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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kevin_video wrote:
Wiggz wrote:
I am. But I don't have a printer working right now and I'm not in a position to do most of my reading in front of the computer. The books are more accessable for me.
Fair enough.

There's that and then there's the 'buy it now and who knows when we'll get it to you' thing. Not that I have even the slightest reason to be mistrustful of the vendor, I'm just of the opinion that before I lay cash down for something I want to know that its actually available.

And again, VERY excited at the prospect of running this AP.


A general question to put out there for those who have run it, would you give XP for some of the battles where they sent others to fight, specifically...

Spoiler:
Sending the Diergar to fight the dwarves or the vampire spawn to fight the monks

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

Our group is just starting Book-3.

I have to give this Adventure Path a big compliment, regarding high (10th) level play:

As other (not named) adventure paths get into high-level play, only the monster's CR goes up, but otherwise it "plays" just like the low level stuff.

But with this adventure path, it actually "feels" like the stuff you would expect at high-levels. You have kingdom sweeping events. You are commanding armies. You are destroying entire churches/religions. You may have demons, ogres, vampires, etc at your command.
Heck - I even have one player's cleric (undead lord) riding a skeletal dragon (Argossarian from book-2).

This has been exactly what we were looking for with high-level play!


Banesfinger wrote:

Heck - I even have one player's cleric (undead lord) riding a skeletal dragon (Argossarian from book-2)

I'm finishing book 6, and our Necromancer Wizard rides Chargammon fast zombie, Erimanthias fast zombie, or Nyggothr flying bloody skeleton, depending on the day.

Some other players ride on zombie rocs, or zombie thunderbirds. They also have zombie Shoggoths, and a skeletal bandersnatch.


Hmm, so the start up of Book IV is getting closer. My PC's acquired the chalice for the vampire, although they are indecisive about who will become the vampire. I do think I'll steer the oracle away from becoming a vamipre, as I can already tell he won't be happy not having full vamp powers and bonuses right out of the gate. Plus he will become one of the most overpowered PC's in the group. I think I can swing his opinion to becoming a vampire, though. His character is exceedingly letigous as part of his Oracle's curse. I figured if it's explained to him that becoming any kind of undead prevents your soul from moving on the next realm (already used it up becoming a vampire), it violates contract agreement.

Regardless, that is not what I'm wondering about. The PC's managed to petrify (with Izavel's help)The Fire That Sings. This is the "angel" they have chosen to give to the vampire lord as payment for becoming a vampire. My question: How do you hold a flaming, angry, native celestial being still long enough for a vampire to feed? Thoughts, ideas?


Dimensional Lock and lots of fire resistance.


Ha! Did I also mention she is at full hitpoints and abilities? Izevel caught her with the gaze in the first round. Oh, what hoops should I have them jump through for access to an 8th level spell? Of course, it should not take them more than a minute to subdue her while tagging her with a Dimensional Anchor. Whether or not they will think of it, I have no idea. I believe at last dicussion they wanted a way to physically and magically restrain her so the vamp could take his time.


John Malueg: Have you read Marvel comic classic "The Thanos Quest"? I'll do it the same way Thanos gave The Runner to The Collector. Which is a very Lawful Evil way to do things.


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Gustavo: I have not, but I think a friend of mine might be able to track it down, thanks for the suggestion.

Now, some extra flavor text. The group's half-orc fighter (armor master)/anti-paladin of Asmodeus got taken out during the battle with Ara Mathra. Since there's vampires and liches available, and somebody mentioned graveknight, I thought it might fit and explain how the information is found. So here's a little story on the offer made to the character (hidden for the sake of space and those not interested):

The Choice:
In the burning light of a descending column of heavenly fire, called forth by Ara Mathra, you catch a fleeting glimpse of the paradise promised to the Mitrans. In an instant, it is gone, leaving you in warm darkness. Not just warm, but growing steadily hotter. As the heat intensifies even more, you realize you have drifting down, that the darkness is shifting to a reddish glow from beneath you, getting brighter with each passing moment. The heat becomes insufferable, causing a pain unlike any you had physically experienced. It is at once piercing and shrill, yet still constantly throbbing. The wailing of millions of voices tears through your mind, the only part of your existence which remains. As the already excruciating pain increases even more, it slowly, or perhaps in the blink of an eye, begins shredding your memories a piece at a time, flaying away identity and meaning. Continuing your descent, beyond sanity with suffering, you are only dimly aware that you have closed the gap with an undulating, flesh-like mass beneath you. In that dim awareness you see a terrifying skeletal boat; great boney wings without flesh outstretched as if sails atop a boat made of bone. At the back of the boat, so like the whaling boats of the Mitrans, stands a robed figure, red eyes burning out from within a darkened hood. At the fore of the boat stands a massive creature with large bat-like wings and two curved horns atop his humanoid face. It is a shame you do not recognize Grumblejack, as he dips a mighty long-poled meat-hook into the fleshy mas to pull out a new lemure.
Identity and meaning almost completely gone, the flicker of soul that was you drifts closer still to the mass of flesh, there to begin an infernal time of nothing but suffering…

