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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Fraud

1/5

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

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


Written by a fraudster

1/5

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

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


Excellent campaign

5/5

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

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


It has begun

5/5

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

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

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

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


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.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Things I added to book 1

Spoiler:

There were 2 main things I added.
One of my players had expressed an interest in the Balantyne family based on her backstory. Based on this I added a sister of Bronwyn living not far from Aldencross who was a slightly eccentric old lady and in fact an Oracle with the gift of prophecy. Everyone thought she was mad and was ignoring her, however when my characters visited her to see if they could get leverage on Sir Thomas and she instantly recognised them as servants of Asmodeus and made some interesting comments about their futures.(also tried to trap them in her home as she set it on fire) they kidnapped her for future use and stated trying to convert her.
The second was a dungeon complex near Aldencross the character were under cover as adventurers to explain their selection of weapons and armour. I used dungeons from Thorn-keep. It gave them more loot and a chance to seduce and recruit as allies shark people!.

Grand Lodge

Something tells me I need to read the Thornkeep adventure I have. Never thought to look at it. Mainly because there's so many PFS GMs looking to run it around here.

I like the seer oracle or prophecy. That could make for an interesting time.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The Thornkeep one I used is the one from the pathfinder Online book. I used it as a level appropriate dungeon which did not have too much loot and was not big enough to really distract them from their efforts in Aldencross.

The prophecies which impressed them are below the first few were descriptions of the pc's

Spoiler:

Syrah- Bloody harlot , doorkeeper to the eater of innocence (PC Sorceror and devotee of Ardad Lili)
Appolonius- Snake hearted Deciever(PC Evil bard raised by Lamia's)
Gloine- Hate Fanged Viper (Half elf hunter and Ireani renegade follower of Eiseth)
Marcus- Shadow of Ice and Fire(PC Asmodeun Antipaladin)
Oswyn- Unknowing Herald of the 4th Mystery (PC Oracle and follower of Asmodeus_
Timeon- Lost Child
Grumblejack- Hunger of the North
Thorne- Dark Betrayer
Burning Axe
Shining Son (Sir Richard)

The Son will be your downfall

You will bring forth the Burning Axe and extinguish the Noble light of the Wall

You will Bring forth the bloody tears

Shutter the lanterns of Hope
Dark betrayal will brought low by the shining son

Walk amid the ruins of Honour
Bright laughter shall be extinguished
Unleash the black shadow of Wrath and with it light The last candle in the night of sun eclipsed

The shining son shall face his final test on the threshold of innocence
Serpents fighting over the heart of darkness before the coming of the unicorn
The fallen sleepers shall rise and sing a song of desolation over the land

Titans, Angels and devils shall fall to raise forth the bloodyhanded slayer of worlds. Even the sun and the shadow combined will fail against him

Queens and Angels, Devils and slaves shall contend again on the field of valor and the fate of worlds be decided

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

And the final session of Book 1:

The party hole up in the Armory for a few moments, healing up, and then the night turns to day when a dozen sunrods land in the courtyard. The still-active darkness spell in front of the chapel looms ominously up in the middle of them, an inky hemisphere... until it winks out. Dispelled by the invisible wizard!

The party rogue peeks around the door and sees a fireball racing towards them. He ducks back, but unfortunately the fireball destroys the door and burns the whole party. Tacitus , now visible, disappears around the corner of the keep (near the church).

The group don't fancy another fireball, so most of them race down the stairs, aiming to come back up via the kitchen lift. The Necromancer keeps Tacitus busy, first with contagion via spectral hand (mindfire!) and then with summoned undead. A fireball takes out the skeletons and hurts the Necromancer. The retaliation is a spectral hand with vampiric touch - right through the stoneskin - ouch! As the rest of the party near the kitchen, the duel continues - ghoul touch on Tacitus - but he saves! His return fireball burns an empty armory - the Necromancer scarpered down the stairs!

It's round about now the party realize they'd destroyed the lift a few days before, to delay Havelyn and Donnagin. Whoooops!

Luckily, Hai'A (the Monk) has a magic rope of climbing, and the group are soon in the keep. The keep is empty and stinks of smoke. All the burned tapestries and chairs have been stacked at the walls (courtesy of much alchemists fire a few days before). Tacitus uses a scroll of invisibility and searches the armory for scorched PC skeletons. He is disappointed and heads towards the keep, where he sees the fastest members of the party (bararian & monk) standing in front of the throne. Fireball!

