer uses of the spell.

But that's getting ahead of myself. First, I baited the hook. Adria, the herbalist merchant who is the head of the Rag and Bone, was a victim of a mugging by the Red Jills. Civian (a street artist who is also part of the Rag and Bone, drawing various people like guards and the like as part of the group's intelligence-gathering efforts) went to Vogal and let her know what happened... and she alerted Kyofu who got the group itself involved. But the only thing they knew was that a group of tiefling thieves calling themselves the Red Jills were responsible. They considered trying to recruit the Red Jills to work for them, though Laria was doubtful they could be reasoned with due to their tendency to only go after humans... but primarily humans who didn't show any association with House Thrune or the Church of Asmodeus.

The group visited Adria and learned details of the attack, with Kyofu casting Cure Light Wounds to help Adria get back on her feet quicker (as the Ravens care for their own). There was a bit of roleplay here and Adria was told to make sure she brought a guard with her next time she went to the Temple Hill area. While Adria didn't want to bother anyone, she did agree to consider the group's request. You know old ladies. ;) "Oh dearie, I don't want to be a bother and I'll be just fine... but sure, I'll do as you ask. Don't worry yourself about me."

Several Knowledge: Local checks later and the Red Jills were clued into the fact someone was asking about them, while Kyofu herself rolled quite well and knew they were located somewhere in the Temple Hill area though she didn't know where. But rather than just send the group off, I decided to add some more roleplaying aspects into the game to see how the group reacted to a Tiefling fence, Moira, and an arrogant openly racist Chelaxian Citizen's Militia member giving differing options as to where the Red Jills could be found.

So the group headed off. Amusingly enough, while I'd not given a specific location for the fence, Kyofu's player said Moira was found outside the city walls. It makes sense so that's where they found her... with only Nox Rosalia going in disguise in her Morrigan guise. Jack was busy elsewhere (his player was running late) so they decided to send him a message via their Silver Raven figurine once they learned where the Jills were, and headed off to outside of town and to talk to Moira.

It took a little bit. Kyofu tried being subtle. I really should have rewarded her for those efforts as I like it when my players pull off subtle... but asking about a "red cloak" for her assemble even though the opera was now closed... well, there's subtle and there's deceptively subtle. I felt Moira wouldn't grasp a half-orc noblewoman asking about a "red cloak" would realize she's asking about a local thief. Finally, Kyofu went and intimidated Moira and a sullen Moira sent them to the Temple Hell - er, Hill Gardens.

As they were leaving they came across the militia member who was quite... arrogant. He called Kyofu "greenie" and was quite... derogatory of the tiefling community as a whole. But he also told them that Moira was sending them to the wrong place and that the Red Jills were located at the Humbert House, a former shrine to a dead god and an orphanage that had gone belly-up. He also told them not to bother because the Militia would clean it up themselves.

And thus the stage was set. Do they listen to the Tiefling Fence (who under the threat of Intimidation gave them a locale), or do they listen to the racist member of the Brown Jackets (as that is essentially what the Militia is) and follow his lead?

Naturally, Moira's suggestion would have sent them to an ambush. The group was still deliberating which one to go to (or rather in which order to visit both) when Kyofu's player decided to joke about the group being the Scooby Gang... and on a whim I had Jimmy see a large brown dog that then ran off in the direction of the Humbert House. Jimmy's player went full hilt and had fun directing the group that way. The message with the figurine of power was sent (and the group commented on wanting to find more of these Silver Ravens as just having one was at times problematic - I do have plans for them to find more over time at a more natural pace), Nox Rosalia appeared while Morrigan vanished, and the group headed to the Humbert House.

Small note: It's a good idea when using maps to know in which direction the group is approaching. I realized soon after the game had started that the group was approaching from the opposite side when Jack's player finally joined them. It was a minor hiccup fortunately but again, something for me to keep track of in the future.

As an aside, Nox's note to Jack read "Red Jills gang attacked Adria. Looking for hideout. Going first Humbert House, then Temple Hill Gardens. Meet up if able, ready to fight." After Jack's player muttered "Please don't have a note asking for a release from jail..." Nox added P.S.: No, Kyofu isn't in jail. Yet. (And then P.P.S.: Yes, we're all very surprised.)

Both Jack and Jimmy rolled high enough on Perception to overhear the Red Jills in their hideout. Unfortunately, Jimmy doesn't quite comprehend the point of Stealth (amusing seeing he has a really good Stealth skill ranking) and as he started talking to Ironwood Jack, quite loudly, from the balcony, the Red Jills sent a runner to alert Scarplume, then returned, and everyone took 20 to hide in the sleeping quarters. And Scarplume pondered just how idiotic this group of humans and demi-humans were.

Oh, and as the group talked loudly by a group of thieves, Nox snuck around the building to scope things out. She noticed the rope bridge going from a window to the shrine's roof, but because the map was poorly designed, didn't note another way in. Again, that's on me. I should have redone the entire map. But even so... ah well. Also, one of Jimmy's voices, the Seneshal, dropped a hint that Jimmy could possibly become religious... though that was in an indoor voice (Jimmy's reaction wasn't) and thus not heard by the rest of the group.

One thing Jack (and Jack's player) found quite puzzling was the lack of a proper Thieves Guild for decades. He did learn that there was another group that ran the city for a bit until the Hellknight Order of the Torrent wiped them out, but it was still puzzling that no one had taken their place. That said, I did let Kyofu know that when a band of thieves starts getting large enough to become a new Guild, they end up getting hit by hard by the Dottari who oddly know everything about those thieves, as if someone was ratting them out.

Finally everyone got up and Nox snuck in. I actually allowed her to be effectively stealthed as she DOES have Dark Vision, but unfortunately for her one of the Red Jills was quite perceptive. The second? She walked into him when she tried to hide behind the same pillar he was lurking behind. Ambush away!

Nox was an early victim, taking a sneak attack hit doing 10 damage, while a second rogue managed to hit Menthe (Vogal) for another 10 damage. Finally, Scarplume struck with a Scorching Ray that inflicted 13 damage to Kyofu. (I probably screwed that up as Scarplume flew up to them and then attacked... something to recall for next time is you can't move and then cast spells.) The next round, Jack contemplated going Total Defense while trying to talk the Red Jills down... but then decided at the last moment he'd rather prepare an action to shoot anyone casting a hostile spell.

Naturally, that meant Scarplume would be that target as next round she went and cast Scorching Ray once more... and he promptly shot her for five damage. Despite taking damage, her Concentration Check was easily sufficient to continue casting and she did another 12 damage to Kyofu, who then started a Rage Song (with Skald's Vigor kicking in for two rounds after that to help her heal up).

Another Red Jill hit Nox for five more damage and she promptly used Acrobatics to escape combat, planning on going onto the bridge... only to run into the GM who said she could only reach the window and not burst through dramatically. Fortunately for Jimmy, despite being flanked by two rogues both rolled miserably and missed him, allowing him to taunt them with "expecting someone taller, were you?"

Seeing that over half of the group were now injured... Jack laid down his cards, invoked Milani, and Channeled Positive Energy to heal up everyone who was hurt for six hit points healing. (Scarplume was out of range, as was Nox Rosalia. None of the rogues had taken damage at that point.)

Yes, it seems Jack is multiclassed with Cleric and another class involved.

With the holy light of Milani, the fight started turning around. Jimmy started to hit hard, Nox got chased down by a rogue and then knocked him unconscious (critting but not confirming the critical), Scarplume being used for skeet even as she used her last Scorching Ray on Jack, and the rogues fell one by one with the last one disarmed while Scarplume hid around the corner to drink a healing potion. The game paused as it was getting rather late though to be honest one more round should finish things off.

Once more I overestimated how much we'd get done, but we also had a bit of roleplaying going on that the group quite enjoyed, so all in all it was a successful night. At this rate I suspect the next game will wrap up the seven weeks of events... and will also allow me to start up my alternative end-game for Book 1 as it seems a bit silly for Rexus to wait seven weeks before asking the group to look for his parents at the secret hideout he knew about all along - thus obviously he didn't know and there has to be another way for him to learn about it.

But I'll get into that in the next game journal so that certain players don't spoiler themselves by reading this early. (Not that it really matters... it won't affect the game and is basically just the flavor text to describe how events come about.

Hero Point Use: Temporary Hero Points were used by Menthe to hit a rogue, Jimmy to hit another rogue, and Kyofu to help recruit a team of Sneaks.

The next game will be in two weeks.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Cold Reception

Apologies for the length of time between the updates. I've been procrastinating, sorry to say. Though before I get into the campaign report, I've got a GM note for people planning on running the game in the future. I probably should add these in the future, similar to what NobodysHome does in his Strange Aeons game, as having notes to work from can help improve future games.

GM Notes on preparing for the game:
One of the more important things a GM needs to do before running an encounter is get a firm understanding of an encounter before they run it. Without that understanding (and maps), encounters risk falling off the rails or unfolding in ways that aren't expected.

For instance, let's take Nadya's home. When you look at the map, the house is a 20 by 20 building with a shed added to the side. My initial thought on this was that the side room was a bed chamber, but when reading about Nadya's home I found out that was where she keeps her dogs for the dog sleds, and probably a dog sled as well.

It didn't dawn on me until the day of the game that Nadya's home is a two-story home and that the family would sleep upstairs... and that realization came only when I looked at the picture of Heldren and Waldsby which showed most of the buildings had multiple floors. How much of that was artistic license and how much was planned remains to be seen... though I do have to say that there are remarkably few people living in a place with multi-story buildings - I mean, the picture of Waldsby shows two buildings with three stories each and an addict, and other places with two stories an addicts... but there's on average five people for each house. And that's assuming that no one was living in the story above their stores or shops.

Unfortunately, the lack of maps for the Silver Stoat or Nadya's home means we're left guessing at what is going on there, and that's a decided shame especially as both locations had multiple encounters taking place in them. I very much doubt anyone from Paizo bothers to read these campaign journals but if they do? Please, either add in extra details about these locales so the GM can better flesh it out in their own maps, or add some maps for areas like this in future APs. At the very least I can warn other GMs who plan on running Reign of Winter what to do with their own planned maps for the region.

-----------

We left off with the group encountering guards. Unfortunately I didn't think things through properly and had the guards at the door rather than having barged into Nadya's house. If I'd done the latter then it probably would have been bloodier... for the bad guys. Instead we had choke points and the like which slowed the fight a little. Previously one of the guards had been stunned with a Daze spell, and Zvezda leaped over him from the doorway to hit another guard with Stunning Fist, and actually succeeded in invoking Tweety birds. Meanwhile, Ciri proved that she would always buff the wrong player when she added Feather Step to the barbarian who took his sweet time going outdoors where it actually would benefit.

