The changes I have decided to make:
1. We are keeping mythic rules and will level up via GM fiat at the appropriate times listed in the books
For those of you have run this, will this be sufficient to provide some challenge to the players? If not what am I leaving out?
This has been very helpful. So far the major things im looking at fixing:
Mythic vital strike
Are there any other things in particular I should be especially critical of?
I have decided my next game will be WotR, and I have purchased the books. I have run Rise of the Runelords before so this will be my second hand at DMing. After reading over these boards for a while I am becoming very nervous about the power creep that mythic adventures introduces and want to mitigate the high end "rocket tag" as much as possible.
My group will likely range from 4-6 players with varying degrees of experience at the game. I already plan on having them do a 15 point buy... and am going to limit players to 1d6 regained surges per day in addition to using scorpions' stat blocks. Aside from this I am looking for some feedback from DMs who have gone down this path before. What rules would you have implemented if you were to start over from the beginning?
There does not appear to be a comprehensive errata yet so I am looking to you guys and your experiences to guide my own homebrew decisions.
Currently on the chopping block in my mind are: fleet charge, mythic critical focus, mythic vital strike, and wild arcana. Is this going to far or is it appropriate? Should I go further than this? I wan't to avoid having to take away my players toys once they already have them.
Just putting some feelers out there to see how many players in the Lincoln Park/Old Town/Lakeview/Wrightwood etc... area would be interesting in forming a Pathfinder centric group. I recently moved to the city and had to part ways with my previous gaming group sadly. There is a hole in my life where dice used to be. I have a few people interested so we just need a couple more and we can begin to nail down a first meeting. Right now we are looking at weeknight evenings to get started.
I have 2 years DMing experience with adventure paths which I enjoy and would be willing to run another. I read through Wrath of the Righteous and will run this AP next if I am DMing. I am also open to anyone else DMing since I have not had the opportunity to play a character in a couple of years. I generally run a fairly "adult" table that would not be suitable for the easily offended or faint of heart. I am not a rules lawyer either and am open to interpretation within reason.
Alternatively, if there are any other groups out there looking for another player, color me interested.
If anyone is interested please let me know.
Thanks for the advice. They got to the valley and were scouting via druid bird form and an invisible flying sorcerer. Suffice it to say, they were scared s&%#less and spent most of the session discussing how to get into the fort without alerting the army outside. They keep using scrying on Ameiko who was captured and they think she is in the black tower. They are using the Druid's hide campsight spell to remain hidden in the small valley leading through the iron peaks. They are currently in the deathweb cave and found the redcap tunnels. The gnome sorcerer begins to scout the tunnels without any way of seeing, and quickly bumps into a group of redcaps. As a side note, I am adding in WAAAY more redcaps to those tunnels. They are by far the funniest creature I have come across in the bestiary.
That is where we ended. Was a pretty good session overall. The druid is using his abilities to get a mammoth to follow them around now. The army is not alerted to anything yet. My prediction is they are going to skip right down to Enga and miss out on Cona, Black Monk etc. Gonna try to work Cona back in but we all know they will eventually have to go back and face the black monk if they want to get into the library. That first fight with Enga is going to turn into a horrible chain of baddies walking in on it.
I have come to these boards a few times looking for assistance concerning a party that just absolutely obliterates everything in its path. Suffice it to say, things have gotten worse not better as time has gone on. (The one upside, and I hesitate to call it an upside, is that the barbarian had to drop out of the game. If he was still in the party I shudder to think.) Right now the party is about to reach Jorgenfist and they are all level 11. They honestly don't have much in the way of awesome gear, they are just very good at min/maxing and taking good feat combos. The party has weaknesses that have shown themselves in the past (Being outnumbered, enemy spellcasters with minions, SR, DR, negative levels, traps) but the AP has not had much in the way of it yet.