Cue another realization - Bar (the Barbarian) still has the stone with a silence spell on it. He's keeping it in his mouth! Bar promptly charges Tacitus, closely followed by Hai'A, and they race outside, flanking him in an instant. He puts his wand in a cloak pocket and puts his hands up.

The rogue scampers up the rope and heads into the keep, closely followed by the cleric in (demonic) plate armour - natural 20 on the climb check! As soon as the priest sees the surrendering wizard he draws his thumb across his throat in the universal gesture of "take no prisoners."

Tacitus' eyes widen and he takes off as fast as he can. A half-dozen crossbow bolts from the rooftop cover his escape attempt, striking both the barbarian and the monk. It's not enough, and while Hai'A holds his feet, Bar rams a greatsword through his back. It's a critical. (Because of course it is.) Fifty points of damage and Tacitus is spitted like a pig. Bar throws him over his shoulder, still spitted, and goes back into the keep. Two crossbows land on the ground, after a barely audible "**** this!".

Inside the keep, Tacitus is shaken loose and looted mercilessly. The remaining soldiers upstairs are mopped up soon after and Balentyne is in the hands of the Enemy. In their true forms they cross the bridge, open the doors, drop the drawbridge and wander up to meet the Fire-Axe and his army. As an afterthought they launch the fire-arrow, and when the advance party arrives they gesture towards the open doors. "Move along, nothing to see here..."


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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Has anyone else done anything using the Book of Vile darkness. I modified the rules for human sacrifice from there which has brought out the evil blood lust in my players and oddly resulted in them taking more prisoners than in good aligned campaigns

Grand Lodge

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I used the marrowcrushing weapon property, adapted the blackguard blade for the anti paladin, and allowed the characters to use the torture devices and Vile feats. As well, I put the sacrifice dagger in the Horn for Book 2.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Thanks
No one has asked about vile feats yet, they do have at least 2 torture chambers . The items I will have to look into and see if they are potentially useful for my pc's

Grand Lodge

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For those that haven't seen it yet, Paizo is releasing an evil Player's Companion next month. With my new group now doing Way of the Wicked, this could be the book we've all been needing.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

There is not that much in Agents of Evil that is really useful for the Way of the Wicked.
The Insinuator antipaladin could work , but if your party is religious like mine the Archetype for LE Antipaladins in Way of the Wicked work better.

A couple of the spells could be very nice , there is one which works similarly to Protection from Energy but on Holy damage , very useful against Paladins and those with Holy weapons.

There is also a feat Smiting reversal which ennables you to pummel annoying Paladins when they smite you that could also be very useful

There is an armour quality to disguise your alignment which could also be helpful.

Overall though I think an evil party will do just fine without it(I recommended 1 other spell, a weapon quality and an armour quality to my players but that is more because they fit particular character concepts)

Grand Lodge

JohnHawkins wrote:

There is not that much in Agents of Evil that is really useful for the Way of the Wicked.

The Insinuator antipaladin could work , but if your party is religious like mine the Archetype for LE Antipaladins in Way of the Wicked work better.

A couple of the spells could be very nice , there is one which works similarly to Protection from Energy but on Holy damage , very useful against Paladins and those with Holy weapons.

There is also a feat Smiting reversal which ennables you to pummel annoying Paladins when they smite you that could also be very useful

There is an armour quality to disguise your alignment which could also be helpful.

Overall though I think an evil party will do just fine without it(I recommended 1 other spell, a weapon quality and an armour quality to my players but that is more because they fit particular character concepts)

I am sorely disappointed by this news. I was hoping it was going to be the end-all be-all of evil books that was going to give all these great options. Guess it's more "an evil book specifically for our upcoming evil campaign, but no one else's BUY OUR STUFF!" kind of product like so many others tend to be. I know at least one of my players will get it around Christmas time (our shipping's so much slower up here) so I'll browse through it during the new year. Dang.


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kevin_video wrote:
I am sorely disappointed by this news. I was hoping it was going to be the end-all be-all of evil books that was going to give all these great options. Guess it's more "an evil book specifically for our upcoming evil campaign, but no one else's BUY OUR STUFF!" kind of product like so many others tend to be. I know at least one of my players will get it around Christmas time (our shipping's so much slower up here) so I'll browse through it during the new year. Dang.

What you're probably looking for is Champions of Corruption. That goes alignment-by-alignment through evil, providing evil-centric options.