Thelin burned his Temporary Hero Point to reroll a missed hit and successfully hurt the guard (though by adding a second level of Warrior to each NPC, it improved their survivability at least marginally). Freya then added Sun Metal to Araval's Greataxe Kindness and he rolled the first of several critical hits and chopped the Dazed guard's arm clear off (between the crit and fire damage doing 70 points of damage... and he's 3rd level). Alak, striving not to be outdone, used Boneshaker on the guard Zvezda had stunned and walked him back five feet where he proceeded to bleed from all of his orifices and drop dead. (Nasty spell, Boneshaker. I'm surprised it wasn't given an Evil descriptor. Or a higher level. Then again, it's useless against foes without an internal skeleton....)

This isn't to say the guards didn't actually get any hits in. They did. And when they did hit, they often dealt minimum damage. One nearly critted but failed to confirm. And outside of Araval being a critting machine (rolling three natural 20s in one combat), the notable elements were Zvezda ending up prone in the snow, Freya hitting one guard with Charm Person, and one guard at 0 hit points surrendering when the one guard whose dice were hot ended up being immobilized by Soften Earth and Stone and then cut in twain by a raging half-orc Barbarian.

The group then chose to interrogate the two guards. Alak, Ciri, and Araval took the wounded guard upstairs while Freya, Thelin, and Zvezda remained downstairs to interrogate the charmed guard. And I had the wounded guard tell everything he knew. He knew his life was on the line. He had no doubts that this group would kill him if he was caught in a lie. For his trouble in giving up the passwords and approach signals for the Pale Tower? Alak cut his throat. Araval didn't even blink.

Do note this. This... oddness is going to become a real head-scratcher later on. Admittedly, Alak is true Neutral. He found out that the White Witches are personally interested in him and in capturing him and his adoptive sister. He still murdered an unarmed helpless prisoner. And while Araval might be Chaotic Neutral... he just made a quip about it and didn't care. It was Ciri (also Chaotic Neutral) who chided her brother for his actions. Oh, and Hatch, the domovoi, yelled at Alak for getting blood everywhere. Seriously, people sleep up here. Blood stains are near impossible to get out. Alak did apologize to the fae at least.

Downstairs, the Charmed Guard resisted giving too much information. His best friend is Freya. All she has to do is go with him to his sergeant and everything would be explained. He noticed that his comrade didn't come back down and that the healing failed, and that gave him some pause but his sergeant would take care of everything... so he brought everyone to the Silver Stoat to talk to his sergeant.

The sergeant immediately saw through things, realized his man had been subverted, and ordered his men to kill the strangers. Katrina (the wife of man who runs the Silver Stoat) then started helping the guards by casting Bless on them, Scare on Araval (who had to burn a Permanent Hero Point to reroll his save) and then being targeted by others. Alak did manage to hit two guards with Sleep (again, upping them to 2nd level Warriors helped improve their survivability just a tad).

The end result was the death of every single guard except for the Charmed Guard (who spent half the fight trying to tell people to stop fighting and then fled because he realized just because Freya was his best friend didn't mean the others were... he'd betrayed his commanding officer and comrades-in-arms, and there was no stopping this) and Katrina (who fortunately was only brought to below half hit points but hid behind her husband who had been taken prisoner by the guards due to he being Charmed by the PCs). While the sergeant did activate his Mirror, the PCs closed it and put it in a bag with metal so it would make noises. Seeing the description of the spell Irrisini MIrror Sight has it looking through the mirror, all he knows is that the mirror was activated but is closed.

Hero Point Usage: Temporary Hero Points were spent by Thelin to reroll a missed attack roll, Araval to ensure he hit a guard with one of his non-natural 20s, Alak to reroll an Intimidation check.

Permanent Hero Points were spent by Araval to reroll a natural 1 that became a natural 20 and a second Permanent Hero Point to reroll a Will Save

------------------

One problem with running games with both online and tabletop people is that the online people can... end up drowned out by the tabletop group. Both Zvezda and Thelin's players were grousing about that, so I instituted a change, adding in Roll20 a "Feat" and a "Skill" to alert people that they have something to say. (I also then instituted this into my entirely remote game seeing that online people can and often to drown each other out.)

GM Notes on preparing for the game:
The second game (seeing I've not been writing up these reports on a timely basis) happened a week ago. I actually ended up using one of the resources that an excellent map-crafter created. My only real complaint is that his person basically replicated the Pale Tower map precisely... but the Pale Tower Map was designed to maximize space on the page. It would have been nice to have more clear space around the tower for any players who wished to explore (not that mine did so).

That's actually something I should also comment on for the map itself. The description of the Pale Tower is that there are no trees for miles around it. This is a defensive position, the trees have been cut down so that an invading army can easily be seen. Yet the Paizo mapmakers went and added trees right around the Pale Tower. That... doesn't make sense. I ended up editing out all the trees so it would make more sense and fit what the description states is the case.

Another thing that doesn't make sense is the setup of the second floor dining room. Why is there one table? Further, the table is designed to make it nearly impossible to reach the Teleporters to the first floor. Yes, I know space is at a premium, but given the Pale Tower is designed to have 35 guards and support staff (and Nazhena and Radosek of course), but sitting 17 people for a meal at one time at one table.. while making it so the people on the ends have to get up whenever someone needs to walk past... it's a poor design. There should have been several smaller round tables.

Also, how do the side icicle-rooms work? There was a lost opportunity here. We should have had an outside view of the Pale Tower. It could even have been a depiction of the Tower as seen by the Iconic PCs... but having a picture to help build this view would have helped... and was actually done with the clock tower in the second book of Rise of the Runelords.

I probably should have used graphics editing tools and edited out the table and added my own. It's something to consider for the future. Still, Paizo's mapmakers should consider sometimes how to more effectively utilize space for oddly-shaped maps.

The game itself started with the group talking to Hatch about the Pale Tower and convincing him to help out. He told them what he could but was petrified of Nazhena and Radosek. They failed to get him to be Helpful and thus he only told him about passwords and the like and not certain other details I won't go into at this time.

It was during this time that Zvezda learned of Alak murdering the guard upstairs. She went outside all sad, and Ciri joined her to talk, both conversing about what the group had done, the killing of the guards, and Ciri admitted concern about her brother Alak. (This conversation was carried on privately via Roll20 even as the group itself talked.)

This is also when the group insisted on going to the town meeting where the town discussed whether to flee through the "Spring Gate" and go to Heldren or stay in Waldsby and hope for the best. Finally when I admitted to the group that I had nothing planned, they let it slide. However, I did spring another thing on them, with Verana Stolya asking if the group had seen her daughter Milivsa and her concerns her daughter might have been kidnapped as her shop had been ransacked.

Remember that Charmed guard? A tidbit in the Waldsby Gazetteer is that Milivsa was involved with a guard at the Pale Tower and passed along rumors in town to her lover to impress him. The charmed guard was that lover. He fled during the fight (and Verana was one of the people brought in for questioning as the strangers had gone to her shop among others), reached her, they robbed Milivsa's mother blind and took most of her stuff. They left some of the bulkier items but stole a magic belt with Ant Haul on it (as I'm using the Automatic Bonus Progression rules, the Belt of Mightly Constitution needed replacing), but did leave the Shadow Wooden Armor I put in there in lieu of +2 studded leather.

Seeing she was now without money, Verana was having a fire sale. She offered the PCs the wooden armor and Zvezda and Ciri were quite generous, donating everything but one copper each of loot acquired from their adventures. The OTHERS however... were more stingy. Alak offered to write a note to Lady Argentea to get everyone fleeing from Waldsby settled in Heldren and a letter of credit for Verana... which was worth the paper it was written on. Sure, she might give a small stipend, but his claim that a thousand gold is easily enough to buy a new shop ignores the fact she still needs to get new goods for that shop and the like. In all, the PCs bought the armor for 2,570 gold, while it was worth just shy of 4,000 gold. Seriously not regretting not having Hatch do a full disclosure....

When they reached the Pale Tower, disguised as Tower Guard (wearing the uniforms of the men they had slain), they found ran across the ice troll inside who immediately took interest in their dogs. Freya talked her out of eating the dogs in the end by bribing her with seven days of rations and the group went indoors without having fought anything and hoping their dogs would remain safe (and most of them probably will survive... most of them).

The group went indoors and immediately decided to just go to the second floor. Ciri pointed out the barracks and they considered jamming the doors shut but decided in the end just to go up. Yes, you heard me right. The same group that murderhoboed their way with captured prisoners decided to go the minimal-bloodshed route and rather than kill armed guards who are a viable threat, snuck in. Even when they had the threat of the guards pointed out, they decided to go with stealth rather than killing their foes.

And thus they headed to the northmost Teleporter. Araval went first and as he stepped out Mierul Ardelain and three atomies were there. She immediately rolled a 25 on Perception, realized who they were, and she told the Atomies to attack.

At that point, as I reached Araval on initiative and was asking him what he wanted to do, Alak's player opened his mouth and said "get off the teleporter" as Alak was initially talking about just doing an Intimidation check while on the teleporter which no one else can use while he's on it. After I had words with Alak's player about that even as Araval's player insisted "of course I was getting off the teleporter, that only makes sense!" I realized I'd NOT asked the group what order they were going to enter the Teleporter in. So I went via initiative.

Still, as a GM's note? Future GMs should always get a teleportation order ahead of time so this sort of thing doesn't happen in the future. For that matter, I probably should have dragged Araval's player to one side so no one would have been able to do spoilers. I'll try to remember to do that with the next game as the Teleporters are STILL going to be important.

Araval then moved onto the table (which I ruled was difficult terrain) and hit the fae bard for 19 damage while using the masterwork cold iron longsword he looted from the sergeant back in Waldsby and his Rage Sprite. The three atomies all went Invisible, and on the next round Zvezda emerged from the Teleporter, noticed Araval on a table being backstabbed by an atomie, and moved up to attack the blighter. Mierul stepped back five feet and hit him with Chord of Shards... and Zvezda used her Cat's Luck before rolling a natural 20 on her save and Araval burned a Temporary Hero Point to make his save against the spell.

The fight didn't last long enough for everyone to emerge with the atomie all being killed and Mierul surrendering upon being brought to 0 hit points. That said, the fight was not overheard by anyone who would bother to investigate. The game ended there with everyone having gotten to the second floor.

Temporary Hero Points were burned by Araval to make a saving throw and Zvezda to hit Mierul with a Stunning Fist (to which Mierul made her saving throw). Zvezda's player also gave me a short story with back story for Zvezda and for doing so was awarded a Permanent Hero Point.

The next game will be this upcoming Sunday.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Okay. That? That was truly epic. About as epic as soloing a demi-lich.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

The Demi-lich fight sounds like a truly epic fight, the sort of thing that leaves someone with Mythic power at the end. ^^ I must applaud, that was truly spectacular.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

She achieves that which she was seeking.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

My Reign of Winter campaign has shifted to the fourth part of The Snows of Summer with a planned assault on the Pale Tower. However, one thing that was suggested by the group to the people held at the White Weasel tavern was that they could evacuate to Taldor and that they'd even include a letter to Lady Argentea so they could hopefully be relocated. The write-up for the aftermath of the encounter with the Pale Tower Guards in Waldsby states the following:

Quote:
Following the Pale Tower guards’ visit to Waldsby, the villagers become agitated. Everyone realizes that the PCs’ presence (and actions, especially if they killed the soldiers) will surely bring retribution down on Waldsby as soon as Nazhena and Radosek learn what happened. If the PCs rescued Nadya, she offers to lead them to the Pale Tower, preferring an aggressive retaliation in hopes of catching Nazhena and her minions off guard rather than cowering in fear, which is the village’s typical response.

