Way of the Wicked—Book #1: Knot of Thorns (PFRPG) PDF

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BE THE BAD GUY!

The Kingdom of Talingarde is the most noble, virtuous, peaceful nation in the known world. Herein is the story of how you burned this insipid paradise to the ground.

It's only fair. They burned you first.

They condemned you for your wicked deeds. They branded you. They shipped you to the worst prison in the kingdom. In three days, you die. In three days, the do-gooders pray they'll be rid of you.

They've given you three days. The fools, that's more than you need to break out. And then, it will be their turn to face the fire.

Welcome to the first chapter of the "Way of the Wicked" adventure path! Inside you'll find:

  • "Knot of Thorns," an adventure for 1st level villains compatible with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game by Gary McBride.
  • Full color art and maps by Michael Clarke
  • A gazetteer of brave, noble, doomed Talingarde
  • Advice for running a successful villainous campaign
  • Rules for creating wicked PCs
  • A 100-page full color PDF (including printer friendly version) full of vice and villainy.
  • And more!

You've saved the world plenty.

This time, the world needs saving from you.

Product Availability

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Are there errors or omissions in this product information? Got corrections? Let us know at store@paizo.com.

FRM1001E


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The only good book in this AP.

3/5

The title says it all. Book 1 of Way of the Wicked is fantastic, with a great and memorable starting setpiece, So is the Watch Wall, with a lot of options for the PCs.

-1 Star from my overall rating, with the whole Kickstarter fraud thing others have mentioned.


Fraud

1/5

I would love to give this product a higher rating but it has been written by a fraudster, Gary McBride, who tricked 315 people into giving him $40,000 through Kickstarter and refused to communicate with them for 4 years now. Despite multiple appeals from backers he has backed over 520 other kickstarters since then, logging in every week though seemingly unable to respond to his backers products. Shame on Paizo for selling the products of a con man and allowing him to continue profiting from rpg fans.

For details of the swindle and Gary McBride’s backing record see https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/730004812/throne-of-night-a-pathfinder -rpg-adventure-path/comments


Written by a fraudster

1/5

I would love to give this product a higher rating but it has been written by a fraudster, Gary McBride, who tricked 315 people into giving him $40,000 through Kickstarter and refused to communicate with them for 4 years now. Despite multiple appeals from backers he has backed over 520 other kickstarters since then, logging in every week though seemingly unable to respond to his backers products. Shame on Paizo for selling the products of a con man and allowing him to continue profiting from rpg fans.

For details of the swindle and Gary McBride’s backing record see https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/730004812/throne-of-night-a-pathfinder -rpg-adventure-path/comments


Excellent campaign

5/5

This is more of a review of the entire AP. I just finished running it after a long run. It is one of the best AP's I have run, some bits of some modules are a bit weak , I think book 5 has some problems with player actions and planning. However if you are willing to deal with all the problems a very high level party can cause and expand a bit over the last 2 books were this power gives the pc's so many options that the books cannot cover them all then this works well.

An evil party gets the chance to become the evil overlords of the land and show their true natures , mine were suprisingly subtle and restrained but it can be fun to see how things turn out.


It has begun

5/5

Despite the relative age of the Way of the Wicked it holds up very well.

Provided the players understand and buy into this campaign's concept they will have a Hell of a good time.

This chapter packs a lot of material from start to end. You get a lot of adventure for your money and the maps are well done. There are a lot of player handouts that you may want to review and re-do for the vision-impaired players (or yourself!).

Especially for the price point the campaign is worth every penny so long as everyone buys in for the long haul.


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Grand Lodge

Fire Mountain Games wrote:

Hey everyone,

I have got Derek's email. Today I am still in Texas with family, so I just have a moment. I will look over it in more detail later this weekend.

Oh, and this is the 1000th post. Wow! Thanks for all your continuing interest in "Way of the Wicked".

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games

Cool. Hope you had a good New Year's. Looking forward to the answer on the weekend.


BlackTorment wrote:

This is the first time we play Pathfinder (coming from 3.5) and for the first time the cleric will be Evil.

The Pathfinder cleric is nerfed (less spells) because he now can Channel Energy.
I know the cleric should not be used as a Healer but I wonder if someone else has problem to run an evil cleric in the party without using Channel energy and spontaneous casting to cure wounds now available only to inflict wounds.
is that hard for the characters run an evil campaign with a few cure spells prepared?
Thanks

If your evil cleric gets the Death Domain, then healing is no longer a problem.


My group simply purchased a wand of CLW once they were settled down at the mansion. I think the lack of healing in the jail is actually a good thing -- it keeps that scenario challenging. A strong party of PCs with healing can potentially kill every living thing in Branderscar without working a sweat.

Doug M.


Douglas Muir 406 wrote:

My group simply purchased a wand of CLW once they were settled down at the mansion. I think the lack of healing in the jail is actually a good thing -- it keeps that scenario challenging. A strong party of PCs with healing can potentially kill every living thing in Branderscar without working a sweat.

Doug M.

My party killed the entire garrison (and I put more of them) without healing. They had a bunch of people with good stealth, though, and got a few free kills with that. And Grumblejack crushed Blackerly in no time.

They burnt the prison and left, bringing the servants with them.

Grand Lodge

gustavo iglesias wrote:
Douglas Muir 406 wrote:
My group simply purchased a wand of CLW once they were settled down at the mansion. I think the lack of healing in the jail is actually a good thing -- it keeps that scenario challenging. A strong party of PCs with healing can potentially kill every living thing in Branderscar without working a sweat.

My party killed the entire garrison (and I put more of them) without healing. They had a bunch of people with good stealth, though, and got a few free kills with that. And Grumblejack crushed Blackerly in no time.

They burnt the prison and left, bringing the servants with them.