A cold darkness envelops you. It is watching you. With a start, you realize you are aware of yourself again, memories and meaning back again.
“You have a choice, Lowgrut.” Spoke the Darkness in a thousand terrible voices.
“Who are you, where am I?” you ask.
“We represent other parties with an interest in Talingarde. The Father will topple the Friend, that is without refute. What happens after remains a question. We offer a choice.” Spoke the Darkness.
“I serve the Father.” you reply.
“And no one has asked you not to. But know this: what you have glimpsed is what will await nearly all of your companions. In exchange for a way out of eternal suffrage, we ask that the Asmodean way be not the only way followed in the wake of the Mitrans’ destruction.” Stated the Darkness.
“How do I escape?” you ask.
“We will grant to you the knowledge to bind yourself to your armor. As long as it remains, you shall always rise again. When the day comes and the armor destroyed, you will simply cease to be. Your soul will already be gone. But for this knowledge you must represent us in whatever new land you create. And Asmodeus must not know until you have dispatched with your soul, lest he call in your contract. The choice is yours.”


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RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

For room 1-22: Second Trial of the Worthy,

It says the two letter 'e's in servant are actually buttons (regarding the inscription "Attend my servants! Who is greater lord than I?"

But the word "servant" only has one (1) letter 'e'?

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

Another question:

Page 80, "Did the PCs keep their deeds a secret?"

Second sentence asks: "Did Taranae teleport away?"

Who is Taranae?


Banesfinger wrote:

For room 1-22: Second Trial of the Worthy,

It says the two letter 'e's in servant are actually buttons (regarding the inscription "Attend my servants! Who is greater lord than I?"

But the word "servant" only has one (1) letter 'e'?

I'd just assume it meant the two s's in servants

Banesfinger wrote:


Another question:

Page 80, "Did the PCs keep their deeds a secret?"

Second sentence asks: "Did Taranae teleport away?"

Who is Taranae?

It's supposed to be Taranae. The Emmisary in White (pg. 77)


Geistlinger wrote:
Banesfinger wrote:

For room 1-22: Second Trial of the Worthy,

It says the two letter 'e's in servant are actually buttons (regarding the inscription "Attend my servants! Who is greater lord than I?"

But the word "servant" only has one (1) letter 'e'?

I'd just assume it meant the two s's in servants

I guess the riddle has some hint about the e itself, as he is asking who is a greater lord than I, and E comes before I.

I'd say that there's only one e, and you only need to press one to make it work.


I'd say the riddle isn't very good. I'll have to think about something else (and translate in French too). ^^

Grand Lodge

On page 25 I see the stats for "Zashur Arzen" for Thane Zashur Arzen, but what are the stats for Zargun Arzen? Do we assume that they have the exact same stats?

EDIT: Also, anyone who's already done this, how did you deal with finding dwarves for the duergar? Just homebrew up a mission?


I believe that my group used the actions of their villainous organization to capture the dwarves.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Kevin: I imagine Gary didn't see a need to stat him as the duergar fight as a unit and not as individual NPCs. The "unit fights", just like with minions from the evil organization, are all hand-wave/narrative affairs IMO.

Book 3, Page 25 wrote:
These duergar do not join the PC’s retinue but instead fight together as a unit.

On "finding dwarves"... what do you mean? Are you referring to page 50? If so, I took that to just mean any survivors from Event Five.

Grand Lodge

SnowHeart wrote:

Kevin: I imagine Gary didn't see a need to stat him as the duergar fight as a unit and not as individual NPCs. The "unit fights", just like with minions from the evil organization, are all hand-wave/narrative affairs IMO.

On "finding dwarves"... what do you mean? Are you referring to page 50? If so, I took that to just mean any survivors from Event Five.

Fair enough. I figured he'd at least be pointed out as a cavalier or someone who's not just a plain warrior 1 so you could see his leadership abilities, or something to that effect. Now I'm kind of disappointed that the son is just part of the "mob".

