The Hook Mountain Massacre (GM Reference)


Rise of the Runelords

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I always thought she stayed at Rannick because, despite the abuse the ogres have inflicted on it, she can enjoy more comforts there than at the Kreeg clan hold. Also, it's the most likely spot for any kind of resistance or push back against her plans. I agree she doesn't care about the ogres - they're just tools. I agree she should leave as soon as there is nothing left to gain by staying. My view of her attitude, at least when she encounters the pc's for the first time, is one of overwhelming superiority - she won't see the pc's as much a threat until proven otherwise. Doesn't mean she'll fight to the death and she may be interested in letting the ogres soften the pc's up first...

Scarab Sages

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Totally agree. She was at the fort initially in my game. But once she got beat and fled, I just had her go straight to Barl's side.


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The three annis hags in Hook Mountain have their tactis and morale written with the "right" order of rooms in mind. My group bypassed them and headed right for Barl. The hags won´t help anyone in the cave complex, as I read their description. Now, what do they do after the PCs beat up Barl? They probably guess that they are outclassed by the PCs, and know it when the PCs return from fighting Barl. I decided that they wait for the PCs, and, not trusting that the "damsel in distress" trope would work, will go for changing via veil into human hags or witches and try to talk their way out of the situation. I hope that my group can be led that way to look at the dam, which they did not investigate earlier. The hags might tell them that they have been forced to influence the weather by the giants and/or Lucrecia, and thus have them going to the dam.


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I've just started working on redoing Eel's End from Edge of Anarchy as the Paradise pre-sinking.

I want my players to go to Turtleback Ferry before it sinks and have a chance to see the Paradise.

Does anyone have any experience or advise for doing this?


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the Lorax wrote:

I've just started working on redoing Eel's End from Edge of Anarchy as the Paradise pre-sinking.

I want my players to go to Turtleback Ferry before it sinks and have a chance to see the Paradise.

Does anyone have any experience or advise for doing this?

I would love to see what you come up with for this section,so please share if you do.

I really wish this part of the story had not been cut out, as the first half of the chapter feels so flat. After finding out it was left on the cutting room floor it made sense as to why it felt this way.

I think if this section was re-added, the letter in the clock tower could end up as better a clue, leading to the Paradise the adventure hook is much stronger and it becomes as a natural progression. Find and infiltrate the Paradise, confront Lucrecia, she sinks the ship as part of her escape. Save some drowning gamblers, perhaps a fight in the water on the way back to shore. Welcome to Turtle Back ferry! In attempt to get to Lucrecia, take back fort Rannick. Stop the Dam from being broken.

Maybe the group could even end up saving Kaven, without knowing he is a Black Arrow. A great early connection. Only to find him trapped at the Graul's later on and find out he was a Black Arrow.

Lucrecia becomes a much more logical chapter villain, with some real history. I might even say leaving the Black Magga out after saving the Dam just works better.

One of my suggestions would be to maybe have the party boat travel from Turtle Back Ferry to a few of the neighboring towns, such as Illsurian. Perhaps maybe an occasional trip to other parts of the lower lakes as well, so Lucrecia could maximize her mark on the populous via the destruction of the dam (loss of the Dam would flood the whole area). Turtle Back Ferry could then becomes an accidental destination as its where the ships heading. When seeking a way back to Magnimar they would learn about the Black Arrows perhaps, and need to mingle with towns folk.

Role play in these towns would be easier with the gambling is effecting everything. Perhaps wives getting upset, some showing up missing, people loosing there homes etc, and even drug use.

I did find another poster in the past did start some work on this.
it can be found here earlier in this forum

I attempted to find some maps to work with that I could use some of the content with. Was not able to find anything.


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Zebbie wrote:

I think if this section was re-added, the letter in the clock tower could end up as better a clue, leading to the Paradise the adventure hook is much stronger and it becomes as a natural progression.

  • Find and infiltrate the Paradise
  • confront Lucrecia
  • she sinks the ship as part of her escape.
  • Save some drowning gamblers
  • a fight in the water on the way back to shore.
  • Welcome to Turtle Back ferry!
  • take back fort Rannick.
  • Stop the Dam from being broken.

I totally agree, and if I was running things completely on the rails, I would be using your outline (I'd still have to use the Grauls, I've been looking forward to using them since the start of the campaign!). However in this case, I want the Paradise to sink off screen, and I have some other things that I want to include based upon what has been going on. What I'm doing is listed in this post here.

Basically I want some time to pass and I want to let the players have a little more freedom to work on their own agendas back in Sandpoint, along with the chance to meet some NPCs before I need to use them for their scene.

Now I am running this in my homebrew, so there are some changes to some of the names of people and places. I'm going over the Eel's End encounter and the post you mentioned now - thanks. I'll share what I plan to do, I did find a riverboat deck layout to use as a rough template which I've been working on a little.


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OK, I have an outline for what I'll do, Again, being run in a homebrew, but I'll try to replace the place names with reasonable replacements in Varisia. I'm leaving out stat blocks and all but the bare bones structure and make it make sense without having to read what I'm doing in my home campaign. If something doesn't make sense, it may be because I didn't catch all of the names. Ossund was a small village not on the map, it has no replacement - place it somewhere between Whistledown and TBF.

To Paradise:
Given the revelation of the plot to murder the Lord Mayor, Grobaras in reward for defeating the murderers he grants through Ironbriar's replacement, an award of 4500PP, however the new Justice would like to have Orik escorted to up to (at least) Turtleback Ferry where they will meet up with more of the Black Arrows. The Justice will hold back the remaining 1500gp (to which he can add another 500gp with a DC 30 Diplomacy check) to have them escort the dangerous criminal who has links to the Star Murderers.