Yeah, that's how it's looking for my guys too. Well, maybe not the servants though. They don't know about them yet. They're also thinking themselves to be invincible right now. Plan on raiding every prison and making everyone their cohort. They're also expecting the guards to be stupid. They're on high alert right now, and manning the gates. The players plan to burn everything down, and then while "everyone" is rushing to put out the flames and so callously abandon their posts to do so, they'll all be unarmed so that the slaughter will be easy and their escape a guarantee.

I sometimes look at my players and wonder just how many times they were dropped on their heads, and also, when they watched "Demolition Man", were they inspired by Chief George Earle, or do they think they're Phoenix and that LG means "always lawful stupid to the point of the S.A.P.D. ridiculousness" (another Demo Man reference).


Actually my players were quite scared. They didn't want to go vs Blackerly or the Warden, but the wizard's bonded object was in Blackerly's pocket so they needed to do so.
In the process they killed a few "free" guards (4 of them sleeping in their rooms), and they learned how much people was in the prison (which was bigger in my game). They started to count and they realized they had already killed like half the garrison in the process (three in the cells, then 4 in their rooms, 6 more playing cards, and an extra pair of them in patrol duty), while being relatively healthy. So they changed their minds, and went to kill the Warden, then the rest of the guards. Having found the lamp oil barrels to finish the job burning the jail was the cherry on the cake.


Fire Mountain Games wrote:

Hey everyone,

I have got Derek's email. Today I am still in Texas with family, so I just have a moment. I will look over it in more detail later this weekend.

Oh, and this is the 1000th post. Wow! Thanks for all your continuing interest in "Way of the Wicked".

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games

I hope you enjoyed the holidays; and thanks again for making this amazing AP!

Grand Lodge

We had another game tonight for the first time in a month, but I'll have to post later. Extremely tired. They finally escaped the prison though. Only took three sessions. :P

Grand Lodge

The group's finally gotten out of prison and are making their way to the manor house.

Escape:
The group make their way into the Warden's private chambers and ransacked it as best as they could. They weren't sure how much time they had. Grumblejack became the pack mule quite quickly, but since hew as healed, he was okay with that. Especially after the wizard used the alchemist's lab to quickly make an antidote while the others guarded the entrance. The guards never came.
They made their way down to the library, and took the three important books, then burned the tower down with the rest of them.
Heading out, the gnome ninja decided to try his luck and get some belladona. Two arrows came out from the night and struck him. He hobbled back to the side of the building, but couldn't see where they came from.
More stealthily they made their way to the gates, avoiding random shots here and there. However, they soon realized that the portcullis had been lowered.
The wizard's familiar, an imp (found an archetype for an evil wizard give's him an imp at 1st level), found the murder holes and invisibly made his way up there. Saw the rest of the guards inside shooting the party, and tried to use a wand of sleep (I gave it to the Warden) and utterly failed, causing the wand the to explode, and the imp to take damage. The imp slowly bleed out while the wizard rushed to save him with a potion of cure light wounds.
The slaver, half-succubus, and half-dragon made their way over while the oracle, cleric, and Grumblejack stayed behind. They didn't want to die so they decided to not fight. That's when I took over Grumblejack to insult them both for being cowards, and had him join the fight to take on the invisible little 'uns. They didn't take too kindly to that, especially since he basically insulted Asmodeus (said that if weak cowards were what the deity had worshipping him, and cowardice was what he stood for, then he didn't want any part) and got into the thick of things.
The slaver and ninja managed to open the walls and make their way inside to take on the last of the guards. Try as they might, they were quickly subdued by the guards lucky shots from the bows and swords. The half-dragon ended up going down, and slowly bled to death while the slaver got tripped up by the dog and became fodder for one of the guards as well.
It became quite apparent that these guys weren't drunk like the previous guards had been. They were perfectly sober, and hitting hard.
However, the rolls started to go in the favour of the PCs as crit after crit was rolled, and all of the guards were taken down one by one.
The guard at the guard house, as well as the dog, took off to go gather more reinforcements and warn everyone of what had happened.
The PCs quickly ran back into the prison to look through the last three rooms to see what they had missed. They found the servants in the kitchen, but let them live so long as they packed them food, quickly. They were evil, but they were lawful. That was the deal. They made enough food to last them all 2-3 days.
The group then ransacked the now empty barracks and took everything that was in there that was of actual importance. This included the cure light potion, and the map.
Heading into the mess hall, they quickly ate any and all food that had been left behind by the guards when the alarm had gone off.
Going back outside, the gnome ninja went and lifted the portcullis enough that everyone could escape. The half-dragon stayed behind with the gnome, and climbing back up to the top of the gates, they flew down.
Branderscar Prison was still standing, but the wizard's tower was destroyed. In time, the half-dragon plans to come back and take it over, and restart the Hellknights. Grumblejack currently holds the tapestry.
Since the wizard eventually wants to become a Diabolist, he plans on helping the half-dragon out as it'll be a mutual benefit for their prestige classes.
The wizard, who'd been in contact with Tiadora, and only told the group about the town, not the manor house. That way if they try to betray him in any way, they'll be lost with only part of the information.
The session ended with them making their way to Lashtongue's lair. He's currently out night hunting. When he gets back though, he's going to find some very tired, and spell less characters. However, the imp is an outsider, and has invisibility at-will, so he's currently stationed at the entrance with the half-succubus.
Lashtongue has a decent stealth, so it's going to be interesting, and he's not very likely going to enter his own home if he senses danger. More likely he'll wait to ambush them as they come out.


I don't know what "Derek's email" is, but has there been any word on Book 6?

Grand Lodge

Curmudgeonly wrote:
I don't know what "Derek's email" is, but has there been any word on Book 6?

It's my e-mail regarding the issues with Book 1, and how it's not actually completed.

Book 6 should be out at the end of the month. Gary's getting back to work this week. He was away for 2-3 weeks for Christmas and New Year's.


We just started our campaign last and after character creation and some introductions the characters managed to escape their shackles after getting caught and beaten once. My question is about adjusting the campaign to 7 experienced powerful players. Any advice? I just want it to be challenging and fun for them.

