Burnt Offerings Clarifications (GM Reference)


Rise of the Runelords

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Liberty's Edge

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RuyanVe wrote:

Poor Brodert...

I brought him in after they returned with the glaive from their first forray into the catacombs. They brought him along and I described how he got all excited and started tracing the inscriptions on the walls etc.
My group still laughs about him and will not associate with him at all.

Ruyan.

I like this. My players were so paranoid - for some completely unknown reason - that they refused to even touch the glaive.


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Tusk the Half-Orc wrote:
KlausGer wrote:
If detected successfully, are the character able to hit the yeth hounds at the ceiling with their melee attacks, or not?
Looks to me like a minimum of 12 feet - to accommodate a 10-foot tall statue on a 2-foot high platform - and probably not too much taller than that, given that the rest of the level has ceilings that are 8-feet high. Unless your players are giants (or enlarged), they should not be able to reach the yeth hounds at the ceiling in melee, even with reach weapons.

Unless the ceiling is 15 feet high, medium-sized PCs will be able to make melee attacks against flying yeth hounds. With a normal melee weapon, you can strike any opponent within 5 feet - and the yeth hounds are medium-sized themselves, so they won't be able to get more than 5 feet away from the PCs upwards unless the ceiling is 15 feet high (or more).


So, my players have reached the bottom floor of Thistletop. The battle with Nualia was pretty disappointing due to the extremely limited maneuverability her room offers, and now we're between sessions. I suspect next time they're going to fight Malfeshnekor, and I'm worried the same will happen then: Malfeshnekor himself fills one-third of his room. Either that, or I've been reading the scale wrong all along. What are some suggested fixes?

Sorry if this is the wrong thread for that, by the way.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Do you mean disappointing in terms of "too easy" or disappointing in terms of "everyone stands still and trades blows"? Malfeshnekor certainly shouldn't be too easy, and he has enough special abilities that he'll be able to pull some surprises on the PCs (if they even find him).


The fight was disappointing but not from a difficulty point of view; Nualia had plenty tricks up her sleeve to scare the PCs, but in the end it was mostly the fighter and the eidolon exchanging blows with her while the ranger tries to fire through cover and to melee (she doesn't have Precise Shot yet) and the wizard gives people guidance and not doing anything else because he's a blaster. I don't suspect Malfeshnekor to be too easy for them, but as players who've recently transitioned from DnD 4e they are used to large maps and plenty of tactical positioning. Thistletop just felt claustrophobic to them.


Claustrophobic maps is a common complaint about this AP. I ended up doubling the size of a lot of the maps for my party of 6-7. Since we used a VTT there was a lot of "Please ignore the fact the door is 10' wide."


This is a pretty good AP (not to be a fanboy) but it can't be all things to all people. If you look at the NPC placement in the dungeon levels of Thistletop, you'll notice most if not all NPC's/monsters are in their own rooms/by themselves. And their tactics do not suggest or encourage a rapid convergence with neighbors in the event a fight breaks out. This is to keep the difficulty level under control for a "typical group of pc's." So Nualia is placed (with one yeth hound) in a narrowly approached room without an exit. This is in part to constrain how much trouble she can make for the pc's. But each GM needs to look at maps and placements and calibrate for their own group.

Example: I haven't had any trouble with the size of the maps (except a couple where the scale was simply wrong on the map or didn't match the descriptive text) but I have only 4 pc's. Kalshane has 6-7 and regardless of the "in world realism" of the map sizing, adjustments have to be made if only to give all the pc's a chance to participate.

Example: I wasn't thrilled with Nualia's laissez faire approach to command so when my pc's attacked Thistletop and retreated, I had Nualia, 3 yeth hounds, Lyrie, Orik and a wounded Bruthazmus and Ripnugget holed up just outside and in the Temple on level 1. It turned into a running battle royal over much of level 1. My well-optimized, at least 25-pt buy pc's run by players with good system mastery were hard-pressed but prevailed. Other groups of pc's might have been TPK'd. That's not a "my pc's are good, those are bad" claim but rather, the GM needs to tailor encounters to his pc's.

