Way of the Wicked—Book #4: Of Dragons and Princesses (PFRPG) PDF

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BECOME A MASTER OF DRAGONS!

The king of Talingarde must die! Your dread master commands you to carry out this errand of blood. Do you have what it takes to assassinate the king of the most noble, virtuous realm in all the world? Are you ready to seek out the most wicked and powerful of dragons and treat with him to destroy the king’s only heir—the fair princess Bellinda?

Welcome to the fourth chapter of the critically acclaimed, Ennie-nominated “Way of the Wicked” adventure path!

Inside you’ll find:

  • "Of Dragons and Princesses,” an adventure compatible with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game designed for 13th-level villains by Gary McBride
  • Full color art and maps by Michael Clarke
  • A gazetteer of the noble city of Matharyn, capital of Talingarde
  • Rules for playing vampire and lich PCs
  • Everything you need to run a city sacking sandbox
  • And More!

Sack a city! Terrorize a nation! Kill a king! Ride a dragon into a battle! All of this you must do if you are to walk the Way of the Wicked.

Who wants to be a hero, when it’s so much more fun to be the bad guy?

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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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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


Holy Guacamole

5/5

You're only half-way through and your group of terrors are already 13th level? Oh myyyy.

This chapter fully expects your villains to use the mighty magics and killing power at their disposal. Lacking access to 6th and 7th level cleric/wizard spells could severely hurt your ability to wreak havoc and unleash further mayhem.

One of the pleasant surprises during the later chapters of the Way of the Wicked is how long circle of death and similar spells remain viable offensive spells, which is a first in my experience with published 3e/3.5/Pathfinder campaigns.


Of Dragons and Princesses Review

5/5

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

This installment of Way of the Wicked was a pleasant surprise for me. After running through three great books, I shouldn't have been surprised when this one turned out to be a blast. However, on paper there were a few things that worried me about this book.

My first concern was the first act of the book. It is a sandbox style sacking of the city of Daveryn that is quite long and seemed like it would risk being stagnant. I still do believe that this is potential weak spot in the campaign. However, this weakness was easily navigated by cherry picking the sections that I thought would be interesting to my players and having Fire-Axe bring them up to the players. The rest of the events, I just held in reserve in case my players decided to explore. Personally, I ran the Duelist Academy event, because we had a Swashbuckler who loves challenging people to duels, the Baroness's encounter, because she is the cousin of one of the PCs and I merged the prison and the rebellion into one encounter, because I knew my PCs would love the opportunity to recruit prisoners and Ifran had useful information. I also ran the Duke's encounter via minion quest. All of these events seemed enjoyable for my players.

My second concern for this game was that the story seemed very reliant on the players making specific choices. I feared that players would decide not to bother with Chargammon or try to kill the princess. However, I did not face any issues with this. Thorn's plan offered enough intrigue for my players and Dessiter was a useful tool for persuading the players out of inadvisable plans, like trying to take Thorn out immediately.

In addition to the above areas, there were some other really great parts of this book. Eiramanthus in particular turned out to be a great boss battle. Spells like Mislead and Reverse Gravity made for a memorable and cinematic feel, while his melee prowess and anti-magic field had a reasonably optimized party of six fearing for their lives. The battle was so good that the happiest player at the table was the one who died, because she thought her death was epic.

The characters continue to be excellent. Chargammon was appropriately terrifying. Jeratheon is a fun addition. His dysfunctional relationship with his father opens up a lot of interesting RP opportunities that I think will continue to pay off after Chargammon's death. Also, even though Dessiter was introduced in the last book, I feel obliged to acknowledge him again, because he is such an excellent character. Every time he says something I can tell my players aren't sure whether to laugh, buy him a drink or punch him in the face.

Overall, this whole adventure path continues to be excellent and I have yet to find a good reason not to recommend it.


5/5

I've reviewed this book over on RPGGeek.com.


4.5 stars - a great adventure with minor weaknesses in the finale

5/5

This pdf is 106 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages maps of Talingarde, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving a total of 99 pages of content, so let's check this out!

This being an adventure-review, the following text contains a lot of SPOILERS. Potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion.

Still here? All right!

The last adventure had the PCs in a precarious situation - the sacking of the most holy places of Mitran religion can easily be botched and thus, this adventure kicks off with the PCs either fleeing from the Vale with an army on their heels or triumphantly marching from it in charge of their own dark forces. Worse for Cardinal Thorn's dread masterplan - his third knot, the assassins in charge with dealing with the regent King Markadian failed and were vanquished and his mole in the army is too frightened to assassinate the king. His plan seems to be crumbling - but there are the PCs, aren't there? These people have been a valuable asset, but they are getting too strong. Thus, Thorn develops a Xanathos gambit that may very well backfire: The king dearly loves his daughter and this is his weakness - if a sufficient threat surfaces in the royal palace, he'll come to the rescue - with the elite of his guard. But what constitutes a sufficient threat? What about Chargammon, legendary old black wyrm? Yeah, that should do the trick. The PCs get a lackluster assignment - recruit the extremely hostile Chargammon, known to slay all intruders to attack the royal palace and in the chaos ensuing the King's return, kill the regent, a formidable foe himself and destroy his elite guard. Even if they fail, Thorn wins - gaining finally the leverage to force his mole's hand. Now if that does not smell of suicide mission, the PCs are dumb. For now, though, they'll have play along.