Jarkardos and two Black Arrows (warrior 4s, Lucas and Gord) will be the members of the Black Arrows the PCs meet to escort the prisoners to Whistledown where they will meet up with 4 more members , Vale and three others (warrior 4s, Jacob, Martin and “Slim”). The seven of them were attacked by a group of ogres two days out of Whistledown , and the 4 of them stayed in Whistledown to recover from their injuries.

To Whistledown:
Jarkardos will use the trip to Whistledown to feel out the PCs, he is concerned with the activity in the area around Fort Rannick of late, it seems that there are a lot of displaced loners on the move, making the roads less safe than usual he has a bad feeling that something is afoot. As the Fort has not yet fallen, he will be willing to talk, freely sharing bits of his backstory for those who are interested.

The trip to Whistledown should go mostly uneventfully, but don’t forget to bring up the rain and its effects. The most excitement will be a pair of gnomeish alchemists traveling to Magnimar to visit relatives – they have a few potions for sale if the PCs ask (4 Cure Light Wounds, 2 Bear’s Endurance and any 2 others that would be a common call. The gnomes will mention that a couple of bandits accosted them but the gnomes dealt with them.

Once in Whistledown, they will be joined by the remaining 4 Black Arrows. Jarkardos will become a bit more at ease, and may share more of his backstory than he intends to after a few mugs of ale. Lucas will try to recruit the PCs to join the Black Arrows. Jacob will treat the prisoners poorly. Gord had a rough time during initiation, and will try to show the new recruits some sympathy. “Slim” will mention the Paradise.

You're the sole survivor:

Once out of Whistledown, the PCs will have a few days of calm the rain even lets up for a couple days. But soon they run into a badly injured dwarf, Ivarr Hrodtvitsson (Slayer 4), the sole survivor of an Ogre attack on his village of Ossund, a small logging village. The Black Arrows will be somewhat resistant to getting involved (this isn’t their territory), but will give the PCs a little leeway in checking things out if they want (letting Vale and Martin join them if they make a DC 20 Diplomacy check). Ivarr will want to investigate, and if healed for 10hp or more will join up. If healed for 20hp he'll be willing to go alone if necessary.

Ossund is burnt but the rain has kept the village from being completely destroyed, there is little there to be found of notable value, but let the PCs stock up on up to 500gp worth of assorted normal (not masterwork) gear if they go searching for it – make them make some Perception checks to try to find things – Set the DCs for finding anything specific between 15 and 25 using your best judgment. If the PCs ask about the bodies – most have been taken by the Ogres back to their lair, but some show signs of being mauled by a great beast. Vale should comment on the poor fate of those captured by ogres. Ivarr will certainly object to wholesale looting of the place.

Tracking the Ogres shouldn’t be difficult but make the PCs make Survival checks if necessary, Jarkardos can point out the trail. The tracks indicate there are 6 total ogres leaving Ossund. Five are Advanced Ogres, one is an Ogre Priest (cleric 2) werewolf. The werewolf was kicked out of the Kreegs for his “lunacy” the others are just following the ferocious holy man. The Black Arrows will prefer to use hit and run tactics to draw out the ogres and advocate concentrated fire to reduce the ogre offense as fast as possible.

Ossund Again?:

If Ossund is not explored, Ivarr will wait in the area until healed before returning to Ossund, burying the dead, waiting for potential refugees (add a level 2 warrior or expert if you really feel that the PCs are sincere about helping out Ossund) Jakardos will not want to wait around more than a day, if Ivarr is alive he'll wait at the village.

On their way home from Turtleback Ferry, depending upon what the Players did, Ivarr will be at Ossund upon their return. If they did not track down the Ogres, Ivarr has managed to kill one Ogre, and all but the Cleric are injured - down 5 hp each for ease. Depending upon the player interaction and choices, Ivarr (and potentially the other refugee) will be willing to go with the PCs back to at least the next town, and perhaps could be recruited to the PCs cause.

On to Turtleback Ferry:

Past Ossund, the party can make it pretty clear through to Turtleback Ferry - if they did not fight the Ogres at Ossund, give them a fey encounter... say 5 or so Red Caps.

Once at Turtleback Ferry, Jakardos will get the PCs paid. If they impressed him as good people, he'll see to it that they get another (roughly)300gp in supplies and gear and prehaps some cures from Mayor Shreed. Depending upon the relations the PC have along the journey, Vale or some other Black Arrow may try to get them to sign up. BUT DONT GO DOWN THIS PATH - probably best to not make the offer if you think the PCs will accept. While Jakardos can get them a free night's stay at the inn in TBF, there will be the suggestion (from Slim) that they stay at the Paradise.

If they do stay at the Paradise, let them deal with a drunken wretch falling overboard and needing to be rescued from a snapping turtle.

Lucy is not currently at the Paradise, it is being looked after by her overseer Vargo - King of the Snakes (I'm working on a quick and dirty adaptation - that now that I look closer at it, looks pretty close to what thelesuit did)

Perhaps they meet Keven at the Paradise.

After some brief encounters at the Paradise let the players return back to Magnimar/Sandpoint.

Further Development and Reminders:

Dont forget:
  • To provide gruesome scenes of Lucas, Gord, Martin, Jacob and "Slim" as dead Black Arrows around Fort Rannick when they return to the area in a few weeks.
  • To keep up the occasional description of rain, don't beat the players over the head with it, just mention it when it gives them a modifier to do something.
  • Ivarr and Ossund could be a potential additional reason to get the PCs to return to the area.
  • Get Hemlock to talk to the PCs about their trip - try to make sure that they mention Jakardos
  • Mention of Jarkardos will get to Shelalu through Hemlock and get her interested in going with them to TBF when they get the request to check on Fort Rannick.


