Way of the Wicked—Book #3: Tears of the Blessed (PFRPG) PDF

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Lead an Army of Darkness into Battle!

Inside the Vale of Valtaerna is found the most sacred site to the benevolent god Mitra in all of Talingarde. From this holy site, your enemies draw power and comfort. This is the story of how you raised an army of wickedness and stormed that stronghold of light slaughtering all who stood in your way!

No longer are you a petty servant of darkness. Here is your chance to become a master of evil. But beware! This will not be easy. There are more than just priests in the vale. This is the lair of countless good celestials who will do all in their power to stop your rise. Can you defeat them? Will you be destroyed or will you emerge triumphant amidst the tears of the blessed?

Welcome to the third chapter of the “Way of the Wicked”—the only evil adventure path for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game!

Inside you’ll find:

  • “Tears of the Blessed,” an adventure compatible with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game for 10th-level villains by Gary McBride
  • Full color art and maps by Michael Clarke
  • A gazetteer of the city of Ghastenhall
  • Detailed information about the Church of Mitra, your most determined foes.
  • All you need to run a vicious narrative battle with your PCs in command.
  • 102 pages of full color!
  • And More!

Raise your army, dark lord, and march to war. There will be no one to stop you this time!

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Clerics, Angels and Phoenix, oh my

5/5

Your horrid villains are tasked with sacking a wintered-in valley of nauseatingly Lawful Good types. Recruit foot soldiers, bust the gate open and sack the place!

This chapter continues to demonstrate the villainous virtues of infiltration, sabotage, skulduggery and raw Evil firepower. The big nasties are all challenging icons of Things that are Good. Some groups will mop the floor with their foes, others will have a more difficult time.

As is the established pattern in earlier chapters, the villains can nova some encounters while carefully husbanding resources in other parts.

Plan carefully Ladies and Lords for failure to pay attention may send your damned souls to Hell far earlier than you wish...


Tears of the Blessed Review

4/5

Warning: Potential spoilers. Written from a GM's perspective. I ran this for 6 PCs.

In the third installment of the Way of the Wicked, the players are given the task of recruiting and army to sack the holy city of Valtaerna. Having played through this book, I must continue to give my compliments to creators. The world and the story is still holding the players attention and offering them creative ways to play their dark lords.

A particularly excellent part of this book was the appropriately epic Battle for Valtaerna. While this long fight spanned at least two full sessions and used almost every resource the party had, it never became tedious or felt like the players were just going through the motions.

However, if I had a criticism of this chapter of Way of the Wicked, it would be that the excitement is a little bit frontloaded. The Big Battle, while excellent, happens fairly early in the book. There is also the matter of a the Phoenix, who is fought relatively early in the book, but is actually a far more dangerous and memorable than the final boss.

Two words of caution to GM planning to run Tears of the Blessed:
1. Be careful with the Phoenix. My players were not well prepared heading in to that fight. Thankfully they had Protection From Energy or we may have had a TPK. However, our party mage had too few non-fire spells and the martial characters didn't have a way of getting through the Phoenix's DR 15/Evil. With the Phoenix's healing capabilities, the fight ended up being a slog where they could barely do more damage than the Phoenix could heal in a round.
2. Be careful with Holy Word. While, most encounters in the latter half of the book have access to this devastating spell, I highly suggest limiting your usage of it. This is a really powerful spell, that does a great job incapacitating players and making the encounter feel dangerous. Unfortunately, when you are a player, being incapacitated isn't very fun. Not only will your players hate it, but they will actively prepare ways to counter it. Considering that Holy Word is probably the best tactic of an otherwise rather weak final boss, you really don't want to wear it out.

However, minor complaints and warnings aside, I would still highly recommend this book. It runs far quicker and easier than Call Forth Darkness and maintains the series excellent quality in story and characters.


5/5

I've reviewed this on RPGGeek.com.

You can read it here.


3/5

Tears of the Blessed is a very cool concept module with a lot of neat flavor. The book itself is written with style and the general outline of the adventure itself is very promising. Here's my review:

1. Mechanics
While the fluff and circumstance in the module is fantastic at times (and drudging at others) it suffers from a lot of fidgety mechanics issues that belie a fair bit of annoyance.
A lot of the stat blocks in Way of the Wicked are streamlined. These are made for best use, which is, in thought, very kind, but in practice for the experienced DM very agitating. Baking power attack into most enemies attack rolls seems smart until they're also baking abilities in as well, making unraveling bonuses difficult. Some creatures have deflection against evil opponents in their stat blocks, making their CMD and AC jump up from what's written down. If you have a neutral character in the party, they're very powerful in this module.
Many opponents are not as dangerous as their CR entails. This leads to a kind of boredom syndrome-- a lot of battles are versus foes who, in writing, are CR 10, but in longevity are not-- AC tends to teeter around 20, and attack rolls around +13. Many battles are the opposite-- the creatures aren't very dangerous, but are extremely long-lived. Later on in the Vale itself, DR 5-15/evil is on every single monster you encounter until you begin to encounter incorporeal foes. From the middle of the Battle of Saintsbridge, almost every single foe you face has spell resistance. That is immensely painful. Many encounters are able to cast holy word, which is very punishing to melee. Many encounters are layered in personal or group protection from evil effects, making almost all mind-affecting abilities wasted. Protective aura is unbelievably irritating. Many encounters are slogs that the NPCs can never be victorious in, making the entire conflict unnecessary. A lot of encounters are just soldiers, or later, angelic soldiers, throwing themselves at you to die with little fanfare. Not a lot of encounters enhance the mood-- they just serve as filler.
The humdrum is broken up by several lynchpin encounters that are both exciting, interesting and incredibly iconic. Suchandra the Phoenix is an extremely worthy foe, as is The-Flame-That-Sings. Ara Mathra and She-Forever-Silent are intimidating, as are Taranea and the ghostly paladins (though three encounters of three is far too much in my opinion). These encounters are not only interesting, but some of the only encounters that are plot-worthy (see below).
As a warning, The-Flame-That-Sings is a full-on TPK encounter if your group does not have protection from energy and resist energy. By the time the group killed The-Flame and Suchandra got busy, everyone but the wizard was out of their 120 fire absorption and almost all of them but the monk and bard were on fire. In an adventure that is all-but guaranteed to have an evil-aligned cleric, this can be very devastating.

2. Impetus
In this book, the PCs finish their quest from the last adventure and then are thrust into the next. This has the same kind of problem as the first two books: Cardinal Thorn says jump, so you jump, get tortured and jump minus a stat point, or the book permanently kills you. Not a lot of illusion of choice. You must meet with Sakkarot, that scenario is successful if the PCs try at all, you must go into the Vale, you must douse the three flames, you must kill everyone there, you must slay Ara Mathra. The PCs wants or character motivations don't come into it. There aren't any compelling characters to want to work for, like in other modules (unless you're still riding on the fumes of Thorn from book 1) or people who need saving. It's the opposite-- your character sees there are people who need killing and goes to kill them for the sake of killing. There's no characters to really hate or want to kill, either. Unlike the other books, evil doesn't turn on evil, nor is good annoying, self-righteous or antagonistic. It makes the module extremely bleak. You go around killing great people who don't deserve it and who can't fight back... for fun.