Thus, the module kicks off with the PCs leaving Valtaerna, either at the helm of their own successful army and with an enhancement to their own evil organization or with their tails between their legs, fleeing from a vast army featuring a magic banner. Rescuing their bugbear commanders, their hippogriffs, teleportation magic - a bunch of options to escape after a botched invasion are there and even abandoning the rank-and-file goons is expected (they can be replenished), though not necessary - the PCs can actually lead their army through the wintry, deadly passes to escape with their organization intact. Once they rendezvous with the Fire-Axe, they'll see that at least the sacking of Daveryn went as planned - the city has fallen and Sakkarot wants to talk to them - and trade information, for Sakkarot, ina fit of melancholy, tells them the details of his deal with Thorn and that in the end, he is to take a fall against the Asmodean "saviors" once Talingarde has plunged into chaos. More worrying is that Tiadora and Thorn seem to be rather stingy with new orders/plans. But before new orders are issued, the PCs will have some fun - sacking Daveryn, district by district, looking for loot as well as allies and the missing duke, squashing resistances etc. - the city comes with a beautiful , player-friendly full-color map that includes the names for the district, but thankfully no annoying numbers. And it is neat to see the consequences of the PC's actions, e.g. the Tears of Achlys, which claim victims and remain a potent and deadly threat. A total of 4 looting tables, plus one for magic items and multiple random encounters supplement the planned encounters that are part of the looting: From breaking the last remnants of the resistance (e.g. the remaining city watch and a company of soldiers) to an interesting find in the local wizard's tower, the PCs have some challenges waiting: Said Wizard has the hints to the legendary wyrm Chargammon's nest as well as more vital clues: The Duke is still inside the city walls and hiding and the lord of eagles seems to have captured the spawn of Chargammon. It should also be noted that the diviner's spellbook and notes make for some cool treasures - especially the lavish description of the spellbook is a nice touch. Of course, even now the PCs can make new allies: The Baroness Vanya of Veryn, holed up in her mansion would make Cersei Lannister pale in comparison to her wickedness, but she's also a consummate politician that may make for a valuable ally regarding social interactions. The insane glory-hound and duelist master Rodrigo would make for the second potential ally - while not evil, he is amoral and cares only for his craft. Add to that spymaster Anton Breuder (who could provide a benefit in a future module), the option to steal the sapphire of storms (if the PCs are up for Mission Impossible-style trap disarming) and we're in for some fun. Better yet, if the PCs have failed to keep the slaughter of Valtaerna secret, the local prison could serve as a means to replenish their organization and a means to recruit Irfan al-Janbiya, the one assassin who was spared the righteous wrath of Sir Richard when he crushed the third knot. Once the PCs have found and dealt with all sources of information (good place to torture the subdued duke and perhaps a Mitran cardinal), the PCs could move onward -or they could do a cool sidequest for Grumblejack (or Raiju) to collect different types of spirits they may find strewn around the city - rather cool and adds some neat details to the local economy. The climax of the sacking should come as both a challenge to the PCs and as a sign that they are truly infamous: Two angels come down from the heavens to put them to justice.
Speaking of outsiders - Tiadora, this time accompanied by 9 errinyes, makes finally an appearance and hands off the quest to the PCs, acknowledging (perhaps subconsciously) that they did ALL the successful, major work in Thorn's gambit. By now the PCs should slowly starting to grasp that their master becomes concerned with their power. For now, though, they are off to the aerie of the Eagle Lord, a mythic being that commands the storms itself to rescue a black dragon - either by slaying the legendary bird and its court or by subterfuge and then have to deal with the rather dumb and deceitful spawn of the great wyrm to secure an audience and get them past the array of deadly river drakes guarding the isle. Worse, the duplicitous dragon does not warn them against the other defenses of the great wyrms lair, which makes e.g. the viper vines all the more deadly. Not as deadly as negotiating with an utterly chaotic evil black wyrm, though - in the end, PC ingenuity should prevail (there are btw. alternate ways to secure an audience) and they're off on a quest for the wyrm - to slay his rival, the copper wyrm Eiramanthus. Slaying a dragon is never easy and slaying this particular one is no exception.

The charismatic copper wyrm is a known planeswalker and has, in his travels far and wide, secured an array of concubines of surprising power - from Setia Swims-the-Sea-of-Stars, a ceteceal agathion to Sakari Yoshimune, a Toshigami Kami to finally Shakti Shobhana, a redeemed tataka rakshasa, the respective companions will provide quite a challenge - on their own. If the PCs are dumb enough to race into the island with drawn weapons and without a good plan to take care of them one by one, they will be squashed - especially with the allies of the respective concubines and potentially the copper dragon master of the island joining the fray. Add to that the labyrinthine quarters, crystalline gargoyles and a xorn emissary and a puzzle on a chess field, an interdimensional witchwyrd genius studying planar travel and the villains will be sorely tested even before they reach Eiramanthus, who true to his breed, will be rather communicative at first - of course, conflict with the noble being is inevitable and in the end, either he (and all remaining servitors/companions) or the PCs will be dead. And the rewards are nice indeed - the draconic hoard not only contains quite a bunch of unique treasures and is presented in excruciating detail, it also contains yet another piece of fabled hellbrand, dark blade of Asmodean champions and the demi-lich called "Nameless Tyrant", encased in crystal and yet another potential minion, albeit a very dangerous one - especially the knowledge of the lich-transformation might be interesting for the PCs Even more interesting, though is the infernal ally Dessiter, who warns the PCs of the impending treachery in Book 5 and to keep away from Thorn and plot his demise, adding quite a bunch of interesting pieces of information to the PC's repertoire, including the reason why Sir Richard has not yet been eliminated.
And then coolness begins - for the deed of slaying the copper wyrm, the PCs are actually rewarded by Chargammon in a rather cool way: He forces his son to serve them for 100 years - the PCs can now ride a black dragon into battle! Hell yeah! It's time to slay a king - in a month. First, wise PCs should explore the city of Matharyn and stock up - for before slaying the king will be perhaps their last chance for a while to get things done before the breakneck show-down with Thorn. The final location then, the Adarium, beckons and powerful wizards can be slain as well as celestials, righteous pyre-golems destroyed and diplomatic relations ruined (if the PCs act smart...). Secrets can be unearthed - including the hidden location of Hellbrands final component and Thorn's phylactery. Better yet, the magical prodigy princess and Sir Richard are here as well, guarded by an honor guard and a golem of mithral, their defenses are extensive and will ensure that the two get away - and for now that might be good, as it turns out the princess of Talingarde is not only beautiful, she's also a silver dragon-spawned prodigy of magic and when Sir Richard is defeated by Chargammon's assault, she intercedes and actually slays the dragon. Meanwhile, the PCs will have quite a battle with Markadian V and his elite guard on their hands.

The pdf also offers extensive troubleshooting advice and help with what/if-scenarios regarding the module's plot and the consequences we can expect from the potential of failure. We also get a whole page depicting the outcome of the clash between the Fire-Axe's armies and the forces of the king sans their leader that serves as an introduction to the things to come. The city of Matharyn gets a lavishly detailed gazetteer-section, including information on putting the PC's organization to the test against the excellent night watch. The pdf also offers advice for lich and vampire PCs and a run-down to make Way of the Wicked an all-vampiric campaign, from Book I to VI.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are very good, though not perfect - I encountered some minor typos spread throughout the module, though no enough to rate it down. Layout of the AP is beautiful and on par with Paizo publications and the artworks and cartography are stellar and up to the highest quality. The pdf comes fully bookmarked and with a semi-printer-friendly version without backgrounds as well as another pdf that includes the handout as well as player-friendly versions of all the maps sans the annoying numbers -AWESOME!
The fourth module of the WotW-AP is a wicked ride of fun, but one that needs careful planning on part of the DM - the module relies on the PCs completing the plan in spite of its flaws and a lot of quid-pro-quo-quests. To truly make this module work, a GM has to be up on his game. That being said, the module nevertheless is a stellar example of cool things to do and the villains will finally feel as if they are infamous indeed - the attacks by celestials and the forces of good finally directly attack the PCs and the option to gain a dragon mount rocks. Challenging creatures like a dragon and an ancient nature spirit is iconic indeed. That being said, there is at least one potential problem I see with the module: While the capital of Talingarde is detailed and the Adarium a challenging climax, it is the final section that needs a bit of DM-expansion: The pdf does not cover HOW to enter the Adarium and while the players have a multitude of tools at their behest, some guidelines would have been nice. Additionally, the PC's infiltration while their "threat" forces the king's hand could have been made more iconic, with more guards that are slain while the PCs are running the corridors. A timeline or some cinematic scenes in which the PCs can see how their wicked ally vanquishes otherwise lethal roadblocks in the module would have added some gleeful spite to their accomplishments.

