Beltias Kreun

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When our party heard about Treerazer, we all said together, "We're killing him." There was no ifs, ands, or buts about it. We planned to come back and take him down!

However, our GM unfortunately has very little time left in the states and has to depart soon, so we won't get an "official" battle with Treerazer though we plan to go ahead and level our party to 20th level just to take him on.

I really enjoyed your take on a Treerazer path there James. In fact, it might make sense that when the party returns to Kyonin that they start hearing about demon attacks through the elf gates and have to deal with Treerazer's demonic attacks all over the world! It be a world jumping epic fight! Return to Riddleport to defend it against the demons and more! Could be really interesting as a rush to save the world from Treerazer. There's no real reason to not stop him in that case or even have him tied to Abraxis. He's just an evil that needs to be taken care of ASAP!

OH! Not to mention that we all plan to come back to the Drow capital to put an arrow into that Drow Noble who took away our cool corpse disguises...the Arcane Archer in our party soooooo wanted to put an arrow through the center of her forehead.

Our Arcane Archer came in fairly late into the game, and had a decent enough background to explain having a certain favored enemy that has made him quite overpowered in I believe the entire party's opinion. Not to mention certain attachments made recently to his arcane bonded Longbow, but I digress.

There is obviously a favored enemy that would make you the strongest damage dealer in your party quite easily. At level one, discuss with your GM who your character is and where he is coming from. There is a reason for many classes to have a favored enemy that suits them.

Not to mention that the Pathfinder Campaign Setting book/pdf is a great resource. IMO, if your race has a hated enemy, I would recommend for role playing aspects to make your first favored enemy that. It could work out in your favor or be worthless potentially in this adventure path, but at least you are playing your character.

Again, discuss a background with your GM. If he's read the first book, he should have a good idea of where he wants the game to go.

In our game, we didn't know that the Armageddon Echo was actually a portal. We didn't really know what it was, so when it came down to attacking the art academy, we were actually quite surprised to see a closing portal. We had to make a quick time decision and either jump through it or leave it alone.

At this point the party only knew that the Drow had apparently gone through a portal leading to someplace we didn't know. You might be able to assume that it was the Armageddon Echo but with a name like that you would have imagined something more than a portal. Still, the most likely option was some sort of retreat.

Our party consisting of plentiful people that liked to kill things decided to finish off the Drow that escaped and retrieve what information we could. That was more than enough to get us through.

Like many other people, I think you're assuming the party knows a lot about the AE. We barely knew what it was until we actually went into the portal and saw the events of Earthfall happening, then we were all like "Oh! That makes sense..."

The Elves and players know that the portal leads somewhere but we don't know if the Drow are actually retreating or doing something else. There's plenty of reason for the PCs to act as a sort of scouting party in this case. The elves know that the party was going to the academy, and the lack of human and dwarven bodies would pretty much allow them to assume that they may have pursued the Drow through the open portal, as when we returned at least our Elven companions had pretty much done what has been said by roguerouge and created a perimeter.

As a player in SD and nearly at the end of the tale, let me recount my encounter with the Winter Council.

The first time the party ever heard of the Winter Council was when we were attacked by assassins in the middle of the night. Now, for our encounter, the GM allowed us to have separate rooms if we so wished. Our party, while we work together very well, is actually quite hostile to one another so let me explain our group make-up, shown under spoilers.

Party Make-Up:
We have a Human Paladin/Fighter who acts more like a fighter than a paladin, but the GM allows it. The P/F is basically just a big melee death-giver who basically takes the hits and returns them straight back. So far, we've mostly come across those who are evil which "justifies" the P/F's role more or less.

The Half-Elf Sorcerer would sooner blow you up than look at you. He's CN and tends to be more murderous than any other member of the party. He has no qualms over killing anything, but for the most part, he hasn't gone too extreme for the other members to interfere with him.

The Half-Elf Arcane Archer has enough levels in Ranger to basically one shot every drow he sees. Not to mention that his arcane bond is his longbow which he quite recently has decided to make Holy. He's CG and for the most part he plays it, but he also likes to make deals with the Sorcerer for how they should kill people.