Scarab Sages

Another session complete!

Session 5:

Wanting to get back to the main story line, we quickly wrapped up the quest for the ice forge using skill checks. The party was moderately successful and came away with some loot.

Then back to the horde for their ride across the lake. The party decided that when they were almost on the other side was when they would jump the captain and crew.
They quickly dropped the captain, and the remaining crew surrendered... but alas they found no mercy.
The PCs then lit the ship on fire and pushed out into the lake to burn down.

Approaching Aldencross the PCs decided that most of them would use their Iron Circlets to appear as human. They then started gathering information about Balentyne.

They are starting to formulate some rough plans on how they want to proceed.

Grand Lodge

Macgreine wrote:
We just started our campaign last and after character creation and some introductions the characters managed to escape their shackles after getting caught and beaten once. My question is about adjusting the campaign to 7 experienced powerful players. Any advice? I just want it to be challenging and fun for them.

I don't have seven experienced players, but I do have seven players. Right now I'm just adding templates and adding more guys for them to fight. The easiest being the Overpowered book that lets you use their feats as templates. For instance, maybe that warrior is actually a warrior/fighter. Or, the fighter also has all of the archetype levels of a two-weapon melee character as well. Or maybe they're advanced and have +4 to all stats and +2 natural armor. It all depends on what you need.

Still nothing from Gary?


Macgreine wrote:
We just started our campaign last and after character creation and some introductions the characters managed to escape their shackles after getting caught and beaten once. My question is about adjusting the campaign to 7 experienced powerful players. Any advice? I just want it to be challenging and fun for them.

We are 6, no one is heavily optimizated (just no one is a dead weight), and they are doing more than fine. I'm giving "advanced" Template to most monsters, and adding a level to most important NPC (with extra mooks too), and I keep them roughly 1 level behind the reccomended. They ROFLSTOMP most encounters, though, because if your party is clever, you can have the surprise in a lot of encounters (as you are the evil guy who ambush the good guys in assassination attempts, instead of the opposite).

When the NPC get the jump (Calliastra's fight, for example, or against One Eye, they do some nasty damage. When not, it's a faceroll. Extra actions is the most powerful thing in the game, and 7 players outnumber the NPC by a lot. Add extra NPC to enemy parties (such as the adventurers in Book 2), it'll work better than simply adding levels or templates to the NPC. Outnumbering is a serious adventage.

Liberty's Edge

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Gameplay Report:
So, I haven't been reporting my gameplay, but we've been having a very exciting time of it. We're near the end, and it's getting quite entertaining.

Party is:
Half-Orc Fighter, going Hellknight next level
Fallen Asimaar Cleric of Asmodeus (I altered Asmodius' domains a bit to make the choice palatable to the player, as I really didn't want to get into the issue of a cleric signing a contract venerating another god - I highly recommend this for other GM's)
Svirfneblin Rogue/Inquisitor of Asmodeus
Teifling Black Blade Magus
Dhampir Gunslinger

In general, the party approaches nearly ever situation by using darkness first and asking questions later. They have multiple sources of darkness, and they all have darkvision, so that's generally been their strategy.

The party has whittled down the castle slowly. They initially killed Varning and his rangers while out on patrol, and left the bodies to rot. While waiting for this to be discovered, they killed a few more guards in and around the town (not sure if I made the right call having the soldiers also double as town guard, but that's what I did). Captain Barhold was dispatched to investigate Varning's disappearance, and he was much, much more prepared - already Balentyne began to suspect that something was afoot.

Barhold managed to escape the party, and was able to report back to the fortress that a party of 4-5 enemies was about. Not shortly thereafter, the fortress became much more guarded. They advertised for "supernatural bounty hunters" - a ploy that my party reacted to by applying for the job themselves, and interesting plan but one which exposed them to Tacitus, who dutifully noted that they were all wearing magical headgear. Being no idiot, he suspected hats of disguise.

Long story short, although the party has used their iron circlets to great advantage and been able to move about with relative impunity, the noose is beginning to close on them. A recent ruse of theirs failed, and has led to the Cleric being imprisoned, while Father Donnagin is questioning a pile of corpses. The disguises are protecting them for the most part, though. None of the corpses is able to describe the PCs in their natural appearance. Lord Havelyn is convinced of the party's guilt, though, having connected Barhold's initial report, Tacitus' tale of mercenaries with Hats of Disguise, and the mounting pile of corpses that all speak of being slain with the same weapons - weapons the PCs happen to use consistently. He holds the Cleric in his hands, and does in fact plan to let her swing, if only to show the PCs that he means business (even though he lacks direct "smoking gun" evidence).

He plans to accumulate as much evidence in his favor as possible (he is LG, after all), but it is no coincidence that he plans to execute the Cleric on the very day that the bugbear hoarde will arrive at his doorstep. The party will have a very busy day two game-days hence.

The last session ended with the Rogue trying to sneak in and kill the Cleric in his sleep, thus eliminating the Speak With Dead threat. Unfortunately, thanks to Donnagin's odd sleeping habits, he was up praying in the chapel. The Rogue sees him with his back turned, and he is invisible and has Non-Detection running. he is going in for the kill, and he might succeed, but... the chapel is not without defences... a LOT of them. I will be amazed if he lives. *rubs hands together and cackles maniacally*

Grand Lodge

@ Jeremiziah -- What was wrong with the choice of domains for your player? Our cleric had absolutely no problem choosing from what was there.

And you're right. The second the rogue becomes visible, it could be quite interesting.


I would suggest let the players to take domains from the hell Princes (Dis, Barbatus, etc) instead of making a cleric of a different god too. That doesn't mean he should be able to take any domain he wants at will (roleplaying is also about making tough choices and sacrificing things). But if he really wants to have some certain domain, it doesn't hurt to check if it can go with this or that Prince of Hell. For example, Dispater can have the domain of Nobility if your PC really wants it.

