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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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Thanks, Kevin.

Grand Lodge

ericthecleric wrote:
Thanks, Kevin.

No prob. It's sometimes hard to find all the info without searching for it on Facebook, here, and the Kickstarter.

Grand Lodge

Today we managed to set aside enough time for a quick game. One of my old players was able to come back this session, one player had to leave because he joined a band, and a new player joined us. We now have an elf torturer.

I'm having to railroad the players just to make them do something instead of nothing:
Unfortunately it was not a great session to introduce her as the party really didn't know what to do. The gnome no longer has any penances (he worked them all off thanks to the assistance of the group) so he's good to go and not looking to kill off his character any more. However, most of the night was making them roll Intelligence checks at DC 5 or 10 just to make them do something. They're so used to written campaigns that go "Turn off your brain and go fight these next 20 encounters" that they have no idea how to actually role play any more. And half of these guys have been playing for 8+ years. I can't help them, but I'm dropping HEAVY hints on them, and making them roll checks when they're thinking of doing something that will either derail things or will put them in jeopardy. It's almost like I'm playing the game for them. They're so stumped as to what they're supposed to do, right now they're contemplating just waiting for the whole two weeks, and just having a full out brawl. If they lose, they lose. If they win, all the better. It's not something I want to see happen, but they're so lost that that's all they've been able to come up with. If it wasn't for Timeon giving them the map at the beginning, they'd be even worse off. They're looking for red herrings that don't even exist. One player's not even doing anything at all. He's left the party and gone into the forest to hunt by poorly setting up snares because his Survival is practically 0. It's fine that he wants to role play, but he's on a mission. He's only doing it because he doesn't know what to do and told the party to come get him when they've got a plan.

They've got their own notes written down for who the captains are, who's away right now (Varning), that Mama comes once a week to make stew, etc, but they're not doing anything with it. And when I finally, very heavy handedly, got them to remember about the affair of Mott's wife and Eddarly, they were suddenly confused as to why that was a problem. It's adultery. But again, they still didn't know why that would mean anything. Finally I said that they should write a letter to Mott himself about the whole ordeal. The party decided against that, and wanted to use the information to blackmail Eddarly instead, and that it was a certain farmer far away (one week's ride away) that knew about it, and that they should meet private with no witnesses. Then one week later they'd send out another letter to Mott saying that they knew of who his wife was having an affair with and to ride out to the same location. They hoped that they'd settle things. Which I bluntly told them that things would get taken care of, but that was wasting too much time (they have 12 days left) and no witnesses meant if either died, no one would know about it. So, grudgingly, the players allowed me to once again put them on the path to give the letter to Mott and finally something happened. Mott attacked Eddarly openly, but Eddarly killed Mott. Then I had Mott's widow also get chained up because the male players decided that maybe they should keep the now obviously lonely widow company, and I didn't want things to go there.

We're playing again in three weeks, and still nothing has really happened. At least nothing that didn't have me telling them "go do this, go do that". It's almost getting to the point that I want them to fail just so I can quit this campaign. A campaign that I loved reading and supporting, but obviously my veteran players of 8-20 years can't handle it because they have to think outside the box and actually do stuff that's more than just fighting everything and spilling blood. I blame their previous GMs for this.


I would had let them use the farmer idea, just make the farm to be 1 day traveling instead of 1 week (honestly, 1 week traveling will put them almost out of the borderlands if they do just 20 miles per day). It was a decent enough plan to make it work.

When GMing a Sandbox, free-form play is important. Just because the storybook says Eddarly and Mott will challenge to a duel, it doesn't mean it should be that way.

Grand Lodge

gustavo iglesias wrote:

I would had let them use the farmer idea, just make the farm to be 1 day traveling instead of 1 week (honestly, 1 week traveling will put them almost out of the borderlands if they do just 20 miles per day). It was a decent enough plan to make it work.

When GMing a Sandbox, free-form play is important. Just because the storybook says Eddarly and Mott will challenge to a duel, it doesn't mean it should be that way.

The problem with me is I don't do well with free-form. If it's not in the book, I've got nothing.

Right now I'm looking for a guest GM to take over for a while because it's looking like I'm not cut out for running this kind of scenario.


Well. Maybe some leading by the nose is what is needed. Have them baby-sat by a certain devil-lady who says go here and there. Might toss in some sarcasm that they need this guidance and that it won't last forever. If they can get past this into the next book, they have a base they can work from(Build up the base and defend it)


kevin_video wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:

I would had let them use the farmer idea, just make the farm to be 1 day traveling instead of 1 week (honestly, 1 week traveling will put them almost out of the borderlands if they do just 20 miles per day). It was a decent enough plan to make it work.

When GMing a Sandbox, free-form play is important. Just because the storybook says Eddarly and Mott will challenge to a duel, it doesn't mean it should be that way.

The problem with me is I don't do well with free-form. If it's not in the book, I've got nothing.

Right now I'm looking for a guest GM to take over for a while because it's looking like I'm not cut out for running this kind of scenario.

The easiest way is just focus on saying Yes. When the PC bring a plan, make it happen. The PC wanted to send both captains to die in a farm far away, then let them do it. Ask for some roll, and allow them to get their plan working.