So, how many in Waldsby do you think would take up the adventurers on their offer? They showed up under the guise of being merchants. But they do suffer frequent forays by the Pale Tower, and it's likely most of the Pale Guard are not from Waldsby (as Nazhena wouldn't want anyone to have their sense of duty get into conflict with local sentiments) so it's not even like they have family on guard at the Pale Tower (and the "hired help" are all fae, amusingly enough).

As an aside, the people who were "arrested" were the blacksmith, the dwarven barber (one of the PCs had her hair worked on by the barber), the owner of the general store, the local priest, and the gnomish carpenter, along with Emil, owner of the White Weasel, seeing he'd been hit by a Charm Person by one of the players and thus was seen acting nicely toward the "strangers." Katrina was still quite hostile against the PCs and even assisted the guards against the PCs but survived the combat when she fled and hid behind her husband after being hit in the fight.)

I do think there are some people who would refuse to leave. For instance, Birgit Holorova is Nazhena Vasilliovna’s factor and is trusted by Nazhena. Likewise, Garthur Kalinin owns the sawmill and would likely refuse to move, and may very well offer Katrina sanctuary if Emil did decide to leave (and the PCs showed him mercy, saved him from guards who were insisting on blaming him for the "strangers," so I could see him choosing to leave rather than face further blame by the White Witches). And no doubt there are people who live in the outskirts of town who just keep their heads down and hope for the best.

But would there be some who were willing to leave, rather than stay?

And if a majority of townsfolk did head to the Winter Portal, would Nadya send her children with them? Or would she want to keep them close as is suggested in the second book of the AP?

Anyway, I was hoping to get some thoughts from you guys. :) Thank you :)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

One of my players has been trying to weasel his way into finding new ways of using Web in situations where it's not allowed, seeing the group has been outdoors a lot. Part of this does lie with the fact the group is now 3rd level and one of the two spells he learned was Web... and he's been frustrated that he cannot cast Web when to him it's obvious the spell should still be effective.

His latest thought? Have the Druid cast Entangle and then use the roots of Entangle as the foundation on which to cast Web.

So. Rather than rule outright "no" I said I'd find a ruling on the forums. Not seeing this specific question asked, I figure I might as well ask myself and hope someone responds by tomorrow evening. And thanks for taking time to consider the question. :)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Seeing it's not mentioned, you can do what you want with it. There could be a magical cold war going on in Irrisen similar to that between the Winter Guard and Iron Guard... with Baba Yaga's faithful having mostly fallen and gone into hiding. Heck, you could even have some of Baba Yaga's faithful among the Cold Sisters be found in Books 3 or 4, trying to find signs of Baba Yaga (and not trusting the PCs of course) and those loyal to Queen Elvanna trying to track them down so the PCs can join in or just sneak past.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Anyone want lobster claws for dinner?

Tonight was the first night we ran the game with fully-functional character sheets on Roll20. While I'd been slowly building character sheets in the system, it had bare-bones content as I'd not wanted to bother with things like equipment or the like. But when I found you could pull equipment over to the equipment list, and spells and weapons as well, I spent time, rebuilt all of the character sheets, and had everything prepared - including using the in-system Initiative Tracker.

I also instituted a new rule, though it wasn't needed this time around, that if a player didn't answer to their turn within one minute, their character would take the Total Defense Action and do nothing else (basically adding +4 to their AC). This way I don't have to worry about trying to contact the other players and seeing they can see when their initiative is, can hold off on doing stuff like getting food until their initiative has gone by. It worked quite well.

We continued from our previous session with the discussion with Rexus being interrupted by Korvus Fushi coming upstairs from the Wasp's Nest to warn that she and her sister had seen something in the water by the docks, and something had gone after them.

Earlier, I had rolled for an Event for the Silver Ravens. The Result? Invasion. I rolled to see what would invade, and came up with Reefclaws - nasty little low-level lobster-eels that are more of a threat to unarmored people... unless they get some lucky die rolls. And my dice were rolling hot for a bit there.

The group went to investigate and thanks to Jimmy's bullseye lantern, both Jack and Nox were able to see the Reefclaws. Jack identified them with a Knowledge: Dungeoneering roll, but not enough to know more than the basics - they're good eating (or at least their claws are) and can chop off the arms of fishermen going after them. Thus he didn't realize they were venomous or their tendency to grapple. Or their... extreme toughness and adverse reaction to death.

Kyofu started things off with a Rage Song. Seeing she's now 3rd level, this included a Rage Power, and she went with the Lesser Spirit Totem - and thus got to indulge in what I call Rage Sprites. (It's kind of amusing actually as the Barbarian in my Reign of Winter campaign also took Lesser Elemental Totem, but for a Skald it's a bit more effective as Skalds have the Charisma to make their damage nasty.) And everyone but Menthe chose to accept her Rage Song... meaning there were four Rage Sprites helping out with the fight.

Let me tell you. Four Rage Sprites adds up to a lot of extra damage, especially when they keep hitting. The combat ended probably a round or two earlier than it otherwise should have thanks to those Sprites doing a total of 31 hit points of damage. (Given it takes 27 damage to put down a Reefclaw... on a couple of occasions it was the actual Rage Sprite that dealt the finishing blow.)

Nox joined Kyofu but Readied an Action to attack when a Reefclaw came into range. She struck with enough damage between her strike and the Rage Sprite to bring it to negative hit points, at which point Ferocious kicked in and it attacked. It was staggered perhaps, but seeing it had already moved before that point I allowed it its attack. It hit, and went through the temporary hit points from the Rage Song and promptly attempted to poison Nox... only for her to use Charmed Life to boost her saving throw. That said, it still grappled her.

Unfortunately (for me) I screwed up and for some reason assumed Kyofu had done the same in Readying an Action (I really should have used an icon for the Ready Action ability, something to remember for next time) so when a Reefclaw went after Kyofu, she struck first and between she and her Rage Sprite, brought it into negative hit points... and it struck her back and she made HER Fortitude save in turn. It did too little damage to actually penetrate the temporary hit points, but it did grapple her, meaning two PCs were now grappled.

Jack went next and ran into the water with his morningstar to strike the beast attacking Kyofu. Between his attack and his Rage Sprite, he did just enough to bring it to negative hit points at which point it went into a Death Spasm... and failed to hit anything. That said, Jack was in the water and thus a prime target for another of the Reefclaws.

Menthe went next and used Ray of Frost, only to learn Reefclaws are resistant to cold. Alas! After that was Jimmy's turn. Seeing he couldn't reach the fight, he moved up to Nox and then Tumbled past her to avoid a Reefclaw Attack of Opportunity.

And the last two Reefclaws went after Jimmy (hitting) and Jack (missing). The Reefclaw on Jimmy poisoned him except the Gods chose to rewind that and allow him to barely resist the venom (Temporary Hero Point used to add 4 to the Saving Throw). He was still grappled.

The next turn saw Nox escape the grapple she was in with a natural 20 for Escape Artist, while Kyofu got into the water to smash the Reefclaw going after Jack.

The end of the combat saw Shocking Grasp and Ear-Piercing Scream used to put down the last Reefclaw, and Jack decided to see where they had come from, finding the entrance to the sewers. He also took a closer look at the Statue of Callistra and unlike the others actually found the items within. The group chose to put the golden holy symbol back into the statue while Nox took the whip.

All in all, it was a successful trial of the Roll20 character sheets and combat system and everyone enjoyed the fight tremendously.

(Small note - I'm using the Automatic Bonus Progression rules. Still, I decided that it made sense for the whip to be magical in order to remain intact after decades in the water, so I found a +1 ability (Deadly) and put that on the whip, which has been named Naughty and Nice (Naughty causing lethal damage and Nice non-lethal). Given Nox already goes around with a Scorpion Whip and a normal whip, it's not going to give her an unfair advantage or the like. And hey, it's kind of fun having the first legitimate magic weapon in the game being a whip.)

After letting Laria know of the Reefclaws (and new dinner plans), the group returned to talk to Rexus. An idea was hatched to help Rexus get out of the coffee shop by making a disguise for him, and Nox commented that it would be a good idea if everyone had disguises. Jimmy disagreed... only to learn that Queen Mum isn't the ONLY sock puppet he has, as his LEFT hand came out with the Seneschal, who urged Jimmy to start wearing disguises. (Many thanks to Ironwood Jack's player (who is my one local player for this group) for doing the Voice Work for the Seneschal and doing him justice. We're going to have fun with this... heh heh heh.)

After everyone got into new disguises (with Nox dressed up as Morrigan Branwen and Jack as some minor nobleman initially and Jimmy as a mushroom farmer), the group went with Rexus (dressed as a servant) to sneak into his old estate. Nothing was found, especially given it was over a month since the fire. Similarly, nothing was found at the Thrashing Badger, but in the first hour of searching through the Silver Star's rubble (with Rexus standing watch), the group came across a coffer. While trying to free it, Kyofu was nearly buried by debris but at the very last second managed to escape falling bricks without suffering harm (thanks to the use of a temporary hero point).

Inside the coffer were seven potions (lesser restoration and cure light wounds), and four scrolls. And their adventures at an end, the group headed back to Laria's and the game session wrapped up.

Temporary Hero Points were spent by Jimmy and Kyofu.

The next game will be in four weeks.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Essentially you would need the PCs to each possess some sort of Artifact in order to be able to stand their ground against the truly potent foes out there... and even then you risk enemies nuking the PCs by a couple lucky critical hits.

Given we don't have rules on Artifacts just yet? Well, that's problematic.

Besides, I have a feeling we'll be getting "Mythic Lite" for PF2, probably something along the lines of post-level 20 play, probably in the Gamemaster's Guide.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Hmm. Small miscalculation on Tar-Baphon's stats. He'd have a -3 to all physical stats for being 59 years old when he died. That said, he'd still get the age benefits to his mental stats for becoming venerable as that is more about how long you've lived (as seen by immortal characters still getting those boosts).

So while alive, Tar-Baphon's starting Strength was likely a range of 8 to 13, and his starting Dexterity from 11 to 16.

Again, that assumes Tar-Baphon splurged on Wish Spells to improve his physical as well as mental stats. Karzoug did, with a +5 to his Intelligence and +4 to his other five stats. Given how Tar-Baphon loves to spam Wishes? I see no reason why he would not do the same for his own stats.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Let's take a comment to consider Challenge Ratings.

So. You have a traditional 20th level human Necromancer. His CR is 19.

Applying the Lich Template gives a +2 to their CR, bringing their CR from a 19 to a 21.

Giving them PC-levels of equipment adds +1 to their CR, bringing them to a CR of 22.