3. Plot
The plot is that the PCs go to a place that is good and nice, kill everyone there and then kill the angels there because their boss said so. There's really nothing beyond that besides plot seeds for the next books. An interesting character is introduced-- Dessiter-- and then disappears. None of the antagonists are really fleshed out beyond the room they're in, and thusly feel very flat. Many, despite there being a huge amount of reasons for them to, do not leave their encounter rooms. My favorite is Taranea-- a CG azata-- who follows orders to not intervene in the Battle of Saintsbridge until the PCs are (presumably) high enough level to fight her. An elementally chaotic creature and elementally good creature not only follows orders but lets people die because of them.
You spend almost the entire module knowing about Ara Mathra but he never interacts with the party-- not even a word from the sky, a showing, an angry prophecy. Strangely, the party is on a timer-- the leader of the Vale is summoning an army of ghostly paladins to fight the PCs-- but the PCs don't know it, so they kind of lackidaisically take their time through the module without much urgency.

Still not liking some of the organization, and definitely disliking many parts-- To enter 2-9, you must go through 2-9a, which is detailed after the contents of 2-9-- a half-page of exposition. Stat blocks still break the page. Maps are square with almost no exception, making drawing them uninspiring.

3 stars simply for the concept alone, though the execution was lacking. This module is, despite everything I just said, still worth a read. Really don't miss it-- it has some of the coolest ideas, scenarios, areas, monsters and concepts in it, surrounded by a lot of hit-or-miss basic D&D setpieces (mass combat) that the module could have abandoned without losing anything.


And the Heavens will weep

5/5

This one will have to be short. Suffice to say that in this one, after your villains got the Tears of Achlys at the climax of the last adventure, they first get some downtime (and plenty of side quests to get into trouble and grab some loot), and then they get their next assignment. Simply stated, destroy the most sacred and well-protected temple in the kingdom and defile it past any use. Oh, and no survivors.

You get all the easy jobs.

Anyway, there's considerable role-playing in here as you recruit allies, some of them characters you met before. You'll also meet a devil who's taken a close interest in your careers, which can lead to even further trouble. Not to mention enough battle and mayhem to satisfy the most bloody-minded player as you smash your way into the Vale of Valtaerna, going through everything from warriors to fanatic good clerics to celestials until you (hopefully) achieve victory. And after that you'll find yourself dealing with some very powerful good beings in the Vale -- you'll need sharp wits as well as ready blades to deal with them unless you want to be overwhelmed.

And then the REAL difficulty begins when you enter the Temple of Saint Macarius, deal with the opposition you find there, maybe find some very useful treasures, and finally confront the true master of the temple and leader of your foes. And you WILL need to be both fortunate AND tough to beat Ara Mathra!

It's rounded out with a Gazetteer of the city of Ghastenhall as well as a guide to the religion of Mitra, the Triune God, that should be very helpful for DMs (and maybe players in a more conventional campaign).

There are a few typos here and there, but this is every bit as amazing as the prior adventures in the series. Five stars!


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Well, first day of The Tears of the Blessed.

Whole session in Glastenhall, and the PC...

Spoiler:
did a lot of stuff, actually. They entered in the Library, and learned a lot of stuff. They learned about Valtaerne (which they already knew a lot about, as the Antipaladin was detached there when he was a Paladin, time ago.

They learn about Clay Golems and their vulnerabilities. They learn stuff about phoenixes and lammassus, and also learn history about the Order of St Macharius. They learn about St Angelo the Devil Hunter, and with a very high knowledge roll (41!!) they learn about the three fires and how it seems they have something in common with the ability of the order to produce spellcasters. They decide to sequester a random low level member of the order, and torture him until he explain the whole process.

Later they go to the graveyard to take an 80 years old corpse for Iris. Doing it, they enter in an open mausoleum, which leads to the undercity and catacombs of Vestromo Family. There they learn that the rumours of vampires is true. After some diplomatic affairs, they go back to home, knowing that they might have a chance to get an ally. In the Library, they study about Gaius Vestromo, and learn how the vampiric family was (almost) destroyed time ago by St Angelo. They decide to tell the vampire they are going to go to Valtaerne, and the vampire tells them he can help with a few spawns, if they bring him back The Chalice of Aurelius Vestromo, (which I made an Onyx Chalice as well), which are in the Vault of St Angelo. One of the PC say that he thinks it is a bit unbalanced so much risk for a few spawns, and another one ask if the Prince can make them Vampires. Several PC seem interested, and after I told him what it takes (I'll allow a retrain for the 5 feats, as the process of transformation is shocking and can lead to them losing some abilities). I also mention that they should think carefully about it, as being undead has it's own advantages, but it's own disadvantages too. Specially in an Adventure where the enemies are celestial and good paladins that can smite evil the hell out of them. They seem interested, but want to think about it.

They also get the reward from the Iris ring (as they couldn't agree what to ask, they finally ask for the gold). They also learn about the "haunted" manor, and how it has a secret door that goes to the darklands, used by drows to kidnap and assassin (I changed duergars for Drows, as one of the PC is a half-drow). But they decide that entering the Darklands is a big journey and they don't want to do it, so it seems like they'll pass on the Drows for now.

They learn stuff about Infernal Contracts and Contract Devils, and they learn that the intention of Dessiter is to be able to scry them. They have also noticed they are being scried, and Dessiter tell them that Adrastus scry them through the crown. They are shocked. Some people don't care (they trust Adrastus 100%), some others think there's something wrong here. They finally sign the contract, and decide to take some devils with them. Most of them choose a Bone Devil, except one who get a Warhound, and another who take Erinye. (I'll remove the bone devils in the Mirror later to avoid too much clutch of cohorts)

Nearly with the time to go to Westkirk, they learn about an adventurer group who is going to try to kill a Medusa. They follow them, and when they attack the Medusa, they kill the adventurers and face it. She tries to petrify the Antipaladin (the one who got close), but he survive. He looks into the medusa eyes, and tell her that if she does it again, she won't survive. And then Intimidate the hell out of her (with a 48 roll in intimidate... and natural 20), and Command her to advert eyes. Then the high bluff summoner (30 in bluff and 31 in diplomacy before any die is rolled) compliment her and her beauty (on a side note, one of the players said that if the medusa was so hot as Mike Clarke drawing, then everybody is inmune to his gaze. No male is going to look at her eyes, while he has such a cleavage :P). They tried to convince her to leave the temple. Although the book says that she only accedes after being beated and humiliated, I thought a incredibly high Intimidation roll and some nice Roleplaying should have the same effect. Specially when they also killed the other adventurers.

Then they went to Westkirk, where they learned the army they had to use. 250 bugbears, plus another batallion, which depends which general they bring with them:

1) 200 bugbear barbarians +50 trolls, if they take Headtaker.
2) 200 bugbear rangers, +50 bugbears cavalry in direwolves, if they take Nightmane.
3) 200 bugbear rogues, +50 bugbear shamans if they take Crowfather (an NPC I made up)
4) 200 bugbear fighters, +50 elite bugbears in heavy armor if they take Raiju the Exile.

