Titled: "Let's surprise the GM and screw over all his prep for this session"
Previously in the AP:
During the Stone Giant attack on Sandpoint, Titus Scarnetti's grandson was one of the townsfolk abducted during the retreat of the invaders. Titus posted a reward for returning the boy, plus bonuses for each giant head returned. The race to rescue him was on.
The party however had other ideas. Instead of tracking the giants, they took a completely different route to Jorgenfist, ignoring the rescue mission altogether. In downtime, I duplicated the party and played out a rescue that succeeded.
By the time the players returned from Jorgenfist they were notified that the grandson had been returned by other means. Titus refused to pay the players either the reward or the bonus for the heads and the heads sat in a sack in their lockup for a couple of weeks...
Instead of attempting to find a way to Xin Shalast, they announced they were going to exact revenge on Titus. They retrieved the decomposing heads, went to The Rusty Dragon and got drunk and then headed to Scarnetti Manor in the dead of night. Casting invisibility upon themselves, the rogue managed to unlock the front door and they crept in, in a conga line of stumbling, invisible, but mostly blinded idiots, led by the one party member with darkvision.
By this point the players were giggling hysterically and I announced that every time they laughed in real life, they had to roll a stealth check to attempt not to make a noise in the game. This of course made it worse and they were stuffing their hands in their mouths to try and keep quiet. The gnome sorceror decided to play a prank by silently casting an image of a stone giant standing in the Scarnetti reception hall. The players were confused and shocked into silence whereby the sorceror's player himself convulsed with laughter, blowing his stealth check and the house awoke. Scarnettis and guards came to investigate, immediately attacking the stone giant illusion.
The players threw the heads out across the floor like horrific bowling balls appearing from nowhere to the guards' terror and then fled stumbling and laughing into the night.
They've rated it one of the best sessions they've played, which I guess is a damning indictment of my interpretation of the AP, but I guess I'll take what I can get.
Can you geniuses help me out with haunts?
The way I am understanding it is there is a perception or ability DC to notice a haunt that, if succeeded, will enable a PC to act in the surprise round.
Then initiative is rolled, with the haunt placed at 10.
I'm thinking that by the time the haunt goes off most of the party will have simply have left the area. Only those that have failed the Notice check and then rolled dismally on initiative will be affected.
Have I misinterpreted how they work or is that it?
Name of PC: Halungalom
After the party teleported into the Hall of Testing, Athroxis Cone of Colded the largest group she could, and the Gnome lost over half his hitpoints, and failed his fort save.
Adding insult to mortal injury, and just before it was reduced to negative health, Athroxis ordered the Glabrezu Demon to reverse gravity around itself, sending as many party members as possible, including itself and the posicled gnome, 60' into the fiery ceiling. The fall damage killed the demon, reverting gravity to normal, and splattering the steamed remains of Halungalom over the floor.
I thought they approached from the west, according to the map. The distance between the exit of the Storval Steps and Jorgenfist is fairly elastic and aside from patrols and the lookout tower, 60' of darkvision only goes so far.
I allowed my party to stealth at dawn at the edge of the mountains down to the river and gain entrance through the caves. Although in our case a wizard's familiar scouted the area to actually know of the caves in the first place.
I can't think of what your party would do. Maybe capture a stone giant from a patrol and hope to convince it of the error of Mokmurian's plan to throw the giants against Varisia. (Stone Giants are neutral, not evil, and Conna herself says they have been led astray).
Maybe fake the old "prisoners being taken in for Mokmurian's pleasure".
Alternatively maybe the Sihedron amulets might be employed as they could be at Hook Mountain.
I have had a lot of fun making use of his secretary/assistant Valanni Krinst, who is the medieval equivalent of a bored P.A. He is constantly referring to his schedule in the manner of a teenager on their Iphone and when he summons the P.C.s to the mayor, or they seek him out to ask for an appointment, he is generally sarcastic. He is always the first point of contact, to show the players how important the mayor is/unimportant they are in a big city.
When my players completed the Clocktower they immediately began selling loot and returned to their inn (I think in the excitement of the battle with Xanesha they had forgotten they were actually on a mission from the mayor; to absolve them from an earlier debacle taking out Ironbriar, ending up with them in The Hells) so I had Valanni enter the inn, look around in mild disgust, and suggest they might want to give the Mayor an update as soon as possible.
The party felt like they had achieved something that would switch the power balance. They were, after all, heroes in Sandpoint, why not here? One of the party hand-waved him away, saying they would go the next day whereupon Valanni replied "Of course, of course..you must have been through quite an ordeal and be absolutely exhausted. Why not have a bath and carouse the night away in a local brothel? Or perhaps a little holiday? Maybe take the rest of the year off, start a family? After all, it is only the %$#*ing LORD MAYOR OF MAGNIMAR."