It's not that Agents of Evil is geared towards Paizo's upcoming campaign in particular. It covers traits (not as useful, since you're stuck getting a mediocre crime trait for one of your two traits), the neutral worshippers of evil deities (not relevant, since Asmodeus is the only one they could use), evil organizations (not relevant since this is 3P), useful stuff for pretending to be evil (party presumably will be), how to fight good outsiders (handy, but it's not new crunch), spells/feats/armor/weapons/poison (all useful), and some racial options for evil-leaning races (probably useful). Of the archetypes, two are actually for neutral characters working for evil, and the other is the fantastic Insinuator Antipaladin, who is pretty loose about who he "worships". I'd consider Insinuator a great addition to the campaign, providing an option for those who are a little more independently minded.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

A guide to the species of Talingarde as produced by my players in response to being forced to east Lutefish

Triton- A sort of Lemony Salmon flavor, good as sushi or can be grilled or barbecued. Recommended

Sylph- Not as expected chicken flavored, instead a milder version of pork with a unique tingly aftertaste, reminiscent of static electricity or the advent of a storm, Recommended

Undine- A sort of washed out pork both too salty and with a soapy aftertaste edible but not particularly palatable. May be more useful as components for soaps and bubble baths. Not recommended

Oread- May be better with proper preparation but at the moment the amount of grit and crystals makes it almost inedible to a human. Maybe a proper acid treatment could tenderize it. Not Recommended

Ifrit- Overly spicy and prone to giving you gas but otherwise quite tasty

Human(Ireani)

Human(Tallean)- So far the only humans you have eaten have been Tallean's and they are your fairly standard pork flavour, lycanthropic flavouring introduces a distinctly unpleasant wet dog aftertaste

Suli- Terrible, the clash of Sylph , Undine, Ifrit and Oread combines to give the worst of all 4 flavours , really needs a strong spicy source to be edible, better than Lutefish. Not recommended

Dwarf- Better than Oread but still a bit tough and chewy

Aasimar

Tiefling - Daemon blooded A solid excellent taste a Barbeque flavor with just the right spicy aftertaste, best cooked over an open fire . Recommended

Elf(Wood)- Excellent a 19, the meat is very lean and has a very subtle taste, could be the basis for a lot of cuisine. Also rich in essential Vitamins such as Vitamin C and D , in fact could nearly be a balanced diet on its own

Half Elf- The subtle taste of elf improves the human flavor but just is not as good as a proper wood elf 14

Minotaur- This was actually quite good, rather a nice beef flavour lean and quite tasty

Boggard- A garlicky Chicken flavour quite good, Lycanthropic flavoring improves the taste , giving is a pleasant seasoning

Giant(Marsh)- Foul and not the good sort

Angel Movanic Deva - Tastes of Holy Smite and damages appropriately(5D8)

Moon Dog Well its a good job you needed it for sacrifice not lunch, It's taste is dire some sort of taste of smug superiority and shadowed hypocrisy , still better than lutefish but not by much .Not recommended, prefer less metaphysics in your food

Azata(Assorted)- Bralani, truly excellent in many ways similar to Truffle in that it is really a bit too rich to be eaten on its own. Works best as a seasoning with other foods goes well with Elf . It is a truly excellent foodstuff a 20

Grand Lodge

You'd almost think this was written by a more intelligent Grumblejack.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

He is part of the process, but he is not that dumb, after becoming a half fiend Grumblejack ends up with Int 12 smarter than some of the other pc's!

It is a work in progress and they are actively seeking out more unusual and exotic races so that they can add to their list. Post victory they are already planning Triton Farming and now may end up with elves

Grand Lodge

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For those just starting, Necromancers of the Northwest has released two villain pdfs of archetypes. I have to admit that I wish I was playing now because I would have loved to have played the extortionist (investigator) and taken the extortion crime trait.

Villainous Archetypes I
Villainous Archetypes II


One thing I noticed, I believe the Lantern Archon Gesault's hit points are printed incorrectly. He has a con modifier of +3 and 18 hit dice but only has a +18 to his hp.

Grand Lodge

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DM_Kumo Gekkou wrote:
One thing I noticed, I believe the Lantern Archon Gesault's hit points are printed incorrectly. He has a con modifier of +3 and 18 hit dice but only has a +18 to his hp.

Good catch. I've since updated my blog to show that the creature needs another +36 hp.


Also, what is the point of the Lantern Archon having combat reflexes or weapon finesse with no melee attack? Is there a weapon for them in the church to use in their gesault form that was not included in the book.

Grand Lodge

DM_Kumo Gekkou wrote:
Also, what is the point of the Lantern Archon having combat reflexes or weapon finesse with no melee attack? Is there a weapon for them in the church to use in their gesault form that was not included in the book.

