In my group, they were part ways into Chapter 2, so they had actually just had onecharacter do all the mojo necessary to marrry Lady Smythee and become Lord of tidewater rock! Well i said some time had passed, (begin the gm railroading them a bit, but my players are fairly tolerant), and that Lady Smythee's cousin had sent her the shocking news that rumors were spreading that she had married a half-orc in desperation! Aghast at her noble lineage being disparaged, she nagged the new Lord to make her to the Rum Punch festival to be properly married and to have that huge crowd all see her new husband, so as to dispel the scanadalous rumors.
Well my group ended up capturing the brinebrood queen and had been holding her prisoner in the bilges of their ship - i have no idea why, but i love my players haha! so, i wrote up a "dear john" type letter. Insisting her new husband get a proper bachelors night, which fit well with the rum punch festival, the crew came aboard and (thankfully for my plot) left everyone else on board ship. i waited until the end of the race to the inn to have Saabwa deliver the message from lady smythee - long story short, she had come under a mind control spell from the brinebrrod queen, who convinced her the thing for a proper lady to do was to avenge her old husbands death so as not to burden her new husband with a blood feud. so, on the advice of her new best friend the brinebrood queen, she has sailed off, stranding them, because she is going to go try and kill captain harrigan haha! the players blanched. of course they know ill return their ship back to them at the end of Plunder and Perils, and wont suicide it against harrigan, but they are having a lot of fun roleplaying it, especially blaming the captain for the marriage, which made the ship communal property. I had a ton of fun writing the letter, and it was a fantastic end to a session.
Gm Notes for plunder and peril
The first notes I have are make sure you own all of the required sourcebooks. This module does not have stat blocks and you will need Bestiary 1, 2, 3 and 4, Monster Codex, Ultimate Magic, Ultimate Equipment, GameMasters Guide, and the NPC Codex to get anywhere. As an addict, i had all of those materials already, but it could have been a shocker for others. Frankly though, the HEAVY usage of 3 and especially bestiary 4 is super cool in actual play. I hadnt fully realized how good those books were until this module showed off their highlights.
This of course a work in progress and Ill edit it as people comment or I add ideas.
I am not going to apologize for writing this assuming you have all of the following materials. Buy Spend Consume.
Do not read at all probably if you plan to play skull and shackles chapter 2. I make minor references to Skull and Shackles Chapter 3, but its behind a spoiler tag.
Reference material numbering aka stuff you should buy
 - Inner Sea gods
[T] - tangent / adventure hook
This is intended to gather material from other available and applicable sources, and give GM’s suggestions as to when and where it can be used to enhance their player’s experience with the Plunder and Perils module
Chapter 1 - Rum Punch (p4)
[P] - it is very important you know exactly what Hyrix knows but more importantly what he does NOT know, when he might get interrogated. If you have read the whole backstory, it is too easy to accidentally give away information that only Captain Lanteri should know. Specifically, Hyrix does know she has one of the pieces of the key (p13), but its important that he not know the actual nickname of the key (three reasons to live). The only people who know that Captain Lanteri has a piece of the key are her, Hyrix, and Hinsin (p16 - confusingly mentioned at the start of Chapter 2). Everyone else has been led to believe she has everything she needs to find the treasures location.
If captured alive and allowed to be questioned, he will know that she only has a piece of the key and needs others, but if you reveal at any point that there are three pieces, or even the nickname “Three Reasons to Live”, this will destroy the starting hook of Chapter 2 of this module, where the players need to believe there are 4 pieces so they go ashore to get marooned. If they know theres three total, and she has one, and they fetch 2 more, why on earth would they go ashore to search for a 4th piece in Chapter 2? The potential interrogation is just meant to reveal she is missing pieces to the key, which she hadn’t mentioned before, which ends up helping her plot-wise by setting up the PCs motivations for Chapter 2 by backing up her story. Until i read the whole adventure however, i did not know the importance of keeping the name of the key itself secret as well, since it wont take a rocket scientist to wonder why the “Three Reasons to Live” has four alleged pieces, and then Chapter 2 will fall apart.
[P] - Furthering the above note, pay special care to what limited information Captain Lanteri will reveal (p 11), and the very limited information Iulia might reveal (p 11) - all she knows is that Hyrix the mutineer may return, and she doesnt know anything about key pieces.