That being said, I am complaining on a very high level here - this module is still an excellent, awesome ride and while it has no new mechanics like the two immediate prequels, it offers the PCs a chance to reclaim an organization and make new allies - though I would have loved to see more for the villain's cohorts to do. In contrast to the attack on Valtaerna, this module does not offer much to do for the poor cohorts apart from accompanying the PCs, which is a pity - give the psychotic alchemical golem, Grumblejack etc. something to do in the Adarium. (Though the sidequest provided for a cohort is awesome...) Perhaps a sabotage of the golems, a reconnaissance, making the assassin kill the court mage etc. - something like that. While easily done yourself, I would have nevertheless enjoyed to see some love there. Again, please bear in mind that this is still complaining at the highest level. Book 4 provides us with interesting challenges, is logical and makes for a fun ride for your villains and while personally, I slightly enjoyed the first 3 books more due to aforementioned minor nitpicks, I maintain that this pdf is still an excellent module that this time lacks hard-to-presume assumptions like the communication-blockade in book III - in fact, many adversaries herein utilize spells etc. to piece together information on your PCs, lending an air of credibility to the world and the actions of your dastardly group of devil-worshipers. The additional material is also up to the stellar quality of the book, though personally I don't like the section on vampire and lich-PCs - honestly, these topics need to be tackled in much more detail to work smoothly, at least speaking from experience. I have a vampire-PC ( a fallen, blessed priestess that turned towards bloodthirsty fanaticism) in my home-campaign and rest assured, the implications go beyond what one would expect at first.

How to rate this, then? You heard my nagging complaints and might ask yourself why I'm so utterly nitpicky with regards to these modules. Why? Well, because the Way of the Wicked is that good. Honestly, "Call forth Darkness" is perhaps one of my most favorite modules ever. And the others are not far behind. From the craft's perspective, the 4th module is solid and the attention to lavish detail, the cool creatures and of course, the presence of dragons as both adversaries and allies will lead a sense of empowerment to the PCs. For me, the finale was not as satisfying as it could easily be - however, the remedy is so simple that no DM should be stumped to improve it. In the end, I feel I have to be careful to not hold any installment of Fire Mountain Games' AP to a standard of its own and instead deliver a verdict in the grand context of publications. Not every adventure can do something radically new, after all. Thus, my final verdict for this part of the AP will clock in at 4.5 stars, gladly rounded up to 5 for the purpose of this platform - an excellent module that could use a bit more guidance/epicness in the finale, especially when the conquering in Book III and the escape/march from Valtaerna shows how well author Gary McBride can handle such situations.

Endzeitgeist out.


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Grand Lodge

Major Longhorn wrote:

Nice John !

The king is mean (and soon dead I hope).
What is Impervious weapon since i don't have ultimate equipment ?

It increases the hardness and hit points of the item.


kevin_video wrote:

The main reason why everyone's not properly equipped is because of the rules for "treasure by encounter". If every NPC was maxed for wealth the PCs would be well beyond their WBL table. As such, I've been making all the enemies -1 CR due to being underequipped.

W. John Hare wrote:
Apparently I left out the skills for King Markadian V... however since I wasn't changing them I guess it doesn't matter. :)
Any particular reason why he's got an impervious weapon? Or, no? BTW, took me a bit to realize where you'd found it (Ultimate Equipment).

I agree not every single knight of the guard should carry magic weapons, armor, shield and ring. But hey, they can get a MW sword and full plate, can't they?

Grand Lodge

gustavo iglesias wrote:
I agree not every single knight of the guard should carry magic weapons, armor, shield and ring. But hey, they can get a MW sword and full plate, can't they?

Oh I agree with that much. It's just that this is medium progression, and at 18th level, according to the book, an encounter should only give them 41,000-53,000 gold. I for one don't follow that so my PCs will be a little richer than others, but I figure since they'll be using it on consumables anyhow (wands, potions, etc), it's not going to break the game.

Scarab Sages

kevin_video wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
I agree not every single knight of the guard should carry magic weapons, armor, shield and ring. But hey, they can get a MW sword and full plate, can't they?
Oh I agree with that much. It's just that this is medium progression, and at 18th level, according to the book, an encounter should only give them 41,000-53,000 gold. I for one don't follow that so my PCs will be a little richer than others, but I figure since they'll be using it on consumables anyhow (wands, potions, etc), it's not going to break the game.

Because it is an NPC encounter it should be awarding approx 3 times the normal monster treasure value, so it should be closer to 123,000-159,000gp for the encounter.

Scarab Sages

For the Knights of the Kings Guard, I took a look at the GMG (NPC Noble - Knight) and figure that in addition to their potion of cure moderate wounds, the Knights should have +1 full plate, +1 battle axe and a MW heavy steel shield.

This gives the knights an AC of 23, and a melee attack of +1 battle axe +14/+9 (1d8+4, x3).

In the big scheme of things it probably won't make much difference, but it makes a bit of sense that the king would equip his guards with magic weapons at the very least.


W. John Hare wrote:

For the Knights of the Kings Guard, I took a look at the GMG (NPC Noble - Knight) and figure that in addition to their potion of cure moderate wounds, the Knights should have +1 full plate, +1 battle axe and a MW heavy steel shield.

This gives the knights an AC of 23, and a melee attack of +1 battle axe +14/+9 (1d8+4, x3).

In the big scheme of things it probably won't make much difference, but it makes a bit of sense that the king would equip his guards with magic weapons at the very least.

Yep, no difference at all. A 15th level PC fighter should hit them with 2+ and be hit with 20s anyways. But at least they aren't wearing banded mail. You know, the armor that 2nd level fighters buy.


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

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games


Just out of curiosity, has anyone actually managed to successfully kidnap Bellinda? I know that it's supposed to be hard (Or impossible. The text keeps telling you not to do it), but I would imagine that would just make people want to try it more!

I can see the problems involved, she's a 19th level Sorceress sitting behind a wall of force, and IIRC she just teleports away with Richard if she gets threatened. But there has to be some way of coaxing her into a fight. Then you could cast Hold Person, Sleep, or grapple>bind before having one of the PCs toss her over his shoulder and make off.

One of the ways you could force her into an engagement would be by capturing Markadian and blackmailing her, but I'm pretty sure that you would either a) get killed by her and Richard or b) somehow kill all of the Talingarde faction leaders and end the campaign right there.

Grand Lodge

Axial wrote:

Just out of curiosity, has anyone actually managed to successfully kidnap Bellinda? I know that it's supposed to be hard (Or impossible. The text keeps telling you not to do it), but I would imagine that would just make people want to try it more!

I can see the problems involved, she's a 19th level Sorceress sitting behind a wall of force, and IIRC she just teleports away with Richard if she gets threatened. But there has to be some way of coaxing her into a fight. Then you could cast Hold Person, Sleep, or grapple>bind before having one of the PCs toss her over his shoulder and make off.

One of the ways you could force her into an engagement would be by capturing Markadian and blackmailing her, but I'm pretty sure that you would either a) get killed by her and Richard or b) somehow kill all of the Talingarde faction leaders and end the campaign right there.

It's not nearly impossible, it IS impossible. If she hears any violence outside, and one of her protectors yell out for her to get to safety, she'll immediately teleport away. Heck, you're not even supposed to get near her. If the players do, more reinforcements come.

Grand Lodge

Going over the books again, and trying to fit in the side quests, as my group's going slow progression instead of medium (to compensate for the level adjustments of expensive races of the ARG), Book 4 has a "Raid the Mint" bank robbery idea. So, I was thinking of taking from Dungeon Magazine 147. That has a bank robbery scenario. Just have to adjust for Pathfinder, and levels. And the ending of that adventure tells of how if the players aren't able to cover their tracks "assassins" will be sent after them. The bank robbery is to take whatever they want, but mostly it's to steal an amulet with a trapped common rakshasa inside.


