The Hook Mountain Massacre (GM Reference)


Rise of the Runelords

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So I have an interesting problem. I am actually at the start of module 6 but it involves the pit fiend here. One of my PCs has been slowly moving towards Dr. Doom style insanity the whole AP and he has been subtly acquiring allies such as a Korvosan lawyer, a priest of Asmodeus and even Verick Vancaskerkin from CotCT.He left the pit fiend alive at the end of module 3 and coerced Verick into making sure no one entered SC. Then over the next module he employed the other two allies and has enlisted them in drafting up a contract that protects him and promises the pit fiend both freedom, negative level recovery and revenge on Karzoug in exchange for power and protection from the pit fiend. I may have messed up in my interpretation of some of these forces for this to be possible but it is far too late to back down now.

My problem is that I am having trouble figuring out how the devil will counter this, because the plan seems sound and he has taken plenty of precautions.I do not mind if the does become pit fiend bound, I just want it to be trickier for my PC so he will have more payoff for all the effort he put into shaping this character's fall and what not.


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If the contract is solid and the pit fiend agrees, let it happen. Keep your eye open on behalf of the pit fiend for loopholes, and occasionally, when the player is in real trouble, have the pit fiend offer a new contract for further aid in exchange for voiding the old one. Nothing is eternal, after all.


Brizan wrote:


My problem is that I am having trouble figuring out how the devil will counter this, because the plan seems sound and he has taken plenty of precautions.I do not mind if the does become pit fiend bound, I just want it to be trickier for my PC so he will have more payoff for all the effort he put into shaping this character's fall and what not.

I'll echo blahpers' great suggestion and add that it's not the worst idea to utilize the hivemind of the forum to collectively problem solve a tricky intelligence greater than our own. The board might be slow to respond, but that's the only drawback I can see. Hit us with particulars of the contract and world/campaign and I'm sure more than one person will be happy to help find the holes and wiggleroom in the contract.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
mousmous wrote:
Brizan wrote:


My problem is that I am having trouble figuring out how the devil will counter this, because the plan seems sound and he has taken plenty of precautions.I do not mind if the does become pit fiend bound, I just want it to be trickier for my PC so he will have more payoff for all the effort he put into shaping this character's fall and what not.
I'll echo blahpers' great suggestion and add that it's not the worst idea to utilize the hivemind of the forum to collectively problem solve a tricky intelligence greater than our own. The board might be slow to respond, but that's the only drawback I can see. Hit us with particulars of the contract and world/campaign and I'm sure more than one person will be happy to help find the holes and wiggleroom in the contract.

Heck, some of us are even lawyers!*

In real life, I mean, not just rules lawyers.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

In the "Infiltrating the Fort" section of Part Two, it says that "Ogres can see in the dark, so night is likely to be a bigger problem than it is an advantage for the PCs." However the range of ogres' darkvision is only 60 feet, which means the guards on the gates can barely see to the far sides of the bridges, let alone anywhere else outside the fort. Doesn't this mean that night is, in fact, almost certainly the best time for the PCs to approach the fort, as they'll be able to get far closer without being detected than during the day? In particular, if they want to enter via the pond, then there's almost no chance of them being detected at night, surely?


Two items to consider:
- how do you interpret 60' of dark vision - all good to 60' and then complete blindness in the 61st foot? or is it good vision to 60' and tailing off in quality thereafter? I lean toward the latter.
- how are the pc's able to see? Do all of them have darkvision? If not, no way they can sneak anywhere. If there's enough ambient light for the non-darkvision pc's to function, there's enough light for the ogres to spot them. You can't be stealthy if you're blind. (and I don't care if the rules don't say that or even say the opposite - it's simply not true.) Humans (as an example) without any light are blind.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Those are both good points. I see darkvision as tailing off in quality, with the range being the limit at which the creature could normally have a reasonable expectation of seeing something.

Even if some of the PCs can't see in the dark, then I'd give those PCs a -4 on their Stealth checks (as they would get for being blinded). The ogres are going to have susbtantial range penalties to their Perception checks - which you'd need to roll even if the PCs are outside their darkvision range, as the ogres might hear the PCs. It still seems to me that darkness is generally going to help the PCs, at least in getting into the fort undetected. The night may not be completely dark, of course, but the PCs would presumably wait until any moonlight or starlight was only sufficient to make the conditions unfavourable, if not terrible!


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

No mention is made of the secret door between areas B36 and B37. How difficult is it to detect from either side? Do the surviving Black Arrows know about it?


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I assume it's equally hidden on both sides since you wouldn't want intruders who approached either side to find it. Given it's not provided, I would use the DC for the secret door B10 which seems similar - 25.

The presence of an alternate path into/out of the Keep would seem like knowledge the Black Arrow leadership would have. Jakardros was second-in-command and should know and given Vale was good friends with the Black Arrow architect, seems reasonable for him to know. Kaven? Probably not.