Background on the locale-
Lilywhite is located on the northwestern shore of Motaku Island. The nearby capital is Quent, ruled by Tessa Fairwind. Details can be found on page 10 of  concerning Lilywhite’s history, or Motaku Isle itself. You can also find a small amount of basics on p56-57 of the module.
The predominant language other than Common is Polyglot, useful if you want to add some flavor. The two rulers, Delemona Burie and Little Shaggard, captain the ships Winsome Lass (sloop) and Mollusk (barkentine) respectively. [2 p10]
If you havent had time to generate the Settlements starting marketplace items, I rolled
ring - ring of swimming 2500gp
[S} You may want to allow players with Appraise or Profession(merchant) to realize that the base and purchase values for Lilywhite are 50% higher than what one might expect for a town this small - trade must be good due to the festival! Perhaps play this up as limited time offers, spend spend spend!
[F] Read up on common profanity used by Cayden Cailean followers, their dress, myths, as well as his herald Thais’ backstory, as wonderfully described in [5 p56-63, 86-87] or [1 p36-43]
[F] Remember the port of Bloodcove has slave markets, so any followers of Cayden Cailean will look with suspicion or open disapproval if the players mention having done business there or captured the Aspis Consortium ship in Skull and Shackles Ch 2. (my players started Skull and Shackles Chapter 2 a bit before this came out, and thats the closest port to Rickety Squib’s)
[T] If the topic of slavery does come up, perhaps a secret agent of the Aspis Consortium from nearby Bloodcove [4 p29] overhears and takes note. If the party sounds anti-slavery (even if just lieing to avoid trouble), the Consortium is pre-alerted to this and the events for betraying the Aspis Consortium described on [3 p20] unfold automatically as if the players had been caught plundering an Aspis ship. If the players end up finish all three chapters of this module and end up lvl 7 or so, consider using a variant of the same idea but with the Aspis Consortium Spy [8 p9]
[F] Taken from a few various sources, this was the Plaque of Wisdom (theres one at every temple of Cayden Caliean, and Building B Cailean’s Keg counts as one) i had above the Tavern. My party are a bunch of older adult pervs so perhaps you edit but
Don’t let the Rules get in the way of enjoying what is truly Good in Life.
[F] - if one of the players orders mead during the drunking contest, relate the sad tale of Little Shaggard’s father being killed in a drunken duel over which beverage the god cayden cailean preferred more - or perhaps a local takes offense to their choice! [2 p10] If you plan to run all three parts of this module, and are also planning to then continue on into Chapter 3 of the Skull and Shackles Adeventure Path, I suggest the disagreement be with Tessa “Tar Spit” Vokta, navigator and tobacco-spitting female dwarf from the Ravishing Ruby [6 p57,59]. Perhaps she is one of the competitors at the table too! This will provide a great way to tie in an excellent encounter from Ships of the Inner Sea either as the players journey to Port Peril to begin S&S Chapter 3, or after they reach level 8. The suggested party lvl is 8, not 5 as listed in , errata is in product discussion.
Skull and Shackles Ch 3 Modification:
[T] Have the Ravishing Ruby [6 p56] appear as a wild card in the Regatta!
Perhaps I described it poorly, but all day the players had been told of the “race” that was going to occur at the end of the festival that night, the re-enactment of the slave revolt. When I read the boxed text for the mad dash, which occurs *after* the ceremonial race, there was confusion as to whether the Skill-check race progression to get to the Inn to meet with Yamtisy was the re-enactment race. The notion of “youve just ran a ceremonial race you have been told about all day, and we are not using rules for it, but now theres a literal race” was a bit confusing to describe.
I just flat disagree that the race should only end after every single PC completes it. That sounded fine on paper but played terribly. It not only steals the glory from the winner, but is terribly boring for you to sit there watching someone fail Swim checks over and over, especially when the players realize its only the first PC to win that defines the results. As a design comment, I thought adding CMD checks with bullrush and trip was brilliant!
[S/P] No skillcheck is listed for it, but I would choose to describe the crows head with a delicate crown on the longships, as this will seed the players imaginations when they later need to come up with a figurehead design.
