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.

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FRM1001E


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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.


Knot of Thorns or I am the villain!

5/5

This book took me by surprise, not just in the fact you get to play the evil character but more in all the assistance they give new GM’s for running an evil game and run it coherently. The book gives good lore about the world and how to bring it into others.

It does railroad the players a bit at start but does use that railroading to build the seeds nicely instead of only explaining why the players are together. The adventure pushes nicely through its pace and really lets the players tackle a problem as they feel their characters would.

Combat is solid, challenging, but not restricting. Players are offered lots of side missions to help finish the main task and all are enjoyably evil.


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Any thoughts on this for if the PCs manage to capture a certain someone in book 6 (instead of kill)? It's hypothetical, but seemed like fun to think up.

Spoiler:
Quote:

Bellinda sits still in the cell you have prepared for her. The once proud princess no longer wears the most extravagant dresses of the City of Light, but instead the mightiest chains of Zhaansen-Kryr.

There will be no rescues for this damsel: All those loyal to her have perished at Camberlyn. Escape on her own will not happen, the curses torpor her actions while your wraiths and shadows have broken her body and the rings of corruption lay firmly upon her fingers. Even before you lifted the Feeblemind from her she realize the futility of trying to freeze these bar. The dethroned princess spends every waking moment in prayer to Mithra, but Mithra will not be coming in her lifetime*.

Your attempts to turn her with words are quietly ignored, however you swear that though it may take an eternity, she'll eventually learn to kneel before *PC name*.

*The "epilogue" would mention the current state of the Mithran church and it's eventually exile from Talingarde while the setting will have something preventing gods from acting directly. Mithra instead guides his priests to foreign lands, with the hope that his faith will spread and one day, long after the PCs' deaths if they have not obtained immortality, he may liberate his holy land.

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deuxhero wrote:

Any thoughts on this for if the PCs manage to capture a certain someone in book 6 (instead of kill)? It's hypothetical, but seemed like fun to think up.

** spoiler omitted **

This would be best brought up in the Book 6 thread as opposed to Book 1. But no, it was never something I considered as it'd be rather dangerous to do. A rescue mission would very likely happen, and it'd be large.

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My players are beyond insane. Even more so when they're down two players.

Last game:
So, my players were thinking about what they could do to separate the cleric from everyone else so they could take him out. They didn't want to deal with him constantly healing everyone up, so they decided to have a letter sent in to the cleric saying that Captain Varning was badly hurt, and was currently held up at an abandoned farm (that the PCs had learned about through gathering information). He'd been missing for 24 hours so the cleric was very concerned. He became even more concerned when my players went too far in describing what had attacked him and his men, to the point of describing it as a creature that seemed to suck out his soul, and that it took down all of his men. In game terms, that's either a) a wraith, or b) a shadow. My players didn't realize what they had just done until it was too late. The cleric would not be showing up alone. He came with all of his acolytes and the paladin. I was going to have more show up, but figured against it since there were only four players that night, and there's no way Havelyn would leave the Wall without any captains manning it. Also, if undead were involved, the soldiers would be absolutely useless. Still, my players nearly crapped themselves when they realized their mistake. Not only that, but everyone was on guard, not only for the possible undead, but how did the letter get to the cleric from Varning if the farm is abandoned? Needless to say, they figured there some kind of plot going on, but with Varning missing they weren't ignoring the call. Not necessarily assuming it was a trap, they still made sure to buff beforehand just in case when they got to the farm. Also, just in case incorporeal undead were a thing, I had all of them blanche their weapons with ghost touch.

Seeing Varning (the wizard used his headband and Bluff skills) badly hurt, and barely propping himself up at the kitchen table, Donnagin and Havelyn dropped their guard just enough for the assassin to get in his three rounds of Death Attack (hiding in the cupboard) and attack. Then everyone came out of hiding and the battle was on. The cleric couldn't make his Fort save against the death attack, and was dead in the surprise around. Grumblejack sliced through the closed bedroom door and skewered Havelyn with his greatsword. Initiative was not on the good guys' side, and everyone got an attack in before they had a chance to retaliate. Havelyn had to use his swift action to heal himself rather than smite evil, but he still got a few good licks in on Grumblejack. Even more so because I made his shield +1 animated and gave him a set of gloves of the balanced hand (Magic Item Compendium 3.5) for Two-Weapon Fighting. However, even with more attacks it doesn't help if you can't roll higher than a 5 all night.
The six acolytes (I increased the number) came in as quickly as they could, but Kiliketz kept them occupied with his ice elementals.
After everything was said and done, they brought the bodies into the house and burned it all to the ground.

It was a shorter fight than I expected, and I was shocked that they had managed to pull it off. So were they. It was like they had finished a marathon afterwards. They just leaned back and remembered to breathe again. The dice were definitely in their favour that night.

When they came back the city, they split off. The cleric and druid are continually trying to corrupt Jenny with more bacon and bring her to their side, the wizard and summoner are talking to Mama and got her to accept them as proteges, the assassin went back to Varning's to write a letter regarding "his" suspicions about Eddarly and Mrs. Mott, which will "accidentally" find its way to Captain Mott, and the monk has just arrived at the bar at the same time as all the dwarves have.

I had my doubts, but they're still slugging away, and the dice seem to be on their side. I'm not going to make any more presumptions because as of right now I don't know what's going to happen. That said, I've made it very clear to all the high AC "broken" build characters what I plan to do, and what I've suggested to everyone else running this campaign to get behind, should anyone be dumb enough to think that they can take on all 100 guards by themself due to their ability to break the system. And that is to make them mobs or use troops. Since I've brought it up I've seen an immediate back pedal on plans.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Looks like your group is getting smarter, now they just have to follow up on their victory before some sort of alarm goes out

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Rogue Genius Games has released a new book, and it's all about being the bad guy. Four Horsemen Present: Heralds of the Apocalypse. I'm sharing it here, but this also works really well for Book 2 as well. Won't say specifically why due to spoilers, but those of you who have already read ahead can figure it out. Cool new feats, archetypes, magic items, and even new traits.

