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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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.


A wicked good time!

5/5

My friend turned me onto this, and while I haven't checked out a 3P adventure path before, the idea for this one was enough to get me to put some eyes on it. And really, it was a great call to do so.

What I liked:
The level of polish on this product is incredible, and while there's a few typos and such, it's nothing that detracts from the ease of use that this module boast. The idea is original and done in a fun way, the story is engaging, and I myself had a great time reading through it (hoping to run it eventually), making it something that I'd recommend to others.

The game starts off strong with a more complex first part than I was expecting (possibly too complex, but whatever), and the roleplaying opportunities are plenty. The second part is just as engaging, and the ending of it is enjoyably open ended. It really does feel like you're facing off against the forces of good, and in a very organic way as well.

What I didn't like:
The third part is a bit of a slog, it feels like filler in an otherwise tight game. Also no map of the town in part 4 was slightly annoying, and as stated by others, a reputation mechanic built into the game would have pushed it to the next level for me. But regardless, those are minor gripes. Also, you have to MAKE SURE everyone's on team pentagram or else the game doesn't work. Once you do that though, everything flows smoothly.

Overall I'd recommend this to anyone looking for an adventure path that breaks from the norm.


A Knot of Thorns Review

5/5

Warning: Potential Spoilers. Written from a GM's perspective. I ran this for five PCs.

I am sure that the opportunity to play through an evil adventure path is enough of a lure for many gamers. However, what is special about Way of the Wicked is that it does evil so well. This book contains a helpful article about the pitfalls of running an evil campaign and how to avoid them. This advice is spot on and faithfully followed by the writers themselves.

Pros:
Player creativity is heavily encouraged. There are lot of scenarios that require problem solving and can't be resolved with brute strength alone. This gives players a lot of opportunity to put the lawful evil in their alignment to good use.

Talingarde is an interesting place. At first glance, the country seems like a Lawful Good utopia. However, it actually has a lot of issues, such as restrictions on academics, religious intolerance and general complacency. This really helps with backstories and roleplaying, as the characters, despite being evil, have believable reasons to resent their home country.

There is a lot of inspiration for how to make the NPCs feel vibrant and memorable. Everyone delighted in taking down the magister because he had been so rude to them, but they all felt awful about killing the man who ran the rookery. Then of course, who doesn't love Grumblejack the ogre?

While the entire book is strong, the final act is on another level. Unlike the rest of the book, players are given almost total freedom as to how to solve the task they are assigned. This freedom allows almost every build a chance to bring their skills to the table. Most importantly, up until the final act, the players are mostly just fleeing the law and following orders from their new master. The final act is where they finally get to feel like they are evil puppet masters, manipulating things from the shadows.

Cons:
The boat ride in the third act is a little uninspiring, compared to the rest of the book. It feels a bit like a string of random encounters, most of which don't further the story. If your players enjoy that, go for it. Personally, I cut about half of the encounters, especially since we were using story based leveling.

The story is very linear and can easily lead to players feeling railroaded. This is by far the book's biggest problem. There is a built in assumption that players will follow along the path provided for them. If this doesn't happen, the AP's method of dealing with it is fairly unpleasant, going as far as to outright kill non-cooperative characters at one point. There is a line in the character creation guidelines about the AP assuming that players say yes to an opportunity to work with Asmodeans, so build a character that can say yes. Find it. Bold it. Underline it. Circle it. Make sure that your players understand that it is 100% required. If everyone is clear on this point, your game will most likely run smoothly, without this being a major issue.


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Grand Lodge

So we just played the Escape from Prison part.

Party is:
Human Anti paladin
Human Cavalier (huntsman archetype)
Human Cleric of Asmodeus
Human Femail Sorceress
1/2 Elven Oracle "Dark Tapestry" (Me) of the Barca Family.

We get to the prison and there we all get branded :) i used Gift of Madness on the Sgt. With a failed will save he acctualy fumble and burns himself with the hot Iron.
that got me a nice smile.....

So acctualy manage to escape killing about a dozen guards but not heading to the tower and leting go of the mage.....

A Fun begening overall

5You product has made its way to Paris France.

(quick question: i may be planning on taking 2 craft feat: Rods and Wounderous item. will i have time during the AP to craft lots of stuff?)


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Algar Lysandris wrote:


(quick question: i may be planning on taking 2 craft feat: Rods and Wounderous item. will i have time during the AP to craft lots of stuff?)

This depends on the GM and the other PCs, but I would say yes, as written the AP provides ample time and opportunity for crafting.

Grand Lodge

Glad to know.

So our escape out of prison underway.

I'll Try to write it from my character's point of View as our DM told us to level up

Male Oracle 2
(of the Deposed Branch of the Barca Familly, that never swore fealty)
Init +2; Senses Perception +3, Low-light Vision, Keen Senses,
==DEFENSE==
AC 12, touch 12, flat-footed 10 (+2 dex)
hp 15 (2d8+2)
SR 0
Fort +1, Ref +2, Will +2
Defensive Abilities Elven Immunities (PFCR 24)
==OFFENSE==
Spd 30 ft/x4
==STATISTICS==
Str 8, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 14, Wis 8, Cha 20
BAB +1, CMB +0, CMD +12
Feats Armor Proficiency (LIGHT / MEDIUM) (PFCR 118), Extra Revelation (PFAPG 160), Shield Proficiency (PFCR 133), Skill Focus (Knowledge (nature)) (PFCR 134)
Skills Bluff +10, Diplomacy +10, Disable Device +8, Escape Artist +3, Handle Animal +6, Knowledge (arcana) +3, Knowledge (religion) +6, Knowledge (planes) +6, Perception +3, Stealth +4
Traits Fast-Talker (Social) (PFAPG 330), Vagabond Child (Regional) (PFAPG 332)
Languages Common, Draconic, Elven, Infernal

Revelations: Gift of Madness / Cloak of Shadows

Spoiler:

So they send me to this maximum prison Facility. And for what? Attempted murder of soon to be father in law? A Large Ponzi Schem that i should have been able to carry out perfecly if not for my bride to be nosing around for her gifts and finding the ledger?. Phat i had it all planned out. the finance and the connections once i got the father in law out of the way. i was going bribe all the fiancial guild, make myself a fortune that would have been the start of my retaking of what was is rightfully Mine.

I sear if i am getting out i'll taste Revenge. Hopefully i'll be able to put to good use my powers even there. I'll be able to get myself some nice help.

On the ride to prison i have been trown with a soldier of some duke that betrayed the king. All he can bable about is how every soldier in the duk's army has betrayed his oath. Maybe i can put him to good use.

The other brute like guy is also in for treason. He apears to be from some minor noble familly. Altough he carries himself well i can't quite get him to open up.

Next we have a somewhat odd looking fellow, he is for some lame attempt to murder. Fellow doesn't quite strike me as anything yet.

And then we have much to my surprised a good looking woman who is in for witchcraft and devil's consorting. Sure she says its all a misunderstainding and that she is innocent but somehow i don't beleived it.

Obvously the last 2 must posess some form of magic as they have their hands all nice and bounded.

(Acctualy much liked mine but that won't stop me from using my powers.)

After a bunch of days we finally get to our final destination.

What a despicable looking Sgt. Looks like he is gonna brand us all with the prison mark.

first guy to go is the soldier. He goes there and gets burned like the proud and accustomed to pain that he is.

I kinda like that strong and silent type.

The Lesser nobleman goes second. He looks at the Sgt with defiance in his Eye. And for his punishment the Sgt burns him the longest. I can't see he almost got into a coma from the burn

10 = 10

Next up is the little guy. He gets away with a light mark as the Pike is not red enought.

Arf looks like i am next the Sgt after reheating the iron is coming for me....

I go resolute, but you now Sgt i have a surprise for you.

As he is about to brand me, i use one of my powers and i really had to control myself not to laugh out loud. As i see that in his confusion he Burns himself as he tries to hit my arm.

Alas now he will suffer the same pain that i do. But since i have been burned badly before, i stomach the pain. Pah this is nothing !