Scarab Sages

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Session 6:

My player count is now 6. The PCs are:
Tiefling Witch;
Tiefling Cleric of Urgotha;
Orc Monk/Fighter;
Goblin Rogue;
Human Sorceress;
and a fallen Sir Balin;
with Grumblejack their constant companion.

The PCs finish their information gathering and knowledge checks and start doing some serious planning.
The witch went out into the woods and managed to find hemlock for the stew.
The orc went and figured out using survival that Capt Varning always uses the same route for the first few hours of his patrol and found a lovely ambush site.
The sorceress managed to make contact with Tacticus and got him to scribe her some fireball spells (I'm sure he won't regret that later!). She was so charming that she got invited up to see his lab (and bedroom) and was a little unnerved when she realized that he had a full operational ice golem.
The goblin snuck into the dwarves' room when they were at work and discovered the map of the keep.
With a bunch of evil little plots running thru their heads they decide to:
Ambush Capt Varning's patrol while disguised as dwarves, and hopefully frame the dwarven engineers.
Frame Katilyn Mott in an affair.
Poison the stew on the start of the third week, using hemlock (and possibly either killing Mama first, or impersonating her so she gets executed later).
Poison a bottle of wine and trick Tacticus into drinking it, and then seeing if the sorceress disguised as Tacticus can give the golem orders.
Lure Father Donnagin out to the graveyard and kill him.

What they managed to accomplish was:
Killed Capt Varning and his entire patrol.
Killed the Dwarven engineers.
Staged it so it looked like the dwarves killed Capt Varning and that 4 dwarves escaped. Framed Barnabus as a cultist of Asmodeus.
Discovered that Katilyn Mott was already in an affair, tipped off Capt Mott who challenged Capt Eddarly to a duel.

Currently:
Capt Varning & Patrol = eliminated.
Barnabus & Dwarves = eliminated (and the 4 'escaped' dwarves have been animated)
Capt Eddarly = dead
Capt Mott = imprisoned and slated for Branderscar

Overall a very good session, although it is a little disturbing on how my players giggled with delight on how their plans came together. :)

Scarab Sages

I must reiterate that I'm having a blast with this adventure.

Some of the things I've enjoyed:
- not having to look stats up in other books (makes prepping much easier)
- that at each stage, the mission for the PCs is well identified (unlike some adventures where you have an over arcing goal, but the small steps to get there are 'lost' in the big scheme of things)
- that the PCs aren't railroaded into a certain action, there are many ways to get to their goals and achieve mission success
- that the main enemies aren't 'monsters', and thus numerous role-playing opportunities between the players and the DM
- that the group cohesion (via Cardinal Thorn & the Pact) really makes the 'evil' party work, and prevents the normal backstabbiness that seems to occur with evil PCs

Well done Gary!
Keep up the good work. Looking foward to Book VI! And of course the next AP as well. :)

John


W. John Hare wrote:

I must reiterate that I'm having a blast with this adventure.

Some of the things I've enjoyed:
- not having to look stats up in other books (makes prepping much easier)
- that at each stage, the mission for the PCs is well identified (unlike some adventures where you have an over arcing goal, but the small steps to get there are 'lost' in the big scheme of things)
- that the PCs aren't railroaded into a certain action, there are many ways to get to their goals and achieve mission success
- that the main enemies aren't 'monsters', and thus numerous role-playing opportunities between the players and the DM
- that the group cohesion (via Cardinal Thorn & the Pact) really makes the 'evil' party work, and prevents the normal backstabbiness that seems to occur with evil PCs

Well done Gary!
Keep up the good work. Looking foward to Book VI! And of course the next AP as well. :)

John

100% agreed with that.

I just Gmed RotRL before and it was much harder to GM than this one (Specially for stats and all that prep work).


W. John Hare wrote:

I must reiterate that I'm having a blast with this adventure.

Some of the things I've enjoyed:
- not having to look stats up in other books (makes prepping much easier)
- that at each stage, the mission for the PCs is well identified (unlike some adventures where you have an over arcing goal, but the small steps to get there are 'lost' in the big scheme of things)
- that the PCs aren't railroaded into a certain action, there are many ways to get to their goals and achieve mission success
- that the main enemies aren't 'monsters', and thus numerous role-playing opportunities between the players and the DM
- that the group cohesion (via Cardinal Thorn & the Pact) really makes the 'evil' party work, and prevents the normal backstabbiness that seems to occur with evil PCs

Well done Gary!
Keep up the good work. Looking foward to Book VI! And of course the next AP as well. :)

John

And the only thing I have to add to this, is "period". :)


Mirrel the Marvelous wrote:
BlackTorment wrote:

This is the first time we play Pathfinder (coming from 3.5) and for the first time the cleric will be Evil.

The Pathfinder cleric is nerfed (less spells) because he now can Channel Energy.
I know the cleric should not be used as a Healer but I wonder if someone else has problem to run an evil cleric in the party without using Channel energy and spontaneous casting to cure wounds now available only to inflict wounds.
is that hard for the characters run an evil campaign with a few cure spells prepared?
Thanks

If your evil cleric gets the Death Domain, then healing is no longer a problem.

Sorry, meant to say Undeath Subdomain.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

I posted a version of this last year, but just for the heck of it I'll post it again.

A lot of people seem to be running this with five or six PCs and/or with experienced players. Six PCs run by good players will knife through Branderscar Prison pretty easily, probably killing everyone and leaving the place in flames behind them. If that's what you want, that's fine -- go with the module as written. But if you want Talingarde's Toughest Prison to present more of a challenge, here are the changes that I made in my campaign.

Changes!:

(1) Added an anti-magic ward: DC 15 concentration check to cast any spell, and if you fail twice in a row you're nauseated for 10 minutes. It operates only inside the main building, so once the PCs are out of there it's no longer relevant, but it makes it bit harder to get out with simple magic. (If you really want to get into detail, I decided that the ward was a 300 pound lump of obsidian, heavily engraved with runes, located in a locked and trapped closet in the downstairs supply room.)