No, I'm talking about the +10 bonus you could get by giving them up as gifts. Thought maybe a side quest or something. You need to convince him, but there's no way you'll get that DC. So, you're close, but need that extra +10. You've already killed the Watchwall dwarves, so where do you find more? Maybe the duegar are at war with other dwarves on the mountains. Perhaps if you were raid the stronghold and bring back a few P.O.W.s that could be roasted alive later, maybe he'll help.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Oh! Since dwarves live throughout Talingarde and are not inherently more or less powerful than humans, I would have the party just kidnap some through a minion Abduct Peasants action. If it has to be some "special dwarves" to justify a +10, then just increase the DC to the minion action check.

If you want to make it more complicated than that, you can, but don't need to.

Grand Lodge

SnowHeart wrote:

Oh! Since dwarves live throughout Talingarde and are not inherently more or less powerful than humans, I would have the party just kidnap some through a minion Abduct Peasants action. If it has to be some "special dwarves" to justify a +10, then just increase the DC to the minion action check.

If you want to make it more complicated than that, you can, but don't need to.

My players don't want minions or Leadership other than for the absolutely mandatory parts of the game where they're essentially "forced" to. Otherwise, they want all the glory. That way when they take over, no one can dispute them as being lazy or not having earned their chair on high.

Hence why I'm looking.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

In that case, my friend... you're on your own. I don't read the magazines with the modules, so I rely on others (like you!) to suggest possible tie-ins for me. (As it is, I'm struggling with something as simple as a side-quest to introduce a hag into a witches coven two of the PCs want to form.) However, I would just reiterate what I said a few months ago when someone else was asking about the duergar and building up that side-quest into something more substantial:

Spoiler:
Long term, the benefit from the alliance with the dark dwarves is minimal, so personally I wouldn't make the players jump through too many hoops. Not unless you're willing to tweak the long game, as well. But that's just me.

Grand Lodge

SnowHeart wrote:

In that case, my friend... you're on your own. I don't read the magazines with the modules, so I rely on others (like you!) to suggest possible tie-ins for me. (As it is, I'm struggling with something as simple as a side-quest to introduce a hag into a witches coven two of the PCs want to form.) However, I would just reiterate what I said a few months ago when someone else was asking about the duergar and building up that side-quest into something more substantial:

** spoiler omitted **

I'm pretty much tweaking a lot of things all over so I'm okay with that.

As for the hag, I've got one for you, and it was suggested by another player in Book 1. Don't mind the reference. This was originally meant for the group to do at level 1-2.

Dreadwaldo solution:
Scenario: A Very Young black dragon has just moved into the swamp nearby. Unfortunately, its arrival has brought good adventurers who are looking to make a name for themselves. The Cardinal doesn't care about the dragon one way or the other -- it's too chaotic to be a useful servant, but it's no threat to him. But he'd like to see how the PCs deal with this. If the NPCs manage to kill the black dragon, consider having the PCs find a NE cannibalistic 'witch' oracle who desires the corpse for herself. In exchange, they'll gain a relic called the Blood Chalice.

My players have finally figured out a balance for healing. While it took a bit of multi-classing and a small gift from the GM (me), it seems to be working out nicely.

To help them out, I added an encounter with a "witch" and her desire to have the corpse of a black dragon shortly after the party completed Thorn's lessons. I liked the idea of giving the party a chance to have earned some items to boost their AC as Gary suggested so the party went into the moors hunting for the inquisitor that hunted them down in the first place. After defeating him and chopping off his head, they encountered a creepy old cannibalistic oracle who offered them a treasure in exchange for the corpse of a dragon. A very young dragon later, they had earned the following item:

Blood Chalice: Constant effect, Aura 30’. Swift action to activate or deactivate aura (Command word) Grants the Oracle of Bones Revelation - Resist Life (Su): You are treated as an undead creature when you are targeted by positive or negative energy. You are not subject to Turn Undead or Command Undead (or any other effect that specifically targets undead), unless you are actually an undead creature. At 7th level, you receive channel resistance +2. This bonus increases by +2 at 11th and 15th level. Creatures in the radius of the item and attuned to the relic receive the benefits of “resist life”. Being attuned to the relic requires a weekly donation of 1 point of constitution (blood) which is ability damage and which can be healed as such. Further powers are said to be able to be accessed with the proper research and rituals.

When the Anti-paladin hit 4th level, it allowed the party to overcome some of the healing issue that Evil Parties experience due to the lack of channeling positive energy.

The barbarian in the group also took a level of "Life" Oracle (he is heading to rage prophet), so while healing can be complicated and for the most part it is nickel and dime healing (1d6 here, 1d6 there..), it seems to be working so I don't have to worry so much about 15 minute adventuring.

Thought that this might be helpful to other GMs who are finding the lack of healing to be a big problem for their parties.

