Way of the Wicked—Book #2: Call Forth Darkness (PFRPG) PDF

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A DUNGEON OF YOUR OWN!

The Horn of Abaddon was once a place of primal darkness. And then the forces of good moved in and ruined everything. It’s been eighty years and the kingdom of Talingarde sleeps soundly knowing that darkness has been vanquished. Now, it’s your turn to prove them wrong.

You will find the lost temple and do what no one else has ever dared. You will call forth the banished daemon prince. And from his unholy hand, you will recover a plague so virulent that it shall shake Talingarde to its foundations.

And then the fools will sleep no longer.

Welcome to the second chapter of the “Way of the Wicked” adventure path! Inside you’ll find:

  • “Call Forth Darkness,” an adventure compatible with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game for 6th-level villains by Gary McBride
  • Full color art and maps by Michael Clarke
  • A gazetteer of the frontier town of Farholde
  • Optional rules for building your own evil organization and managing your minions.
  • Advice for crafting unique variants of this adventure path
  • And more!

You’ve raided countless dungeons. Isn’t it time you had a horrid little dungeon of your own?

A 106-page full color Pathfinder Roleplaying Game-compatible PDF perfect to either stand alone or continue the "Way of the Wicked" adventure path. Includes a printer friendly version and seperate player handout PDF.

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Are there errors or omissions in this product information? Got corrections? Let us know at store@paizo.com.

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3.80/5 (based on 13 ratings)

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Good idea, flawed execution.

1/5

I've written this review 3 times now and the site keeps crapping out, so pardon the brevity.

+ Interesting idea that's not done in Good campaigns
- Falls into the Kingmaker Problem of 1 encounter/day but worse: 1/week until the last 5 days
- Doesn't accommodate for that at all: encounters are frequently only APL+1 or APL+2, and that's before factoring in dungeon minions, traps, etc.
- Too early to be fun; bear traps (CR 1 per 12) weren't yet guaranteed to be spotted or disabled by rogues, and they couldn't be bypassed by spellcasters without them expending their high-level slots (this got worse over time, since my mesmerist slowly augmented them with nodes of blasting)
- Obvious NPC errors, like a sorceress who is missing 2 on her fire evocation DCs and sometimes includes herself/the fire-resistant barbarian in the blasts (only possible since her as-written incarnation is impotent as a blaster)
- Has the gall to ask if a APL+4 encounter is too much. If it were just a 4v4, that's a mathematically even fight. Factor in the fact it's a 1v4, they have minions, etc. and it's audacious.

-1 Star from my actual rating because of the whole 'fraud' thing.


Fraud

1/5

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

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


Written by a fraudster

1/5

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

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


I loved it - others may not

5/5

Taking over and then defending your own multi-level Dungeon of Doom? Heck yeah!

As with the entire Way of the Wicked campaign there are significant sandbox elements, so long as the players are willing to take the risks if they gallivant about overlong.

I would rate this at 9/10 for the minion subsystem. It wasn't my cup of tea. Others may get a great deal more gratification from it than I did. Since fractional ratings on the 1-5 scale are not possible, I round up to 5/5 since this remains an excellent defend-your-sandbox plus extra.

The upside is that the campaign encourages taking Vile Leadership. You'll likely need the fireball fodder ...


Call Forth Darkness Review

4/5

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

Pros:
The concept of Call Forth Darkness is really great. Getting to own your own dungeon and having to defend it against invaders is not something that players usually get to do.

Both the ally and enemy NPCs continue to be fun and memorable. Grumblejack is still a party favorite. Tenuous alliances with Ezra Thrice-Damned and Zikomo had the players sleeping with one eye open. Opponents were fleshed out well enough to make for memorable encounters. The minion system also opened up a lot of possibilities for roleplaying as the party threatened those not making quotas and began to pick favorites.

Finally, while the pacing of this book starts out rather slow, it really hits its stride in the final act. The presence of the Abbey and the watchtower in the town, as well as the impending threat of the dragon created a great feeling on tension as the players waited for their enemies next moves. The Sons of Balentyne were a good surprise for the party and proved to be worthy adversaries. Finally, the summoning of Vetra Kali felt like an appropriately epic finale.

Cons:
The only real criticism I have is that the book felt like it dragged in some sections. It took my group about five months of weekly play to make it to the end of the book. By comparison, the first book only took about eight sessions to complete. Between the unchanging location and the long stretches without level ups, there were definitely some moments where the game felt a little stagnant. I found a good way to deal with this was to cut a few encounters that didn't add much to the overall story, like the Wytch Lights and the Gorgimera. However, the most important thing, I found, was to encourage players to be proactive and add flavor based on their actions. Otherwise, the game risks falling into a monotonous pattern of "Does anyone want to do anything this week? No. Okay. So it's new week, does anyone want to do anything now?"

General Advice:
The Horn of Abaddon has nearly a hundred rooms and your players are heavily encouraged to modify its already complex layout. Pretty much every encounter has to be reviewed and carefully adjusted, so that players are challenged, while still feeling like their defense choices are meaningful. I would highly recommend printing out the player's map of the Horn and letting your players mark it up. Make sure that you have organized notes on the changes they make.

There are also a lot of potential allied NPCs to manage, which can easily throw off the encounter balance or overshadow PCs if not utilized carefully. The book recommends that the GM print out stat blocks for allied NPCs and have players run. I strongly recommend following this suggestion. Not only did it make running combats far more manageable for me, it also helped the players feel more connected to the NPCs. However, most importantly, it made it easy for me to keep all the players at the table involved, even though sometimes their PC was in the wrong place and was stuck spending their rounds running to the fight.

Finally, Call Forth Darkness is not an easy book for a GM to run. The book offers players a lot of freedom, which is great, but makes it extremely likely that the GM will have to create extra content for plans that the book didn't anticipate. An inexperienced GM might want to approach this one cautiously and any GM just looking for something quick and easy to run, should probably avoid this book entirely. However, when managed correctly, all these challenges can lead to an incredibly fun and unique gaming experience.


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Patrick Kropp wrote:
Ilvani wrote:
Patrick Kropp wrote:

I worked out the Dirges of Apollyon. English is not my first language and I have done them in german. This is only the inferior translation to english. I hope it makes sense and is readable.

Can you provide me with your german version?

Ok, here the german version.

Cool danke.


Hello again my fellow dungeonmasters.
We reached the final 5 days and one encounter makes me think.

- First: How do the giant eagles attack? Will they fly into the horn? There they will be sword fodder! Oo (played this already - just wanted to know how the encounter was planned from the author)
Here some art I used for Brastius (gave him a mithral breastplate for more AC) http://fc02.deviantart.net/fs71/f/2010/221/0/f/Harpy__s_Decent_by_sleepylie fe.png

- Second: Can Ezra move into the sanctum? I´m not sure anymore - but somewhere in the AP I read that he can´t get into the sanctum. How does he plan to complete the ritual himself? He is incorperal?

If he just lets Hextor and Vextor complete the ritual for him - hm that could have done since many years! Or at least tried. So what has stopped them from it?

Will Hextor and Vextor turn on the players too when Ezra attacks them?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Patrick Kropp wrote:


Will Hextor and Vextor turn on the players too when Ezra attacks them?

The other I don't know, but this I know. If they have the control amulets, they can't turn on the PCs.


Ok, then Ezra will focus the amuellet bearer with her wraiths, then when the daemons freed, the will rampage thru the rest of the group. Oh sweet. Finally some carnage. These two daemons nearly killed everything for my players....


Patrick Kropp wrote:

Hello again my fellow dungeonmasters.

We reached the final 5 days and one encounter makes me think.