If they were a 25-point build initially, they get another +1 to their CR and that brings them to a CR of 23. (As a side-note, I looked at Tar-Baphon's stats. Factoring in for age bonuses and being a Lich, Tar-Baphon's Wisdom started out as a 9, which is where it should be for being his lowest stat in a 25-point build (16/15/14/13/11/9).

So, without 10 Mythic Ranks I can easily have a CR 23 Lich. Let's call him Bar-Fallshort.

Looking at Tar-Baphon, he easily qualifies for PC-levels of equipment. He's most definitely a Lich and gets that +2 to CR for Lichdom. And as I pointed out, he's most likely got a 25-point build. (It does seem he didn't put ALL of his class stat upgrades into Intelligence, though it could also be that he didn't blow five wishes to upgrade Int. - but given how extravagant he is? He probably did.)

Interestingly enough, looking at his physical stats Tar-Baphon was not a spindly mage. Even factoring in that he was Old (and had a -6 to all physical stats) at the time of his death, his Dexterity was 16 and his Strength was likely 11.

So Tar-Baphon honestly should be CR-28 in the old Pathfinder rules. The 10 Mythic Ranks gives him a +5 to his CR and his Lichdom gives him another +2. They ignored his stats and wealth in factoring his CR. And even if you say he's a 15-point build, he STILL would be CR-27.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Val'bryn2 wrote:
KingTreyIII wrote:

The Pathfinder Society.

During the Tyrant’s siege on Absalom, the Pathfinder Society has sent many—if not the majority—of their agents to the-crater-formerly-known-as-Gallowspire in order to disrupt a necromantic ritual , as detailed in 10-98 Siege of Gallowspire (not sure on the specifics of the ritual as I played, not GMed; likely to get more reinforcements for the Tyrant). So many agents were sent there that it was an in-game mechanic for the special—bringing more, lower-leveled PCs to aid in the overall mission. And not only that, but those few Pathfinders who remain in Absalom are vulnerable and have closed the doors to the Grand Lodge because of a situation going on inside (not stating any more than that;...

Sorry if some of my posts seemed confrontational, as I previously mentioned I love lively debate, which this has been. And true, I have discounted the Pathfinder Society, because I believe that, not counting the characters from PFS, most of the higher ups who have stats tend to be in the level 7-11 range, the Lodge Captains up to Masters of Spells, Scrolls, and Blades. The Decemvirate don't count, because it's equally likely for them to be an archwizard or demigod as it is for them to be 2 goblins on each other's shoulders

No worries, I can get the same way and a lot more of us do as well. We get passionate about a subject and just jump on it and have fun debating without necessarily thinking of how what we say may sound. I do know I posted one thing and within seconds deleted it as I realized I'd said something that probably would be taken wrong.

That's one of the problems with the Internet, and to be honest the best posts are those written down, saved as a document, and returned to around 30 minutes later to see how it reads.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

All these claims and accusations of the PCs' sacrifice being worthless is reliant on incomplete information. Moreso, they are based on 2nd edition information.

Until we have specific information about Tar-Baphon and what happened at the end of TG, we honestly cannot claim that the sacrifice was in vain.

At the VERY least, Tar-Baphon has LOST HIS MYTHIC ABILITIES.

I can state this reliably: Golarion has shifted to a 2nd edition rules setting and Mythic Adventures is not a part of the rules. Thus we have no write-up of Tar-Baphon's stats and should not assume that the Whispering Tyrant is as powerful as he was. In fact, given that Wizards were given an overall weakening in upper-level power (while strengthening them at lower levels and improving their extra-low-level versatility), Tar-Baphon's powers have been cut in half in all likelihood.

High Intelligence no longer provides bonus spells. While Tar-Baphon likely has 10th level spells and knows Rituals that mere mortals have no idea exist, he's not going to be spamming Mythic Wish anytime soon, or a half-dozen 9th level spells.

So the PCs won, at dreadful cost. Tar-Baphon has lost his most powerful weapon. His powers have diminished (as has the powers of most spellcasters in Golarion). He is still a significant threat, but not the demigod he once was. And he'll remain as such until we the player base get a new write-up on his abilities and stats.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Dasrak wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:
I wish I was running this AP in the near future now so I could use it... sadly, my groups will likely stick with 1st edition for years (especially as it will TAKE years to finish Hell's Rebels with one 4-hour session every 2-4 weeks, and my RoW game being every other week) so by then I'll probably sadly forget. :/
I don't know if it'll be useful to you given your group is currently preoccupied, but I did do a 1st edition Conversion guide for Hellknight Hill (direct google doc link), and plan to convert the entire AP in time.

Nice, thank you!

To be honest, I *like* 2nd edition enough that I'm buying it and eventually may even run 2nd edition games. So the AP is still usable. That said, my current tabletop (and two remote player) group does love 1st edition Pathfinder and yet also has some interests in some Hermea and a certain philosophical gold dragon, so I may very well eventually run this for them as 1st edition. ^^


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Val'bryn2 wrote:
Fantasy novels tend to make terrible adventure paths, because they're very heavy on railroading. The beyond 20th level rules you think are coming maybe are unlikely and unimportant, because Pathfinder 1e is over. This was its swan song, and it ended in a RFED.

ALL Adventure Paths use railroading.

Reign of Winter: You need to go and collect various items and go on various unnecessary adventures to find Queen Elvanna's mom, free her, and let her fix her daughter's mess.

If you don't? World is frozen and everyone dies.

Rise of the Runelords: You have to go on various adventures tracking down who is destabilizing the region, eventually build weapons designed to nuke the Big Bad, and face him in his stronghold.

If you don't? He pulls his army out of the past and tries to conquer the world.

Wrath of the Righteous: You have to stop an invading demon army and then invade corrupted lands and eventually go into the Abyss itself in order to defeat several Demon Lords and save the day.

If you don't? A good chunk of Golarion is pulled into the Abyss, and the segments falling into the Abyss continues to grow.

And on down the line. If you don't follow the plot? The bad guys win. You can't just say "hey, instead of doing this adventure, why don't we just go off and become merchants?" Because the bad guys will CONTINUE on their plots and without the HEROES to stop them, cause lots of bad stuff.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I remember when Reign of Winter came out.

There was considerable criticism of Baba Yaga and the fact the PCs were not able to murder her and save Golarion on their own.

In fact, people kept calling her the "Greater Evil" (despite the fact her actions in Golarion were restricted to a couple of regions and her "Chaotic Evil" alignment was more "I do what I want, don't care what others think of my actions, and seek benefit to myself only" rather than "I kick puppies for the lulz" that most folk associate Chaotic Evil with) and felt the campaign ending was a washout because Baba Yaga goes free at the end.

For that matter, there is considerable criticism for Return of the Runelords because one Runelord reforms (and is associated with the one Demon Lord who Ascended to Godhood and became the Goddess of Second Chances (essentially)) and a second Runelord basically learns their lesson from being backstabbed by a fellow Runelord and decides to just restore her old kingdom without actively trying to take over the world.

One criticism was? "I wanted to kill ALL of the Runelords." They apparently felt cheated that one of the Runelords was busy killing her rivals and rewriting time so she'd end up on top rather than each part of the AP being a checklist where they get to shank a Runelord and collect their stuff.

Well, even in fantasy novels you often have the Big Bad not taken out. You don't always get Sauron nuked. Sometimes they leave and lick their wounds while learning from their failures. Those villains are often the most interesting ones. Sauron? He was a scary shadow who ultimately meant little because with his death, he blew away like a wisp of smoke. Even HIS boss was only locked away until the End Times.

With the end of Tyrant's Grasp, you have the Big Bad having been nuked by his own weapon, having lost all of his best equipment, very likely having lost his HAND seeing that it is specifically written up as being found (and I still say this was Paizo's way of having their own Hand of Vecna show up), having lost his best generals and armies, and having failed in his latest attempt to achieve Godhood.

If the PCs had lived? I'm willing to bet you'd all be calling it a Win. So the fact the PCs die and don't get a Happily Ever After makes this a loss and bad writing in your eyes.

But hey. Paizo gets to keep the Whispering Tyrant, rewrite Golarion as a result of this (and of other APs including Hell's Rebels which has specifically weakened the nation of Cheliax), seen a strong ruler ascend to Taldor, seen the evil matriarchy of Irrisen cast down, the growth of two new kingdoms in Northern Varisia, the destruction of the Worldwound, the ascension of a new machine-God without the use of the Starstone, and more) and set the stage for new and interesting campaigns that may very well revisit regions and see how the actions of past PCs has changed the world.

To me? That sounds like Paizo has a strong position moving forward, along with APs designed for levels 1 to 20 for each campaign, and no doubt we'll even see an eventual "Beyond 20th level" ruleset for truly mythic campaigns. And we may very well see the Whispering Tyrant faced down in the future with those 20+ level PCs rather than some Faux Tyrant who stole Tar-Baphon's gear while everyone was celebrating his destruction.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Davido, your write-up is truly impressive. I wish I was running this AP in the near future now so I could use it... sadly, my groups will likely stick with 1st edition for years (especially as it will TAKE years to finish Hell's Rebels with one 4-hour session every 2-4 weeks, and my RoW game being every other week) so by then I'll probably sadly forget. :/


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Remind me never to run a character in the campaigns of those folk who feel killing Tar-Baphon isn't a win because he can just reform from his phylactery seeing that they would refuse to grant PCs any XP for killing any lich if they did not find the phylactery and destroy it as well.

I mean, the lich just reforms.

Oh, and vampires. If you don't stake the vampire then obviously you get no XPs for it because the vampire won. They're not dead (or re-dead) so no XPs for the PCs!

In fact, ANY NPC that manages to ESCAPE the PCs would NEVER in these GMs' games EVER reward XPs because they escaped and thus they won.

It would make any campaign with a recurring foe basically worthless because the foe can drain a player's resources, flee, and they "win" because they escape.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Rysky wrote:
Pnakotus Detsujin wrote:
To rationalize this, maybe the Pcs actions have also the effect to sprone Baphon to action before he can regroup with the opportune forces for such strike.
Pretty sure that's why the counter is called Frustration. He's not acting rationally at the point, he's pissed and needs to blast something.
Quote:
I'm also perplexed why he uses a wish to blast an hole in a pyramid, when he's got not only disintegration,

Mythic Disintegrate doesn't increase the square cubage you can destroy over normal Disintegrate, so it wouldn't have worked. And reading over his history, Wish is his go to, he likes spamming it. Flaunting it.

He didn't want a hole he wanted an entrance.

Quote:

I'm going with ...

"SURPRISE!"

Tar-Baphon: Oh, you’re the heroes all right, just not super ones!

PCs: Yeah? What’s the difference?
[Tar-Baphon casts Mythic Wish to blow a hole in the pyramid]
Tar-Baphon: Presentation!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Can't We All Just Be Friends?

We last had the group at the bar with the barkeep aiming a crossbow at them. However, it had been a while since I last indulged in Freya's Haunted ability so I asked her what she was going to do with the hot tea she was still holding. When she put it down I was going to have it splash up in his face as Haunted kicked in.