Now, Malfeshnekor is bound in his room via game mechanic - a Binding spell no one in the area can dispel and this is in part to balance how tough he can be. My group of pc's were getting pasted by him when they first encountered him (no magic weapons.) But they could retreat (he could not follow) and try again. A couple Magic Weapon spells from the cleric the next day and the fight went completely differently. You can make his room bigger but note it will make him more powerful. If your group doesn't have magic weapons (or the option to get some temporarily via spell) they may have a hard time.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

And just keep in mind that narrow corridors/small rooms are often intentionally placed there by the writers to add to the challenge of an encounter, because if an NPC gets surrounded by 4 or 5 (or 6!) PCs, that battle should end pretty quickly :)


Yeah, to clarify, I tried to change things where it made sense. I didn't just double the size of everything. I didn't change any of the map sizes in Burnt Offerings.

Going through it with my second party now (also a party of 6) and the first map I'm actually bothering to enlarge as part of my prep work is the bottom level of the first "dungeon" in Chapter 2 to give the enemies some more mobility. Also the boss' room is positively cramped and since I'm running in 5E this time, I wanted to be able to use lair actions and saying "Well, it hits everyone in the room again, because it's small" would get old real quick.

Interestingly, I never had a problem with Nualia getting trapped in her room in either run-through. Of course, the yeth hound tends to turn the PC's frontal assault into a fighting retreat as half the party flees in terror. (In the most-recent run, only 2 out of the 6 PCs made their save. Thankfully for them, in my converting the Yeth Hound to 5E, I allowed affected creatures a fresh save at the end of each of their turns as long as the hound wasn't in view. In PF both encounters with the Yeth Hounds were mass chaos with half the party fleeing in random directions for most of those battles.) But both campaigns the party ended up falling back to the Hellcat Hall. (She nearly escaped in the first run because of it.)


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Man, if I had a nickel for every "None of the fights in this AP are challenging. I have 6 mythic PCs with 35 point buy stats and they haven't been stopped by anything yet" comment.


MrSnacks wrote:

My PCs did the Chopper's Island sidequest, finding the remains of Das Korvut's son and the dismembered bits of the victims of the Chopper.

(Chopper's Island sidequest is here, for reference: http://www.dorkistan.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Choppers-Isle.pdf)

This looks really interesting and I have a couple of questions about this side quest.

1) When is it appropriate to run this sidequest? Between part 1 and part 2 of RotRL, or elsewhere?

2) The bird demon that Chopper was into...what/who was it? Was it Groth-Golka from Cthulhu mythos or maybe Abraxus from Abyssal lore? Something else?

Liberty's Edge

Pazuzu, the king of wind demons and enemy of Lamashtu.


Anyone got any examples of yarning they used over at the Hagfish?


Yarning is one of those things that's a really cool flavor item, but something that's really difficult for the GM to pull off. I never bothered with it when my groups visited the Hagfish because I couldn't think of anything to do it justice.


Kalshane wrote:
Yarning is one of those things that's a really cool flavor item, but something that's really difficult for the GM to pull off. I never bothered with it when my groups visited the Hagfish because I couldn't think of anything to do it justice.

Yeah, I have the same impression. But I would think that SOMEONE would have come up with some goodies and posted them up here over the years.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Hello I am running Rotrl for the first time and I am new to the game master roll. My group just got to thistletop and they have alerted the goblins. they are currently at c10 on page 45 of the book I was wondering sense Ripnugget has locked himself in the throne room c19 and if my group gos into the lower dungeons of thistletop will Ripnugget hunt them down? Or stay in his throne room.

I was thinking about it would be cool if I made him hunt the group down and attacked them in the middle of the battle with Nualia sense Ripnugget has a new obsession with her.

Thankful for your time


I'd say: go for it.
But you know your players better than we do. You know how strong the PCs are and if they survive the Nualia fight eith an added Ripnugget. I know for some groups the Yeth Hounds make that fight incredibly hard (for other groups less so). So if you think that you don't risk a TPK by adding another antagonist to the encounter, yeah sure, have fun with Ripnugget


Ripnugget could be a good element to keep in your back pocket in case the fight with Nualia is too easy for your group, as well.


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Does anyone else feel like Nualia should be an oracle of the outer rifts? I occasionally feel like everyone should be oracle because their flavor is so good, but it seems to jive a lot more than cleric, especially as it turns her into more of a demon as she levels.


advice needed! what should I do?

