section8's page

143 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


1 to 50 of 143 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | next > last >>

My group used Occipitus as a new base of operations. Using the template for the new ruler, they found that they saved spellcasting by having the Smoking Eye plane shift (perfectly) to where they needed to go (as long as it had been seen before). Especially after the assassination attempt early in Chapter 7, they were glad to have a "safe" place to rest, even if it is a plane of the Abyss.

This does assume that plane shift is available to the group to return to Occipitus. Possibly a magic item could be "bequeathed" to the new ruler to allow him to return. (The new ruler in our group eventually wished for the power to return to the Occipitus so that she was not dependent on the party's cleric. This wish took place on Walpurgis, which is also the day when the tree's ritual would be completed)

Another way to look at it is that once Adimarchus "dies" elsewhere, his body will go back to the Skull of Occipitus. A final fight (or resolution of his madness and soul through visions) is possible.

Occipitus does not play a large part in the rest of the campaign until they start searching for Adimarchus. I played up the tension in Chapter 7-10, making it obvious that time was of the essence. This put pressure on the new ruler to choose between helping their companions or staying on Occipitus. High-level characters should have to choose between their "kingdoms" and their friends' goals.

Returning this thread back to the subject, my group succeeded in capturing Sheb at the Tree (an amazing amount of non-lethal damage dished out by our Urban Ranger). While in custody, our bard decided to do a Legend Lore on Sheb in Sheb's presence. Here is what I gave to him:

Shebeleth Regidin - The Betrayer

Sheb was a respected member of the Order of Stars, the order required to confirm doctrinal purity among St Cuthbert's flock. As a member, he had access to the various books detailing the legends of Adimarchus. Adimarchus's story is used as an example of why the absolute adherence to the rules is required. The more Sheb found out about him, the more he was interested in what drove the angel to rebel against the gods.

Using divination, he was able to determine that the Amedio jungle had the closest link to Adimarchus for some reason. Determined to find and learn from it, he asked to be transferred to Sasserine. There, he tracked down more information in the local legends.

A chance meeting allowed him to connect with Fetor Abradius. It was through Fetor that Sheb became corrupted. The madness invaded his mind, and he became obsessed with Adimarchus. It came to the point where in his heart, he turned away from St Cuthbert and started to worship Adimarchus. Fetor also introduced him to others that were putting together a plan using the Shackleborn to open a gateway to Carceri. Sheb jumped at this, as it would allow free access to where Adimarchus was being held prisoner. His eventual plan was to allow Adimarchus to be freed, and follow him wherever the fallen angel may lead.

Sheb is known among St Cuthbertians as a great betrayer due to his destruction of the cathedral of Cauldron and creating the tension with the temple of Kord, which lead to its destruction. He truly believed that Adimarchus had been wronged by the angels, and that creating this chaos would assist in the use of the Tree. A member of the Thirteen, Sheb is the key designer behind the Tree of Shackled Souls. His vast knowledge of lore, coupled with the necromancy of Fetor, Embril and Alurad, allowed him to create what he hoped would eventually open the permanent gate to Carceri. He just needed funding, which the rest of the Thirteen were more than willing to provide.

Obviously, there are pieces of information that are specific to Delve's campaign modifications (Sheb as a member of St Cuthbert's church, Amedio Jungle link is the sword of Spellmason, Fetor leads Sheb to the Soul Pillars, Sheb behind the destruction of temples in Cauldron, etc.)

An amazing way to end the campaign. Having them defeat Adimarchus on Carceri, only to resolve things on Occipitus (his home plane now) makes so much sense. We finished Thirteen Cages in Dec, and are on a long downtime. I hope that I can achieve as epic an ending as you have.

Thank you for sharing.

Here are the keys I found.

J22 - J key
J25 - N, E keys
J31 - U key
J34 - Z key
J41 - I key
J44 - A key
J46 - R key
J52 - Z key

I have looked and could not find the "D" key. Replacing one of the "Z" keys should be fine (no catch-22s on picking either one).

Keeping in mind that SCAP was originally a number of Dungeon adventures that were strung together, and that each one had an idea of what level the party should be as they start each chapter, here is a link that should answer your question.

I personally have found that the xp for each adventure is approximately correct. My group (6 characters and their cohorts) skipped Karran-Kurral and are about to walk (fully rested) into the final battle at the tree against Dyr'ryd, Sheb and "The Jester" at 16th level. They are a smart group, well prepared with buffs from good Commune questions, so I expect them to succeed even though they are lower than the expected level.

I just tested it, and was able to view it fine. I used Word 2007 to load the document. It should still work in OpenOffice. It is not just a text file.

First off, all Lawful and all Good characters take -2 circumstance penalties against their Charisma (with Lawful Good characters taking -4) due to being on an evil plane of the Abyss. This should hamstring the Lawful Good Paladin badly (in 3.0 and 3.5).

Secondly, be very specific regarding the use of the Outsider trait with regards to the ranger. Keep in mind that dragons, the salamander, driders, the grave robbers, the mummy lords, rakshasa, fire giant, lich, etc. are not Outsiders. Most of the encounters (other than random ones) should not have the ranger using his favored enemy.

At the same time, you can socially use the ability against the ranger. He is skilled at killing all Outsiders, including good ones. This means that the Avoral Guardinal and the Couatl may not be as friendly as they otherwise would be.