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I've found a (passable) layout for a real riverboat that I've been tweeking just for my own purposes, but I dont really want to use a map for encounters on the Paradise.

I've been going the halfway point between Eels End and the post bythelesuit that you mention.

I've streamlined it to Three Boats, the Paradise, the Goldenhawk and the Twin Tigers (which is remade as a brothel).

The Paradise is where all of the Bar/restaurant/gambling/drug parlor action is.

I've been toning down the seediness, and working on write ups for all the major rooms.

I'm lucky that where I've put TBF in my homebrew actually IS along an overland trade route, so something like the Paradise doesn't stick out like a sore thumb - wealthy merchants needing a ferry and perhaps some entertainment fits in well.

I don't WANT the players getting too interested in Paradise during this visit - while the whole trip will take a while in game time, I'd like the whole thing to be one, MAYBE two sessions, then back to dealing with some other things for a few weeks before things draw them back to TBF.


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Cool stuff!
I might have to steal that.

Ruyan.


the Lorax wrote:

I've found a (passable) layout for a real riverboat that I've been tweeking just for my own purposes, but I dont really want to use a map for encounters on the Paradise.

I've been going the halfway point between Eels End and the post bythelesuit that you mention.

I've streamlined it to Three Boats, the Paradise, the Goldenhawk and the Twin Tigers (which is remade as a brothel).

The Paradise is where all of the Bar/restaurant/gambling/drug parlor action is.

I've been toning down the seediness, and working on write ups for all the major rooms.

I'm lucky that where I've put TBF in my homebrew actually IS along an overland trade route, so something like the Paradise doesn't stick out like a sore thumb - wealthy merchants needing a ferry and perhaps some entertainment fits in well.

I don't WANT the players getting too interested in Paradise during this visit - while the whole trip will take a while in game time, I'd like the whole thing to be one, MAYBE two sessions, then back to dealing with some other things for a few weeks before things draw them back to TBF.

Those are some great ideas. I am sure your group will love the increased level of detail you have created for them.

I felt that my group had no real connections to the area before arriving, so I can appreciate the changes. I ran it 98 % by the book, but for some reason in the back of my head, the whole introduction to Turtleback Ferry just seemed so barren, and forced when compared to BO and SM. When I run this story next time, I think I may include some of your ideas, and certainly the Paradise will be in full swing. I simply want them to have a meet and greet on the high sea's with Lucrecia, and she will most definitely try to sink them with the boat. It will be a save the others or, try to stop her kind of thing.

I particularly like "The Sole Survivor scenario you describe. I originally wanted to do something early in the time line like this, but using Grual Family. As I love the original concepts of the Grual Farm, but I feel that a family this crazy and dangerous is simply way to close to TBF, and Ft Rannick to be un-noticed by them. I did however take some major liberties and changed the first meeting with the Grual's, and turned into a child abduction case, after swapping out the Firepelt for a 9 year old girl. I then used her rescue to help TBF open up to the group. I felt after the major loss of life from the Paradise the town had been very somber and withdrawn as a whole. Further the rain was not helping, as the place was pretty depressing and helping many to be recluse.

The way you are handling it does seem flesh some things out very well. It should add some buy in as the story escalates. Hope it goes well for your group, and would love to hear how it plays out.


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I've cleaned up a lot, I do want to add an event of some sort on the party's way back from TBF. I'll post how it all works out, what challenges and ideas came up in real time DMing.

The response from the PCs to the job offer of "Hey go to TBF and check on some boarder fort" could easily be "Thanks for the offer, but I'm on vacation"

So I have a few goals with all of this:

I'd like the PCs to befriend the Black Arrows at least on some level, so that when the PCs get asked to check on them, they are inclined to go.

I want them to have a connection to the place before I sink the Paradise and flood the town - I want TBF being wrecked to be a foreshadowing of things that COULD happen to Sandpoint.

I want to improve the link between Skinsaw and Hook Mountain, 'cuz its weak connective tissue as is

I DONT want the PCs getting involved too deep with Paradise and investigating the whole tatoo thing or bothering Lucy (at best they see her but dont meet her)

It's starting to look like I should beef up (a little) the events at Ossund, just to pull a bit more of the focus on to the ruined village and some refugees (and away from Paradise), you never know what those pesky players will do...


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Thinking of moving Ossund to the on the way home portion of this, and using a (modified version) of the "Night of the Straw Men" (a 3.5 side trek)as the encounter on the way TO TBF.

Then I have an brief encounter on the way, and fill the slot that I wanted to for the journey home, I may even tone down the Ogres to Ogrekin (and add more of them).


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The change of including the "Night of the Straw Men" AND moving You're the Sole Survivor/Ossund to after TBF/Paradise fell a little flat. If I were to do it again, I would make sure to run Ossund BEFORE arriving at Turtleback Ferry, the players just weren't that interested in getting to know the Black Arrows, and the fact that the prisoners were people they knew, they were keeping kinda quiet (the prisoners were in a sealed wagon and couldn't see them). I could have been a bit more forceful with getting the roleplaying going, the players were having trouble staying focused due at least partially to pain killers for assorted reasons from more than one player. Overall I'm glad I did it, it will provide foreshadowing of events to come, it gives them a better connection to go back to Turtleback Ferry and gave them at least some connection to the Black Arrows. Not as good a connection that I would have liked, but still decent.