Nualia (converted her to a warpriest and using a falchion, as that made for sense to me) TPK'd my group last session.
while Nualia should have tried to flee (I, the gm, forgot about her morale conditions) she still ended up winning the fight, just barely.
my question is, when new PCs go to thistletop to find out why the original pc's never returned, should I have Nualia still there to face the new group?

my thinking is that, she'd leave. she did come close to losing, some of her back up is gone (Orik and Bruthazmus is still alive, but the gobbo's and Tsuto and Lyrie are dead) and she's bound to realize that since these ones didn't make it back to Sandpoint, others are likely to come figure out why

if I leave her there at Thistletop, O and B would naturally be more on guard and prepared for the new arrivals
What do you think?


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She's obsessed with getting Malfeshnekor free, so I'd say she'd stay. After all, she did win the battle, and she can probably recruit more goblins. She might make a side trip to Magnimar (by boat? by land?) to try and recruit more mercenaries. (Or she might have gained a level from defeating the PCs, it's a pretty impressive encounter after all...)

O and B would certainly be more on guard, and B would probably be out scouting and recruiting more goblins, and keeping the sentries on their toes.


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Tonyz lays out a good set of in-game reasons for leaving her in Thistletop - the losses she's taken don't really change her motivation: burn Sandpoint to the ground and become a demon. So, I'll add a meta-game reason: give your players a chance for revenge. Even if the new group of pc's doesn't have any connection to the old ones, there still is likely a sense of satisfaction for the players in defeating such a foe.

Liberty's Edge

SometimesCrumb wrote:

advice needed! what should I do?

Nualia (converted her to a warpriest and using a falchion, as that made for sense to me) TPK'd my group last session.
while Nualia should have tried to flee (I, the gm, forgot about her morale conditions) she still ended up winning the fight, just barely.
my question is, when new PCs go to thistletop to find out why the original pc's never returned, should I have Nualia still there to face the new group?

my thinking is that, she'd leave. she did come close to losing, some of her back up is gone (Orik and Bruthazmus is still alive, but the gobbo's and Tsuto and Lyrie are dead) and she's bound to realize that since these ones didn't make it back to Sandpoint, others are likely to come figure out why

if I leave her there at Thistletop, O and B would naturally be more on guard and prepared for the new arrivals
What do you think?

I did a similar thing after my group lost to Ripnugget, broke out of the goblin prison, and fell apart shortly after escaping: Nualia, Lyrie, Ripnugget himself, and the yeth hounds were basically the only survivors. But then with the yeth hounds Nualia still f+#!ing stomped the next group.

You could certainly give your group one more shot at it, but it'd also be very interesting to say that Nualia accomplished the task Lamashtu had set her (gaining the half-fiend template and also being contacted by Xanesha or Lucrecia, to show up later as a recurring villain) and moved on, leaving Malfeshnekor to rally the Lost Coast goblins for a full assault on Sandpoint upon her return. Bring in the goblin heroes and make up some new ones, and add an element of diplomacy/subterfuge to try and keep for example the Mosswood tribe from joining up (or the Seven Tooth - do they really want to give up the good trash heap?). In my game, when I did something like this, I said that Malfeshnekor was severely weakened because Nualia had drained his power to fuel her transformation (losing the advancement), which makes him a more appropriate final boss for 4th-level PCs.


Potsticker wrote:
Man, if I had a nickel for every "None of the fights in this AP are challenging. I have 6 mythic PCs with 35 point buy stats and they haven't been stopped by anything yet" comment.

Back on the boards after a long time and just saw this comment. THIS is what killed my first attempt at RotRl.

I was an idiot.

Shadow Lodge

Spiral_Ninja wrote:
Potsticker wrote:
Man, if I had a nickel for every "None of the fights in this AP are challenging. I have 6 mythic PCs with 35 point buy stats and they haven't been stopped by anything yet" comment.

Back on the boards after a long time and just saw this comment. THIS is what killed my first attempt at RotRl.

I was an idiot.

6 PCs with a 35 point buy? Good Gods. You could just about solo Thistletop with a proper 35 point build!


What we tend to do is 35 minus race cost, making the actual stat point buy around 26 for a human.

Mythic, however...I wanted to see how it worked. I handled it very poorly and am not using it on the restart.


My players triggered the bridge, had a hectic long range shoot out as half the party tried desperately to climb back up the cliffs to the mainland, and has now retreated back into the thistles on the mainland to rest and try a second attack tomorrow, probably using Silent Image to cover their approach. Pretty fun session. Gogmurt escaped his fight so he's already on the island, and there weren't a ton of casualties among the goblins on the island. I think I might actually level up the goblins in the watchtower who survived and drove the heroes back. Their victory deserves XP!