On the other hand, the Paladin is not kicking your @#$. He is kicking the monsters from the adventure, like he is supposed to. Remember that it is not you vs the players or the characters. It is you, the DM, creating a story together with them. It sounds like they are quite tweaked for taking on demons. No problem. They will have an easy time in some ways. Other encounters (like the Beholder or Thrifirane's party) won't be quite so easy. Let them get overconfident. Not all of their enemies are Outsiders. The assassins at the start of Chapter 7 will definitely wake them up.

Thanks for the detailed background. The details in how the Town Council is set up makes quite a difference from campaign to campaign.

With the nephew of Skellerang and a Pelorite in the group, I cannot see how Ike or Vhalantru would think they have any chance of winning over the party. So we need to analyze Vhalantru's motives. If he wants to win over support of the townspeople, he may attend so as not to look bad. If his motives are instead to encourage chaos to keep people busy so they are not investigating the Cagewright plans, then tension and delay are good things. These motives will also color how the mercs act at the gathering (i.e. if Vhalantru wants to look good to the townspeople, a brawl is not in his best interests).

Does Vhalantru have contacts with the Last Laugh? You could have Vhalantru arrange for them to attack him disguised as Town Guard after the gathering, except this time have him in the presence of the Stormblades when he is attacked. Vhalantru will benefit from having them on his side (and the Stormblades may support Vhalantru as he is charismatic). Whether the Stormblades are unknowing proxies or in on the plan is entirely up to you.

Another way to handle things is for Skellerang to die without any leads back to Vhalantru. Jil of the Last Laugh is possible. Or have the assassins attack the group when they can get Skellerang too. If Ike and Vhalantru are not obviously working together, this may be the way for Ike to overstep himself.

This is a great example of what high-level parties (with influence in a major city) are capable of. This brings a lot of great possibilities. First off, I would suggest running the assassination attempt afterward. There are 2 reasons for this:

1) Raining on your players' plans would be unfortunate and look like a railroad. Avoid doing this if possible.
2) How much information have the party given about what happened in Occipitus to Vhalantru and Iverson? They might be interested in poking the info out of them, which this gathering gives them a chance to do. By finding out new information, Vhalantru has more than enough reason to order the assassination.

As to who would attend and who wouldn't, some background may be required on how the group is viewed by the Town Council and the groups in the city. Their character level notwithstanding, how much respect do they hold within the city? Are they personally arranging and inviting everyone, or are they working through a Council member? These are all factors that will delineate how successful they are at pulling together a mediation session.

There is something that is not clear to me. Vhalantru has these mercenaries, and Skellerang has the Town Guard. With the Mayor gone, are both trying to become Mayor? If not, Skellerang is Captain of the Guard and should be working for the Town Council (of which Vhalantru is a part). Therefore, Skellerang must obey Vhalantru, or be removed from his position as Captain of the Guard. How is this a standoff? (Or am I missing something that is specific to your campaign?)

Citizens, I welcome all of you to this gathering. We have come to celebrate, and to remember. When our city of Cauldron was founded by Surabar Spellmason nearly 700 years ago, it was to create a place of safety against the predations of the denizens of the Demonskar. For Surabar knew that the time would come when demons would interfere with our lives again.

And times of strife did arrive in the city of Cauldron. We lost our way when High Priest Sarcem died, and were tested by the flood waters that rained down on us. We survived the great fire that erupted from a small flophouse here in our city, and threatened to burn us all out of house and home. We ran in fear when creatures from other planes appeared out of the air. And when the earth rumbled and split, we prayed that we would survive and live on.

Throughout these tests, one group of people stood taller than all others, recognized the true threats, and did what had to be done. They have returned from other worlds, having removed the central cause of our problems. They have traveled to the heart of our suffering, and have punished it on our behalf.

We stand now at a time that Spellmason himself would be overwhelmed to consider. We stand at a time when demons do not threaten our homes. Rather than hiding behind out walls, justice has prevailed by people stepping out and finding our tormentors where they live. And for this, we must thank <group's name>.

Welcome all, to the start of a new era.

smell of orange blossoms in the wrote:
Am I being too much of a jerk having Skaven bottle up the party like this and then ruthlessly attempting to slaughter them?

In my campaign, Skaven was the villain that kept getting away, driving the party bonkers. First off, when the party entered and started searching his room, he attacked with the various spider creatures. He used Fear and Lighting Bolt, and hosed the party fairly badly. Once his ettercaps and harpoon spider went down, he escaped using Invisibility and his Slippers of Spider Climbing. The party found his diary (from RPGenius) and went ballistic. They wanted to find this guy.

This sparked them following his trail back to Sasserine, where he used a Hat of Disguise to procure some funds while pretending to be a local lord. Gathering enough money to restore some of his lost books and such, he then made his way back and tried to contact the Cagewrights. Eventually he ended up in the Rhiavaldi ballroom, as the group had removed Zarn Kyass earlier. Again, Skaven escaped.

At this point, I have him with Alurad in the Haunted Village.

Bringing it back to the topic at hand, Skaven is a coward when it comes to anything other than the procurement of knowledge. He is a slippery fish. Have fun with the party at their expense. At this point though, he cannot control the undead, and based on the diary, he is worried about Tharkilar's recent transformation. If you are going to use this resource, I would recommend he only ambushes the group with his spider allies.

I had it block all teleportation (unless someone with the blood of Spellmason was present) as a passive ability. Doing some research in the library of the Chisel, it was possible to find some references to the active powers of a "fear" that affected demons (likely only babau will be affected) and an auditory illusion that allows the active caster to be heard a mile or two away by a crowd.

These 2 active powers were used to great effect during the Seige.