In my game, they killed the cleric with a plan about using belladona in a nearby village, poisoning the people, then make some guy to tell father Donnaghin that there was a Chollera rampage and they needed their help with Cure disease. Then they ambushed him there and killed him. The plan wasn't perfectly executed, and they actually got a few problems while doing it, but it's a plan. And having a bad plan is better than having none. Anything that keeps the action moving forward is good

Sovereign Court

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In my Way of the Wicked game, the PC's took care of Eddardly, Mott and the Tacticus in the same day. The Asmodeus Inquisitor in our party (Who had the ability to Misdirect his alignment), came to the keep with forged papers and a disguise, saying he was a member of the Inquisition at the keep to investigate the unsettling rumors of the Tacticus. With some good bluff checks, he was able to convince Lord Havelyn to allow him to search the laboratory and remove the Tacticus from the premises during the search so he would not impede the investigation. Given some time to search the lab alone, he planted a silver holy symbol Asmodeus under a loose stone tile in the laboratory and then used some cleaver slight of hand to "accidentally" find the hiding spot with Havelyn around. The Tacticus gets arrested for Heresy and his gear is confiscated (Including his Golem control stone and his wand). With some good bluff checks, the Inquisitor was able to convince Havelyn to give him the wizard's spellbook for further investigation.

As for Eddarly and Mott, one of the group members disguised herself as Katelyn and seduces Eddarly to get a room at the inn. The Inquisitor of the party calls in Mott to meet him at the inn to aid him in his further investigations. Mott catches Eddarly in the act with the fake Katelyn and challenges him to a duel. Eddarly was drunk and Mott had better combat stats so I ruled Mott would win the fight. To see if Mott killed him, I reduced Eddarly's Hitpoints to 1 and then rolled a longsword damage. I rolled max damage, which was not quite enough to kill Eddarly, but then Eddarly rolled a 1 on his constitution check and then promptly bled to death. Eddarly gets killed, Mott gets arrested for dueling to death, bam both taken out of the picture. The next day the Tactcus and Mott would be sent to Daveron to face trial.

As for other dastardly deeds, the party rogue snuck into the alchemist shop, killed the Alchemist in his sleep, stole all his potions and poisons and then with the aid of the party wizard rigged the shop to explode. The Alchemist shop went Michael Bay and the town is now out in force fighting a major fire. With this distraction the PC's are intending to hit the Rookery in the next session. They're also intending to ambush the prison wagon going to Daveron, to kill off the Tacticus and Mott, as they fear that if any real member of the inquisition investigates, they will find out that there is an impostor impersonating an inquisitor at the tower.

So far they've done quite well. 14 Victory Points towards their goal thus far in the game! (This includes VP's from other activities. I also gave them 2 VP for taking out the Alchemist, as this efficiently cut off the keep from a healthy supply of potions.)


Do we have ANY idea when this is going to come off back order? It seems as if its been in that status ever since I discovered the AP - its kind of hard to buy something when its not for sale...

Webstore Gninja Minion

Wiggz wrote:
Do we have ANY idea when this is going to come off back order? It seems as if its been in that status ever since I discovered the AP - its kind of hard to buy something when its not for sale...

You can still place an order for backordered items, but they won't be fulfilled until we get stock (which is what we're waiting on).


Thanks for your interest in "Way of the Wicked".

I'm back from vacation. I've ordered more prints. They are on the way.

So, I think we can update "soon" to "very soon".

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games


2 people marked this as a favorite.

My PCs just arrived at Seal Island.

"All the while, I was thinking 'well we are all evil with our own agendas, and our roster ranges from a goblin head that explodes in flames to a healer who uses Cthulhu's squid ink for healing, but at least we are NOT clubbing baby seals'.

"I guess well get that ethical road bump out of the way shortly."

Doug M.


Great AP. Clearly the best one so far. One burning question...

Why so tight on the loot? Lv 10 NPCs with MW armor and one +1 item? Seems vastly under suggested character wealth.

Would have loved to see where PCs could get weapons/armor/item uniquely enchanted...a sword or amulet infused with a devil. As is, I don't see anything other than vanilla items and low grade at that other than one Bastard Sword that few people take Exotic Prof for ahead of time.

Now PCs can enchant or get enchanted items via feats but nothing matches the flair of uniquely crafted or named items.

Thats been my big disappointment in this one.


Taason,

Thanks for the kind words. I'm glad you've enjoyed the AP.

I actually tightly followed the loot guidelines per level. I also added a bunch of hell-themed magical items in later books (written by Jason Buhlman) that could be added throughout the campaign if you so wanted.

In my own campaign, I have occasionally used them as gifts directly from Asmodeus for sufficiently wicked deeds. You want to do this sparingly, but it makes a great way of saying "That was a masterpiece of villainy."

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

So what are some of the most creative solutions to problems your villains have come up with?

Nefarious Plans:
Having failed to discover the letters in Edderly's room, but knowing of the affair, my players latched onto Mott's description of being career oriented. They intercepted a raven, forged a note with promotion orders sending him to be the new guy in charge of Brandescar prison (which needed new management because they have murdered the place). Mott took off with his wife. Then they baked brownies and delivered them to Edderly and gave an awesome speech which indirectly relayed the message of "If you love someone, don't let her go. Fight for her!" Edderly waffled on the decision, but bailed when everyone was supposed to be watching the play.

When it came to dealing with Lord Havelyn and Tacitus, they had their summoner call up a minutes-per-level earth elemental, buffed him up and made him invisible and sent him to coup-de-grace the heroes in their sleep. Note: If your castle is made out of stone, put some tapestries up, cover the floor with rugs, and maybe reinforce the stonework with wood or something. Also, use alarm spells - seriously, pay for the spell casting so you don't get killed in your sleep.