The Dwarven Monk/Cleric of Irori is perhaps the one solid good character in the party. I'm actually pretty sure he's LG, but I'm not sure. Still, he plays good and even threatened to stop healing the Sorcerer at one point for hostile actions on neutral creatures. He's the friend to the Arcane Archer in our party, and they do work well together.

Then there's me, the CN Half-Elf Rogue/Shadowdancer. While I have no qualms killing people, I actually have more of a list. If you're not on the list, don't make me angry at you, and I won't hurt you. While I do pickpocket and steal when I need to, I'm not going to steal something in a room full of guards...though at the moment they probably couldn't see me :P Still, I act more along a NG or CG character as I am usually the one who talks with NPCs and normally agrees to doing good things, but then again, when you're on an agenda of revenge, the world being destroyed does put a damper on those plans. My character also doesn't get along with the Sorcerer as he'd sooner blast me into oblivion and call it an accident since we just don't get along. (It's friendly banter in game, but in game our characters only work together cause we don't care about killing those who get in our way.)

By this point, our Sorcerer had procured Bubbles the Shield Guardian from our escape from the Drow.

Now onto the attack, we had all pretty much decided to have separate rooms. However, with the Shield Guardian and our Arcane Archer having a Ring of Sustenance, we all woke up to deal with the threat and were able to get were the words "the Winter Council." Now, forgive me for not remembering quite everything that happened as our GM is actually having to leave fairly soon and has been having to rush through this AP, but somehow we learned that the WC was basically a hidden group of noble elves that tried to usurp the Queen in ways that they believed benefited their kind. This unfortunately includes keeping the Drow menace a secret and made us threats as they obviously wished to silence us for good.

Now, this was our first experience with this group. We also learned that they controlled various groups within Elven Society, including ones that some of our allies from earlier in the AP belonged to, so now we were weary of them. Perhaps they were working for the WC the entire time? Were we being set-up?

Of course being thrown in a plush prison wasn't going to make us any happier. If the assassination attempt wasn't enough to set the party against the WC then the imprisonment was for sure breaking the camel's back. We went to Thorn's End, fully expecting to go through a bunch of Elven guards in order to "take care of" the WC. (Why the Paladin was okay with this, I have no clue. /shrug)

Of course, upon arriving at Thorn's End and seeing the massive Demon army outside kind of made us feel we almost weren't necessary. Now we didn't fight our way through, the Nelfeshnee actually talked with us and asked us what we were doing here and what our intents were. I don't think any of us had qualms over saying that we pretty much were there to take out the WC at that point. The Demon decided to let us through as long as our HE Bard companion stayed behind who had no qualms over this? Interesting... We, of course, agreed.

Now, upon entering we were of course asked by the captain what our intents were. Of course the rogue with the awesome bluff is totally saying we're hear to help out the WC. Well, the captain believes us and says to start a meeting. At this point, we have the paladin auto detect to see if any of them detect evil, and one guy does. Of course the pixie was pretty interesting too, but I digress.

We do "help" the WC so they have their meeting, and that's when we could really tell the WC was apparently in dire straights. While they were stressed individuals by themselves in Thorn's End, meeting with each other was like watching cats and dogs tear at each other. We didn't even get involved with their discussion unless they questioned us directly, and of course seeing one of their own not only attack one of them but turn into a Drow was like, "Oh that makes sense now."

When he pulled the spike out and lowered the defenses to the tower, we pretty much annihilated him in one round and put the spike back in before any of the demons had a chance to enter. Of course our GM wasn't too happy about that as that meant a HUGE battle was going to take place as we had to leave.

Now by this point, my character was actually interested in the fact that the WC kept the illusion that they were still strong and united while actually they were quite weak and needed to be protected. I mean, if you're going to order someone to attack a small group of adventurers, you could somehow tell someone, "Hey, we're being besieged by demons, send help ASAP." But no, they decided to keep themselves a "secret" and pretend to be strong as that is probably what has saved them time as yes if Treerazor or any of the other stronger demons had known would have attacked in full force.