Just adapt the witch to hags (plural), and the reward to a coven.


kevin_video wrote:
SnowHeart wrote:

Kevin: I imagine Gary didn't see a need to stat him as the duergar fight as a unit and not as individual NPCs. The "unit fights", just like with minions from the evil organization, are all hand-wave/narrative affairs IMO.

On "finding dwarves"... what do you mean? Are you referring to page 50? If so, I took that to just mean any survivors from Event Five.

Fair enough. I figured he'd at least be pointed out as a cavalier or someone who's not just a plain warrior 1 so you could see his leadership abilities, or something to that effect. Now I'm kind of disappointed that the son is just part of the "mob".

No, I'm talking about the +10 bonus you could get by giving them up as gifts. Thought maybe a side quest or something. You need to convince him, but there's no way you'll get that DC. So, you're close, but need that extra +10. You've already killed the Watchwall dwarves, so where do you find more? Maybe the duegar are at war with other dwarves on the mountains. Perhaps if you were raid the stronghold and bring back a few P.O.W.s that could be roasted alive later, maybe he'll help.

I can't remember how high was my party Bluff and Diplomacy tgat far into tge AP, but they finished with 50+ in diplomacy (the summoner), doing DC ~65 taking ten. They didn't need the bonus

Grand Lodge

gustavo iglesias wrote:
I can't remember how high was my party Bluff and Diplomacy tgat far into tge AP, but they finished with 50+ in diplomacy (the summoner), doing DC ~65 taking ten. They didn't need the bonus

Holy crap. My party will be lucky if everyone aided and they managed to get the 35. Only the oracle and anti-paladin are CHA-based and both of their Diplomacy tanks.


kevin_video wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
I can't remember how high was my party Bluff and Diplomacy tgat far into tge AP, but they finished with 50+ in diplomacy (the summoner), doing DC ~65 taking ten. They didn't need the bonus
Holy crap. My party will be lucky if everyone aided and they managed to get the 35. Only the oracle and anti-paladin are CHA-based and both of their Diplomacy tanks.

By level 20 the party summoner had something like:

+10 from Charisma 30
+20 ranks
+3 class bonus
+3 circlet of persuasion
+8 racial bonus (absorved eidolon evolution)
+6 skill focus
+4 persuasive feat
+1 from charming trait.

so it was +55, which means autosuccess in DC 56 or less. We joked about that saying that he finished every diplomacy/bluff attempt with "and I'm Papa Smurf" to any lie, just to make the DC higher, because he couldn't fail anyways.

fun fact is we also had a social rogue, a vampire antipaladin and an inquisitor, all of them with high Bluff and Diplomacy (most in the ~30 range), but it didn't matter, as the party face was just two heads and three shoulders above everybody else. Everybody but the summoner was very stealthy too (even the necromancer, who took a trait to make it a class skill and maxed ranks in it)


Perhaps I missed it, but book 2 had a spoiler free (player friendly) set of maps. Is there a set of spoiler free maps for Tears of the Blessed?

- Gauss


Don't think so... And that's indeed something which would have been good.
May be when (if ever) gary comes back.


That is unfortunate, going to have to do a lot of work to make them player friendly. Oh well.

Thanks for the response.

- Gauss

P.S. Where did Gary go?

Grand Lodge

Gauss wrote:
P.S. Where did Gary go?

Unfortunately, he seems to have sealed himself up in his own cave trying to get Throne of Night out on time as he's already a month behind, and his Kickstarter items still haven't all been sent out as of yet.


kevin_video wrote:
Gauss wrote:
P.S. Where did Gary go?
Unfortunately, he seems to have sealed himself up in his own cave trying to get Throne of Night out on time as he's already a month behind, and his Kickstarter items still haven't all been sent out as of yet.

I would hope that he would learn that people aren't going to buy anything new when they can't reliably get anything old as it is... until Book Three (all of them, really), actually becomes available for purchase, I can't in good conscience trust in any other products they release.

Grand Lodge

Wiggz wrote:
kevin_video wrote:
Gauss wrote:
P.S. Where did Gary go?
Unfortunately, he seems to have sealed himself up in his own cave trying to get Throne of Night out on time as he's already a month behind, and his Kickstarter items still haven't all been sent out as of yet.
I would hope that he would learn that people aren't going to buy anything new when they can't reliably get anything old as it is... until Book Three (all of them, really), actually becomes available for purchase, I can't in good conscience trust in any other products they release.