The woman tries to appeal to the Sgt but to no avail. She just gets burned like everyone else.

Later that night i try to escape the manacles that bind my hands but to no success. The guards make their round, and we are beeing told that we will be executed in 3 days.

I still have time. i know that my spells will help me escapes these bonds. Once that is done i am sure i can enlist the soldier and these others to help with escaping.

My gifts will most certainly come to bear and helping taking down the guards. And if needed my skills should be able to suffice in hiding somewhere if i need to ditch them while they make a nice diversion for my escape.

The nobleman moans all night about his health, the wierd looking guy prommises some healing but he can't do much without his symbole.

Pah I could heal myself and the whole lot of them when i'll have my hands free. I don't need such parlor tricks like a Symbole of Faith.

Morning came and eventually in the afternoon the noble dude is taken to see someone.

He comes back with a grin and announce that he has recived help in order to escape. He was given a fancy scarf.

Pulling the scarf out (he and the soldier type are the only ones not to have their hands bound), the sorceress (and i too but chose to say nothing) recognises a scarf of usefull items.

Apparently there are tools, a poutch, a holy symbol of Asmodeus, a window and few other items.

Having seen me trying to escape my shackles the nobleman offers me the tools, which i decline point out that we have no means of concealing the items later on if we get searched during the next day.

Therefore we agree (after my suggestion) to try and make it out the following night.)

Eventually trying out again during the guards dice game i am able to free my hands. Allowing me to channel my natural magic in healing spells. after curing everyone. I grease (following the soldiers suggestion) my manacles.

Don't want to really recall with "what" i was able to grease them.

An other days passes and i used the opportunity to recharge my magic.

Getting out of the manacled was an easy task the third time around.

(Use of Liberating command really helped)

I am sure i could have done out without the tools.

With all my cell mate freed, the woman makes some rukkus.

One sleep spell later, the two fight type are equiped and ready.

Hahaha We are bailing out.

Unfortunatly at the armory the last standing guard is able to sound the horn.

To make a long story short. the folower of Asmodeus is weighing us down as he insist't un gearing up.

Like i need some armor myself, my Cloak of shadows is protecting me.

We fight somme guards, but that foolish sorceress has used the window on the first barred double doors. and that leave me with no choice but to prye open the heavy wooden gates.

Stupied woman !

Good thing the soldier was able to open the kennels and to befriend one of the dog.

Appearently the warden is a arcane user as during the inside courtyard a ball a flame has burned the Ogre rather deep. And the Preacher of Asmodus, is all out of power.

Dam these foolish God dependent type. No magical endurance !

Good thing i was able to use my powers to confuse the archer type at the inner Gates. For i had to juggle with healing the burning ogre an our two wounded fighter types, while disabling the gate.

Rushing on the brige we let the oger run after the woman who is screaming: "The orgre has escape and is chasing me . please Help and open the door just long enought for me."

The door guard felt for her bluff and left the door open for us after she be spelled him.

I recognised a charm person spell ! So she is that type of manipulative woman. Now i understaind why that witch was to be burned. I'd rather be extremly carefull with her as she will probaly try to be spell everyone into protecting her.

After all that type of woman lust for Power and Gold.

As we escape trough the night i just wonder. What should i do next.

And so we escaped from prison having killed about a dozen soldiers, looted the armory and nothing else.

Our Cavalier having told us that is forteress this sized contained about 40-50 soldiers + helpers. Once the alarmed was raised (wich happendjust in front of the armory). We just proceded to make our gate away

in a few weeks the adventures continue


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

I've noticed that the PDF of this book has been updated at RPGNow since I originally downloaded it when it first came out. Gary, is there a change log available on what has changed in the new version?

Grand Lodge

Zaister wrote:
I've noticed that the PDF of this book has been updated at RPGNow since I originally downloaded it when it first came out. Gary, is there a change log available on what has changed in the new version?

Funny enough, DriveThru hasn't let me know if they're updated or not. It's supposed to be the same site, too.

Grand Lodge

Well, good news and bad news for my group. School's over so one of the players is going home for the summer, and won't be back until Sept. However, a new player wants to join us for the summer until school starts back up. So we'll be done a character (rogue), but we'll finally have someone to play the NPC cleric after the last player got transferred a few months back. The NPC's just been sitting on the sidelines, waiting to heal people when they need it. If the new player can handle his school schedule, he wants to come in permanently as a con man (bard archetype).

Grand Lodge

Just finished tonight's session, and I've got two major problems that I'm not sure what to do about.

1) The ninja took it upon himself to be incredibly random and manipulative, as well as purposely causing chaos. Even his player admitted to be bored with playing NE, and wanted the randomness of chaotic evil. So, after doing various random acts of violence and maliciousness, I had no choice but to make him CE. The player was not impressed. He essentially sulked, threw a bit of a tantrum, and said that if I nerfed him at all (aka. punished him in any way) he was going to violently have his character commit suicide, and start a new one. That he had tons of other characters he was willing to play.

2) Because of the ninja's chaoticness, the garrison of Balentyne was summoned to the basement of the Lord's Dalliance, where they found the innkeeper unconscious, and the party behind him, but the ninja had already ran away and hid in the secret passage, closing it. This left everyone else trapped and in trouble as it was very obvious that they had knocked the innkeeper unconscious.

So now, the militia want to arrest some of the guilty members, and either interrogate them at the inn, or have them dragged back to the Watchwall where Clifford Gates or another person with Zone of Truth or other special abilities, experiments.

Now I'm kind of lost as to what I should be doing. The ninja's screwed off and left the group to fend for themselves, because he's CE, and the rest of the group has basically been caught red-handed with the innkeeper.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Do you want to handle it in game or do you think you need to talk to the player?

If in game, if say locking the rest of the party in the room with the innkeeper violates the contract. How did you decide to enforce violations of the contract? One of the primary methods discussed here was as a form of a geas. Or, fib a little... Drop a contingent of guards coming up from behind the ninja to cut off escape, or have a party member make a wisdom check and realize they can blame it all on the ninja, "A man was attacking the innkeeper; we stopped him but he ran in there! Here's a symbol of Asmodeus that he dropped!"

Or, handle it away from the table. Tell him the way he's playing his character isn't really compatible with the campaign (I assume you were upfront about those restrictions). Note that it seems he's bored; ask him why. Offer to be willing to tweak the campaign slightly, but right now he's being disruptive. If he's intransigent and refuses to tone it down, ask him to take a break from the game for a couple sessions while you think about what to do.

Personally, if someone had decided to actively sabotage a game I was running and I'd been upfront about the limitations (never mind the obvious thing that you shouldn't screw the party), I'd tell him I dont want him at the table. Period.

Also, some players seem to say they have a bunch of characters ready to go as if it's a threat. It isn't. Ultimately, you decide whether the PC is appropriate for the game. I get the sense (from some of your other posts) you may think that's heavy handed, but he's also starting to interfere not only with your game but also that of the other players.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Another thought for handling it in game:

The party gets taken to a cell in Balentyne (jail break) while Thorn sics Tiadora on the ninja. Eg, "You blundering incompetent fool! Did you think our master wouldn't notice your perfidious betrayal! Explain yourself or face your doom!" Then, even if he swears to free the party and "behave", slap him with a punishment (a curse effect that will only be lifted when the party is freed by his hand). (Depending on how he handles it, I might really up the ante and arrange a cinematic death for him outside the party's cell, just as he managed to free them. Subsequently, Thorn offers to resurrect him...if the party wants it. Remind him he's part of a team and if he keeps p#+%@ing around, there are consequences for being a chaotic line wolf.)

But, if he's bored as you seem to suggest, I really think you need to talk with him away from the table. Why is he bored? If it's something you can accommodate, great. If not, he needs to find another game. It doesn't need to be a confrontational discussion nor a defensive or accusatory one. Just try to understand what the issue is and if there's something you can do so he enjoys the game without ruining it for the rest of you. If not, it's very unfortunate but this probably just isn't the right campaign for him.