They can get only one of the generals (I like to make them to take options)
And then we stop the session, leaving the assault for the next sunday


BTW, a VERY interesting stuff about the contract

Spoiler:
While re-reading the contract, one of the players guessed the loophole (if Cardinal Adrastus Thorn stops to be High priest, the contract is no longer valid).

However, another one found a bigger loophole. And a loophole that does not require really that Naburus removes the Cardinal Status.

Bassically, he said "if no longer being Cardinal Adrastus Thorn, High priest of Asmodeus in Talingare, renders the contract invalid, then the contract is already invalid. Because he is not named Adrastus Thorn, his name is Samuel Havelyn."

I think he got it in the nail.


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This is the Asmodean spell book that some wizard is selling in my game:

Lvl 1: Blood Money, cause fear, chill touch, Infernal Healing, restore corpse
Lvl 2: Blood Transcription, Skin Send, darkness, false life, resist energy,
Lvl 3: Blood Biography, Vampiric Touch, Death Wine, magic circle against evil, Vision of Hell
Lvl 4: Greater Infernal Healing, Summon Accurser, Phantasmal Killer, Boneshatter, dimensional anchor, Lesser Planar Binding
Lvl 5: Summon Infernal Host, Nightmare, Magic Jar, contact other plane
Lvl 6: Planar Binding, Create Undead

The book gives +2 to Charisma Rolls for planar bindings if you memorize at least three spells from the book, as the preparation ritual focus (like per Ultimate Magic preconstructed spellbooks)

The book cost roughly 5000-6000g, comparing it to other preconstructed spellbooks, but owner of the book, a gnome wizard, is asking 10.000 for it, because it is black market stuff. The PC can buy it, or take it by force. The book is inside the Wizard's tower, which is protected by an invisible stalker, an Ice Golem, and the wizard himself (a 10th level wizard), as well as some Alarm, and magic traps. I'm trying to lure the party necromancer to do the mission on himself, with the help of his newly recived hell minion and some zombies


That's a great list, Gustavio_Iglesias. I especially like seeing summon accuser; those pudgy little horrors make some of the best spies.

Another great idea for an Asmodean spell book is the recent Gothic Grimoires Book Five: To Serve A Prince Undying from Legendary Games, available here on Paizo. Plenty of nifty stuff for would-be dark lords and their enforcers, including new inquisitions, how to become a LE antipaladin (they even reference the archetype from book 5 of WotW), feats, evil monk vows, drugs to peddle to the masses/use to control your flunkies, and guidelines on how to use torture (via the Heal skill) to weaken your captured enemies. It's got a spell called ruthless beating, what more do you want?


Has somebody spelled out the contract with Dessiter?


I did, but in spanish. I'm not confident I could transatlánticos it properly to English :/


Try. ;) I will have to translate it in german neverthless.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Ok, that's mine:

Spoiler:
In the year XXXX of the eight age of this world, under the auspex of Ashmodai, Father of all, Lord of the Nine Hells, Prince o Darkness, being gathered with the intention to seal a contract, behold the present: XXXXX (the character name), and representing Hell, his Legal Advisor Dessiter of Phistophilus. Being Sound of Mind and in possesion of their free will, the parts AKCNOWLEDGE:

That XXXX is interested in the lifelong service of a servant of the Nine Hells

That they understand the Infernal Law, which forbids to bind a denizen of the underworld to a less worthy being, acknowledging that the servant couldn't have a higher rank than the worth of the own soul.

That among those servants valids for his own, XXXX choose the service of.

That Dessiter of the Phistophiles is empowered to bind for a lifelong contract an infernal being through this legal compact.

That Dessiter of the Phistophiles wishes to see fulfiled a mission, which has a comparable hardship to the reward asked.

That XXX thinks himself as worthy of this labor.

That said mission consists in quelching permanently the three fires known as The Flames of Valtaerne, in Valtaerne Valley in the kindgom of Talingarde, over whom there is a divine intervention of the divine being known as Mitra, and to finish with the existance of the celestial agent Ara Mazra, real and only lord of the Hospitaliarian Order of St Macarius

Being in complete agreement of the above, both parts AGREE:

That Dessiter of the Phistophilus binds permantently a (Whatever devil is choosen, Nessian Warhound by default) to XXXX

That XXX has the mission to quelch the above mentioned Flames of Valtaerne

That the term to do so is until the end of the next winter after the sign of this contract.

That if XXX does note succeed in the mission, the Binding would be undone

That all responsability and owe of XXX with this contract finish in the moment the mission is fulfilled.

That the contract is completely valid in what is about the responsability and owe of Dessiter of the Phistophilus, to the end of the binding of (the devil), which will finish with the pernament death of XXX or (the devil)


The last clause is important for dessiter
Spoiler:
It means he can scry them after the mission is done, as long as they have the devils

I also mention my players that every single word has a * on it, and there is a long clause explaining every word.

For example, where says "three* Flame* of Valtaerne*" there is a
*three is the number affter two and before four
*flame is the burning gas in a combustion
*Valtaerne is the Valley in the mountains near the town of Sanctum, in the country of Talingarde, in the world of (Golarion or whatever world you use), which is the 227th prime material world in the Astral river (or some other short of magical coordenates that clearly identify Valtaerne)

And so on, with EVERY word in the contract. :)

in spanish:
En el año de XXX de la octava era de este mundo, ante los auspicios de Ashmodai, Padre de Todo, Señor de los Nueve Infiernos, Príncipe de las Tinieblas, habiéndose reunido con la intención de sellar un contrato, hayanse presentes por una parte XXX, y en representación del Infierno, su representante legal Dessiter de los Phistophilus. Estando todas las partes en plena facultad de sus capacidades mentales, y sin que exista compulsión o pérdida de la voluntad, las partes RECONOCEN:

Que XXX está interesado en el servicio por una vida de un sirviente de los nueve infiernos.

Que reconociendo la ley infernal que prohíbe atar a un habitante del inframundo a un ser de menor valía, reconoce que este ser no puede tener un rango superior al valor del alma propia.

Que de entre aquellos sirvientes disponibles, XXX opta por un (____)

Que Dessiter de los Phistophiles está facultado para vincular de por vida a un ser infernal, vía este contrato.

Que Dessiter de los Phistophilus desea ver cumplido una labor de dificultad comparable a la recompensa pedida.

Que XXX se reconoce capaz para realizar esa labor.

Que dicha labor consiste en apagar de manera permanente los tres fuegos conocidos como Las Llamas de Valtaerne, en el valle de Valtaerne en el reino de Talingarde, sobre los que reside una intervención divina del ser celestial conocido en Talingarde como Mitra, y acabar con la vida del agente celestial Azura Mathra, verdadero y único jefe de la Orden Hospitalaria de San Macarías.

Habiendo llegado a un acuerdo completo sobre lo anterior, las partes ACUERDAN:
Que Dessiter de Phistophilus otorga en este momento el vínculo permanente de un (_______) a XXX
Que XXX tiene la misión de apagar las anteriormente citadas Llamas de Valtaerne.

Que tiene de plazo para ello hasta el fin del siguiente invierno tras la firma del presente contrato

Que de no lograr XXX dicha misión, el vínculo sobre la criatura infernal anteriormente citada quedaría anulado.