We are already in the middle of book 4.

Spoiler:
the PC did a bit os robbery and spoil of war in daveryn. But they got lucky and found the duke soon. A bit later they visited the Baroness (which one of the players knew from background) and then found polydorus tower and the letter from stormborn king as Jeratheon was imprtant part of one of the PC background, they inmediately went to rescue him (a fmale dragon in my game). They receive the charge from tiadora to convince chargammon. They killed the stormborn king easily (too easily, even if I upgraded him heavily and used a retinue of avoral cohorts. But knowledge is very powerful, and knowing beforehand that the eagle was lightning based is a huge advantage.
They convinced chargammon to join the war effort after promising him to defeat erimanthus.
THey went to the island, found thr first cohort, and killed her and her four elder water elemental with ease. There was a fun moment when one of the elementals tried to bull rush the vampire antipaladin into the running water. However, it missed just by two.
The PC are going to infiltrate thr island right i the next session. The vampire player will have some problems to get invited into the lair, though.


almost finished book 4...

Spoiler:
The PC went to the temple of Shakti, and using bluff, disguise and Domination (from the vampire antipaladin), controlled the leader of the oreiads. Told them to go somewhere else, and then tried to manage to transform Shakti back into Lawful Evil. However, it didn't work. Despise having good disguise and bluff (over 50+ rolls from the party face), the Tatanka Rakshasha readed their minds with Detect thoughts (although half the group wash shielded...) The fight was nice, with the rakshasha teleporting outside the temple, casting self-buffs, then entering through the balcony and hitting the PC archer inquisitor. When the PC tried to fleed, she tripped him. A swarm of summoned devils from the summoner keep her surrounded, while the rest of the PC got ready to attack. She was able to full-round against the Vampire (I gave her 5 extra attacks with the extra arms), but it was a flurry of misses against the AC 42 of the Paladin (which doesn't wear a shield, by the way). Next round, a volley from the archer finished the fight.

The Toshigami was cool fight too. I put around 60 sprites and 40 pixies, which were a pain with their lesser confusions and color sprays. Even with DC as low as 14 or 11, when you have to roll +25 times per round, there's a good chance you botch one... Also, I gave the Cherry Blossom the ability to give each good creature in 50 feet aura of protection (+4 AC and saves and lesser globe of invulnerability), which caught off-guard the wizard and his fireballs. The toshigami did a good pounding on the half-drow Magus, but failed a lot of attacks (wich was able to hit with 9+ or so). She damaged him three times, though, draining a lot of ability points.

After that, the PC found the hungry cristals. The fight was one-round long, when the Summoner cast Hungry Pit on the REF 0 poor oozes.

Then they went to the Dragon's tower. They split the group, and while one of them solved the chess riddle, another one tried to advance. They found the Visitor, which was a cool guy and helped them (having 50+ rolls in Bluff and Diplomacy is such a boon with non-hostile NPC...). They discovered that the Visitor was invited into the tower. He had a letter inviting him. The rogue stole the letter, and gave it to the PC vampire (so the PC is now, officially, invited into the house, and can enter the tower. He was outside, spying the tower windows using form of mist and spider climb)

They are now ready to enter into both the Dragon's Vault, or the Dragon's chamber.

I need to think a bit about the fight, so I can make it cool. Don't want to see the dragon dying in one full round, as happened with poor Argossrrian.


Finally killed the dragon. Tough tough tough enemy.

Spoiler:
Erimanthius started the fight with the joke, in a surprise round (we were roleplaying the conversation, I said the joke, and then asked everybody to save).
A very low Initiative roll almost got him killed... The Vampire Antipaladin was teleported (Dimensional door) behind him, and using a full round made more than 150+ hp damage on him (with no crits and missing 1 attack). Few extra hits, and then the Dragon started the show. Using quickened confusion (I made him a Wyrm), programmed image (creating an illusory prismatic wall) and reverse gravity, he created havok into the PC. The vampire PC, who fell to the roof, used spider climb to move over him, and then drop over him with a death-from-above style charge, which he used a slam to hit the dragon (And give him a couple negative levels). Very cinematic scene, actually. Then the PC swarmed the dragon, who casted Antimagic Shield, flight to a wall (using spider climb) and then punched the PC 1 by 1.
It was almost a TPK. The antimagic shield, combined with huge (41)armor, and specially the damage reduction (and the PC having non-magical weapons inside the Antimagic field) made him almost untouchable. He was only 40 50 or so hp left, but there wasn't a lot of ways to deal with him. Antimagic dragons are a PAIN in the ....

However, the Wizard used a Desintegrate to produce a cave-in, desintegrating part of the columns to make the roof fall over the dragon. That was a 8d6 cave in, and the dragon rolled a 2 in his save (plus the negative levels and the -2 from Antipaladin aura...) He took a good bunch of damage, but was alive yet. Then the antipaladin went out of the antimagic field, drawing a dagger, and throw it against the dragon. Being out of the antimagic shell, he could use supernatural abilities, such as Smite Good, which made the dagger to pierce through the damage reduction, and sealing the fate of the dragon.

Then Dessiter appeared. It was a very very very fun roleplaying scene. The group doesn't really trust Dessiter. The Vampire Antipaladin, who is a fanatic follower of Thorne, actually wants to kill him. But some in the group think that Dessiter *might* be right. And if he is, then they are dead if they go to the Agathium

We left the game there. They are now lvl 14th, and heading to the Adarium to fight the King. They aren't sure yet about what to do next.
Things are going to be interesting, I wonder if they'll do the right choice. It's one of those crossroads where if you take left instead of right, you die, period


There we go.

Spoiler:
The PC spent a week or two in Matheryn, while they waited for Chargammon to attack in a New Moon. They used that time to do a bit of research, built some magic items, and made some evil.

The vampire PC entered in form of mist into the Royal Silos, which were being used to feed the poor and the war refugees. He summoned rats, infected them with the Tears, and then ruined most of the grain.

He also infected himself with the disease, then disguised as a plague doctor, and helped to spread the disease into the relatively safe neigbourhouds.

They went into the palace in the right night, waited until the dragon assaulted, and watched the Black Death Incarnated that Chargammon is, to destroy the guards, break the walls, and crush the magic defenders. They entered through the hole in the wall, using a Wall of Stone in form of stairs, and followed the path of destruction. They watched the battle between Chargammon, Sir Richard, and Bellinda, and were absolutelly shocked when Bellinda killed the Dragon so easy. They proceeded to kill every single enemy in the path to the king's chamber. The fights were quick and dirty. The poor Sleepless night couldn't even act, and most of the guards were completelly useless. The dwarven guards couldn't hit any of the front-liners even with a 19.

The PC arrived to the King's room, and found themselves surprised by a wave of dispelling energy, right before the King arrived with a flash. I've added a Wizard to the king's party, and I've changed most of his stats, so I hope they can stand a chance against the party.

The PC are truly terrified about Bellinda. Some of them think Bellinda is Antharia Regina. Some believe she is some kind of goddess, or the avatar of Mitra. And they start to understand that there are movers and shakers beyond those they thought were the leaders and the puppetters in the shadow.