The teleportation limitation made the Scion of Spellmason important and forced the babau (the majority of the demon forces) to climb across the canyons. I allowed flight over the wall, making the vrocks a strike force that would delay the defenders while the babau moved into position.

TriOmegaZero wrote:
Have the user accounts been migrated, or will we need to reregister?

There is no registration required unless you want to edit or comment on a webpage. Accounts were not migrated at all.

I believe all of them. There aren't a lot of files for the later chapters. The early chapters are fully fleshed out by the new site.

Aotrscommander wrote:
So, folks who have played the module, how well did your parties handle it? Did they manage, or did Hookface pulverise the at the end of the chapter?

Amazingly, we just "finished" this chapter last session. I will admit I have delayed the Hookface battle until later. I substituted Vhalantru and Gortio for the Derro barbarian attack at the Council meeting (these two escaped from previous encounters).

I did not give my group any time to rest between the Council meeting and the rumbling. They made their way all around the city, fighting many demodands and finishing up with the Fire Elemental and Morkoth combat (with 3 summoned Vrocks).

The key thing about this character group is that they have many fly spells, increasing combat mobility and making them able to "zip" from encounter to encounter. We have 3-4 characters with at least minor healing capabilities (2 with full Heal spells). A Heroes Feast at the beginning of the day made a HUGE difference, along with Mass Resist Energy spells. As you can tell, my group is very experienced with buffs and are careful about healing all party members after each encounter. They finished the whole thing at 13th level (due to missing Karan Kurral).

This is why I have moved Hookface to next session, when they rest up and are looking for the path down to the Tree.

Aotrscommander wrote:
How does everyone else handle this (especially if you have a party sans cleric or handy scrolls of Plane Shift)?

This thread discusses getting back from Occipitus. Teleport is extremely useful for relocating at the end of a plane shift.

I allowed the Smoking Eye Template to have a "perfect" plane shift (which is a one way power as it only works in the Skull of Occipitus). Demon Lords should be able to appear right where they want to be heading, rather than plane shift followed by teleport.

By that point in time, our travelling cleric had Teleport and Plane Shift, so it wasn't an issue for us. As for the transition, it was fairly easy, as I had a downtime for the group where they popped back and forth from the plane. The new ruler took some time to figure things out and gather treasure from the plane for his fellows.

Starting Chapter 7 was no problem, as Ike could cast divination to find out the best time to attack the entire group, and set the assassins onto them.

jocundthejolly wrote:
I've read that this AP probably shouldn't be tackled by novice DMs and players. What do people think about that?

If you have characters that are not team players, or players that are not cautious, they will get munched by this AP. If you as a DM would follow this AP to the exact detail, and do not understand when an encounter will KILL all of the party characters, this AP may not be for you. I personally have changed a couple encounters to something less deadly to allow the party a chance to survive (i.e. a clay golem against the party with no blunt weapons was changed to 2 bodaks).

The AP can play well, and be very satisfying, though the scope and scale can be quite daunting. It is a 2-3 year endeavor. That is quite a large adventure for a novice DM to take on (especially if they are just trying to get their feet wet at DMing and are unsure of themselves).

jocundthejolly wrote:
Also, just flipping through and eyeballing, I'm concerned about level progression. Is it accurate to describe progression in this AP as 'if the PCs happen to survive, they should be x level at the start of this chapter?' Does anyone else have problems with the PCs surviving and being at the right level for each new chapter?

For deaths, check out this thread. As for the level progression, it varies. For the most part, the XP does work. There are assumptions though. If the group completely cleans out Jzadirune and the Malachite Fortress, they will be on track for the Flood Festival, which doesn't work if you want to run Drakthar's Way. Also, around chapter 5-6 area, the group will be high enough level to start making their own decisions. In my group's case, they have skipped Kurran-Kural completely, and yet are succeeding at getting through Foundations of Flame even though they are lower than they should be. For some reason, it is working for them. Some other DMs just level the group up at certain points in the story rather than calculating the XP.

If the players feel it is too hard, if it seems too complicated to keep everything straight, or if no one is sure they can keep it together for at least 1-2 years, this might not be for you.

The biggest thing is that everyone (including the DM) is having fun. Novice or not, if all of you are having fun with the AP, go with it.

Check here

DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
Anybody have any answers as to how I can tie Hollow's Last Hope with the SCAP?

Here are some ideas:

1) A number of years back, a disease afflicted Cauldron. By having the same disease in Redgorge, it may be required to have the party journey to Cauldron to find out what is needed to cure it (from the BlueCrater Academy, from Jenya, or someone else). (In my campaign, unbeknownst to anyone, the disease was caused by Skaven while he resided in Cauldron. This was revealed in his diary which the party found in his quarters in the Kopru ruins)

2) Have the monastery related to the Splintershield clan. It is in disrepair due to the inattention/loss of Zenith. This would foreshadow Chapter 4 (and possibly have the party interact with the dwarves in Cauldron prior to the finding of the Malachite Fortress).

3) In Cauldron, the priests of Pelor (not sure what god they would follow in Golarion) were killed by Embril a year or two back. You could have that the priest in Redgorge was killed while visiting the one in Cauldron, leaving the town without a local priest. This is why the herbalist is the only local healer.

4) Possibly have a baboon encounter while in the jungle. (This foreshadows the more aggressive primates at the Lucky Monkey)

Starting from scratch, I would recommend the following:

1) Read up on the Alternate Villains storyline. It replaces much of the confusing stuff you mentioned with a more streamlined plot. You can read about it here.