- First: How do the giant eagles attack? Will they fly into the horn? There they will be sword fodder! Oo (played this already - just wanted to know how the encounter was planned from the author)

They fly into the sanctum. The sanctum is high enought to let them maneuver (it's a dome 50' high)


Quote:
The sanctum is high enought to let them maneuver (it's a dome 50' high)

one of the first things my villains done: install doors. I expect nearly every group to be this smart. Install a door on the balcony in the sanctum that no flying creature simply flies in invisible and snatch the eyes! these damned doors are a really good investion. better even then their glyph of warding traps they laid out on every corner...

Moved to the right thread :)

gustavo iglesias wrote:

Why couldn't ezra enter the sanctum?

I plan ** spoiler omitted **

Because the book (Gary) says so.

Quote:


Ezra will never be able to break the seal for the holy artifact keeps him from
being able to even enter the Sanctum. He needs mortals.

But then... a few lines later he writes:

Quote:


Once the seal is
broken, he will lead whatever wraith minions he has ac-
cumulated up to the Sanctum. He will slay all the living
creatures he finds there and it will be him who summons
Vetra-Kali back to this mortal plane. He will drain the
life out of the last sacrifice and howl the last prayer to his
banished master. He will beg for forgiveness and finding
it will be restored to once more lead a new order. That is
Ezra’s dream.

So... what is right? I play the final today and it would be nice to know what Gary thought when he wrote that up. Maybe the Seal is not as strong anymore? Why could Ezra not enter the sanctum in first place? I have an skeletal champion antipaladin (the leader of the ninth knot) and the players have a lot of undead minions. So far they had no problems to enter - but was the intention of Gary that the sigil holds out undead? Or just incorperal undead?


I never payed attention to that. I always thought that he could enter, just that he couldnt touch it, or start the ritual (he doesnt know it, to start with). You can always take it as the seal consecrated the sanctum, being impossible to enter for u xeads. But ince the ritual starts, the whole horn is desecrated so this is no longer true.

About the doors: give the avoral a scroll of passwall. :)


So my group is approaching the end of book 2

Spoiler:

Ossus the Gladiator turned lord, or as he's know in the horn, Lord Skull. IS the only surviving member of the knot, but his growing power has given him several trusted subordinates.

The second sacrifice is done, Sir Veilyn(sp) is locked in a cage after his group died on the first floor grinder, Colossal Burning Multiplying Dragon Skeleton will do that to you, but now that it's slain the group and move around the first floor again, which previously was stocked with room after room of uncontrolled undead.

We've gone off the rails and with a nat 20 adjusted Abduction attempt we have the daughter of Sir Veilyn as well, and the truly evil thing is introducing them at the start of next session and then letting Veilyn know he has a choice to save his daughter or to let her die in his steed... Evil I know.

It's been great fun running the evil organization, and another of the players who just hit 9 (the group is me 10, one 9, and 2 eights due to our death rules... You come in at start of APL) will be starting his own rather then joining mine.

We should finish today if we survive the up coming bits, because I've been avoiding spoilers but I know something climatic will be happening.


My group has just killed Argossarian and weathered the storm on the final day before the last ritual. Now only the Sons of Balentyne remain to stop the ritual.

I know in book 5 is the written the reason why the battle nuns (order of Cynthia Celeste) don´t do anything about the horn. But my players fear them since they arrived in Farhold - I told them the story about their founding and one player (a female ninja) even infiltrated them shortly to gain some knowledge. Especially the fact that the "conservated" the body of their founder makes them worry. They fear the ressurect her and she is the final encounter. I know this is not the case but maybe this would make a fine climax too? If Cynthia Celeste accompanies the Sons of Balentyne? What level would you expect her? Would that be too much? What about Abigail (the living leader of the order)?

I have 6 players and with the alchemical golem, the 2 daemons und some undead creations of the necromancer pc they are steamrolling most of the encounters. For the last 5 days (after the earthquake) the gathered all their strength in the Sanctum and the room with the staircase to the sanctum. I think the Sons of Balentyne will be swordfodder.

Forces of Evil in the sanctum:

-Mordren the Witchqueen (PC, witch level 8, mighty debuffer,belongs to the knot)

-Devilslaughter (Improved Familiar of the witch player, an Imp)

-Folnor, the summoner (PC, summoner level 8, belongs to the knot)

-Zerabasus, Eidolon (large humanoid kali build with 4 arms and burn attack)

-Skeletal Champion Antipaladin (PC, level 7 with aforementioned template, "created" by cardinal thorn after dying while breaking Balentyne, leader of the ninth knot)

-Luconarr (PC, Zen Archer Monk 8 - nothing is safe from his arrows)

-Varondil, Son of Vandermir (PC, Fighter 8, deals MASSIVE damage with 2 handed sword)

-Abdominon the necromancer (PC, wizard (necromancer) 8, turned to stone during the victors raid 80 years ago, was saved by the knot and helps them summoning Vetra Kali)

- Hextor (the other daemon was banished by the moondog)

- 2 wraith (controlled by the necromancer after the betrayal of Ezra with his feat command undead)

- 1 apocalyptic zombie hound of tindalos (controlled by the necromancer with the spell command undead)

- the alchemical golem (a powerhouse)

- Titus (ok, not of much use - he is a really bad designed NPC from a powergamers point of view)

So I tought about to gain the Sons some reenforcements! At this point I think about gain every member 1 mythic level or add some npc (maybe both).

What do you suggest?


My Report;

Spoiler:
Hodor, the servant that they got from Brandescar (with Felisa, the other servant), finally proves his worth. With a bit of help, he manages to tame Old One Eye (took the Trapper from gaame mastery guide, but he has skill focus in handle animal, no archer stuff, and a bit of wisdom instead of so much dexterity. With Eagle's Esplendor, Aid another, masterwork tools (like a spiked collar) for handle animal, and some Guidance, he mananages to roll the DC 29 needed to tame it. He can now teach the tiger a few combat tricks.

The group had agreed with Valiant Darian to go out to hunt a few boars. Trying to prepare some ambush, they started looking into the forest. They found the Hangman Tree, but couldn't talk to it, and killed it (it almost killed the Inquisitor, by the way).

They learn about a Gorgimera, who lives in the nearby mounts. They go to talk with it, and talk to it. The Gorgimera is surprised to hear that they offer him a den, some treasure, and a few human beings to feed with. He is worried about a silver dragon seen flying recently, as he knows those dragons sometime hunt dangerous beasts to protect humans.

They prepare an ambush. Their plan is to petrify Valiant, then kill the knights. Due to a new rule we implemented, nobody can talk in combat except in his turn, so the plan don't go exactly as they planed, because people started to do different things. It was fun, though, and represent well the fog of war and the chaos of a battle.

The gorguimera, with a Mage ARmor, protection from good, and stoneskin, is a tough oponent, it kills several horses and hunting dogs, but then the antipaladin saved Valiant (with the idea to be able to bluff him later). It didn't work very well, as Valiant was eager to fight for glory versus the Chimaera.

Regardless, a new inquisitor arrives. He goes to the Abbey. The PC start to investigate about him in the town. But one of those days, Harkon attacks the horn. 4 of the six players were in town, only the Magus and the Necromancer were in the horn. We randomly rolled where they could be, and fortunately, the necromancer was in the sanctum. So he could inmediatly sense where a mitran spell was cast, and react preparing a force. The two PC, Ezra, both Ceustodaemons, nearly 30 skeletons and 20 acolytes, six hellhounds and a nightmare crashed the inquisitor small raiding force of 6 veteran fighters, 1 penitent, 1 cleric, and himself. They did some damage, killing acolytes, some undeads, and damaging heavily one of the Greater Ceustodaemons, but the combat was short and bloody. Everyone died, but the Penitent. They learn about the 4th teleporter, and they are now arguing about what to do with it.

They are pretty much worried about the dragon. Have heard about a preacher, Ezequiel, and they think it could be the dragon disguised.