[As I hissed this through clenched teeth, rising in volume, they sat open mouthed a little stunned. Very satisfying]
Then he clicked his fingers and 6 guards came into the tavern to form a line leading to the door. "SHALL WE?".
They left immediately.
Agree with Wheldrake, Plus, don't underestimate the RP factor. When your BBEG chooses a PC to attack make it personal with a bit of dialogue. "You Ulfen scum, when I send you back to your forefathers your weakness will make them cringe!", "Fey child, your arcane tricks will avail you naught!", "The power of Abraxus compels you!" etc. I'm really horrible to my players.
They will remember the defeat of personalities more vividly than DCs or ACs.
I made the mayor a big deal. A lisping, fat, greedy man with a keen mind. I introduced the players to The Hells in Magnimar after the sawmill, and then the mayor gave them an ultimatum to do as he wished them to, as per the AP.
I introduced a little "cut scene" of 2 hell knights interrupting the meeting to demand the PCs AND Ironbriar put to death, after which the corpulent mayor rose up and told them where to go. The players got a very dramatic introduction to just how lazy, uninterested but powerful the mayor is in that bit.
Further on in the AP they are terrified and yet excited every time they have to meet the lisping, corrupt mayor. It is, after all, an election year. They have a very clear idea that while they think themselves powerful, the bureaucracy of Magnimar is currently far more scary.
As commented on another thread I have 5 players who bumble around like clueless fools and are now level 12. I play it as written, xp per chapter, and somehow they keep surviving. It is a source of constant perplextion to me.
I'm developing self-esteem issues as a consequence but they seem to be having a great time.
The player seems to be communicating that they feel out of control, this is a fundamental aspect of roleplaying. You need to put back elements of control so that they feel engaged.
It's all too easy for a Gm to want to make things interesting for the PCs while knowing everything about the adventure, while not appreciating how confusing it is for the players without those same resources. I'm talking from experience as my players are idiots and need things handed to them, but they still enjoy it for those moments of accomplishment, no matter how adjusted it obviously is.
I can't answer your question but I wanted to offer some support. I have a group with an arcane trickster that has the worst luck I've ever seen. He's level 12 and, skill rolls aside, I can remember 2 crits he's ever made. He misses almost all of the time.
It was funny once. Then weird. Now it's just accepted he's along for the ride.
For myself, having played AD&D about 400 hundred years ago (roughly), finding out (young!) people were still playing RPGs last year was initially amusing. "WTH?! We did that before computers, certainly before the internet! Is that still going?!"
I gave it a go and felt bits of my brain, long dormant, firing up again and got re-hooked. Now it occupies most of the time I would normally have spent on consoles/Pcs/making sculptures out of chewing gum.
I'd be really interested to know what inspires other people to play this bizarre game in an age of such technological distractions. Any stories, sarcastic, edifying, horrifically over-shared, are welcome.
Name of PCs: Idril and Dagmar
Alerting Enga by then shoving open the rusty, squeaky iron gate, she charged at the party. Barbarian met her charge and Sorcerer webbed her retreat. Arcane Trickster made a perception check to see the Necklace of Fireballs but failed the spellcraft check to know what it was, and Sorceror Arcane Sight-ed a conjuration aura from her.
All melee joined and then the witch for reasons known only to herself cast Sleet Storm "I wanted to do A Thing!". Bless her. The Barbarian, Arcane Trickster and Oracle would have taken Enga down in one round but kept missing due to concealment.
Knowing she was eventually going to be toast, Enga decided to go out with a bang. She was no coward and Mokmurian might bring her back. The Sorcerer and Trickster made their spellcraft checks and realised too late what she was doing. The Sorcerer's Dispell failed and ka-boom- 145 damage. Witch took half and Oracle took full, the others made their saves or were too far away (Sorcerer).
The site is about to turn into CSI Jorgenfist with the alerted giants coming to investigate. Sorceror teleported the survivors and sooty remains to Magnimar, leaving behind hard evidence- armour, weapons, etc, of their incursion.
The witch's familiar is pawing at the alter while the Abadarian Clerics attempt to bring them back. The dead's souls are currently feeling the tug and have to decide whether they want to return or not.
Feel like there's a joke about the "Mounted Fury" archetype there somewhere but I'm not going to make it :)
But what are you suggesting the hypothetical fighter should be able to contribute in this case?
