Mierul Ardelain

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I've got some questions about how this spell can be used.

Hallucinatory Terrain wrote:

You create an illusion that causes natural terrain to look, sound, feel, and smell like a different kind of terrain. This doesn’t disguise any structures or creatures in the area.

Any creature that touches the illusion or uses the Seek action to examine it can attempt to disbelieve your illusion.

So... let's say you cast Hallucinatory Terrain over a pond (or maybe quicksand), and make it look like solid ground.

Does this work? Is "pond" or "quicksand" a type of terrain? Does it count as a structure?

The hallucinatory terrain feels like normal terrain. Can a creature walk on it with a pond underneath? This would give them a save against the illusion, so would they only fall into the water if they successfully disbelieved the illusion?

I like the idea of making a clever pit trap out of this.

Could you use Hallucinatory Terrain to make illusory difficult terrain? Or cover up difficult terrain with an illusion of a nice flat field, then walk over it?

How would you guys rule this?

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I think this may be my least favorite part of the adventure so far. I was quite looking forward to a social/skill adventure, but this is sort of a mess.

For reference, my players were:
An Elf Bard
A Half-Elf Rogue, multiclassed Bard
An Elf Cleric of Cayden Cailean, multiclassed Fighter (this character had the highest Stealth and Deception scores)

First off, my players didn't bite on the "K" lead, cutting out a lot of adventure content, since it's focused heavily on laying red herrings for "K" and assuming that the players are investigating this.

My players spent the 3 days leading up to the gala laying their own plans, rather than investigating. The Bard succeeded in gathering information about the gala, but no-one asked about Necerion, "K", or the Kelpie's Wrath.

The Rogue initially tried to find information on the guards in the fortress, but since the adventure doesn't mention this being relevant at all, it was pretty much fruitless.

Two of the party members (the Bard and Rogue) decided to put on a performance, with the Rogue disguised as Necerion going around ruining all of the pirates' fun, and the Bard heroically stopping the villain. A critical success on the part of our "hero" made him an instant celebrity.

The Cleric decided to steal the flag from the Blackguard's Revenge, which Besmara cursed her for, and spread a rumor that bringing the flag to the Kelpie's Wrath on the night of the gala would grant a blessing from Besmara. (To make a distraction.)

At the gala, my players were initially interested in Kadhibat, since he had gathered a crowd, but quickly decided that there was nothing to be gained by talking to him, since they didn't really care who "K" was.

Necerion was in disguise, since he had been publicly embarrassed by the party impersonating him, recognized his rival, tipped off Kasbeel, and snuck off without the party beating his Disguise roll.

The Rogue cast Detect Magic early on and then spent most of the rest of the session complaining about the Faerie Fire effect.

The Bard brought a gift to Whark, but didn't talk to her any further, since it seemed an inopportune time. Nobody seemed to think of warning her that The Last Theorem was going to be stolen.

After Necerion pointed out the party, Kasbeel talked to the Rogue, dropping hints that Necerion had seen them, and inviting them to join her in the next procession. None of the characters were suicidal enough to enter an infernal pact with a contract devil. (The Bard did go "Oh! This is 'K'!" after the contract devil introduced herself, though.)

The party decided to stick around for the procession, to see what was up, and the Cleric and Bard used the distraction to enter the kitchens. The PCs discovered that the kitchens and servants' quarters are not part of the gala, and spells can be cast in this area.

Nothing much happened after this, since there are only 3 NPCs in the entire gala.

The party waited for the next procession, and started their fabricated distraction, shooting the flag of the Blackguard's Revenge into the cliff above the fortress with a Beacon Arrow. They buffed up in the kitchen, including the Bard dispelling the Faerie Fire, then snuck into Whark's room, disabled the trap, and found the secret door.

The portal trap in the next room confused the players, and the Rogue complained about the DC of the Arcana check to figure out the trap. They tried each door once and then pretty much gave up on it. The Cleric used Stone Tell to get the answer.

Necerion got noticed by the Rogue's Sense the Unseen shortly after this, and then got absolutely rolled by the party. He just didn't have the action economy to compete.

We stopped here after a 4-hour session. The party is about to enter the mirror room.

Overall, I'm a bit confused by the scenario. It's supposed to be a social/skill scenario, but the gala seems to be nothing more than a short setup for the dungeon crawl, and there are only 3 NPCs to interact with. There's not any meaningful interaction with the gala, and not enough for me to extrapolate off of to deal with the PC's doing something creative. The skill DC's in this chapter were outrageous, and even the PCs optimized for skill use were consistently failing them. I'm sure you'll hear a bit from the Rogue's player on the Faerie Fire curse, but I'm inclined to go easier on that part (this is a fairly high-magic setting, the PCs were warned not to use magic, and there is a place to safely cast spells).

Well, I had a player drop out due to school starting up, so I'm down to a party of 3. I thought I'd post the encounter adjustments I've made for others to use if needed.

I was pleasantly surprised that these took me about 5 minutes to scribble out on a piece of scrap paper rather than the hour or so I probably would have spent on it in PF1.