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A question I've gotten is "What do you do when a character violates the contract?" Well, truthfully, you hope they don't, but sometimes it happens. It really depends on the situation. No matter the case, hopefully you took the suggestion a few of us had a while back and used the wondrous item Pact Parchment that causes a geas onto the creature until they rectify things. If it's an accident, Tiadora will show up and look for an apology. If, however, it's a blatant violate, have them meet Oordeel (means judgement). (Yeah, it's cheesy, but we also have a devil named deceiter later on, so meh.) If the PCs are high level, then boost him. I'd suggest slayer just because he likes to study his opponents first, before attacking, and studied target makes all the more sense in that regard. You could also go inquisitor so you can use actual judgments and bane abilities.
I know that there's a Paizo version, but it's from Crimson Throne, and that's still 3.5 at the moment (September is the Pathfinder release date) so it's a direct conversion instead of a proper one. You could take from Column A and Column B and make your own hybrid version of the two and boost the CR a bit as well.

Overall, you don't want this to happen. And

Spoiler:
once Book 5 kicks in, Oordeel would be called off no matter what.

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It's always interesting how you can notice something new every time you re-read something. This time, I noticed that Mad Martin is missing his bonus human feat. I've updated my blog for newer readers, but for everyone else, I'll just mention it here.
The feat choices that would make at least moderate sense are: Animal Affinity, Combat Expertise, Weapon Focus (club), Signature Weapon (club). All of these are on the d20pfsrd. Personally I'd go with Signature Weapon for the +2 bonus on attacks. It's something.
As well, if you have access to The Adequate Commoner there's lots of good feats to choose from. Personally I'd go Animal Breeder just so the ravens have the advanced template.

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They managed to get me tonight.

Session:
To start with, we were down two players. Had the druid roll for weather and a storm rolled in. One of the PCs who were unavailable became the NPC and contacted the Wall that a couple of the criminals who'd supposedly broken out of prison and had Wanted posters up, were seen at a nearby farm. The farm was inhabited by a family, so it was assumed by the Mitrans that they'd likely be hostages.
The four remaining Varning rangers and the three Gates' brothers set out to take on the villains.
The party set up an ambush. The first shot was an entangle followed by a fireball. After only three rounds combat, those who could escape did so. They didn't make it too far with ranged spell points. Needless to say it was pretty much over once they were entanglement. Absolutely crazy.

No idea what's going to happen next.

One thing at a time.


I'm running WoTW for the first time ever on Saturday, but before I fall asleep I want to introduce you to a new NPC I'll be using in the campaign. Allow me to present Narissa Thorn.

Who is she?:

Throughout the adventure, the PCs will be accompanied by a dark-haired, pale skinned priestess of Asmodeus named Narissa Thorn. Adrastus Thorn introduces her as his daughter, and tells the party that she will serve as an ally and advisor during their quest. As a cleric of the Unholy Barrister archetype, she is able to provide healing through her demanding channel class ability.

But Narissa Thorn has a secret. She is actually Abigail Havelyn: daughter of Thomas Havelyn and his ill-fated wife Bronwyn. In my setting, Bronwyn died gave birth to a daughter and a son. The son is of course Richard Havelyn, a paladin who becomes one of the PC's worst enemies. The daughter, Abigail, was kidnapped by Thorn or his agents when she was barely an infant, and taken north to the Agathium, Thorn's stronghold, to be raised there. He gave her the name Narissa and told her that her parents were Asmodeans burned at the stake by Mitran inquisitors; and that he had adopted her. He raised Narissa in the beliefs and doctrine of Asmodeus, molding her into a fanatical cultist.

The first great mission assigned to the PCs, the burning of Balentyne, may have a great impact on Narissa. How will Sir Thomas Havelyn react when he sees a young woman who uncannily resembles his beloved Bronwyn amongst villains and murderers? Depending on how the encounter transpires, she may yet discover her true identity, or come close to doing so. How will she react to this revelation? Perhaps Cardinal Thorn sent her on this mission deliberately so she could violently sever herself from her own past. And perhaps the first seeds of doubt will be planted in her mind...

In Book 2, Narissa will assist the party in claiming the Horn of Abaddon, building it's defenses, and will attempt to convince the party that their new evil organization should be established specifically as a new cult of Asmodeus (with it's own priests, rituals, shrines, and services) rather than simply a criminal enterprise built around their wider endeavors. Towards the end of the book, Richard Havelyn and his companions attack the Horn, and Narissa is bound to confront him. Once again, she finds herself killing another Havelyn. What will happen this time?

This is where things get serious. I know not how exactly Narissa will feature in Thorn's growing distrust of the PCs and his conspiring against them. He may attempt to use her as a spy to undermine the party from the inside, but by this time Narissa may have realized that he has been manipulating her for her entire life, and that he will never allow her to surpass him in power or position. She will soon be faced with the decision of staying loyal to her father or betraying him to join the PCs. If she is present during Dessiter's reveal of Thorn's betrayal, then he attempts to persuade her into rebelling against him, playing to her desire for power and her cynical, deceptive upbringing.

In either case, Narissa will either join the PCs in her attack on the Agathium or be will be present amongst it's defenders. Should she side with the PCs, Narissa's ambitions include either becoming the new ruler of the Agathium, being appointed as the High Priestess of the Asmodean faith should it be legalized, or even both. She may also seek out Richard Havelyn in order to corrupt him into an antipaladin, if the PCs haven't done this already.

During Book Six she supports the PC's rule and makes sure she has a say in their decisions over what happens with Talingarde. She declares an infernal crusade against Bellinda and rallies the Asmodean faithful to march to war in Tamberlyn.