My other table had a player get himself apprenticed to the alchemist in town, told him that he'd heard rumors of rat infestations, and got permission to cook up some more doses of arsenic. When they poisoned Mama Guiseppe's stew, it was a lot nastier and more obvious that the place was under attack, but managing to get Tacitus's wand of fireballs made obliterating the poisoned guards easy.

It says something when your villains stop to worry that the bugbears will be bored by not having enough to do when they storm the watch wall.

Comic Relief Plans:
A hilarious moment happened with one of my groups on their escape from prison. They had gotten to the gatehouse and were about to be swarmed by guards. Having figured out the window on their veil of useful items, they looked at one of the other items and thought, "That looks like a wall. It probably puts a wall wherever we want when we peel that off." So there, in the doorway, they dramatically ripped it off the veil. Instead of the wall they were expecting, one hundred gold pieces spray into the air and rain to the ground in the doorway in front of very confused prison guards.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Anyone else having trouble with the circlets, my party are perhaps relying on them a bit too heavily, they have spent less than 10% of the last 8 sessions in their own natural forms.


mikeawmids wrote:
Anyone else having trouble with the circlets, my party are perhaps relying on them a bit too heavily, they have spent less than 10% of the last 8 sessions in their own natural forms.

My players are never in their own natural form, unless they are nude having a bath or something. I don't see a problem with that.

However, if you feel it's too powerful, you can always enforce the rules. Technically, the hat of disguise is a magic item, so it requires a command word. And it last for a few minutes, like the Disguise Self spell. I don't enforce that, because I enjoy the freedom that the hat gives to players (we have a drow looking half-drow, for example, that couldn't play in a regular zealot-based xenophobic kill-the-evil society, nor the anti paladin could have a spiked rune-covered full plate of hellish design)

Also, ignoring the hat of disguise ilusion is just a DC 11 will save. Anyone who has a reason to be suspicious can pretty much pierce it. Tacitus did on my game (he casted detect magic once, and saw a lot of magic item auras in the PC, which shouldn't be there if they were real peasants/farmers/normal citizens)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Hey Gary, any chance that print copies of 1 & 2 will get to their warehouse early next week? I've got them on back order, and to send with the AP book.

The Exchange

Ran WotW1, at my LFGS for five people; two experienced RPGers and three newbies. They put the fun into dysfunctional.

Cleric kept a hoarder's grip on the veil of many things, divvying out those items he thought were useful after the fact. This would prove detrimental to the group.

The rogue focused on releasing the wrist shackles for all the prisoners forgetting the leg shackles. Dramatic failures increased guard presence. The rogue finally released the leg shackles in time for the guard to call for reinforcements. Around the same time the cleric and wizard, threw the window onto the wall of the 2nd story cell, tied the rope to an anchored shackle and rappelled down to the doors after reinforcements had passed. They then set fire to the rope. The other prisoners graciously if unwittingly gave up their freedom/lives for a heroes' last hoorah and distraction as they focused on the arriving guards. The cleric and wiz (the experienced players) through a series of high rolls on their part, piss-poor rolls on my part and a Machiavellian focus on fleeing managed to escape the prison, jump into the waters from the bridge and survive the moors.

The other PC's promised retribution before bludgeoned into unconsciousness.

I have never seen so many single digit rolls by the guards, only one dog managed to have a successful attack in the now crowded prison cell and one bowman winging the fleeing wizard at distance. Aside from those two escapees, the others were prevented only by the fact of overwhelming force by multiple armored reinforcements and, of course, the remnants of a burnt rope hanging out the window.

I provided pregenned PCs, with a bit of time to tweak for player preferences. Worked out well for our 4-hour window.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
kevin_video wrote:

Today we managed to set aside enough time for a quick game. One of my old players was able to come back this session, one player had to leave because he joined a band, and a new player joined us. We now have an elf torturer.

** spoiler omitted **...

Hey Kevin, I had a similar concern when I started my group on WotW... too sandboxy compared to what they were used to.

To help alleviate that, I bought a whiteboard that I place so all the players can see it.

At the top I list the mission given out by Thorn (ie do this, then this, and lastly this). It gives them a reference point to start at when they are trying to figure out what to do.

I also use the white board to remind them of things they discovered (ie the affair, (insert creature here) that Tacticus has, the Stew, etc). It helps keep them on track and everyone has the same info, rather than just the one guy who made really good notes.

So far it has worked really well for my group. Right now my group is on book 2 and the reminders of what kind of sacrifice they need when has kept them on track and noteful of who they need to get a hold of for the next portion of the ritual.

Another suggestion is using the Knowledge check for Ballentyne to see how well they figure the bugbear horde would do if they do nothing... and how angry Thorne will be at them... :)

Hope it helps.

Grand Lodge

W. John Hare wrote:

Hey Kevin, I had a similar concern when I started my group on WotW... too sandboxy compared to what they were used to.

To help alleviate that, I bought a whiteboard that I place so all the players can see it.

At the top I list the mission given out by Thorn (ie do this, then this, and lastly this). It gives them a reference point to start at when they are trying to figure out what to do.

I also use the white board to remind them of things they discovered (ie the affair, (insert creature here) that Tacticus has, the Stew, etc). It helps keep them on track and everyone has the same info, rather than just the one guy who made really good notes.

So far it has worked really well for my group. Right now my group is on book 2 and the reminders of what kind of sacrifice they need when has kept them on track and noteful of who they need to get a hold of for the next portion of the ritual.

Another suggestion is using the Knowledge check for Ballentyne to see how well they figure the bugbear horde would do if they do nothing... and how angry Thorne will be at them... :)

Hope it helps.