Que toda responsabilidad y deber de XXX para con este contrato queda finalizado en el momento en el que cumpla su misión.

Que el contrato seguirá plenamente efectivo en lo que respecta a las responsabilidades y deberes de Dessiter de los Phistophilus, hasta el fin del ciclo de servicio de la criatura (____), servicio que finalizará con la muerte permanente de XXX o de (____)

Grand Lodge

I'll replace "XXXX" with "the signer" and have a space for all of them to sign at the bottom, like I did with the one Thorn gave them.

@gustavo iglesias -- There were only a couple of mistakes in the translation. That an easy fix.


The Mountain of the Phoenix has fallen, the Guardian Flame is extinguished.

Spoiler:
Arriving at the door to the temple (except the witch, who discovered the forbiddance effect the hard way and had to fly up), the PC's let the fire oracle open it while the rest of them waited in the wings (literally, as most were flying by natural means). Upon opening the door, The-Flame-That-Sings (TFTS)unleashed a Wall of Fire around the entire room and waited for the PC's to enter. Not one for hesitation, Grumblejack swooped into the room, taking a good deal more damage from the fire wall than the PC's expected, which unnerved them to say the least. Even the fire oracle looked unhappy about the damage, despite having resist fire 20.

Despite Grumblejack's daring manuever, his attack missed. He was immediately followed by Izevel, who immediately removed her mask and turned her gaze upon TFTS. It is worth noting here that the player of Izevel is the same player who has last two characters through nothing more than my evil dice-rolling (and multiple opportunities were given to avoid the damage or death, fate just conspired against him), so having Izevel turn TFTS to stone on the first round was worthwhile redemption. The PC's were quite happy with this turn of events, as they can also fulfill their deal with the vampire lord. Of course, when they thaw her out, she will be at full health and very, very unhappy. Hope they really research those binding rituals.

Then it was time to head up to the peak. Everyone had a fly buddy in case non-flyers got knocked off the staircase, which was the first place the phoenix put a wall of fire down, followed by fire storm. It set about half the party on fire. Poor Raiju, who had just rejoined the group after regenerating from his earlier fall, failed his save and again ran from the fight, although his player made a good call to transform to gaseous form to extinguish himself. The phoenix's first defeat came from a combined assault from the blackblade magus and Grumblejack, with an assist in the form of a fleshworm infestation spell from the oracle, which kept the phoenix from casting heal or anything else just long enough for it to be felled. During this time, the monk set off the trap on the Guardian Flame, and then discovered the nest and phoenix egg. His plan was to destroy the egg in the Flame, or break it. Thankfully, the witch took hold of the egg, recognizing it for what it was, and bargained with the newly resurrected phoenix for it to leave (they were pretty confident that they would not be able to take the phoenix a second time). The PC's were unhappy that the phoenix knew little of how to disable the three sacred fires. Now it's time for the other two flames.


Making the phoenix leave is such a cool event :)
Even if the PC pay such a big price for it (the eggs are worth a lot of gold)

Grand Lodge

@John Malueg -- What's the party's deal with the vamp lord?


The deal that for the blood of a living angel to feast on, he will make them a true vampire. To get his help, you have to promise to get the chalice. If you bring him an angel to feed on, he'll make you a vampire.

Grand Lodge

John Malueg wrote:
The deal that for the blood of a living angel to feast on, he will make them a true vampire. To get his help, you have to promise to get the chalice. If you bring him an angel to feed on, he'll make you a vampire.

Oh right, that. None of my player's really want that so I doubt it'll be something for them to really consider that much. Still though, it's a good reminder.

Grand Lodge

Your players wanting to have their characters do something during the winter months? How about looking for the Lost Angarsian Mine in Book 1? This adventure is AD&D, but can easily be adapted into Pathfinder. As well, they'll be the perfect level to take on a level 15 wizard by the end.

It's a great way to give them a bit of an XP boost. Especially considering what's coming up in Book 4 through 6.


Well, it's a good adition
:)

I don't track XP (just level up them at the proper time), and I think I preffer to have them under leveled, as they are more than the average party and I don't want them to walk over the e counters, but it might be a good sidequest if they aren't focused by then. When book IV starts, they'll have to do a lot of things in a row under preassure, so this might me a nice cha ge of pace, who nows.
Thanks :)

Grand Lodge

gustavo iglesias wrote:

Well, it's a good adition

:)

I don't track XP (just level up them at the proper time), and I think I preffer to have them under leveled, as they are more than the average party and I don't want them to walk over the e counters, but it might be a good sidequest if they aren't focused by then. When book IV starts, they'll have to do a lot of things in a row under preassure, so this might me a nice cha ge of pace, who nows.
Thanks :)

No prob.

I've been keeping track of the xp, but I too have only been leveling them up when they are supposed to be. I'm even using the Slow progression instead of Medium because they've been getting rather efficient at the game. They're by no means a powerful party. More like they're just luck with the dice. Last session nearly killed them with the tritons, but that's because the dice was against them that time.


I decided I'd have to optimize the encounters after they one-shot Argossarian, which was advertissed as a "tough encounter".

Grand Lodge

gustavo iglesias wrote:
I decided I'd have to optimize the encounters after they one-shot Argossarian, which was advertissed as a "tough encounter".

Knowing my party, and what they can do/absolutely can't do, I am afraid for them when they do that encounter. The oracle's essentially useless, the wizard is fire-based only, the two rogues have terrible "to hit", the cleric's built solidly as just a healer... only the anti-paladin and Grumblejack will be able to do anything. The ranger would have done well, but she's no longer playing.


kevin_video wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
I decided I'd have to optimize the encounters after they one-shot Argossarian, which was advertissed as a "tough encounter".
Knowing my party, and what they can do/absolutely can't do, I am afraid for them when they do that encounter. The oracle's essentially useless, the wizard is fire-based only, the two rogues have terrible "to hit", the cleric's built solidly as just a healer... only the anti-paladin and Grumblejack will be able to do anything. The ranger would have done well, but she's no longer playing.

Whats wrong about the fire using wizard? It´s the perfect weapon against a silver dragon!?

Grand Lodge

Patrick Kropp wrote:
Whats wrong about the fire using wizard? It´s the perfect weapon against a silver dragon!?

Yeah, but not the phoenix. It's fine for now, but eventually as the game progresses we're seeing more and more things resistant to fire. Not all that surprising though considering Asmodeus has the fire domain, and it's probably assumed that you're going to have a pyromancer, flame oracle, and fire domain cleric in the party.


Throw in a rod (or two) of Metamagic, Elemental: Cold.

Grand Lodge

Mirrel the Marvelous wrote:
Throw in a rod (or two) of Metamagic, Elemental: Cold.

Yeah, but that's being nice to them. I guess I could. Maybe when they do the Ice Troll King sidequest I'll have them find one.


I wouldn't give them an Elemental rod of cold. What I would do, is to make sure they learn about the phoenix beforehand (there are a lot of ways they could do so. Asking pilgrims, asking Barnabus, going to the library). Then make sure they learn and know the phoenix is completelly inmune to fire. They have a month to buy things and prepare, before going to Valtaerne. They can (and should) prepare acordingly.