2) Consider foreshadowing the villains before the party gets to fight them (ideas are here)

3) Run the Demonskar Ball. 'Nuff said.

4) Read up on the Glories thread for great moments from other games.

5) Consider running the Siege of Redgorge and the Necrocant Ambush. They tie into the Alternate Villains plot and makes the party that much more involved in the area.

As perspective, my group is 4 days away from the completion of the Tree of Shackled Souls ceremony on Walpurgis Night. They are about to start Chapter 9, with Vhalantru and his doppleganger still around. I am replacing the Derro attack with them (should be a fun Council meeting). We have played 84 sessions, with lots of roleplaying and gone through all of the suggested stuff above. It has come together as the best campaign I have ever run. The idea that a person's first campaign is this one is mind-blowing.

There is a variant on the Smoking Eye template here that allows Plane Shift if you are in the skull.

I believe the Wee Jas grave robbers and the lich each have a scroll of Plane Shift. Kaurophon has a Lesser Amulet of the Planes which could be gotten from him if he's dead (but not if he has been thrown in the plasma).

Check here and here to see previous discussions about that room.

I looked through those Chapters, and agree that there doesn't seem to be any direct leads to Shatterhorn.

After the whole thing with Ike Iverson back in Chapter 7, and with Embril still unaccounted for, the party should know that not all of the Cagewrights have been defeated.

At that high a level, and with resources like the Soul Pillars, the Star of Justice and access to high-level spells (Divination, Commune, Contact Other Plane), the writers probably figured that there should be no problem with the characters finding out where the remaining Cagewrights are.

With the attack on the Church of Wee Jas followed by a Cuthbertian riot to destroy the Church of Kord, the Companions were worried that Cauldron was becoming unstable. Upon finding that Sheb killed many parishioners and desecrated the Church of St Cuthbert, they had seen 3 major churches in Cauldron fall in less than a week.

After rescuing Shensen from the Last Laugh and Celeste from Orbius's house, the Companions of Cauldron were ready to take the fight back to the Cagewrights. With Shensen's info on Lady Rhiavaldi's house, they decided to hit that hard. What followed was 4.5 hrs of incredible combat

They arranged to attack just after noon, teleporting above her house with fly spells and "Seeming"'d as angels. They cast a 5 ton Wall of Stone shaped like a cone and had it smash through the roof into the ballroom, and down to the first floor. This was followed by gallons of oil, a Cloudkill and an alchemist fire bomb. The front door had Hold Portal cast on it, and the entire house surrounded by 2 Walls of Fire.

Obviously things got hairy for the villains inside. They had previously adjourned their conference and would have continued it that evening. Many now smashed through windows trying to escape. The Companions kept the pressure on, as they had Mass Resist Energy (Fire) cast on themselves. A few escaped using invisibility or gaseous form, but most were felled by their flying attackers.

The climax was when Lady Rhiavaldi arrived in the observatory and cast disintegrate on the cleric. He survived and everyone flew up to cut her and her reinforcements down. A Resonating Bolt (shattering the glass completely), Blade Barrier and a flying charge finished the villains off. That ended the evening session.

After taking some time to search what's left of the house, they are planning on making a declaration to the crowd as angels, and then Plane Shifting back to Occipitus to interrogate prisoners, and assess treasure.

I have gone through the RPGenius site, and couldn't find this adventure. There are general ideas, but not the actual adventure to the depth of the Demonskar Ball or the Siege of Redgorge. I've brainstormed some ideas and wouldn't mind some comments.

I too am positioning the Haunted Village adventure as a replacement to Strike on Shatterhorn. There are 3 parts to the adventure:

1) Liduton itself - Two ancient will o the wisps (CR 11 each) patrol (similar to the SoS adventure). The town itself is occupied by a Deathshrieker (MM III) which is the souls of the original occupants. Lidu has become a Banshee (MM II) and resides on the shore of the lake.

2) Alurad's "temple" - Alurad has started playing with the flesh of creatures of the lower planes. In addition to the 4 advanced flesh golems (taken from Chapter 12), he has created an advanced stitched devil (MM V, CR 16). Unfortunately, his experiments have caused a bloodifer ooze (MM IV) to take shape out back.

3) Kopru necropolis - In the lake lies the remnants of the kopru necropolis. Under the water, closer to the shore is a cave with 2 greater stone golems (CR 16 each) protecting it. The party will probably assume they guard the necropolis, but in fact, they guard an aboleth mage (CR 17). Deeper in the lake lies the necropolis. It is guarded by 2 Charnel Hounds (CR 17 each, MM III) made from Kopru dead. 2 more guard the chamber where Embril is with Nidrama. (Embril is trying to use Nidrama as a conduit to get to Adimarchus). Once Embril is defeated, the necropolis awakens in anger (corpse gatherer, CR 19 from MM II) and attacks.

Obviously I need more work done to fill it out (treasure, stats, etc), and this is only 63000 xp if they defeat everything. Given a normal party going from 18 to 19th level need 18000 apiece, and there are 6 members, I'm still short 45000xp. So I need more ideas if possible.

Olaf the Stout wrote:
If the Warblade does get in melee range of her she has a couple of options. She can just fly away. Her fly speed is faster than the Warblade's so she can keep moving around to stop him from doing any more than a single attack on her.

Tactically, the way to overcome this would be a readied charge from the guy with the Fly spell. The charge would be greater than her regular movement, and then an AoO would result from the use of a ranged weapon or trying to use her teleport ability. Possibly 2 attacks per round which she cannot easily get away from. I agree that it is not a great improvement, but it is an option.