When my players faced a couple of rat swarms recently, the barbarian was the one that set up a flaming oil trap and managed to wipe most of them out. Made more sense than playing whack-a-mole, was quite tense and fun, and required very little in the way of class-specific skills.
Exterminators in our world don't turn up at the door with a mace to deal with a wasp nest. But I guess it would be kinda fun to watch from a distance if they did :)
Thoron Entheart wrote:
Young Guns is a great movie... And that's actually given me an idea for how to play it out in the future! What sort of monsters would even be in a prison though? I don't want them to always be killing core races, so any suggestions on that front would be great! I've got plans for their next target to be a shadow fey and some undead, but beyond that I have no idea what to do...
I was thinking let them escape, go on the run. Since they've decided to engage the town itself they should understand the repercussions, that the villages and towns are their only respite from the untamed wilderness.
If they want to take on the world so be it. And then if they look like having second thoughts grant them a chance to redeem themselves. If that doesn't work, take off and nuke the site from orbit:)
Thoron Entheart wrote:
That's great by the way. Keep a list of NPCS with basic traits and build up their personalities so the PCs feel the full weight of what they are doing. They're not anonymous guards, they're characters with families, feelings, hopes.
The older guard passes a tin tray of food under the bars. He winces with pain as he stands up and limps off. He drops the keys on the table in front of a younger guard wittling a stick. He mutters that he needs another toilet break and the younger one snorts in derision. "Of course you do".
The younger guard is bored. He obviously wanted more from a career than this. After a pause he looks over to you with dead eyes. He lazily grabs the keys, sauntering over to you. You can see his own failure reflected in his twisted sneer. "Looks like you and me are keeping each other company tonight. How do you like the sound of your future?", he jangles the keys, tantalisingly close to the bars...
Well if you're going to do this you have to make it fun. They've already decided to be renegades so they need to use deception and stealth and get used to encounters from both monsters and posses.
They need moments of opportunity to exploit and the atmosphere of ultimate failure should they be caught again.
Escaping from incarceration by the skin of their teeth and hiding out somewhere as the clamour of a search part rides past. Bluffing hunters that track them down. Disguising themselves when terrible art of them is displayed in General Stores and Taverns. Bounty Hunters turning up and testing them in taverns Link to Young Guns.
They still need to feel success amid the possibility of failure although word is going to travel slowly. But still, you've got your work cut out for you!
I can see it working, that preacher type who is set on redeeming souls, sees the party as salvageable (and annoys everyone), BUT contributes in some way that gives them enough value to go along. Maybe related to another character that is guilt-struck to keep him under his wing .
Played once in a party with a cavalier that would NOT attack any females, be they witches or demons. Would regularly split the party to avoid combat in those cases. Thinking about it, he was really annoying :)
Since it's halloween...
A few sessions ago the party was in Foxglove Manor. I was wrapping up the session which had been satisfyingly creepy. We play on Roll 20 and as I was close to calling it I saw something. Behind the Barbarian player's shoulder, in his cam, a creepy clown doll slowly rose up facing the camera and then slowly went back down.
I spluttered while drinking my bourbon, and said "What's THAT?". Everyone was laughing, including the barbarian and then he said "Ok, so catchya next week?". I said "Wait! What was that clown?! Everyone saw the clown, right?" And they all were laughing and confirming.
Barbarian player was smiling as if he was it was a shared joke but started looking confused. "What are you taking about?" "Dude", I said "There was a %$#^ing clown puppet thing behind you". He briefly turned around and looked back, and seemed to be getting slightly annoyed. "Whatever. You're just trying to freak me out because [wife] is away".
We all were laughing but still wanting to know what the deal was. "So [wife] is away in new York, are the kids in bed?", "They're not here. They're at their grandparents. I'm alone and you're trying to freak me out!".
"We're not! Look, a weird clown puppet was behind you just now! You're freaking US out!"
He sighed and rolled his eyes, turned in his chair and and began to stand up and...his camera feed went dead.
He didn't reply to text messages for 15 minutes after that. Finally a simple "LOL ;)"
I still have to get him back for that.
Great stuff Barry, probably be in touch. we get together about once a month for marathon sessions in Sheffield.
It's a fine AP. Where are you up to? There's a "funny things that happened in RotR" thread here somewhere.
Regardless, hit me up if you need anything. I have a lot of Photoshop hours under my belt!
I'm a brit and I know the reference:) I mainly do accents that I can maintain and having Brodert interrupt the players every time they speak by shouting "IDIOTS!" gets a laugh and makes them remember what an a-hole he is, but they need him:)
PS. If you need any maps/tokens let me know. I run it on Roll20 and have a lot stored up. Am in the 4th chapter.