Overview of how each segment went -

Night of the Straw Men:
Night of the Straw Men did give me a nice Holloween themed event on the correct weekend (a plus), but even with the bump I gave it, it wasnt enough, I didn't want it to be a tough encounter, just a nice flavorful one. Jakardros' animal companion was staying there so he didn't have to bring it into Magnimar, PCs were half concerned that there was going to be an attempt to free the prisoners being brought to the Black Arrows, the players got in some nice story and world info, but didn't make much connection with the Black Arrows.

Turtleback Ferry/Paradise:
Once they got to TBF, they were slightly more concerned with getting back to Sandpoint with their Scroll of Dispel Evil. The players passed on the Black Arrows offer of getting them free lodging at the regular TBF inn and decided to pay for the rooms at the Goldenhawk, and 3 of the four of them spent the night in their rooms - one went on to the Paradise, had a few drinks, ate Dinner, ran into Keven, and saw a guy fall overboard and get eaten by a turtle. Given that one of their goals was to open a casino of their own, this was a little disappointing - it made my Paradise prep less useful. Pesky players.

Ossund:
Purchasing a ride down river they find that they are waiting on a load of wood from Ossund, just a few miles away. The Druid flys over there, sees the slaughter, flys back, party goes to check it out. Ossund event occurs. I add 2 Black Arrows stalking the Ogres (as this version Ossund is near TBF) and they stop them from just walking into the camp and getting smacked around by ogres. These Black Arrows they actually fought beside and they made some connection with. With the Black Arrows advice and help, their tactics worked out and it was tough, but survivable. The players stuck around to help bury the bodies. They sent for help and Mayor Shreed along with some folk from TBF came in to help out. I salvaged my "make the PCs have a connection to the Black Arrows and Turtleback Ferry" goal, and the players were already talking about having to come back here to kill ogres - the slaughter at Ossund kinda bothered them.

Home again, home again, jiggty jig:
The trip home included two characters deciding they would rather go it overland for half the journey, which played out like a Top Gear Race episode. As the rain has been picking up the overland group was trudging along muddy roads in the rain for weeks. The people on the boat had to deal with a brief flood surge (they'll find out later that this flood surge sinks the Paradise). All said and done, it will suit my goals, but could have been better - I would have liked them to get in more of Jakardros' story, however that isn't necessary - Shelalu will be around to get them that bit.

If someone else wants to do something like this, I would give the following advise:

1 - Don't use both Jakardros and Vale on the prisoner caravan, you can always use the other one later.
2 - Make sure that the Ossund style event occurs before reaching Turtleback Ferry - This event just needs to include a fight against ogres were the Black Arrows can come into their own.
3 - Make the PC talk to the Black Arrows - actually USE the bits of dialog that you write down for them.
4 - Have a backup plan to get them connected - mine was moving Ossund to after TBF and forcing the boat to wait on a supply order that never arrives from Ossund, sub-optimal, but it worked.

Liberty's Edge

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Ian Bell wrote:
You should watch the episode of the X-Files titled "Home" beforehand as it's pretty much the direct inspiration for the Graul house. Will help you get into character!

Oh, jeez, I knew there was something familiar about this chapter. My wife refused to watch the X-Files for weeks after that episode (and in the time before DVRs and Hulu, that meant I had to wait for summer reruns to get caught up). Considering that she plays the party cleric, I may want to avoid too many parallels.


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My players opted for the boat trip to TBF.
While I was a little disappointed as many of the wonderful encounters described and provided by you will not come into play (sure I will alter some and add them to their trip) the great thing is, I can actually use the Paradise for their trip up from Ilsurian to TBF!
As they know about the Paradise from Jubrayl Vhiski who contacted them to investigate on it and report back to him, the trip will introduce L to them and her little tatoo parlor, then it's fighting on a burning (sinking) boat... wonderful!

Ruyan.


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I had a player who was being distracted "play" the guy who fell overboard (a local drunkard and gambler commoner 2, I forget the name that I used)

The horrible bite from the killer turtle scared the PCs enough to think better of doing anything in the water.

Love the idea of the party getting into a fight on a burning and sinking boat, you gotta do something where round by round there's more water. Players being able to see/feel the clock ticking is a good tension builder.

The neat part is you can make the PCs walk home, as all the boats will be being repaired from damage taken during the mini-flood.


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Crazy thing is: I might actually have a look at the Skulls&Shackles AP for inspiration--haven't touched the books nor the pdf-files since I got them.
Hopefully I can get the atmosphere and danger across to the players.

Ruyan.


the Lorax wrote:

I had a player who was being distracted "play" the guy who fell overboard (a local drunkard and gambler commoner 2, I forget the name that I used)

The horrible bite from the killer turtle scared the PCs enough to think better of doing anything in the water.

Love the idea of the party getting into a fight on a burning and sinking boat, you gotta do something where round by round there's more water. Players being able to see/feel the clock ticking is a good tension builder.

The neat part is you can make the PCs walk home, as all the boats will be being repaired from damage taken during the mini-flood.

Nit-picking - if the pc's have a full arcane caster, by the end of HMM, they could/should have access to teleport. If they've reached 11th level (possible) a full divine caster should have access to windwalk. PC's with access to 5th level arcane or 6th level divine spells "shouldn't" be walking. At least to go back home.


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A. "if the pc's have a full arcane caster..."
B. "if they've reached 11th level and have a full divine caster..."
C. "if their version of those has access to certain spells or they've chosen them..."

I think its reasonable to assume some form of walking out of TBF.
My players were totally ready to leave so they could get back to my Magnimar stand it just so the COULD spend their loot on useful things.

My party had none of those three - I expect them to be walking for a bit still, and I'm just as happy for it.


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My group boasts a fighter (next lvl dip in cleric [Desna]), a rogue (scout), a barb/druid and an oracle [Desna].