Instead, she threw the tea in the barkeep's face. Good kitsune! ^^

The group then started initiative, with Araval Intimidating the barkeep, Alak playing Good Cop and going with a Diplomacy Check (as combat had not "started" I allowed it) and rolled quite poorly. He burned his Temporary Hero Point and rerolled... a modified 24. Sadly, he needed a 25 in order to modify the barkeep's opinion, and my hinting (but not stating) that folk could burn a Hero Point to assist other didn't pan out.

Emil went next and pulled the trigger, firing a 46-gold Human Bane crossbow bolt worth more than his entire profits for several months, and did 20 points of damage to the half-orc. A 3rd level Barbarian who had rolled really well for hit points, and with the No Squishy bonus HPs I granted him at 1st level... well, it dropped him by one third of his hit points. (Even if he'd not had the No Squishy bonus, he'd been at half his hit points.) It was painful, but Emil is literally a one-shot wonder with that heavy crossbow.

Freya went next and being a three-tailed Kitsune? She used her Spell-Like Charm Person ability and Emil failed his save. All at once he was aghast at having tried to roofie his best friend. Given the half-orc was looking annoyed at being shot but not murderous, he started calming down. Katrina got pissed, ran up to him, started shaking him saying "you've been bewitched, that b$~&$ did something to you!" (she didn't see the spell effect but she DID see her husband's personality switch suddenly), pulled out a scroll, and just before she could cast Alak's player burned a Permanent Hero Point to act out of turn (doing his next round's action early). He cast Sleep on her, which was quite amusing because the scroll Katrina was pulling out? Sleep.

Meanwhile on the other side of the bar, five rowdy patrons were having a grand old time. Ciri and Zvezda were there chatting when Ciri saw things going down. She rushed over toward her brother when one of the rowdies went "oi, where are you off to in such a rush, sweet cheeks?" and pulled Ciri onto his lap. Or... he tried to. She rolled to hit with her knee on his crotch and he was in a WORLD of hurt.

The first two rowdies were watching the bar and seeing that fight fizzle they chose to not start anything. The patron closest to Ciri and the kneed patrol had a 33% chance to want to start trouble... and I rolled a 4 on 1d6. He laughed at his buddy, said "you deserved that!" and the sheepish kneed patron admitted as such and they laughed it all off. The Great Bar Brawl ended with a good laugh, Katrina asleep (and Emil carried her home to sleep it off), and then folks chatted and RPed.

Freya tried to find out why Emil roofied her and he admitted his wife talked him into it because strangers are bad and they were scared of what the White Witches might do. He also admitted that the White Witches watch them through the mirrors and that is why he has a huge mirror in the tavern - to prove to the Witches that he and his wife have nothing to hide. Otherwise he was... kind of useless. He didn't know anything of importance and I RPed him much as he looks - an idiot and fool who knows nothing.

One thing of note is Freya told him they were leaving tomorrow so he had nothing to worry about. While the Charm Person likely had worn off by the time the Pale Tower Guards arrived, he DID have something of note to tell the guards concerning the group - and if the guards didn't have orders already about the PCs, it might have worked.

Meanwhile, Thelin started chatting with a gnome who had caught his attention - Arbagazor Frimbocket, a local carpenter. I had Thelin roll a Wisdom check (and he easily made it with a modified 19) to catch he somehow knew this guy... because he'd met Frimbocket's brother in Heldren. Who was a carpenter. He also realized that there was a dwarven barber/dentist/doctor in both towns, they both had near-identical statues, sawmills, temples, and on down the line.

(On an amused note, the group has a theory that they either went into an alternative dimension or through a "looking glass" when they went to Irrisen seeing how Waldsby is a twisted reflection of Heldren. I've smiled and nodded at their ideas and neither confirm or deny them.)

The group then looked at the Statue of the Cold Lady which Zvezda promptly tried to climb. And failed. Twice. Finally on her third try she succeeded, but while she was trying, Frimbocket came out and chatted more and the group admitted they had seen someone's work much like his... and learned about his brother. They told him they'd seen him in Taldor some time ago (keeping the Portal secret for now).

They returned (through a circuitous route) to Nadya's and after a meal they were relaxing... when a pounding on the door was heard. Now, I honestly cannot see why ANY building in Irrisen would have windows. This is a place where a warm day is in the mid 20s with the Fahrenheit scale. But I could see slots to pull open and look out a door. She looked out, whispered to the group to hide, and they did so. Even the half-orc.

I gave anyone who hid upstairs a +5 to their roll. Zvezda and Ciri naturally chose to stay downstairs and both rolled REALLY well for their stealth (it helps that Ciri is effectively the group thief at this point though until Zvezda showed up she was easily the stealthiest in the group, outside of Alak's familiar). However, the Barbarian rolled a modified 5. After I pointed out he could burn his Temporary Hero Point he groused, finally chose to, and rolled a natural 20. We joked he pulled a tea cloth over his face to hide.

And then they just sat there while Nadya agreed to go with the guards. They were going to do nothing. However, there WERE two people downstairs. And Alak sent Fawkes downstairs where she scouted things out and let Alak know "many!" for who were down there (I figure empathy could allow "alarm" reactions to be felt, and something like "many" is also viable to communicate). Zvezda though saw six guards. And she was looking nice and eager at Ciri who grinned and started chanting "Let the Bodies Hit the Floor!"

Everyone was buffed and the catgirl and Varisian Bard saved the day for dear Nadya. Sadly, Stunning Fist didn't stun the guard but everyone managed to go downstairs easily enough and get caught in the bottleneck known as the front door. Thelin squeezed in next to Zvezda but Araval was left out of range of everyone and without a way to reach his foes. So he yelled at them and succeeded in Intimidation.

The poor guard at the door ended up punched, Intimidated, and then Dazed by Alak. It wasn't his day! And NONE of the other guards managed to hit. (To be honest, I'm thinking the guards might pull back and away from the door so the PCs will be forced to move out of the house and away from cover.)

The game ended there as it was approaching midnight.

Temporary Hero Points were used by Freya (to reroll a Sense Motive check on Frimbocket as she didn't believe his story - she found that she STILL believed him even with a higher roll), Alak to reroll Diplomacy, and Araval to reroll a Stealth check, while Alak also burned a Permanent Hero Point to act out of his turn and cast Sleep on Katrina.

Next game will be in two weeks. :)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

And yet he isn't trying to get to the Starstone.

BTW, Tar-Baphon managed to outwit Aroden on multiple occasions and use that God to further his own goals on multiple occasions. Why should a group of 18th level characters be able to permanently destroy him? Especially seeing that the previous world-changing AP had four demi-gods with 10 Mythic Ranks take out two Demon Lords, permanently killing these near-divine beings?

Now, Mythic Adventures was obviously flawed. But no doubt the original intent was for there to be several Mythic Adventures APs and the reaction of the fanbase to the eventual flop of high-level Mythic combat in WotR and an end-boss who just didn't prove that impressive was a huge factor in the move away from MA. The original gem of an idea probably had four 10th rank Mythic Adventurers facing down Tar-Baphon and a cadre of mythic foes for a truly epic battle... and fan disdain for Mythic and the failing of the rules took that initial gem of an idea and reduced it to what we got.

Also, Tar-Baphon is one of the Great Big Bads of Golarion. While many folk think of the Runelords... they were a distant past "threat" who were far more akin to the Ten Who Were Taken from the "Black Company" line of books. But Tar-Baphon? He was the TRUE big bad, the closest thing you had to the imprisoned God of Destruction that the PCs might in theory face. I can fully understand why Paizo chose not to let the PCs just nuke him and be done.

(On a side note, there is considerable grousing that the PCs don't get to murderize all seven Runelords. There's a reason I compare them to the Taken as both groups were busy trying to kill each other. But sometimes you can't just kill your way through things. Sometimes you need to use diplomacy or even just ruin the big bad's plans so they're forced to step back and regroup.)


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I mean, the picture of a couple Iconics looking at the Winter Portal in Reign of Winter was nice and all... but we need more art like that. Like the Iconics with dog sleds looking at the Pale Tower which is rising up before them, or before the hole in the Howlings at Winterthrone. If you have a truly spectacular and impressive area that the PCs will be viewing, THEN SHOW IT! We GMs appreciate art we can share with the players. Hell, if I could afford it I'd PAY an artist to depict some of these scenes... and no doubt Paizo could even capitalize on such a thing with an AP Art Book showing specific areas of interest.

Okay, here's an example: Kintargo. There is a beautiful depiction of Kintargo that I used to show the players in my Hell's Rebels game where they live. It helped this city come to life for them. Things like this are important for the players to become invested in the game. Sometimes words are just not enough.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Leingod wrote:
At the very least, I'd have it so that mention is made that Tar-Baphon's hand is just gone now. That it doesn't regenerate with the rest of his body anymore and none of his or his followers' spells can bring it back. Maybe (either in addition or alternatively) make his severed hand that's found on the battlefield afterward an artifact of some kind that can be used against him.

So now Golarion has its own version of the Hand of Vecna....


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
3Doubloons wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:
I do find it funny that this is an "adventurers town" and yet there isn't a huge industry involved in keeping adventurers here. It's more akin to the MMORPG starting towns.
[snip] They nearly get away with it, too...[/snipdestruction

If not for those meddling kids and their dog?

I'm giggling! Giggling, I say! ^_^


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

To be honest? There is nothing in the AP which states Tar-Baphon reanimates in 1d10 days and starts going after Absalom once more. While the rules for the Mythic Lich state it takes 1d10 days for a Mythic Lich with 8 or more Tiers to reanimate, that isn't included in the actual write-up for Tar-Baphoon itself.

What is stated is this: Absalom celebrates for now, but it's only a matter of time before the Whispering Tyrant reawakens and threatens the world once more....

That honestly doesn't sound like 1d10 days. It sounds like months, years... maybe even centuries. Further, it also states this: Unlike the Whispering Tyrant, whose death marks his failure and the loss of the greatest weapon he's ever known, the PCs can enter oblivion knowing that their heroic sacrifice marks them forever as legends.

In short, loss of his "maginuke" is in fact a huge deal. It doesn't matter that he only had so many uses left... once he became a God, he'd probably use that power to wage war on the other Gods (assuming that power was enhanced as well upon achieving Godhood). And let's be honest... how many GMs here have bothered making "beyond the end" adventures? And how many just pull out the next AP and run that instead?

That an 18th+ level character dies forever stopping one of the greatest threats Golarion has ever known (I put him right up there with the Demon Lords of the Worldwound) and thwarted his greatest plot ever? Is ultimately not significant. The characters would be "done" whether you retire them to roll up a character for the next campaign, or if they died.