That's probably why he's locked himself away. To make amends and to keep releasing everything he's promised to have done.


kevin_video wrote:
Wiggz wrote:
kevin_video wrote:
Gauss wrote:
P.S. Where did Gary go?
Unfortunately, he seems to have sealed himself up in his own cave trying to get Throne of Night out on time as he's already a month behind, and his Kickstarter items still haven't all been sent out as of yet.
I would hope that he would learn that people aren't going to buy anything new when they can't reliably get anything old as it is... until Book Three (all of them, really), actually becomes available for purchase, I can't in good conscience trust in any other products they release.
That's probably why he's locked himself away. To make amends and to keep releasing everything he's promised to have done.

At the moment I'm trying to actually purchase a finished product - unless he's actually physically printing the books himself, I can;t see why he would need to be locked away to make that happen.

And, for the record, I don't expect you to speak for him or to take any of his heat. I understand that you are simply putting the best face on things that you can in the absence of any official voice. I just hate that anyone would have to do that.

Grand Lodge

Wiggz wrote:

At the moment I'm trying to actually purchase a finished product - unless he's actually physically printing the books himself, I can;t see why he would need to be locked away to make that happen.

And, for the record, I don't expect you to speak for him or to take any of his heat. I understand that you are simply putting the best face on things that you can in the absence of any official voice. I just hate that anyone would have to do that.

And that's fine. Kind of wish I knew him personally so I could go to his place and see what's up, as the games I run at conventions are what he runs at conventions. That's how it was a couple of years ago. However, this year MinionQuest and Throne of Night weren't ready yet so I got to step down and enjoy playing games instead of running them. However, since the first book is out again, I'm being looked at to run them again. I'm hoping to hear from him though so I know what's what.

Book 2 was being written simultaneously alongside Book 1 so I can't help but wonder if he's rushing to finish that since it was so close. And with Bestiary 4 out, he might be thumbing through that to see if he can add a few more monsters into the mix.

I'm guessing, but I know that's what I'd do.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

A question about Lord-Abbot MacCathlain's tactics:

Specifically I'm asking about his scroll of greater spell immunity...

What spells would the Abbot choose to be immune to? It is a minimum 15th-caster level scroll, so he could choose 3 spells (under 8th-level).

But the Abbot has not scryed the evil PCs, and by most indications he fled down to the Cathedral catacombs shortly after the invasion began and has not stopped working on the ritual since.

It also looks like he has not had contact with his priests (who are waiting for him in 1-14, and have not clue what he is doing).

So, without any knowledge of the PCs tactics, why would the Abbot use that scroll?


Could he not have spoken with Ara Mithra?

Received a divine portent from Mitra? (Hopefully Mitra would give a heads up to his head honcho priest running his temple!) I mean.. Asmodeous plays a bit of his hand during the invasion (asking for Mr. Giant to be sacrificed), why not Mitra aiding his own?

A commune would go along way (although if one were to say he could do not else but work on the ritual would throw out this angle).

Grand Lodge

For those running this adventure, what did you do about the Hippogriffs? There's a huge number of them. Personally, I'm going to use the Mob template from the Dungeon Master's Guide II and combine them into three or four mobs.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

kevin_video wrote:
For those running this adventure, what did you do about the Hippogriffs?

I did not use that encounter (the Pact). I didn't think it added anything to the story line (and felt like XP filler).


STILL ON BACKORDER???

Do they really not want to sell this product???

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Just started Book 3 for my group. Lots of bookkeeping and research so far.

Spoiler Stuff:

From the end of Book 2, the Sorcerer's cohort (Katelyn Mott ~ cleric of Asmodeus) disguised herself as the last sacrifice (can't think of the knight's name off hand), and pulled the last group of heroes away from the Horn.

The idea was if the PCs didn't have the sacrifice they couldn't continue. Sir Richard's party teleported to Ghastenhall before the ruse was discovered.

Katelyn was handed over to the inquisitors for questioning before her trial/execution. The group was given the opportunity to mount a rescue if they wanted. While some were up for it, the player of the sorcerer decided that attacking a courtroom and/or prison to get the cohort out (or silenced...:) was a bit risky, especially as Sir Richard's group was definitely spanking them in the Horn.

The majority of the party travelled to Ghastenhall by boat. They were able to easily convince a group of sailors to do the sailing for them (bad things happening in Farholde made it an easy choice to leave).

The PCs meet with Thrane... and when doing the handover dropped and broke the flask with the Tears of Achlys. [sometimes my players are their own worst enemies... 'hehe I drop the tears... wait no that was only a joke!' *smash*). They managed to mend the flask and recover half of the tears... but not before both Grumblejack (who has levels of Antipaladin) and Thrane were infected. Some of the PCs would have been infected, but they wisely used some of their re-rolls to make their saves. Thrane wasn't too impressed by the party... especially by 'Mr. Butterfingers'.