But now I need to figure out what the goblins do in the meantime. Gogmurt should get his spells back, and I figure the wounded get healed. But I'm not sure what the rules for fixing the bridge are if you don't have someone working on both sides, and I'm not sure how shimmying across the hanging rope should work as a climb check.


I just figured Bruz'd just chuck a goblin or two across the gap. : D

Walking a surface less than 2 inches wide is a DC 20 Acrobatics check. You might even raise the DC since it's a rope, raise it further if it's windy, and lower it if they have a balancing tool.

Climbing such a rope, eh, I have no idea.


So I'm pretty new to the whole GM thing. My party defeated Nualia and took her medallion. The resistance is easy enough, and know not to mention the other part, but my question is about the False Life.

So the item description reads "it may be commanded to bestow the effects of false life..." How is it commanded? Does this mean it's activated by a command word and not a spell trigger? Would a spellcraft check tell them this? If it is a command word, how would they determine the right word?

Sorry for such a rookie question, but I'm as green as it comes to being a GM

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

No worries - we were all noobs at some point!

Core Rules wrote:


Command Word: If the activation is on command or if no activation method is suggested either in the magic item description or by the nature of the item, assume that a command word is needed to activate it. Command word activation means that a character speaks the word and the item activates. No other special knowledge is needed.

A command word can be a real word, but when this is the case, the holder of the item runs the risk of activating the item accidentally by speaking the word in normal conversation. More often, the command word is some nonsensical word, or a word or phrase from an ancient language. Activating a command word magic item is a standard action and does not provoke attacks of opportunity.

Sometimes the command word to activate an item is written right on the item. Occasionally, it might be hidden within a pattern or design engraved, carved, or built into the item, or the item might bear a clue to the command word.

The Knowledge (arcana) and Knowledge (history) skills can be useful in identifying command words or deciphering clues regarding them. In such cases, a successful DC 30 check is needed to come up with the word itself. If that check is failed, succeeding on a second check (DC 25) might provide a clue. The spells detect magic, identify, and analyze dweomer all reveal command words if the properties of the item are successfully identified.


Gargonot wrote:

So I'm pretty new to the whole GM thing. My party defeated Nualia and took her medallion. The resistance is easy enough, and know not to mention the other part, but my question is about the False Life.

So the item description reads "it may be commanded to bestow the effects of false life..." How is it commanded? Does this mean it's activated by a command word and not a spell trigger? Would a spellcraft check tell them this? If it is a command word, how would they determine the right word?

Sorry for such a rookie question, but I'm as green as it comes to being a GM

The item description specifies that using false life is a free action, otherwise it works like a command word. They'd know the word from the spellcraft check to identify the item.

The item casts False Life on the wearer using the item's caster level (5, in this case, so the false life would be 1d10+5 and last for 5 hours).


Hi,
The room D12 Chaphel of Lamashtu has "Stone fonts containing frothy dark water"
What is it? It is not water of Lamashtu, since in B12 the water is said to be "filthy water", nor can it be the liquid from the Runewell, since B13 describes that as "bubbling water that looks almost like translucent lava".
My party Barbarian refreshed his face with it after the battle with hounds. I was quite suprised with that and had him roll Will and Fort saves just in case (he got 4 and 7). I did not trigger anything yet, since I don't know what it was.

Thanks!


Wibs wrote:

The room D12 Chaphel of Lamashtu has "Stone fonts containing frothy dark water"

What is it?

There is no mechanical effect tied to the water, so there is nothing going on with the water.

Having said that, there is a VERY easy mechanic you could house-rule for it. In the real world, stagnant water that is "frothing" is usually filled with bacteria. Drinking it should be like asking to have Montezuma's Revenge, or a similar illness. And in D&D and Pathfinder, there is exactly a disease for this kind of real-world illness: Filth Fever.


My PCs have decided to sneak into Scarnetti Manor and spy on them. Any good maps in other modules I could adapt for the encounter?

Liberty's Edge

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Ninja in the Rye wrote:
Gargonot wrote:

So I'm pretty new to the whole GM thing. My party defeated Nualia and took her medallion. The resistance is easy enough, and know not to mention the other part, but my question is about the False Life.

So the item description reads "it may be commanded to bestow the effects of false life..." How is it commanded? Does this mean it's activated by a command word and not a spell trigger? Would a spellcraft check tell them this? If it is a command word, how would they determine the right word?