Because of how the gestalt aspect is written. "Looking like a whirlwind of dancing firefly lights, the gestalt has all the powers and abilities of a Large air elemental". So while it doesn't have the slam, it instead has the bonus feats, which includes Weapon Finesse. Honestly, I wish someone would have done up a proper gestalt in the bestiary so everyone knows what it should look like in a proper build.

Grand Lodge

So after talking to James Jacobs about the lantern archon gestalt, it's actually a very weak CR 8-9.

This is how it should look, in theory.

Gestalt form:
Lantern Archon Gestalt
CR --
XP 5,400
N Large outsider (air, archon, elemental, extraplanar, good, lawful)
Init +11; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +11
Aura aura of menace (DC 16)
---DEFENSE---
AC 21, touch 17, flat-footed 13 (+7 Dex, +1 dodge, +4 natural, –1 size)
hp 68 (8d10+24)
Fort +9, Ref +13, Will +2
Defensive Abilities air mastery; DR 5/magic and evil; Immune elemental traits
---OFFENSE---
Speed fly 100 ft. (perfect)
Melee 2 slams +14 (1d8+4)
Ranged 2 light rays ranged touch +14 (2d6)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Special Attacks whirlwind (DC 18, 10–40 ft.)
---STATISTICS---
Str 18, Dex 25, Con 16, Int 6, Wis 11, Cha 11
Base Atk +8, CMB +13; CMD 31
Feats Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Flyby Attack, Improved InitiativeB, Mobility, Weapon FinesseB
Skills Acrobatics +15, Escape Artist +15, Fly +21, Knowledge (planes) +5, Perception +11, Stealth +11
Languages Celestial, Draconic, Infernal; truespeech
---SPECIAL ABILITIES---
Air Mastery (Ex) Airborne creatures take a –1 penalty on attack and damage rolls against a lantern archon gestalt.
Light Ray (Ex) A lantern archon gestalt can fire beams of light to damage foes. These light rays have a maximum range of 30 feet. This attack overcomes damage reduction of any type.

I'll be honest. I'm not sold on this. A number of reasons.
1) It doesn't meet the requirements of a standard creature of this particular level.
2) You lose all of their SLA? Really? That's a bit of a downer considering teleport and their deflection bonus against evil would be stellar. Aid doesn't do much other than a bonus to attack and some temporary hp, but I'll take that.
3) I also noticed that they lose their immunity to petrification and electricity. That's not right.
4) They lose their standard skills, but gain new ones? What? Why lose Diplomacy and Sense Motive but suddenly have Acrobatics, Escape Artist, and Stealth? Technically speaking, gestalt only gives the powers and abilities, so maybe they're not supposed to have skills at all?
5) The DR goes DOWN. Yes, DR/evil is easier to get through than DR/evil and magic, but only ever so slightly.
I guess it is just a form of polymorph that only lasts 2d4 rounds, so I'm not supposed to be mad or frustrated, but still.

Overall, not too thrilled with how it looks. I really wish there had been a proper bestiary entry of this creature.

Truthfully, anything that I'm not thrilled with, I'd add back. Like, the immunities.

Grand Lodge

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Here's my edited entry of the blog.
My Changes to WotW Book 1, part 8. It has all of the changes to the gestalt form that I have above, including all the additions I wanted back on. Also, just to note, the 3.5 lantern archon had DR 10/evil and magic, so I gave the gestalt that as well. DR 5 just doesn't feel right for something that's supposed to be CR 8. Although, being immune to critical hits makes it that much better as well.

Grand Lodge

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kevin_video wrote:

Changes I made to WotW--Book 1, part 6.

It's a shorter one, but it has a couple of NPC builds for you. So much going on today. I'll make up for it later.

I did this last June. Tonight, I added a part 2 to this, and built a 3rd Gates NPC to add to the brothers hunting down the brothers. This one has two dogs (bloodhounds) that will aid in tracking down the NPCs.

Changes I made to WotW--Book 1, part 6, add-on

Grand Lodge

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Going to be running the game for the first time in a long while. Players will finally be heading to Aldencross tomorrow. Probably have Captain Varning doing a wolf hunt while they're on their way. That way they can choose to take them out early, or later. I'm hoping they'll do it fairly early. They never took out Sambryl so he'll be there with his men at the Watch Wall. All three Gates brothers will be there. Oh, they're going to flip when they see what they have to deal with for the next few weeks.