The party consists of a Paladin, Monk, Druid, 2 Sorcerers. Both of the sorcerers are heavy on evocation magic (one is lightning dragon subtype so his lightning bolts are doing STUPID amounts of damage and an AC vs giants of 29). The paladin is a crit monster with a falchion and very high strength who does a combo that is hitting for over 100 damage now (Enlarge person + bulls strength + power attack + 15-20 crit range). The monk can literally not miss anything with an AC below 24 unless he rolls a 1. Druid is basically there for moral support in case one of them takes a crit to the face. As an example, they actually killed Longtooth on round 9 of the Sandpoint Raid. I had to fudge his health numbers by a significant margin to make that whole scenario the least bit challenging.
So far I have been adding mooks to encounters, maxing out health, and doing a LOT of number fudging. My frustration is that the AP is throwing nothing but big brutish enemies at the party which is precisely what they are good at killing. Stone giants are getting on average 2 rounds before they go down. The Black Monk and Mokmurian are the only things coming up that might make them sweat a little.
So I am thinking of making the following changes to encounters, and would appreciate some feedback or suggestions for improvement.
1. Give Cinderma the advanced template, max out health of runeslaves
2. Make a few of the camp leaders of the Jorgenfist army coming back from a strategy meeting inside the fortress when the players arrive.
3. Give the harpies the advanced template, max out health
4. Give all mammoths advanced templates
5. Give Embers a Handler, perhaps a Stone Giant Ranger
6. Give all normal stone giants in the caves the advanced template
7. Give Enga some minions, and perhaps a better way of using the necklace of fireballs trap.
8. Ogre tanners now have the kreeg ogre template
9. Lokansir I am very worried about, he is the type of guy my party just mows under without breaking a sweat. I am looking for some suggestions on this one.
10. Nualia is MIA, and I have been planting evidence of her trail wherever Lamashtu is brought up. Want to make her have a brief appearance with the Lamia priestesses or perhaps strong evidence she was recently there. Not sure how to do it but I want to make this fight memorable and challenging.
The rest of the section looks good. Probably doesn't need any changes aside from maxing out health. Has anyone else had problems with PC power this late in the AP? If so how did you balance it out.
My party wiped out the giants at the north gate and used a combination of dimension door and fly spells to move around. They killed Longtooth before he even got to the cathedral (2 sorcerers chain casting lightning bolt did the trick). I was a little sad I didn't get to set the town on fire. A bunch of people got abducted though, since I added more giants to the raid knowing how powerful my group was.
The AP gives several ideas on things the players can find and encounter along the wayto Jorgenfist but I want to add some other things to make the towns themselves seem different. What did other DMs do besides "you arrive in Galduria, its a small town, yada yada. Okay now you are in Wolf's Ear" Etc.. I don't like to gloss over things too much and would like to have some content, even small stuff, to make it feel real.
In my campaign Nualia has been on the loose for a while and I am thinking about leaving some clues along the way that hint at her return (probably going to place her in the Scribbler's lair as a full fledged succubus instead of the glabrezu. Going to say the Scribbler prayed to lamashtu, and she gave Nualia a vision of where to go). Other than this I was thinking of perhaps having a man and his lycanthrope wife wishing to be escorted to Wolf's Ear to escape the people who have been hunting them.
How else did you spice up this portion of your adventure?
Clarification: Book 4 part 1
Back before I began running this AP I read through this section and have mixed feelings on it. It seems like it would be very fun if done correctly, but if the DM is unprepared it could end in disaster. My players are very visual and I have a hard time enforcing rules, judging distances, etc when there is no map in front of myself and the players. There are obviously no battle maps out there large enough to encompass all of Sandpoint as this fight requires. I am currently thinking about going through and making a zoomed in version of every part of the town that has an event in it during the attack, but this will take a long time and I am not sure if it will even work out as I plan. Alternatively I could just try to narrate things but then we come back to the issue of rules, fairness, and visually impaired players. What have other DMs done to make this encounter run as smoothly as possible?
I feel like rogue and cavalier will be under utilized in this campaign if you choose to use them. Rogues are tricky because the rules for stealth are very misundersttod, clunky, and hard to use in my opinion. I also feel like the typical rogue skillset (stealth, bluff, escape artist, etc...) are not as useful as in other campaigns. Things that are more useful in this AP are the INT WIS and STR based skills. (knowledges, climb, swim, survival, perception)
Cavalier may be alright depending on how much content you add in, but for the most part the AP takes place indoors.