Spoiler:
about Bellinda]Unfortunatly, I think Bellinda is more Mary Sue. Half-dragon without the unfortunate spikey parts, stunning, a princess, super sorceress. This gets laid on thick in the last book and the creators almost beg the Dm to convince the players to let her win. The MLK quote at the end was too much.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

@Andrea1:

Spoiler:
I hadn't thought of it like that, but you have a point. More generally, there isn't much information on her personality at all. For the final "antagonist", that makes me think I have some work to do to flesh her out a bit. Maybe even make her a little less perfect. Is her crusade to liberate Talingarde, or is it a more banal quest for revenge for her father, making her little different than our villains?


@Snowheart

Spoiler:
Liberate Talingarde and justice for her father. It is pretty standard and she doesn't do anything appalling. It comes across as very vanilla and the 'armada of angels and one wears the face of good knight Richard' is heavy-handed. Of course one could make it rather interesting if the players have Talingarde up and running/united when the time comes..

Peasant:Oy! Come on now Princess, these sorts arn't THAT hard on us.

Peasant2: Tis true. They'll burn your hut down but they'll let you get out first.

Just riffing on Pratchett. ;)


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Andrea1,

Spoiler:

First, I wouldn't call Bellinda a Mary Sue. I am definitely not living vicariously through a twenty something princess via my writing. Uh, no. Dude, that would be seriously creepy.

Instead, Bellinda is the straightforward good guy to oppose the utter wickedness of the PCs.

Almost every other major good guy NPC has his/her flaws. The commander of Balentyne is overwhelmed with melancholy and sorrow for his lost love. The dragons Antharia Regina and Erimanthus are standoffish and distant. The Church though ultimately well-meaning is riddled with zealotry, indifference and corruption. The paladin very likely gives into despair and become an anti-paladin if the PCs don't just kill him. Even Ara Mathra, though he weeps with grief, is unwilling to abandon his precious sacred flame to more directly help the people of Talingarde. Good guys all but all with their problems and failings.

But not Bellinda. She is the shining "big-good" of the adventure path. I thought we needed at least one.

However, if this does not sit well with you and you want her to be more complex, I think its fixable. When she flees Talingarde and spends three years away, right now the adventure path portrays her as spending that time constantly working towards her return. Instead, you could portray the princess as turning her back on her home. With her father dead and her title taken from her, the princess seeks at first to make another life far away from poor, doomed Talingarde.

And then finally, she receives word of some atrocity your villains have done during their reign. Finally it is too much. Even the Princess can no longer stand by and do nothing. She's going back. She marshals what forces she can and begins the long journey home.

Anyways, hope that helps.

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games


FMG

Spoiler:
Thank you for replying. It is the presentation of Bellinda and her return that is laid on thick, along with the pile-on of the divine if the players choose to lose. Having the unicorn flag flying over them as they are cut-down after a straight up fight(Which is very possible with the Titan,Silver Dragon and arrow-slinging solar) is appropriate, but getting flattened by the Planatar charge while everyone else but Grumblejack bails is grating. If one really wants to sock it to the players in a 'wages of Sin' way, perhaps bringing up all the nastiness the PCs have done in the past and have them hung by their own petards?

Solar: Examine exhibt A, where Sir Eatababy summons the Disease Daemon which was the source of the plague a few years back.

Allied Dwarf nation: You're own your own dudes, kthxbai.

Queen from evil empire across the sea: Whoa. Diplomatic immunity! *teleports away*


I was quite surprised about Bellinda and her lack of

Spoiler:
spicky parts, wings, fangs, and other stuff the half-dragons have


Finally, the King is DEAD!

Spoiler:
The pretty much anticipated fight vs the king was as expected.
I increased the potency of the encounter, giving the king much better build, equipment and pre-buff, and also added a 15th level wizard to the party. The 4 cavaliers were cavaliers of the lion, to give "for the king" buffs to the inquisitor and King, and also have different teamwork feats, so they could share all of them through Tactician. Not that it mattered a lot..

The Wizard started the fight trapping the inquisitor archer behind a wall of force, and casting a quickened Tiny Hut. The cavaliers did their tactic stuff, and started Patrol (good feat for bodyguards). The cleric used a bladebarrier to split the enemies. And then the PC started to act. With Reverse gravity, most of the NPC "fell" to the roof. There they were trapped by a icy wall dome from the bone devils. The king moved and made two attacks vs the antipaladin, using smite evil (he was buffed by Bestow Grace of the Champion, among several other spells). Howevr, that was his last action, the group Rogue used a desintegrate scroll to remove the wall of force, and the Inquisitor archer did 200+ hp to the king in one round (as usual). The rest of the fight was a bit of cleaning up. The wizard failed a save for Polymorph and was transformed into a little dog, and the rest of the group fell into several spells (Dominate, spiky pits, etc)

The PC then went to animate dead Chargammon, and to steal the treasure of the dragon. They were quick, so there was no real reason to make the Brine Dragon to steal the treasure before they arrive, except heavy Deus Ex Machina, which I don't like. I gave them 200.000 gp, which they have decided to spend in the army

Two days later, the PC received the visit from Tiadora. They were quite usure about believing Dessiter or not, but they choosed to cast Augury to know if going with Adrastus were Weal or Woe. They also used Commune to ask Asmodeus about it, and they learned Adrastus really was thinking to kill them. So they defeated Tiadora and the 9 erinyes (which killed the Necromancer with their arrows, as the wizard has very low AC and Mirror Image isn't useful against True Seeing)

They went to visit Naburus, and there they made the judgement. Dessiter was the Devil's Advocate for Adrastus, and he did a very poor defense of his case (on purpose). Naburus ordered the PC to kill Brigite of the Brijidine as a test of strength to become (one of them) Cardinal, and then they are free to search the Devil's Heart and try to slay Adrastus Thorn.


My players are getting too used to stomp everything in their path. I think I have to be more deadly, the necromancer death was because they were taking the Erinyes as a joke fight. So I chosed to focus fire with all the erinyes against a low AC PC instead of scatter the shots. I have to make sure the next fights are much more deadly


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

Finally, the King is DEAD!

excerpt:
The PC then went to ...steal the treasure of the dragon. They were quick, so there was no real reason to make the Brine Dragon to steal the treasure before they arrive, except heavy Deus Ex Machina, which I don't like. I gave them 200.000 gp, which they have decided to spend in the army

Just a personal +1 to you and your players for that. Classy on all counts.

On the Erinyes...

Spoiler:
It's interesting to me how many groups seem to be resorting to the idea that they have to kill/slay the devils. It seems to me that even a basic knowledge of devil-kind would reveal the power of true names, pacts and trickery, and the prospect of turning Tiadora and her coterie away from Thorn. Oh well.

Loving the campaign reports. Giving me thoughts for my own campaign.


My group

Spoiler:
actualy discovered that Tiadora was tied to Adrastus by the power of the truename. They even thought about taking her prissioner, but then during combat they were careless. With so many PC doibg damage close to 200, it was quite easy to kill her unless you were very careful

Grand Lodge

I just realized something after re-reading about Chargammon. He has a contingency dimension door on himself. If he ever goes below 100 hp, he automatically teleports 1000 ft upon the ocean floor. If he really does get hit with a Meteor Storm, he should actually technically survive it. If he doesn't, then that's specifically due to the "plot" saying so.