I'll be giving a better summary of it later but we played last night, and the players were not happy when we started playing and they found out in game what they had to take down, including a Lantern Archon Gestalt and Havelyn. They were just going to wait for the bugbears because they honestly believed that they weren't supposed to take on such "epic fights" for their level. They are not looking forward to the next couple of sessions. Especially since they messed up on stealth checks last night, and now the entire garrison is up, and hunting for them.


kevin_video wrote:


I'll be giving a better summary of it later but we played last night, and the players were not happy when we started playing and they found out in game what they had to take down, including a Lantern Archon Gestalt and Havelyn. They were just going to wait for the bugbears because they honestly believed that they weren't supposed to take on such "epic fights" for their level. They are not looking forward to the next couple of sessions. Especially since they messed up on stealth checks last night, and now the entire garrison is up, and hunting for them.

wasn't your party loaded with plenty templates and several gimmicks that made their characters above average? How can they fear those fights? They should be roflstomping those encounters.

Grand Lodge

gustavo iglesias wrote:
wasn't your party loaded with plenty templates and several gimmicks that made their characters above average? How can they fear those fights? They should be roflstomping those encounters.

They honestly thought I was advancing the game to compensate for their templates, but I haven't really done anything. Just max hp and added an npc level or given them 25 pt buy instead of 15. But yeah, they're like two "levels" above what they should be for this part of the fight, and they are cringing hard over what their gaming experience would be if they'd done it without anything advancing them.

It's probably the crazy lucky rolls I've been getting. I let my players see my rolls so they know I'm not cheating. That way when I roll a "1" we all get to have a good laugh at how bad the main guy failed.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

On that...

Spoiler:
Technically, they don't have to. They'll just miss out on Victory Points for the scenario which may mean the defeat of the bugbears. It's absolutely contemplated as a possibility in the AP; there will just be a consequence for their cowardice/incompetence.

Like gustavo, I'm a bit shocked myself given the templates, feats and so on that kevin has given them, but... I still wouldn't force them. I might suggest fortune favors the bold or even metagame it by saying "plenty of other people have done it, but if you don't think you can..." But, bad rolls happen, and occasionally having their confidence shaken a bit can be a good thing, otherwise they never feel like they're risking anything.


Sometimes bad tactics can overwhelm even powerful characters. Having 10d8 sneak attack isn't very useful if the player never pit himself into flanking. Are your players veterans? Are they used to play published AP? Because it's surprising they are so scared about the fights. It's true that Havelyn poses a decent threat, the gestalt isnt shabby either... but they are perfectly doable with standard 15 point buy characters. A party with two levels above the suggested part level should take the castle by storm. Actually I've read about groups that killed the enyore garrison, and my group didn't, just because I changed the garrison to 1000. Tacitus Wand of fireball is all you need to masacre the whole 100 lowbie guards

Grand Lodge

Well they're 5 HD each, and have either the Advanced Template (made it a +2 LA) or another template of equal value (ie lesser half-dragon or cunning creature, both of which are 3rd party). Reading up in the later books about how everyone could just be given the vampire template, but skip the basement scenario, I just gave them the above templates instead of the vampire one. They were quite content. Three of them are veterans, two are brand new to d20, and the last one is new to PF but has played eight months of 3.5 D&D. As for AP's, none of them have ever gone through that before. One's been in a group where they started the first book, but never completed the entire thing. My group's very new to this.

Part of me is glad that they're shaken up because when they first got the templates, they honestly thought they'd be invincible. They've since learned the hard way that this is most definitely not the case. Getting +4 to all of your stats does not save you from Smite Evil, swarms of birds, or AoE spells.

Grand Lodge

Big question from myself and the players. How is Keep level 1's Hall (F) attached to the Kitchen (C)? The chimney is in the same spot, but is that a service dumb waiter? Like that's how the food gets up? Or is it like a trap door pulley system? It's not explained and we were trying to figure it out last night.

Grand Lodge

So here's what happened last week and last night.

Session 21-22:
The party waited until 2 AM before hitting the Watch Wall. They went in through the secret entrance, saw the iron rations and used what filth fever rations they still had from their time at Branderscar, and mixed them all together. The wizard made notes of the bottles of wine. He'd be looting those later.

Figuring out how to open the secret passageway from the other side, the wizard used prestidigitation to make it look like a watermark. It was noted that whenever the come through that spot, he'd be repeating the process so that everyone would know where they had to press to open the door.

A couple of the players weren't able to make it to the game so they, and Grumblejack, stayed on the other side of the doorway in case anyone found out about the secret passage, or they were needed for an immediate fight.

With Captain Mott and Eddarly out of the way, I had it so that Capt. Sambryl and the inquisitor were in their rooms while they were visiting. The ninja gnome silently walked to every door and listened in. When he found a room that didn't make any noise, he checked inside. It was Capt. Varning's room. He decided to make that be the "safe point" for every one to meet in after leaving the secret passage. While he had everyone near him, the ninja used charges of message on everyone so that they could all keep in relative contact with each other.

There were three guards in the main hallway, who quickly disappeared towards the bridge after the wizard, using invisibility, used ghost sound to make it out that someone had fallen into the river below. However, that was all for not when the cleric accidentally made too much noise in his armor, causing the guards to stop. Thankfully he too was invisible.