Grand Lodge

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Tonight was interesting. I have to admit that I was surprised. They chose not to fight Varning and his men. Granted, it was mainly because they were on horse back. What I found out to be more interesting is they fully expect to sneak into the Wall, and let the bugbears in without causing a single casualty. They figure it's not in their interest to kill without being paid. I look forward to see how this plays out.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I don't see how they are going to do that. The thing I made clear to my players is that the Bugbears cannot approach the tower to closely without being seen so that they had to have the gate secure for at least 20-30 minutes before the bugbears could get in. I think if they really try that they have a very good chance of a TPK as if it goes wrong they get to fight the full garrison with no weakening.
Mine had problems with just 1 captain , the cleric and about a third of the soldiers.
They had killed off the Paladin, 3 Captains the Wizard and about 2/3 the soldiers in ambushes, fireball attacks on the barracks and viscous murders and still the captain with the cleric behind him was nearly more than they could handle.

Good luck to them and may they have much fun

Grand Lodge

JohnHawkins wrote:

I don't see how they are going to do that. The thing I made clear to my players is that the Bugbears cannot approach the tower to closely without being seen so that they had to have the gate secure for at least 20-30 minutes before the bugbears could get in. I think if they really try that they have a very good chance of a TPK as if it goes wrong they get to fight the full garrison with no weakening.

Mine had problems with just 1 captain , the cleric and about a third of the soldiers.
They had killed off the Paladin, 3 Captains the Wizard and about 2/3 the soldiers in ambushes, fireball attacks on the barracks and viscous murders and still the captain with the cleric behind him was nearly more than they could handle.

Good luck to them and may they have much fun

Oh, I have no idea how they're going to pull this off. They know full well that it's going to be anywhere up to an hour after they open the gate for the bugbears to get there. I made sure that Sakkarot told them that, and I've reminded them a few times. However, the "lawful" part of them has come up a couple of times where that's not their concern. If it doesn't reward them or have to deal with them directly, they're not getting involved. Part of me thinks that they think themselves almost invincible because they haven't died yet, or they've been able to diplomacize their way out of combat situations. I am very curious as to how this is going to happen. They've met Varning, they've met Father Donnagin, they know about Mott and Eddarly, and still nothing. In fact, they're concentrating more on trying to take out the STONE guard towers. It's a bit of a head scratcher.

Dark Archive

Starfinder Superscriber
kevin_video wrote:


However, the "lawful" part of them has come up a couple of times where that's not their concern. If it doesn't reward them or have to deal with them directly, they're not getting involved.

It seems to me that your party has confused NE manipulators with the LE conqueror tyrants that this adventure path calls for.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

No being manipulators can work well. My band of villains diplomances many problems , they just recognise that sometimes you have to stab them.
For instance Tacitus was lured into town by diplomancing the scroll seller in town then seduced and murdered in his sleep by the party sorceress.

It does seem your party has acquired a couple of strange notions, they are being 'paid' to kill , they are being paid to open the way through the fortification for the bugbears a sub task of this is going to involve killing most of the garrison, and not grasping that it is the combination of the fortification and the men defending it that is the problem.

Hopefully when they actually try to come up with a plan they will notice the huge problems they face. Sneakiness and diplomancy can get them a lot of the job done. Unleashing poison on the tower or infiltrating via the play all play to that theme but ultimately swords and violence are going to be needed

Grand Lodge

As head scratching as this group is from time to time, they're still better than my previous group. I had only two players that understood what it meant to be LE, and the others were CE all the way because they didn't understand what the meant despite giving them a print out from the d20 Evil book and making them read it beforehand.

I'm still hopeful that they'll figure things out, and that just because it doesn't directly affect them that they should still get involved and not just ignore things and hope they go away. But, time will tell.

That said, they do want to eventually try poisoning a couple of the guards. They have no idea how or what with though. They just know they want to poison them.

Grand Lodge

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So after a fairly long hiatus, we finally got back into the game.

New player:
Today we introduced a new player's character, an android wizard, and his crime was learning about the three wizard forbidden spells (found in Book 6), and stealing them. He's an android of knowledge. Tactitus turned him in, so of course he's looking for some revenge. We lost our dhampir strangler unfortunately due to her moving, but it happens. The joys of adulthood. Go where you need to.

I had it so that four of Dominik's reinforcements joined Captain Varning and his rangers, tasked to bring in the prisoner to the Watch Wall. I made the adjustments that I talked about on my Tumblr blog, and used a Paizo caravan map to simulate a jail wagon.