I'm a little anxious how they'll manage further "up" so to speak, but so far we're having fun (even the rogue...).

Ruyan.


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Sounds like your group is walkin' RuyanVe.

My group has even less access to spellcasting - so I share some of your concerns for later.


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Just another random thought: I think I will have BM attack the Paradise which starts a fire (from the cooking fire in the galley) and sinks her.
The PCs make it to the shore while BM is ripping the boat apart, L dim doors to shore and retreats to Rannick.

Thus, BM is getting introduced, too. The backstory of BM is great and such but my experience is that (my) players never get to it nor care.

Ruyan.

Edit L's spell list does not include the bonus spells as a normal sorc lvl 8 (and CL 8) would get them--due to the base creature only casting like a 6-th level sorcerer, right?

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The only issue with that is the timing, RuyanVe. Black Magga lives in the Storval Depths, which is on the Plateau. Those waters are kept back by Skull's Crossing, and when the ogres break one of them open, the river floods, as does Turtleback Ferry. Black Magga gets washed down river then.

So, as written, Black Magga is upland when the Paradise sinks. Your story would need to address that discrepancy.


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The townsfolk of TBF could make a big deal about the rains of late and how high the water level is - that nobody has seen in this high before.

Have someone come across on the ferry and tell tales of how they saw a big sucking whirlpool in Claybottom lake while they were crossing.

Let the players come up with solutions/answers when BM goes all tentacle madness on the Paradise.

The players have no idea where BM comes from.
<shrug> her story isn't really important to the campaign, so where exactly she has been spending her time isn't important unless the players are dying for an underwater mission.
(And really, what players are dying for an underwater mission?)


Yah. If I were running RotR, the whole Black Magga thing is an episode I would replace with something else. It would be loads of fun to have an adventure session or two on a gambling riverboat, lots of opportunity for RP and intrigue, instead of "you need to fight this hideously powerful monster that can TPK a vaguely unwary party and has little connection with the rest of the adventure."


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You're right of course, Misroi.

As far as my group is concerned they're not interested in the lore behind [insert random monster]. I've lost them more than once when providing too many leads.
Most of the backstories provided will never be learned by the players as they often involve knowledge far beyond the actual AP and the PCs have no way of knowing.

Thus, I'm with Lorax and tonyz: as written, BM is just a random monster which appears outta nowhere (nobody whitnesses the attack of BM at the dam and is left nor willing to tell), the PCs interact with it, can't defeat it and that's it.

While my approach is not the perfect solution either, the PCs at least know what this monster is capable of and that it's a thread to all living at/near/off the lake. The immediate sense of danger is there while at the same moment it's not (yet) a direct attack on them but they'll be wary when encountering it in TBF, thus (hopefully) avoiding a TPK and I as GM do not have to pull the deus ex machina card to save them.

Another idea would be to slab the Giant Creature template on a dragon turtle and use that monster as attacker.

Ruyan.


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I will not rename Sandpoint Gravity Falls.
I will not rename Sandpoint Gravity Falls.
I will not rename Sandpoint Gravity Falls.


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My players went right to the dam after Fort Rannick - before the real flood gets to take place - so I let them see BM in the water, happily tentacle grabbing up the dead ogres on the top of the dam.

They were more than happy to leave it alone/flee from it, and glad that they had worked the sluice gates, preventing a big flood problem and potentially exposing TBF to something horrible.

Using BM to sink the Paradise works fine - BM can be more interested in the boat than the PCs, and they can just be focusing on saving as many people as they can - I'd almost be tempted to run it like a 4e skill challenge rather than a combat.


There's a problem with both the AP and some of the ideas here: Any storyline that ends with BM left in the Skull River and lower Varisia creates some challenges. I'd argue BM running loose in the river and it's associated communities is the 2nd worse possible outcome in the AP after Karzoug rising.

If the pc's are the sort to find the various threats in the AP worth dealing with (generally good-aligned), having BM unaccounted for should be a Bad Thing and they should be asking some questions about where she goes, who/what she is, etc. TBF has some serious problems but BM loose in Claybottom lake is going to trump them - don't see how any fishermen or ferry pilots are going to brave the lake, etc. And the AP really doesn't provide any answer for how/if/when she returns to the Storval Deep.

I'd also agree she's something of a non sequitur - not really connected to the themes of the AP. And the pc's are definitely fighting above their weight class trying to fight her. So there are good reasons to consider not using her. In my current (and only) run through, I left her in - largely because it's the type of encounter I would never do and we were trying an AP to change things up after a long period of homebrew material (from me.) She also evokes a Golarion theme - there are leavings from several epochs of magical power and chaos that you can stumble into at any time. It worked out well - the pc's struggled for a few rounds but started to hit her and she fled (per AP tactics.) As they traveled to the dam, I had them spot clear signs an exceptionally large creature had left the river (into the Ashwood.) When they saw the damage at the dam, they put 2&2 together.

Sczarni

My players just encountered BM this past weekend. I would agree that she could be left out of the AP and nobody we be any wiser. In fact, my payers are trying to figure out who sent BM after them, thinking this was a targeted attack.

Gorger and Chaw, on the other hand, made for a great encounter. The two heads bickering with each other as they smash PCs around. Great fun.