And outside of the Runelords trilogy, NONE of your high-level characters ever show up in the game again under the player's control because it would break the campaign... and many players would likely be annoyed if the GM did include a high-level character they ran and didn't let them "gift" their new characters with loot or the like or fix things for them.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I do find it funny that this is an "adventurers town" and yet there isn't a huge industry involved in keeping adventurers here. It's more akin to the MMORPG starting towns.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

To be honest, I kind of like the idea of moving away from magic shops and instead finding leveled magic items in the field. It is rare to find good-quality magical loot instead of vendor trash in older APs. Hell, it's one of the reasons I moved away from the old loot system and used the Unchained Automatic Bonus Progression so that ANY 4th level foe would have the equivalence to a +1 weapon and +1 armor. And that way, when you DO have a magic item appear, it's something memorable, like a flaming sword or the like, rather than just a dozen +1 swords to get sold off.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Ah. Once again my knowledge of previous editions bites me in the bottom.

That said, all they need do is cast Dispel Magic and the dust turns into equipment. Baleful Polymorph is a Permanent spell, not an Instantaneous spell, and thus can be affected by Dispel Magic.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Java Man wrote:
Adjoint wrote:
When a creature dies, all spells that can only affect living creatures (like Baleful Polymorph) stop working on it, in this case it will revert to its original form (but still dusted). When the polymotph ends, the gear will appear again.
The dissection lab in the Vaults of Greed directly contradicts this idea.

That is either because what the Transmuter is doing in those labs isn't technically a Baleful Polymorph... or those creatures are not dead.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

While I know some people don't bother with the Rebellion rules for Hell's Rebels as they find it just one more bit of paperwork to keep track of that only one or two players gets into, I do consider it an effective framework from which to build NPCs that the party will regularly talk to. This provides plot hooks and a way of getting the group more invested in Kintargo... especially as if a team were to go missing, it's not just a group of nameless ciphers tallied on a sheet but instead a group of living and breathing people they're friends with.

One of the handy things about this is that you can also craft teams that make sense. For instance, the Revolutionaries can go from Freedom Fighters who patrol the streets to becoming either Cabalists, working within the secret societies of Kintargo, or Spellcasters who can cast 3rd level spells. Given that Forvian Crow and his crew can be recruited as Freedom Fighters but are described as a 1st level rogue and five level 1 warriors... it seems odd to think of this crew potentially casting spells (or becoming involved in secret societies and having ties to the aristocracy).

As an aside, both Cabalists and Spellcasters seem to be better suited to be Bonus Teams rather than an evolution of the Freedom Fighters. I don't quite know what would be a good fit for upper-level Revolutionaries. I'll have to think about it. Perhaps have the Poison Pen have a "mission" for the players to create a Bonus team of Cabalists, while the priest in charge of the Rose of Kintargo could help the players recruit a bonus team of Spellcasters?

Anyway, here's the first team I've fleshed out.

Peddler team
Name: Rag and Bone
1. Old Varisian Female Human Expert (Herbalist) Adria Cinczllescu

Adria is a recent resident of Kintargo, having fled Korsova during the Blood Veil plague that killed many seven years earlier. Having lost her husband to the Blood Veil, she studied herbal medicines for years under the guidance of a traveling alchemist, but when he was murdered she was stuck in Kintargo with nowhere to go. She's since started her own small business selling herbal remedies to the poor and needy, collecting herbs herself and then later with the help of Civian, a young teen she found alone on the streets.

2. Catfolk Expert (Merchant) Hobbs

Hobbs has wares and goods for sale. Hobbs is actually quite intelligent and cunning in business but likes to fake being a simpler person both to catch off-guard gullible specieists and because his ragular patrons like his "simple merchant" act and play along. Hobbs has lived in Kintargo for much of his life, his parents having been merchants as well but settling down when Hobbs started to get old enough to be a handful. When Hobbs was old enough to travel and settled enough not to cause fights they started traveling again, but he missed "home" and his friends, and chose to return to Kintargo.

3. Teenage Chelaxian male Human Expert (Artist) Civian Laeva

Civian was found on the streets by Adria, bruised and bloodied after a fight with local robbers which left him without any money, clothes, or memory of who he is. After Adria nursed him back to health she started to raise him as her own child and he showed considerable skill with a sketchpad. This talent proved helpful when he sketched a man who had robbed Hobbs and he provided proof of the richer merchant which resulted in the man's imprisonment. Since then he's taken to sketching all of the patrons so to make collecting debts easier and identifying people who aren't allowed to buy from Adria or Hobbs again lest they try to rob them.

4. Female Goblin Rogue (keeps an eye on stuff) Calvin

Calvin was one of three survivors of a goblin tribe that was wiped out by adventurers. The youngest of the three goblins, she didn't flee when the adventurers removed her from the cage where she was being kept and gave her good food to eat and taught her words and letters. Unfortunately, two years ago her adoptive parents died while adventuring and Calvin barely escaped with her life by using the lessons her oldest adoptive mother taught her. Several days later a starving Calvin came across a pair of traveling Catfolk merchants who brought her back to their son Hobbs back at Kintargo, and she's "kept an eye" on Hobbs and his friends ever since to make sure they aren't taken advantage of.

5. Female Chelaxian Human Fighter Cleo Sisennus

Cleo has considerable experience as a guard, having worked both for Chuko at the War Cage and more lately as a bouncer at the bar the Thrashing Badger. Fortunately for Cleo, she was back home tending to her ill daughter, when the bar mysteriously caught fire with everyone inside dying. She was considering returning to her old job of sparring with customers at the War Cage when she happened across the Silver Ravens and was offered a chance to fight back against Thrune and his associates by helping watch folk in the Rag and Bones. It helps that her young daughter has taken a liking to the goblin Calvin and she's starting to consider this crew to be a new family even as she struggles to make ends meet.

6. Male Tiefling Expert Craftsman Civilious Vestalis

Civilious is the bastard son of a Sarini nobleman who had a dalliance with a serving maid. When she ended up pregnant, her job was terminated, but she was paid off if she promised to keep quiet about who she had slept with. All she would admit was that it was a gentleman of the Sarini noble house. She used the money to apprentice her son with a local craftsman but partway through his apprenticeship she died under mysterious circumstances. Fortunately, the craftsman was impressed with Civilious's hard work and kept him on as an apprentice until his education was complete and he could make a living for himself.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

It can only be cast against a specific foe once a day. So if you cast it "just in case" but it fails? Then it was a waste of an action. It's akin to casting Disintegrate against a foe.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

In continuing with my previous updates, I thought I'd include a write-up of one of the Teams... in this case the Rag and Bones Peddler team. Also I'm going to comment a little more on one of the players as I kind of gave Jack short shrift and he really has done a bit to liven things up.

Peddler team
Name: Rag and Bone
1. Old Varisian Female Human Expert (Herbalist) Adria Cinczllescu

Adria is a recent resident of Kintargo, having fled Korsova during the Blood Veil plague that killed many seven years earlier. Having lost her husband to the Blood Veil, she studied herbal medicines for years under the guidance of a traveling alchemist, but when he was murdered she was stuck in Kintargo with nowhere to go. She's since started her own small business selling herbal remedies to the poor and needy, collecting herbs herself and then later with the help of Civian, a young teen she found alone on the streets.

2. Catfolk Expert (Merchant) Hobbs

Hobbs has wares and goods for sale. Hobbs is actually quite intelligent and cunning in business but likes to fake being a simpler person both to catch off-guard gullible specieists and because his ragular patrons like his "simple merchant" act and play along. Hobbs has lived in Kintargo for much of his life, his parents having been merchants as well but settling down when Hobbs started to get old enough to be a handful. When Hobbs was old enough to travel and settled enough not to cause fights they started traveling again, but he missed "home" and his friends, and chose to return to Kintargo.

3. Teenage Chelaxian male Human Expert (Artist) Civian Laeva

Civian was found on the streets by Adria, bruised and bloodied after a fight with local robbers which left him without any money, clothes, or memory of who he is. After Adria nursed him back to health she started to raise him as her own child and he showed considerable skill with a sketchpad. This talent proved helpful when he sketched a man who had robbed Hobbs and he provided proof of the richer merchant which resulted in the man's imprisonment. Since then he's taken to sketching all of the patrons so to make collecting debts easier and identifying people who aren't allowed to buy from Adria or Hobbs again lest they try to rob them.

4. Female Goblin Rogue (keeps an eye on stuff) Calvin

Calvin was one of three survivors of a goblin tribe that was wiped out by adventurers. The youngest of the three goblins, she didn't flee when the adventurers removed her from the cage where she was being kept and gave her good food to eat and taught her words and letters. Unfortunately, two years ago her adoptive parents died while adventuring and Calvin barely escaped with her life by using the lessons her oldest adoptive mother taught her. Several days later a starving Calvin came across a pair of traveling Catfolk merchants who brought her back to their son Hobbs back at Kintargo, and she's "kept an eye" on Hobbs and his friends ever since to make sure they aren't taken advantage of.

5. Female Chelaxian Human Fighter Cleo Sisennus

Cleo has considerable experience as a guard, having worked both for Chuko at the War Cage and more lately as a bouncer at the bar the Thrashing Badger. Fortunately for Cleo, she was back home tending to her ill daughter, when the bar mysteriously caught fire with everyone inside dying. She was considering returning to her old job of sparring with customers at the War Cage when she happened across the Silver Ravens and was offered a chance to fight back against Thrune and his associates by helping watch folk in the Rag and Bones. It helps that her young daughter has taken a liking to the goblin Calvin and she's starting to consider this crew to be a new family even as she struggles to make ends meet.

6. Male Tiefling Expert Craftsman Civilious Vestalis

Civilious is the bastard son of a Sarini nobleman who had a dalliance with a serving maid. When she ended up pregnant, her job was terminated, but she was paid off if she promised to keep quiet about who she had slept with. All she would admit was that it was a gentleman of the Sarini noble house. She used the money to apprentice her son with a local craftsman but partway through his apprenticeship she died under mysterious circumstances. Fortunately, the craftsman was impressed with Civilious's hard work and kept him on as an apprentice until his education was complete and he could make a living for himself.

---------------

As an aside, I probably should mention a bit more about Ironwood Jack. I have been somewhat quiet about his deeds as I don't want to mention his background and spoiler things, but he's got quite the fun background and between he and Nox Rosalia, they've basically been doing the lion's share of running the Silver Ravens (with Jimmy also starting to help out more).

Jack may not be a master of disguise, but he is at the very least a journeyman of disguises and has created several persona that he travels around Kintargo as. Most amusing is Danae, a tiefling begger who... is memorable. It was most amusing in fact with the tooth faeries because as his player continued hamming up Danae, he had Danae comment about having lost her golden tooth. This was before they knew there were tooth faeries involved... and before they found the lair of the tooth faeries (which included a golden tooth, a prize that puzzles me because if anyone rich enough to have a golden tooth was accosted by tooth faeries, I'd be surprised that it didn't become news.

Another disguise of his was the dockworker Big Owen who came in to Clenchjaw's to disrupt the bar brawl (which was in fact the reveal that Jack had a pistol - outside of the silver morningstar which he claimed among the Silver Ravens' loot (which had not been divvied up or even sold off after the group found it) all of his weapons are fairly easily concealable (including a cane sword). Big Owen's the face he uses when going to the rougher taverns in Kintargo.