(2) Added a third guard to the two in the cell block.

(3) Added an alarm bell on Blackerly's office door, a simple trap on his bedroom door, and another trap on his chest. (Blackerly seems like the kind of guy who'd take precautions against anyone messing with his stuff.)

(4) Added a barracks along the wall (where the dog kennel is) with a dozen guards. The guards are off-duty and unarmed, and at night they're asleep. They will take three rounds to clothe and arm themselves, or six if it's night and they're asleep. Still, just by existing they force the party to be more thoughtful.

(5) Gave the Warden another level, made him a specialist illusionist, and had his owl sit in a window of the tower (giving him a Perception check against PCs trying to enter the tower).

(6) Added two more guards to Blackerly's game in the gatehouse.

(7) Gave Blackerly one expert level: better Will save, some skills, a few more hp, and +1 Str.

This seemed a little more interesting to me than "just increase all monster numbers by 50%, or give them another hit die/level."

Doug M.


If you're interested, here's the tougher version of Warden Richter in detail:

Warden Richter:

Male old human aristocrat 1/wizard (Illusionist) 4
LG Medium humanoid
Init +4; Senses Perception +8 (+11 vs. sight-based tests in shadows
or darkness)

DEFENSE
AC 10 (14 with mage armor, 18 with mage armor and shield), touch 10, flat-footed 10 (14 with mage armor)
hp 19 (d8 + 4d6)
Fort +1, Ref 0, Will +8

OFFENSE
Speed 30 ft. (60 ft. with expeditious retreat)
Melee dagger +0 (1d4-1/19-20)
Ranged dagger +1 (1d4-1/19-20)

Wizard Spells Prepared (CL 4th; Concentration +9)
2nd – flaming sphere (DC 17 Reflex), minor image, mirror image, summon monster II (usually a small air elemental)
1st – charm person (DC 17 Will), color spray (DC 18 Will), expeditious retreat, mage armor, magic missile, shield
0th – detect magic, mage hand, prestidigitation, ray of frost

TACTICS
During Combat: The Warden is terrible at melee combat and so uses expeditious retreat to avoid it at all costs. If he hears a suspicious sound or a signal horn, he will delay three rounds and cast mage armor, expeditious retreat, and shield on himself (in that order) before investigating. If threatened with combat, he'll try to cast mirror image, then summon a small air elemental, then use minor image to make it look like he's summoning a medium air elemental. He'll use his scrolls of hypnotic pattern and sleep against groups of enemies, preferring to take prisoners if possible. However, if he sees a prisoner kill anyone, the gloves are off; he casts flaming sphere as soon as he can. Mathias fights intelligently; if possible, he combines the damage from flaming sphere and the summoned air elemental against single targets (typically whoever seems most dangerous) until they drop.

Morale As incompetent as he is, Mathias is no coward. He will fight to the death to keep prisoners from escaping his jail.

STATISTICS
Str 8, Dex 8, Con 10, Int 21, Wis 14, Cha 14
Base Atk +1; CMB +0; CMD 10

Feats Alertness, Combat Casting, Improved Initiative, Scribe
Scroll, Spell Focus (Enchantment), Spell Focus (Illusion)

Skills Bluff +6, Diplomacy +6, Knowledge (arcana) +12, Knowledge (history) +12, Knowledge (local) +12, Knowledge (nobility) +12, Knowledge (religion) +11, Linguistics +12, Perception +8 (+11 vs. sight-based tests in shadows or darkness), Sense Motive +8, Spellcraft +11

Languages Auran, Celestial, Common, Draconic, Dwarven, Elven, Giant, Gnome, Halfling, Sylvan

SQ arcane bond (his owl “Strixia”). At night the owl perches in a window of the tower, giving it a Perception check against anyone trying to enter the tower or any unusual goings-on in the south half of the prison grounds.

Combat Gear potion of cure light wounds, scrolls of hypnotic pattern, magic missile, sleep, hideous laughter and invisibility

Other Gear dagger, wizard’s college class ring (gold with diamonds
worth 250 gp), seven other rings worth 30 gp each, ioun torch (used when he must go out at night)

Changes:

-- added one level of wizard and made him a specialist Illusionist
-- added several spells
-- dropped his Dex and Con by two each (he's old!)

Note that this version of the Warden is much more dangerous if he has time to buff -- with Mage Armor, Shield, Expeditious Retreat and Mirror Image up, he'll give six first level PCs a really hard time. My group of players took him down, but not before he did major damage to two of them and reduced two others to temporary imbecility. The players were in serious fear of a TPK, and only a couple of good saves avoided a PC death.

Doug M.


I also increased the number of guards in the jail. Raised the numbers by 20 more, most of them off duty, or patrolling the walls. That helped to keep them worried about making noise. In the end, they killed all the guards and burn the prison anyways, as they sneaked into the rooms of several of them, killing 6 with coup de graces while sleeping. I also raised the number of gambling guys, but they defeated 6 of them and Blackerly just fine. Surprise is a strong adventage.

I also gave the Warden some illusion spells, and added glitterdust to his spell selection, but he got caught by surprise, with no chance to pre-buff, so there was little difference. Players rolled high in his saves vs blinding (all of them but 1), and he died in 1 round.

Grand Lodge

I too added more guards (about a dozen) and I also had Blackerly have three of his own personally trained guard officers, increased Blackerly and the Warden, as well as gave all the guards toughness for a few extra hp. In the end, they were still able to take out everyone, and burn everything to the ground, but three of them were hurting pretty badly by the end of things. The PCs even almost took each other out because if you made too much noise, and ruined their escape, they were going to kill you.

Grand Lodge

Last night we got together again, and the group finally made it to the mansion.