Unfortunately, they didn't use a remove disease on Grumblejack (who is immune, but a carrier!) so 1/2 of the servants at the estate passed away before they managed to get it eradicated. The witch decided to take the hex 'Cook People' and started making ginger bread men from the local orphanage. Cookies of 'Remove Disease' were high on the list. :)

The PCs met with Fire-Axe and got the start of an army. They managed to sweet talk Raiju and hire him. They attempted to find the Duegar city... however the PCs kind of neglected survival... /sigh. They are considering hiring a dwarven tracker to try and locate the city... we'll see how well that goes.

They also were planning to follow up on the medusa and vampire leads. The info they dug up about the Vale has them concerned... especially about the Phoenix.

No combat this session, just lots of plans and rebuilding (the evil organizations from the Horn were practically decimated). I expect that while there might be some combat in the next session that the PCs will still be arming & equipping for the attack on the Vale.

Dark Archive

I just started prep for oud first session of Book 3.
We closed Book 2 with a big climax, and I gave them the letter of book3 as a teaser.
I expect much planning and individual side trekking before the month is done, and then we shall see how good the assassin is. It will be difficult, but memorable. I plan tot give good guy stat blocks tot the rest of the players while the massa's sin tries to clear out the you-know-what.

Also, Gary, I learned a new word: I thought describing Dessiter as effusive 1 enthousiastic 2(of igneous rock) poured out when molten and later solidified was particularly fitting.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

2nd session for Book 3.

Spoiler Stuff:

The PCs decided to track down the vampires first. The showed up in the cemetery with some 'gifts'. They made a deal, and the orcish monk seems to like the idea of becoming a vampire.

They then went and fought the medusa. She used darkness to protect herself from those who couldn't see in the dark. Alas, too many of the PCs could see in the dark, so they got to check to see if they turned to stone. 3 of them did. The goblin rogue, the tiefling witch and the tiefling cleric. Oops!

Fortunately they had 3 scrolls of stone to flesh.

The medusa seems to now be the love interest of the orcish monk... it gives a whole new meaning to 'wearing protection'. :)

Lastly they hired a guide to help 'find a lost relative kidnapped by dark dwarves' in the mountains. The found a patrol, and the guide then outlived his usefulness.

They struck a deal with the duergar as well.

While their forces were getting into position, a 3 man team decided to infiltrate the Vale with undectetable alignment. The got some eyeball views of the defences... including the clay golems. They also identified a number of spots to teleport to inside the Vale. And thru clairvoyance they saw the 2 watchers and the gong. A plan is forming!


W. John, sounds like you're having fun. Keep posting these!

Doug M.

Dark Archive

We started book 3 yesterday. As with most new books, first session is mostly developing leads and setting up the story - but even the battle-hungry players enjoyed it.

what happened:
They spoke to Barnabus, prepared well, and went to go into the vale with the 9-day organised group trip the next day. That caught me by surprise, but the sorcerer investigated the mountain of the phoenix by night, found the anti-fly shield, and then I let him roll wisdom check to allow him to retreat before he'd get himself killed by the celestials up there.

We also had a blast with Mundo's Magnificent Magical Menagerie. They assumed he'd have some 'under the shelf' items and very subtly negotiated for an unholy bow and an unholy rapier.
I had them come back two days later; when the characters returned to the shop, Mundo's face was burnt. He grimly claimed that "negotiations in Dis were...complicated."
But he gave them an 'unholy longbow' and a 'keen rapier'. Magic Aura's, as we know. I thought it'd be nice if the illusion would last until they actually needed the weapons, so I gave Mundo access to Permanency. Imagine paying 12k for two mundane permanent magic aura items.

Before paying, the cleric gave the bow to the ranger who fortunately rolled a natural 20 on his attempt to hit the practice dummy; thus the bow was approved.
Then, the cleric found the rapier to be keen instead of unholy, but he still wanted to Identify the rapier before paying.

We couldn't have that now...so I had someone shout and rattle at the door, as if there were a 'police' raid on the shop. (it seems to me that Mundo would have such a backup plan in place and telepathically communicate with the armored types outside to 'raid' his shop)
Mundo quickly ushered them out the back way, received his payment of 12k, and closed his shop.

quote my players:
"well, you can't always get what you want, but this will do VERY well."
"Wow, money well spent! I would DEFINITELY shop again! No Nonsense, great business."