Sorry for such a rookie question, but I'm as green as it comes to being a GM

The item description specifies that using false life is a free action, otherwise it works like a command word. They'd know the word from the spellcraft check to identify the item.

The item casts False Life on the wearer using the item's caster level (5, in this case, so the false life would be 1d10+5 and last for 5 hours).

Also, if you are using Hero Lab, do not put the Sihedron Medallion available under Magic Items on your players' character sheets - the description includes ALL of the medallion's abilities and characteristics, including that it allows Karzoug to scary on the wearer. Use a custom item instead.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

+1 regarding Hero Lab and the Sihedron Medallions.

I treated the scrying effect as the equivalent of a curse, and therefore something which only gets identified if the skill check result is 10 greater than what is needed to identify the rest of the normal magical properties.


HI.... I'm also a new GM.

I have a couple PCs that have extreme high AC for 4th level. We'er in the middle of Thistle Top and I'm having difficulties hitting them with the "bad guys". I've added BAB bonuses to the bad guys but my fear is that while trying to hit the PC with high AC the ones that have regular AC will get overwhelmed.

Yes, I checked the PC high AC and it's is possible to have it's still a challenge for me to balance encounters so all PCs have a good time.

Thoughts??

Thanks
--Kenny


Anonymous Visitor 830 387 wrote:
Yes, I checked the PC high AC and it's is possible to have it's still a challenge for me to balance encounters so all PCs have a good time.

I wouldn't be too worried about the high AC. Enemy BABs scale with level, while AC bonuses are practically static. As the characters level up, enemies will gain enough BAB to consistently hit the high AC characters. Thus, this should only be a problem at low levels.

Personally, I'd let them enjoy playing a nigh invulnerable character while they can.

If you want to ensure that the high AC character gets hit, magic is your friend. Armor can grant high AC but doesn't improve Touch AC. Scorching Ray would be a good spell for targeting their touch AC. AoE and Save based spells also bypass AC.

Using better enemy tactics would also help. Intelligent enemies should switch to squishier targets once they realize their attacks are useless. Veteran warriors may simply ignore the high AC character once they see that they are wearing armor. Melee enemies engaging multiple party members at once will certainly make the other members of the party feel threatened.


Emerald Cat wrote:
Anonymous Visitor 830 387 wrote:
Yes, I checked the PC high AC and it's is possible to have it's still a challenge for me to balance encounters so all PCs have a good time.
I wouldn't be too worried about the high AC. Enemy BABs scale with level, while AC bonuses are practically static. As the characters level up, enemies will gain enough BAB to consistently hit the high AC characters. Thus, this should only be a problem at low levels.

While the rest of Emerald Cat's answer is very good, this part is, in my experience, false. AC is not static - pending player investment - as armor enhancement bonuses increase, amulets of natural armor are added (and increased,) Dexterity is increased (through ability additions or boosting items) and so on. In my run through of RotRL, the Dwarven fighter had an AC well above 40 for much of the latter portions of the AP. While not mathematically absolute, he was in practice immune to attacks from giants.

If your players have any system mastery (or acquire it as the campaign progresses) and you let them invest in feats, class abilities and money to purchasing/upgrading magic items, this is likely a condition that will persist throughout. (And boy is there a lot of money to be found in the AP.)

Emerald Cat's other advice is the way to proceed. The tactics provided for NPC's in the AP are not well suited to this reality - monsters should not waste actions on things they are guaranteed to fail at especially after it becomes clear that is true. Flanking, grappling (and other approaches like disarm, trip, etc.) and magic are the right way to approach it.


Hi, I'm a relatively new DM running this AP for the first time (never played it). I have six players, and two questions for you lot:

1. Some events like the boar hunt and shopkeeper's daughter seem geared towards one player. How can I keep this event interesting for all players? Or should I just make the event really quick or something?

2. I found a thread where someone adapted the AP for 6 players: https://paizo.com/threads/rzs2iwfu?Changes-to-Rise-of-the-Runelords-for-6-P Cs
But this seems to be for 3.5 edition, did anyone convert this for pathfinder? All I see is people saying "it's easy to convert" but I don't know 3.5

Not that it matters but I'm using 15 point buy.