Corruption of Farnholde goes well. They aren't very close to Valiant, and they don't have really a plan about him. But they killed the Inquisitor, and have a plan to disguise as him, and do some random burning in the town, increasing the bad reputation of the inquisitiion (as Tiadora already did)

All in all, it was a nice session. Players are closer to finish the first half: they'll sacrifice Marta next week. Their assortment of creatures start to be impressive, even with the 1hd skeleton being worth very little except as cannon fodder.

They have:
Grumblejack.
Franz Mott.
Ezra and 6 wraiths
A wight.
A minotaur Zombie.
Two plague zombie ogres.
A Gorguimera.
Three Will O Wisps.
A Nightmare.
Six Hellhounds.
An alchemical Golem.
A dire tiger.
30 boggards.
Hexor and Vexor
Plus several human thugs, bandits, caravan guards and some corrupt tax collectors

They feel almost inexpugnable


to patrick:

I'd use Abigail, and maybe Cynthia Celeste. Adding mythic might be worth it (specially for the paladin), but I'd use that trump card later. Also, you need *more* people in the group, and *more* actions, not better ones. PC have an overbearing amount of minions in this game.

Maybe make the group assault the horn with an army. Militia, some knights of alerion, and the warrior nuns. That way you can concentrate and play the fight of PC vs NPC, with the minions "busy" somewhere killing warrior nuns and whatnot.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

One quick question here: if someone were to do a PDF that expanded on the Evil Organization rules with more actions, more trouble your group could get into, etc, would anyone else be interested in buying it? Because to me it's one of THE best articles that have been included in the entire AP.


Maybe. At the moment most of the actions a evil organization can take are mostly a waste of time.

Catching animals wasn´t that much fun. The players disliked to use simple animals because they aren´t intelligent enough to be used in the horn.
Abduct peasants... ok for what is that good?
assassination: one of the only actions that enhanced gameplay
most other actions were used for making cash $$$

Oh and mostly the DC´s are not listed and sometimes the adventure refers to organization stats that simply don´t exist!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Patrick,

My abduct peasants were used to feed several things that we made allies with thorughout the module. Had to dedicate at least 10 peasants per week to keep everything properly fed.

Hunt Beasts gave us a steady supply of scorpion poison and more food for the beasts, as well as giving us some Hydras and Owlbears for dungeon carnage.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I changed almost everything in the Evil organization rules.

I use 3 main stats: Power, Subterfuge, and loyalty. You can have 0-5 in those stats (PC start with 6 points to spend, every player that gets leadership gives +1)

Every stat has 4 skills:

- Violence, enforcement, labor, survivality*
- Espionage, crime, interrogation, secrecy*
- Competence, Conections, Rituals, conviction*
There is a governor for each area (Warlord, Overlord, taskmaster, etc). NPC add 1/2 of the governing stat (STR for Warlord for example) Rebuilding rooms in the horn also give +1 bonus to those areas (temples give conviction, torture chamber gives interrogation, Ritual Chamber gives Rituals, forge gives labor, etc)

Those marked with * work as saving throws. If you fail a saving throw, you get a -1 to the main stat (power, subterfuge or loyalty), which you can recover with an action.

Every action produce either a 1d6 unrest (unhappiness in the organization), 1d6 alert (Farnholde defenses being more vigilant) or 1d6 damage (minions dying) if succesful, or more if you fail (I let them take 10 to speed things up, so they ussually don't try things that can fail anyways). You substtract power, subterfuge or loyalty from the damage, alert or unrest. You get -1 for every unrest or alert to some (most) rolls. The unspent treasure ignores 1 point of unrest for every 2000 gp. The horn also produce 1d6 alert per week.

Every 10 minions, you have one action. Every 10 prisioners, you have an action of Labor (like rebuilding the horn's rooms, building traps, harvesting acid, or mining -I made the earth pixie room to be Onyx, and you can mine 250gp of onyx per week). Prisioners are also a resource spent in some actions (blood sports remove unrest, sacrifice increase conviction, etc) and can work as corpses for zombies too, and can be used to feed the Will O wisp or chimera.


gustavo iglesias wrote:

I changed almost everything in the Evil organization rules.

I use 3 main stats: Power, Subterfuge, and loyalty. You can have 0-5 in those stats (PC start with 6 points to spend, every player that gets leadership gives +1)

Every stat has 4 skills:

- Violence, enforcement, labor, survivality*
- Espionage, crime, interrogation, secrecy*
- Competence, Conections, Rituals, conviction*
There is a governor for each area (Warlord, Overlord, taskmaster, etc). NPC add 1/2 of the governing stat (STR for Warlord for example) Rebuilding rooms in the horn also give +1 bonus to those areas (temples give conviction, torture chamber gives interrogation, Ritual Chamber gives Rituals, forge gives labor, etc)

Those marked with * work as saving throws. If you fail a saving throw, you get a -1 to the main stat (power, subterfuge or loyalty), which you can recover with an action.

Every action produce either a 1d6 unrest (unhappiness in the organization), 1d6 alert (Farnholde defenses being more vigilant) or 1d6 damage (minions dying) if succesful, or more if you fail (I let them take 10 to speed things up, so they ussually don't try things that can fail anyways). You substtract power, subterfuge or loyalty from the damage, alert or unrest. You get -1 for every unrest or alert to some (most) rolls. The unspent treasure ignores 1 point of unrest for every 2000 gp. The horn also produce 1d6 alert per week.

Every 10 minions, you have one action. Every 10 prisioners, you have an action of Labor (like rebuilding the horn's rooms, building traps, harvesting acid, or mining -I made the earth pixie room to be Onyx, and you can mine 250gp of onyx per week). Prisioners are also a resource spent in some actions (blood sports remove unrest, sacrifice increase conviction, etc) and can work as corpses for zombies too, and can be used to feed the Will O wisp or chimera.

Sounds a bit better than the original rules. :)

The gorgimera was killed and raised as an undead. So no food needed. And no questionable loyality! ;)
My players play safe... most of the time. But using the prisoners for feeding the monsters should have been made clearer in the adventure. I didn´t even thought of this until yesterday. My player used them solely for murder sacrifices after two of them succumbed to the meditations room and became mad serial killers.


Yep, the rules are working, although we focus much more in PC action than in guild actions. We leave them as a background that relate tp the story. The PC are using leadership to recruit tax collectors and corrupt wharf workers, and slowly corrupting the city.

The best part imho is that it goves a mechanical reason to spend gold in "villain stuff". Like a Trophy Room, a Treasure Vault or a shrine to evil gods. And also to spend gold in furniture, silver plates and murals: ot keeps the loyalty high and the unrest low :)


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Patrick Kropp wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:

I changed almost everything in the Evil organization rules.

...

Sounds a bit better than the original rules. :)

...

It's interesting. Whether it's better or not I think depends on your particular group. I could be wrong, but it *sounds* like the increased detail would require more time to keep track of things and decide what to do. For some groups, that could be great. If they like managing those kinds of things and really brings to them more of a thrill in terms of running their own evil organization, then it sounds like it's a great thing to implement.

But, there's a balancing act to be done. Other groups or players might enjoy just a little dabbling, making the original rules preferrable, but would find these more developed rules burdensome and a distraction from their own characters.

That said... Gustavo, if you can post your version in more detail, I'd love to take a closer look at them. I'm all in favor of tweaking game systems to suit a group of players and I like the flavor and spin you're putting on some of this.

Cheers.


Oddball question time:

For those who have their PCs use the rituals to summon forth the nightmare Carnitheria and the three hell hounds, what sort of personalities would you give them, if any?

I figure that the hell hounds aren't for much (they have INT 6 each as I recall, I'd give them standard wolf-pack tactics* with flashes of diabolical cunning), but Carnitheria has an INT of 13 and a Wisdom and Charisma to match. For a mere mount, she's pretty clever. What kind of a personality should a summoned nightmare display -- especially if she's as smart as, or smarter, than her rider?