If the wizards does not care about the Phoenix being inmune, then the DM shouldn't care either.


@Gary and other GM´s:

My players like to do some reconnaissance about the vale. Things they surely wan´t to know (but didn´t find any answers in the module):

1. Where are the armies protecting the vale stationed? The priests and archons in the temple sure. But where are the knights, archers and dwarves stationed? The map shows no chapter houses or other defensible buildings.

2. how many forces are stationed? I know there are the Knights of Alerion, Archers, Dwarven Forces, the Serene Order, the Blessed Knight order with their Griffons and the priests of Mitra. But nothing about numbers. I don´t think the quantities given in the AP are the defending force - it seems only the part who is battling the PC´s.

3. Siege enginges. What siege engines does the Vale have? And how many? One player wants to use his minions especially to disrupt them and to cut supply lines etc (makes more sense for a thief guild oriented oranisation)

4. One player plays a fallen Paladin. Can I expect that he knows the general layout of the vale? I told him EVERY paladin has to make the pilgrimage to the vale before becomming a paladin. So he was already there. What infos would you give him?

Grand Lodge

@Patrick Kropp -- You might want to forward this to FB as well because I'm not sure how often we'll see Gary here, nowadays.


Patrick: I made a military campment right after the two bridges. There is where most of the guard lives, including knights.
I made the dwarves and archers (elven archers in my game) to detach there too. Monks and clerics come from the several churches and monasteries in Sanctum.

I made the stationing army to be around 500 watchmen, 100 holy warriors, 100 knights, 100 elves, 100 dwarves, 100 monks, for about 1000 troops, non counting clerics or celestial beings.

About Siege engines, I'd put couple catapults in the campment too. They aren't important in the battle, other than the lonely random stone that can fall into one of the players. Remember than his minions, thieve or not, would be detected by the Watchers unless they are shielded against detect evil.

In my game, there was a paladin too. He was actually serving in Valtaerne by background, so I gave him info about the Watchers, the Watchtower, 4 "living statues" that are supposed to fight for the guard if needed, although he hasn't seen them moving, ever (Valtaerne has not been attacked in decades), the average number of troops both in the Watchtower and Sanctum, the existance of auxiliar elven archers and a dwarven century, and that the Knights of Saint Angelo have nearly 100 heavy knights there.

He knows that there are three proofs that most pilgrims take, including climbing to a Phoenix mountain, a laberynth, and then a Cathedral only for the Anointed. I told him that he did not make the proofs, because he was too impatient to do them, and he was told to wait. That was one of the reasons he was starting to feel corruption, and why he challenged someone to duel (it was a mook duel to first blood against Artius Fidelis' son, but he cheated and killed the guy, so he was sent to Brandescar). Most of this info can be learned through Barnabus Thrane, asking pilgrims, or kidnapping a member of St Macharius (which my PC also did anyways), but it helps the players to feel like having a background is useful, which I like.

Hope it helps


Okey, today we have a crunchy report :)

Battle of the Bridges, including some of my upgrades to the defending forces:
The party wizard decided to take down the guy with the evil book. I took Poolydorus (book IV) stats, and gave him a clockwork guardian, a improved familiar (a quasit) and a Invisible Stalker. The Wizard went there to ask for the book, but after watching the place, he decided not to buy. So he teleported in, with a undead Fast Zombie Cyclops he has made invisible beforehand, plus his newly taken Bone Devil (from the pact with Dessiter). He was prebuff with a few spells (invisibility, mirror image, etc) and the combat was relatively short (I did not upgrade Polydurus, and his HP are quite lacking). He took the book I mentioned beforehand, and was delighted by the spells. Specially, Blood Money, which is a damn good spell to raise dead.

They then decided which general they took help from the 4 options Sakkaroth gave them.
1) Nightmane, with 200 extra ranger bugbear and 50 scouts in dire wolf
2) Headtaker, with 200 extra barbarian bugbear and 50 trolls
3) Crowfather, with 200 extra rogue bugbear and 50 shaman bugbear
4) Raiju, with 200 extra fighter bugbears and 50 elite bugbear in heavy armor.

They took nightmane, after a bit of debate, because of the extra infiltration, higher mobility and extra ranged weapons.

They proceed to move to Valtaerne, without many problems. After a quick battle plan, with help from Nightmane, they decided to take the roof of the Watchtower by assault with the PC and a bit of Help from a few followers (I decided that every follower NOT with the PC, gave a +1 VP, because of the general help in the fight. Those with the PC did not provide extra VP, but were available for the fights. Some people took a few NPC with them, like the Nightmare, two Bone devils and a Erinye. Grumblejack, Franz Mott, Izivel, the golem, plus a Nessian Warhound, was with the rest of the army, leading them.

They assaulted the watchtower from afar. They cast Silence from 400+ feet, to make the Gong unusable, and in the same round, they assaulted the roof. Several people went there through Dimensional door, and the devils used Teleport. With a hasted flying nightmare and flying hasted eidolon, the paladin and summoner used a x4 move to get into the vicinity, able to act in the next round.

The fight was short. They cast a wall of ice in form of dome around the Bell, proceed to obliterate the 4 soldiers in the roof, and then took down the lammassu (which made a little damage in the process,and communicated telepatically with Artius, which gave a few orders and made a horn sound) Then the Antipaladin disguised himself as Artius Fidelis, and went down one level, urging the troops to go to the roof ASAP, even without donning full armor, to "shoot from there". Those that went were slaughtered mercilesly by the creatures above, but Artius appeared in the floor. A quick "he's an impostor" by the Antipaladin leaded to a charisma contest, but most fighters were able to pierce the disguise (a DC 11 illusion once you have a reason to roll). A quick duel was in place, with Artius (upgraded stats by me, 12th level two handed archetype fighter) making a very big crit agianst the PC, before he was smashed and commanded (with Cornugon Smash+Aura of Obedience combo and Conductive weapon + Command Cruelty) to kneel, and drop the weapon. In the next round, the Antipaladin mercilessly cut his throat (he wasn't really helpless, but he was only 10hp left or so, and it was a cute scene so I let him to Coup de Grace anyway :) )

The tower was completely under control shortly. I made the golems to be four advanced clay golems, but not very useful anyways. The PC, coming from above, went to the side guardrooms, and with a Golembane Scarab and a Inquisitor archer, the golems died from the arrow slits without a chance to use their dreaded Cursed Wounds. Then the army entered the watchtower, and they proceed to go to the first bridge.

A quick wedge in V formation from Knights of Saint Angelo arrived, but the PC faced them. I upgraded the knights to be 5th level cavaliers, and sir Dalidan to be a 10th level cavaliers. All of them had Cavalry Formation and Sir dalidan gave them Coordinated charge, so all of them could charge as an inmediate action when Sir Dalidan charged, and then charge again in their turn. With Sprited charge and Challenge, that was a potential few hundreds damage right there (with +16 attack charging, counting the bonuses from several cavalier stuff). However, the PC used a shield wall of Bloody Skeleton with Tower Shields to absorb the first charges, and to drag them into combat. A few more managed to charge through the line of skeletons, piercing several Mirror Images from the Magus, and damaging a few bone devils and such. The Wizard cast Cloud Kill, which completelly obliterated the 10 level 5 cavaliers in close Cavalry formation (a few survived, but their horses died). The Paladin took down Sir Dalidan the brave, and the knights were quickly dispatched by the army once their leaders went down.