In my case both those encounters did end up involving the entire party. With the boar hunt, they all went along (and had a brief-driveby with the Sandpoint Devil on the way). And the role play with the "target" PC and Aldern was entertaining for all. With the Shopkeeper's daughter, the target PC went off on his own and the next thing the party knew, he didn't come back (he was knocked out and dumped in the alley behind the basement). They found the other daughter running the shop and tried to intimidate her (she ran out the back door) which didn't help matters. In the end, it all ended up in the Sheriff's office and the shopkeeper settled down a bit once the cathedral cleric cast a zone of truth on Shaylist and she admitted she had set the PC up. Lots of fun for everybody.

W/re to scaling, we have a party of 6 too. I've been just running the AP as written in most cases, but when granting XP I divide it by 4 and hand out a 4th to each character so that advancement progresses as expected. In some combats I increase the HP on the bosses and add a couple of extra "adds" to the fights to keep things challenging. It's worked out OK most of the time. Although often the fights I think are going to be too hard end up being a cakewalk, and the ones I thought were easy end up being really challenging. I guess as long as you have a little of both, you're good.


Lawrencelot wrote:

Hi, I'm a relatively new DM running this AP for the first time (never played it). I have six players, and two questions for you lot:

1. Some events like the boar hunt and shopkeeper's daughter seem geared towards one player. How can I keep this event interesting for all players? Or should I just make the event really quick or something?

2. I found a thread where someone adapted the AP for 6 players: https://paizo.com/threads/rzs2iwfu?Changes-to-Rise-of-the-Runelords-for-6-P Cs
But this seems to be for 3.5 edition, did anyone convert this for pathfinder? All I see is people saying "it's easy to convert" but I don't know 3.5

Not that it matters but I'm using 15 point buy.

I think the thread you want is Rise of the Runelords for 4, 5 or 6 players Note: the thread creator does a great job but only goes through Book 4. But his techniques are explained, etc. for those who want/need to continue on their own. It's definitely in Pathfinder not 3.5.

The boar hunt should include the entire group. Aldern just happens to be obsessed about one pc, but he invites everyone. The Shayliss encounter is for one pc (pending how... rambunctious you imagine Shayliss to be.)

Grand Lodge

Hello all.

I'm running Rise of the Runelords for a party of 5 (soon to be 6). My party just finished up the Catacombs of Wrath with little troule (even with scaling up the fight with Erylium). They've captured Tsuto and are well-liked by the townsfolk, with the exception of the Scarnettis and Valdemars. While they're pretty cocky about how easily they've handled combat so far, they're very frightened about the possibility of attacking Thistletop and plan on fortifying Sandpoint against the coming raid.

As it stands, I'm expecting it will be about two weeks before Malfeshnekor is released and Sandpoint is raided. The players are currently level 2, and I'm hoping to have them at level 4 before the raid.

What I'd like to ask is - in a two week span, what are tasks that the PCs could easily be given and they could reasonably accomplish that would increase the odds of Sandpoint surviving the raid? Malfeshnekor provides such a huge edge to the enemies, but if it weren't for the hundreds of goblins supporting him and Nualia, I think the party and their allies could rout them. Here's what I've got so far.

Chopper's Isle:
1) The day after the events of the Catacombs of Wrath, the Ruins of Wrath start acting up (from the Chopper's Isle side quest found online). Simon Korvut starts haunting Turadurok Academy and showing the students (of which one is a PC) visions of family members he killed. This helps prompt the side quest, and I plan to bring the PCs up to 3rd level.

The Red Bishop's Harpies:
2) I plan on having Shalelu return after 1 week with news from Thistletop to try and prompt the PCs to go there. If they're not interested, Shalelu will recount the tale of how Ripnugget once defeated one of the harpies of the Three Cormorants, suggesting that her sisters may be interested in revenge. This is also meant to tie-in another representative of Pazuzu, so the PCs could potentially learn more about the Red Bishop and the Lamashtu v. Pazuzu feud. Securing the help of a harpy would result in experience equal to defeating her in combat, and learning about The Red Bishop would reward story experience as well.

Tomb of the Spherewalker:
3) An idea I had was for the Headmaster of Turandurok Academy or Risa to recount the tale of a fallen Varisian hero believed to be entombed in one of the Tors - a servant of Desna, a Spherewalker. The tomb would be filled with fog, and a goblin tribe (The Birdcrunchers?) would be attempted to raid it for weapons and treasure in preparation for the raid (and hoping to secure themselves a good spot once the Thistletop goblins rule this section of the coast).