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Nightmares aren't "mounts". They are quadrupedal characters that allow some people to ride them (it's pretty much their description in the bestiary I think). Carnitheria should have as much personality as Grumblejack or any other NPC in your game, and his rider should develop a friendship or companionship of somekind, or he will not allow to be rided, IMHO.
In my game, they used the horse of Lord Havelyn. So, being twisted, it hates the knights of Aleryion with a passion. However, my PC aren't very fond of it, I think. They are six, and don't really want to bring much NPC to battle, which sometimes make them to go too much into background mode (Artephius is a very nice roleplaying possibility that my group is bassically dodging)

To Snow hearts:
I try to make it a bit more detailed, but less time consuming. I base everything on set DC, which the PC chan choose, and take 10. This helps to be able to play the turns in weekdays, through email or whatssup, and focus the game session in the RPG part of the campaign.

Bassically, every action is measured in Ranks. Each Rank is worth +5 DC. The players can take 10, always. They can choose how high is the rank they want to try (so bassically they always succeed, not needing to roll any dice. How well they do it, is what changes). If you want to feel the chance to fail, don't allow taking 10.

There are 3 abilities, with 4 skills each. There's a governor for everyone. NPC governors add half their bonus. PC add full bonus (this also helps to avoid some NPC overshadowing PC because of unnatural high stats. Such as Grumblejack STR for example).

Followers have to be paid (even those taken by Leadership), 10g per month (average living cost). Henchmen are paid 100g per month (Grumblejack, 12 knives, Vandermir, etc). The PC have to spend his living cost too (100g unless they want to live like a minion....)

You pay unkeep the once every 4 weeks.
You can execute minions to reduce unrest (killing the rebellious)
Every 2000g unspent in the treasure room, ignore 1 point of unrest. This includes magic items not used and piled there (that's why villains keep treasure they can't use :P )

some creatures have 1 living humanoid as unkeep (the gorgimera, the assassin vines, etc). This can be paid with prissioners or minions.

The abilities are:
Power:
Labor - Taskmaster (Str/con)
Violence- Warlord (Str/cha)
Survivality- beastmaster (str/wis)
Enforcement- Overlord (Str/con)

Subterfuge:
Espionage- Spymaster (dex, Int)
Crime - Crime lord (Dex, Int)
Secrecy- Master Mind(Int/cha)
Interrogation- Master Torturer (Dex/wis)

Loyalty:
Rituals - Warlock (Int/cha)
Conviction- Demagogue (Wis/cha)
Competence- Councilor (Int/wis)
Conections- Covert Man (Int/cha)

Every week, the Horn produces 1d6 alert just by being there. Every week, the minions get 1d6 unrest just because they are minions. Whenever the Horn is attacked, it gets 1d6 damage (in adition to whatever happen in RPG mode), due to desertion, collateral damage, off-screen damage, etc. Some events modify this (for example, ezequiel speech produce +1d6 alert as long as he is alive)

whenever you take damage, alert or unrest, you substract Power, Subterfuge or Loyalty, respectively. Maximum in a stat is 5.

Security reduce damage in attacks by 1 every 10 points of security (but don't reduce damage in actions, only in attacks to the horn)

The actions marked with * get -1 for every point of alert. All actions get -1 for every point of unrest.

You get 1 action every 10 minions. You get the minions given by Leadership feat (or Mastermind or Tyrant feats, which are the same but using INT or STR). You can recruit minions. The DM stablishes which kind of minions are available (for example, you can only take 100 thugs from farnholde. Beyond that, you have to take shopkeepers, bartenders, prostitutes, pickpockets, etc) Some minions can't take some actions (boggards can't do anything but violence and labor. You get 1 labor action every 10 prisioners.

Here are some actions and it's difficulties. Remember, X is the Rank. Multiply by 5 for the real DC.

MURDER*
Violence dc X
Kills a CRX, but easy to notice 1d6 alert 1d6 dmg
If fails 1d6+X alert 1d6 dmg Save Survivality

ASSASINATION*
Crime dc X
Assasinate silently CR X 1d6 alert 1d6 dmg
Fail 1d6+X alert 1d6 dmg ST secrecy

CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE*
Crime dc X
X*50g 1d6 alert
Fail 1d6+X alert 1d6 dmg ST secrecy
LEGAL ENTERPRISE
Competente dc X
X*50g 1d6 unrest
Fail: 1d6+X unrest ST conviccion

PRAYER
Rituals DC 10
Progress Summon Vetra Kali
Fail: End of Ritual (note: normally the PC can do this on their own. This action is to be made when the PC are out of Horn, somebody has to do it.

PILLAGE
Violence dc X
1d6+X*50g 1d8 alert 1d6 dmg
Fail 1d8 daño 1d8+X alert 1d6 unrest ST Survivality
HARVEST
Competente dc 15
HArvest up to 250g (poison, acid, Onyx) Unrest 1d6
Fail unrest 1d6 Dmg 1d6

GRAVE ROBBING*
Rituals dc X
Take 1d6+X corpses (or X recent corpses) 1d6 alert 1d6 unrest
Fail 1d6 dmg 1d6 unrest 1d6 alert TS secrecy

ABDUCTION*
Violence dc X
1d6+X prisioners y 1d6 alert
Fail 1d6 alert; 1d6+X dmg TS survivality
HUNT BEAST
Violence dc X
Capture CR X Beast. 1d6 dmg
Fallo 1d6+X daño TS survivality
RECRUIT*
Conections dc X
1d6+X minions 1d6 alert 1d6 unrest
Fail 1d6+X alert 1d6 Unrest
EVANGELIZE*
Conviction dc X
+X minions, Asmodeus divine casters 1d6 alert
Fail 1d6+X alert
TRAPS
Labor dc X
Builds cr X cost X*200g
Fail +1d6 unrest Cost X*100g

MAGIC TRAP
Ritual dc X
Magic Trap crX cost X*500g
Fail: +1d6 unrest coste X*250g

GUARD
Tipo: enforcer dc 10
Éxito +1 security (plus bonus depending the room, see AP) 1d6 unrest
Fallo +1d6 unrest

TORTURE
Tipo: interrogar dc X
Exito X random answers (rumours, or DM answers about things known)
Fail -1 prisioner

INFILTRATE*
Espionage dc 20+
-1d6 alert +1d6 unrest
Fail +1d6 dmg ST secrecy

GATHER INFO*
Conections dc X
X rumours
Fail TS conviction

DISTRACTION*
Secrecy dc X
–X alert 1d6 unrest
Fail+X alert

SABOTAGE*
Espionage dc X
–X alert 1d6 daño
Fail 1d6 daño y 1d6+X alert

BLOOD SPORTS
Violence dc X
-1d6 prisioners –(1d6+X) unrest
Fail -1d6 prisioners 1d6 dmg

DISCIPLINATE
Enforcer dc X
-X unrest
Fail+1d6+x unrest

LABOR
Labor dc Varies (10 to 20)
Build /rebuild 1 room in the horn Cost 500g 1d6 unrest
Fail 1d6 unrest 1d6 dmg

RECOVERY/TRAIN
Survivality dc 15
+1 Power one week
Fail -1 Power

LOW PROFILE
Secrecy cd 15
+1 Subterfuge 1 week
Fail-1 Subterfuge

ADOCTRINATE
conviction dc 15
+1 Loyalty 1 week
Fail -1 1 Loyalty

Then rooms give bonus to the skills. Temples give conviction, torture chamber give +1 to interrogation, Alchemic Lab gives +1 to rituals, a Throne room gives +1 to competence, etc.