.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

the only possible problem I see with this character is that risks trying to be a main protagonist of the story, which is a role filled by the pc's. As long as you avoid that and are prepared to let the pc's kill her off when they decide to for some strange reason she should be ok

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I have to agree. She seems like she'd be the fabled DM NPC that you have to keep around no matter the cost.


I fear the same. I believe you may be doing this cause your Pcs do not have an healer between their ranks. Now, if you wish a "daughter" or "evil princess character" then you might actually reskin this lady as ...

Ideas:

1) A "relative" of Tiadora, possibly some kind of tiefling-like being. She could be some kind of "devil into be" and may furfill a role similar to grumblejack (difficult to move around, "evolves" when certain events or locations are discovered by the pcs, and such)

2) A "accolite" of Thorn that is not blood related to him, but was otherwise risen by him in the 12 or more years he was in the Aghatium. She could be a possible Barca scion or the daughter of a fallen hell priest killed by the inquisition. She could have adopted the same name as his master and play some kind of "rule of two" sith lord relation with her "father". She could be super loyal and be the reason of Thorn's paranoia towards the pcs, or become involved by the pcs and fuel the betrayal felt or feared by the cardinal.

3) A character to introduce at a later point, possibly at book three, and couple her with the fifth knot. She could introduce the pcs to Ghastenhall or Mathyrim.

Now, what i suggest is to talk with your players and ask them how they feel about having an npc like this around. Depending by how they play, they could even allow said npc to "take the lead" in certain situation. Certain players may simply ravel in the carnage and don't care who gives orders. A great danger of this AP is the natural in-fighting between characters if a proper command structure is not given, and said npc could prove the right command officer until the pc don't prove themselves by cunning and skill

By the way, please tell us about your players pcs


JohnHawkins wrote:
the only possible problem I see with this character is that risks trying to be a main protagonist of the story, which is a role filled by the pc's. As long as you avoid that and are prepared to let the pc's kill her off when they decide to for some strange reason she should be ok

Narissa would not try to lead the party, but rather serve as a healer, advisor, and supporter to them. Cardinal Thorn would say as much. She would make suggestions and advocate courses of action, but overall knows she can't force her will on the party. I see her role as more similar to Grumblejack: a supporting NPC whose path to glory is intertwined with that of the party and has their own character arc.

If the PCs themselves directly kill her, yes, I imagine that would damage their ties to Thorn beyond all chance of salvaging them. There's a few things I would do about this. One, if she gets killed by enemies or NPCs, then it's on her. Thorn is pissed, but the party doesn't face any consequences for it. If they attack her directly while not otherwise engaged in combat, Tiadora immediately teleports to their position and breaks it up. She either scolds the PCs for attacking Narissa without provocation, or scolds Narissa for provoking/antagonizing the party. Either way, she grabs the young priestess and whisks her off to parts unknown. And if the party doesn't want to bother with Narissa, they can just tell Thorn. The Cardinal is proud of his daughter and her devotion to Asmodeus, but if she proves detrimental to the overall plan against Talingarde, then she obviously has much to learn and will be confined to Agathium duty from here on in.

If they attack her in clear sight of civilians and enemies where Tiadora cannot extract her without blowing her op-sec...then I dunno. Hopefully Narissa is useful and interesting enough to where they wouldn't do that.

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Don't know if anyone's interested at all or not, but back when I first ran this, one of my players didn't want to be any of the then available classes or archetypes. She wanted to take the slaver trait, and play an actual slaver. Well, back then there was only a 3.5 PrC and Solace Games came out with an NPC class version of the slaver. I ended up taking both concepts, and making a hybrid archetype for the rogue class. This week saw my completely updated and more PC appropriate named archetype, the ruthless overseer, for the Knotty Works archetype supplement line.

Also, after what feels like forever, we finally played a game of WotW tonight. Unfortunately, we weren't able to get everyone to make it so we were down a considerable amount. Still had enough with NPCs to go in, take down a couple of guards, and even the rookery. Next time they're hoping to light things up, and take on the wizard. I'm curious to see how things play out.

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So the PCs managed to do a whole lot in just the small amount of time that they had.

Slug fest:
Since they didn't want to deal with the named NPCs on the day they took down the Wall, they decided to infiltrate through the secret area and start taking out key people left. First they came out of the vault and headed upstairs to take on Mad Martin and his swarms of ravens. Then they dumped the pitch and lit the tower on fire. They then waited for everyone to yell out "fire" before heading into the main hall where Killiketz had said the wizard lived. They entered Tactitus' room, where he was working on the golem, but captains Sambryl and Barhold were also there trying to convince the mage to help deal with the fire.
The soldiers are still fighting the blaze, but the party is debating on what to do with Eddarly (leave him in prison or take him out).
They also managed to get to the roof and destroy the catapult.
While searching around the assassin happened upon the church and was promptly told to get out by the lantern archons. He wants to deal with them soon enough.

All that's left now is Dominik and a few of his men, the 60 men who weren't killed or sickened by the poison, the archons, Sambryl's sailors, and possibly Eddarly. Then there's the extra stuff I'm throwing in. It's quite possible that they could finish the wall in the next session if they slugged it out and took on everything. Chances are they'll wait so that the flesh golem has time to run amok in town, but that will also mean that the dwarves are back to fix things up.

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Continue the burning:
So my group was deciding on how to get out when they realized that they fire they set was burning so effectively that it was on the verge of collapsing the tower, closing off their exit. With Eddarly inside the cell downstairs, two of them decided to free him in exchange for getting information on how to sneak out. He willingly gave them the information in return for allowing him safe passage so that he and his lover could escape town. They all agreed. He told them about the trap door under the stage that would lead into the pantry, leading to the kitchen, leading to the servant's exit. With the fire going on there shouldn't be any guards.