The goblin tribe would be the first part of the dungeon, and Varisian traps and undead would be the second part. The loot would contain oils of magic weapon and other things to give them an edge over the nigh-unstoppable Malfeshnekor (maybe a +1 Silver Demonbane Battle axe?)

This would let them cut into the goblin forces and perhaps be able to take out Malfeshnekor if they could isolate him from his companions.

In case they don't take the bait for these options, I'm hoping to get two more ideas that could help them survive the raid - ideally another internal Sandpoint defensive option (where I know they'll be more likely to look) and another external option to even the odds.

Any ideas or help you could give me? I'd prefer not to have the folks of Sandpoint slaughtered but also not postpone the raid indefinitely if the party doesn't want to take Thistletop.

Liberty's Edge

Those ideas all sound good. I would add in something about splitting up the goblin tribes, as well. Goblins are (by the pf book) not stupid or unwise, and there's gotta be more like Gogmurt who don't like the idea of risking everything on a big raid. I think the Seven Tooth clan is most likely to go against the Thistletops on this, as they are physically and economically closer to Sandppoint (if the town is razed, how will they maintain their role as junk-crafters?). Maybe a Seven Tooth goblin sneaks into the home of a PC to ask for help.

The Mosswood tribe also definitely has leaders who don't like the barges takeover. Give the players some hooks through Shalelu and Tsuto! It's not a foregone conclusion that every single tribe is in on the raid.

There's also time to enlist help from Magnimar, which gives an opportunity to introduce Mayor Grobaras. (Maybe Ironbriar, too?)

Grand Lodge

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Gark the Goblin wrote:
The Mosswood tribe also definitely has leaders who don't like the barges takeover. Give the players some hooks through Shalelu and Tsuto! It's not a foregone conclusion that every single tribe is in on the raid.

Hmm, that does give me an idea. Perhaps a member of one of the Mosswood families tells the PCs that, if there was different leadership among the Mosswood goblins, they'd be likely to pull out of the raid, as most of the families don't want to risk their necks and give their biggest competitors control of the region. They're supplying a huge number of the troops, and the PCs wouldn't have to wipe them out to get rid of them - just trick/defeat the current leader and their goons Shadow of Mordor style. That could be really fun.

I also had an idea of a Tsuto/Ironbriar connection. If the PCs decide to escort Tsuto to Magnimar to make sure Nualia won't free him (and so they can look for more support), Ironbriar will take Tsuto into custody and try to induct him into the Skinsaw Cult. Concerned that Nualia is a liability, however, he'll simultaneously point the PCs towards people who could help them - just people who happen to be thorns in his side. Perhaps a few Pathfinders? Or people in the Lord-Mayor's pocket?

Or he may just be playing the long game, trying to get the PCs on his side to later keep them out of the way of the plot to reap the Lord Mayor's soul. Needing a 'favor' from them later to send them on a wild goose chase while he pursues his own plans could be fun.

If anyone else has any ideas, they'd certainly be appreciated. And thank you, Gark.


Dawnwen wrote:
W/re to scaling, we have a party of 6 too. I've been just running the AP as written in most cases, but when granting XP I divide it by 4 and hand out a 4th to each character so that advancement progresses as expected. In some combats I increase the HP on the bosses and add a couple of extra "adds" to the fights to keep things challenging. It's worked out OK most of the time. Although often the fights I think are going to be too hard end up being a cakewalk, and the ones I thought were easy end up being really challenging. I guess as long as you have a little of both, you're good.

Thanks. I think I'm going to divide XP by 6 and then use the rule of thumb that a party of 6 is one APL higher than a party of 4 and only make fights more challenging if this causes them to have a higher APL.

Latrecis wrote:
I think the thread you want is Rise of the Runelords for 4, 5 or 6 players Note: the thread creator does a great job but only goes through Book 4. But his techniques are explained, etc. for those who want/need to continue on their own. It's definitely in Pathfinder not 3.5.

Just what I was looking for, thanks!


Askar Avari wrote:
Gark the Goblin wrote:
The Mosswood tribe also definitely has leaders who don't like the barges takeover. Give the players some hooks through Shalelu and Tsuto! It's not a foregone conclusion that every single tribe is in on the raid.

Hmm, that does give me an idea. Perhaps a member of one of the Mosswood families tells the PCs that, if there was different leadership among the Mosswood goblins, they'd be likely to pull out of the raid, as most of the families don't want to risk their necks and give their biggest competitors control of the region. They're supplying a huge number of the troops, and the PCs wouldn't have to wipe them out to get rid of them - just trick/defeat the current leader and their goons Shadow of Mordor style. That could be really fun.