Lake Monster - Extreme 9, remove 30XP of challenge
Apply the Weak template to Lake Monster

Tulaeth & Treants - Severe 9, remove 30XP of challenge
Remove 1 Treant

Cyclops Longhouse - High 9, remove 20XP of challenge
Remove 1 Cyclops and the Smilodon

Roc Nest - High 9, remove 20XP of challenge
Apply Weak template to both Rocs

Liruthall's Lair - Severe 9, remove 30XP of challenge
Replace Fire Giant with Stone Giant

Giant Mercenaries - Severe 9, remove 30XP of challenge
Remove 3 Trolls

Night Heralds, no Ally Points - Higher than Extreme, remove 40XP of challenge
Remove 1 Mummy Retainer and 1 Cultist

Night Heralds, 2-3 Ally Points - Extreme 9, remove 40XP of challenge
Remove 1 Mummy Retainer and 1 Cultist

Night Heralds, 4+ Ally Points - Severe 9, remove 30XP of challenge
Remove 1 Cultist

The Night Heralds encounter is a little inexact, since the XP values don't add up nicely, but I figured a little wiggle room is okay. The XP totals don't exactly correspond to the challenge levels to begin with.

My party has defeated Liruthall and the Lake Monster so far, and seems to be having a good time. They've been sparing no spell slot on the challenging encounters.

Edit: NEVERMIND! I found the ability glossary.

PSA. Not only are these defined in the ability glossary, a lot of them require spending separate actions. I probably ran a combat with a little too much action economy on the monster's side. Whoops.

Some monsters have attacks with effects in addition to damage, like a grab or a trip. I have a pretty simple question about this: Does the monster automatically grab/trip/whatever when they succeed with the attack, or do they still have to roll the Athletics check as well?

I would expect this to be noted in the bestiary, but I didn't see it.

Also, there are monsters listed with Knockdown (like the hyenas), which should probably be Trip instead.

One of my players asked me about the Twin Parry Fighter feat, which says:

Twin Parry wrote:
You use your two weapons to parry attacks. If neither weapon is agile or if either weapon has the parry trait, you gain a +2 circumstance bonus to AC until the start of your next turn. Otherwise, you gain a +1 circumstance bonus to AC until the start of your next turn instead. You lose the circumstance bonus if you no longer meet the requirement.

He thinks that the "If neither weapon is agile" should be "If either weapon is agile". I'm inclined to rule it as written, since it makes sense to me that heavier weapons would be more effective at parrying. Also, the "either" interpretation is much more permissive in that you only need one agile weapon to get the +2.

Any thoughts?

My group had our first playtest session last night, and it went very well! We had an absolute blast, although I'd attribute that to some excellent roleplaying more than the system.

We only made it about halfway through the dungeon, due to time taken on character creation, breaking for dinner, and other distractions.

Orrum, dwarf fighter (Pathfinder Hopeful background)
Cassander, half-elf paladin of Shelyn (Mind Quake Survivor background)
Charanpal, human cleric of Sarenrae (Esoteric Scion background)
Hawthorne, halfling bard (Family Friend background)

How long did it take to play this part of Doomsday Dawn?
2.5 hours spent playing so far. Our group paused in the fountain room to continue next week.

How long did it take to prepare this part of the adventure (time spent reading, gathering materials, etc.)?
About 2 hours reading the adventure, copying down monster stats, and other adventure-related tasks. If we're counting time spent reading the playtest rulebook to learn the system, add another 8 to that.

How many sessions did it take for you to play through this part of the adventure?
Pending. I expect 2.

How many Hero Points (in total) did you give out during this part of the adventure?
I have given out 4 so far, since everyone brought food to the last session.

How many times was a player character reduced to 0 Hit Points during this part of the adventure?
0 so far.

How many player characters were killed during this part of the adventure?
0 so far.

Our group is mostly very experienced Pathfinder players, and we had 1 new player with us. We were able to walk him through character creation pretty easily. I'd guess character creation took around 1.5 hours total. The dwarf fighter's player had to keep getting up to check on dinner, so it was a bit later by the time we got started playing.

We did some roleplaying to introduce the characters and the adventure premise, and the party entered the dungeon.

The sewer ooze rolled a natural 20 on its stealth, and wasn't noticed by the party. The fighter got knocked down by its filth wave, and was generally covered in various sorts of goop for the rest of the session.

The party had no problems with the goblins in the first hallway. The cleric kept the fighter topped off on HP very well, and threw in some Produce Flame when he could get a good shot. The bard used Inspire Courage and occasionally fired his shortbow to great effect. The fighter and paladin did good damage and were fairly accurate. They did find the treasures, including the owlbear claw, but no one cast detect magic on anything, and they didn't take the hour to identify the potion.

The party failed the roll to examine the goblin bodies. The cleric decided to burn them so they didn't come back as undead. The paladin recalled some dubious knowledge about vampires, though nothing especially relevant.

The combo of the fighter blocking a hallway, with the paladin with a glaive behind, was absolutely devastating to the monsters in the dungeon. Especially with Retributive Strike. The centipede room was a piece of cake to the party, since only one centipede could attack at a time.

The players wanted to avoid the fungus room, but after two critical failures on knowledge checks, the fighter and the bard believed the fungus was actually both edible and delicious, and went in to harvest some. The fighter critically failed his save against the spores and became stupefied, which didn't really affect his character much other than drooling more than normal. He did hit himself for 9 damage while confused, though, which the paladin patched up. The bard managed to make every save against the spores, even when the cleric blew it up with fire magic while he was still in the room.

In the fountain room, the party decided to send the fighter to get the idol, who, in his stupefied state, hit it with a hammer instead. They dispatched the quasits easily with a good Burning Hands from the cleric. One of the quasits critically failed its save.