As they were about to leave, they could all hear the sound of singing coming from the church, and decided to check it out. Kiliketz, the avion cleric, and the wizard with fly all went down to the church to try and stop the lantern archons from helping. Everyone else used a single use teleport ring that they bought off the mercane in the market, and made their way down to the entrance of the church. The fight ensued for the rest of the night. The archons became a gestalt, I added in the stained glass knight constructs, and a choral angel with the simple paladin template. It was close, but the group managed to barely defeat them all. The cleric was the most hurt, having continually channeled and always managed to stay at 0 hp no matter how often he was struck (low damage rolls vs. high channel rolls). With that all done they took notice that the guards saw what was going on and coming after them. They barricaded the doors as well as they could and using Tactitus's wand, set fire to the church and all the bodies, then escaped into the clergy area down below.

After composing themselves, two of them realized where they were and how close they were to the kitchen (they were the ones who had spiked the stew with poison) and led everyone outside. As Eddarly had suspected, there were no guards. If there were, Eddarly had taken care of them. They've since ran back to the inn under what's left of the cover of darkness, as the sun is now beginning to rise, and the wall is partially on fire. People are already awake, confused as to what's going on.

In the morning, things are going to get very interesting as Dominik (from Book 7) is going to place the entire area under martial law, and have his own men start to look for who's all responsible, and begin a manhunt for the escaped Eddarly. Unfortunately for the PCs, they're too exhausted to fight and will be sleeping through most of it.
Eddarly too would be exhausted, but chances are there'd be hiding spots in the house for him to lay low in for the time being.

Dark Archive

kevin_video wrote:
** spoiler omitted **...

I love your summaries, Kevin. Keep them coming!

Way of the Wicked forever! ;-)

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Marco Massoudi wrote:
kevin_video wrote:
** spoiler omitted **...

I love your summaries, Kevin. Keep them coming!

Way of the Wicked forever! ;-)

Definitely try. We're only able to play 1-2 times a month due to everyone's schedule, especially with one being a new dad. We lost one player when she had to move on-campus for university so we're adjusting for that.

If all goes as planned, which I'm guessing won't, they might be done next week. Just depends on how big of a grind they decide to go into.


Having read Horror Adventures, it occurs to me that there's a lot in the book that players of Way of the Wicked and other evil campaigns could utilize, including, but not limited to, the archetypes.

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Wow. Sept 28th was the last time I posted on here. Just goes to show how long of a break we ended up having for our game. Tonight was the first time we managed to all get together and no one was sick, moving to a new apartment or house, or under stress from exams or tests.

Today was the day they took down the Watch Wall and completed Book 1. While a couple of them also wanted to burn the city, they thankfully realized what would happen if they did something so foolhardy as to rob the bugbears of their bloodlust and victory.

So much carnage:
This was pretty one-sided. The party was full prepared to into the wall, guns blazing. As soon as anyone grouped up, fireballs were launched repeatedly. Given the hit points of the guards, and the number of charges left on the wizard's wand, not to mention their own fireball spells, it was hilarious how many times I couldn't roll over a 10 for the reflex save. With the exception of Barnabus, who the monk wants to try and corrupt into being her bed snuggler, everyone else was wiped out.

Back in Aldencross, the rest of the party took on the flesh golem that they had released, and became the town's heroes. They also "rescued" the alchemist, and are currently blackmailed and corrupting him. They have his notes on the flesh golem, the base notes on the ice golem from the wizard's lab, and want the alchemist to become even better at Craft Construct than ever before. He's reluctant, but he's also essentially broken after having seen his creation kill so many guards.

Kaitlyn was released and allowed to leave with Eddarly. They're planning to go to Farholde where the laws are far more lax. The innkeeper was also told to get out of town because of an invading army coming. He too will consider Farholde his new home. The rogue is on Cloud 9 as that's his home city, and he's longing to go back home. Imagine his surprise and pleasure when he learned that his next mission was taking him home. It was actually rather touching.

They are now all paid in full, and loaded onto the barge heading to their next encounter. Next time, I'll be writing their exploits on Book 2. Going to be nice to get back there. Hopefully this time I can finish it.

Grand Lodge

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I had a bit of a laugh tonight while going through the Villains Codex. There's a magic branding iron called the branding iron of tracking. Just imagine how short this campaign would have been if Branderscar had been using this the entire time on all their prisoners. And I do mean ALL of them. Our current villains wouldn't have even had help to escape because a certain someone would have been found at home well before the Ninth Knot would have been conceived of.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The Blush of Youth Occult ritual from the Villain codex is VERY evil and also useful for any want to be Vampires or Liches, some of the other occult rituals also had the potential to be useful


kevin_video wrote:
I had a bit of a laugh tonight while going through the Villains Codex. There's a magic branding iron called the branding iron of tracking. Just imagine how short this campaign would have been if Branderscar had been using this the entire time on all their prisoners.

IMC, I justified a shortage of many magic items by pointing to Talingarde's ambivalent attitude towards arcane casters -- towards all casters, really, except for priests of Mitra.

But yes -- the magical equivalent of a RFID chip or an ankle monitor would seem pretty obvious!

Doug M.

Grand Lodge

Douglas Muir 406 wrote:
kevin_video wrote:
I had a bit of a laugh tonight while going through the Villains Codex. There's a magic branding iron called the branding iron of tracking. Just imagine how short this campaign would have been if Branderscar had been using this the entire time on all their prisoners.

IMC, I justified a shortage of many magic items by pointing to Talingarde's ambivalent attitude towards arcane casters -- towards all casters, really, except for priests of Mitra.

But yes -- the magical equivalent of a RFID chip or an ankle monitor would seem pretty obvious!

Doug M.