[P] Start keeping track of days spent in Lilywhite carefully now. It comes up a few times. Event 6 can trigger early because of it, and it will effect the results of Event 7 part F (total time it takes them to complete tasks)
This event makes the assumption that all of the players will be together at all times, which was not at all the case for my group. The spellcasters were off making scrolls and potions. Your options are either to keep rolling the 20% daily chances but only attacking those players who are specifically wandering around town, make some excuse they are all together, or just invoke the default clause and let the croc attack happen on the final day, as if you hadnt rolled the 20% early attack.
[P] Not listed in their Bestiary 4 stat block, the lycanthropy curse on bite is a DC 15 Fort save. Tiny and Huge creatures are not affected in this instance.
F. Hideen Cove
[F] its in the somewhat boring ship description section, but i found the crow and crown sails, and the ballista having individual names, to be great flavor material i almost missed. (p51, forecastle section)
[F] If the players are losing badly due to bad rolls against the hags aura or evil eye, perhaps have a cayhound or three [7 p8] come to their aid, if they have done a good job of venerating Cayden Cailen in the festival, or if any have converted to his worship, or set the new 12 round record during the drinking competition
[E] Ellara and Elodin should have 15hp each not 14
CHAPTER 2 - DANGEROUS WATERS
[P] immediately read appendix one, set up a secret chart with all 8 NPCs that can be influenced, and be sure not to skip over the rules for letting the PCs infliuence them. its very easy to just go day to day and read the events in chapter 2, then realize at the start of chapter 3 you never really gave the players their due chances to influence the crew. and it is critical in chapter 3.
[P] Begin rolling random weather every day from p 439 of the Core rulebook. most days it will not matter much, but you need to get the players used to the use of it so they do not suspect anything suspicious when you suddenly bust it out for Event 3 - H. Lull them thinking its just another day...
Event 1 - G
[F] Although not critical, reading the lore for Besmara’s Throne, where Part G takes place, is at [2 p16]
[F/T] Worshippers of Besmara are expected to make a pilgrimage to Besmara’s Throne at least once, and this might be a wonderful coincidence for some of your PCs who worship her. Consider a quick side quest for that worshipper since they are so close to the Cove of the Queen [2 p16,43], or perhaps allow Sandara Quinn to go off alone and do it for roleplay purposes, if she didnt die in Skull and Shackles Chapter 1 (if your party played that, if not ignore me). Blackwarn’s Gallows is on the western side of Besmara’s Throne.
[P] make sure you are familiar with plasma form rules and dont be stingy with it hehe. The tactics section allows you to have some fun with this fight.
Event 3 Dragon
[P] If the players are lucky enough to get the free water breathing cast on them, note it is not at CL 7 like his other spells, but its his spell-like ability at CL 14, and hence lasts 28 hours on each player!
Event 3 - J
[E] p26. The line about Varossa’s attitude towards the party should read “indifferent” where it says “neutral”
Event 3 - H
[P] This encounter badly needs use of weather chart on p439 of the core rulebook. the encounter drastically differs if it is raining due to the tactics section of the Adaros
Event 3 - I
[P] the Halid is a pain to gm. be sure to properly read up on channel resistance, incorporeal rules, rejuvenation, undead traits, corrupting touch, and corrupting gaze. Dont forget his use of combat expertise. His INT of 13 means he is no dummy - if he sees that a player has a weapon especially useful on incorporeals, use his Improved Disarm feat.
Same thing with the haunt rules, which are extensive. Just like it is easy to screw up the halid fight, Haunts are complicated in pathfinder and i strongly suggest reading up on them in general. If you had to guess which scene most Gms will mess up and later realize they could have put up a much harder fight for the plarty, it is this one by far.
Event 3 - J
[P] The note that the most of the coastline is rocky cliffs except for a convenient beach set off my players alarms. When asked if they could climb the cliffs if they wanted to, I noticed its a DC 20 - thats high but not impossible for a 5th level party. For example our party had an enlarged flying eidolon, the magic grappling hook from skull and shackles Chapter 1, a character that could give themselves a climb speed and hence easily do a DC 20, etc. Be prepared they may go off script here. With the lizardman encounters and possible ways to earn trust now wildly out of order, you cant assume all of the event descriptions will be accurate as far as how the creatures react to the party. More specifically, since Events 4 and 5 can be run in either order, you might need to toss the party a bone and run Event 5 first. if they butcher the lizardmen in Event 4 before Event 3 takes place, a real possibility if they do not land at the beach, this entire Chapter can go off the rails. Or at least get a heck of a lot harder if they do not have the talismans for the monsatery because they went to war with the entire lizard tribe.