The only downside was one of my players was called into work before we gamed, so we were down a player.

Thorn learned of the android being betrayed, and that he'd found the forbidden spells that were thought to be lost. He knew that Grigori of the Second Knot would love to have those spells added to his spellbook. He used a sending spell to contact the group, and have them ambush the prisoner's entourage.

Their plan was simple. The druid used brambles to entangle the entire group in a 40 ft. radius spread, and I failed every single roll. They were hooped. I couldn't roll for crap. At least, not until the assassin started rolling natural 1's. It was so sad and pitiful. I felt especially terrible for him when he used his death attack on Captain Varning, and missed horribly, only to get continually beaten with his longsword. Right before he got dropped, Grumblejack showed up, and power attacked, saving the assassin at the last minute.

The entire session was spent on the battle, and given how difficult things were, they did well. The android has now signed the contract, been given his circlet, and returned the few items that he had which weren't destroyed (Tactitus wanted the wizard's item for himself).

Now that they have a wizard on board, they're going to take down Tactitus on his behalf, and take on the army. Being nearly 5th level already, I gave the new player a little boost at the cost of some of the wealth he'd normally have because he was a prisoner, so there's likely going to be a fireball or two in Balentyne's future.

I've recently added a new X-Box "Achievement Unlocked" aspect to my game. Necromancers of the Northwest recently came out with a Villainous Achievements Feats pdf, and today they unlocked their first feat, Enemy of Good. Now they get a bonus to hit and damage whenever they come across a good-aligned opponent. There's still lots of neutral and evil opponents, but there's at least three or four that I think all groups can achieve just in Balentyne alone. Namely, Cunning Poisoner, Fast Sacrifice, Ritual Mutilation, and Stuff of Nightmares. That's in additional to the Enemy of Good. Just depends on your group make-up. I'd definitely recommend the product. I've added 20% to each of the achievements because I've made them group feats instead of individual ones. I despise in-fighting, and avoid it if I can help it.


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I did something similar. I used the system for membership in organisations with various things you can purchase with your prestige points from numerous campaign setting books. I gave the 'Way of Nessus' prestige for things like taking the watchtower , putting out the sacred flames and other things which hurt Mithra or boost the prestige of Hell

Grand Lodge

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If you're running a mythic version of the game, or planning to do so, Necromancers of the Northwest came out with the Path of Villainy.


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I'd rather smash my head into a brick wall than run another mythic game, let alone try and convert a scenario which is not even meant to work with mythic. No more 12,000hp bosses for me

Grand Lodge

JohnHawkins wrote:
I'd rather smash my head into a brick wall than run another mythic game, let alone try and convert a scenario which is not even meant to work with mythic. No more 12,000hp bosses for me

That's more than fair. I can't even imagine something with that many hp. Bad enough fighting demon lords with 600 hp.

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Because Necromancers of the Northwest have done so many villainous books and daily links, I decided to do a compilation post on my blog.

My Changes to Way of the Wicked, extras.

There's a mix of free stuff and linked books. Most of you and your players likely have gotten pretty far into the game, but characters can always retrain or multi-class.


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kevin_video wrote:
JohnHawkins wrote:
I'd rather smash my head into a brick wall than run another mythic game, let alone try and convert a scenario which is not even meant to work with mythic. No more 12,000hp bosses for me
That's more than fair. I can't even imagine something with that many hp. Bad enough fighting demon lords with 600 hp.

600hp demon lords die in a single attack sequence, a single blow if they are unlucky (At 20/10 the Paladin did basically 540hp in a round without much effort, if he tried hard he could do 1080 guaranteed, maybe more. They were not maximum power gamed and I had nerfed the rules a little bit). Typically a boss would take 2-4000hp damage a round from the pc's

Grand Lodge

We're going to be taking a break for the next couple of weeks because one player is going to be out of town on vacation, and another is going to be a dad for the first time and it's countdown time to the nine months. During that time, they're going to be thinking hard on what their next plan of action is.

The minimal amount:
I felt kind of bad for them tonight because they were thinking way too hard on what they should be doing around town, and how they should be taking down the Watch Wall. Every plan they came up with was going to take up to a year, minimum. They wanted to go back to the North and wild empathy some polar bears to come back with them so they could train them and have them be part of a show just for Lord Havelyn, then have all the polar bears attack while they opened the gates for the bugbears, or they wanted to have a concert in the middle of town where they could invite every single guard in Aldencross and Balentyne to watch. I had them make a LOT of intelligence checks and basically railroad them to actual plans that could be done in less than a couple of weeks. Basically everything listed. Thankfully they allowed the GM steering them.