I like the idea that Aushanna tries to get out of her deal by asking the party to destroy the statue. Very Lawful Evil. She is still obligated to attack the group to defend the temple by the letter of her agreement. Maybe she can convince the flying guy to have her chase him, while the others take care of the statue.

Taking a party member back to the Nine Hells immediately would be bad for the group. There aren't a lot of ways for that guy to be recovered by a 7th level party. And I'm not sure how much Aushanna would be able to negotiate a "formal" contract for someone's soul while attacking them.

Tactical retreat is their best option. I would have Aushanna back off once they are out of the temple. Maybe you can have her negotiate with them once they are outside, when she is not obligated to kill all, just "defend" the temple.

Shadowcat7 wrote:
I'm thinking that the pillars would radiate evil...but how much? What about magic?

I haven't played the chapter yet (but it is fast approaching). Based on the phrases "undead spirits trapped within" and "tortured souls" as descriptions, I would interpret that humans would find it evil. If I was going to put an alignment to it, I would say Neutral Evil (i.e. not destructive evil and not contractual evil).

The magazines listed the soul pillars as having strong necromancy and evocation auras.

Magically speaking, they are permanent "contact other plane" items. That would be fairly strong (there are no charges associated with it, so it is similar to an artifact).

Andrew Bay wrote:

I've made some maps for Jzadirune and Malachite Fortress using Dundjinni since I just started SCAP too. They're much easier to align in MapTool.


Is it OK if I grab these to be added to the new RPGenius wiki?

Try this link

Crafting wondrous items to screw up the group is what I plan.

In my group, one of the PCs left. He had the Scarred Soul trait from the HC and I had him join the Stormblades (which worked very well). Prior to the Demonskar Legacy, I had the Stormblades go on a "safari" into the jungle, where they got smacked by a Babau demon. This lends credence to the rumours of the Demons in the Demonskar after the Demonskar Ball discusses them. Further, the former PC was captured by the Last Laugh for questioning (see Delvesdeep's kidnapping encounter from his foreshadowing document).

So, I had my group play the Stormblades rescuing their former friend. This was hilarious. It really showed how Chaotic the entire group was.

Since then, the former PC has left the Stormblades and founded a new Church of Kord in Redgorge (after the Seige, Redgorge impressed him with the strength of the townspeople). Cora is now a PC, so the Stormblades are not quite what they used to be. With the death of Terseon Skellerang at the Seige, and the possibility of the PCs being traitors to Cauldron by fighting against him, Zachary Aslaxin II was made the new Captain of the Guard. At the same time, a certain evil Halfling from a former adventure has made himself useful to the Stormblades and is using them to get close to the Cagewrights.

I think the key is to keep the Stormblades as being relevant to the big picture only up to a point. There comes a time when the players should realize that there are bigger fish to fry than the Stormblades. The Stormblades are an entertaining distraction, and nothing more in terms of the grand plot.

My group made a number of attempts, and one person ended up being "off by 1" on the puzzle. Eventually, the cleric cast Divination which got them through.

Everyone agreed that Alek had more than enough reason to be driven mad by the end of it.

You could look at it that Adimarchus knew the fight against Graz'zt was unlikely to succeed, and rather than having any demon walk up and take over the plane, he put in place rules for what the new ruler must succeed at in order to do so. Adimarchus's test "stopped" creatures born on the Lower Planes from participating. This shows his desire to have some choice in picking who the next ruler would be.

Blakey wrote:

So, my question is: Do the PCs really need to defeat Nabthatoron during the final fight of Chapter Five?

What exactly is his purpose in killing Alek?

According to the SCAP, Nab does not want Alek rescued, as he has been trying to get Cauldron to attack Redgorge, weakening the mining town so he can attack and take it, completing his required task. Of course, once Alek is killed by Nab, the adventure allows for the group to notify Cauldron, stopping the attack anyway.

If instead you use the Seige of Redgorge sideplot, then the killing of Alek does not stop the march of Cauldron, and Nab will attack Redgorge after the Blue Duke and Terseon do.

So the first question should be: Does Nab need to appear at all at the outpost in the Sea of Dust? In my 3.5 game, I had a Hezrou attack Alek, as I saved Nab for the Seige. Specifically, Nab wanted Alek dead as I introduced a prophecy whereby while a descendant of Spellmason and/or a Paladin of St Cuthbert defended Redgorge's walls, it would never fall to the demons. (Spellmason's ancestor had been a paladin that traveled to Mount Celestia and was given Adimarchus's sword Crescentia)

I agree that Nab can teleport away after killing Alek. (In my game though, the cleric cast Dimensional Anchor, preventing the Hezrou from retreating, so be aware that PCs can interfere with a retreat)

In my campaign, Shensen became the girlfriend of one of the PCs. Fario and Fellian stuck around Cauldron for a while and traded information about the various investigations. Eventually, all of them headed off to explore the area for more trouble.

I also ran a Necrocant ambush on the Striders, in which Meerthan teleported the PCs in to help. Details are here This is to foreshadow Alurad Sorizan and Khyron and was among the many foreshadow events from Delvesdeep's documents.

My understanding is that AoW takes place elsewhere and that the Spire of Long Shadows is only teleported to as part of the adventure. SCAP is minorly mentioned as a part of a prophecy. You can read about all of the AoW here, which is a free download from Paizo.

On the other hand, the Savage Tide adventure path involves Sasserine, and is more involved in the area (though I believe a lot of it is seagoing to the north of Sasserine instead of heading back to Cauldron).