A third persona, though one that is currently unnamed, is... well, I won't go into details here as it would spoiler certain events that are coming up.

Ironwood Jack himself is not his proper name (think of it as akin to "Indiana Jones" with Indiana being the dog's name) but it is the name he's used in opening up a bank account at the Church of Abadar and when he went to ensure he could acquire rights to use the old Cloven Hoof Society building for use in opening up the new soup kitchen - partly as a method of getting tieflings off the streets and try and ensure whoever was targeting the tieflings would instead go after old Danae... a plot that ultimately worked.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

The other thing you could do is have Laria be an adopted member of the family through a cadet line. Thus both your PC and Laria can both be heirs to the "Urvis" family.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Yeah. This was... decidedly unhelpful. I'm sorry but at the very least you could have included some basic rules for converting foes to the 2nd edition monster rules. You could have shown an example - for instance, Nualia from Rise of the Runelords could have been shown from her 1st edition to 2nd edition, and why these choices were made. Or you could have shown one of the monsters from the rules which aren't in PF2 and how you could do an approximation for the monster.

For all the aspects of 2nd edition I like, I'm running two 1st edition campaigns that are not going to wrap up for a couple of years at least. Admittedly, this gives the PF2 rules time to settle with any addendums or rules fixes you implement, but given the huge number of PF1 content I have available and players happy with the current rules? There's little incentive to switch over. This didn't help matters any, I'm truly sorry to say.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

One of the things I'll be doing with my Hell's Rebels game is looking at the concept of consequences. One such consequence came up because when the group saved Forvian Crow and his cohorts, they never came across Kossrani, who was running the Salt Works. They took the money he'd been storing there but while Nox Rosalia snagged a bag of salt (and really wanted to loot the whole thing), they basically went in, grabbed the guys there, and walked out. Kossrani was livid.

He also didn't want to spend his money. Now, he still had salt which he could deliver and get some money together... but was loathed to talk to his boss and admit that some bored citizens had broken in and freed the prisoners working for him. And then as he saw a citizen of Kintargo press-ganged into service in one of the local ships, he had a brilliant idea. He should "recruit" people to work for him. But who?

He actually did a little homework and found out that the "Silver Ravens" who had stolen his workers had also recently helped out the tieflings in the Devil's Nursery by reopening the Cloven Hoof Society's building as a soup kitchen and also dealing with whoever was killing them. He wanted revenge against these Silver Ravens. This could give him both.

So he recruited four more men to help him out, promised them any of the women they wanted and all the money they looted when the Silver Ravens returned, and set up a press gang in the Devil's Nursery. They took 16 tieflings and poor humans prisoner by spilling money on the ground and snagging anyone who grabbed a coin, and headed back to the Salt Works to put them to work:

Quote:
Several days into working with the Bright Falcons in helping them become better rumormongers while in the Devil's Nursery, you hear hammering. It attracts your attention and as you approach you see a man hammering a flier. Other people are gathering, both humans and tieflings, and the man tosses some coins on the ground. As the tieflings gather the coins eagerly the man grins and says "You have taken the coin! Thank you for volunteering to work for the Salt Works! Boys, grab them!" The tieflings are grabbed by the humans and a cart appears with a cage in the back where the tieflings are manhandled into.

Nox Rosalia was too far away to do anything (and was outnumbered) but did see what happened. While she was too late to stop the other press gangs, she did leave warning as to what was happening and promised the Silver Ravens would help. She then returned and recruited her friends who decided they should ask Vendalfek to help.

Joy.

Worse, they used outright flattery to talk Vendalfek into helping out. And it was quite effective. He knew they were flattering him to get him to help but he likes the Ravens and was a little bit bored so why not? Fortunately... Faerie Dragons are not quite as much of a threat as you'd think, especially if you play them as the whimsical and easily-distracted dragons they are. ;)

The group (mostly) went in disguise, with Vogal as Menthe, Kyofu as the Bloody Terror (wearing a half mask over the upper part of her face), and Nox Rosalia as herself (Nox Rosalia being the disguise). Jack went as himself to be the "face" of the Silver Ravens, while Jimmy doesn't quite understand why he should be disguised. Oh, and Vendalfek went as himself because whee! shiny distractions!

Heading there to attack right around curfew, the group found a pair of guards were posted at the main door going in. Rather than attack and cause a scene, they circled around to the back gate. While there was nothing in the write-up to say there were locks on the bars, it honestly doesn't make sense to me that there wouldn't be another way in there. This was a legitimate business until recently, and I don't see Thrune as being someone who'd pay extra money to make this a prison (not when people are just locked in a back room), so the bars were likely more to keep thieves out. Thus a padlock and chains on the main gate, and a second smaller gate by the barracks.

After a bit of a... discussion on why the Acid Splash cantrip cannot melt its way through locks (it can't beat the hardness of the metal) Nox Rosalia was able to pick the lock easily and in far less time than the 10+ minute argument with one of my players. She also was able to unlock the main gate itself for when they freed the prisoners.

The barracks had a group of guards settling down to sleep (amusingly enough these were the guards from the first fight and honestly would have just surrendered outright upon seeing the Ravens again). After Vendalfek had fun trying to prank them with his breath weapon while invisible, Vendalfek left, the guards closed the door without realizing there was anyone outside, and the group jammed the lock shut on the door. That was four guards that were dealt with, non-lethally.
The previous game ended with the group just about ready to go through the back door to find the prisons.

------------

Last night's game started up a little late (as per usual) as I had players double-check their sheets, refresh themselves as to what they can do, and also pick a free Feat due to the Silver Ravens being at rank 4. Alertness was a fan favorite with three players choosing it for boosts to Perception and Sense Motive, while Deceitful and Stealthy were also chosen.

Jack listened and realized the guards were on the other side and waiting for them. Then the group discussed trapping the door. They considered setting up a trip line and then going through another door (until I pointed out the only other door had guards in front of it and they had gone through it the first time) and causing a commotion to draw the guards out into the loading dock and a "kill zone" until Nox Rosalia pointed out that they'd be bringing the prisoners out that way.

(As an aside? The guards were waiting for the PCs to go through the front door. The initial guards were to warn if they saw anyone coming and then two guards inside would delay the Silver Ravens until the main crew could arrive and take out the Ravens. Kossrani was actually hoping to get as many of them alive as possible to use as slave labor but any deaths among the Ravens would not be a bad thing. So it was a trap, but the group were at the wrong end of it and at a prime opportunity to surprise them.)

So finally it was decided to go through the door. Jack knocked on the door and having no reason to expect this to NOT be one of the guards in the barracks, a guard opened the door to be met by Jack and a gun pressed up against his head as he said "You seem to have some of our friends. We want them freed, now."

Nox Rosalia and Jimmy tumbled past Jack and the guard into the room while Menthe and a Rage-song-singing Bloody Terror were still outside. Two of the guards held their actions until they knew what Kossrani wanted them to do, but one guard went running off to grab the other guards. And then Kossrani spoke, demanded the others kill the Ravens, threw a Tanglefoot bag at Jack (and missed horribly, throwing into combat you know, though he DID thoroughly entangle Jack's prisoner), and things went plum-shaped... well, for the baddies.

Mind you, Menthe basically did nothing for much of the fight. Initially she held her action for if Jack's prisoner did anything. He didn't. Then her player went off to get some food and missed the next turn while I reset her initiative to lower and lower until finally half an hour later she returned. Seriously, if you're playing remotely and you are stepping away from your computer, UNPLUG THE HEADSET SO WHEN YOU'RE CALLED FOR, YOU HEAR IT! (The kicker is that two players were at that house and BOTH stepped away from their computers. *sigh*)

Still, the fight was initially four enemies - a 2nd level Stalker, two level 1 fighters, and Kossrani. They were soon joined by a level 1 warrior and a 2nd level Ranger. The warrior who had fled to get reinforcements was getting the two remaining level 1 warriors who were outside. They... didn't arrive in time.

For all my concerns about Vendalfek, he proved less-than-useful. His breath weapon was shrugged off by Kossrani and while he used Grease to great effect on Kossrani's mace (I figure he was going for funny rather than tactically sound) his illusionary demon he "summoned" was at the tail end of the fight and ended up just being used to amuse himself.

The Bloody Terror on the other hand proved quite effective, as she used Ear-Piercing Scream against Kossrani twice. Each time he failed his save and was Dazed. And outside of a couple of hits against Jack, no one else among the PCs got hit.

It was Nox Rosalia who struck the final blow, rolling a natural 20 after spending a temporary Hero Point to buff her to-hit bonus to use her rapier for non-lethal damage. Kossrani was at 6 hit points at that point and went to -10 non-lethal. Jack ordered the others to flee and they would be allowed to live, and the guards decided they would gladly keep their wages and equipment (especially as last time the Silver Ravens had taken their gold and weapons).

While a couple guards were hurt in the fight (one brought to 0 hit points), none had died. In fact, not even Kossrani died, though that was primarily due to the actions of Nox Rosalia seeing the others were quite willing to kill him to stop him from doing this in the future. And let's be honest... the masked swordswoman stepping in close and slamming the pommel of her rapier into the dwarven slaver's head to knock him out was quite the dramatic scene.

Seeing it was the evening of when the Tieflings were taken prisoner, no one had been raped. They had been threatened with it, but while there were scared people there, no one had been mistreated worse than just being forced to work as a slave for an afternoon. The Silver Ravens stripped Kossrani stark naked, pinned a note on his beard stating "Don't ever do this again. Sincerely, the Silver Ravens"

They then escorted the Tieflings back to the Devil's Nursery. Any guards were busy with the Salt Works guards or staying away from the Devil's Nursery. (I rolled a 91 for an encounter chance, even with 16 tieflings in tow. Though it was soon after curfew had started so the guards were probably all around other taverns and snagging late-leaving people.)

That night, Jimmy, King Under the Mountain, knighted the faerie dragon Vendalfek before the other Silver Ravens. While the King does not have much land outside of his cellar kingdom (which has quite the bountiful harvest of mushrooms!) who knows what the future could bring... and in time, Sir Vendalfek could even become perhaps a Count! Vendalfek was quite flattered by the gesture... if slightly nervous at a sword wielded close to his head while he was knighted.

--------

The next day the group went back home to make excuses to parents or went in disguise to see what happened to the dwarf, and Kyofu and Jimmy went back to the Longroad Coffee Shop to find three more guards accosting Laria and demanding to search the facility. Kyofu bribed them to leave as it was about to get busy, the guards agreed it was probably a student prank, and it was a very healthy bribe (2 gold each). Seeing it was a noblewoman from House Aulamaxa, the guards just shrugged off the bribe as a noblewoman wanting coffee and not wanting to be pestered by them tearing up the place. And it was the second warning with nothing being found previously so.....