Vis-a-vis my question about Carnitheria:

I also asked about that on the Fire Mountain Games facebook page and was told that it might be best to treat Carnitheria as a being faithful to her rider but also working constantly to bring them over to the Four Horsemen. And it might get even more fun if, when/if the party gets Helbrand, the sword and the nightmare start having the occasional theological debate over service to Asmodeus and the Nine Hells versus Abaddon and the Horsemen...


Well, after my group last attempt to foil Valiant Darian, I'm thinking about a few changes:

Spoiler:
First, the heir goes to the Horn, with a full retinue of knights of Alerion and 100 infantry. This will become a full fledged battle, which will work as a foreshadow of the future book 3 battles.

Second, I doubt Sir Richard and his team has any chance at all. The PC will be entrenched those last days, and even after fighting the dragon, the AP provides with a TON of defenses. Even with Ezra betrayal, there are several NPC there: the golem, the trained tiger, Grumblejack, several controlled undeads, Hexor and Vexor....

So I'm Planning to maybe make another attack with the warrior nuns, leaded by Abigail. This will work as a distraction, forcing the players to split from the NPC.

Grand Lodge

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gustavo iglesias wrote:

Well, after my group last attempt to foil Valiant Darian, I'm thinking about a few changes:

** spoiler omitted **

I brought back Timeon and Sir Balin as revenants. Just took the creature as-is, changed some of the ability scores around as per the bestiary for giving monsters class levels, turned into a fighter and an aristocrat, and will be sending the two loose on the PCs.

Also, as per the suggestion in the book, I've collected my PCs previous characters from other games where they were broken as anything good guys, and will have them fight those groups as well. See how they like it.


Hmm. In my campign that wouldt work, because Timeon and Balin are way beyond hope. But... Lord Havelyn's ghost... that might work :)


Kevin_Video -- that's one great and fiendish idea! Rather fitting too, to let past misdeeds of our budding villains come back to haunt them. And just imagine the looks on their faces as they recognize who they're fighting!

Other bizarre ideas of mine:

Have a NPC adventurer group composed of CN/CE worshippers of the Great Old Ones show up. If successful they hide some sort of medallion within the Horn that eventually allows for not just the Hounds of Tindalos to show up, but for a few allied Denizens of Leng to slip through as well. (If I ever get to use this, I'll probably be doing it for a large group.)

Also, if Callaste and/or the Moon Dogs are still around by the end, they delay their final attack long enough for the paladin and his pals to show up. They manage to hammer out a deal and attack together -- aided by the small tribe of enraged Sasquatch that the azata recruited! (What? I like Mystery Monsters Revisited; and the idea of a small army of Bigfoot attacking devil-worshipping villains in their temple of daemonic pestilence is something I'd love to see happen!)

I've wondered abut other potential complications like more problems with the winter witch and her lot (possibly she and some other Irriseni witches are trying to build up a power base because Baba Yaga's coming back), meaning she has some more support in the form of allies; and/or a feud with a local boggard tribe and its monstrous leader.

Really, there's so much room for things to go wrong for the villains provided you don't overwhelm them; this is such a fun adventure!


Two moondogs is already a tough challenge, with the abiloty to summon 2 elder elemental. Mixing them with the Sons can be quiteca challenge

Grand Lodge

Eric Hinkle wrote:

Kevin_Video -- that's one great and fiendish idea! Rather fitting too, to let past misdeeds of our budding villains come back to haunt them. And just imagine the looks on their faces as they recognize who they're fighting!

Other bizarre ideas of mine:

Have a NPC adventurer group composed of CN/CE worshippers of the Great Old Ones show up. If successful they hide some sort of medallion within the Horn that eventually allows for not just the Hounds of Tindalos to show up, but for a few allied Denizens of Leng to slip through as well. (If I ever get to use this, I'll probably be doing it for a large group.)

Also, if Callaste and/or the Moon Dogs are still around by the end, they delay their final attack long enough for the paladin and his pals to show up. They manage to hammer out a deal and attack together -- aided by the small tribe of enraged Sasquatch that the azata recruited! (What? I like Mystery Monsters Revisited; and the idea of a small army of Bigfoot attacking devil-worshipping villains in their temple of daemonic pestilence is something I'd love to see happen!)

I've wondered abut other potential complications like more problems with the winter witch and her lot (possibly she and some other Irriseni witches are trying to build up a power base because Baba Yaga's coming back), meaning she has some more support in the form of allies; and/or a feud with a local boggard tribe and its monstrous leader.

Really, there's so much room for things to go wrong for the villains provided you don't overwhelm them; this is such a fun adventure!

I actually wrote a bunch of prep notes for when this scenario came up:

Add more encounters during the 31 weeks:
Let the party fight their old broken good-aligned PCs from last game.
When Calliaste attacks the PCs in Event Three, add eight celesti warriors (Realms of Twilight Campaign Setting)
During one of the later weeks, have a Revenent Balin fight the group. (assuming they kill Balin outright). Possibly a Revenant Timeon as well.
Have PCs face off against the Kodar Kneecappers (EL 7) once they've taken the horn. Then proceed as usual.
Have the PCs later come up against a retired holy crusader (CR 8), a wizard extrodinaire (CR 7), a wandering priestess (CR 6), a blackraven scout (CR 5), and a professional mercenary (CR 5).

Using the NPC Codex is going to be a blast.

The other issue with doing this though is you're giving the PCs gobs and gobs of xp, allowing them to level up faster.


Ok, FINAL day of the ritual today. Just checked the math on Sir Richard.
He misses one feat (should have 6).

Has somebody figured out his stats? I believe they are 14,10,14,10,14,16 (Pointbuy 20).

Do you think it would be a nice climax to let the nuns attack as well? The Sons of Balentyne are the strike force, the nuns fight the minions.
Maybe even Abigail raised Celeste (Level 11 cleric)? Would that be too much (consider the strenght of my group - see above)

Grand Lodge

Patrick Kropp wrote:

Ok, FINAL day of the ritual today. Just checked the math on Sir Richard.

He misses one feat (should have 6).

Has somebody figured out his stats? I believe they are 14,10,14,10,14,16 (Pointbuy 20).

Do you think it would be a nice climax to let the nuns attack as well? The Sons of Balentyne are the strike force, the nuns fight the minions.
Maybe even Abigail raised Celeste (Level 11 cleric)? Would that be too much (consider the strenght of my group - see above)

I just counted, and Book 5 is the exact same. He's got 9 feats, but should have 10. I guess give him Improved Initiative from Book 5.

As for the final day, that might be too much.


You have Book 6? Oo
Or just a typo and you liked to write 5? ^^

His Damage seems also wrong! He is stated doing 1d8+28 with smite, but it should be 1d8+24 (+4 Str, +2 luck, +6 Power Attack, + 3 enhancement bonus, +10 smite)

Grand Lodge

Patrick Kropp wrote:

You have Book 6? Oo

Or just a typo and you liked to write 5? ^^

His Damage seems also wrong! He is stated doing 1d8+28 with smite, but it should be 1d8+24 (+4 Str, +2 luck, +6 Power Attack, + 3 enhancement bonus, +10 smite)

Yeah, you replied before I could edit it. XD

I think the damage would be correct if he was using two hands, but he's only using one hand and a shield.


Patrick Kropp wrote:

Ok, FINAL day of the ritual today. Just checked the math on Sir Richard.

He misses one feat (should have 6).

Has somebody figured out his stats? I believe they are 14,10,14,10,14,16 (Pointbuy 20).

Do you think it would be a nice climax to let the nuns attack as well? The Sons of Balentyne are the strike force, the nuns fight the minions.
Maybe even Abigail raised Celeste (Level 11 cleric)? Would that be too much (consider the strenght of my group - see above)

I'm going to do exactly that. Use the PC vs the Sons, no minions in the battle, then use the minions vs the nuns in backgroud.

The minions alone can defeat the Sons, imho. Hexor & Vexor, the golem, One Eye,grumblejack, the Undeads raised by the party...