Figuring that the jig was up, the ninja jumped out into the open hooping and hollering and bluffing "Oh no, they see me" before running away as quickly as possible. All three blew their signal horns. The inquisitor, Captain Sambryl, and Captain Samual all came out of their rooms to see the ninja sticking his tongue out at them, and continuing to run away down the hallway, and up the first set of stairs and out into the courtyard where other guards were stationed, and they too began blowing their horns. Soon 90% of the garrison was chasing after the gnome who was continually using ki points to gain extra movement speeds.

The rest of the party used the distraction to kill four guards on their way to the kitchen looking like demons, where they used various poisons on the servants, before continuing their way to Tacitus and his ice golem. The fight went long and hard against the golem, but thanks to the party's inquisitor (torturer) using her Silence spell on Tacitus, and the party's wizard having his familiar stealing the wand of fireballs, it didn't take long for them to take him out completely. However, the ice golem exploded, and despite the distraction outside, everyone at least felt the thwump that came from Tacitus' quarters.

The ninja used his item that let him go incorporeal for a few rounds, just as Lord Havelyn showed up on his warhorse, and gave chase. The ninja went through the West wall, turned off the incorporeal ability, entered back into the servant's entrance, into the kitched, hid in the pantry, then turned incorporeal again and went through the South wall to hide. Using his message, he let everyone know that whatever they'd done, they'd better get out because the explosion was heard outside. At any rate, he was safe.

The others getting the message and looking out the window saw the guards heading towards them. The cleric and antipaladin gathered as much of the magical items as they could while the ice mephit went and locked the door coming up, buying them a little more time.

The party's wizard quickly draws out a magic circle while his familiar shreds the body of Tacitus, and places a shard of the ice golem over the outer shell to make it look like that's what disrupted the summoning.

Realizing that they're out of time, the wizard and cleric use up the last of their invisibility spells on everyone except the antipaladin, as well as a fly spell is placed on the cleric. The antipaladin, still looking demonic, crashes through the window and roars as evily as she can and leaves towards the forest, purposely away from the city. The others follow her as quietly as possible.

The ninja is messaged back to get the others from underground and meet back at the inn. He stealthily makes it to the edge of the tower, turns incorporeal one last time, and heads back to the secret entrance.

The morning comes and the ninja's Wanted poster is updated. His bounty is higher than it was before, and this seems to cause the citizens of Aldencross some concern.

The wizard stays in his room to transfer the spells over while the others decide to cease the opportunity and release rumours that Havelyn's not doing his job, that their fears of Tacitus were correct and that he summoned a demon, etc. By evening the entire city suddenly has almost a mob mentality and they want answers.

The Watch Wall sends out a few messengers come out to tell the good citizens that there's nothing to concern themselves with, and to remind them that the Bard of Barrington's show is that night. As a show of good will, Lord Havelyn is paying for everyone to come visit the show for free. He is footing the bill.

The party is most happy about this, but can't believe the conspiracy cover up. They decide to go to the Watch Wall that night during the performance and destroy everything they can.

Arriving, they see that the security is definitely on high as the courtyard is full of guards, and there's a strange device at the entrance of the hall (Evil and Metal Detector). They realize that going in and slaughtering everyone would be a bad idea. However, they really wanted to take out the siege weapons. Instead, they're going to make do with destroying the rookery.

On their way up, the wizard decides he's going to snitch the bottles of wine now instead of later. He tells the group, truthfully, that when they burn the castle, they're all going to celebrate and toast to the beginning of the fall of Talingarde. The party is quite happy about this, and let him do as he wishes. Using the inquisitor's Silence he makes sure to smash the rest of bottles that the innkeeper had left behind, destroy the wine rack itself. He plans on using his forgery skills later to have the dwarves fix that as a higher priority than the siege weapons. Alcohol's important, afterall.

Walking up to the second floor of the tower, the party sees the 4000 arrows. They loot 64 quivers for themselves before having the oracle and antipaladin lay waste to the rest of them. There's little to no noise as the inquisitor still has her Silence up for another minute.

Next week, the rookery. They're also hoping to sabotage Mama's stew, but we'll see how it goes. But yeah, that took two gaming sessions.

Right now my players are being incredibly cautious every step of the way. Especially after realizing the cleric can't stealth and gave away their position after the first attempt into the castle.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
kevin_video wrote:
How is Keep level 1's Hall (F) attached to the Kitchen (C)?

It's not explained; I remember wondering the same thing ("You're not bringing food and drink up a ladder, so what is this?"). I'd go with a rope and pulley for food in a large basket, plus a ladder on the side. When serving, it wouldn't be practical for kitchen staff to go to the tower or through the sanctuary/chapel, so I think there has to be a ladder there, but also an efficient way to move large plates of food and bottles of drink. (Plus, during a siege or time of high alert, the ladder could be pulled up for just a small little added defense from that direction.)

Grand Lodge

SnowHeart wrote:
kevin_video wrote:
How is Keep level 1's Hall (F) attached to the Kitchen (C)?
It's not explained; I remember wondering the same thing ("You're not bringing food and drink up a ladder, so what is this?"). I'd go with a rope and pulley for food in a large basket, plus a ladder on the side. When serving, it wouldn't be practical for kitchen staff to go to the tower or through the sanctuary/chapel, so I think there has to be a ladder there, but also an efficient way to move large plates of food and bottles of drink. (Plus, during a siege or time of high alert, the ladder could be pulled up for just a small little added defense from that direction.)

Awesome. Thanks for that.


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I am curious as to how many players that the WotW encounters are set up for? I figure it would be likely 4 but possibly 6. I am considering running it, but I will have 8 players at the start, although I expect that to drop to 6 for the long term.