Yeah, my game too emphasizes how divine magic items aren't that hard to come buy, but arcane magic is practically impossible to find because of how "evil" it is unless you're specifically approved by the king to use it.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Let's face it despite it's reputation Brandescar prison is a very low budget insecure operation. A bunch of 1st level pc's break out with only a little help, the warden is incompetent and the guards corrupt.

That Branding iron costs more than the annual budget of the prison by a very large margin and actually would not work very well at all. All you have to do is remove the brand which means a patch of skin that would hurt a lot but not really difficult, failing that an Erase spell would work.

All of the other magical items I can think of for tracking prisoners cost more than is reasonable for the prison. I presume that when this really was a top security prison capable of holding dangerous criminals then they may have had magical security.

Spoiler:

Of course the cardinal did not escape he died and rose from the dead. Also there is evidence that the hunt for the escaped prisoners involved the high inquisitor and if he failed to find them due to the cardinal's help or Asmodeus no item they could have bought would track the prisoners.


I retconned that Talingarde has been so good about eliminating crime that in the last few years Branderscar has almost become unnecessary. So they've appointed a Warden who has no interest in anything but his studies, thereby allowing Blackerly to gut the place from within.

That said, I definitely de-emphasized the whole "unescapable prison" thing. IMC, it was just a prison.

Doug M.


Just started this AP. Did not get very far as NONE of the PCs took any ranks in disable device. They did eventually manage to free themselves and lure the guards in an ambush. It was close, two PCs dropping to zero hp. It was great fun describing their journey to the prison on the wagon. I used the material from book 7 to good effect. They really seem to hate Blackerly, so I did something right :D
Next time we'll see if they manage to escape the prison.

Grand Lodge

WagnerSika wrote:

Just started this AP. Did not get very far as NONE of the PCs took any ranks in disable device. They did eventually manage to free themselves and lure the guards in an ambush. It was close, two PCs dropping to zero hp. It was great fun describing their journey to the prison on the wagon. I used the material from book 7 to good effect. They really seem to hate Blackerly, so I did something right :D

Next time we'll see if they manage to escape the prison.

When I did this, I emphasized greatly that it might be in their best interest for at least one of them to take Disable Device. I'm shocked that not one of your players decided that might be a good idea. At least they're still alive, so far. Hopefully you don't have to already come up with a way for them to create new characters.


They did know that the adventure starts with them in a prison and needed to jailbreak. We have played many years so I just could not imagine them making such a rookie mistake. The look on their faces was priceless when they realized this :D
As lame as it sounds (and is), if they all die at this point, we will probably use the mighty Load Game spell and restart with slightly different characters. But hopefully it will not come to that. If they have to leave somebody behind I'm going to have replacement characters waiting in the mansion. Relatives or past associates possibly.

Your blog posts and posts, as well as Douglas Muir 406s posts, in these boards have been a great help and source of inspiration kevin_video.

Grand Lodge

Thank you. Hopefully they'll continue to aid you along the way.


Well, my bunch of villains did manage to escape Brandescar. They left behind a pile of corpses. They managed to get the alarm raised in the central building and had to fight 5 guards and Blackerly. They were lucky that the guards outside did not hear the alarm. After intense battle the guards were slain and Blackerly knocked out. They drag him to the mess hall and sacrificed him to Asmodeus. They entered the Wardens tower unseen and managed to lure him out of his bedroom. Warden was vary though, and saw one of the ambushers. He cast charm person on the villain and she failed. Others then tried to attack but missed. One fell to the floor laughing but simultaneous sword strikes from the groups anti-paladin and Grumblejack ended him. Our villains then managed to kill the guards at the gate but not before they raised the alarm, and exited the prison. The bridge guards managed to delay them significantly until they managed to kill one. The other then took off to Varyston to tell the authorities about the breakout. The villains, thoroughly drained of their resources, left behind two survivors and maybe a few guards who managed to stabilize from their deadly wounds. On to the swamp and the manor!

All in all a good session, there was a constant sense pressure on them to gtfo of the prison. They managed to keep Grumblejack alive and started to convert him to Asmodeanism. One player was touched by the love letters and other personal items in the guards lockers. We'll see if his soft heart will be his downfall, Asmodeus will not tolerate those kind of feelings.


My group of villains managed to cross the moors and got waylaid by Lashtongue. He managed to knock one out and was in the process of swallowing him when the weakest party member managed to crit him him and instantly dropped the poor toad to negatives. Grumblejack got some nice "des cuisses de grenouille" :) He tried to make a fire in the toads lair but the others, fearful that their fire would be seen, forbade him and told him to eat it raw. This shocked Grumbles who said that it would be totally uncivilized to do that.
Eventually they found the manor, met the Cardinal and accepted his proposal. They met Elises band and got some interesting banter going, each group trying to milk the other for info.
The cleric succesfully converted Grumblejack to Asmodeus. They got their equipment and saw Sherkov deliver the Iron Circlets and use greater teleport to leave, this earned a few wary looks from them. They managed to detect evil from Tiadora unnoticed and the strength of her aura got them wondering what the Cardinal even needed them for. Minions of course :)
They caught a glimpse of Sir Balin and an inquisitor of Mitra making house searches and witnessed Tiadora send them on their way. They started the Cardinals test, finding and beriending Timeon before we ended the session.
I used Jarvis the butler for some comedic relief and frustration ("Please fill the request forms for your equipment in triplicate.")

Grand Lodge

WagnerSika wrote:
I used Jarvis the butler for some comedic relief and frustration ("Please fill the request forms for your equipment in triplicate.")

Very cool. I'm glad Jarvis is seeing some action.


Jarvis offered the group his potions, scrolls and other stuff at the entrance to the test. He mentioned that "other forms of payment" could be discussed. The female PC made her perception to notice Jarvis glancing at her, um, "tracts of land" while saying this. She refrained from violence, for now at least. The group asked Tiadora what would happen if they broke stuff inside the testing area. She replied that Jarvis might get upset. Such a pity, replied the PC's and Tiadora actually gave a smile and agreed :D
Poor Jarvis, he just has no luck with women. At least he has his ledgers and account books to keep him company.