[P/F] Captain Lanteri is positive its possible for the PCs to survive here, as her husband did. And she has a completely clean conscience over it. (p26) This will make Sense Motive rolls against her very difficult.
You may need to run Event 5 before Event 4, if your players do a stellar job of avoiding the lizardman village and the somewhat plot-critical rewards it offers.
Event 5 - J8
[S/F] Im not sure if it should be a Survival check or perhaps Knowledge(nature), but id give the players a chance to discover the spring was created by beneficial druidic magics, not just because it sounds cool but also begins to plant the seeds that not everything they run into is to be murder hobo’d. and if youre lucky they may even start asking questions about who built the monastery and why, before they lay waste to it =)
Event 5 - K
Abadar is [1 p12]. Gozreh is [1 p68]
Event 5 - K1
[P] another wall of special powers fight that requires some prep. First off he is an outsider, so the skill check for info is Knowledge planes not arcana as players may expect assuming its a construct. Personally Id go with the rules for it being DC 15 + CR = 21 since its such a rare creature, instead of the usual dc 10+cr for common creatures.
and he has elemental immunities, which means (for openers) he is immunite to bleed, paralysis, poison, sleep effects, and stunning, and not subject to critical hits or flanking. Does not take additional damage from precision-based attacks, such as sneak attack.
Yeah, time to rock and roll with this guy!
[F] He only speaks Terran, but Id have him keep chanting “Huzzplup!!” menacingly every round. Only players with Terran will probably realize its his name, but come on, Huzzplup is too cool a name not to use lol!
Odd side note - he will detect magic due to the belt inside him, possibly further misleading players into thinking he is a golem or construct. gotta love disinformation!
Event 5 - K5
[P] Arcane lock and Alarm spells can be botched easily, take heed.
Kahobeah’s Sense Motive is +7 if the PCs try to convince him they venerate Gozreh. this is written into the module as the quickest way to get to the goodies but is easy to overlook (bottom of p31). Control the urge to unload holy hell on them haha! they are not meant to die here.
CHAPTER 3 - BLACK CORAL COVE
[S/F] the ghol-gan empire is long dead, but history hounds may relate the creepy discovery of such ancient ruins to add flavor to this exploration. Ghol-gan ruins depict horrific scenes of blood sacrifice and cannibalism. In 4111 AR, (600 years ago) explorers from Cheliax discovered the ruins. Understandably finding the scene extremely disturbing, they declined to settle there, convinced that the coastline was haunted and cursed [Inner Sea world guide] instead they continued southward and founded the colony of Sargava. yay lore to set the tone of this scene! One of my players is from Sargava and stuff like this draws them into the entire campaign - your homeland was founded because the island you are on was too damn creepy!
[F] the description, not in boxed text, on p 36 is just excellent and i wanted to point it out. set the scene - dirty marble floors, hot humid air filled with the stench of decay and rotting things. throw in a skill check to let them realize the iron walls have been specially treated with an alchemical process to enhance their strength - that has absolutely zero gameplay use but just makes it sound like they are walking into a death trap! They should feel like they have left their tropical islands, gone back in time, and entered a Really Bad Place (tm). heart of darkness meets apocalypse now. to steal a quote from american dad, “we were in the poo.”
This is all about having kept an accurate track of each NPCs attitude towards the party, starting at the beginning of Chapter 2.
Event 1 - L6
[F] I really picture Hicks from Aliens at this point when Hinsin is trying to (badly) lie to get them to leave and escort him to safety. Of course use all of the quotes the module provides, but i think adding a “Game over man!!” is pretty much mandatory =D
Event 1 - L12
[P] same as before, haunts are complicated
Event 1 - L 13
Keep track of noise - not just the widening of the gap might alert L14, a variety of actions might.
Event 1 - L15
Yes Puppetmaster is a full round attack action, but their Step Up feat is probably going to catch someone by surprise who tries to get slick by attacking then backing away. Good times, welcome to the borg!