What they did manage to accomplish was finding the flesh golem, which they're going to use to blackmail the alchemist, but at the same time not let him be found out. They learned of the love letters that Eddarly kept. They are going to investigate the haunted graveyard that's not haunted, and they managed to convince the alchemist to give them all of the rat poison because they came up with a story about dire rats sometimes coming to Dominik's rental property, and that they were sent to take care of it discretely, so keep it hush hush. Yeah, not much happened. Maybe next time.

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kevin_video wrote:

Because Necromancers of the Northwest have done so many villainous books and daily links, I decided to do a compilation post on my blog.

My Changes to Way of the Wicked, extras.

There's a mix of free stuff and linked books. Most of you and your players likely have gotten pretty far into the game, but characters can always retrain or multi-class.

Just edited the entry with a new link for the detonation dagger and swift spike, which Necromancers released today. Great for that pyro backstabber in the party or that charging swashbuckler who has a ridiculous crit range but doesn't normally do a whole lot of damage. There's an axe as well, but it doesn't quite fit in this particular campaign as something you'd likely have for the whole game.


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The detonation dagger would be particularly useful if you end up with the devil bound template, as Fire resistance 30 makes it perfectly safe to use.

As to dealing with the watchtower, my group spent several sessions on planning, preparation and discussion as they wanted to implement the whole plan very quickly so they took out all the important people and so on immediately before the Bugbear attack so there was no time for reinforcements to arrive to replace the dead

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JohnHawkins wrote:
The detonation dagger would be particularly useful if you end up with the devil bound template, as Fire resistance 30 makes it perfectly safe to use.

The person using the dagger is immune, but yeah everyone in the area is in trouble. Mass resist fire is good to use though.

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kevin_video wrote:

Because Necromancers of the Northwest have done so many villainous books and daily links, I decided to do a compilation post on my blog.

My Changes to Way of the Wicked, extras.

There's a mix of free stuff and linked books. Most of you and your players likely have gotten pretty far into the game, but characters can always retrain or multi-class.

Ha! So I parley with Alex of Necromancers of the Northwest from time to time, and while doing up this entry I contacted him because one of the site links were broken when it got moved to the archive. I told him what I was doing and why I needed it fixed asap, and he asked for the direct link to that particular post. Figured he just wanted to see what I was going to put down, and make sure everything was cool. Never would have thought he'd have linked it to their site and then write a little blurb about what the post contained, and why he linked it. Just randomly found out today. Big thanks on that. Made me happy. I have nothing against free advertising.

Currently dying from the con plague I got at last week's convention so I'm not sure if I'll be running my usual game this Tuesday. Everyone's available and excited so I'm going to try my best to have it happen.

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Needing a cool new bad guy to hunt the evil PCs? Kind of wishing this was around when I first came up with the concept of looking into the PCs escaping, but Necromancers of the Northwest has just released an divine investigator archetype called Seeker of the Divine. Truthfully, you could use this for an evil character too, but I think it'd likely work out better for good PCs and NPCs.

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New session update for group:
Basically, nothing happened. At least I personally don't think so. I've ran this twice and the first time it was better thought out and they had actual plans of action. What's surprising is they felt that we accomplished a lot. They also still believe that they can raid the Wall, and hold off the entire army, paladin, captains, Tactitus, and everyone else involved in the battle for the 2-3 hours it'll take for the bugbears to arrive. Hasn't even crossed their minds that a) they're not invincible, b) as the bugbears show up they'll be slaughtered, c) that they have nowhere near enough victory points to actually pull off finishing Book 1. They're confident so maybe they're keeping the GM out of the loop on their actual plan, and just giving me the cliff notes. They still have three weeks, but they're planning to complete everything in three days. I'm not keen on it, but whatever.

What did get accomplished though was:
- Talked to the alchemist about his golem and convinced him to perform a demonstration at the festival.
- Robbed Captain Varning's house. Also, wrote a letter in Varning's handwriting that questions Eddarly's actions as of late, especially around Captain Mott. That he'll question the young captain about it later. This letter was left in the open on his desk for anyone to find.
- Finally entered the secret passage that puts them inside the wall.
- Learned the day that Mama Giuseppe will make her stew for the soldiers.
- Found Giggling Jenny, and convinced her that it'd be fun to pull pranks on the soldiers at the Watch Wall.
- Learned that Tactitus is inside the Watch Wall.