While at the coffee shop, they chatted with Rexus who has been... feeling quite depressed of late. It has been a month since he's been out in the sun and wind. He's been busy with those notes on the Ravens and while he learned a bit (including how they were mostly worshipers of Milani, goddess of rabblerousers and righteous rebellions) he was feeling a bit useless. The group then got interested in Milani and Nox Rosalia proved herself to be a scholar on Milani and explained a little bit about the faith, even as Jack also seemed to have some scholarly knowledge about it (ah, Knowledge Religion!) but suggested that if there were any Milanites in Kintargo, they were probably keeping their heads low at the moment.

That's where we ended it for the night.

The group is now at level 3.

Known aspects about the group:
Kyofu: singer and guitar-player whose songs get people angrier and stronger
Vogal/Menthe: spellcaster who wears armor
Jimmy: sneaky warrior who can detect evil?
Nox Rosalia: sneaky warrior who can parry and riposte!
Ironwood Jack: sneaky sort with a pistol!

Next game will be in two weeks.

Edit: As a quick aside, I more than welcome comments from any readers! But please do not post spoilers, not even with the Spoiler tag, seeing one of my players regularly reads spoilers despite my not liking that practice. So things like whoever is responsible for sending anonymous notes to the Dottari or the like? Don't mention who is behind it, and when the PCs finally figure things out? I'll write it up here. ^^ Thank you!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Heyla all! I've been thinking of doing write-ups on my second campaign for a while now but kept on being lazy so... it's been half a year or so.

Hell's Rebels is an AP I've been wanting to run for quite some time. Unfortunately, my initial choice for the campaign backed out because "it's too political" - as if fighting evil overlords is political or that there is no politics in FRPGs in general. Whatevs. My second choice was my remote access group, but at the time they were two thirds of their way through Rise of the Runelords. Knowing how they work, I decided to... speed things up. I cut the unnecessary encounters and managed to cut probably a year off of the adventure (seeing we were meeting probably 18 times a year).

That's when the 2nd edition playtest came along. I actually held off on starting the remote HR game because I was truly interested in it. And I must say there are some aspects of 2nd edition I truly like... but the execution of the playtest was problematic (jumping from character to character without doing gradual leveling up was not a good idea, at least in my eyes). So that ended up delaying the game by close to a year. Still, we had crafted characters (and had a couple evolve from their initial creation).

Our group consists of the following:

Nox Rosalia - a pale-skinned masked lady who wields a whip and a rapier but who has remained closed-mouthed about her past, family, abilities, where she lives... you know, the perfect revolutionary.

Jimmy, aka King Under the Mountain - a rather bombastic halfling who has a sock puppet dressed up as a queen who he calls "Queen Mum" and lives in the Devil's Nursery, and a talented warrior with his longsword.

Kyofu Aulamaxa - a bored noble and great granddaughter of the head of the household, her dad had a hard night on the town one night and a year later had an unexpected bundle delivered. She's musically apt and good in a fight.

Vogal Shemat - Kyofu's best friend, appeared at the same time as Kyofu to said noble's best friend who was a rich merchant, and is a bit of a magically-inclined rabble-rouser who enjoys mint tremendously. Seriously.

Ironwood Jack - a latecomer to these parts, claims to be from Absalom and carries around a pistol (and seems to know how to use it) but also knows a bit about how to do a good rebellion and has joined this crew due to his friendship with Laria.

-----------

What came before: During the Aria Park Incident, the King Under the Mountain tried to increase the number of people willing to serve him and helped chase off a pickpocket and overheard some interesting rumors before the fight with Thrune's lackeys broke out. The protest also lured in Kyofu and her best bud Vogal who were looking for a good fight, which they got. Also, a young firebrand named Nox Rosalia hid in the crowd and then when things went south she arrived on scene to help our heroes overcome their foes and then flee.

They came across a young man being accosted by over a dozen thugs dressed up as the Spanish Inquisition - er, I mean the Cheliax Citizen's Group and saved the young nobleman - Rexus Victocora, the lone surviving member of House Victocora who was quite sure Barzillai Thrune, new Lord-Mayor of Kintargo, had been responsible for the fire that destroyed his family estate and apparently killed everyone else in the Victocora family. In fact, three odd fires had cropped up the same night, also burning down the Siver Star music shop belonging to opera singer Shensen (an outspoken critic of the Thrune noble family), and the Thrashing Badger bar which was a known hangout of rabblerousers and people associated with the rebellious cult of Milani.

After following up on some clues Rexus had, the group found a stash of coded documents from an old rebel group called the Silver Ravens. After an impassioned plea by Rexus the group decided to become the new Silver Ravens and went to the Longroad Coffee Shop to talk to Rexus's mother's friend, Laria, and helped her deal with a problem under her coffee shop, and in doing so found a home for their new rebellion. They also recruited a group of four tengu to work for them and in turn allowed them to continue to live under the coffee shop.

After a week of lying low, the group recruited a group of six entertainers that Nox Rosalia was keeping an eye on, the Bright Falcons, and started to figure out just what they should do to help out around Kintargo. Even as Rexus started to decode the notes, the new Silver Ravens started doing good deeds by freeing folk who had been forced to work at the Salt Works (and did so without killing a single guard!), and also learned that someone had it out for Laria as three guards arrived on scene... fortunately, Vogal spilled her drink on one of the guards and they got so flustered (even as Vogal kept trying to clean things up) that they left in disgust.

Soon after they met with Laria's friend Jack, who had helped her with her Bellflower Network (smuggling halfling slaves out of Kintargo) even as others in the group learned about the killing of Tieflings at the Devil's Nursery. (Seeing that one of the PCs lived there, it made sense for them to learn about it early on.) and Jack helped them lure out the culprits, a group of 10 tooth faeries that tried to take one of Jimmy's teeth. Fortunately for the group, Vogal suffered a... mishap when trying to use a simple cantrip and what SHOULD have targeted just one fae ended up hitting everyone in the area with frost, killing several of the fae and wounding the rest (and her fellow party members). Jimmy's tooth recovered and put back in place, the fae were wiped out and evidence of dark dealings were found.

It was soon after then that Jimmy heard rumors of a dragon seen flying way in the sky outside of Crackjaw's, a local dive that had started getting more rowdy following the destruction of the Thrashing Badger. It was at that time that Vogal decided to stop risking her identity getting her dad into trouble, and using a magical toy of hers (Sleeves of Many Garments - an item that Nox Rosalia also possesses and uses as part of her disguise-crafting kit) to create her new rebellion persona, Menthe - a mint-themed heroine. And yes, F##k U is embroidered into the hem of her outfit.

Menthe was so amusing to the culprit behind the bar fights that the faerie dragon Vendalfek failed to properly hide, and Menthe succeeded in spying the wee dragon. They tried to ply him with drinks but he had mischief in mind at first and tried to start a bar brawl... at which point Ironwood Jack (in one of his several disguises) walked into the bar, saw the fight, drew his gun, fired a round into the ceiling, and demanded to know what was going on.

An embarrassed Jimmy got off the back of one patron, the patrons apologized to each other, Clenchjaw thanked Jack for stopping the fight, and the group proceeded to try and get a faerie dragon drunk and in doing so convinced him to go back with them and join the Silver Ravens. And while there they also met several people that they recruited to be the second team for the Ravens, a peddler band they're calling Rag and Bone.

As of the previous game (where this summary will end) this is the state of the Silver Ravens:
Ending the fourth week since the Aria Park Protests
Rank 4, 39 Supporters, Notoriety: 2
Allies: Laria Longroad, Rexus Victocora, Vendalfek
Teams: Bright Falcons (Rumormongers), Rag and Bone (Peddlers), Fushi Sisters (Bonus Team)


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

From the Mythic rules: A mythic lich’s phylactery can’t be harmed by non-mythic sources. At 8th rank, the phylactery becomes a minor artifact, and can be destroyed by only one specific method.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Now this? This is constructive criticism. Thank you, Pnakotus Detsujin, for articulating what works and what doesn't work beyond just a generic "the permadeath of the PCs is unfair."

(It will be quite a few years before I run this in all likelihood. My group is half a year into Reign of Winter and has only in the last game reached Waldsby and started interacting with folks there. Then again, we also only meet every other week and they are very much into roleplay rather than rolling dice so...)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Isn't Pathfinder Society busy moving to 2nd edition? So why would they sanction this for 1st edition PFS? That would encourage the 1st edition to remain in the system for longer rather than push everyone to 2nd ed.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I agree that Tar Baphon should take many months to reform. That said, while he might have reformed within 10 days, the fact he seems to be settled down in one area may suggest there was something about his ending here that has weakened him somehow so that he doesn't dare leave his island kingdom... or can't leave it. His minions can. And they're raiding areas. But for some reason he didn't just march immediately upon Absalom once more.

Ultimately it's up to the GM as to what happened to Tar Baphon. If you want to have him be destroyed as well? You can! Or if you decide that the force of being brought back from a state of utter destruction stripped his Mythic aspect away? Go for it! As a level 20 Wizard Lich he is already massively powerful and I've no real idea how you would depict him using 2nd edition rules, for those people who plan on using them.

The game, and the Adventure Path, is yours. Modify it as you will. :)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I chose not to comment initially because there is no logical reason for the PCs to learn about the Soul Anchor prematurely. And removing the heart from the Soul Anchor after Barzillai's death doesn't stop his plans... so essentially the only thing the PCs might learn is the Kintargo Contract and maybe about Barzillai's long-term plans. Yet by killing him, Imprisoning him, or doing anything other than shipping him out of the region will just delay his plans.

After all, removing his heart and putting it in the Soul Anchor is part of his ritual. If you somehow had your 4th to 6th level group manage to successfully ambush Barzillai and kill him prior to his attacking the Soul Anchor? Then sure, they could prevail and stop his plans early. Otherwise, the campaign will eventually end with how things played out in Book 6.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

It's not difficult at all, really.

As for converting old stuff, there is a simple solution: divide all treasures by 10. After all, if the silver is the new gold piece, then 1 gold in the old system is now 10 silver.

So let's say you have a treasure trove of 1,250 gold. It's now 125 gold. But it is worth 1,250 silver and is just as valuable as it was before.

To be honest, I've long preferred a silver-based economy for my games but didn't want to be bothered converting things to my own economy and just accepted Golarion's gold-based economy. Now? Now it's a lot better in my eyes and honestly won't change that much!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

The difference between the party members and Tar Baphon is that the party members are not Mythic. Tar Baphon has 10 Mythic Tiers. He is a demi-god and his phylactery is a minor artifact and can only be destroyed by one specific method. Also, it's debatable whether or not liches have souls. So, unless a humble ant or something like that crawled over his phylactery, he's coming back. It'll take a week or so (during which time the Absalom military will eliminate as much of his undead army as they can, which explains why he just doesn't start up again where he'd left off) and he'll probably be trying to recoup his losses and figure out what went wrong.

As for why he doesn't have his maginuke anymore? It may very well be that the combined essence of the souls of those with obols was enough to excise the shard of an artifact from Tar Baphon, or disempower it. It is hinted in the flavour text that his shard exploded as well which would mean he'd have to insert another shard into his arm and hope it didn't kill him to regain this ability.

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