My party has taken the feats to craft items and plan to do so. I want to give them a chance after this adventure as well as establish more ties to Sand Point, Magnimar, and Fort Rannick. I was thinking about having a couple letters from Mokmurian talking about status updates with Barl and the search for the Scribbler. After a month of doing what ever they want have either them or the Black Arrows encounter a small stone giant group with the letter at the end of this adventure. Does anyone have any ideas what else the earlier letters could be saying to give them some information but now have the characters charge off half cocked to the jorgenfist.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I had both my groups encounter BM on the dam, just a few rounds after the fight with the ogre demolitionists started. My reasoning was that the clanging sounds of the demolition work had travelled through the water and woken her up, but the sudden cessation (due to combat starting) attracted her attention even more directly and curiosity brought her over to the dam. She was described as being festooned with sea-(lake-)weed and other signs of having spent a long time on the lake bottom.

My assumption was that she would be hungry after her long nap. So after using her breath weapon on the largest concentration of "mites" (ogres and party) she just started gobbling up bodies, starting with the largest (dead ogres), and generally ignoring the mites otherwise. She only directly attacked inattentive foes (i.e., those who provoked attacks of opportunity) in hope of getting another snack, or those who directly attacked her (and penetrated her DR and resistances). In one case, the party's arcane caster did manage to penetrate her SR a couple of times, but he was so far away (and did only minor damage) that she ignored him in favour of one more ogre snack. I did keep the "4-round timer" on her appearance though, so everyone was relieved when she slid back down into the waters of the Storval Deep and disappeared to digest her breakfast.


starting the Haunted Heart next session and trying to make sense of the Myterious Derelict encounter. Is there any lore I forgot, any theories where the ship comes from?


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In short, I just made **** up. It ended up being a Varisian ship that had somehow mistakenly managed to sail the stars, lost its entire crew, then finally made its way "home" to the middle of a swamp. All kinds of mystery, and magic, and more mystery, with half-answers to everything the players tried to figure out.

And the players recount it as one of the most moving encounters of the AP.

Go figure.


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As with the whole swamp area, I turned it all into a flavor piece. The ship discovery was a very simple eerie ghost chase, with no real answers. I had some blurs of ghosts here and there.. and then gone. Mostly to show that the swap was one odd place. Coupled with the other events showing souls of the swap had been upset. I felt it doesn't add a lot to the story overall, other then setting up the meeting. However, as less is sometimes more.. it was great session showing that some mysteries are simply never meant to be solved.


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NobodysHome wrote:

In short, I just made **** up. It ended up being a Varisian ship that had somehow mistakenly managed to sail the stars, lost its entire crew, then finally made its way "home" to the middle of a swamp. All kinds of mystery, and magic, and more mystery, with half-answers to everything the players tried to figure out.

And the players recount it as one of the most moving encounters of the AP.

Go figure.

good read. since I'll GM the same group through SD one day, I'll name the ship Flying Cloud and hope that they'll freak out in a couple of years


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I played it largely as written, leaving it's bizarre incongruity to speak for itself. The whole region borders the First World and the massive disruption from Myriana's "condition" makes all kinds of warped and unpredictable outcomes possible. I focused on the growing influence of death and decay in the entire region. It was more of a mood-setting event than a campaign/story-advancing event. The dark nature of the Shimmerglens combined with the encounter with Black Magga go to show that outside the civilized borders of Sandpoint, Magnimar, Korvosa and such, much of Varisia is still overrun with ancient ruins, inexplicable magic and crazy fey/first world encounters.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I connected the derelict ship with the Ravenloft setting, from which it had sailed out before running aground while traversing the dimensions. When translated, the ship's home port is Martira Bay in Darkon, and the sea charts showed various islands in Ravenloft's eastern sea (AFB right now, so I'm not going to try to spell any more Ravenloft locations).


woa. I'm glad to see I'm not the only one considering BM as a debatable part of the AP. My party is getting close to this encouter, and I don't want to lose too much time on it.

At first I didn't get the point of the dam, at all. The loss of the fort is a really strong story (well written also) and I found the dam pretty confusing. The party doesn't really have to witness that ogres and sihedron linked enemies are psycopathic killers one more time. It's been like a smorgasboard of gore and death already. On this forum I found some idea to adapt it. One interesting I found was to have the black Magga attack the ogres and the party on the dam, and return in the water, threatening to go through if they realeae the water, or something like that, to at least give a meaning to BM.

Finally I don't want to change the AP that much, its well written and I'm afraid extensive modifications will have an unexpected impact on the story.

I'm not sure yet but either I will let them head directly to the dam (I believe they'll do that), fight the ogres, and witness the partial destruction of TBF by a the flood from the top of it, as an insight to what may happen in sandpoint. Its actually the stone giant first part that drove me to this AP, and I can't wait to get there.

Or, I will run the encounter as written, but just with giants snakes and dragon turtle, panicked by the flood. It's largely enough to threaten the children, and doesn't call for unnecessary investigation.

BM is still here, and I'll keep it as an epic side quest, exactly as I did for the sandpoint devil.
(though I like Latrecis viewpoint)


Just last game, my party fought BM on the dam along with the ogres. I haven't gotten their feedback yet, but I think it went well. My party also went straight to the dam instead of back to TBF. I moved the ogres so that they weren't sandwiched between hostile trolls and a hostile ettin. I had them camped out and working on the far side of the dam from the ettin.

Having the dam break as a cause for BM to disengage via getting swept away was much more believable to me than how events are outlined in the AP.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I have a question relating to the final series of encounters on the Hook.

The text specifically calls out the severe cold as an environment danger (as per the CRB p. 442). Unless a character is unlucky and/or has a really poor Fortitude save, the severe cold is not a problem for a party equipped with cold weather outfits (+5 circumstance bonus) and aided by helpful rangers/others with good Survival skill modifiers. Once the party gets into the cave system, I don't intend to call for any more Fortitude saves because of the shelter and the forge fires. The final encounter location would be under severe cold conditions again, but I'll only enforce that if they stick around there for an entire hour.