The Signing:
They had the half-succubus and imp watch the front of the Lashtongue's cave and see if anyone was coming. They managed to see him, despite his hiding behind some bush. Lashtongue charged in and started attacking the half-succubus ranger. Unfortunately, he was not able to swallow her whole (rolled a 1). She started calling out for everyone to help, but only 1/3 of them actually heard her (Perception 25 when sleeping). Thankfully the cleric was up first and he fired a Fire Bolt at the creature, doing max damage at point blank. The half-succubus managed to get in a few good hits, and dropped Lashtongue by the exact number he needed to be.

Having only enough sleep to not worry about endurance fatigue checks, but not enough to get back their spells, the tiefling wizard pushed everyone to continue their progress. He didn't want to be stuck around there any longer in case something else even bigger and more hungry, or the garrison, came by. The others grumbled at being forced to march, and started to riot against him, but eventually they relinquished their hatred and continued into the moor, making it to the mansion with the single light in the upper window.

As per the suggestion made earlier in this thread, a half-goblin named Jarvis Anarl, Thorn's personal accountant, opened the door. He requested the veil as proof knowing Lady Tiadora. He invited them in, and asked that they stay there while he got Tiadora.

The whisper gnome had other plans though. He wanted to leave the group behind, explore the entire mansion, and see what he could swipe and sell. I added in electricity traps everywhere at ridiculous DCs that he couldn't possibly make, forcing him back to the party with minimal hp left. They merely mocked him for his shady practices.

The servants arrive with Tiadora, he exclaims her approval of them arriving, and has them all sent to their own rooms. I added in a magic tub that has the ability to create water and heat it so that they could bathe properly. I also added a gaming room where there was darts, a card table, etc, as the party was expressing their immediate "cabin fever".

They all visited with Thorn after they were cleaned up, and grudgingly signed the contract. Grumblejack was also asked to sign it by the party (he put down an X), and the wizard signed it with his arcane mark so that it was even more official. The players were extremely happy to see an actual contract for them to sign, and read it aloud for everyone to hear.

They were each given the 200 gold (I called it their signing bonus), the iron circlet (which no one even attempted to check out), and a linked handy haversack.

After that, they were told to stay in for three days. The grumbled about this until I had Sir Richard and other paladins coming looking for them. That's whey they decided that maybe they should take off. I told them that the contract kept them from being turned in by the people of the manor, but despite that, they don't trust anyone. It threw me off. The contract specifically told them "we can not openly betray you and you can not openly betray us" (at least to a degree) and they still refuse to trust each other, or their benefactor. It's getting a bit annoying.

At any rate, they used the money to get what supplies they required, I had the red half-dragon antipaladin meet with Wolfram who would be the one to watch over her test for becoming a Hellknight if she wanted, and the PCs got to meet the White Ravens. When asked what their group name was, the whisper gnome ninja proudly said "We're the Naughty Bunch." The wizard immediately left without saying a word, the slaver high-fived the gnome, the half-succubus facepalmed, Grumblejack was indifferent, the cleric and oracle slunked off quietly, while the half-red dragon just stood there shaking her head mouthing "No, we're not."

Because they're a little low on xp, I've added a beginner test for them to do before going into the basement. From Book of Beasts - Monsters of the River Nations, I'm going to have them retrieve a silver bell from the Silver Bell plant, without breaking it (requires a DC 15 Strength check or a DC 25 Craft [sculpture] check). They'll have 24 hours to bring it back, and they'll have to do it without being turned to silver themselves.


Wow, perception 25 to hear a shout when sleeping O_O. By default, creature asleep is a +10 to DC. And hearing a battle is -10 base DC, making it 0, plus others modifiers...

Grand Lodge

gustavo iglesias wrote:
Wow, perception 25 to hear a shout when sleeping O_O. By default, creature asleep is a +10 to DC. And hearing a battle is -10 base DC, making it 0, plus others modifiers...

True, but it depends on distance, the type of battle (swords and armored warriors would be loud vs. natural weapons and flesh not so much) and other factors. However, the second round it's -5 DC, so 20. Unless more sounds are involved (spells cast, blasts, etc) for another -5. The fight was only three rounds long.


My group finally started playing this yesterday, and we had a blast. Feel free to read what we've been up to here. So far, mostly we've been sneakyily murderous.

And 'cos I can;

Something Wicked this Way Comes

What Wicked Things Are to be done?

When hearts are filled with dark desires

Hope and Mercy soon expire

Something Wicked This way Comes

Soon All good deeds shall be undone


Just got books 1 - 5, and loving them. I run this game next when I'm up (rotating GMs), but I won't be up for a little while, so I can wait on book six.

I'll post play reports, either here or a separate thread, depending on what my players want me to do with it.


kevin_video wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
Wow, perception 25 to hear a shout when sleeping O_O. By default, creature asleep is a +10 to DC. And hearing a battle is -10 base DC, making it 0, plus others modifiers...
True, but it depends on distance, the type of battle (swords and armored warriors would be loud vs. natural weapons and flesh not so much) and other factors. However, the second round it's -5 DC, so 20. Unless more sounds are involved (spells cast, blasts, etc) for another -5. The fight was only three rounds long.

Sure, it depends on circumstances. But the Half Succubus was yelling, that's way beyond the clash of sword vs shield...

25 DC means, including the -10 from being asleep, like the DC of hearing a whispering conversation. Or hear a creature walking (DC 10) at 50 feet (DC +1 every 10 feets).
DC 25 is incredibly high. Even 20 is incredibly high. A non-class skill character with average Wisdom 11 has no chance a to make DC 25 and low chances to make DC 20. If the DC to hear a sound while sleeping where that high, real world alarm clocks would be useless and everybody would be late to work. I don't have to yell my son, or fight with swords with my wife to awake him to go to school. I call him by his name and he wakes up. And he is not a ranger with trained perception and WIS 14, just a 9 years toddler :).

However, your players had fun, so my opinions don't matter. The DC wasn't RAW, but who cares.

Grand Lodge

Standard DC is 15. Hearing something while you're sleeping is +10 for the first six seconds. It's +5 for the next six, and so on, and so forth. To get around this, you nudge the person because shaking someone awake is immediately effective.