I guess I should take up poker; I found out I can pull off a pokerface :D

I conned my players out of 75% of their cash and they loved it. They plan to cover their items until the battle against the celestials, and boy oh boy OH BOY will they be surprised... Nothing to do about it then, anymore, I fear... :D :D :D

Next time: follow all leads for potential allies. Hopefully the cleric will forget to cast Identify or allow me to forget he asked long enough for Mundo's con to actually work.

Dark Archive

"kevin_video"Also, anyone who's already done this, how did you deal with finding dwarves for the duergar? Just homebrew up a mission? [/QUOTE wrote:

Our rogue casually said 'I kidnap a dwarf'
I said 'ok' and it was done. All the players immediately knew it was done secretly. No one knew how, no one really wanted to know; but it happened, and he did it well.
It reinforced his character greatly and it took no time at all.


I think using the evil organization to accomplish this would be one method of doing it. Alternately, you can role play it or set up a combat scenario but for level 10 PCs it is probably not that big a challenge for a run-of-the-mill dwarf.

Grand Lodge

increddibelly wrote:

We started book 3 yesterday. As with most new books, first session is mostly developing leads and setting up the story - but even the battle-hungry players enjoyed it.

** spoiler omitted **...

It's been a while since I'd read this and forgotten about the shop. Went to look it up, and it's Murdo, as opposed to Mundo. I'll have to try and remember that. Maybe have a few cursed items for sale as the real deal.


We played the Battle of SaintsBridge last night and it was pretty awesome. The PCs were almost totally tapped out of resources by the time they reached the Shield Archons. I replaced the final encounter with a single 13th level battle cleric and the battle was pretty epic with him killing half the PCs before finally being defeated (luckily they get better).

The encounters with the Peri and the Phoenix were great.
More details can be found here: WotW Update

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Got most of the Battle of Saintsbridge done. The PCs had some 'death from above', flying units dropping fireballs all over. Made a mess of most of the ground units. And with the medusa flying with her aura of 'stoniness' the celestial griffons plummeted... oops! :)

A couple of PC deaths though. In the battle with the watchers the witch got a little too close for a smite evil pounce. Fortunately the cleric had a breathe of life and managed to get to him in time. Later after defeating the dwarves just around dusk, one of the PCs decided to use his circlet to look like a dwarf on the ground... and the thane's son lopped off his head! Since the PC wasn't helpless it wasn't a coup de grace, however... natural 20 on the to hit, confirmed. One headless monk later... alas the cleric was not close enough this time for the breathe of life.

For next session only the celestials and the priest group remain... and I may have them close ranks for one nasty fight. Especially since the PCs have been dawdling a bit.

Again, everyone seems to be having fun (well the monk who got decapitated isn't quite so happy, but he will be playing the medusa for a bit).


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I am not one who usually posts after action reports but I felt this is a modification to the normal setup so it might be useful to some people. Note: not all of this is RAW as I was converting things and trying to make a storyline fit the rules in the best way possible.

The PCs consist of a Barbarian (Superstition/Pounce build), an Anti-Paladin, an Arcane Trickster, and an Oracle specializing in Undead. Additionally they have 3 "noncombat" cohorts (Cleric, Lore Oracle, and Wizard) they use for support roles outside of combat.

The following is spoilered for the reader's protection:

Rather than using the narrative of the army battle I (with the co-operation of my players) decided that we would use at least part of the army rules in Ultimate Campaign and Ultimate Battle.

First, the players did round up the various minions and armies. Present were Bugbears (with both leaders), Duergar, the Nessian Warhounds, the Ogre Mage, the Medusa, and the Vampire Spawn.

Additionally, the players created a number of Gargantuan Necrocraft (4), and an army unit (100) of Bloody Burning Skeletons.

Next, I tried to convert the various minions and "armies" into armies using the UCampaign and UBattle rules.

The Bugbears were split into two units (ACR3 and ACR2). Pretty straight forward. I also gave them Reckless Brutality.

The Duergar were ACR1 but with some significant advantages (poison use, invisibility, etc). I also gave them a bonus against Dwarves.

The Nessian Warhounds were a bit more difficult. Individually each one is an ACR1 unit. They used the Ogre Mage to lead them thus the three got the special ability invisibility provided they stuck together. This came in handy later.

The Medusa was a unit unto herself. She came in at ACR3 and was quite useful against a number of enemies.

I decided to increase the Vampire Spawn to ACR1. The dominate ability I deemed was worth a +1 to both OM and DV as they will turn the enemy against itself.

The Necrocraft were ACR2 each and were constructed of Skeletons. They were given the Bleed, Constrict, and Trample abilities. Note: I used Ultimate Battle's DV boost for DR rather than Ultimate Campaign's.