Name of PC: Daed
Our Rogue made the mistake of entering melee after being healed up only slightly from near death. He was the only one in melee range for the ogre, so the ogre takes a full round action. 24 damage on the first swing, crits for 41 on the second swing. Dead rogue. My first PC death.
So my campaign is coming up to the start of book three and I have begun planning ahead. From what I gather in the book, the three remaining black arrows come along to assist in retaking Fort Rannick along with the ranger girl from book 1. That brings my group up to a 10 man party, and I don't feel like I can/should go that route. I think it would be especially appropriate for Jakardros to come along since he seems to have a chip on his shoulder and a burning need for revenge that eclipses the others. So I want to at least bring him along.
I have a party of 6 fairly intelligent players who rolled for stats and all did exceptionally well (they are all probably 25 point buy equivalent characters. Big mistake I know). The only thing that troubles this party is DR and tricky spellcasters.
I have brainstormed a few options.
1.) Have Vale and Kaven go off to search for possible survivors of the attack, leaving Shalelu and Jakarados to come with the party to the Fort.
2.) Have Kaven sneak away before the assault on Rannick begins, and one of the rangers goes looking for him.
3.) Apply the advanced template to all of the ogers and increase the amount of them in the fort, then let my 10 man death squad try to wade through the place.
4.) Apply the tucker's kobolds method
5.) Some other method of decreasing the number of allies coming along in a way that doesn't seem obvious to the players.
Have any other GMs out there dealt with a high powered group of players going into Fort Rannick?
So last session we wrapped up the encounter at the foxglove townhouse in Magnimar. Afterward the party returned to the Underbridge because the party's gnome sorcerer had an idea. He found a random homeless man and asked him to come along on the adventure. He is paying the man 25 gold per week (this is probably a lot for a bum) to allow him to ride along on the man's shoulders. He also named the homeless man Hodor. After about 10 minutes of crylaughing at the table I hesitantly approved of the offer, reasoning that 25 gold a week for a bum is a glorious windfall. He also armed Hodor with a crossbow and bought him armor.
I guess for now I am going to use one of the stat blocks in the back of the Gamemastery guide. At the same time, there is no way this guy is going to survive some of the encounters coming up. A channel negative energy by Ironbriar for example would likely one-shot Hodor and then some. I think the player knows this, and is just going to take the armor, weapon, and money off of dead bum's corpse, and give the job to the next mook willing to take it.
How would other DMs deal with this situation?
So believe it or not my party is actually checking EVERYTHING in the house which makes me a happy DM. 2 4 hour sessions down and they are just now getting into the tunnels underneath.
I came to the conclusion the saves were too low to challenge my party so I made them all like DC 18 will saves. It has been MUCH more entertaining. So far the haunt in the observatory and the haunt in Vorel's lab have gotten the biggest rise out of the party. They say they are all scared but it doesn't feel like there is tension at the table. The birds have successfully kept them in the house, and they are wondering which inanimate object is going to make them want to kill themselves next.
I had them in initiative all the time and the character with the insane haunt went right after the haunt itself so you can guess how the suicide compulsion went. I had trouble applying game rules to the situation.
Player A: "I walk over to the knife on the table"
Player B, C, D, E: "Can I trip him? Can I tackle him? Can I ____"
I didn't really know what to do in this situation so I ended up just fudging it by saying "okay player D and player B are close enough to try and stop him" Same goes for just about any other haunt where a player seemed to be doing something self destructive.
One other question... every haunt has a DC 20 Perception check to notice the haunt before it fully manifests. Do I allow everyone to make this notice check or just the PC that is about to be haunted? For example, would everyone have a chance to notice the scarf moving before it latches onto someone?
So people have tried (and liked) the idea of not using maps or minis? I am writing out note cards to hand to people anytime they make the perception DCs in the house, as well as haunt instructions so that I will not be broadcasting what is going on across the table for everyone to hear. Has this worked well for anyone else?
Also doing the candlelight / creepy music thing.