By the way, what did you guys have Jarvis do after Thorn abandons the manor house? I just don't see him going to Agathium to freeze, there seems to be nothing for a professional clerk like him up there.

Grand Lodge

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WagnerSika wrote:
By the way, what did you guys have Jarvis do after Thorn abandons the manor house? I just don't see him going to Agathium to freeze, there seems to be nothing for a professional clerk like him up there.

I kept him and gave him a vest of endure elements. While his use is lessened he still has to find the money to pay the other knots, and take stock.

At later levels:
when the PCs have to actually fight against Thorn, I gave the priest a particular flaw (my players think he's a vampire because of it), which opened up a feat slot. Namely, a monster feat.

Living Phylactery [Monster]
“Destroying my body and my soul gem, they thought to defeat me; they failed as one of their own bore the burden of my spirit.”
Prerequisites: Rejuvenation, paralyzing touch Benefit: You can make a creature whom you affect with your paralyzing touch (they failed their save and were paralyzed) serve as a secondary phylactery for you rejuvenation ability (even if they are no longer paralyzed). You can only have one living phylactery in existence at a time.

When the PCs show up, Jarvis will aid the NPCs. It can be any of them. Then, I gave him a ring of teleport that has a single charge. Once things get hairy, he's to leave and go to the "other" base. Weakened, Thorn will eventually heal him once he's back to his regular self. Now, they have to deal with the two of them all over again.

I've mentioned in my blog a few different ways of bringing back Thorn to continually taunt and attack the PCs.

Grand Lodge

Necromancers of the Northwest just released a new magus archetype that's great for this AP.

Grand Lodge

In addition to the archetype, NotN also have a new whip that's perfect for a torturer or dominatrix.


I invented Jarvis way back in 2012. His name was Pilkington then. If you want to stat him out, he's a Wiz 3 (Diviner) / Exp 10. ("I studied wizardry for a time in my youth, before I discovered the beauty and power of accounting.") The wizard levels don't have much effect on anything -- Pilkington is firmly a non-combatant, and any spells he has will be utilities or divinations. However, the levels do inoculate him against being charmed or mind-read by some clever-clever PC: he now has a very respectable Will save plus some Spellcraft to know what a PC is up to. By the time a PC is high enough level to work around this, they'll probably have other concerns.

My backstory was, he's a Lawful Neutral type who was a rising star in the government bureaucracy of Talingarde. Then, during a famine, he ordered the grain stores kept closed because the King was overseas on a diplomatic mission and couldn't be contacted. This was technically the correct decision according to the rules, but dozens of people died in the ensuing Grain Riots, and he was cashiered in disgrace.

What becomes of him: he's a super useful servant, so the Cardinal will indeed find a way to keep him alive. I like Kevin's vest idea. Once the PCs take over, of course, Pilkington will promptly switch sides and serve them loyally. He doesn't care who runs Talingarde, as long as there are RULES and they are FOLLOWED.

Doug M.


I read the gameplay of your PbP game on these boards. Incredibly well done! All those backstories and expansions to an already well written campaign were really good. I envy those players that participated. My hat's off to you sir!

Grand Lodge

Douglas Muir 406 wrote:

I invented Jarvis way back in 2012. His name was Pilkington then. If you want to stat him out, he's a Wiz 3 (Diviner) / Exp 10. ("I studied wizardry for a time in my youth, before I discovered the beauty and power of accounting.") The wizard levels don't have much effect on anything -- Pilkington is firmly a non-combatant, and any spells he has will be utilities or divinations. However, the levels do inoculate him against being charmed or mind-read by some clever-clever PC: he now has a very respectable Will save plus some Spellcraft to know what a PC is up to. By the time a PC is high enough level to work around this, they'll probably have other concerns.

My backstory was, he's a Lawful Neutral type who was a rising star in the government bureaucracy of Talingarde. Then, during a famine, he ordered the grain stores kept closed because the King was overseas on a diplomatic mission and couldn't be contacted. This was technically the correct decision according to the rules, but dozens of people died in the ensuing Grain Riots, and he was cashiered in disgrace.

What becomes of him: he's a super useful servant, so the Cardinal will indeed find a way to keep him alive. I like Kevin's vest idea. Once the PCs take over, of course, Pilkington will promptly switch sides and serve them loyally. He doesn't care who runs Talingarde, as long as there are RULES and they are FOLLOWED.

Doug M.

I ended up making him an advanced dark half-goblin expert 10/unchained rogue 4. He's basically the same deal, except even if he sides with the PCs, he's still going to become an enemy whether he wants to or not. At least until the PCs can figure everything out.


Man my dice sucked tonight. The group took some con damage from the vampiric mist but eventually destroyed it. The first time it scored a hit and caused 3 con damage along with 6 bleed the players were worried. But my dice were not with me and it managed to miss three consecutive times.

Later on the draugr marched in to the shrieker room but got stuck on the doorway, only two managing to fight at the same time. They managed 2 hits total :( before being destroyed. Poor Sir Balin was drawn to an ambush and he managed to hit only once. That hit did drop one PC but in the end it was not enough.

They looted him and drag his unconscious body to the rack and revived him. They then took Timeon out of his hidey hole to witness the failure of Mitra and Sir Balin. Now the luck turned as Sir Balin managed to outdo the PCs conversion/intimidate attempts and finally he was sacrificed. The villains now tried to convert Timeon. Meanwhile Grumblejack was hungry and made a snack out of Sir Balin. The speed at which he gobbled down a fully grown man dumbstruck everyone and horrified Timeon even more. Eventually they managed to pry info about Balentyne from Timeon but did not manage to turn him to Asmodeus. Timeon was left there and the group returned triumphantly to Thorn.