Forever Man wrote:

I fear that my players won't want to search for Alek Tercival, deeming the mayor to be more important. Do you have any idea what kind of excuse / explanation I could give about what the mayor's enchantment is?

If the mayor or the Town Council have directed the party to look for Alek, they will look "bad" and possibly disloyal if they don't listen and instead poke around the mayor. Having them suspect things are going on in the Town Council is fine at this point. Things will become more evident to them if you are running the Siege of Redgorge.

Forever Man wrote:

Additionally, the mayor disappears at some point in the next chapter or so, but I can't find in the text exactly where. Do any of you happen to know?

If you are using the hardcover, it is mentioned on page 197 in the Behind the Scenes for the TotSE. The magazines mention that the mayor is missing at the start of SotSP only under the Cauldron Authority figures section.

Chef's Slaad wrote:
My PC with the smoking eye template is planning on returning to occipitus within a couple of sessions. Of course I want to make her visit as interesting as possible, and want to pump you guys for some ideas.

We just finished Test of the Smoking Eye and it looks like the group will be returning to Occipitus to plunder its riches and work on becoming more powerful. I'm starting to brainstorm ideas.

1) The tremor zones on Occipitus are caused by massive flatworms slowly eating the flesh. That means there are 5 of them. I am looking at using purple worms as a starting point.

2) Getting Saureya to have hope again will be a major task. Through him, the group can start to research how to separate the demon and the angelic halves that caused the rip in reality, causing the plasma in the skull.

3) Practicing morphic changes. This just begs for an amusing time.

4) In my campaign, the new ruler of Occipitus is Cora Lathenmire. I don't have any directions yet from the player on what they plan on doing. She is not really a religious person, so some of the other great ideas don't really apply.

5) A delegation from the Abyss shows up, welcoming the new ruler.

I am leaving open the possibility of having Occipitus be a base of operations for the campaign continuing past SCAP chap 12. I can see an epic-level Planescape campaign being possible.

delvesdeep wrote:
busier than a one legged man in an ass kicking contest

I will cherish this line over the Xmas season.

delvesdeep wrote:
So I mentioned that perhaps another adventure involving the characters travelling to a famous location in the SCAP known as the Haunted Village where the party could further the overall plot by rescuing Nidrama (Adimarchus Love)from Embril and the Spellweaver hidden deep beneath the dark waters of the Lake and Kopru Necropolis.

I'm all for starting here. I am guessing that Embril is grabbing Nidrama as a way to control Adimarchus. When did Embril capture Nidrama? How did she do so? We could tie in the Soul Pillars, meaning that Embril had to have the info prior to the end of chapter 6 (as Chapter 7 represents the loss of that source). What if Embril was out of the temple because she was capturing Nidrama? I agree that Alurad should also be a big part of the Haunted Village. Did you want both of them to be part of the capture? Given that the Striders have been pursuing Alurad specifically (as shown in the ambush foreshadowing event), should we let the Striders find out that an angel has been captured? This should be after the Last Laugh rescue, as that event will horribly distract the Striders for a bit of time. This could also act as the tie-in that reminds the adventurers that just because Cauldron is saved in Chapter 9-10, all is not done yet.

The next question is which came first, the Kopru or the Spellweavers? I am thinking the Spellweavers were first, and possibly the Kopru built on top of the Spellweaver's necropolis. Maybe the "last" Spellweaver survivor of the Demonskar explosion placed himself in stasis, waiting for the rest of his race to find him?

delvesdeep wrote:

The other biggest change was that when the party finally confronted Adimarchus they would, instead of killing him, travel into his Dark Dreams and Nightmare Realm where his Inner Demon was slowly corrupting Cauldron with maddening dreams. I suggested the party entered the realm where they passed through doors and into Adimarchus' dreams (which they had progressively seen themselves) where they had to help Adimarchus avoid or redeem the actions he took which lead him to eventually losing his souls and mind.

My concern on this part is how to transition from the written adventure of "rescuing" Adimarchus to entering his dreams. Dreams and nightmares are normally contained in the Astral Realm. What spells would allow someone to enter his dreams and interact with them? How will the group realize this is what they must do (as opposed to just killing him)? I'll read up on spells over the holidays and see if there are any that jump out. Maybe we need Nidrama to lead them to those conclusions?

Forever Man wrote:
he's also makes an appearance in CH 5, Demonskar Legacy, where he's supposed to help the PC's battle the fire elementals at Minuta's Board. The paladin will instantly know Zarn is evil and the jig is up *LONG* before he's supposed to be battled in later chapters.

I believe the Detect Evil power of the paladin will take concentration, which he probably won't have as he is fighting the elementals. I made sure to introduce the Blue Duke as head of the city council's newly hired mercenaries. Lawful evil NPCs follow contracts and the Blue Duke has been hired by the city council to protect the city. If the paladin attacks the Blue Duke, the paladin will be an enemy of Cauldron. Take a look at the Siege of Redgorge thread, where the Blue Duke is critical to the story and Zarn is not used at the "party". I personally found it a much better use of the Blue Duke.

Forever Man wrote:
To make matters worse the text states that Zarn will make 'multiple uses of Cone of Cold to extinguish the fire,' but Ogre Mages can only use Co'Cold 1/day.

To resolve this, give him a wand or scrolls of Cone of Cold. Cone of Cold can be his Modus Operandi. Have him use up the wand and/or scrolls fighting the elementals and the fires.