Also, did anyone notice if Chargammon had a listed horde or not? Maybe not this book, but in the later ones.


Kevin:

Spoiler:
Teleport won't work in the Adarium, including dimensional door. The only exception is Bellinda, who can, through a plot-hook, pierce the protection.

Besides that, if you have 101hp, and you take 120+ damage, you can't use your contingency.

Grand Lodge

gustavo iglesias wrote:

Kevin:

** spoiler omitted **

Spoiler:
True, but the Adarium's wrecked due to Chargammon's destroying a whole a large section of it. That's how he and Richard are even fighting. And if you're a dragon with Con 27, contingency still works. Contingency works based on how you word it. If you say "I want to teleport X feet when I'm less than 100 hp, and you can go down to -27 before you die, you can teleport. It's immediate, and you don't trigger it. But, again, plot.

Spoiler:
The adarium wasn't damaged enough to avoid teleport. Pc couldn't teleport, and bellinda had to crack the protection. Also, if you have 27 Con, you only need to take enough damage to go to -27 :).
A Meteor swarm can do 32d6, which means up to 192 damage rolling well. Chargammon could go from 150hp to -40 in a shot, never triggering the Dimensional Door

Grand Lodge

gustavo iglesias wrote:
** spoiler omitted **

I suppose that's fair. Although, if the cleric really wanted to, there's always Miracle.


kevin_video wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
** spoiler omitted **
I suppose that's fair. Although, if the cleric really wanted to, there's always Miracle.

Well, if you follow that track, then it's absolutelly impossible to kill Markadian. Somebody in the mitran church will cast resurrection.

You need some suspension of disbelief in high-powered magic worlds to be able to have *any* kind of plot.

Grand Lodge

gustavo iglesias wrote:

Well, if you follow that track, then it's absolutelly impossible to kill Markadian. Somebody in the mitran church will cast resurrection.

You need some suspension of disbelief in high-powered magic worlds to be able to have *any* kind of plot.

While true, if you've got the right people on your evil team, it's practically impossible to resurrect the good guys. Those assassins have some creepy abilities of true death.

That being said, in my Friday DM's game, every NPC comes back to life at least twice, and there's no resurrection at all in his game world. He finds it too broken.


Well, not every group has assasins, and not every NPC is given the last shot by the assassin.

And even if he does, it's just a caster level check vs DC 25 max (which is easy as pie), can be negated with a Remove Curse spell, and even if resurrection is out of the game, as a last resort, Belinda has wish. And I guess she has a desire to see his father alive.

You need to look to other side and whistle about magic just to be able to have a plot at all. Otherwise, there's no reason to play. Mitran church could just raise from the dead EVERY major enemy that the PC have slayed, from Thomas Havelyn to the King, including the Abbot of Valtaerne and Ara Mazra himself. They don't, because... plot. If you don't have this kind of lenience with magic, there's no game to be played.


A couple of alternate, story type ideas for explaining why Mitran citizens are not immediately resurrected, even upper class ones. My first idea is that it could be worked in that Thorn has perhaps been given a particular ritual which could be taught to the PC's which ties the victim to Asmodeus, possibly blocking resurrection. Granted, if the ritual is not performed, nothing would stop the NPC from being brought back.

Another idea is that pre-Book III, resurrection is possible by Mitran priests, but with the villains success in Book III, the ability to raise the dead is barred from them unless the Vale is restored. Imagine a side adventure to keep the Vale suppressed.

Also of note is that Mitran priests are only 20% of the Mitran clergy population, and high level spellcasting clerics are viewed with some suspiscion by other clergy, particularly with the possibility of mental control.

Other ideas could include the expense of material components (and availability of such; it's how I kept my PC's from warding every 5 foot square of the Horn) or a possible religious sanction by Mitrans against resurrection (imagine if Christian clerics were capable of bringing people back from the dead, it might be somewhat forbidden given the prominent role resurrection plays in relation to its central figure).

Just a couple of thoughts. :)


John Malueg wrote:
A couple of alternate, story type ideas for explaining why Mitran citizens are not immediately resurrected, even upper class ones. My first idea is that it could be worked in that Thorn has perhaps been given a particular ritual which could be taught to the PC's which ties the victim to Asmodeus, possibly blocking resurrection. Granted, if the ritual is not performed, nothing would stop the NPC from being brought back.

If so, then he couldn't resurrect

Spoiler:
sir Richard's after the horn battle

And in any case, it's just a Deux Ex Machina solution which bassically means "they don't resurrect, because of plot".

Quote:
Another idea is that pre-Book III, resurrection is possible by Mitran priests, but with the villains success in Book III, the ability to raise the dead is barred from them unless the Vale is restored. Imagine a side adventure to keep the Vale suppressed.

That doesn't preclude the non-mitran ways to raise people from dead. Such as Bellinda's Wish spell.

Quote:

Also of note is that Mitran priests are only 20% of the Mitran clergy population, and high level spellcasting clerics are viewed with some suspiscion by other clergy, particularly with the possibility of mental control.

Other ideas could include the expense of material components (and availability of such; it's how I kept my PC's from warding every 5 foot square of the Horn) or a possible religious sanction by Mitrans against resurrection (imagine if Christian clerics were capable of bringing people back from the dead, it might be somewhat forbidden given the prominent role resurrection plays in relation to its central figure).

Just a couple of thoughts. :)

There was an entire catacomb in Valtaerne dedicated to priests that had made the "miracle" of raising people from the dead. So it doesn't seem to be any kind of religious taboo about it. Actually, the opposite: those able to raise dead, were praiesed and buried in special holy places, above the other clerics who weren't able to do it

Really, there's only one reason why Markadian is dead. It's needed by the plot. And it's a damn good reason, mind you.

Shadow Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Fire Mountain Games wrote:

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

Gary McBride
Fire Mountain Games

And appears to be on backorder again :(

Any idea when it will, yet again, be in stock? I have 1-3 and want 4-6 but these appear to be on backorder constantly (which is a good thing really).


And I'm back. Been a long hiatus from running Way of the Wicked, but we finally have completed part 2 of Jade Regent. On to to villainy!

The first part of the session was everyone re-familiarizing themselves with their characters, making sure they were properly leveled up and doing some bookkeeping on the organization. We picked up exactly where we left off...

Spoiler:
With trumpets blaring, the Grand Army of the South had arrived at the Vale. Surveying the view from atop flying fiendish hippogryphs, the villains knew they could not hold. Unwilling to leave so useful a tool as a small bugbear army behind, they sought a way to escape those that pursued them. It was Lowgrut, recently returned from the dead, who noticed the winding goat trail that might just lead their army to safety. With a day before the assault would begin, the villains made last minute preparations. Trik, also returned from the dead, now a tiefling, worked with the acolytes of organization to raise what corpses they could to fill the Vale with the dead, buying time for their army to escape. The minions who had served under Vladimir the anti-paladin chose to remain behind to man the wall, eager to join their master in death. The next morning, they were the only living beings remaining in the Vale. At head of a great column of evil, Lowgrut lead the army through treacherous mountain passes and bitter cold to freedom, all the way to Daveryn, with only minimal losses (4 rolls made out of 5).