Grand Lodge

I just looked at Book 5 again, and Sir Richard doesn't have Improved Initiative, but a different Improved feat. Personally, I'll still keep that feat for both this and that book. An extra +4 to init when you've only got a +1 could be important. Especially if you don't want ALL of your PCs taking out the main good guy.

Scarab Sages

Well I'm slowly gearing up for running Book 2. My group is looking forward to it... maybe not so much to encountering the 'ex-PCs' revamped that I'm going to throw at them. :)

Old PCs:
The Old PCs are all level 10 (they will be one of the last hero groups to hit the Horn) and there will be 5 of them (there are 6 PCs plus minions and such at that time) and I want it to be a memorable fight.

As some of the PCs were originally 3.5/Acrana Evolved there was some adjustment required to bring them more inline with Pathfinder. (the names have been changed protect the innocent)

Zeek - Dwarven Ftr 1 (Unbreakable)/Summoner 9 (Master Summoner)
(basically he is in plate armor and spawns a horde of summoned critters as battlefield control) [was a dwarven warmain 1/mageblade 1/runethane 8]

Grizzly Smith - Human Druid 10 (bear shaman) has 3 bears, 1x animal companion, 1x awakened bear cohort, 1x runic beast affinity (Transcendence for AE), also has the ability to spawn summoned bears.
[original was a druid w/ ring of animal friendship for 4 bears]

Cascadia - Human Gunslinger 1/Cleric 9 - brings some shooting power and much needed healing support. [original was a real mish-mash of classes - Paragon Human, Cleric, Evolved Human, Evolved Wis, Evolved Cha, Evolved Int, plus a few other classes like the Pistoleer (Iron Kingdoms), had all sorts of feats and was still casting as a 7th level cleric... a lot of rework, but no where near as over-powering as before]

Obsidian - Assimar CoI 4/Cleric 1/Pal 2/Monk 3 - close combat + smity goodness. [original was a litorian monk with evolved levels ~ so a bit of reworking, plus I want to see how the Champ of Irori works out]

Ruby Pete - Human Ftr 8/Ranger 2 master of whips. [the original was a bounty hunter with a spiked chain, as the spiked chain is no longer a reach weapon, the whip filled that role, but requires more feats to do a similar type effect.

So overall, a fairly heavy melee party (some spells and healing), but with the ability to spawn multiple summoned critters as a standard action, I think they will definitely be a very interesting fight for the players. I'm thinking of bringing in some other gamers to actually run these characters since it will be a lot of work keeping track of all this in the game.


Well, we are almost finished with the Horn. I think one or two more sessions, and it's done.

Spoiler:
They killed poor Marta, and the Horn trembled. They gave some of Zikomo's juice to Marta, and she saw a revelation of his sisters attacking the Horn, and the Horn collapsing. (which they learnt, because the very convincing summoner was Marta's "friend" and was going to "help her" with her escape, so she told him. This character has a really high bluff)

The group did a few more things to tight the grasp in Farnholde underworld. They killed Thatcher's Crew, but in an interesting way. After infiltrating Franz Mott in the City Guard, they talked with the corruptable lord of the Beacon. Using the Beakers, a few city guards, and some followers from leadership (The Society of Cloak and Sword, an adventurer's guild that is "helping" the city, contracted by the mayor, who are really the followers of the group's summoner), they killed Thatcher and his men, while upgrading their position in the town, and managing to add the Beakers to his followers.

They kidnapped the poor Ezekiel, who died a horrible death after they discovered it was just a pilgrim with no real powers. They also used a few actions to build the rumor that he was a charlatan and destroy its legacy.

Then they were attacked by Verdant's Banner. I upgraded the team with a Nymph, and a Bard, and they entered the third floor through levitate potions. They did some damage, and had nice crowd control with several hold persons, deep slumbers, and an attempt to charm the Eidolon (Which was resisted). However, the fun part came when they read the gnome's journal. Wait... what!!?? The seventh was betraying us???

They broke a clay seal, and summoned Tiadora. She was surprised to see the journal. But the group also had two prisioners from the group (the bard, and the druid -both are now sex slaves- With Seek Thoughts, Interrogation, and a bit of torture, the PC and Tiadora see it's everything true.

They decide to send an animal messenger to Elise. The message says that "we are in danger. We have lost several members, one more has permanent damage. We need you bring us a scroll of restoration and some raise deads". That was enough to convice Zadaria it was the moment to strike the horn. But when she entered the horn, the Ninth was there, full strength, with a pair of Erinyes and two Greater Ceustodaemons. The combat was brutal, but short (I upgraded the seventh, with Dostan having AC 27 thanks to beast totem, both ring and nat armor amulet from Elise, dodge, urban ranger, etc. However, as always, the group who has the jump has such a big adventage it's always a big defeat for the group assaulted. Titus survived (strangely, as the crits were big, but he fall to -8 and was saved by the party to be interrogated) With the Erinyes there, he understand that he was cheated and was going to be punished in hell. He agrees to drink an elixir of truth, and the group see that he is sincere when he says he was manipulated by Elise. He is an asmodean cleric, and he would had never voluntarely done anything that could damage Asmodeus cause. He attone (With attonement spell), and is bound to serve the Ninth, until he saves the life of each of them at least once. It's indeed a good adition to the Horn, as they were lacking some clerical spells, such as restoration for example.

Then they proceed to loot the corpses, spend some money, made a few orders in the town, and everything is ready to advance fast (as they hav already made most of the remaining encounters, like the chimaera, etc). They now the Abbey has asked for reinforcements, that Abbess Avigail has bought a 5000gp diamond (?), and that the warrior nuns are in military training these days. They expect to be attacked... soon.


Oops we had a TPK. 2nd to last day of the ritual.

Ezra the Thrice Dammed and his 3 wraith spawn along with some super high rolls on the Con Damage drain did them in. The party already had spent resources on earlier fights. Including the Druid who did not have a way to damage incorporeal due to not having a magic weapon and having used all his magic fangs earlier in the day. The party wasn’t really set up to fight incorporeal, no ghost touch weapons and the spells casters had split levels in spell casting so they were under spell leveled.

The campaign was really fun up to this point, but so it ended in a blaze of glory.

Grand Lodge

Biobeast wrote:

Oops we had a TPK. 2nd to last day of the ritual.

Ezra the Thrice Dammed and his 3 wraith spawn along with some super high rolls on the Con Damage drain did them in. The party already had spent resources on earlier fights. Including the Druid who did not have a way to damage incorporeal due to not having a magic weapon and having used all his magic fangs earlier in the day. The party wasn’t really set up to fight incorporeal, no ghost touch weapons and the spells casters had split levels in spell casting so they were under spell leveled.

The campaign was really fun up to this point, but so it ended in a blaze of glory.

Now of course the question is, what happens now?


Eric Hinkle wrote:
One quick question here: if someone were to do a PDF that expanded on the Evil Organization rules with more actions, more trouble your group could get into, etc, would anyone else be interested in buying it? Because to me it's one of THE best articles that have been included in the entire AP.

Yeees please. The version in the AP is good. But if it can be expanded that's a great add-on !

I'd surely pay for anything that enhances the Evilish feeling (having minions is surely a large chunk of it).


kevin_video wrote:
Biobeast wrote:

Oops we had a TPK. 2nd to last day of the ritual.

Ezra the Thrice Dammed and his 3 wraith spawn along with some super high rolls on the Con Damage drain did them in. The party already had spent resources on earlier fights. Including the Druid who did not have a way to damage incorporeal due to not having a magic weapon and having used all his magic fangs earlier in the day. The party wasn’t really set up to fight incorporeal, no ghost touch weapons and the spells casters had split levels in spell casting so they were under spell leveled.

The campaign was really fun up to this point, but so it ended in a blaze of glory.