Now, even if the WC was pretty much being disbanded, their political power was still strong and some of us were still interested in using them for our own purposes (*cough*me*cough*). So we decide to rescue the ragtag WC. The WC allowed us anything in the tower that we could use for the immediate future. (Magical items, HOOOOOOOOOO!) And we set up a plan, the guards would act as a meatshield for the lower level demons while we took on the Nelfeshnee and his goons as well as demons being teleported into the battle. Of course we found out about the Succubus, big surprise there. The fight actually took an incredibly long time and was very difficult. Luckily, the GM did play down a lot of their normal abilities as that would pretty much constitute a party wipe, but let me say this, I hate Mirror Image GAH! XD

We then escorted the WC back to the portal we came from and were greeted by the Queen and few of our old friends.

Now, some things in our game that came across really well was the reputation of the WC. That pretty much saved them for the most part. In fact, if you wanted to, you could play the fact that they anger the party to go after them as an excuse to try and get the party to come and rescue them. While they themselves are depressed, this is only because they are quite literally surrounded by demons with nearly no way out. What would you do in that situation? We as a party of like 5 level 12 and the WC helping us couldn't take on the Nelfeshnee and everyone else without the GM holding back. If he wanted to, he could have easily party wiped us. Could the 4 of them have taken out that group of demons? No, but they kept up the illusion that they could, which shows their experience at manipulating things. While they are weak, they kept the appearance that they were strong, and yes, it's kind of a disappointment when you walk in that door. Still, don't say they aren't still powerful. Realize that while the WC is gone for the most part, those 3 elves still have strong ties to organizations within the Elven Empire and are still quite powerful politically. Use this if you need to to emphasize that with your players.

Now on the issue of apparently looting Thorn's End, you do have the option to clearly go and attack the WC. Our party nearly did until we realized just how weak these guys were and almost pitied them...almost. If the party doesn't kill the WC, there is no point for them to loot the entire tower. Have what our GM did and say they have access to magical items that will assist them in the fight ahead and maybe future fights. Have it suit them as a character, class, and player. If the party kills the WC, they lose a lot of information on Allevrah. Not to mention that they quite possibly never find out that Elves become Drow. Perhaps the Queen knew of the weakness and actually wanted the party to rescue them and when she hears about the death of the WC is quite upset at the party, limiting their spending from the vaults as to balance them with what they found in Thorn's End.

The WC isn't a really huge disappointment. They are built up to be this strong and powerful secret illuminati, but when the party realizes just how weak they actually are, it should be when they actually meat the council members and not anytime really before that. This way you can say that both the demons and the elves believe that the council is still strong. The party should like ours almost pity them in a way.

But then again, it's your game. You run it the way you want. I thought our GM ran it well even while rushing through it. While a lot was assumed, that's how the players have to see it.

Sprith wrote:

1) No you cannot make a trip attack with weapons not marked with the trip property. In those cases, the trip is performed as an unarmed attack suffering any penalties there might be. At least this was the 3.5 rule and I don't believe it has changed.

2) You are correct here. Dispelling a permanency spell will completely remove it. It is still a normal spell effect but only it's duration has been changed so it would be treated as a normal spell effect for all purposes.

3) Greater trip is exceptionally good on paper but in a game session you'll risk a decent chance of failure and ending up prone yourself. Also remember you can only trip up to one size larger than you, DC increases by 2 for every additional leg a creature has beyond 2, many creatures types or spells render the foe untrippable. In addition to some of these conditions and risks, a character dedicated to tripping ends up having to invest alot of their progression to such a build to be effective and even still the DCs you'll likely encounter make failing a very real possibility. It does have one of the most severe failure penalties of all the maneuvers.

4) Yes, you can use a trip in place of any melee attack.

Correct me if I'm wrong, as I'm playing in the same game as Crim here, and I'm still new to P&P RPGs, why can you not make trip attempts with non-trip weapons? I mean, the only "benefit" I can tell from the book to use a trip weapon is that you can drop a trip weapon should you fail a trip attempt in order to prevent yourself from being tripped. Doesn't this mean I can take a falchion and swipe at someone's legs? It may not be the best weapon to use to trip someone, but if I see a giant sword swung by a large dwarf at my feet, I'm going to do whatever I can not to get them cut off.