They were then attacked by a volley arrow, and found one hundred archers shooting them from +250' in a sloop hill (difficult terrain to run uphil). They sent the vampires in gaseus form to destroy the ranks, while they assaulted the 11th level fighter weapon master/wizard conjurer/arcane archer eleven lord and his retinue of 5th level archer fighters. Some teleports, flying mounts, and haste, combined with no one in medium or heavy armor, made the uphill fast, and only a few more arrows shot before the whole archer line was taken down by a combination of undead fast zombie cyclops, bone devils, charging paladins in nightmares, and flying eidolons. The arcane archer, which had +23/+23/+23/+18 (and two arrows in the first shot), and enough damage to take down an elephant, rolled incredibly low. He did a bit of damage to the Antipaladin, and then the whole 10 archer retinue and himself were taken down.

The PC continued to press, using Wands of Infernal Healing in the meanwhile, and chugging a few healing potions.

They saw a dwarven century, made of 6th level Tower Shield Fighters, which were fighting doing a testudo (shield wall feat), using their tower shield for heavy cover. Arrows weren't very useful there, and with heavy cover, the fireballs weren't very useful anyways. HAving extra bonus vs goblinoids, being impervious to arrows, and hardly damaged by most minions, the PC decided to take down the dwarven leader (a fighter 7/stalwart defender 4) plus his two lvl 8 Brides of Father mountain and his 10 retinue fighters, in testudo formation. However, Testudo formation showed to be a poor defense against Create Spiked Pit and Wall of Fire. The retinue, included the clerics, went down incredibly fast (they went REALLY down. Like 50' down to a huge pit with spikes). The Leader managed to do 50 hp to the Magus before he died.

Then the Brother Nicodemus, a Tetori Monk with the Snappling Turtle style, and 8 monks of the ARchon style appeared. The charging eidolon almost took him down, but he managed to grapple him when the eidolon failed one attack. With the monks using Archon Style to absorb attacks, and making "aid another" maneuvers to give bonus to the already heavily buffed monk (with mage armor, shield, bull streght, bear's endurance, heroism and other potions), the monk was able to grapple, pin and using Stunning Pin, to Jawbreak and Bonebreak the eidolon, breaking one bone for 5 STR points. However, the monks did not last long enough, despite their AC 27. The erinye was blasting them with Unholy Blight (Which, being Will save, did not allow them to use evasion), and they finally went down, with the Brother Nicodemus trying to break another bonus when he died (with orc ferocity) without success.

After that, they watched how their army destroyed most of the defending watch, but when they approached the bridge, three heavy armored flying figures landed into the bridge, Ironman style. Then they formed a shield wall there and we finished the session in an appropiated break point.

Wow. Long report. A lot of battle there :)


I think I'll have to fudge tactics next week :/

Spoiler:
they'll have 3 battles in a row with no healing time.
The shield archons aren't very difficult. They'll face 3, (because they are 6 players) and I made them Advanced (si.pke advance template) because they are more optimized than the average party.
Then they face the aassimars. I gave them lvl 7 to have Death from above feat, and changed their celestial griffin by celestial pegasi (I want to emphasize the Barca vs Darius confrontation, only barca uses griffin, and Darius use pegasi). With the correct calculation (the one in the book are wrong), that's 3d8+33 per attack while smiting, not counting possible bonus from other spells or divine bond. With eagle's splendor and divine favor up (instead of weaksauce sun metal), they are doing 3d8+45 with a +22 to hit when charging from above. 9 of those, with flyby attack, are kinda decent shocktroopers.

But then comes the strong fight. The clerics. Being my players 6, I'd raise the number of enemies to 6 too. I change the righteous might for puritying fires of mitra in the form of flame strike. And there comes the problem. 6 clerics multiplyied by 9d6 mean 54d6, or 180+hp. That's half the party dead in the first round.

The clerics have a bad initiative, that might be the only saving point for the PC. Other tha that, it seems like some of the players are going to be heavily charred...


Book Three is also back in stock! Also, all old back orders should be in the process of being fulfilled! Thanks for everyone's patience and thanks for supporting "Way of the Wicked".

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games


The Return to Sanctum:

Spoiler:
After the defeat of Suchandra, the PC's returned to Sanctum to rest up before striking out to investigate the Cathedral. Having claimed most of the Vale, they did not spend much time healing while returning to the town, so they were quite displeased when Anteus swept down from above. It was a brief fight. One of the rocs was caught by Izevel's gaze midflight (and nearly landed on the dwarf monk), the other failed a Fly check while trying to sharply ascend (with the fight in talon), leaving open to attack from Grumblejack and the magus. Anteus started off well, one-shotting Raiju. A combined magical assault from Trik, the oracle, and Artephius made pretty short work of him, however. And Raiju got to finish him off, after being broght back by Trik. The oracle and Trik heard the whisper of Asmodeus, to which Trik replied, "Father." and sacrificed the giant by carving out his still beating heart and setting it aflame in the name of Asmodeus. They were very pleased with their reward. The half-orc armor fighter is now going to take levels in cavalier with a fiendish hippogriff as his mount. The PC's then took the next couple of weeks to craft a magic bow for Izevel, as well as to melt down and make some mithral armor for both Izevel and the fire oracle (a gnome) out of Anteus' helmet.


To the worthy Master Malueg:

Great work there, but if you really want to go the recycling route with your enemies I'd

Spoiler:
turn Anteus into a zombie. Even if you can't bring him into the dungeon, he can still have his uses. Leaving him behind to pound on any meddling do-gooders who seek escape is just one fine idea.

Besides, how often do you get to create a Zombie Storm Giant?


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

For those that use Hero Lab and are running or playing in Way of the Wicked I have good news as Book 3 has been inputted in HL by the community. These are 100% free to download and use.

The packages are broken up into into two pieces. One is for GM's that has both the player equipment and the DM monsters and a Player pack that has just the stuff that Players need.

If you have not setup the Powered by HL feature for the Community start with this Setup Post.

For GMs you need to install the Community Bestiary which requires a bunch of the Official Packages to load. But once installed you have access to all the Player content and to all the monsters and encounters for Book 1, Book 2 and Book3. You can download the portfolios and the encounter .por files from d20pfsrd. The files are AP(FMG) - Way of the Wicked PART1.zip and AP(FMG) - Way of the Wicked PART2.zip.

For Players you need to install the Community Player Pack which requires nothing more then the base HL license and contains the traits, gear, and magic items for Book 1, 2 & 3. The latest version provides a new Antipaladin archetype that allows one to play a LE or NE Antipladin instead of CE as is mentioned in book 1.


And there we go.
Today, a battle intensive session.

Spoiler:
We started with the fight vs three advanced shielded archons.