Now of course the question is, what happens now?

Dunno about their group, but in my group, that often means we start a different campaign with different PC.


Yeah, we're moving onto a different campaign. Another player wants to run a home made city creation.

They were under the impression Ezra wanted to take over the ritual and complete it himself. So, the party decided to kill the only descendent of the victor to try and drive the wraiths off. They figured if they can't do the ritual no one can. So, even if they lived Cardinal Thorn would have been pissed and either fired or destroyed them.

The party should have just ran off after they felt they were outmatched. A couple of players would probably have survived. And the campaign would continue, but with them deliberately betraying the ritual the campaign ends, living or dead. I can see Cardinal Thorn Resurecting them to keep loyal followers, but since they weren't loyal there is no reason for him to do that.

Grand Lodge

Well, you guys don't have to quit the game altogether. Thorn might not resurrect the party, but you can always get another party together. Thorn always has backups. Maybe you were potential minions of another Knot, but you've now been upgraded to PCs and are now the new Ninth Knot.

Regarding the Ritual and the Tears:
At the end of the book, it specifically says you can still continue the campaign without the tears. Thorn's not happy about it if the PCs fail, and call them incompetent, and how it throws a wrench into his plans, but it specifically states in there that you can move on to Book 3 without much hassle. It'll change up the scenario some, but it can still be done.


My group has built an army. They have learnt, through Intelligence and espionage, that the remaining knights of aleryion, the heir of Darian, Abbess Avigail, the city watch, the warrior nuns, the raised St Cynthia Celeste, are going to assault the horn.

It's going to be a massive battle (using modified Warpath rules).

50 Soldiers.
40 Militia
100 Temple soldiers
20 Veteran Holy Knights
10 Superior Sisters
40 Warrior Priests
20 Battle Monks.
10 Knights of Alerion

vs a huge horde of
60 elite bloody skeleton (heavy armor and shield)
30 Fast Archer Skeleton
100 thugs
90 Mercenary
60 black knights
4 burning skeleton hydra
2 Ceustodaemon
1 golem
10 wights
10 Wraiths
40 dark acolytes
30 Evil Adventurers
20 bandits.
6 hellhounds
1 gorgimera.

Grand Lodge

Hmm. That sounds about even.


It is, somewhat. But the PC have stronger magic, which is powerful in the Warpath system. Fireballs, lighting bolts, and even Color Spray make a great difference.

However, it will depend greatly about the tactics. Depending what unit faces what, the outcome is very different. The wraith, for example, will destroy militia or knights with ease (being incorporeal, touch attack, and having unnatural aura that make horses run away). But will be crushed by clerics with channel energy (specially by the superior sisters and their Searing Light spells)

The elite Skeletons, having AC 23, Damage Reduction and Fast Healing, can bog down some units for the entire combat. But if they face units armed with maces, or clerical units, they are toast.

The PC have used a lot of actions in intelligence, though. So I'll deploy first to represent that. If the PC do the things right, I expect them to sweep the good guys, but probably will suffer a lot of damage in the lowbie units (like the thugs, which aren't really prepared for mass combat)


There you go, an evening of Warpath.

It went a bit slow, sadly.

That's what happened:

Spoiler:
The army of Mitra rallied in front of the Horn. They attacked in midday, in a sunny clear sky. Sadly for the troops of the Sun god, the sky darkned, a Storm started and the clouds gathered around the Horn (a PC spent a Dark Favor point for that). It was dark enough to allow the wraith to move around the horn (but not in the whole battlefield). The army of Asmodeus was hidden inside the horn. Most of it in the caves, the archer skeleton and bandits firing arrows from the eyes of the horn and the roads to it.

Right in the begining, the adventurers of the Cloak and the Sword (one of the PC's minions) fleed, saying the battle was lost (a minor hit in the morale of the Watch, but nothing happened in the morale of the warrior nuns, focused in destroying the horn with zeal). However, this was only a misdirection. The Cloak and the Sword had a plan. They had 7 fireball scrolls, and a necklace of fireballs, and they were thinking to attack the nuns and city watch in the rear, later on.

The battle started with the raised St Cynthia Celeste using an incredibly powerful artifact that was custodied in the Abbey, a Scroll of Miracle. It was something unique, hoarded with zeal until the moment came. It was that moment. The night was dark, light had to fight. So the Saint read the scroll, and cast it as an Earthquake. The Horn trembled, and parts of it crumbled. The army of Asmodeus took great casualties. The Black Knights died in great numbers. The Boggards, being slow, also took a big hit.

The battle horns sounded, and Mitran army started to march. The Asmodean lords flung a fireball toward the Acolytes, which were in open formation. The damage they took was promptly healed by the acolytes, using CLW and channel energy. The Asmodean lords realized that using small amount of damage against units that could heal was a bad way to spend resources.

The Abbess, and the Saint, used their holy smites and fireballs to destroy part of the Thugs, which were disposable and left in front of the army as bait.

The Brotherhood of Cloak and Sword finished their betray, obliterating the unit of 20 Sisters of Battle (paladins), with a devastating volley of 7 fireballs (from scrolls). Then they proceeded to charge a flank of the City Watch, taking them later with a volley of color spray. They rapidly killed the unconscious soldiers.

The center of the army slowly crawled through the rain and mud, getting closer to the Horn. Arrows flight over their heads, with some tough cassualties in the units without shields. Their attempt to shield their army with the Battle Monks (Which can deflect arrows) wasn't very usefull, as the Asmodeans had High Ground to shoot from.

A few rounds later, Saint Celeste was close enough to cast Blade Barrier and devastate both the thugs and the Mercenaries, plus nearly closing the whole cave. Now the evil was caged, at least until they could dispel it.

But the real problem was the single, small, traitor unit in the rear. They obliterated the other powerful unit, the Superior Sisters (clerical unit), with another array of fireballs (from the beads of a necklace of fireballs), and then proceed to charge the rear of the acolytes. It was too much for the morale of the nuns. Even being disciplinated, they were shaken. The unit was too far away from the leaders, who were in the unit of Knights of Alarion. They routed, and fleed, being chased and destroyed by the Cloak and the Sword, who were untouched yet.

A charge from the hell hounds and the hydras (two of which were destroyed by mitran spells) engaged in combat with the warrior nuns. Wall of fire (with both the burning skeleton hydras and the hellhounds being inmunes) also was cast, and between the Pit spells, wall of fire, and breath weapon from the Chimeara, the rest of the army was swept.
Saint Cynthia Celeste is petrified, and Abbess Avigail is dead. The heir of Darian is jailed. Asmodeus won. No hope for the light.

In the next four weeks, the gloom invaded Farnholde. The Abbey was desecrated and raided, and every citizen was hidden. It seem it was all under control for the evil lords of the Horn.

In the meanwhile, a bit of research in Dungeoneering, Engineeering and Arcana later, they discovered that the horn *should* had fallen. There is no real reason it didn't. Whatever it holds the Horn, is not natural. They also feel that if that energy is lost, they Horn will fail.

One night, while going to see her lover Vandermir, the Half-drow see a huge silver dragon assaulting the Manor. The Dragon kills every guard, destroy the house, and kills Vandermir. When the dragon leaves, the Half-Drow magus came and started to search. She found an agonizing Vandermir, who briefly told her, before dying, that the dragon was inmune to most mental magic. Only Scorching ray was usefull. Asking the suriviving service, she discover that the Dragon told something about "the Sons of Balantyne". And that he is absolutelly furious about the Horn. He is not going to permit a second come of Vetra Kali to this world.
When the Magus went back to the horn, the Earth Awakens. A mud Elemental destroyed the remmnants of the Boggards, including Zikomo. Then it started to slowly climb toward the sanctum. The group took it down, with ease. But, with the news from Vandermir's Manor, and a bit of Knowledge Nature, they discover that Nature itself is trying to avenge the earth, and stop the unholy ritual. Not only that, but they know that they'll be attacked somewhere, somehow, by a group of heroic warriors, and a huge adult dragon. In some moment, between assault and assault of the nature itself, the PC will have to face something that is bigger, probably, than any other threat they have seen before.