Brodert Quink from Rise of the Runelords. Everyone hates him, including the sheriff of Sandpoint. I've made him so annoying, so arrogant, that- come to think of it- even I hate him. He begins every theory by describing the current mode of thought on history and then rants about how stupid people are for believing it is and what he thinks is the reality. All delivered in a grating Welsh accent. Every time a PC starts talking he interrupts them saying "I haven't finished yet!"
The party have to consult with him now and then but there's always a huge sigh before they call for him.
You guys have seriously cautious players. Pretty Sure DM Blake would kill my guys before they finished a conversation with the quest giver!
In my world: The BBEG has limited resources. The outer-lying defences were designed to soak up intruders and inform BBEG. BBEG might well be aware that a group is attacking but so far they've only breaches the outer defences so is going to see how it plays out, confident that no one will make it through to BBEG in time, and if they do they won't be in much shape to deal with THE MAGNIFICENCE!
For me, re-instating the defences to the degree they were originally in negates the accomplishments the party has achieved. If defences are bolstered they should be done hurriedly and badly to reward the players so they can further progress.
My players value progression over realism. They're also a bit rubbish and I'm pretty sure I could kill them over and over again if I wanted. They wouldn't enjoy it.
I mean if the players need to rest to be effective, they shouldn't be super penalised should they? I'm too nice. Just say it :)
Aaah I see, apologies and thanks for illuminating.
I think for me, the weather is filed under simulationist then because it has an effect, especially on spellcasting, and I don't want to be responsible for that so I use an online generator that takes into account seasons and climate. The only time I choose the weather is when it is more a scene-setting choice that doesn't impact the mechanics.
Thinking about it, I am totally about the simulationist aspect. The story is written down in the AP for the players to explore so really I'm just there for scene setting and role playing NPCs, and making it as interesting andd immersive as possible. My only intrusion might be some deus ex machina every now and then if they are stuck. And occasionally events/NPCs may tie in to the PCs backgrounds as an optional side quest.
In our group, I track my group's encumbrance myself, including any bags of holding, using a version of the simplified rules linked below. I use Excel and audit them now and then to let them know roughly/exactly how they're doing.
They're about to enter dungeon crawl and they're fairly close to topping out so it will definitley become an issue.
Go to Making Encumbrance Work.
I like RedDingo's idea.
I'm thinking of running a Startstone test for my group after the current campaign, individually, if they're interested. At the moment, I'm going for the Starstone being a balancing device of the universe that presents moral dilemmas to test applicants on how precisely they fit their alignments, whether they are "true" to themselves or not.
Entering the test area, they are told they will be judged and then they will appear in another variant of Golarion where they are tested in surreal scenarios comprising of characters from their past who need saving. If successful, the character gives a clue to the next test. Combat will be part of it, but the critical aspect will be the decisions that are made.
However it is played out in game terms, the test may or may not exist in their minds. If they pass they will ascend and become the godlike personification of their alignment maybe on Golarion, maybe in another world, wherever there is a vacancy to maintain alignment balance. If they fail they are transported far away on Golarion with no memory of having taken the test or of the existence of it.
Very keen to see what others are coming up with in this thread though.
gustavo iglesias wrote:
I agree that Nobodyshome's campaign is wonderful, and that story-driven sessions are great and, imo, the best ones. But I still fail to see how *rolling* for bad weather makes the story better, or the campaign more story driven. I don't think Tolkien rolled a die to see which weather did the fellowship find in the pass of Caradhrass. They got a snowstorm because he thought it could be fun and interesting for the story, not because the fellowship rolled a 3 instead of a 7. If you think a bazaar of djinns in a cloud is something the PC will enjoy, by all means put it in the game. Don't ley the players skip that because they rolled a flock of gulls migrsting to south instead. That's my (storytelling motivated) advice.
It sounds like you haven't read much of the thread. I've stated that I already roll for weather when the PCs wake up, sometimes more. I do it because weather is variable and has an effect on the game mechanics and also helps them imagine what kind of day it is. I'd prefer to do that based on the season than actually decide myself what the weather is. The only difference in this case is I would be rolling to represent moving large distances. The weather information isn't presented so obviously as the result of a dice roll, it becomes part of the general description of conditions.
Yes, I'm sure novels aren't written on the roll of a dice, I'm not writing a story that they are subject to, I am presenting their world of Golarion as it is at any given point.