In my eyes, there is another environmental danger, but one which is not specifically called out. The text just skims over the fact that the final series of encounters occur at an altitude that is equivalent to Mexico City's. The entrance is described as being "about half a mile from Hook Mountain's 10,000-foot-high peak", which makes it at an altitude of roughly 7,300 feet (2,200 metres). According to the CRB, that altitude is in the low peak/high pass altitude zone (CRB p. 430).

At that altitude any non-acclimated characters must make Fortitude saves every hour (DC 15 +1/previous check) or become Fatigued until they return to a lower altitude. Neither cold weather outfits nor good Survival skills can help with these saving throws. I'm allowing any ranger with favoured terrain (mountains) to gain that bonus on the saves.

Did anyone else enforce the altitude dangers when running this section? Being Fatigued could be dangerous for the upcoming series of combats - on the other hand, it is good preparation/warning for certain later sections of the AP.

I'm curious as to how other GMs have handled the altitude dangers.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'm slowly getting to that section for prepping and have considered having the whole party become fatigued if they ascend the mountain range.
This way there's nobody feeling foolish/bad due to a missed roll.

The PCs can get advice on surviving at high altitudes by conferring with the Black Arrows and set up some kind of camp to "train"/get accustomed.

My thoughts go towards shortening the time needed for acclimisation to one week, though. They'll have 1-2 random encounters where I'll let them roll vs fatigue and then they'll have to brave a hike with the rangers as a final test (no roll involved).

Then they're free to start towards the clanhold.

Ruyan.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Sorry for the double post, but I didn't want to confuse topics.

My question concerns the map of Fort Rannick on p. 148 AE, more specifically the walkways of the keep along its outer walls:

I see no stairs/ramps ascending from the second floor but noticed that you cannot exit the towers (B28) onto this floor.

Are they elevated with regards to the second floor of the keep? If so: how many feet?

Thanks, Ruyan.


Bellona wrote:

I have a question relating to the final series of encounters on the Hook.

The text specifically calls out the severe cold as an environment danger (as per the CRB p. 442). Unless a character is unlucky and/or has a really poor Fortitude save, the severe cold is not a problem for a party equipped with cold weather outfits (+5 circumstance bonus) and aided by helpful rangers/others with good Survival skill modifiers. Once the party gets into the cave system, I don't intend to call for any more Fortitude saves because of the shelter and the forge fires. The final encounter location would be under severe cold conditions again, but I'll only enforce that if they stick around there for an entire hour.

In my eyes, there is another environmental danger, but one which is not specifically called out. The text just skims over the fact that the final series of encounters occur at an altitude that is equivalent to Mexico City's. The entrance is described as being "about half a mile from Hook Mountain's 10,000-foot-high peak", which makes it at an altitude of roughly 7,300 feet (2,200 metres). According to the CRB, that altitude is in the low peak/high pass altitude zone (CRB p. 430).

At that altitude any non-acclimated characters must make Fortitude saves every hour (DC 15 +1/previous check) or become Fatigued until they return to a lower altitude. Neither cold weather outfits nor good Survival skills can help with these saving throws. I'm allowing any ranger with favoured terrain (mountains) to gain that bonus on the saves.

Did anyone else enforce the altitude dangers when running this section? Being Fatigued could be dangerous for the upcoming series of combats - on the other hand, it is good preparation/warning for certain later sections of the AP.

I'm curious as to how other GMs have handled the altitude dangers.

I didn't apply them here, both because of laziness and because of the group's own experiences (one professional mountain rescue guy, one guy whose high school aptitude test suggested, "Forest Ranger" because of the amount of time he'd spent at over 7,000 feet). The former was a much stronger reason.

But I wish I had, because as you said, it would have provided a nice precursor to later books.

My party got around the whole thing in later books with prodigious use of Life Bubble, but that used up spell slots they couldn't use on other things, so it was a nice way to make them aware of the environment without unduly punishing them.

In other, non-rambling words, "Go for it!" It will be a good precursor.


Bellona wrote:

I have a question relating to the final series of encounters on the Hook.

The text specifically calls out the severe cold as an environment danger (as per the CRB p. 442). Unless a character is unlucky and/or has a really poor Fortitude save, the severe cold is not a problem for a party equipped with cold weather outfits (+5 circumstance bonus) and aided by helpful rangers/others with good Survival skill modifiers. Once the party gets into the cave system, I don't intend to call for any more Fortitude saves because of the shelter and the forge fires. The final encounter location would be under severe cold conditions again, but I'll only enforce that if they stick around there for an entire hour.

In my eyes, there is another environmental danger, but one which is not specifically called out. The text just skims over the fact that the final series of encounters occur at an altitude that is equivalent to Mexico City's. The entrance is described as being "about half a mile from Hook Mountain's 10,000-foot-high peak", which makes it at an altitude of roughly 7,300 feet (2,200 metres). According to the CRB, that altitude is in the low peak/high pass altitude zone (CRB p. 430).

At that altitude any non-acclimated characters must make Fortitude saves every hour (DC 15 +1/previous check) or become Fatigued until they return to a lower altitude. Neither cold weather outfits nor good Survival skills can help with these saving throws. I'm allowing any ranger with favoured terrain (mountains) to gain that bonus on the saves.

Did anyone else enforce the altitude dangers when running this section? Being Fatigued could be dangerous for the upcoming series of combats - on the other hand, it is good preparation/warning for certain later sections of the AP.

I'm curious as to how other GMs have handled the altitude dangers.

my group finished last session ascending hook mountain. I plan to have them rolled for fatigue after the first encounter


Bellona wrote:

I have a question relating to the final series of encounters on the Hook.