With extra armor from the advanced template (and adjusting a minor error in the statblock to count for shield focus), they were quite tough. They posed some threat too, with the extra +2 to hit and damage from Advanced Template and Divine power up from the begining, they were doing like +21/+21/+16 with 1d8+13, which is decent damage. I killed a couple zombie cyclops, but the use of Dimensional anchor forbid them to use Transposition succesfullly.

Inmediately, they faced 9 lvl 7 paladin aasimars, with celestial pegasus, which had flyby attack and sprited charge, plus death from above feat (+5 when charging from above). They did some damage to the Paladin (3d8+40 or so), and they Crit another zombie cyclop, which was obliterated by the impact. However, quick succession of attacks from spells and bows, and the pegasus died fast, with some paladins falling to the river and drowing, and other falling to the ground to be slaughtered.
Once again, without any rest, a number of clerics and infantry come. There were 6 clerics, and I traded Righteous Might for Flame strike, so they were able to do +54d6 with 6x Flamestrike, an impressive amount of damage. Not that it matter, as they have low innitiative, and they couldn't do much. Befor they acted, they were surrounded by walls of ice and wall of fire, blocking LOS and LOE. They dispelled the wall of fire, though they needed 6 attempts (!). They died shortly after that.

The PC took care of the prisioners, jailing them. One of them forced the Reeve to acept that his wife lay with all the PC to save the women and children (which is an utter lie). After some torturing, the PC went to the Phoenix mountain, using the zombified corpses of the celestial pegasi as mounts (which I find very evil, actually). Once there, they were surprised by The Flame That Sings (with a very high stealth skill, that's easy) The Peri started the combat with a flame wall in the surprising round, and some pyrotechnics to full the room with smoke (which she is immune to). After a few fireball and flame strike (using to her adventage the ability to fly, while the rest of flying magic is forbiden), she engaged in melee, in form of Whirlwhild. With a very high armor (34 with the advanced template, plus -4 DEX and -2 to hit for those captured by the whirlwind), the fight wasn't easy. However the Dimensional anchor was again very useful as it forbid her to use Flame Jump(to heal). The Greater Invisibility of the rogue made her really high armor much more easy to target, and she finally went down.


Has somebody an idea for a cool sidequest to convince the duergar to join the pc´s forces? My players are short of xp and I dislike the solution in the adventure (just a single roll of diplomacy if I remember).

- maybe the duergar are not united - the king died shortly and the ruling council must first find his only son (missing in the underdark)

- maybe the duergar want the PC first to reclaim their ancient mithral mine (the one mentioned in book one and six if I remember correctly)

Or have you adventures from the dungeon magazine (short best played in one session!) you could recommend.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Patrick Kropp wrote:
Has somebody an idea for a cool sidequest to convince the duergar to join the pc´s forces? My players are short of xp and I dislike the solution in the adventure (just a single roll of diplomacy if I remember)...

The official resolution may not be what you think it is.

Spoiler:
If you read ahead to Book Six, they don't give you any help at all. So, you get some help in Book Three but, long term... meh.
If you want to make it more involved, you may also want to tweak the outcome, too. Now, having said that, I kind of had the same feeling. One approach would be to develop it into an intense RP session, but I'd also love to hear suggestions as to modules/etc. (There may even be information worth "mining" in FMG's upcoming AP!)

Grand Lodge

I have to side with SnowHeart on this one. At least somewhat. It's not overly worth it to do a side quest for them, but if you're really wanting to, and don't mind doing a little conversion work for 2E and using both 3pp and official Paizo, as well as converting 3E converted to Pathfinder with the Creature Catalog for a lot of the monsters already in it, then my suggestion for the mining expedition was this. It's literally going into a mithral mine and getting it back for "dwarves". The part of "Enter the Party" is exactly what you're looking for.

Another option is this. Just change "dwarf" to "duergar". And of course adjust for level.


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I made my meet and greet with the Duergar much more of a roleplay intensive situation. First, they had to find out about them, then they researched what might impress them. They set their minions about capturing dwarven sacrifices. The duergar wanted to know the actual plan the PC's had for taking the Vale, where was their army, etc. Then they had to symbolically become part of the clan, which meant dining on dwarf flesh. For the dwarf monk in the party, it was a somewhat squicky kind of moment, but given his exceedingly low Cha, he pulled it off. And then inadvertently went through a ritual to awaken his duergar heritage.


I also use this opportunity to give them some xp they are lacking at the moment. I tought more about 1 or 2 quick fights. Maybe to liberate a mine section or something. Or to get somehing the duergar want (dwarves)


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Are they still operating out of Ghastenhall? What about tossing an inquisitor at them? Turn it into a small adventure while reminding them they're being hunted too and need to be smart?


At the moment not. At the moment they are at castle westkirk and met the fire axe. Now they want to visit the duergar (after recruiting the Ogre mage raiju). Maybe I let them fight some monsters of the horde (the ones who want to kill raiju).

Has anyone a suggestion on a relationship between Breuder (crime boss in ghastenhall) and the Vampire? Do Breuder know of him? Virtually every criminal enterprise can be traced to him. so there must be a connection to Nicolas Breuder.

Grand Lodge

Patrick Kropp wrote:

At the moment not. At the moment they are at castle westkirk and met the fire axe. Now they want to visit the duergar (after recruiting the Ogre mage raiju). Maybe I let them fight some monsters of the horde (the ones who want to kill raiju).

Has anyone a suggestion on a relationship between Breuder (crime boss in ghastenhall) and the Vampire? Do Breuder know of him? Virtually every criminal enterprise can be traced to him. so there must be a connection to Nicolas Breuder.

We don't have enough dragons in this campaign, so add in An Icy Heart and just adjust it for the level. There's really not too many mountain adventures. Might have to go through some really old Dungeon Magazines. Suggestion would be Dungeon 3 for "The Book With No End".

As for the relationship in the second question, I just had it that Breuder hasn't personally met the vampire, but there is a respect to give someone of that caliber.


Book 3 ended last night.

We prepared something special for the Cathedral of Mitra Made Manifest after defeating Ara Mathra. The Oracle, who is the priest of the party, where preparing for weeks all the material for a Unhallow spell to consecrate to Asmodeus part of the Cathedral temporally... so the LE Paladin and party leader could celebrate his weeding with other PC on the defiled altar, now an Asmodian Altar.
Love is sooooo great wonderful. ^^

Spoiler:

The party take precautions to not let the Markadian forces known what was happening on the valley, but is nearly impossible occult all that; a simple Sending spell from some spellcasting is all is needed. An once the army arrives, a little investigation will scream "ASMODEUS", and that the Lord of Hell ha an alliance with the monster's army. That can be a problem with the fake battle on book 6. I'm thinking of changing that part of book 6. What people think of that?

Grand Lodge

Alaryth wrote:

** spoiler omitted **

What do you think of that?

Really shouldn't matter, actually. Just means that they've got a backer, and that everyone of Mitra's faith should just be on their guard more. Realistically I can't see it changing anything significant.


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Yet another session with combat intensive focus.