Grand Lodge

@Snowheart -- Want to handle it in-game.

This is going to be a long brick wall of text:
He and I have already talked about this out of game, twice, and before last night's session. I already know why he's bored, and there's nothing I can do about it. He's not happy with his character. He wants to keep playing him, but he's not the showrunner, or the main character that can do everything feel incredibly important. He wants absolute chaos. He and another player hate that they're in a lawful campaign. They're both NE, while the other player wants to do chaotic things, he's toned it down simply because the wizard has threatened him. The ninja player on the other hand randomly cackles irl and goes "Time to throw a little chaos into it. Mwahahaha!" and then does whatever random thing he wants. I've told them explicitly about what the conditions of the game were and one response was "You didn't say you had to be that alignment FOR THE ENTIRE GAME." And since I didn't say, they're doing whatever. But now that the ninja is CE, and everyone knows that, and is leery of him, the other player is leery of me and what things I might do.

He didn't lock the group in the room with the innkeeper, he just ignored the screaming man and said "He's running away? I don't attack. I continue down the secret passage. They can deal with it." And left the group to their own devices. The antipaladin, closed up the entrance way so that the guards wouldn't be able to know about it. However, the guards and dwarves were fast enough that the group wasn't able to move away from the body to not look suspicious. They tried to say that he was already like that when they got there, and the wizard even brought up that they were going to sneak a drink while he was out, but they weren't going for it.

As for other characters he's got ready to go, he's not bluffing. In another game that he and I play in, our characters aren't allowed to die, in that you have the character for the entire campaign. This means that even if you die during the campaign, you're still forced to play that character, however, it's tweaked based on how you died. This causes permanent negative levels, templates, and other stuff to be forced on you, making your character worse and worse. It's considered a punishment for dying. There's no resurrections or anything like that. It's all banned. In my game, I have no such house rule. He knows this, and since he's got a million different characters that he's always wanted to try and play, but never been able to because games can last years, this is an opportunity for him to do that. Not that he'd do it on purpose, but on the off chance, he's got loads of characters ready to throw in at a moments notice. In game, if he makes it that high a level, he'd be taking Leadership and having ALL of his concepts brought in as his minions.

As for how I'm doing the act and punishments, I had everyone sign the contract on the Pact Parchment wondrous item that was suggested in the forum. It's give -4 to just about everything. When the player heard this, his immediately reaction was to fold up his arms, pout like a kid, and go "If you do that, he'll be useless. So fine, he'll commit suicide then." When I told him he'd be guaranteed to burn in the Abyss, he said "Don't really care. He's not me."

I don't want to have to kick him out. He seemed to honestly think that because he was NE he could do as much chaos and law as he wanted, and not have any kind of consequences, as he'd be both of them. I've told him his line of thinking was wrong, and he's got a week to think things over. Because of what happened, I had to shut down the game an hour early because I couldn't come up with anything on the fly as to what should happen.

Right now, everything is as such: When the ninja went chaotic, they all felt a "ping" that something happened to one of their members, and feel a disgusting sense of chaos.
The slaver and ninja are in the secret passage, and have located the entrance into Balentyne. The ninja, for whatever reason, is constantly smelling brimstone (the compact could be broken).
The oracle is currently upstairs sleeping in his room, as is Timeon. Neither one of them wake up that easily, even with shouting.
The antipaladin, Grumblejack, and the cleric are currently being held under guard until they are told that they will be taken to Balentyne for questioning, or the interrogaters are brought to the inn. Likely the former.
The wizard, managed to go invisible for a bit so he looks like he only just came down with everyone else.

The slaver will be an NPC for a few seconds before Tiadora comes to get her. The player is going home for the summer. Tiadora may or may not have words for the ninja, depending on how things go.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
kevin_video wrote:

@Snowheart -- Want to handle it in-game.

** spoiler omitted **...

Just a couple thoughts, fwiw. If he's bored, handling it in-game may let you discover a way to keep him interested without breaking immersion. But if the boredom is more fundamental and not so transitory, you'll be solving the short-term problem but still have a long term one, plus the possibility of a player accusing you of punishing him for just playing his character. You know your player but the more I think about what you've written, the more I think you need an OOC talk.

If you stick with strictly IC, based on your first post, it sounds like he either intentionally (or stupidly) put the party at risk without regard to consequences. It sounds like he's also doing this on purpose, saying he wants to be chaotic. So, now he's not just putting the party at risk, he's putting Thorn's goals in jeopardy. I don't think there's any question that Tiadora would take harsh action, even if he "repents" and tries to start fixing his mistake (that just lets him avoid instant death and an eternity of torture). He signed a contract; that may not mean much to his newly chaotic ninja, but it sure as hell matters to a cleric of Asmodeus and a handmaiden devil.

JMO. Good luck!

Grand Lodge

SnowHeart wrote:

Just a couple thoughts, fwiw. If he's bored, handling it in-game may let you discover a way to keep him interested without breaking immersion. But if the boredom is more fundamental and not so transitory, you'll be solving the short-term problem but still have a long term one, plus the possibility of a player accusing you of punishing him for just playing his character. You know your player but the more I think about what you've written, the more I think you need an OOC talk.

If you stick with strictly IC, based on your first post, it sounds like he either intentionally (or stupidly) put the party at risk without regard to consequences. It sounds like he's also doing this on purpose, saying he wants to be chaotic. So, now he's not just putting the party at risk, he's putting Thorn's goals in jeopardy. I don't think there's any question that Tiadora would take harsh action, even if he "repents" and tries to start fixing his mistake (that just lets him avoid instant death and an eternity of torture). He signed a contract; that may not mean much to his newly chaotic ninja, but it sure as hell matters to a cleric of Asmodeus and a handmaiden devil.

JMO. Good luck!

Actually, he did accuse me of being biased towards rogues in general. Saying I wasn't letting him play it as he saw fit. To which everyone just stared at him, and the slaver (rogue) raised her hand that she is a LE rogue and hasn't had to be talked to yet.

Like I said before, I've talk to him OOC. Twice. And I did it again last night, briefly, and tried to keep it minimal because the other players were there too.

As for IC, I had to stop him from playing the character more CE. He honestly believed that if your alignment shifted, your personality immediately did so as well. So that if you suddenly feel like doing good things, you're good aligned and are stuck that way immediately. That if you're now CE, that you've now been given a license to be a complete psychopath.

I've also gotten e-mails from the other players. They knew this was coming. He'd been too chaotic for too long, and was surprised I waited until last night to change him up. As for them, they're not sure what to do. Character wise, they know exactly what to do. Player wise, they don't want to see to cause a rift.

Either way, he doesn't really seem to care what happens. At least that's the attitude he's giving off. The ninja isn't him. If he had something vested in this, or the consequences would affect him personally, he might care, but he's not going to burn in hell. The ninja's just paper. There's more of them in the stack in his computer room.

Grand Lodge

I think I've decided that I'm going to give the player a chance at redemption. Tiadora and Thorn will both show up in the tunnel where he is. They will scold him, and Thorn will be readied just in case the PC is stupid enough to continue down the wrong path and fully betray them.

Sovereign Court

I am wondering if you can create mechanics on "Buying" a Half-Fiend template in Way of the Wicked. Half-Fiends are probably not as powerful as a Lich or a Vampire in terms of power (Not as many resistances and they still have a Con Score). It should either cost less than such templates (Maybe a chain of 4 feats instead of 5, or 1 feat and a massive amount of money on components or a powerful infernal sacrifice).

There is also an option to adapt some kind of Savage Species offshoot to buy levels in Half-Fiend (or potentially Full Fiend). What would be your opinions on this?


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

@ kevin_video: Ah, I hadn't quite realized you'd talked to him about it. I hope at least one of those attempts was separate from the rest of the players.

kevin_video wrote:
Either way, he doesn't really seem to care what happens... The ninja's just paper. There's more of them in the stack in his computer room.