The text specifically calls out the severe cold as an environment danger (as per the CRB p. 442). Unless a character is unlucky and/or has a really poor Fortitude save, the severe cold is not a problem for a party equipped with cold weather outfits (+5 circumstance bonus) and aided by helpful rangers/others with good Survival skill modifiers. Once the party gets into the cave system, I don't intend to call for any more Fortitude saves because of the shelter and the forge fires. The final encounter location would be under severe cold conditions again, but I'll only enforce that if they stick around there for an entire hour.

In my eyes, there is another environmental danger, but one which is not specifically called out. The text just skims over the fact that the final series of encounters occur at an altitude that is equivalent to Mexico City's. The entrance is described as being "about half a mile from Hook Mountain's 10,000-foot-high peak", which makes it at an altitude of roughly 7,300 feet (2,200 metres). According to the CRB, that altitude is in the low peak/high pass altitude zone (CRB p. 430).

At that altitude any non-acclimated characters must make Fortitude saves every hour (DC 15 +1/previous check) or become Fatigued until they return to a lower altitude. Neither cold weather outfits nor good Survival skills can help with these saving throws. I'm allowing any ranger with favoured terrain (mountains) to gain that bonus on the saves.

Did anyone else enforce the altitude dangers when running this section? Being Fatigued could be dangerous for the upcoming series of combats - on the other hand, it is good preparation/warning for certain later sections of the AP.

I'm curious as to how other GMs have handled the altitude dangers.

Not to be a negative-nelly, but your conclusion about height is based on some rather simple assumptions about the angle of the mountain's slopes and even what altitude means. If the slope is roughly 45 degrees and the mountain resembles an equilateral triangle, then yes, the clan hold is likely as high as you suggest. But several other angles and shapes are possible.

I did not explore altitude penalties because a) the AP didn't suggest them, implying (strongly in my mind) it wasn't a problem since the AP does call it out in other sections/books and b) it would seem odd (though not impossible) for ogres to choose it as a base if they would have to acclimate first. That's normally a turn off - "Let's camp here!" "Umm, I can't <gasp>freakin' breath, let's <gasp> go somewhere else."

It also makes some of the backstory problematic - Barl decides to attack Fort Rannick after Black Arrow scouts are captured and killed near the clanhold. The Arrows deliberately travelled to where they can't breath easily? Are the Arrows assumed to be acclimated - Fort Rannick isn't at that level so how plausible is that?

Regardless of all that, if you do decide to have altitude penalties/risks, any surviving Black Arrows should know all about them and be able to give warning. And cleric, druid and wizard characters of the appropriate level for this portion of the Book (10th) will have access to Life Bubble. Maybe even a party ranger - though none of the Black Arrows as constructed in the AP.


Does Lucrecia have her own reasons (or reasons related to her collecting-greedy-souls project) for taking over Fort Rannick? My impression was the Kaven was the only Black Arrow who got the mark, or at least one of very few. Or was she just helping Barl out, to keep the rangers from messing up his ogre army project?

Also, why does she go to Shimmerglens to attack Lamatar and Myriana? Would Lamatar's survival have been that detrimental to their plans?


valawala wrote:

Does Lucrecia have her own reasons (or reasons related to her collecting-greedy-souls project) for taking over Fort Rannick? My impression was the Kaven was the only Black Arrow who got the mark, or at least one of very few. Or was she just helping Barl out, to keep the rangers from messing up his ogre army project?

Also, why does she go to Shimmerglens to attack Lamatar and Myriana? Would Lamatar's survival have been that detrimental to their plans?

My assumption was she is supplying assistance to Barl. Also, the rangers are likely to take note of someone trying to destroy the dam.

As for taking out Lamatar, my assumption would be she sees him as the most-dangerous of the Black Arrows, so taking him out while he's separated from his men would be their best option. Also, cut off the head and any stragglers who survive their assault on the Fort are less likely to cause trouble afterward.


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following my doubts on the dam section....

I did some research.
And I couldn't be more wrong. The dam is... well, let's say Karzoug was really someone..

First, just some numbers:
Skull crossing is described as 250 feet high (75 m). The worst dam failure ever witnessed in history is the Banquiao Dam failure in 1975. This dam was 60 feet high (25 m). wikipedia.org/wiki/Banqiao_Dam
I realize heigth is far from the only factor (though Storval deep is much, MUCH bigger than Banqiao former reservoir), and that talking physics in Pathfinder has little sense since gravity is just the will of the gods of nature.

That being said, the Banquiao Dam failure generated a wave 15 km wide and up to 7 meters tall, that devastated all land for more than 200 km, resulting in the drowning of thousands, and the destruction of countless cities.

According to these data, the failure of Skull's crossing has the potential to ERASE Ilsurian from the map, as well as Ashwood, half of the Sanos forest, and being felt even at Magnimmar (likely as a significant rise of the Yondabakari).

OH MY GOD ! and they just defeated the only castle near the dam !

for more, you should read this : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outburst_flood

Realizing that I am tempted to rewrite the back arrows as the necessary guardians of an apocalyptic threat.

Was this discussed elsewhere ? I'm fairly new on this forum and I know this AP has been discussed for a long time. Don't hesitate to send me to a more relevant topic if needed.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Well, if the PCs follow the AP (and it is quite railroady) they prevent the disaster so there will be (some) flooding and TBF will suffer but nothing as significant as what you described should happen.

Also: this kind of catastrophe and especially its consequences are beyond the scope of the story being told. I mean: the Storval Deep would be drained of water having further consequences on the environment up north etc etc.

Then again: they're PCs... *evilgrin*

Ruyan.

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