I added some Thorns Training traits and had them choose one and chose one for them. I offered them retraining now at no cost. One player chose a new archetype for her character but otherwise they were happy about their choices.

After a grueling training it was time for a feast. I had the White Ravens and the PCs group be at the feast at the same time to give more hints about them, to reinforce Trik's relationship with the female PC and to foreshadow Elise's envy of the Ninth's status as favored group. Jarvis complained about the cost of this frivolous squandering of resources but everyone just ignored him.
Next day Thorn gave them the mission and rewarded them for getting unexpectedly useful info out of Timeon. I had him give the group the Barbed Pentacle of Asmodeus.
Next time, captaing Kargeld and the journey north on the Frosthamar.


WagnerSika wrote:
I read the gameplay of your PbP game on these boards. Incredibly well done! All those backstories and expansions to an already well written campaign were really good. I envy those players that participated. My hat's off to you sir!

Aw. Thank you.

That was a really fun campaign.


My players, stop reading please! You know who you are.

One of my players is thinking of taking a Damnation feat. This feat requires an outsider to act as a patron.
I think that Thorn would be willing to call a devil to be the patron. I imagine him using Planar Ally to summon some lesser devil.

Spoiler:
But I was thinking that Naburus would be interested in getting this contract. Would it be possible for him to "hijack" this summoning and either appear in the form of lesser devil himself or send a minion of his and force this minion then to relinquish the bound soul to himself? Dessiter comes to mind. Or would Thorn call a barbed devil since he seems to like them?
Is this a) possible and b) thematically a good idea? And I mean good idea storywise, not is-selling-my-soul-a-good-idea-wise.

I was thinking about writing a contract, like the one in the Book of the Damned Vol.1. English is not my first language so what kind of clever wordplay could I use so Naburus would be the ultimate patron and benficiary of this deal without it being blatant? The character taking this feat has ranks in profession(barrister) and I was thinking he could maybe detect that there is something weird with this contract with a successfull check. Any ideas about DCs?

I am also a bit unclear, but does Thorn know about

Spoiler:
Naburus at all
?

@Douglas Muir 406
Your version of Kargeld was really intimidating, do you have some stats for him? And what exactly was the statue of Two Queens? If Kargeld had maanged to set it off what would have happened?


One of my players is also interested in Damnation feats.

Spoiler:
We are playing the second book and, as our players are in good terms with Tiadora, she's going to have Dessiter to act as an intermediary for Naburus to negotiate for the feats.
In my game Tiadora knows everything of Adrastus but only remains loyal because she's bound to him. Her true loyalty is Naburus and she wants to be in good terms with the PCs just in case Adrastus needs to be replaced in a distant future. She sees them as useful tools.
Meanwhile, Adrastus remains ignorant of all the plotting behind his back.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Spoiler:

The Cardinal knows about Nabarus, it was Nabarus who appointed him High priest of Asmodeus in Tanlingarde and set up his campaign, I think it was Nabarus who brought the cardinal back as a lich (that may have been Asmodeus).

There are some rules on Infernal pacts on one of the Hells Rebels AP's (I think it was book 5). However unless you and your player are lawyers I would merely have attempts to spot problems with the contract as Opposed Profession Barrister rolls or similar which means that finding the hidden clauses will be difficult until higher levels.

Dessiter the Contract devil would be a good devil to provide the contract, and as a Contract devil he often acts as an agent and so could be creating the contract on behalf of his master Nabarrus. Also using him now introduces him unless there are other recurring devils you want to use.


Thank you Kileanna and JohnHawkins.
Yeah we are not lawyers, you are right, it is best to keep the letter of the contract abstract. Opposed checks sounds right for the DC.

Spoiler:
Contract devils have Profession(scribe) +19, so using that and taking 10 the DC is 29, actually possible for him with a nat 20.

My players are not friendly with Tiadora, they are a little afraid of her but don't actually dislike her I think.


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WagnerSika wrote:


@Douglas Muir 406
Your version of Kargeld was really intimidating, do you have some stats for him? And what exactly was the statue of Two Queens? If Kargeld had maanged to set it off what would have happened?

As it happens, we had a conversation about building the good Captain over in the campaign's discussion thread. Here are the relevant posts.

Designing Captain Odenkirk (Mechanics):
The original Captain Odenkirk was a Neutral Evil barbarian. No change there. But he needed a significant power-up and redesign to give him a chance to face this party. With eidolon, dog and ogre you have a total of nine characters who can act every round. That tips the action economy far in your favor. So I knew that mechanically I'd have to build him carefully if I wanted him to last past the first round.

I made him a Bbn 8 / Expert 1. The Expert level was to reflect his captaining skills and long experience at sea, and also to nudge up his skills and Will save. His feats started with the usual barbarian trio Toughness, Power Attack and Cleave. I gave him Iron Will because I knew he'd be facing a lot of spells targeting his Will save, and also because it was thematically appropriate.

After some consideration, I gave him Improved Sunder. The Sunder CM doesn't get a lot of play because it's so cruel -- it targets your beloved weapons, and leaves the fighter types standing helplessly with nothing. But the Captain *is* a cruel bastard, and I felt it would be totally consistent for him to smash your weapon, render you helpless, laugh at you, and then kill you. I gave him an adamantite axe so that he could sunder all day long and, well, you can see how that's worked out.

For barbarian powers I gave him Defensive stance to nudge his AC from bad to mediocre, followed by Spirit Totem and Superstition. If you're following along, this meant that his Will save would gain up to +2 expert +2 Iron Will +3 Superstition +2 rage in addition to the normal +2 for a barbarian and whatever his Wis bonus is. His other saves would also be respectable. Very important when facing four spellcasters at once! (I don't love Superstition for the same reason I don't love Haste -- it's so good that almost everyone takes it. But, hell, you guys took Haste. What's a DM to do? It's an arms race, you gotta keep up.)