There's a flaw that increase the DC by 10 because of being a deep sleeper. The half-succubus had enough time to yell out "Incoming!" from 20 feet away and then it was the surprise round.

My mom can sleep through her alarm with it going off for 10 minutes straight. Heck, some people snore so loud they drown out an alarm. Even my alarm doesn't immediately wake me up, and I'm not a deep sleeper. There's also people who wake up enough to hit the snooze button, and don't actually wake up. Not sure about you, but I've accidentally hit the off button while hearing the alarm. Pretty sure I'd be fairly easy to kill if I was sleeping.


Standard DC is 15 for what? For hearing, it's not. Hearing someone walking, is DC 10. Hearing the details of a whispering conversation is 15. Hearing a battle is -10. Intentionally yelling to wake up people and raise an alarm isn't listed, but I'd list it *at the very least* as hearing a battle.

And yes, sometimes people keep sleeping through an alarm. Key word... sometimes. You know, 1 every 20 days, you keep sleeping. When you roll 1. But making the DC 25+, that means 99% of population (those without a high Wisdom score and perception as a class skill) don't have the slightlest chance of hearing it, ever. Even those with perception as class skill, and a bonus in Wisdom, can only hear the alarm clock once every 20 tries. Which means even them would go to work once a month (assuming they don't put alarm clock in week ends) if the DC is 25. With DC 20 they go like once per week or so.

When I was a child, if my mom told me to wake up, maybe I didn't hear her, once in a while (ie: roll really low) . But if she YELLED at me... sure I woke up. The alarm clock sounds way lower than a yell, it's repetitive, you hear it every morning, and that makes you to get used to it. Change the alarm clock to someone yelling, and you'll wake up. I'm 100% that if *I* yell at you after you hit the snooze button, you'd wake up. Maybe you'll be staggered for a few rounds, or sickened, until you refresh yourself, but hearing it is close to automatic.

Even then, how it works in real world isn't really important. In real world people die when they are stabbed repeatedly by a longsword, in PF it depends on your level. By RAW, at 20 feets, it's a DC 2 roll (-10 base, +10 beeing sleeping, +2 for 20 feets). By your own house rules, it can be whatever you and your group find fun.

Grand Lodge

TL:DR. Regardless, NOT house rules. It's been 15 for any and every game I have ever participated in by any DM in any D&D game since 3.0 first came about, and I kept that for the situation. But whatever, I'll go back to what you said earlier: "However, your players had fun, so my opinions don't matter."


Pathfinder RAW Perception DCs
D&D 3.0/3.5 RAW Listen DCs

Grand Lodge

Geistlinger wrote:

Pathfinder RAW Perception DCs

D&D 3.0/3.5 RAW Listen DCs

Notice that sleeping isn't in the RAW for Listen. It's in the non-core rules. It's still +10 though.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
kevin_video wrote:
Notice that sleeping isn't in the RAW for Listen. It's in the non-core rules. It's still +10 though.

How is it relevant what was core or non-core in D&D v.3.5?

Grand Lodge

Zaister wrote:
kevin_video wrote:
Notice that sleeping isn't in the RAW for Listen. It's in the non-core rules. It's still +10 though.
"Creature making the check is asleep – +10" is right there in my Core Rulebook on page 102. How is that "non-core rules"?

3.0 and 3.5 rules.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Hah, you responded faster than I could edit my post after seeing what you actually meant...

Grand Lodge

Zaister wrote:
kevin_video wrote:
Notice that sleeping isn't in the RAW for Listen. It's in the non-core rules. It's still +10 though.
How is it relevant what was core or non-core in D&D v.3.5?

Because I don't read so well and just go with what I remember as opposed to the actual specific rules to see if it's changed. The joys of being partial handicapped, mentally. If my players dispute it, I let them be lawyers and show me what it actually says.

EDIT: To put it in perspective, if my players want to do Crafting over time, I let them figure out the rules and math for it because I literally can't. It's above my comprehension skills.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I'm sorry, I didn't know about that. That's a perfectly reasonable way to go, even if you're not handicapped.

Grand Lodge

Zaister wrote:
I'm sorry, I didn't know about that. That's a perfectly reasonable way to go, even if you're not handicapped.

It's not exactly something I brag about, or bring up often.

As for knowing the rules, I've been playing D&D for going on 15 years now. I've also, (un)fortunately been playing with enough rules Nazis to know the rules well enough that I've practically memorized everything that's been disputed, despite the editions changing. I even had a DM that refused to play anything outside of Core 3.5 because he believed everything was broken except core. So you got to know the rules pretty well when that's all you were exposed to. However, I have to admit that PFS Rules Nazis are the craziest people ever. I stepped away from those games altogether after the first half dozen.

However, we should get back on to the subject of this thread. May not be a game next week for my group. There might be a funeral taking place around then.

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Session 7:

Well my players managed to finish off the adventure.
Balentyne burned. The bugbear horde is through the Watch Wall and into the soft squishy parts.

The PCs came up with some interesting plans.
The female sorceror set up a tryst with Tacticus, where she used her natural charms to get him drunk and tied up. Alas, that is when he started to realize that the wine had been poisoned. She then paralyzed him and coup de graced him into death.

Then disguised as Tacticus, she managed to convince the ice golem to follow her orders (I ruled that disguise plus UMD to pose as the 'creator' had a chance at working). The golem then pummelled the real Tacticus into pits and then was ordered to take out the Rookery. Raven swarms vs the ice golem's cold aura = Raven-cicles. Once it completed the destruction of the Rookery, it did a heroic pose at the top of the tower. The sorceror still disguised as Tacticus (carrying his own severed head) fled the keep.

I ruled that eventually the golem would be destroyed by Lord Havelyn and the others remaining.

The entire event was viewed as Tacticus' golem went crazy, and smashed the 'lady friend' Tacticus had invited up to his room.