The party has a rogue that likes to take 20 whenever he is not in combat, which results in him getting a 33. If I recall correctly the hardest locks you find in the skinsaw murders are DC30 so my party is not really troubled by locks anymore. I will probably jump several of them up to a DC35 just for fun and begin requiring keys, thanks for the idea.
Maybe ill put some loot in the more dangerous places, like inside the stuffed manticore, amongst the keys on the piano, or inside the desk with the "splinter of wood" on it just to persuade them to live dangerously. They are very boastful of how powerful their characters are, and I want to humble them a bit.
I look forward to the moment when someone looks out the window and notices thousands of ravens perched on the outbuilding. I will probably significantly beef up their CR, maybe give them ghoul fever too.
So last session my players decided to pay Aldern a visit at his manor house after suspecting he may be the culprit. As soon as they got there it was toward the end of the session and I wanted this place to be fresh and memorable so I decided to call it a night there. I have decided to take quite a few liberties in tinkering with the haunts and generally creepiness of the place.
I hear things at the table like "okay don't touch anything inside" and it has me worried that they will miss a lot of the fun that this place has to offer. I am considering beefing up the haunts so that they react far more violently to PCs being nearby than the book suggests. I have a party of 5 and they are all min/maxed pretty hard (Druid, Barbarian, Rogue, Monk, Sorcerer). The barbarian for example is only level 5 but has 76 health, that is the kind of players we are talking about. They are always super paranoid and don't investigate the little things too much. For example, the haunt where you have to wipe the cobwebs away from all of the paintings I can say with near 100% certainty they will not activate. I was thinking about doing things like: "when you enter the room the door slams shut behind you and the room begins to grow cold" The answer to getting the door to release would essentially be the haunt trigger, wiping away the cobwebs. Should I sprinkle more loot around the place to add incentives to exploring?
Am I going too far? I feel like I might be railroading it a bit but if it is for the sake of story should I feel bad?
I also am thinking about making the consequences for leaving much harsher. For example, we are quite a few days into the ghoul uprising and I was thinking of having a large amount of them stalking around outside the house, compelled by Vorel of course, to keep the PCs inside where he can torment them. Or perhaps have a supernatural fog that always seems to get them turned around and returned to the house?
I have the players pretty frightened of the place at this point and I plan to deliver in spades. What are some suggestions you guys have for beefing the misgivings up and ensuring the haunts are delivering story and giving the players fits? How did you run The Misgivings? Should I consider not using a board and minis? Should I have them in initiative from the moment they enter the house? I would like to brainstorm some ideas to make this place epic and memorable.
Well the absolutely demolished Malfeshnekor like he was nothing. Sorcerer using big spells + a monk with 8 ki points to spend on adding extra attacks sealed the deal pretty quick.
They actually brought back that giant helmet from thistletop and were negotiating with the mayor on having it mounted as a trophy somewhere in the city after selling it to her. I figure this might be a good way to introduce the Sczarni. They might steal the thing and frame the party for the deed. Just to make things interesting I might have the Skinsaw man start his rampage a midst the scandal to add further fuel to the fire. The party has never been to fatman's feedbag or the hagfish so this could be interesting.
As a side note, the party killed all of Nualia's henchmen besides Tsuto and Nualia herself. Tsuto has already been shipped off to Magnimar and Nualia will be shortly. How likely is it that Ironbriar would see these two as useful and stage their escape? Perhaps frame some local Sczarni which can in turn be traced back to the Sandpoint "cell" to send the party on a wild goose chase?
So I ended last session with the group figuring out the coin door and it opening up. From here it is pretty easy to assume they will be doing battle with Malfeshnekor next session and I honestly don't know how it will go. (Human Barbarian, Human Druid, Gnome Sorcerer, Dwarf Monk, Human Rogue all level 4). The Barbarian can probably put some hurt on malfy, as well as the sorcerer. The monk just recently took the vow of poverty so his Ki pool is stupid huge. The other two will probably be a bit frustrated. Assuming they do defeat Malfeshnekor and make it back to Sandpoint, I am at a loss as to what I should plan for.
For the most part I let the players do all the talking and discussion and I sit back and watch, I guess it is just my DM style. However, I want to have some scripted events prepared just in case I get the sense they are waiting for me to give them some direction.