And this is what really bothers me about the player. It sounds like he's decided this is an antagonistic relationship with you, the GM. He's using the other characters as a threat to say, "It really doesn't matter what you do, I'm going to do whatever I want." Except it does, *if* you're willing to tell him to take a break from the table so that you and the other players can enjoy the game.

I don't envy your situation, and reading stories like this make me realize how fortunate I am to have the gaming groups I do. Good luck with the IC approach.

Darkfire142 wrote:
I am wondering if you can create mechanics on "Buying" a Half-Fiend template in Way of the Wicked. Half-Fiends are probably not as powerful as a Lich or a Vampire in terms of power...

Not at first, no, but as they gain more hit dice, their power also increases, eventually turning into a +3 CR (rather than a vampire or lich's +2). Kevin is a great resource as to 3PP material, so he may know of something. In general, if the GM allowed it, I'd probably think about a system in which the PC would have to make periodic "payments" -- feats, sacrifices of valuable objects, and/or an entire HD/class level.

Grand Lodge

@ SnowHeart -- It might very well be that he is seeing how far he can push me. We're both in another game with a different DM, and he doesn't push his weight around there at all. Maybe because he's known that DM since high school? I don't know. The respect difference is quite large. To the point I actually pondered at work if I should just step down as DM and maybe get someone else more experienced to finish the campaign. See how things go.

@ Darkfire142 -- You'd be surprised as to how powerful a half-celestial or half-fiend is. As for templates, I'd honestly consider taking the level adjustment from the WotC site, but only taking it as the +3 LA progression. Or, if your players are opposed to doing that because of the lack of hp, skill ranks, etc, then make it a mini class. Take the +4 LA progression instead and add full BAB, d10 hd, 6+Int skill ranks, and let them take the skills suggested for outsiders. The reason I bring this up is that you're not going to be able to do this in 4 or less feats. If you're lucky you can do it in 5. Even if you were to hand wave all the original prerequisites for the original feats these are going to mimic, you're looking at one feat for each resistance (so four), a feat for both the bite and two claws (two more), a feat for the natural armor +1, two feats for the SR to be 11 + level, three feats to gain wings and fly average, and then three or four feats for the spell-like abilities. That still doesn't include the DR, the ability adjustments, and the darkvision, smite good, or the immunity to poison. If you're wanting to do a series of feats, have a look at the Devil Player's Guide from d20 Fast Forward Entertainment, and 4Winds Fantasy Planar Player's Options. It'll give you all of the feats, how they work, and what prerequisites you need to upgrade to a half-fiend's full potential. It'd be a fair amount of work, but it might be worth it.


Just say if he continues to act like that then he is no longer welcome at the game. Don't be ruled by a 'Bad game is better than no game' blackmail. Or just have Thorn kill his ninja and don't replace him(NPC rogue would fill his role just as well.)

Grand Lodge

Andrea1 wrote:
Just say if he continues to act like that then he is no longer welcome at the game. Don't be ruled by a 'Bad game is better than no game' blackmail. Or just have Thorn kill his ninja and don't replace him(NPC rogue would fill his role just as well.)

Got an NPC cleric at the moment, as well as Grumblejack. And it's his house we game at. No one else has the availability right now. Worst case scenario we'd have to put the game on hiatus for a few months until our other player comes back for school and we use her apartment.


Level Adjustments are a trap mechanic. They do not do what they are supposed to do.

A much better way of handling PCs with Templates is to treat them like magic items. The Lich is a good example of this line of thinking. The Lich template is powerful. It also costs 100k gp. That cost comes out of your character's wealth.

Just figure out a rough cost. You can even create less expensive/powerful versions of a template, increasing it's power when the character "creates an elixer to amplify their vampirism/demonic taint/lycanthropy/whatever."

This lets templates scale up as PCs sink more cash into them.


Kevin, your player seems like he's more interested in derailing the game than playing it.

If he isn't satisfied with his character, and wants chaos, talk to him about this option-

When the ninja dies and goes to the Abyss, his soul is converted into a demonic entity. Thorne then summons and binds the newly formed demon to serve the church and crams it into a new receptacle. Tell the player that the ninja's soul enters another body (that of his new character). That character then has the memories and some of the personality of the ninja.

This continues, shunting the soul into a new body with every death. This lets you be ruthless while maintaining continuity and gives the player an interesting niche.

Watch the movie "Fallen" for an example of how this might work (except that the previous body has to die for the demon to take a new host).

Grand Lodge

He's rarely happy with his characters. They have interesting concepts, but he never playtests them, and he gets frustrated when they're not as awesome as he thought they'd be.

Seen "Fallen", and really enjoyed it. It had two actors that I really love to watch.

Honestly, I think this will be the last adventure path I run. While three of the players have absolutely no problem with story progressive campaigns, two of them (the chaotic lovers) enjoy open world concepts where they do whatever, whenever, however, and not feel confined to rules and events.

Grand Lodge

I just had an epiphany. Give the characters a variation on the phylactery of faithfulness. If they ever do anything chaotic or good, they get an ice cream headache. I did that for the paladin last cycle because he was doing things more neutral than good, and was becoming so chaotic that some things even bordered evil.

Grand Lodge

I'm going to give him time to think about it. I'll see what happens. Ball's in his court.

Depending on what happens, I think I'll just bring in the half-succubus erinyes character to save them before they even get taken away. Actually, I'll do that anyways. She's got charm person and suggestion at will now. The player was busy so I just had her doing training with Tiadora to bring out more of her devil blood.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
kevin_video wrote:
And it's his house we game at. No one else has the availability right now.

Ah. The picture is coming in ever clearer. You can't tell him to take a break (or leave) because he's hosting. Consciously or not, he's taking advantage of that dynamic and is basically holding the game hostage so that he can have "fun" his way without consideration as to the rest of you. Sorry man, that is a tough spot. Sounds like you're doing the best you can.

One other thought as kind of a last resort option... I don't know what kind of a community you live in, but you always could put the game on hold, kick him out, and look for a new player(s) on Meetup or at your local game store. Mention the campaign you're running and say you also need a player who can host.

But, as Andrea said, don't fall into the "bad game is better than no game" trap. It's not true. If you stick with the bad game, eventually the other players may bail, then you will have no game anyway and just several months of frustration.

Grand Lodge

SnowHeart wrote:

Ah. The picture is coming in ever clearer. You can't tell him to take a break (or leave) because he's hosting. Consciously or not, he's taking advantage of that dynamic and is basically holding the game hostage so that he can have "fun" his way without consideration as to the rest of you. Sorry man, that is a tough spot. Sounds like you're doing the best you can.

One other thought as kind of a last resort option... I don't know what kind of a community you live in, but you always could put the game on hold, kick him out, and look for a new player(s) on Meetup or at your local game store. Mention the campaign you're running and say you also need a player who can host.

But, as Andrea said, don't fall into the "bad game is better than no game" trap. It's not true. If you stick with the bad game, eventually the other players may bail, then you will have no game anyway and just several months of frustration.

Small community. To the point that I've lost three players already due to the "big city" having better work that has money and hours. Calling in more players is actually pretty difficult. It took nearly a year to get the players we originally had.

I've e-mailed him with the scenario presented, and left it up to him. Whatever happens, happens.

Grand Lodge

The ninja thing's working itself out.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Great!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Killed my first player for some time in Knot of Thorns. After escaping Branderscar Prison and finding their way to the old house beyond the saltmarshes, one character refused to sign Thorne's infernal contract and pledge his soul to Asmodeus. He was wripped apart by Tiadora as an example to the rest of the group. It was great, since the whole "bad guy explains his plan, some guy disagrees, bad guy kills him" is a staple of the villainous genre, mwa ha ha! :D


So we had our third session today:

The group started out in Thorn's tests pretty well, despite focusing over much on red herrings. (They kept insisting the lanterns had something to do with each room they were found in.)

The Rogue found and disarmed the pit trap. The party then sent the Favored Soul's minion (Grumblejack) to open the door, finding the brick wall. They set him to trying to break through it, to no avail, giving up after the secret doors were found.