One of the lovely things I liked about the campaign is that while my group figured out certain things early, it didn't mean they were in a position to deal with them. Knowing that evil elements are part of the city council does not give them leave to attack the council. They don't have enough evidence to convince anyone else. Nor does it guarantee that the group will succeed against them. My group has known since the end of the Siege, but still don't know how far the corruption goes. They are carefully biding their time and gathering intel to determine their next moves. It has been quite fun to watch.

We have finished Test of the Smoking Eye. Most of the adventure was par for the course. The last 2 sessions were amazing.

During the fight with the rakshasa, it turned invisible. The fire giant fell and the main fighter got Blindsight cast on him. He struck the rakshasa to 0 HP, and the rakshasa pleaded surrender. The Lawful fighter demands for the invisibility to be dropped. The Chaotic Neutral thief then sneak attacks and kills the rakshasa. Of course, he used the excuse that he didn't understand the language used by the rakshasa, and that the lawful fighter didn't let anyone know that the rakshasa was surrendering. Hilarity ensued.

After substituting bodaks for the clay golem, the group lost one party member to them during the initial encounter. They retreated and restored the lost member of the group, and made plans. Upon returning, the fighters were buffed out the butt (Enlarge, Death Warded, Prayered, and Greater Invisibility), and were able to kill the bodaks in 2 rounds, and then rushing for the stairs, they were able to take the lich by surprise (not all prepatory spells were cast), and kill it in 5 rounds (so still within the Greater Invisibility duration).

But the glory that my group will be talking about for some time is the Test of Sacrifice. We had three party members willing to sacrifice themselves, and had a grappling fight between them as they attempted to stop each other. Finally the main fighter was able to enter the plasma. After taking 2 rounds of plasma damage, the fighter was about to die, only to be stopped by a Delay Death spell, keeping him "alive" at -55. An enlarged Cora Lathenmire (played by a new player that joined our group during the Seige of Redgorge) reached into the flame, picked up the smoking remains, and tossed them out, only to succumb to the damage and fall in herself. Cora stated that she had seen great friendship among the Companions of Cauldron (better than she herself had ever experienced), and that she was willing to die to keep the friends together. The mood was quite somber and all the characters (and players) were awestruck. (We waited some time before the big reveal showing Cora with the Sign of the Smoking Eye, so Cora got to "witness" the group's prayers and their discussions about placing a monument to her sacrifice in Redgorge along with the laments of the lusty halfling thief that he had never gotten to see her breasts)

After following through on Delvesdeep's foreshadowing of Gau Kleeoch upon the death of the Blue Duke, I got thinking about Zarik. What if Zarik and Gau were both from the same minotaur village in the Underdark near the Amedio jungle? Divinations on Zarik could lead the characters to get more info on Gau. They could even attempt to journey there through the previously known Underdark entrances.

Possible information to be found would be about Dyr'ryd (as he is not really foreshadowed anywhere) and the fact that Gau's motives coincide with his and that she is his bodyguard. The specific motives would not be known until chapter 8. But it gives the party a lead on someone other than Orbius.

I uploaded the xcf and the player's map on RPGenius, and only afterward saw that you wanted the unchanged picture. RPGenius doesn't want repeats of files if possible, so I would recommend installing GIMP, loading the xcf, and unselecting the layers until only the base image is seen.

Or you could check here and see if that picture suits your taste.

If you have GIMP installed, I can upload the xcf I have to RPGenius that includes layers to allow things to be revealed as the players explore the area.

My group has been making their way through the Test of the Smoking Eye. In a couple instances, I have changed the monster encounters, and thought I would share. I know some people may view that changing the encounters is making things too easy for the group. I'm not in this to kill characters, I'm in this to have a good time and challenge them. I have maintained the 3.5 challenge rating, and placed monsters I felt were more relevant.

During the walk through the Plain of Cysts, I realized that the Abyssal Basilisk would be really bad (with its DC 21 Gaze and little to no way for my group to turn party members back from being petrified). It is especially bad for teh player if the group continues on and gets teleported to the next test area miles away. If the Bard in the group had Song of Freedom, I would have considered it, but right now it would be a bad encounter. So I substituted in a fiendish 11-headed hydra. It was a very dramatic fight and was well received by the group.

Now I am planning for inside the Skull, and I know that having a Clay Golem would be another bad one, given that few to none have blunt weapons. Healing is also extremely necessary for my group due to their low ACs. So going back to the MM, I found that putting 2 bodaks in the room would be quite fitting, given they come from being touched by absolute evil (see fountain in next room). We'll see how things go when next we play.

AmbassadorShade wrote:

I'll optionally add a plush heart-shaped bed with a switch that causes the bed to slowly spin & vibrate. Mirrors on the roof and a magic mouth that occasionally fires up with some Barry White music.

My group used a Locate Creature spell to find Zenith, and so missed the entire Dhorlot encounter. They realized they skipped a lot of the Kuo-Toan living areas, so they are finally returning.

Due to the actions of my PCs, Dhorlot has moved into the main temple area (Aushanna was "killed" by the PCs) and is now worshipped as a Father to the new race. Funny enough, the group left the 2 prisoners in their cells as they were so focused on escaping with Zenith that they forgot them. I am sure that finding them as spectres will make an interesting encounter.

In re-reading the material, I found an oversight. The Hall of Heroes (area 10) has females that died giving birth to Dhorlot's children. The fingerlings are described as tadpoles. The Kuo-Toans are like sentient frogs. According to the MM, Kuo-Toans spawn similar to fish. This means that females lay soft eggs in groups, and the males fertilize them afterward. So Dhorlot's child-making activities will be much different than many have assumed (possibly even the writers).