Say if the game was set up for 4, with 8 should I just double the number of monsters in the encounters, or is Pathfinder encounter building a case of 1 + 1 = more than 2?

-- Bad Coyote


It's build for 4 players. You'll need to increase the number of monsters, probably buff solo encounters, and put tge miriad of npc cohorts ibto background

Grand Lodge

Despite a longer session, not much got done tonight. They're still very cautious. In one of the later sessions I'm having a guest GM participate to see if it's me or them. He's read it and says it's the adventure.

At any rate...

The game:
using the distraction of the performance by the Bard of Barrington, the party had snuck into the Watchwall through the secret entrance, and destroyed the arrows. This week, they finished going up to the top of the rookery. Using Silence, they easily broke open the door and let loose with fireballs and breath weapons, easily taking out Mad Martin (of which I was extremely sad to have happen because I wanted his broken soul story), and the raven swarms. Even with me adding extra abilities and swarms, they had first initiative and finished things off. They then took the key from the keeper, and locked the door.

Heading downstairs, they removed a couple of the flags, dragged them down into the armory, soaked it in pitch and oil, lit everything on fire, and escaped.

The next day, a Sunday, the elf inquisitor used her iron circlet to "take one for the team" and turned into an extremely good looking female dwarf (18 Cha) to seduce Barnabus. With some very high rolls including a nat 20, she damn near out drank him under the table. He was incredibly impressed by this, and intimidated the other dwarves to leave. She managed to get him up into this room, and cast Confess on him to have him tell her how the orders around the castle worked. She wanted to know how he knew what things had to be fixed, when, and by who. He gave up the information to how things worked, and where his list was. When he snapped out of it, he became rather suspicious of her, but her diplomacy of whooing him followed by an intimidate check to demoralize him into knowing just who's in charge, got him into bed and manacled. She then did a sultry dance and effectively cast Charm Person on him, saying that he'd been drinking pretty heavily, and should sleep it off. While he was unconscious, she removed some of his clothes while roughing up the rest, soaked him in the alcohol that he'd had laying around in the room, searched the room for his notes, and finally removed 20 gold from his change purse. Before leaving, she left a pair of women's underwear on his chest, but left him manacled.

Leaving the room, she checked to make sure there was no one around, took the list to the wizard to forge up another copy but with different orders, and then used some of the gold she'd swiped to pay off the dwarf's tab, and left. Once the coast was clear, she changed back into her disguised elf form, and came back.

When the forged documents were done, the wizard gave them to the ninja, who snuck back into Barnabus' room, and placed them where they'd been before.

With that done, the party went back down the secret tunnel to infiltrate the Watchwall yet again, but this time with their huge supply of arsenic. They listened to the trap door and realized that there were currently people in the armory. With the fire having been placed there, they realized too late that they'd screwed things up for themselves. The ninja had Grumblejack lift the crate of iron rations up to the trap door, and using his SLA, he turned invisible, silenced, and incorporeal so he could move through the trap door without making any noise. He then double moved through as much stuff as he could, making it all the way into the kitchen. There were dozens of guards lined up for lunch. Being super silent and dodging everyone with high acrobatics, he managed to sneak in and dump the large amount of arsenic they'd managed to accumulate. Running back as fast as he could, the invisibility started to wear off just as he was passing through the door that led to the secret entrance. While this was happening, the antipaladin checked on the iron rations they had diseased earlier with that from Branderscar, to make sure it was mixed well.

They then all headed back to the inn to wait to see what happened next.

That night at the Watchwall, cholera took hold of half of the soldiers (I had the players roll, and they almost maxed out), and 10 of them died. Everything was immediately closed off. With things in lockdown, they brought out the iron rations, which were diseased. Another couple dozen contracted filth fever from the contaminated rations, not that they know that yet (onset 3 days).

The group now wants to take everyone on in a few days as the guards will likely be down a considerable number, but the named NPCs will likely still be up and running.


It seems it's going much better now :)

Grand Lodge

gustavo iglesias wrote:
It seems it's going much better now :)

I'm hoping so. I have to go in for surgery in a couple of weeks so the players want to get Book 1 done so that when we come back after my recovery, we can start on Book 2.


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Recieved the first two books in the mail. I've re-written some of the dialogue/motivations as I felt what was there was a little too cookie-cutterish or generic, but all-in-all I'm VERY excited about running this adventure. Our group tends to run pretty adult campaigns anyway (not gratuitously sexual or graphic but we don't shy away from mature themes one bit) and this should give them the opportunity to let it all hang out and explore their darker sides unfettered.

I'm giving each character two Crime traits, allowing them to stack when applicable, as well as one standard trait when they undergo their 'training' in Act Two.

The cast:

Molgrim, Human Urban Barbarian & Invulnerable Rager - urbane, deliberate and the group's unquestioned leader, Molgrim is motivated by a combination of self-interest and relative indifference to the laws of men. He joined Talingarde's military as a man looking for a purpose, a calling, even if he didn't fully realize that fact himself. While he leads the others through strength, he is devoted to Narcissa, relies on her for council and is willing to go far afield to see her pleased. Crimes: Desertion and High Treason for freeing Narcissa from prison before fleeing with her.