Second room they argued quite a bit over what to do about the mold, after the Rogue approached the door and was knocked out for his trouble. The Favored Soul's sadism came back to bite her, when she slapped the drow while applying her Cure Light Wounds, causing some lethal damage. The wizard ended up reminding them of the Alchemst's Ice "jewel" the Rogue had stuck in his pocket.

The Godling's halo trait easily overcame the darkness in the third room, but also made him the target of the vampiric mist. 5 CON Damage and 4 Wisdom bleed to the Godling (from a fumble) later they forced the mist's retreat. The Balladmonger stopped the bleed after the Godling refused to let the Favored Soul heal him, not wanting they same mistreatment as the Rogue got. The Favored Soul insisted the mist had to be destroyed, wasting some valuable resources in having it done. The Rogue and Favored Soul argued a bit over what to do with the globe of obsidian, and the Rogue ended up taking it with him, feeling it might turn out to be useful.

The Favored Soul was in her element when they found Timeon, managing to extract every bit of information he had. She was also a bit unnerved that the room's particular lesson seemed to be aimed specifically at her. The Rogue and Favored Soul then slit poor Timeon's throat, with no consideration if he could be of further use, or perhaps turned to their cause.

The mithril cobras proved little challenge, mainly due to them sending their minion in first, making him the cobras' target. The Rogue was quite upset that they both used up all of their venom on Grumblejack (who made every one of his saves) thus denying him the opportunity to try to harvest any.

Room Six, things again looked like they were circling the drain. The party easily appraised the pendant, but were fearful of touching it, being quite sure it was trapped. However, not one of them thought to actually [i]check[i/] for traps on the pedestal or necklace. They failed to find the trap on the step, and everyone in the party was hit by the ball, save the Wizard and the Favored Soul. The Rogue was knocked out (and fairly nearly killed), but managed to stabilize and was healed by the Godling and Balladmonger. The Favored Soul healed Grumblejack, and they decided to retreat and rest, now being out of spells and fairly severely injured in the cases of the Rogue and Balladmonger. The Rogue's globe was destroyed in the ruckus, much to his dismay.

They found the secret door that let them bypass the shrieker, and managed to destroy the Draugrs. The Wizard called the Favored Soul out on her cowardice. The Favored Soul, finding herself alone by a severely damaged Draugr, opined that she needed to get out of there. The Wizard shouted at her to try to hit it first, then move away. She did so, and did enough damage to destroy it.

They then decided to go back to the room where the shrieker was, despite Timeon having warned them about it. The Rogue cast darkness on Grumblejack, however, this ended up backfiring on them as it made the room beyond pitch black. Grumblejack flailed blindly, and managed to destroy the shrieker, but not before Sir Balin was warned of their approach.

The fight with Sir Balin went off with little hitch, due to them managing to set up a couple of flanking attack groups. The Rogue, remembering Sir Balin as the man who had caught him, decided to collect a trophy in the form of a certain body part. The Favored Soul, apparently not having learned her lesson as well as she claimed, tortured Sir Balin to death just for the fun of it.

We ended there, with the Rogue taking the stealth lessons, the Godling the Deception lesson, the Balladmonger the Strike First, and both the Wizard and Favored Soul perfecting spells (Kiss of the Seductress and Summon Undead I, respectively.)

Grand Lodge

Well, just finished out session tonight, and I have to say that I've got very strange players. Almost nothing was done tonight except them almost digging themselves into a hole.

1) The group found out about Mama and her weekly stew. For whatever reason, they got it in their heads that they HAD to hunt her down, get in good with her (possibly even intimate), so they could properly sabotage her stew. This is despite me telling them specifically how everything's done for prep and such. They ignored it. Then they changed their minds and thought they should find her, kill her, and then turn her into the stew, and feed that to the guards. Since no one could cook, they'd use standard undercooked food poisoning to take out the garrison.

2) With the belladona they had, they had the ninja poison himself so he could get in close with Father Donnagin, and try get a better layout of the Watchwall. The ninja's currently staying overnight in a jail cell just because it's the only place they had available for him to sleep.
Because of the stuff that happened last week, the player's read up on two bags of holding going into each other, as well as a portable hole. If his character's going down, he's planning on destroying the entire island if possible.

3) The cleric walked into the alchemist shop to look at the arsenic and in a not so subtle way, started asking him if he knew what kind of side effects a person might have from eating the arsenic. Like, would it mimic things like a disease or poison. That kind of thing. The shop owner was very concerned about this line of questioning. Due to the shop owner "getting suspicious" (how could you not?), they're thinking of taking him out just in case he might talk.

4) The wizard is coming up with forged papers so he can waltz into the Watchwall and meet up with the wizard that put him in jail.

They know about the secret passage, but aren't using it. They know about Capt. Varning, but won't go after him or his men because they're too far away and it'll take too long. They full plan on just taking out one or two key players (one Captain and the priest) then setting off the signal for the bugbears to come. They don't see the dwarves, 100 guards, other captains, or any of the other obstacles as being a threat. That if they can get the bridge down, that the bugbears will win due to the sheer number alone.

They honestly think this is a cake walk, and isn't nearly as difficult as I'm trying to make it look. They think anything I say is nothing more than a red herring. *facepalm*

Silver Crusade

Before I start, let me first say that while I am running WotW, it is in conjunction with Rise of the Runelords in an ambitious campaign called Heirs of Thassilon. As the title indicates, it is taken from the idea Mr. McBride posited in Wayfinder #7.

Secondly, using Cardinal Thorn, the PCs were selected by Asmodeus because each bears an affinity to a particular sin. The PCs are listed below, along with their sin, gender, race, class, and crime:

Ton Ton Macute (gluttony) - NE male asterion barbarian (runic berserker) 1; attempted murder
Aerodus Fong (lust) - LE male human inquisitor of Zon Kuthon (temple assassin) 1; murder
Nahen Leben (greed) - LE male human alchemist (beastbrewer) 1; consorting with dark powers
Alistar (gluttony) - LE male human cleric (divine exemplar) 1; grave robbery
Luomo Neru (envy) - NE male aasimar spell-less ranger (urban ranger) 1; attempted murder
Lykae (pride) - LE male vanara antipaladin of Asmodeus 1; dueling unto death
Ahaz Akam (wrath) - NE male human death knight 1; sedition

The first four are using MultiClass Archetypes. The runic berserker is a barbarian with magus abilities, the temple assassin is an inquisitor with rogue abilities, the beastbrewer is an alchemist with summoner abilities, and the divine exemplar is a cleric with paladin (though in his case, antipaladin) abilities. The vanara refers to himself as a paladin of Asmodeus and will be taking on monk levels at level 3 to qualify for entrance into a variant of the Champion of Irori PrC called "Champion of The First" ("The First" is an older title of Asmodeus), my own creation. Also, the asterion is a 3PP (Super Genius Games) race that is a hybrid of minotaur and orc heritage.

Since no one selected sloth, I created an NPC to fill the gap - Bellatrix Wintrish - LE female human hellion 1; consorting with dark powers.

We've had two sessions so far, with the third taking place this weekend.

Here's the lowdown thus far:

Session 1
The group started off being hauled in to the Magnimar prison The Hells where they were branded and placed in the holding cell to await carrying out of their individual sentences. They gave descriptions of their characters, rattling off why they were in prison while doing so. One of the PCs, the asterion, was placed in a different cell (the one with Grumblejack). Once that was out of the way, they immediately began plotting how to escape. I let this go on, then had Blackerly show up to inform them that Aerodus Fong had a visitor. All eyes fell on the half Tian/half Chelish human, who was genuinely surprised at the announcement. Not willing to look a gift horse in the mouth, Fong went with Blackerly and met Tiadora. After a brief chat (and gifting him with the veil), Tiadora left and Fong was taken back to the holding cell. Meanwhile, Ton Ton was trying to figure a way out of his cell when he noticed the unconscious Kreeg ogre. After spending some effort waking him up, the two began to formulate their own plan to escape...