Spoiler:
We followed the session from the fight with the Peri. The players advanced through the stairs, but where assaulted by the phoenix. He was flying above them, and started the fight using quickened wall of fire and firestorm. The PC were protected with Communal Protection from Energy, but the firestorm and wall of fire was eating through the shield very fast. The Phoenix used his fire storms and wall of fire before engaging in melee, and grabbing one of the Players, with the intention of throwing him from the top of the mountain. However, other player managed to cast Lithany of Escape, and freed him.

After some rounds, the phoenix fall. After the resurrection, the players where ready to engage him in full round. However, the phoenix (which I made a Celestial templated phoenix) was able to smite evil the paladin, punching him near death (+20 damage per hit with smite evil). The fight was short after that.

The players went back to sanctum, and rested there a bit, being attacked by a pair of storm giants flying in rocs, and a flock of pegasus. The PC defeated the giants and roc easily, but the pegasi were defeated by a group of infernal griffin (like those in the heraldic of Barca).

The PC then go to the Laberythn, defeating the archons and blinking dogs in unisteresting combats (the PC have way too much forces in this AP. They are right now a group of 6 players, with bone devils, half-fiend ogres, a medusa, hell-hounds, a Bloody Skeleton Storm Giant, and several other stuff. The minions alone can defeat things like the Legion Archons without a sweat). They resolved the three riddles with ease (one of the players solved two of them nearly instantly), and they found and killed the Kirin.

We left the game there, and they have to fight yet versus the Leonal (which I'd give a celestial dire-tiger companion), and then two very heavily modified NPC, an Oracle 14/monk 1 and a Monk (flowing monk) 15/oracle 1, which will be a very fun fight I think.

Grand Lodge

@gustavo iglesias -- Those are some nice add-ons. I'm going to mark this and make note of them for myself. In my notes already, I've added Rapture's Remains, from Pathways 21. My story variant on the creature is he's Chargammon's younger brother who was converted. That should give them a bit of a challenge.


"You are not welcome here."

Spoiler:
At least, that's what the legion archons told the party the first time they attempted to scout the Garden of Serenity. This time, the villians did not care. After debating the best way to approach the Cathedral, some argued to approach from the air and avoid the dock and labrynth, others suggested a land approach and creating a hole in the side of the Hall of Hunters. In the end, the villians chose to come in by way of a larger fishing boat, to better carry the Nessian War Hounds.

Once approximately 400ft from the dock, the fire oracle sent a fireball at the archons (at this point the PC's believed the archons to be nothing more than constructs thanks to a blown knowledge check). To keep things more interesting, I decided that the dock and Hall were part of the demiplane containing the Garden and Cathedral, and that casting a spell through the side of dimensional barrier probably wouldn't work well for the spell. Alerted to the presence of hostiles, the archons took wing, as did several villians. The half-orc fighter mounted his fiendish hippogriff, Grumblejack took wing with the monk in tow, Izevel carried the magus, and the witch carried Trik with his prehensile beard.

After deploying their mirror images, and having several of the PC's reach the dock, the archons teleported back to the dock, except for the one engaged in hand-to-hand midair combat with the half-orc. The dock became a brutal kill zone, with the archons dealing out significant damage with their whirlwind greatsword attacks. In the long run, however, the PC's were victorious, although Robert the Rapier was killed and then brought back by Trik.

Highlight of the evening was the archon taking out the fiendish hippogriff mount of the fighter, who fell 55 feet, dropped his tower shield and then swam 300 feet to the dock.

Next week we should get further into the garden. I have some thoughts and questions about this. First, I am thinking of having the demiplane be strongly Lawful and Good aligned, with impeded magic. My question is how high is the wall of the labrinth? I'm thinking 20 feet, and that if they move higher than the wall off the floor of the maze, they have the same issue with trying to fly to the Cathedral direct, that it breaks the planar boundary.


Gameplay update:

Spoiler:
After the battle on the dock, the PC's took the opportunity to heal up after the fight, giving Lea the Leonal time to prepare for the villains. Cautiously the villians entered. Once they were within the room, she pounced. Her roar special attack incapacitated nearly the entire party. Grumblejack, Raiju and Artephius all succumbed to the full brunt of being deafened and blinded, rendering Artiphius nearly useless in the battle for a few rounds (I ruled that since golems require verbal commands, they must be able to be deafened, and it has an alignment. The witch that commands him was not pleased about this.)Out of the entire group, only the fighter, witch and Robert the Rapier were unaffected. In the following round, Lea unleashed the Wall of Force, isolating the PC's, which the fighter found out rather quickly when he ran into the wall. Then she swiftly moved in for the literal kill. In the span of two rounds, the oracle was dead. In another two rounds she would have slain Trik and Robert with the rate she was dishing out damage. The half-orc was slowly making his way around the wall, and the magus began attacking the leonal with electric attacks. For some reason, none of the PC's attempted to identify either the leanol or the wall of force for what they were. It was becoming a very tense fight, although the PC's did attempt to guide Grumblejack towards the fight (he was blinded, and his deafness had worn off) by telling him to turn around and move forward five steps. Unfortunately, he happened to have the wall of force behind him, and it narrowed towards the entrance of the room, so he took a step, hit the wall, slid to his left, took a step, hit the wall, slid to left... repeat. This path lead him through the extinguished fire pit and cooking pots. He had quite the collection by the time he stopped. In the end, it was Trik who saved the party from several more party deaths by banishing Lea. That should prove to be interesting later in the path.
Moving on the Labrynth, it took my group three tries to get the first riddle. I was cruel in that I limited the pathways to being 5ft. wide, and if the PC's went higher than the 20 ft. tall walls, they would be subject to the same effect of someone trying to fly closer from outside the Labrynth. This made the battle with the blink dogs interesting. It was a good way to make the PC's burn resources against a lower threat foe (aside from Sirus, who did some good damage to Artephius and Grumblejack). Fingers crossed for the upcoming conclusion to the Labrynth.
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gustavo iglesias wrote:

Okey, today we have a crunchy report :)

** spoiler omitted **...

can you provide me the enhanced stats?.


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Another flame extinguished:

Spoiler:
Continuing their trek through the Labrynth, the villains were again stumped by the riddles of the wisps. They would spend two more of their villainous action points to get the answers. Along the way they slaughtered the kirin, most of them rather quickly by a combination of black tentacles (the witch rolled very well for initiative)and acid-modified fireballs. The witch was delighted to procure more things with which to create magic items. Finally, it was time to extinguish the flame. About half the party went after the Master of Serenity (redesigned as a flowing water monk with Crane style feats), while the other half went after the Oracle of Mitra. The duergar monk spent most of the fight on the ground, after being tripped repeatedly by the Master, who also managed to have Artephius pummel the downed duergar monk as well. The half-orc fighter was also growing frustrated, as the Master kept moving, forcing the fighter to charge and attack him, which the Master swatted away. Sadly, however, despite deploying blade barrier twice and using three heal spells, the Oracle eventually succumbed to a massive assault by the PC's (eventually killed by a crossbow bolt from Trik). The Master, talented though he was, was outnumbered. The thousand stairs await them.

At this point I'm thinking this might be a good point for the PC's to rest, given some of the upcoming fights. What have other people done or plan to do? Part of me really wants to push them to their limits and beyond, but part holds back, mostly the part that hates hearing whining from spellcasters with no more spells to cast for the day. :)

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