Narcissa, Half-Elven Master Summoner & Evolutionist - a devotee to Asmodeous, her talents lie apart from those of his clergy but she uses them to support his aims nonetheless. She came to Talingarde on the rumors of a secret cult that had survived the purge, eager to earn her place amongst its ranks. She is actually half-elven and half-orc, gifted with a sinful body she artfully displays and a twisted visage she keeps carefully veiled at all times. Crimes: Blasphemy and Consorting with Dark Powers

Silk, Human Knife Master - a twisted and truly evil individual, Silk is a lecher and murderer of women, becoming casually infatuated with them until he can bed them and end them, excising them from his mind in the process. He can be deceptively charming at times and is an expert at getting in an out of places unseen but where he really comes into his own is when wielding his knives, either in combat or at play. Crimes: Murder (multiple counts)

Balthasar, Dwarven Evangelist (Madness) - a true wild card, Barnibus was once a miner who delved too deep, encountering Abominations in their lair deep below the earth. He escaped, fleeing the tortures and maddening visions to which he had been subjected, leaving behind his home in the earth to find refuge on the surface - only to emerge to the sight of the endless void and the stars that shone unrelentingly down upon him. It broke his mind, and now he is utterly convinced of the eventual destruction of the world. As such, he has become a nihilist of sorts, his unceasing mutterings becoming rants and tirades without warning, infecting all who hear with a touch of the madness that drives him. Crimes: Heresy and Desecration

I'm wondering if there is a place where I can post campaign journals once we begin - I expect it to be a wild ride - and if there would be any interest in reading them if I did?


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Wiggz wrote:
I'm wondering if there is a place where I can post campaign journals once we begin - I expect it to be a wild ride - and if there would be any interest in reading them if I did?

That's a very interesting cast of characters you have. Do post a campaign journal in the Campaign Journal forum if you have time. That should be interesting! :)


Like your group. Very cool motivations

Grand Lodge

Wiggz wrote:
I'm wondering if there is a place where I can post campaign journals once we begin - I expect it to be a wild ride - and if there would be any interest in reading them if I did?

I'm curious about how you made a half-elf/half-orc. Did you homebrew it, or take from the 3pp Dark Heart or Mungrel and just convert it to Pathfinder?

As for a journal, you're welcome to make your own journal on the forum, or just put each session down individually here like we do.


kevin_video wrote:
Wiggz wrote:
I'm wondering if there is a place where I can post campaign journals once we begin - I expect it to be a wild ride - and if there would be any interest in reading them if I did?

I'm curious about how you made a half-elf/half-orc. Did you homebrew it, or take from the 3pp Dark Heart and just convert it to Pathfinder?

As for a journal, you're welcome to make your own journal on the forum, or just put each session down individually here like we do.

I actually do have a homebrew half-elf/half-orc 'race' made from the new races guide, but in this particular case we're just treating her as a half-elf in all ways other than flavor.

In my campaign world, elves and orcs share a common ancestry and every now and then a genetic 'throwback' is born to either race regardless of actual parentage. Amongst orcs they are often killed immediately and amongst elves are usually shunned or exiled.

There's a campaign journal forum on these boards? All this time and somehow I missed it...

Grand Lodge

Wiggz wrote:
There's a campaign journal forum on these boards? All this time and somehow I missed it...

Don't feel bad, no one uses it.


kevin_video wrote:
Wiggz wrote:
There's a campaign journal forum on these boards? All this time and somehow I missed it...
Don't feel bad, no one uses it.

LOL - well that's hardly encouragement to start posting there. Perhaps I'll post there but link updates here.


kevin_video wrote:
Wiggz wrote:
There's a campaign journal forum on these boards? All this time and somehow I missed it...
Don't feel bad, no one uses it.

??? It sees regular use.

Grand Lodge

Andrea1 wrote:
kevin_video wrote:
Wiggz wrote:
There's a campaign journal forum on these boards? All this time and somehow I missed it...
Don't feel bad, no one uses it.
??? It sees regular use.

Then we must be looking at different ones.

Grand Lodge

Well, tonight was interesting. The wizard decided to take a page from the ninja's book, and go big or die and challenged the Watchwall. They are currently in the middle of the CR 16 battle. They want to be done the first book already and are fine with starting new characters if they have to. It's 2:30 AM so more details later.

Grand Lodge

The party decided it was do or die, literally, and aren't pulling back if they don't have to. The problem is that they also no longer care if they're killed off (especially the wizard player) and we do another campaign. They're getting frustrated with the campaign, and can't believe what everyone's facing off against is supposed to be "fair" encounters for a standard group of four without templates.

Session 24:

The wizard started off the day by making some more acid to help with various amounts of sabotage, while the party goes off keeping appearances.

The ninja went about town, and looks about the town in disguise, as an old little human, to get a copy of his Wanted poster, and hopefully get someone to "help" write a small grocery list. With that handwriting, he returns to the inn and gets the wizard to forge the handwriting into a latter that would tell Lord Havelyn and his captains that the ninja was located a day away. He had planned on sending it right away, but is keeping it for the time being.

The inquisitor wasn't there to play so I had Thorn get her to teleport with Tiadora to the location of where the frost giants had fallen, and get her to heal them.

The group leaves town in pairs and singularly to not draw attention as they head to the Watchwall above ground. They meet up in the forest a quarter mile from the Watchwall. Once there, they notice the guards all throughout the castle. I had the tree line end 150 feet away from the castle.

The party stays there and observes the guards for 30 minutes to see if they had any discernible movement pattern. During that time, the ninja thinks he's found the best spot to place the grapple that hopefully shouldn't be seen by the guards.

The ninja loads his light crossbow with a grapple bolt. Just before heading off, the ninja and wizard both put on the Message for everyone. After that, the wizard puts on Nondetection, the cleric uses two of his Invisibility spells on the antipaladin dragon and the wizard while. Due to their level, Grumblejack had to be denied the Message. The oracle put on Cloak of Darkness while the cleric used Protection from Good on the ninja. Set to go, they put their plan into action.