Finally the bleeding burning skeletons were ACR1.

The Defenders:
The PCs stealthed up to the top of the keep and used Fear to cause the Lammasu to flee. This will come back to bite them later. They killed everyone else.

The Lammasu acted as runners for awhile coordinating attacks. The PCs never discovered this.

I gave the defenders the Battlefield Advantage ability due to this being home turf. However, since this was at night they were penalized either -3DV and -2OM for darkness or -1DV if they had lights.

Generally speaking I also translated the battles the PCs were to fight as the 'core' of each army. Defeat the core and you remove some of the boons and a leadership derived bonus to each army (varied from +2 to +4 to DV/OM). This way the PCs were still relevant to the success of the armies. I also buffed up many of the major NPCs to about level 9-10 with the supporting NPCs being level 6 (usually). My group is rather optimized so this is necessary to deal with that.

Mounted Calvary: ACR2, with armor and weapon equipment. Also had the boons Calvary Experts and Daring Maneuvers as well as Sniper Support from the archer group. In short, devastating. The Calvary destroyed one Necrocraft at which point the players decided to destroy the calvary core. They succeeded and then the army fell without further casualties.

Archers: Unhappy with the sniper support the players sent the Hellhounds and Ogre Mage to deal with them. The Archers were not an army (I had left them as a "core unit" without an army) and so I ran this as a regular melee combat and not an army engagement. Using invisibility they were able to approach and were only detected at the last moment. The Archers fared poorly against the Warhounds.

Dwarven Center: In addition to the Dwarves I added 4 "run of the mill" human army units ((ACR1). These humans were not lead by special leaders and were there to soak up some combat while the Dwarves (ACR2) held the center. The Human armies were dealt with easily while, initially, the Dwarves did little damage but suffered little in return due to defensive strategies and superior equipment.
When the Duergar entered combat with the Dwarves it was slaughter on both sides. The Duergar weakened the Dwarves enough to give other units a chance to hammer away at the Dwarves. Both Duergar and Dwarves died.
The PCs decided to let the armies hammer it out rather than take out the Dwarven leadership. This worked ok for them because of the Duergar.

Serene Order (ACR2): I decided the monks would hide and surprise the first army that 'tripped' over them. They did just that and managed to completely destroy the weaker of the Bugbear armies in the first phase of combat. Afterwards the Serene Order got overwhelmed without the PCs having to intervene to take out the leaders of the Order.

Shield Archons: The PCs decided to march their Necrocraft right up to the bridge where the Archons hammered them. The Necrocraft retreated and the PCs dealt with the Archons rather easily.

Meanwhile, the Lammasu had had enough of the Necrocraft and decided that with the PCs occupied this would be a good time to strike them down. They nearly did that but the cohorts cast obscuring mist and kept healing the Necrocraft until reinforcements (the Medusa) arrived. Eventually the Greater Invisibility ran out on the Lammasu and the Necrocraft killed them easily with the Medusa having provided a distraction for awhile.

Blessed Knights/Griffons and Clerics: I revamped them a bit to Paladin 6 and had their spells be: Shield Other, PFE (x2), and Bull's Strength. They also had weapon Divine Bond and some better equipment (up to NPC WBL).
I gave the PCs advance warning (lights in the distance flying at them very rapidly) based on their glowing weapons. When the Paladins overflew the Cleric army the army cheered in the darkness (were without lights at the time). This was my warning to the PCs that the clerics were in the neighborhood (see below).
The PCs cast obscuring mist to prevent charge attacks and that worked. They had also called in the Medusa to help. In the first round she stoned 3 griffons and 2 paladins. The remaining paladin used Snapleaf to fall safely. Later she would stone another griffon but her opening shot was her best.

Fireballs: I had given the PCs advance notice (via the book in the Keep) that there was a core of clerics that worshipped the fire aspect of Mitra. They discussed casting Resist Energy and then never did so. Oops.
When they brought up an obscuring mist one of the Paladins called for a Cleric to cast fireball to cleanse the area. They burned away the mist and with it some of the PC's health.
Later, when the Paladins were about to die (last two standing) they called upon all of the holy fire the clerics could muster. The PCs almost didnt survive that but they managed to finish the job.

Cleric army proper (ACR2): Afterwards they sent their non-undead armies and the vampires spawn to go deal with the clerics. The Vampire spawn didn't survive of course but the clerics were defeated.

In the end the PCs lost one of the two bugbear armies, a Gargantuan Necrocraft, the Duergar, and the Vampire spawn. They were nearly killed a couple of times but survived it.

The conversion was a bit of work but the I and my players felt it was worth it.

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