EatherOfTheDead wrote:

I fail to understand how gaming groups can take so long with this

My group just finished session 50, and are making preparations to travel to Occipitus. We play 4 hrs every 1-2 weeks, so this has been running since March of last year. Our group delves into a lot of "in-character conversation" with one another and with NPCs. They have enjoyed the politics seen in Cauldron and have spread rumours to the detriment of their opponents.

The first adventure took a few sessions. They made a foray to rescue the rat familiar. After returning and healing, they discovered one of the group had the Vanishing. Only after they healed that did they go back down to the Malachite Fortess and kill the slavers. Then Keygan was arrested, the party was questioned, and finally the party made a third foray into the Jzadirune to clean it out. In total, from entering Jzadirune the first time to finishing the third time took 5 sessions (not to mention tracking down Keygan to begin with (1 session) and then the trial of Keygan (1 session)).

I'm sure you can see if it took this long to finish the first adventure, you can appreciate why it would take 100+ sessions to finish the SCAP.

Sean Halloran wrote:
For some reason I pictured the desert as being really far away, when it actually wasn't. I actually am placing the desert in an area known as the Sea of Dust which is literally on a different continent than Cauldron, so when it was suggested that the distance be too far away for a teleport my mind immediately grabbed that as being an obvious solution.

I am also playing it in Greyhawk, and placed Cauldron in the Amedio jungle right next to the mountains and the Sea of Dust. If you have placed it on a separate continent, then I understand why I'm seeing things differently.

Sean Halloran wrote:
This really makes it different from AoW or STAP since those actually require the PCs to do the bad-guy's work every so often.

I haven't read those Adventure Paths as of yet so I can't comment. The stuff I like is when the "bad guys" can pursue their objectives regardless of the characters involvement. The idea I like is shown with regards to Zenith. If they found him, great. If not, the plot will proceed with someone else filling the required place. It just is more meaningful if it was Zenith.

Sean Halloran wrote:
As for how far I'm willing to go to not railroad my party, go check out any threads I've posted in that mention the Smoking Eye or Kaurophon. I've gone to great lengths to make my players pursue Occipitus and Kaurophon on their own, and he will not be showing up at the end of this Chapter. The PCs need to find him on their own and if they take too long, the Siege of Redgorge might just occur without them!

My apologies if I seemed to imply that you railroaded your group. I have also taken steps to allow the group to find their own way to Occipitus. In my case, if the group doesn't find their way, they will move up to assassination attempts and starting SotSP, as we have already completed the Seige of Redgorge.

Sean Halloran wrote:
I'm not actually attempting to stop innovative play on their part, I actually encourage it when I can.

I'm glad, as I have experienced a number of "bad DMs" that railroad their players through the adventure and don't allow for thought. I now see that this is more of a mental exercise, and not an attempt to stop the players.

Sean Halloran wrote:
As it turns out, the simplest solution is that Alek is just too far away. This is supported by the module, which tells us that the wasteland is very far from the jungles of Cauldron.

Based on the adventure, Alek is 500 miles north of Cauldron, well within range of a Teleport.

Sean Halloran wrote:
I don't support the idea of having Alek still be in the mirror. That does seem like a railroad into the adventure, especially since Alek's insanity comes from him being stuck in the dark room for weeks.

It is also possible that Alek was driven insane by going from colored room to colored room in the Starry Mirror, with no way out. It would seem to be a prison, and given that he believed he was directed there by angels, he started to believe he wasn't worthy. I agree that it does seem like a railroad though. My only other concern regarding your statement is the timing. Has it been weeks since the riot? Alek would have been around a week before the riot, as he signed the challenge to Terseon. After a week with no answer from the Mayor, the riot is held. From there, the group is handed the mission to find Alek. How could Alek be locked away for weeks if he only left to refresh the Amaranth a week or so ago?

Sean Halloran wrote:
I feel the Demonskar Adventure is important for a number of reasons. Over the course of the game I've been mentioning the Skar on a off for quite a while. Some PCs have even started taking Demon-hunting traits in preparation for what they think is going to be an invasion of Cauldron. This adventure (and the later Siege at Redgorge) is for them. It also introduces the "alien" spellweavers and shows the party it's first complete Soul Cage.

While I agree that the Demonskar adventure is important for these reasons, it does not preclude them going to the Demonskar. They can go to the Demonskar whenever they want. Finding Alek is an immediate goal. You could have them teleport to Alek, fight a demon, do the Siege of Redgorge, and then have them go through Vaprak's Voice after as they pursue the dregs of Nab's army. The key is that the group is not railroaded into following Kaurophon to Occipitus after the fight at the Vault in the desert.

Given that Teleport would not be available to characters until 9th level, and that this adventure is for 8th-9th level characters (with them finishing the adventure around 10th), why would a DM stop innovative play? Let the characters teleport in if they can succeed at making the scry and teleport, and make sure that N (or his Hezrou lieutenant if you are running the Siege of Redgorge) teleport in before the party can get out.

Yes they miss a lot of "stuff" but none of that stuff is critical to the adventure as a whole. If the characters can cast teleport multiple times before they even arrive at the Demonskar, skipping the area with the Sisters is fine and will put them back "on track" with regards to XP. At the same time, with Nab dead, the Sisters will be able to start taking over the leadership of the Babau, and allow for more innovative attack possibilities. The consequences of the party's actions will be allowing the Sisters to survive and haunt them later.

1 to 50 of 143 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | next > last >>