Stew day arrived, and the witch disguised as a young lady was helping Mama serve the stew. When the last bowl was served, the witch left to join the others who were:

Ambushing Lord Havelyn in his room. The party buffed up quite a bit and approached under silence and darkness. Lord Havelyn got a couple of hits in... but eventually succumbed from the multiple attacks from the PCs.

The PCs then went back down to the mess hall and ambushed Father Donnagin and the acolytes who were trying to save guards. Alas, one fireball took out the acolytes and Father Donnagin was quickly dispatched.

Then disguised as guards, the PCs did the round of the guard positions and killed all the remaining guards. Opened the gates & let down the drawbridge, fired off the flare and waited for the horde to arrive.

As there were no remaining guards and/or Captains, it was an overwhelming success.
As the horde came in, the PCs enacted a few plans for Aldencross... one PC offered to save some of the orphans if they would worship Asmodeus. He convinced 4 of them. And the female sorceror captured Katilyn Mott to be a servant/slave.

Tiadora appeared when the party broke the tablet and teleported them to the barge (she had to make a couple of trips to move the necromancer's "children".

Overall, it adventure as a great success. My players are having a blast.
The only downside I think, is that with 6 players, I should have bumped Lord Havelyn a couple of levels of paladin (instead of the aristocrat). But since he can't see in darkness... it still probably would have been a very one sided fight.

Kudos to you Gary for a lovely adventure. Can't wait to get started on book 2!


Quote:
Regardless, NOT house rules. It's been 15 for any and every game I have ever participated in by any DM in any D&D game since 3.0 first came about, and I kept that for the situation.

If it is a rule changed in a home game, different from the RAW, it's a house-rule. That every DM you have played since 3.0 has used the same house rule does not change the fact that it is a house rule, because it is not used as default. Which is nothing wrong, I home rule a lot of things in my game too.

In 3.0 by raw there's no modifier for being sleeping. There's a modifier for being distracted or fascinated, though. If you add one, it's a home rule. In 3.5 and beyond, the modifier is set by the rules as +10. If you use some other, (which is perfectly possible) it's a home rule.

And in 3.0, 3.5, and pathfinder, the base DC for listening a conversation, RAW, it's 0. Adding +10 for sleeping make that 10. And that's to hear a conversation, not someone yelling, or sounds of battle.

kevin_video wrote:
Geistlinger wrote:

Pathfinder RAW Perception DCs

D&D 3.0/3.5 RAW Listen DCs
Notice that sleeping isn't in the RAW for Listen. It's in the non-core rules. It's still +10 though.

RAW means Rule As Written. It doesn't matter if it is Core or non Core, it does matter if it is used as written. Stuff in the Ultimate Combat book also has a RAW definition, even if it's not Core.

In Pathfinder, it is both RAW, and Core. The RAW DC for that check is 2 (-10 base, +10 sleeping, +2 for distance) in both 3.5 and Pathfinder.


Fire Mountain Games wrote:

Hello everyone.

I've been asked several times if we're going to do a player's guide. We do intend to do something more elaborate eventually. But in the meantime, here is a twelve page PC-friendly player's guide taken largely from the free preview.

Enjoy!

By the way, we mostly do updates for this sort of thing on our facebook page. Join us and be kept up to date with all things Wicked.

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games

Just found this post after a forum search for "way of the wicked player's guide".

Just what I was looking for, thanks Gary! Is there any chance you could cobble together one from the printer-friendly edition? I'd like to print out a couple of copies when I eventually run this campaign.


The Derby Roleplaying Group Presents - Knot of Thorns - We've just done session two.

So far, we're doing well. We found our 5th member (who couldn't make the first game) so our party is up to strength. Unfortunately, we made a fairly basic mistake in our gleeful evil, so things are likely to be pretty not simple next sessions.

Especially since the Bard's running low on Spells and my Magister doesn't have much in the way of offensive power...

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

So my party had to go out and test their mettle and prove that they're worthy of taking the test of Asmodeus. Taken from a suggestion earlier in this thread, the son of the black dragon the PCs will be introduced later, was currently staying in the swamp. He's still young, and small size, but large enough for the LG rangers and paladins to take him down. He is CE afterall, and that's just not allowed in Talingarde.

Dragon Hunting:
So Thorn sent them out for firewood, but he was secretly leading them where the dragon hunters would be located, and the current nest of the young Nightsbane. When they arrived, the dragon was nearly down and out. The PCs, seeing a black dragon, and wanting another ally, took on the hunters with great abandon.

The rolls were very much on the players' side that night as a series of natural 20's came their way and they took out three of the NPCs. However, eventually the rolls were in my favour as well and I nearly killed two of the PCs. However, the cleric was able to save them from death. Grumblejack, unhappy about his companions getting nailed so far power attacked his way through everyone, and he is so getting cleave when he's able to.

The tiefling wizard sacrificed one of the rangers to Asmodeus so that he could eventually become a Diabolist, and the vishkanya slaver sacrificed a ranger/paladin/cleric to Doloras (which would in turn technically be to Asmodeus).

Healing the dragon, they spoke to it in draconic that they were allies, and showed that they'd dispatched the hunters. The dragon, grateful, told them his appreciation but when asked to join them, he turned them down. This greatly disappointed the whisper gnome ninja as he was hoping to take the dragon as a mount. Nightsbane explained the situation. He was going through a ritual of rights to show to his father his worth. It was a rite of passage, and it'd likely take him 2-3 years to complete.

The tiefling, wanting to have favours from both dragons (told them about Chargammon), gave the young dragon a single gold piece with his arcane mark on it. Should he ever need their assistance, he'd only have to show them the coin and they'd agree. This of course would mean that they could call in a favour later. I'm going to call that favour in during Book 4.

With that, the black dragon flew off, and the party continued on their way to get the firewood they were originally sent for.

Next week, I'll have a random encounter, and then it'll be the 9th Knot's turn at taking the tests in the basement.

Dark Archive

Gary, James Jacobs talks about his 'Way of the Wicked' PC here.

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