Event 1 - L19
This is a no-brainer but you have to be intimately familiar with how the calcification rules work on p60.
Comments and additions welcome!
My mind is melting from options (gendarme versus standard cav versus strategist, all planned out to lvl 12 of course), and also trying to discern if Improved Unarmed Strike is a *weapon* feat, or just a combat feat, since you don't have to hold a weapon. (it makes a huge difference haha!)
So some bad poetry to clear my head!
(Italian Sonnet, standard Volta in sestet)
Pathfinder, your Glory is large and vast
The timeout of a login (downloads or PFS) is extraordinarily low. I have lost several character backgrounds becaus eby the time i type it into my new PFs characters page, submit it, it just erases it and takes me back to the homepage.
Same problem with downloads. I download something, walk off to get a soda while it downloads, then click to download item #2 and i am booted out.
It seems to be set at like 2-3 minutes - can we bump this up to like 10 please?
Well Mike i have a few thoughts if you'll bear with me. I hope you even make it to comment #114 heh.
- either make them rare/valuable or else offer them to everybody. The aasimar came dangerously close, in my opinion, to the dreaded pay2win, because they were available to people who bought a book. And they are just really powerful. Keep boons RARE and not at al lattached to purchases.
So if you go with a lottery system, thats fine, but make it RARE. To compensate, you might have to take their cut *AWAY from cons*, or else risk ruining their specialness.
- learn from established video games such as EVE online, that have actually working economies. Now PFS will never be so complex, but there are basic principles that apply. A Game must have gold sinks to remove currency from PFS. In a similar way, once you hand out a boon for a character, you need a method of removing them from the game. Sure characters die, but we all **KNOW** that people with a special boon will just GM their way to lvl 5 or whatever so they can afford a rez - youre not going to kill off the vast majority of boons you hand out.
Right now, convention-only policy is the only thing preventing 'boon inflation'. Like i said, i highly doubt people will roll a lvl 1 (insert sacred boon of rarity here) and stroll around scenarios with 150gp gear, 0xp. i think you should force them to (see below)
Once you let them out of pandoras box, youre going to have all
- tying the boon to a scenario makes wonderful roleplay sense but, imo, *terrible* business sense. just look at how no one in PSOC is running anything but "the way of the kirin" before the boon ends on aug 14th, and youll see the proof - people will only play the scenario they know has a chance to get them extra loot, no matter how small the chance. it will ruin the scenario system, the season long plots, roleplay entirely. Again as game designers learned in everquest, if there is a fun way to make 1 gold per hour, and a super annoying tedious way to make 1.1 gold per hour, 95% of players will do the 1.1 method then complain about how your game "forces them" to do tedious stuff.
You will wind up with 20,000 sales of Season 05-07 and 0 of the other 30-ish episodes.
So my suggestions:
- Always consider the convention and 'other' pool as ONE pool - if you give boons to non-cons, you must reduce boons to con folks.
- make it percentage based, meaning declare 0.5% will get a boon, not a static number like 500.
- ** disassociate the reward from the mission**. Decide which boons you want to hand out, randomly fling them at any successful scenario. give players ABSOLUTELY NO WAY to increase their chances by knowing/guessing which scens might have a lottery chance - make ALL scens have a lottery chance, for a *random* boon. yes, its hard to explain why completing an Irrisen scen gave you a Varisia boon, but i think the system will collapse if theres even the hint of rumors that some scens are 'special'. this doesnt happen at cons because at cons people basically play what they are offered and cant cherry pick, and they will cherry pick the hell out of any non-convention signup system.
- (maybe) put limits on the boons - the boon must be *immediately* used to build a lvl 1 0xp character, and that character MUST be played at least once before any other characters can be used. Now that wont prevent chron stacking after that first scenario, but at least the guy had to play his character at lvl 1, 0xp, 150gp and take a risk. i really believe something like this is necessary.
- (more evil maybe) - make them get to lvl 2 before being allowed to play another character. This would,i suspect, increase the play of moudles, a good thing in my book. They could get their toon safely to lvl 2 in one long session and get back to life.
But make them actually play these guys at 150gp please, i feel bad for the non-GM players who get boons and dont have the opportunity to have them walk out the gate with enough PP for a raise dead.
PS See you at gen con!