It's 4pm of day 217. Five days to Hell unleashed. They have to resist, at whatever cost


Players should be up to around wealth-by-level standards for this adventure, right?

Grand Lodge

Cheapy wrote:
Players should be up to around wealth-by-level standards for this adventure, right?

Depending on how many PCs you have, yes. The Wealth in this is figured for four PCs, one with crafting abilities to make magic items or upgrade them a bit.

I've got seven PCs so I kind of cheated a bit and gave them all items that'll upgrade themselves as they level up, so I don't have to worry about it all that much.


I think so. I just checked mines, and they are pretty close to it (although I have changed the treasure a bit as they are 6). I also gave them quite more gold, which they spent in minions and stuff not directly related to personal combat (like chaimails for all the skeletons, etc. 100 longbows mean 7500 gp... Building a brothel cost 5000+. Life style cost 100 to 1000 per months (700 to 7000 per player in the whole ritual).

However, the treasure ussually comes in big chunks in this AP. You find the Horn treasure, big bump. Then a plateu with little gold, then a big bump in the end (Tiadora's reward).

Also, take in account that they can (and probably will) gain a decent bunch of gold from the actions of the organization. If you aren't using an "evil guild", then you might need to increase the treasure a bit.


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I'm in doubt about this week combat.
I'm going to concentrate the 5 days to Darkensss more into three days to darkness. I feel the PC have a TON of adventages here (including, but not limited to, a huge Dire Tiger, a Gorgimear, a Golem, close to two dozens of powerful undeads (wraiths and wights being the better ones), a half-daemon ogre, and several NPC with average to decent spell like abilities (like Titus).
If they bunker up, it's going to be too easy. Any encounter that opens the door will be instantly destroyed. So I plan to make this as a war of attrition.
They have already faced the Mud Elemental. It's 4pm of day 217. The have to make the ritual at the twilight of 217th day, then they'll have to face:

Spoiler:

Day 217 Brastus and his eagles (including eagle shamans), that midnight.
Day 218 1:00 am A nightmare spell will affect anyone sleeping that night, so PC can't recover spells.
Day 218. 11:30am Cinder ghouls attack the PC. They are the spirits of every Sons of Pale Horsemen burnt in the pyre by Victor Darian.
Day 218. 3:30pm . That evening Tritraxias tries to "resolve" his grudge against one of the PC, who almost got it killed time ago, trying to gain the trust of Valiant Darian.
Day 219 9:00 pm, Wights get free from the control of the PC.
Day 219. 0:00 Hounds of Tindalos & Will o Wisp attack the Sanctum.
Day 220 3:00am a Living Dream appears, casting Nightmare again against the PC
Day 220 2:00pm Boggards from the nearby tribes (100 of them) assault the horn, trying to "avenge" Zikomo (and recover the Horn for themselves). This will be solved probably with minions, asn the PC army is way too powerful for this annoyance
Day 220 10:00 PM. The ghosts of the warrior nuns manifest in the horn. They are a swarm of Polstergeists.
Day 221 0:00 Argossarian and the Sons of Balantyne will face the PC. I'm not sure of this encounter yet. The PC will, at last, rest confortabily)
Day 222: 0:00 Ezra & wraiths betray the PC right AFTER they finish the last action of the ritual (Ezra, being incorporeal, can't).

My doubt is about Argossarian and the Sons of Balantyne. As written, my PC will obliterate them. No doubt, no question. But both encounters at the same time might be a bit too much, specially with the long attrition before (it is possible that the PC find a moment to sleep and recover during day 220, but it is also possible that they can't recover spells in three days). So I'm wondering how to balance that out.

Maybe split both? With the dragon assaulting from the third level, he can divert the PC, while the Sons assault the Sanctum from the hidden stairs?


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For those GM who feel the Sons are a little bit weak, specially with spell selection (Erik the Falconer has more evocation spells that he is able to cast, ever, for examle), here are the iugrades to my Sons of Balantyne:

Spoiler:

Erik gets "magical lineage" with lightning bolt, as well as Empower Spell instead of Maximize Spell (a feat he doesn't use, as written). That allow him to cast Empowered lightning bolts as 4th level spells, giving him enough "punch" for the encounter.

His Spell Selection goes like that:
5th level spell: Teleport, Wall of Force, Communal Stoneskin. (he cast Communal Stoneskin in the whole group, including Argossarian)
4th level: Empowered Lightning Bolt x4.
3rd level: Fireball, Dispel Magic, Displacement (which he cast, with a lesser rod of extend, before entering the sanctum), Haste.
2nd level: Mirror Image, Scorching Ray, Shatter, Glitterdust, Web
1st level: Mage armor x2 (already cast, on him, and argossarian).Magic Missile x2, Shield (already cast, extended with the rod)

Add a Lesser Rod of Extend to his gear. He uses Pass Wall and Invisibility Sphere scrolls to be able to dodge most defenses and arrive in the Sanctum. I'd also add a Rod of Reach Spell, to be able to cast Teleport "touching" all his party members from reach.

Then Brother Donnaghin:
Gets the Sub-Domain Heroism (instead of Glory), which grants him a holy aura of Heroism (as the spell) as a swift action, as well as his holy aura of nimbus from the Sun Domain.

Change Channel Smite feat, for Turn Undead (at the very least, it'll be usefull against Ezra and his retinue, even if the PC don't have extra undeads. I'd rule that Turn Undead and Alignment Channel work together, so evil Outsiders can be turned too, like Hexor and Vexor) and swap Extra Channel for Quickened Channel.

Change the spell selection as follows:
5th level spell Breath of life, Flame Strike*, Spell Resistance (cast on Sir Richard)
4th level spell Air Walk (cast on Sir Richard -mwahahah those pesky create pit spells-) Holy Smite, Spell Inmunity (cast on himself, select spells that render him unable to help Sir Richard, like Hold Person, Feeble Mind, etc) Restoration. Fire Shield*.
3rd Communal Resist Energy x2 (lighting and fire), Searing Light*, Dispel Magic, Invisibility Purge.
2nd Aid (already cast on Sir Richard), Bear's Endurance x2 (cast on Sir richard and himself), Remove Paralysis, Shield other (cast on Sir Richard) Silence
1st Sanctuary (already cast), Protection from evil x3 (already cast except on Sir richard, who has it's own), Entropic Shield (already cast)

Brother Donaghin swaps his +1 logsword for a Lesser Rod of Reach Spell, so he can cast touch spells at range (plus his "move action" quickened channel energy)

For Sir Richard:
I'd add a +2 Full Plate and +2 Shield to his gear.

2nd level Bull Strength, Eagle Splendor (both already cast. Eagle splendor adds to his smite evil to hit and AC, his saves, and number of lay on hands per day)
1st level divine Favor, Prot vs evil, Bless weapon.

I'll give him either Iron Will or Greater Mercy instead of Extra Mercy, dropping the Curse Mercy, and swap Disease for Staggered -which counter slow-)

For Mad Meinhard, I'd give him Superstition rage power, which fits nicely with the description. In my game, this is going to be interesting, as the PC corrupted Franz Mott. When both face each other, if it happens, I'd make an opposed Charisma roll between the Summoner who corrupted Franz, and Sir Richard. If the PC wins, Franz stay loyal and attack his brother (who gets out of rage, incurring in penalties, as a result). If Sir Richard wins, Franz Mott swaps his loyalty back, unable to attack his brother. The PC can spend a Dark Favor point here, meaning they almost auto-success in it

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