In Daveryn, they met with the Fire-Axe, learned of his tale and were charged with finding the Duke. Perhaps it was all their time together in the Vale, but they split into four groups to scour the city for the Duke (and for the bottles to complete Grumblejack's bet). They did not find him, but something did find Ivo the witch and Lowgrut as they searched. In the blink of an eye, Maul and Clarion arrived. Clearly, the villains were outmatched, even with the might of Artephius on their side. Only by luck was Ivo able to use Dismal on Maul, giving Lowgrut (with Taint of the Pit on) an opportunity to finish off Clarion. Maul, for his part, plane shifted back to join up with Clarion, but found himself quite a distance away (347 miles off-course, to be exact). And that is where we ended the evening.

Assorted musings:
- I had Trik become a Tiefling by making a deal with Dessiter while he was in the afterlife. It allowed me to set-up a conversation with the gnome oracle of Asmodeus to convince him not to become a vampire. Even the player admitted he would be fairly broken as a full-powered vampire. The player thought it was a convincing argument. Now they want Raiju to become a vampire instead.

- My PC's have complained that they don't have enough magical firepower (which is not true, they have access to most of the damaging spells, they just aren't realizing that their foes are resistant or immune and none of the spellcasters take metamagic feats for some reason), so I am inserting a wizard into the prison. She is a half-orc wizard of the Phantasm school. I think it's a good choice and fitting. The majority of her spells are illusion, so I hope to see some creativity.

- Although I was busy working with other players, I overheard snippets of conversation between Ivo and Lowgrut about getting certain enchantments placed upon Lowgrut's armor, enabling him to become a Graveknight when the time was right.

Grand Lodge

John Malueg wrote:
- My PC's have complained that they don't have enough magical firepower (which is not true, they have access to most of the damaging spells, they just aren't realizing that their foes are resistant or immune and none of the spellcasters take metamagic feats for some reason), so I am inserting a wizard into the prison. She is a half-orc wizard of the Phantasm school. I think it's a good choice and fitting. The majority of her spells are illusion, so I hope to see some creativity.

Yeah, I'm getting the same thing from my spellcasters as well, but that's partly because while the wizard has been one multiple times, the oracle is a first time divine user, and chose the worst set up for his character so he's only got minimal battlefield control spells. He's starting to wish he was a sorcerer now just so he could have some offensive spells.


kevin_video wrote:
Yeah, I'm getting the same thing from my spellcasters as well, but that's partly because while the wizard has been one multiple times, the oracle is a first time divine user, and chose the worst set up for his character so he's only got minimal battlefield control spells. He's starting to wish he was a sorcerer now just so he could have some offensive spells.

Dumb and OT question: what are good battlefield control spells for an oracle?

Grand Lodge

Eric Hinkle wrote:
Dumb and OT question: what are good battlefield control spells for an oracle?

Good question. Essentially, all the 3PP spells. The majority of them are curses so he reduces Str, Dex, Con, or he blinds them for a round. There's also the one where all attacks are 50/50 on an opponent.


And another couple of days go by in Daveryn...

Spoilers:
After the sudden attack by Maul and Clarion, the villains are terrified, believing Heaven has hired assassins to slay them. So on day two they only split into three teams instead of four. This was an opportunity for us to sideline one player and their cohort since he was not there. The two simply went and looked at the Sable Tower.

Group A, consisting of Raiju, Izevel, the fire oracle and the monk returned to Tythers to look again for the cardinal. They still did not find him, although they did find the bottle from the region for Grumblejack's bet. And they were able to get in touch with Anton and the Daveryn thieve's guild, to whom they offered protection from the bugbear horde in exchange for joining their organization. It was a deal swiftly agreed to.

Group B (Trik, Artephius, the magus and the witch) traveled to Brandelthyn to examine Polydorus' tower. It took them several rounds to figure out they were being attacked by invisible stalkers, then the witch's familiar was taken down by Polydorus casting lightning arc from atop his tower. The group barely survived the encounter, but thanks to the magus, who flew up and skewered the mage, they made it. They later reanimated Polydorus' corpse out of spite. After reading the note from the Lord of Eagles and Polydorus' book on dragons, the villains are already planning to spring Jaratheon so that they have a dragon that owes them a favor.

The following day, the group went en masse (sans Artephius and the witch) to Cliffward to examine the prison. Izevel took point and began turning her gaze upon all who defended the wall. It was an effective tactic, one which inevitably left just the warden and Izevel squaring off on top of the wall before he eventually succumbed to her gaze, although not before the monk had strolled up to the gate, ripped the helmeted head off a corpse and threw (and hit) the warden with it. They have acquired the services of the assassin and of Goruza, the Nightmare Queen. It will be interesting to see them in action next week.


My players wish to use their minions for explorying the various areas of Daveryn. Has anyone else had their PC's wish to do this, and how did you handle it? I'm thinking that the minions won't ever stumble across any of the encounters (although it would be fun to have a number of their minions slaughtered because the PC's are being lazy/greedy. Serve them right.), but maybe have them do a higher DC Espionage roll? I don't have the evil organization info right in front of me, but I think that would be the stat they would use for looting. Thoughts on modifying the results?

Grand Lodge

John Malueg wrote:
My players wish to use their minions for explorying the various areas of Daveryn. Has anyone else had their PC's wish to do this, and how did you handle it? I'm thinking that the minions won't ever stumble across any of the encounters (although it would be fun to have a number of their minions slaughtered because the PC's are being lazy/greedy. Serve them right.), but maybe have them do a higher DC Espionage roll? I don't have the evil organization info right in front of me, but I think that would be the stat they would use for looting. Thoughts on modifying the results?

My players aren't there yet, but the Grumblejack side quest is actually what the minions apparently do in Minion Quest II, according to one of the playtesters. He said that they had one NPC level and two PC levels. Apparently in Minion Quest I, those same NPCs originally had two NPC levels and one PC level. So they're 3rd level trying take on the various smaller encounters there, find the loot for Grumblejack, and eventually are to capture the guy everyone's looking for.

If you wanted, you could do that instead. I've already got my PCs designing their personal minions.


Hmm, that is not a bad idea, I have had them play as their minions in the past, while holding the Horn. I'll have to see what they want to do.

Grand Lodge

Today is the last day of Villainy Week at Necromancers of the Northwest, and is also the day of magic. One spell in particular, I'm a little concerned about. It's called Slay Loved One. How bad would that be if a cleric, sorcerer/wizard, or witch had this and used it on the king? I'm think pretty bad.