I want to give the party some downtime so it does not feel like the campaign is too much of a sprint. My party likes to hang out at the Rusty Dragon pretty much all the time. The only NPCs they really interact with are Daviren Hosk the stable master, Hemlock, Ameiko once in a while, and Shayliss whenever the barbarian feels the call. It feels a little stale and I want to get them involved with other NPCs to make Sandpoint feel a little interesting. I guess i am trying to do here what I should have done after the initial goblin raid but was not prepared for.
Did any other DM have a situation like this? What are some ideas for introducing Sandpoint NPCs in an interesting way? What did you do between Burnt Offerings and the Skinsaw Murders?
Thanks for the ideas, I know they won't be able to survive long if all of Thistletop comes after them out in the wilderness. They are planning to excavate the side opposite Thistletop fortress, not the side with the fortress itself. Its a pretty damn good idea from my point of view, since I don't quite understand the logistics of rope bridge construction.
If they do wash their hands of the entire situation and head back to Sandpoint I will give them time to craft and do whatever for maybe 3-4 days before an attack on the city at night. I am wondering though, if its likely that Nualia would wait until she releases Malfeshnekor before sending her forces out again.
Background: First time playing D&D, also first time DMing. My party consists of a Barbarian, Druid, Monk, Rogue, and Sorcerer so its pretty stacked in terms of power.
So this evening we were starting our third session at thistletop. The party chose to invade at night, so I had to make some adjustments to NPC behavior. They left off at the watchtower with the goblins playing cards. They saw the goblin dogs in the exercise yard from the roof of the watchtower and were determined to avoid them. They make a beeline for Ripnuggets throne room completely by accident. The barbarian kills stickfoot on the first round in 1 swing so I only got the chance to do one spirited charge. The monk stuns the warchanter early on as well so the goblins did not fare very well from that point on.
Eventually the party makes it down to Bruthazmus getting busy with some goblin wives after a slight detour to murder goblin babies. They crowd the doorway so he cant escape, and the barbarian proceeds to rip him a new one. Smooth sailing so far and I am starting to wonder if they are going to make Thistletop look like a joke in the end. The next stop is the chapel of Lamashtu via the prison. Round 1, every single one of them fails their will saves and through some hilarious rolls they are basically panicking for 6+ rounds a piece. The fleeing party makes its way all the way back to the rope bridge where they curse this horrible place and cut the rope bridge from the other side to trap the remaining bad guys on the island.
They returned a day later to find the goblins had repaired the bridge to its normal functioning state. Much discussion follows about what to do next and they finally decide to give it another shot. Upon making it to the fortress the goblins spring an ambush via ranged attacks from the watchtowers and the party retreats. I ended the session for the night here.
Their plan is to burn the bridge so it cannot be put back up, and use excavation spells to remove chunks of the cliff effectively lengthening the distance it would require a new bridge to span. They reason, "we killed Ripnugget, and most of the Thistletop tribe, we accomplished what we set out to do." So I wanted to ask the community for some advice going forward. By my count the only living goblins were the 6 in the barracks and the two pickle thieves, so 8 total. Bruthazmus and Ripnugget are dead, leaving only Nualia, Orik, and Lyre alive to lead the remaining goblins. Tsuto was hauled off to Magnimar for trial after being caught in the glassworks.
1. With the tribe weakened like this, will they simply wait for Malfeshnekor to be released? How long would that take?
2. Would Nualia reach out to other tribes to bolster her forces and mount a retaliation attack on Sandpoint? Even if she did, how can they get off the island if the party sabotages the bridge?
3. They frequently talk about getting the assistance of the people Hemlock and his allies he summoned from Magnimar on his recent trip there. How do I allow them to get this help without breaking the encounters in their favor while at the same time not making it look like the rest of the world is incompetent?
4. What other options do the remaining baddies have for getting off the island? The expeditious excavation idea is ingenious I have to admit, and was stunned when the druid proposed the idea. I don't think they could rebuild the bridge if the party does this. They are also talking about starving them out and picking off anyone who tries to leave and get food.
5. How can I encourage them to go back in at this point when all these ideas they have seem so much better than risking their lives?