|Vic Wertz Chief Technical Officer|
|Mark Moreland Franchise Manager|
Anyone know where I can get more information on the Woodbane Hunters Assassins Guild? Did a quick scan through the old campaign setting and didn't turn anything up. Just looking for a better understanding of the backstory.
They are a new creation I made up for the scenario. So until we expand on them in another product, which we may do someday but not anytime specific, they're whatever you want them to be.
Answers to your other questions behind the spoiler.
1) I was looking over the Shira Acidaxe encounter and am a little confused. It states if the party uncovers her poisonous plotting, that she'd attack, but later it says if the party succeeds an intimidate check that she'll openly admit to her poisoning the crew. Why would she admit to poisoning them, instead of out and out attacking, or is the intimidate check to keep her from attacking when she reveals her plot?
That's the idea. If they intimidate her, she admits what she's doing, but doesn't attack cause the PCs have intimidated her. If she has no reason to fear the PCs, she attacks when they start getting up in her business.
2) It says if the party doesn't fight Shira, they can find her alchemical reagents, and get the money from it. What's to prevent them from finding it afterwards? In my understanding, it should be the other way around, there is nothing to stop them from finding it when she's dead.
This is a result of the organized play wealth system, whereby the maximum amount of gold available to a PC is capped. By allowing them to still find her stuff even if they don't fight her, it doesn't punish parties that avoided combat through diplomacy or other social solutions. If they've already killed her, the alchemical reagents simply aren't there or aren't worth any money.
3) It says Captain Veane interferes with any combat between the party and the crew, why doesn't he interfere with the Shira fight?
He doesn't overhear combat with Shira, perhaps because he's on a different part of the ship, or has a personal grudge against her and permits the fight to happen.
4) The module details what's in Killik's footlocker, but mentions nothing of what's in the other crew's footlockers. What's in their footlockers?
Clothes and other mundane gear. His is the only one detailed because it's the only one that's trapped and contains more than just junk.
The prompt reply is why I love this company. You guys are very open and extremely approachable. My buddy thinks I have more than a serious admiration of James Jacobs already. At this rate he's going to think I have a man-crush on all of you. :P
Edit: Oh, and sorry about the lack of spoiler. I forgot that not only GMs may be perusing these topics.
I just played this module and I have to say that this was an extremely enjoyable and simultaneously extremely frustrating module for my group. The problem was one that has popped up a couple of other times, our expectations of what we "needed" to do were not correct.
Pseudo-spoilerish analogies to a popular TV show cleverly disguised below the
What we didn't realize was that this was one of those episodes where House walks in after the third commercial break, calls us idiots, and tells us what the disease was and we immediately start fighting it.
In other words, we spent so much time on the roleplaying we were extremely emotionally invested in finding an answer through investigation. Yes the GM could force our hand, but as long as we weren't running out of time and someone wanted to keep interviewing people, why should he?
The problem for players is that it can be extremely dissatisfying when the resolution doesn't come the way they think it "should."
|John Lynch 106|
I realise these posts are quite old, but for the benefit of future GMs, here are my responses.
I'm curious what people's play times have been like on this module. I played in it and GMed it and ran over significantly both times.
I'm notorious for going over time and I've run this twice. One was exactly on time and the second one finished an hour or so early. I hand waved the skill challenge at the end as I hate skill challenges and I didn't run the optional encounter. So I would argue this should finish on time for a GM that doesn't always go over like me even when including the skill challenge and optional encounter. Although I do go over time due to adding roleplaying, which this mod already has quite a bit of. So this could be why I find it possible to run on time with this where other GMs struggle.
I really don't know why people think that murder mysteries are fun. I've never had fun playing one. Though to be fair the DM was only okay.
I've had a great time with this both times I ran it and one of my players went on to GM it for another group and reported a similar experience with another player from THAT table going on to GM the game and borrowing heavily from his experience as a player when running the mod. So in short, I know of 4 times this mod has been run by 3 different GMs. Every game was a resounding success.
I stressed that they would be protecting the ship from attacks rather than protecting the ambassador from the crew. I also took the time to point out the ambassador had his own personal bodyguard. As such they took very few steps towards ensuring the safety of the ambassador.
They got their faction missions after 50 days and get a couple of days to try to carry them out. This distracted them from guarding the ambassador. Exactly as planned.
I also used this time to have the "courtesan" work on the elf bodyguard simply because he was attractive. After 53 days or so, he finally breaks down and has his way with her for a few nights. She wasn't the murderer, she just liked a challenge.
After the murder occurred and they were tasked with finding the murderer, they questioned the crew. They fulfilled their faction missions, couldn't work out who the murderer was so decided to pin it on the Cleric of Abadar.
They then defeat the First Mate when they get attacked. Afterwards they told me as the GM they would have looked the other way if the First Mate killed the Captain, but I explained the only way the First Mate got the half-elves help was by promising to help her kill the PC half-orc.
Alas this time I played up how dodgy and untrustworthy the crew was. I had 2 new players so I wanted the Pathfinder Society to come across as capable adventurers. I had them point out that the transportation was a terrible idea, but the ambassador had insisted.
This time the party went to great lengths to keep the ambassador alive. I was okay with that, because I was going to have the cook be the murderer. Alas they accidentally triggered the fight with the cook when in port. One of the PCs told the cook there was a 50k reward for turning over the ambassador and then used the cook's eagerness as evidence of his bad character. He was vigorously questioned (as one of the PCs was a sailor and so had impressed the captain with his behaviour) by the Captain who discovered the cook had been poisoning the crew. He was tossed overboard and the voyage was going to be delayed while a new cook was hired.