Coffee Demon wrote:
Cheers Jay! I think I'm pretty lucky having a group that want to play it in a way that challenges me. If my campaign is a success it's pretty much credit to them for encouraging me to GM it this way, and I have to give a shout-out to NobodysHome for the write ups of their RotR campaign. I defy anyone to read it and not be influenced by that group's RP.
Thanks heaps for all for the advice. I think it's becoming clearer to me that that a combination of some of these suggestions and the rules themselves is going to work best for this group and hopefully will work with the mapping adaptions I'll try out.
Just to address the concerns:
This is the first time Wind Walk will have been cast by this player, maybe by any of them so I want it to be interesting. Future castings may well work better as less of a deal, but what is set up here should carry on as an associated memory/experience.
Bob Bob Bob wrote:
They can turn at 45 degrees I think without a skill check? Same for ascending. So far, for flight, I have a table-map in Roll20 that is standard top down representing different weather systems: storm, cloud, night, clear, etc. I can right click and swap out to whichever map is appropriate. I could just change the grid scale for the greater speed of Wind Walk.
On the right hand side I have an altitude indicator in increments of + or -x (again depending on speed/scale) so the players can position themselves in 3 dimensions, based on their initial stated height when any given encounter begins. We all work in 3d at work so I am hoping it won't be too confusing for anyone. Obviously it's kind of restrictive but what map isn't.
I might incorporate chase mechanics as well, since they can't do much but run away/hide in cloud cover. I don't know, it's early days so far and I have 2 weeks to prep before next session. I'll have to run some test encounters to see if I think it's going to be fun or just keep it to a purely descriptive encounter. This is new territory for the whole group so we'll just have to see what works and doesn't.
Btw, I wouldn't suddenly roll weather, I roll for it anyway already in the morning and sometimes the afternoon, I would just re-roll every 100 miles for example to represent an organic weather system and give an idea of scale.
Totally agree, it was that kind of flavour I was after. The perception of danger and maybe the chance of real danger if very bad decisions are made, that kinda thing. It's one thing to have a storm playing overhead and another to actually fly through it, which would be awesome.
Another reply mentioned that it was sucky to roll weather, but I do it anyway once or twice a day so it wouldn't be out of the ordinary or seem like a punishment. If it happens to be a stormy day maybe they'll just want to take a flying trip through it for the hell of it. On Roll20 with a decent map and sound effects it could be very dramatic.
Fried Goblin Surprise wrote:
Aah yeah, but it's the other aspect of the spell that comes into play.
"If desired by the subject, a magical wind wafts a wind walker along at up to 600 feet per round (60 mph) with poor maneuverability. Wind walkers are not invisible but rather appear misty and translucent"
I think that maybe opens up some potential. I'm playing with the idea that as Teleport uses the astral plane to move instantly, Wind Walk draws from the elemental plane of air, thinning the boundary between the two planes with the potential for denizens from, and glimpses into, there.
Plus I will use some great ideas from this thread. The variable winds that can either slow down or speed up travel makes the spell more organic.
Orfamay Quest wrote:
My intention, when I said I didn't want it to be used as another teleport spell, was that I didn't just want it to be "You've cast the spell, you're there". I wanted it to have its own flavour, especially for the first time. Not that I had any objection to the end result or using it to bypass encounters. While I am responsible for the initial phrasing, I think I have clarified this more than once.
Well yes. Because the first few replies undermined my confidence enough and made me question my approach. Maybe I was in fact doing it all wrong. So I discussed the thread quite openly with two of my players, one of whom plays the character in question. Not surprisingly, since I'm posting this, they were on board. Ha, maybe it's all THEIR fault. Maybe they don't understand high level play and should be playing another game. Maybe they're lying to me because they're loath to have to find another occupation to fill a midweek evening slot.
And Matthew was correct, the most important bit of this is that I especially want the first time this is cast to be a big moment. A memorable experience that will be in the back of their minds whenever it is later cast.
I totally appreciate that maybe if they played in you guys' campaigns they would experience the game on another level, maybe a more correct version, maybe more immersive for not getting bogged down in details. But at the moment they're stuck with me and I've got at least some pretty good ideas from the thread that has made the rest of ...whatever this is... worth it.
I guess all this could be seen as blatant lying to win an internet argument but I can't do anything about that.
Berti Blackfoot wrote:
Yeah totally, I have encounter tables that don't call for combat as per the GM guide. They don't know it's not going to be combat until they've explored the encounter but something useful can come out of it and it breaks up an otherwise monotonous journey.
Love the tail wind idea, that's pretty funny. An ostensibly dramatic moment that results in an unexpected win for the team. Definitely going to incorporate that! They will laugh their heads off after the tension of the build up!