So, my PCs have just finished dealing with events at the Graul farm and have rescued the surviving Black Arrows, but at the cost of two of their own: the cleric died to Mammy Graul's spells (I'd rebuilt her as a gravewalker witch and tweaked her spell selection; black tentacles provided a murderously effective blockade in the one-square-wide hallway leading to her bedroom) and the magus mixed it up in melee with Hucker and ended up on the receiving end of a Power Attack critical hit from his ogre hook. I figure the Black Arrows aren't going to be immediately ready for an attempt to retake Fort Rannick; they'll need some time ro recover from their ordeal at the hands and hooks of the Grauls and to help the PCs make plans for taking the fort back from the Kreegs. This gives the PCs themselves time to figure out what to do about their fallen companions.

Turtleback Ferry is a small settlement with 3rd-level spellcasting available, and the most notable local spellcaster is a 5th-level cleric of Erastil; no-one in town has the means to cast reincarnate, raise dead, or similar. I'd rather not require that the PCs trek all the way back to Magnimar or a similarly large settlement to get their fallen companions raised; they've only just arrived in the Hook Mountain region, after all. If I were to err on the side of PC convenience, I might contrive that there just happens to be a 7th-plus level druid passing through town who can cast reincarnate before heading on his merry way.

My other thought is that, asking around town, the PCs might be told vague stories about a 'fey princess' living in the heart of the Shimmerglens who might be able to help them out... sending them to Myriana and discovering that part of the story "ahead of schedule." Myriana is certainly capable of casting reincarnate and might be persuaded to do so, though of course she'd expect the beneficiaries to do her bidding (retrieving Lamatar's remains from the Kreegs) in exchange for her aid. I don't know if there's any RAW recourse to declare the spell's effects 'fleeting,' lasting only so long as Myriana wills them (and able to be dismissed in moments, should she feel that the beneficiaries are not doing as directed), but this feels like it might be in keeping with her nature both as a capricious nymph and as a tragic undead creature, bound only in a fragile way to the mortal coil, and helps avoid the feeling that the presence of someone willing to cast reincarnate is a contrived convenience.

Thoughts on this? I'm planning on giving Shalelu and Vale to the players whose characters are dead until the latter can be brought back, just so they have a 'playing piece' for this part of the game. Are there any consequences of the PCs finding out about Myriana and Lamatar before taking back Fort Rannick rather than afterwards that I'm failing to anticipate?


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TheOrganGrinder wrote:
Are there any consequences of the PCs finding out about Myriana and Lamatar before taking back Fort Rannick rather than afterwards that I'm failing to anticipate?.

Other than the encounters being a bit overpowered (unless you level them up ahead of time) I can’t see it being a problem. Especially since Shimmerglens isn’t super important to overall storyline and could be optional anyway iirc. Love some GM magic to get creative. Also, this would force them to recover Lamatar and return with part of him. Could be a good way to “motivate” the PCs to hurry their plans.


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Mirko Rainer wrote:
TheOrganGrinder wrote:
Are there any consequences of the PCs finding out about Myriana and Lamatar before taking back Fort Rannick rather than afterwards that I'm failing to anticipate?.
Other than the encounters being a bit overpowered (unless you level them up ahead of time) I can’t see it being a problem. Especially since Shimmerglens isn’t super important to overall storyline and could be optional anyway iirc. Love some GM magic to get creative. Also, this would force them to recover Lamatar and return with part of him. Could be a good way to “motivate” the PCs to hurry their plans.

Luckily the Shimmerglens doesn't have any combat encounters as written unless they screw up negotiating with Myriana. And a single level 10 enemy should be a winnable fight for a level 8 party, though ghosts are always a danger if you're not prepared for them.

I've been trying to figure out how long it takes to navigate the Shimmerglens myself. It's not that big of a forest and Whitewillow isn't that far from Turtleback Ferry, but getting there through circuitous row boating seems like it would take a while. I'll probably just make it a day trip for simplicity's sake.


I'm wondering if anyone has done a 'reformed Kaven' thing before?

My players have just retaken Rannick, during which Kaven betrayed them by foiling their sneak-in plan. This lead to a huge brawl in the courtyard, where Vale and a PC died. I had that player play as Jakardos, which was kind of nice because I never really liked how the whole Jakardos/Shalelu story line was me talking to myself. The retaking of Rannick culminated in them confronting Kaven and Lucrecia, and during the battle Lucrecia escapes, abandoning Kaven. Kaven, being the coward that he is, begged for his life, and said anything and everything he thought would get them to spare him (including a successful bluff check that he would help them kill Lucrecia).

At this point, all the players wanted to kill Kaven, but agreed that it was Jakardos' call, who was still being played by a player. I decided this would be a cool way to do the reclamation of Shalelu/Jakardos' relationship, and basically had her ask him for mercy, saying that he had changed from the man her mother loved. While it may have been out of character as written, he ended up sparing Kaven, and all the players really like the whole sequence, joining in on the debate.

Now I'm kind of in a pickle though, because the vindictive GM part of me wants Kaven to escape the party as soon as possible, and go join Mokmurian as the book suggests. At the same time, I can't help but think that's a little unfair to my players and that it might undermine the cool RP moment they had earlier.

If anyone has any ideas, advice, or done something similar, I'm all ears.

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