Once Fong was back in the cell, he waited for the guards to settle back into their routine before informing the others what happened. They modified their escape plan to account for the veil once it was identified to be a magic item. After quietly escaping their chains, the group lured a guard into the cell and quickly took him down. After handing out his gear, they lured the other guard into the cell. That didn't go as well as they would've liked, but he was dealt with before the alarm could be sounded. They left the cell, trying to figure out where the asterion was being held. While the search was being carried out, Ton Ton and Grumblejack made their own bid for freedom. It wasn't nearly as quiet as the first, but just as effective: Ton Ton broke down the door (crushing the guard who was about to enter) and Grumblejack pulped the guard with the horn before he could sound off (the shock of seeing the two largest prisoners in the Hells slowed his reflexes). After making their escape, Ton Ton and the ogre were found by the others and they made good their exit from the prison.

Fast forward three days later...

They're out in the Magnimaran hinterlands eluding pursuit from the authorities. The group have killed Lashtongue and are closing in on the location of the manor of their benefactor. After making the last of their Survival checks to throw off their trail, they finally came upon the place they'd been seeking and were greeted by Tiadora. After being let in and allowed the opportunity to rest and refresh themselves, they were all taken to meet Cardinal Thorn. He made a strong impression on them as he presented his plan: the creation of a new Thassilon, with them as its runelords and he as its new First King. The Asmodeans in the party were quick to agree. The rest were more reluctant but consented, with the exception of one: Ahaz Akam. The offer did not sit well with Ahaz, for it not only meant the church of Asmodeus would be in charge, but he would be bound to the service of a god (he's an atheist). The death knight was very reluctant to give his allegiance.Upon seeing this, Thorn informed them that if even one should refuse then the offer was off the table for all and their lives would be forfeit. All eyes were on Ahaz, who was trembling with rage. In the end, he gave in and agreed to serve. With a victorious smile, the cardinal drew up the Pact of Thorns and had them all sign it with their blood, further infuriating the death knight, who understood the significance of the deed.

The next three days saw them living it up in luxury. They received their 200 gp allotment, the iron circlets, and the silver holy symbols of Asmodeus (the last stoking the anger of Ahaz even further). They also learned that another team of adventurers was residing within the manor. Just before dusk on the third day, they were called to stand before Thorn once again where the group were presented with the challenge of retrieving a silver and sapphire pendant before dusk the next day as a test of their worth. Seeing that they had little choice, the villains gathered their gear and followed Tiadora. After being informed that the 'Nine Lessons awaited below,' she left them to the task they had been given.

The Chamber of Deception they figured out quickly, as they did with the Chamber of Many Paths. The Chamber of Darkness, on the other hand proved a bit more challenging for them. Or should I say, the vampiric mist once they destroyed the obsidian globe, proved challenging. After its defeat, the villains realized that their lives were well and truly in danger here and that they needed to be both cautious and cunning to survive. Once that determination was made, I figured that was a good place to call it for the night.

Session 2
Picking up where we left off the previous week, the villains decided to take the north door leading out of the Chamber of Darkness. The torturer's rack put a smile on the Kuthite's face, but that paled in comparison to when Timeon's hiding spot was found. However, the Kuthite did not take into consideration Nuomo, who saw in the young squire the opportunity to find and extract his 'innocence.' Long story short, the ranger ended up killing Timeon before they could learn anything pertinent from the kid. This would come back to bite them as they continued through the rest of the dungeon.

The Chambers of Might challenged their mettle (pun intended) and they navigated the Chamber of Sin without triggering the trap... initially. The villains almost bypassed the Chamber of the Shrieker completely by finding the secret door that led to the Chamber of the Risen. However, player greed got the better of them and they activated the shrieker. The runic berserker destroyed the mushroom but back in the Chamber of the Risen, the draugr arose from their coffins and sought the source of the disturbance. The battle was brutal, but our villains prevailed. Seeing that they had one door left, they decided to go back and see where the stairs in the Chamber of Sin led to. Though Aerodus checked for traps, he was unable to find any. As he made his way up, accompanied by Nuomo, the temple assassin set off the trap, causing the spiked ball to come crashing down at them. Aerodus made his Reflex save, Nuomo did not. I described it as Nuomo reacting out of instinct to push the inquisitor out of harm's way and taking the brunt of the hit upon himself. The act nearly killed him, but Alistar the cleric managed to save him, using up the last cure spell he had prepared to do so.

With that out of the way, the villains went back to the final door and decided to push on and get the prize they had come for. They opened it up and found Sir Balin waiting for them and prepared to fight. The sight of the one who had been responsible for their capture in the first place wearing the object of their search made our villains very happy. Most of the group was prepared to use their greater numbers to overwhelm him and take what they wanted, but Lykae had other ideas. As the embodiment of pride, he challenged the knight to honorable one on one combat. The others tried to dissuade him from doing this, but their pleas fell on deaf ears. For Sir Balin's part, he readily accepted the paladin of Asmodeus' challenge. The fight was quick and brutal, especially given how I was running combat: the normal critical system was replaced with criticals being achieved based on how much the attack roll exceeded the target number, with natural 20s being rerolled and added to the result. I then check to see what severity of critical (there are five) was achieved and the player rolls percentile to get the result. If this sounds alot like Rolemaster to you, that's because this method is drawn from it. Medium and heavy armor reduce the severity of the crit (by one and two degrees respectively). The player got initiative, prepared her smite and rolled to hit. The die came up 20! She rolled again and got another 20! She threw the die one last time and got an 18, for a total of 64! She exceeded her target number by 32. This got her an E critical, even after taking into account Sir Balin's full plate armor (the chart is set up to take armor into consideration). Excited, the player rolled percentile and got 00! Checking the E critical for Brawling, I looked at her and said the following: 'Limned in black flames with red highlights, you bolt forward, jump up and kick, performing an aerial heel hook. Your strike is frightening! Sir Balin's head snaps to one side. He cannot breathe! With wide eyes, he looks upon you one last time as you land, then dies.'

The rest of the group was stunned! The player had Lykae turn back to look at the others and smile, the sable and red flames of the smite flickering ominously. The vanara turned back to Sir Balin and claimed their prize. Upon doing so, he noticed that the armor worn by the knight had changed, darkening to a jet black hue with blood red accents. No one stopped him from claiming the armor for himself, now obviously infused with the power of Asmodeus!

Their task done, the villains found their way out of the dungeon and went straightway to Cardinal Thorn. Though he was glad they succeeded, having watched what transpired, the seeds of jealousy had begun to take root in his mind. He took it out on them during the three months of training they underwent, honing them to become weapons. His weapons.

When it was done, he pronounced them ready and threw a banquet in their honor, where they named the Nessian Knot and performed the ritual to seal them with the title (this angered Ahaz but he held his temper in check). Afterward, Thorn informed the newly forged Ninth Knot that they would be traveling to Sandpoint to seek out a potential threat to the plan. 'Use the lessons you have learned and you will succeed. Do not and you will prove your weakness. By your weakness, you will prove unworthy. I trust you to know what becomes of the unworthy... You leave on the morrow.'

That night's session ended with them crossing Tanner's Bridge and standing before the sign just outside of Sandpoint bearing a small mirror, proclaiming: 'Welcome to Sandpoint. Please stop to see yourself as we see you.'

Grand Lodge

Just gave my players the unfortunate news that we're essentially going to be playing once every two or three weeks until things settle down at work. Stupid responsibility that pays bills.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Damn you real life, why must you constantly interfere with my fantasy escapism!


Okay, really excited about this and about to back-order the first two books... got a couple fo questions or those who have some experience with it however.