Before going invisible, the wizard disguises himself as a drastically long black haired female aasimar. Then, together with the half dragon, makes them both invisible and they fly over the wall and land in the courtyard.

The ninja fast stealths to the base of the wall, and the imp gets a good stealth check to silently place the hook on the castle top. The ninja stealthily climbs it at 15 feet a round.

The antipaladin draogn and wizard land in the courtyard as the oracle tries to catch up to the ninja who's already managed to get to the wall and start climbing.

Grumblejack and the cleric were told stay in the tree line as they weren't very stealthy and might give away their location. Ironically, it was the oracle that gets found out as he tripped. A signal horn was blown to inform everyone that there's trouble.

Unphased by the noise, the antipaladin and wizard walked up to the choir hall, and open the doors. A lantern archon teleports beside the wizard while the others come out from behind the statues, and the wizard lets loose a fireball. This causes them to become a gestalt and I also added in four lesser stained glass golems to join in the fight.

After getting bad touched a few times, the wizard and antipaladin managed to take out the Gestalt and the constructs. The wizard then moved up to the trap door as it opens. There's six acolytes climbing up. The wizard bluffs them to think that he's on their side as an aasimar female, and as the first comes up, he punches him in the face with his improved unarmed strike, then successfully bluffs again that he was really just trying to help but reached down too quickly.

The acolyte falls to the ground, but another one uses a potion of cure light to bring him back up.

The antipaladin turns to see that Father Donnagin has arrived while Bannlyst unleashes a fireball up on the acolytes down below. The dragon makes short work of the cleric by using a Smite Good and a maxed critical hit.

The ninja, knowing that one of their own has been found out and that the wizard's plan is unfolding, he quickly climb's up and over the wall. Wanting to take on Varning, he heads in that direction, but the wizard's imp stops him and reminds him that they have a job to do first. Reluctant, the ninja goes and checks out the Seal of Balentyne.
Looking it over he realizes what it's capable of that he must disable it. Taking out his tools, he wrecks the winch so that it can't be used properly.

Just as the oracle finally gets to the Watchwall, the main doors open up and Lord Havelyn, a cultkiller (added him in), and a small army come racing out towards him. He immediately realized that he was outmatched and headed back towards where Grumblejack and the cleric were. The cultkiller threw a set of bolas at him and happen to trip him, but the oracle was resourceful with spells and gets out of them without any troubles.

Lord Havelyn, whose Detect Evil goes off, gives chase as oracle uses his cursed ring one final time, and permanently transforms into a half white dragon. Even with the new power he's gain, he puts up a massive ice wall that's 130 ft wide, and 10 ft high to try and slow everyone down.

The ninja jumps up to the top of the wall facing towards the courtyard and wonders what he should do next as he sees half of the garrison leaving towards the oracle and the others going towards the choir hall. However, he noticed that there was still no sign of the inquisitor or his bounty hunters, Captain Sambryl and his 12 men, or the three from the frost giant island.

Coming after the wizard and antipaladin, however, were the three paladins (added NPCs), Captain Barhold, and 15 soldiers of his infiltry with more coming down the steps.

This Sunday we'll see how things go. I'll be out of commission for at least a week. Got surgery coming up again.


kevin_video wrote:
They're getting frustrated with the campaign, and can't believe what everyone's facing off against is supposed to be "fair" encounters for a standard group of four without templates.

they are facing more than that. Added paladins and soldiers and stuff. Anyways, they are scared about things that they shouldn't (lantern archorns), and reading, it seems they split their group way too much.

Grand Lodge

gustavo iglesias wrote:
they are facing more than that. Added paladins and soldiers and stuff. Anyways, they are scared about things that they shouldn't (lantern archorns), and reading, it seems they split their group way too much.

I added three CR 2 paladins, brought back Sambryl and his men because my group didn't kill him, four CR 3 lesser stained glass golems, two CR 2 bounty hunters, the inquisitor, and the cultkiller. However, that was because the campaign as written was for four level 4 party members. I've got six plus Grumblejack, and they're level 5 with templates. You'd think that that wouldn't be too much to ask for.

They immediately regretted not bringing the cleric with them as his negative channeling would have been very helpful.


Oh no, don't get me wrong. Your party should be roflstomping that place! They are 6, and much stronger tgan regular parties thanks to templates. They are in a hurry mainly because they didnt do very well in the investigation part. They are climbing walls when they could use the secret door in the tavern for example.

Just pointing that they aren't facing tge standard 4 guy AP. My players also faced slightly stronger encounters, becouse of theur numer (also 6. They did just fine though. Although they also split in the final assault, they did so only after killing tacitus and Havelyn (and already had killed Donaghin and most captains in the previous days

Grand Lodge

gustavo iglesias wrote:
Oh no, don't get me wrong. Your party should be roflstomping that place! They are 6, and much stronger tgan regular parties thanks to templates. They are in a hurry mainly because they didnt do very well in the investigation part. They are climbing walls when they could use the secret door in the tavern for example.

Oh no, they know about the secret door. I've written that in previous posts. It's just that they royally screwed up, and essentially showcased with fire (literally) that there is a secret door in the tower somewhere, so there's always a good half dozen guards or so in the armory at all times. The only one who facepalmed the plan was the wizard. Everyone else thought it was a great idea. Probably why he's the most frustrated. He's actually trying, but the others are kind of coasting without a care.

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