He got some special powers from his connection with the Kraken. After some consideration, I decided that (1) he would get regeneration like a troll as long as he was near salt water, and (2) he'd get a better version of Spirit Totem -- among other things, it has a 10' reach and does 2d4 instead of d4.

There was no way to make his AC better than so-so without redesigning the whole character. Ultimately I shrugged and decided that he'd rely on Toughness and raging to bring him through.

He has a 10 Int and only put a single rank in Sense Motive, which meant that -- up until the final boss fight -- you guys were able to scam him pretty effectively. This was deliberate. If I'd made him smarter or cranked his Sense Motive up to the max, he might have seen through you, and that could have been lethal. Putting you on a boat with a powerful hair-trigger paranoiac who was *also* incredibly sensitive and perceptive would have been unfair.

Now, Bag'o'Bones had a high Sense Motive. Luckily for you, you decided to kill him as fast as possible, and his lizard too. (Yeah, the lizard could have been trouble.)

Designing Captain Odenkirk (Roleplaying):
One thing about running an evil campaign is that you guys get to spend a lot more time in the company of evil NPCs. In a standard campaign, you'd just be killing them. Here you get to hang out with them first. So, I've been trying to present different kinds of villainy for your consideration. The Cardinal, Tiadora, Irin, Zargo, and now the Captain... they're all evil, but they're evil in very different ways.

The Captain was mostly straightforward, but there were subtleties. I made him cruel, domineering, paranoid, violent and greedy. Not randomly or recklessly so -- he'll keep his oath to deliver the weapons, and you, to your destinations -- but he's ultimately too selfish and greedy to be trustworthy. In other words, pretty much pure Neutral Evil. Displaying his character to you was a mix of "show" (his constant brutality towards his sailors) and "tell" (the kraken backstory with him sacrificing a shipload of refugees, Nimpy's story, the first mate).

Does the Captain have positive aspects? Well, he's utterly fearless (as seen in the encounter with the Mountain That Swims). And I did give him a faint hint of a softer side: his melancholic yearning for Homeland. He loves his cruel, savage native land. But his brutality and violence got him exiled, and his greed means he'll never pay the blood-prices that would let him go home. So he's really a man trapped by his own character. You could almost feel a tiny bit sorry for him. Of course, this just makes him more violent and cruel. So, maybe not so much.

The Captain's drinking was almost a throwaway line -- he goes onshore sometimes and drinks, but not on the ship because it makes him ill tempered. (As opposed to his normal kindly mild-mannered self.) You guys somehow got the idea of a drinking contest. That's a common fantasy trope, it's true, but not in this case. The Captain is not a social drinker! Quite the opposite.

Anyway. I wanted him to be a fairly well realized NPC; and then I wanted you guys to be wary of him, if not outright frightened by him. You can tell me how well that worked or not.

Depending on your party, you may want to adjust the details. For instance, if you have a standard party of four (mine was six), then lose at least one level of barbarian. But the Captain's low Sense Motive means a clever party *should* be able to get him into a bad situation, and then action economy takes over.

Thank You For Sailing Frosthamar Cruise Lines!

Doug M.

Sovereign Court

One of the more interesting things so far in my game is that one of the PC's (the Antipaladin) wants to transform himself into a Devil, thus getting the whole power and immortality thing out of it. Using a variation of Demon Transformation this is easy to do although becoming a full Devil is not possible until the Epilogue as it will take years of devotion before the transformation is complete. The Half-Fiend template is achievable though.

To get the Transformation though they have to have a Sponser of a powerful Devil. In the case of the Antipaladin he made a pact with Baalzebul. To get the first stage though he has to capture and then sacrifice a high ranking member of the Church of Mitra, someone who had deeper understanding and perform a specific ritual to send the soul to hell so Baalzebul can torture secrets out of the soul. This gives a Devil Mark and a Demon Aspect. To get the half-fiend it will take a much larger sacrifice (Such as a mass sacrifice of Vale pilgrims).


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The sorceror in my party is following a similar path, I gave out Devil-bound template as the first step. I have also had a patron devil 'assisting' her in her development and in fact using the knot as a weapon in devilish politics so her agents the knot can replace her rivals agent(cardinal thorne) as the agents of Hells victory all to the amusement of Nabarus as he referee's the internal conflict


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Well, one of my players sold his characters soul to Dessiter.

Spoiler:
Or more accurately he sold it to Naburus.
Thorn agreed to summon a contract devil for this and Dessiter arrived greeting the Cardinal. Thorn explained the situation and Dessiter readily produced one Standard Issue Contract for Transfer of Soul Ownership™. The PC examined the contract and got 28 on his profession(barrister) check and found nothing wrong with it.
Spoiler:
Soooo close

*The Emperor voice* Soon his journey to the Dark Side will be complete.

This session they managed to slaughter captain Sambryl and his sailors, as well as Nerianus and his posse. Grumblejack made sashimi out of the dolphins. Yeah, they are not fish but he does not care. And they are sick of hardtack and lutefisk.
There were so many participants in these battles that the Combat Pad™ I use to track init was overflowing.
I gave Kargeld's crew names like Lure-Per(stupid), Skallet-Erik(bald) etc. I used google translate from english to norwegian for this. The inaccuracy does not matter as their names are in norspik, not norwegian. I also sprinkled a few phrases in norspik/norwegian. We know some swedish so the players understood the phrases, or at least the gist of them. Also lutefisk got some chuckles, as that is a traditional Christmas food around here.

They were impressed with captain Odenkirk's battle prowess as he swam to Nerianus and the tritons, gripping his axe and raging, killing the elementals Nerianus summoned in his way. I made Odenkirk a sea reaver barbarian. I thought about the Viking fighter but it is mechanically a bit underwhelming.

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