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Discussion:

Getting everything done in 3 days can be a good plan, thats how my players worked it. Weeks setting things up then Kill the patrol, Disgrace 2 captains starting a duel, kill the alchemist and unleash the golem, and then murder Tacictus in town. As soon as that was done inflitrate the fortress, Familar uses fireball on the barrecks as the pc's kill the Paladin and then rush to the gatehouse , they then hold it for a couple of hours vs the remaining defenders, 1 captain, the cleric and the lantern archons.
But it does sound like your players are badly underestimating the defenders. Any way you can let them see Tacictus or one of the captains in action and realise they are higher level than the pc's and so not something to be taken casually?

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JohnHawkins wrote:
** spoiler omitted **

Discussion:
If they were using the three weeks to plan, and then take down everything in three days, I'd be fine with that. Instead, it's plan for two days, take everything on over three days, have over two weeks to spare, and maybe they'll be rewarded extra for getting things done quickly. A big concern for them is Fire Axe over estimating how long he can keep the bugbears together. They don't want them to leave early from boredom.

As well, one of the characters know exactly how strong Tactitus is because they were both wizards at the same college before he was turned in. I even let it be known that something large and cold was snuck in and taken directly to his lab. They suspect a golem of some kind, but don't seem concerned.


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Discussion:

My players were terrified at the prospect of having to fight 3 good fighters , a wizard , a cleric and a Paladin all higher level then them . Never mind the garrison. I honestly can't think of anything you can do except ask them if they have backup characters in mind, or tell them flat out that if they end up trying to fight the defenders at anything like full strength you expect them to all die.
My players managed to keep in touch with the Fire Axe as one of them could wildshape and fly there, if yours are in touch perhaps as a military genius he could explain they are doomed ? or have Thorne deliver a warning about how dangerous his brother is? of perhaps have the 7th knot do something useful and pull away some garrison. I hate TPK's which are campaign enders caused by player cluelessness

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JohnHawkins wrote:
** spoiler omitted **

Discussion:
The problem is that at least three of them have played and ran more PFS scenarios than I have years of life. Two of them are 3 star GMs. They should know better. They have no way to contact the bugbears, and they've met the cleric. They also know that Sambryl is there with his men, there's three bounty hunters looking for them, and that there's a raven rookery. They also know about the dwarves and that they're there to fix something, which they believe is an opening in the wall that the bugbears could exploit.

I hate TPK's in general, but I'm not sure how to avoid this one other than being blunt that their plan's not going to work. They're definitely not clueless. I've dropped lots of not subtle hints, and they know exactly what they're up against. Timeon has given them details that even he shouldn't know. They're really hoping that they can dump all of the rat poison into the stew without being noticed, they're hoping the berserk golem will cause ALL of the soldiers to leave the wall, and that they'll be good enough to take on what's left. *shrugs* Guess I'll see what happens in two weeks when we play again. They're currently trying to figure out how to take on the dwarves who are IN the wall right now. I made sure to tell them to take the two weeks and think hard about what they're doing.


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discussion:

Perhaps PFS is the problem, in my very limited experience while some fights are tough the scenario's are built so that it is almost impossible to get into a level inappropriate fight, it is also fairly hard to do so in Paizo AP's unless the gm is flexible. Perhaps they just don't believe deep down they will end up in a situation were they can easily get a totally unwinnable fight? Again apart from being blunt about can't see a route around that.
Sorry I can't be helpful but this does look like they are on a suicide run due to willfully ignoring the facts AKA Stupidity.

EDIT
Along the lines of minion quest how about a 1 shot scenario were bandits/rogue Bugbears/other goblinoids. Launch an impromptu attack on the wall, let the players run these doomed disposable minions who have a power level the same or slightly better than their pc's and experience what happens in a stand up fight against such odds. Or do it as a flashback to the forces from the tower hunting down a bandit group just so they get to actually see the numbers which will kill them

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JohnHawkins wrote:
** spoiler omitted **

discussion:
It could very well be the problem, but they've all lost characters in the scenarios. Maybe it's because they've experienced so many loses that they're not actually all that invested. We'll just have to see.

I like the idea of having a side quest of maybe not so loyal followers of Fire Axe that think they can take over, and show them how it's done because they don't want to wait for stupid hummies to give them the opening that they're looking for. If they're up for it, awesome. If not, I'll have it be exposition.

I'll just have to wait and see what happens in two weeks.

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Necromancers of the Northwest just came out with a supplement that's all about evil magic items. I can't wait.

I'm going to edit my last blog post and add this in.

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