The first is the alignment issue. Does it really matter if the players run characters who are chaotic evil by nature so long as they all know what time it is and are on board with the scenario? My group doesn't backstab or do things to deliberately ruin adventures, but these are the characters they are intending on playing:

Human 2nd level Unbreakable Fighter / 18th level Invulnerable Rager & Urban Barbarian
The leader of the group - figure since he's 'urban' I won't have any problem having him run as 'neutral evil'. Kind of a General Zod type.
Half-Elven 20th Summoner
Kind of a consort/concubine to the leader - she's actually half-elven, half-orc with a rocking body she displays openly and a hideous face she keeps carefully veiled.
Dwarven 20th level Evangelist
Utterly and completely mad, convinced of the eventual end of the world at the hands of the Old Ones and torn between prophecying doom and simply enjoying the ride.
Human 18th level Knifemaster / 2nd level Transmuter
Infiltration specialist and assassin with no morals whatsoever.

Also along those lines, can anyone see any problems with this line-up, knowing what may be ahead for them? The Dwarf is the only thing even close to a healer and his spontaneous spells are of the mind-affecting variety but he's a hell of a debuffer... the Barbarian's pretty tough to hurt and we figure the eidolon should absorb a lot of damage.

Grand Lodge

Wiggz wrote:

Okay, really excited about this and about to back-order the first two books... got a couple fo questions or those who have some experience with it however.

The first is the alignment issue. Does it really matter if the players run characters who are chaotic evil by nature so long as they all know what time it is and are on board with the scenario? My group doesn't backstab or do things to deliberately ruin adventures, but these are the characters they are intending on playing:

Also along those lines, can anyone see any problems with this line-up, knowing what may be ahead for them? The Dwarf is the only thing even close to a healer and his spontaneous spells are of the mind-affecting variety but he's a hell of a debuffer... the Barbarian's pretty tough to hurt and we figure the eidolon should absorb a lot of damage.

Absolutely yes, there's a problem with chaotic. Chaotic characters don't feel they should have to sign contracts or adhere to them. Lawful have no problems so long as it's in their best interest, and neutral doesn't really care. Also, chaotic sometimes likes to pull pranks that inconvenience everyone. I'm having this issue with one my players right now, and it's not fun by any means for either of us.

As for the PCs in question, those are nice builds once they've gotten that high, but it'll all depend on what their first few levels are. No trapfinding will be a bit of a problem, but summoners are considered broken so you might not have any issues. For the cleric, you'd be better off trying to get them to play unholy barrister. At least it'd make it easier for healing purposes.


kevin_video wrote:
Wiggz wrote:

Okay, really excited about this and about to back-order the first two books... got a couple fo questions or those who have some experience with it however.

The first is the alignment issue. Does it really matter if the players run characters who are chaotic evil by nature so long as they all know what time it is and are on board with the scenario? My group doesn't backstab or do things to deliberately ruin adventures, but these are the characters they are intending on playing:

Also along those lines, can anyone see any problems with this line-up, knowing what may be ahead for them? The Dwarf is the only thing even close to a healer and his spontaneous spells are of the mind-affecting variety but he's a hell of a debuffer... the Barbarian's pretty tough to hurt and we figure the eidolon should absorb a lot of damage.

Absolutely yes, there's a problem with chaotic. Chaotic characters don't feel they should have to sign contracts or adhere to them. Lawful have no problems so long as it's in their best interest, and neutral doesn't really care. Also, chaotic sometimes likes to pull pranks that inconvenience everyone. I'm having this issue with one my players right now, and it's not fun by any means for either of us.

As for the PCs in question, those are nice builds once they've gotten that high, but it'll all depend on what their first few levels are. No trapfinding will be a bit of a problem, but summoners are considered broken so you might not have any issues. For the cleric, you'd be better off trying to get them to play unholy barrister. At least it'd make it easier for healing purposes.

Well, the Summoner's first few levels will be Summoner, the Evangelist's first few levels will be Evangelist... the Rogue will be straight Rogue for the first 18 levels (maxing out that human favored class option) before opening a few doors with a couple of levels of Wizard and the Barbarian is only dipping a level of Fighter at 5th to get Diehard and Endurance so he'll pretty much be straight Barbarian all the way as well.

I'm talking to the players... its tricky telling them that they get to be evil but still have to do whatever they're told. As I said though, the alignment doesn't really matter, I don't think, because they want to run through the adventure and have no desire to derail it. A chaotic person can serve a lawful suprior through fear, motivated self-interest or simply because they share common goals - I'm quite positive Asmodeous has more than a few chaotic servants amongst his ranks... I just want to make certain that there's not a mechanical reason that comes up later on to forbid them certain alignments if it best describes their characters.

And for the record, I don't consider Summoners broken.

;-)

Grand Lodge

Wiggz wrote:
Well, the Summoner's first few levels will be Summoner, the Evangelist's first few levels will be Evangelist... the Rogue will be straight Rogue for the first 18 levels (maxing out that human favored class option) before opening a...

I've never seen a summoner or had anyone play one so I can't say for myself, but I know that certain archetypes of summoner aren't allowed in PFS and even the developers don't like the class. I'd allow it at least once before making a final decision.

And the thing some of us are doing is having the contract be written on a Pact Parchment wondrous item so that if they do anything bad, they immediately get hit with a penalty.

Also, Asmodeus doesn't have anyone chaotic under him, or anywhere near him. Hell has no chaotic alignments. That's strictly the Abyss. All devils are lawful or neutral (with lawful subtype) and all demons are chaotic or neutral (with chaotic subtype). The only exception to that are archtypes demons or devils who kept their subtype, but changed their alignment when they defected to the other side, and even then that's 3.5 only.

The Exchange

So I have had 2 sessions running this book and after an almost TPK with the prison my players made it to the mansion and were shown to the downstairs I was taken to notice a possible problem with one of the statblocks.

Spoiler:
In the room with the Mithril cobras I noticed that their stat block only accounts for 1 bite attack but according to the bestiary they should have two bite attacks along with the increased land speed for being made out of mithril.

I don't know if this was a simple oversight or what but it would turn the encounter into a much deadlier one if they had 2 instead of 1.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Wiggz wrote:
...make sure there's not a mechanical reason...

In terms of game mechanics, no, there is nothing like a barrier, spell, effect, etc. that will destroy a CE character's viability. RP-wise, I agree with Kevin that Thorn isn't written as the type to take on a chaotic servant. I also don't see why a CE character is going to help build a new order devoted to a LE god, but... you can tweak the campaign and you know your players. If your only concern is a rule-driven mechanic that would inhibit a CE character, I don't recall any, no.


SnowHeart wrote:
Wiggz wrote:
...make sure there's not a mechanical reason...
In terms of game mechanics, no, there is nothing like a barrier, spell, effect, etc. that will destroy a CE character's viability. RP-wise, I agree with Kevin that Thorn isn't written as the type to take on a chaotic servant. I also don't see why a CE character is going to help build a new order devoted to a LE god, but... you can tweak the campaign and you know your players. If your only concern is a rule-driven mechanic that would inhibit a CE character, I don't recall any, no.

To be completely honest, a lot of it is semantics and mechanics as far as we tend to be concerned in our campaigns... things ~have~ to be lawful or chaotic, good, evil or neutral to properly classify them for mechanical purposes, but within the arena of our roleplay, the character is as his actions define him which could certainly evolve over the course of time or might have quirks that keep it from being easily definable in one of nine blocks of behavioural categories...

This is in no way intended as a slight on the adventure path as written - they seem to be making good and consistent use of what's before them - rather its simply my way of saying I'm not particularly concerned that its going to be a problem if, you know, its not going to be a problem.

Grand Lodge

WrathW1zard wrote:

So I have had 2 sessions running this book and after an almost TPK with the prison my players made it to the mansion and were shown to the downstairs I was taken to notice a possible problem with one of the statblocks.

** spoiler omitted **

I don't know if this was a simple oversight or what but it would turn the encounter into a much deadlier one if they had 2 instead of 1.

It's likely an oversight. Personally I left the bite out, and instead gave it Weapon Finesse as a bonus feat.