However one of the PCs stepped forward and offered to cook all the food. This was a disaster, as I was struggling to find a way to kill the ambassador. The cook PC had also diplomacised his way into sleeping in the ambassador's room.
I had to have the druid shape change and go through the window, but only after the battle had drawn the PC out of the bedroom chamber. The PCs had identified the need to keep watch over the porthole from above on the deck. But they then forgot to actually do it.
After the battle all of the PCs run downstairs into the hold with the wererat to complete their faction mission. A single half-orc rogue stayed near the body when the captain and first mate discuss what will happen. The Captain turns to the half-orc and says he'll get blamed for this and he'll be handed over unless he finds the real killer.
The half-orcs response is to kill the Captain (who had his weapon, but no armor). I had to grab stats on the fly (we were playing low so I used the high tier version of the First Mate). The First Mate simply watches in stunned silence as this happens. Afterwards the half-orc congratulates the First Mate on his promotion. The First Mate informs the half-orc that he can get some evidence that will appear quite convincing. He gets the actual murder weapon (which had yet to be destroyed because the PCs ran into the lower hold so quickly) and plants it on the Captain's body.
This time of running the mod, because we roleplayed the initial being told about the job, travelling through Absalom, journeying for 50 days before they get their faction mission. We probably ended up playing the actual adventure for an hour at best. The rest of the time was spent roleplaying stuff before the adventure is suppose to start.
P.S. Never say "you won't need the stats for this NPC" in an adventure. It guarantees the stats for that NPC will be needed ;)
I love the reaction from both groups of players was to say "eh, screw finding the real murderer, let's just pin it on someone else."
If anyone here uses Hero Lab and plans on running this, I have all the Tier 1-2 NPC's entered and will gladly share to save people time. I will probably also do the Tier 4-5 this week because I'm obsessive like that.
You can email me at email@example.com, with the subject "Murder on the Throaty Mermaid NPC's"
On a side note: Worldworks games makes a papercraft ship, The Maiden, which is perfect for this scenario (though you have to use the bottom floor for both the bottom and mid-levels of the ship, so there's a little juggling)
To say the least, I had to wing quite a bit of it. First, as soon as the PCs discovered they were to ensure Seph's safe arrival at the Mordant Spire, they wanted someone close to the door and someone on deck at all times, alongside some of the regular crew. I assumed the named crew were major players, but that other, minor members were required to run the ship (a good portion of my group is prior Navy ... try telling them there's only a handful of men on 3-deck sailing vessel and keep it believable). So, as soon as they heard the elves coming aboard, they sounded the alarm (show me a ship without a bell) and one of the PCs immediately moved to Seph's cabin (which, after 50 days aboard the ship, they'd know the location of).
As a side note: This adventure would have been stronger if it had set out from Riddleport and the PCs were just meeting the crew and Seph. Were it a ten day journey, there would be a logical reason to not have a better feel for the ship's layout and its crew. But after 50+ days? It doesn't follow.
I assumed the murder (Killick on my table) would take advantage of the situation and move to kill Seph anyone. The PC hid, the NPCs failed their perceptions, and the PC witnessed the captain and the first mate kill Seph. Of course, witnessing that, much of the questioning went right out the window, especially when the real captain showed up several rounds later (on deck) to see what the hell was going on!
Once the PCs compared notes, they knew immediately it was the first mate and an accomplice. They only had to investigate who the second man was. It took them longer than the time slot allotted to figure it out, and more than a few times they wanted to drag the first mate atop the deck and just toss him overboard. It was a fun adventure, but it definitely requires a firm grasp of the NPCs, plot, and a heavy dose of common sense.
I ran this with a mixed group of first level characters, two players who were very green. Only one person on the table was a 3.5/PF veteran. It took us roughly 5 1/2 hours to get through (with breaks for jokes, pizza, and the like).
All in all, I really liked this, but GMs definitely need to have a strong feel for a muder-mystery sandbox. Knowing a bit about basic naval positions (terms, ect) will definitely strengthen the believability of this scenario. (Especially if you've anyone familiar with it on your table). I'd also suggest modifying some of the clues with added descriptions, especially with players that start taking inventory about who wears and uses what sorts of items, their conditions, ect. Also, review the spell disguise self (which doesn't change audible components and offers a save when interacted with).
Because the PCs forced the final encounter with the first mate and his accomplice, I just skipped the final encounter, which at that point, seemed pointless (and didn't increase the plot in a tangible way).
All in all, this was a very fun adventure, even if it does require some additional patchwork to account for creative or attentive players...
|Mark Moreland Franchise Manager|
I ran this scenario just yesterday and myself and the party had a great time. It was our normal GM's last night in town before moving to Indiana for PhD Studies. Lots of roleplaying and character development available, which is what I like. The group however decided to go to the Captain's room to talk to Captain Veine alone, who then sent Azurrete out, so they never got to talk to her directly. Then, I hit them with Act III, and had her poke her head out on deck just before the final battle along with the other two real culprits to keep them guessing up to the last minute. My only gripe was that it turned into a one sided battle since I had 4 2nd-3rd level PC's against the 2nd level villains. If I could run it again, I'd have one of them take Azurrete or the Captain hostage to make things more challenging for a more than 1st Tier, but not up to 2nd Tier party.
I don't know if that's allowed, but that's what I'd do as a long time GM of other games, and only who only recently started running Pathfinder/D&D games.
I ran this for the 3rd time yesterday
The PCs were 1st and 2nd level so I didn't assume the killer had access to invisibility. The idea that the crew befriended them is a good way to handle the issue as well. I enjoy the module but GMs should expect that the party might take a turn and do something that the author doesn't explain how to handle. I'm running this again in a few weeks so I'll take the suggestion and have the crew befriend the PCs on the days before the attack by the elves.