I also had an idea of a Tsuto/Ironbriar connection. If the PCs decide to escort Tsuto to Magnimar to make sure Nualia won't free him (and so they can look for more support), Ironbriar will take Tsuto into custody and try to induct him into the Skinsaw Cult. Concerned that Nualia is a liability, however, he'll simultaneously point the PCs towards people who could help them - just people who happen to be thorns in his side. Perhaps a few Pathfinders? Or people in the Lord-Mayor's pocket?

Or he may just be playing the long game, trying to get the PCs on his side to later keep them out of the way of the plot to reap the Lord Mayor's soul. Needing a 'favor' from them later to send them on a wild goose chase while he pursues his own plans could be fun.

If anyone else has any ideas, they'd certainly be appreciated. And thank you, Gark.

I don't want to be that guy (too late!) but... attacking the Mosswood goblins pre-emptively to thwart an attack on Sandpoint is not any different than attacking Thistlewood. Taking out the leaders in Thistlewood would have the same outcome.

I would have the Mayor very strongly encourage perhaps even plead for the pc's to scout Thistlewood. Fighting off an attack on Sandpoint will inevitably lead to casualties to guards and townsfolk both. She (and most others in Sandpoint) should want to avoid that at all costs. Unless you think a military assault on Sandpoint would be more interesting for your table. I would though point out that while not directly tied to the main AP plot, Thistletop introduces the pc's to Thassilon, the sihedron, runelords, etc. including their first sighting of Karzoug.

Technically, RAW speaking, Nualia cannot possibly free Malfeshnekor. She lacks the spells and magical skills to free him. So any sequence that involves his freedom relies on intervention from Lamashtu (or something equally significant.) Tsuto's journal does reference Malfeshnekor but its not at all clear the pc's/players should infer the town is on a countdown to destruction of that magnitude. If that is clear to your players, why are they planning on using the citizens of Sandpoint as fodder to deal with it? The references to him in Tsuto's journal should also alarm the Mayor, Father Zantus and anyone else with knowledge of such things.

Also, Nualia doesn't need to use Malfeshnekor to devastate Sandpoint. If she attacks at night with the yeth hounds, the town is in the deepest of trouble. Note the range of the the hound's Bay attack - 300 foot spread. And they can fly. A few passes by each hound in the dark well outside of bow range and the town will be reduced to a blind panic. Easy pickings for goblins and such.

Connecting Ironbriar and Tsuto is a well discussed trope on these boards (though in all honesty its never appealed to me - I think I'm in the minority.) But I would call out that Ironbriar no longer has plans of his own. His leash is held by someone else - its her perspectives that drive his decisions now. I'd also suggest Ironbriar favors the current Lord-Mayor's self-serving administration - it makes it easier for him to maintain his dual-identity. If someone competent takes over, it'll make that harder. (This last is more my interpretation.)

Grand Lodge

Hi there Latrecis, and thanks for responding.

- The idea I developed with the Mosswood goblins had more to do with being an easier task than assaulting Sandpoint - there is already infighting, and all they need is to have a new leader to take Mosswood out of the picture. Not enough to stop the raid by itself, but a huge reduction in goblins. Whether or not they go to Thistletop, if the players decide that reducing the number of invading goblins is the way to go, this seems like a fine side quest that doesn't much impact Thistletop later.

- Ameiko and Shalelu both have or will recommend attacking Thistletop directly - they're the NPCs with by far the most sway with the PCs. Nevertheless, they've already rebuffed Ameiko once on that idea, but I have several more prompts coming up - once when Shalelu returns, and once again if they choose to try and make allies with a harpy. And I'll probably have Ameiko once again plead with the PCs

- That's a fair point about Malfeshnekor, though. I might instead have him be freed by a successful raid on Sandpoint, but that will, you know, hopefully not come to pass. That would just be TPK flavor at that point.

- While I would think Ironbriar might favor the Lord-Mayor's corruption, but I am rather specifically instructed that Xanesha plans on harvesting his soul, so whatever his misgivings, it's not strong enough to interfere with the charm.

- I'm not exactly sold on anything with Tsuto yet so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ - I'd prefer to not just have him sentenced to death, but we'll see how stuff goes. If Nualia also escapes, he'll probably be sentenced to the Black Arrows so they can be paired up at Fort Rannick.

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