@Wiggz -- It's not an issue unless your players make it one. If you think you can successfully run a LE campaign with CE characters, and it won't infringe on it at all, that's your call. As SnowHeart said, there's nothing stopping the characters from doing that other than personality clashes.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Our first session playing Way of the Wicked was a smashing success. The cast of characters includes:

Margra the Unusual -- LE Human female Cleric of Asmodeus (Undead Lord); imprisoned for graverobbery and blasphemy.
Bramble -- N Changeling Witch (Dreamweaver); imprisoned for blasphemy and the murder of a Mitran priest.
Rissis Morrere -- LE Human male Rogue (Charlatan); a deposed baron, imprisoned for sedition and the incitement of an attack on a royal caravan.
Dr. V. Sereves -- LE Humale male Witch (Scarred Witch Doctor); a plague doctor, imprisoned for letting a plague take hold and nearly wipe out a village.

Notes:
I allowed the addition of the death domain to Asmodeus, and Sereves took an orc heritage feat that let him take the racial archetype.

Journal:
The prisoners were drugged, branded and chained to the walls. As the drugs wore off, they took in their surroundings. There was little conversation, though Rissis observed bitterly that he should not have been jailed with common rabble, and Margra noted that they should all do her bidding as she was the one of superior power over life and death; the others collectively rolled their eyes at the unkepmt woman whose legs were covered in an unusual amount of mud and filth.

After a few moments, a contingent of guards entered and Blackerly pulled Lord Rissis from the cell. He was taken to a meeting with the beautiful Tiadora. The silver tongue rogue seemed to be at a loss for words (perhaps it was the maiden's beauty). He stammered his thanks, asked why the "mutual friend" also wanted his cell-mates ("Why dearest, we are not to question him, only do his bidding."), and then gazed a bit dully at the veil he had been handed. He did, however, note the alacrity and odd demeanor with which Blackerly responded to Tiadora's "requests".

Rissis was returned to the cell, whereupon he informed his cellmates of the strange visitor and they did their best to examine the veil. They quickly deduced its basic functions, and Rissis immediately tore off the patch for the thieves tools. A series of brilliant rolls followed and *click*click*click*click*click* all four prisoners were released. Bramble noted the ogre in the adjacent cell and deduced that he had been beaten and was likely drugged. Though the doctor was ready to leave the brute behind, Rissis opened the cell and Margra kissed the ogre with a blessing of Asmodeus then channeled energy to heal some of his wounds. Deeply impressed by this display of magic, Grumblejack promised to help these little 'uns if they let him smash the other little 'uns that put him here. A mutual accord was quickly reached with great enthusiasm.

The jail break that followed was mostly quiet but perhaps lacking in finesse. The party gathered at the door to the prison cells, where they heard a conversation about the decline in the prisons security. They opened the door, charmed one guard then rushed the other and pounded him into unconsciousness. The guard who had been charmed told the party the warden had taken the witch doctor's mask into the tower, that Blackerly was at the gatehouse running a game of guards and drinking, and apologies profusely for the confusion about the whole "branding and imprisonment"-thing. After getting a basic layout of the prison from the charmed guard, Dr. Sereves argued strongly that his mask must be recovered, explaining that it was the channel for his powers. Though there was a modicum of resistance to the proposal of storming the wizards tower, the party ultimately agreed, climbed UP the chimney to the keep's roof, swung over to the southern curtain wall, and planned to use the veil's window to infiltrate the second floor of the warden's tower.

Alas, they had to kill another guard on the curtain wall who stumbled upon them while preparing the window, but there were no tears shed over this spilling of blood. Grumblejack couldn't fit through the window, so was left "hiding" on the wall. A quick search of the library turned up a couple of books of some value and they then proceeded up the stairs. A quick ransack of the office revealed the wizard's spellbook (but left the map of the moor in a locked drawer). They then turned to infilitrate the warden's private chamber, wherein the wizard was studying the mask and speaking to himself in draconic. The rogue attempted to sneak across the room, but rolled miserably, likely slipping on some of the filth and excrement that had built up on his body over the last few days of ignominy. Puzzled more than alarmed, the wizard cast mage armor while examining the ragtag group of escaped prisoners. The prisoners approached the wizard in a variety of fashions, but none of them seemed immediately dangerous. Only Rissis was brandishing a weapon, so the warden targeted him with hideous laughter -- which the would-be nobleman shrugged off with contemptuous ease. Alas, Mathias Richter realized the threat posed by the escapees too late. Bramble then used her slumber hex, and with a natural 1 on his save, Mathias immediately slumped to the ground.

The warden awoke to find himself strapped to his bed, stripped, with Rissis branding his flesh as the warden's guards had done to the prisoners. After a few rounds of this torture, a discussion followed as to what should finally be done with the man. Bramble was uneasy with killing a defenseless man, to which Dr. Sereves unleashed a fierce invictive: this was the man responsible for her branding and who would issue the final order to have her executed. He deserved neither mercy nor pity! If she were a witch and if she were to live up to her potential, she would be the one to send the warden to his final slumber. Cowed by the doctor's passion, Bramble used a pillow to smother the warden until his body stopped convulsing and evacuated itself over the fine silken sheets of the four-poster bed.

The party then decided to pile up the books in the library and light it afire, using the fire as a diversion. They would use the rope to descend the curtain wall to the rocks below, slowly traverse the rocks along the western side of the island, climb back up to the bridge, and attempt to bluff their way past the outer guardpost. All of this worked exactly as planned -- except for the bluff.

When challenged as to the password, Rissis boldly proclaimed, "There is no password, you know that." The response was an immediate series of blasts from a horn, signaling prisoners attempting to escape. A frenetic exchange of spells and arrows flew back and forth from the bridge and the guard post. One guard succumbed to a slumber hex, while the other consistently resisted hex and spell while firing a bow and arrow into the party. Realizing they had little hope of defeating the fortified guards, the party climbed over the portcullis archway. The first to do so was Rissis, who was inspired to jam the guardhouse door's lock. He succeeded brilliantly, locking the guards and their dog inside while the party fled into the darkness shrouding the moor.


This was an enormously successful opening to the campaign. There was plenty of opportunity for RP that could be either serious or humorous, and plenty of opportunity for combat. I felt a little wistful that the party never explored the first floor of the prison, thus missing Blackerly's stash. The players also observed -- only after they got to the bridge -- that they should have collected the fallen guard's chain shirts and tabbards to aid their attempts to bluff the outer guards. I think they were so eager to escape and act on the gift Tiadora had given them that they didn't think their plan completely through. Nonetheless, they escaped with only Bramble having ever been wounded (she took two arrows at the outer gatehouse and fled into the moor with only a single hitpoint). Absolutely thrilling.

Grand Lodge

@SnowHeart -- So what ended up being the final outcome with Grumblejack?


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
kevin_video wrote:
@SnowHeart -- So what ended up being the final outcome with Grumblejack?

Oh! I forgot that.

Spoiler:
As they lit the fire in the tower's library, they exited back through the window where Grumblejack was waiting and brought him along. The players loved him (even though I may have hammed it up a bit much), and in-character Rissis noted they really needed some "muscle" and someone to soak up the damage. Grumblejack did his best to break down the portcullis and stab the guards through the arrow slits of the guardhouse, but is now fleeing with the party into the moors.

I truly did half-expect them to use him as fodder and leave him to die, but it sounds like he'll be kept around for a little while. :-)

Grand Lodge

SnowHeart wrote:
kevin_video wrote:
@SnowHeart -- So what ended up being the final outcome with Grumblejack?
Oh! I forgot that. ** spoiler omitted **

Yeah, I'll admit that I really wanted my guys to have him on their team so I might have given them a little too much insight with him. Now they love the big guy.

Dark Archive

I am curious about it


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Anyone know when parts 1 & 2 will be available in print again?

Grand Lodge

ericthecleric wrote:
Anyone know when parts 1 & 2 will be available in print again?

Should be soonish. It'll mainly depend on when Gary comes back from vacation so he can send more prints out.


kevin_video wrote:
ericthecleric wrote:
Anyone know when parts 1 & 2 will be available in print again?
Should be soonish. It'll mainly depend on when Gary comes back from vacation so he can send more prints out.

Anxiously awaiting...

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