Haven't updated in awhile, here goes:

Spoiler:
With relative impunity, the PC's completed all the quests in Daveryn. Recruited the thieves guild, recruited the baronness (who now helps coordinate their organization), caught the duke, etc. Then it was off to rescue Jaratheon (which they were going to do without prompting, they thought having a dragon owe them a favor would be good anyway). Using the iron circlets and posing as Polydorus with attendants, they bluffed their way past the Stormborn King and took Jaratheon into custody. Of course, once the eagles had left (they had helped carry the dragon down the mountain), the PC's removed Jaratheon's shackles and he immediately bolted and got away. Eventually they went to see Chargammon, after three out of the four who went nearly died fighting the viper vines. They were eager to take on Eiramanthus. They barely researched the dragon himself and ignored researching his consorts. They arrived at the isle by way of a boat, eager to fill its hold with dragon treasure (boy, will they be a little disappointed with there not being heaps of gold for them to take). Using their longboat, they cruised in and technically wrecked on the reef, but then I noticed that Setia might be beyond the reef, so I gave them a do-over. They were very clever, particularly the oracle, proclaiming to be under a mission for the Mitran king to seek the dragon's aid against the villains. It worked and they managed to bluff their way through the island and avoid all the other consorts. They arrived before Eiramanthus fully rested, ready to rumble, except that in all the excitment, no one remembered to cast any defensive spells ahead of time.

Meeting with Eiramanthus, the PC's stated they were there for his head at the request of Chargammon and it was on. The dragon lead with his joke, disabling the half-orc fighter, Irfan, and Goruza. They discovered rather quickly that hitting Eiramanthus was difficult, particularly when all the melee fighters could not pass the Will save to negate the dragon's slow aura. Things got worse when all the consorts appeared. In the end, the PC's lost. Grumblejack was cut down by the dragon's breath weapon, as was the magus (who spent his last two villainous action points to be left for dead) and Rodrigo (whom the magus had recruited as a follower. First mission too.), and Artephius was destroyed. The oracle surrendered after being reduced to an Int of 5 and Wis of 4 by Sakura, the monk had landed a single blow for no damage against Setia and surrendered when the oracle did. Izevel had been getting punched in the face, repeatedly, by Shakti (partly because, for some reason, Death Funnel had decided that firing her bow at an adjacent target and drawing the AoO was better than drawing a melee weapon), saw the other two surrender and tried to bolt, only to be caught outside by Eiramanthus a couple of rounds later. Ivo saw the writing on the wall just before the oracle surrendered (right after the dragon had killed three party members), ran over to the half-orc (whom he has a deal with. They are helping each other reach Lichdom and Graveknighthood, respecitvely) and teleported away.

So now I am cobbling together an interesting side quest. Prior to these events, the PC's had discharged Trik to start creating a church of Asmodeus in Balentyne. I believe the plan is for the witch and fighter to travel to there and then mount a rescue mission. I thought that Eiramanthus might be willing to take those that surrendered prisoner. The set-up for their incarceration will be Eiramanthus using stone shape and wall of stone to keep them shackled pretty well. All of the PC's possessions were taken, even their clothes. I think he might have questions for the PC's, plus I thought it would be interesting for him to take an interest in Izevel. He has been around long enough to know of her and her situation, and it seems as though it would be in character for him to attempt to sway her.

It's been a somewhat eventful last couple of weeks.

Grand Lodge

John Malueg wrote:

Haven't updated in awhile, here goes:

** spoiler omitted **...

That sounds like a crazy difficult fight. I feel pretty bad for them. Hoping the side quest goes well.


It's time for a rescue mission!

Spoiler:
So, after spending a couple of hours making a rescue plan and arguing over that plan, the PC's set forth. They chose to teleport in this time around. They actually had to spend a villainous action point to keep from a teleportation mishap. Going along on the mission: Ivo (14th level witch, PC), Lowgrut (14th level armor master fighter, PC), Hekkarth Head-Taker (bugbear NPC, level 12 barbarian), Shaggorath Night-Mane (bugbear NPC, level 12 fighter), Trik (level 12 cleric, with the service of 2 bone devils), and Anton Breuder (less-than-excited to be rescuing his new employers).

It was a brutal combat for the PC's. No one died, but they came very close. They had cloistered on the beach and were hit with cone of cold and a couple of lighting bolts (as well as Setia's shockwave attack as a last ditch effort), in addition to being pounded on by the elder water elemental. They got lucky, however, because I rolled poorly on two of the concentration checks for Setia, preventing her from healing herself and unleashing more carnage. After killing her, the group teleported away again, taking Setia's body with them. The witch plans to use it to help create Artephius Mark II. I have to think about the repercussions of that as a component of a magical item. Definitely looking forward to next session. I'm still amazed that they have not bothered to attempt to scry on their companions.

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My group just finished the encounter with "The Messengers"
Wow - Maul & Clarion were a difficult encounter; together they were a CR16 encounter (with the Average PC level at 13).

One PC death and I had to "hold-back" to avoid TPK.

But it was nice to "reverse" the PCs tactics back on them: scry, buff and teleport to target!


Banesfinger wrote:

My group just finished the encounter with "The Messengers"

Wow - Maul & Clarion were a difficult encounter; together they were a CR16 encounter (with the Average PC level at 13).

One PC death and I had to "hold-back" to avoid TPK.

But it was nice to "reverse" the PCs tactics back on them: scry, buff and teleport to target!

Yeah, Maul and Clarion are brutal together. I had only two PC's squaring off against them, plus Artephius. The witch got real lucky with dismissing Maul in the second round. Then it took them a while to take down Clarion. I suspect those two will be making a return visit at some point.


Update from last week:

Spoiler:
So, after resting up, the PC's teleported back to the island. After wandering for a bit, they came upon a patrol (1 scout, 1 cleric, 1 sorcerer, 2 fighters and 1 Caretaker gargoyle). They got a lucky surprise round in (not that lucky, the bone devils helped a lot in this instance), grappled the sorc, cast silence on a pebble in a handful of rocks and then chucked the rocks in the cleric's vicinity and overall stomped most of the patrol except the Caretaker, which managed to blind three party members (well, two plus the witch's imp familiar), as well as spread some possible disease, we'll see how that plays out. They moved further inland, trying to get to Shakti's tower, their goal being to kill all the consorts first. Along the way they discovered their cohort wizard (sans spellbook and equipment) stone shaped into a wall. Freed her and that's where we ended, roughly.

A few things this has made me think of: I've been allowing the PC that made the deal with the bone devils to run them, but I'm thinking of taking over control. They are too helpful; they are devils, afterall, and the deal was release from the mirror for 9 years service. Technically, they don't have to do much if they are not ordered to do so, and if the PC dies, they get released earlier. I could see this as quite tempting to them.

Another thing, and probably the more pressing, is what to do with the PCs' characters that were captured (currently, those players are running NPCs in the rescue team and have no idea what is going on with their character). I'm all for them being discovered one by one and released by the rescue team. However, from what I overheard last session, they blew their only 3 Heal spells on the blinded characters. I suspect that they might make it to Shakti, kill her, then teleport away again to rest. I feel this would be a bad idea, and I think that if they did do that then the remaining captives would be lost to them, not dead exactly, but lost. I gave the dragon plane shift and thought about things from his angle. He could easily kill the captives and hunt down the rescue party, but that seems a bit cold-blooded. I'm thinking he plane shifts four of them elsewhere: the magus to Heaven, to face judgement for slaying Ara Mathra, the oracle to Hell minus hands for failure, the duergar to Elysium, and Izevel would be hidden below ground for a time while the dragon tried to convert her to good and restore her appearance. Just not sure if it's too harsh.


Spoiler:
I think Izevel's conversion should fail since the dragon seems to be prideful and lustful. Consider him having 3 consorts and refusing to settle on one regardless of their feelings on the matter. To proud of his ability to have a harem and cure that misguided woman and add her to his collection.

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