Fortress of the Stone Giants (GM Reference)


Rise of the Runelords

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Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Adjoint wrote:
Actually, the whole room in which the Headless Lord dwells is a freezer to store zombies.

Well, clearly Mokmurian needs another freezer, maybe out in the garage, for extra freezer storage.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Another question after tonight’s session: does the forgefiend have the ability to heal itself between encounters? Tonight, the PCs had two brief encounters with the forgefiend, knocking it down by more than 100 hp to 35. Does it have a way to heal at all? If not, I think its next meeting with the party will be its last.

Also, swapping in a runeslaved Barl Brakebones for the runeslave hill giant in the Chamber of Reduction worked perfectly. The party was pissed, thinking he had broken his word not to go back to Mokmurian. Our cleric was unhappy, though, that she wasted break enchantment and greater dispel magic trying to free him from whatever she thought was controlling him.


By trial and error, my PCs have figured out how to use the runeslave cauldron, although they don't know everything about it yet. (They've put a body of a defeated hill giant zombie in it and it revived it.) They are eventualy going to figure out more, by analyizng the revived giants or research in the library.

How should the runeslaves created by the PCs act? Obey the person who put their body inside the cauldron? Obey the first person they've seen after being revived? Not automatically obedient, although easily influenced and prone to domination?


Tusk the Half-Orc wrote:
Another question after tonight’s session: does the forgefiend have the ability to heal itself between encounters? Tonight, the PCs had two brief encounters with the forgefiend, knocking it down by more than 100 hp to 35. Does it have a way to heal at all? If not, I think its next meeting with the party will be its last.

Not on his own, but maybe someone else (like the lamia clerics, if they are yet not dead) could heal him. He can also be more careful, starting with casting deeper darkness, or creating wall of fire from far away, not approaching the PCs.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Adjoint wrote:
Tusk the Half-Orc wrote:
Another question after tonight’s session: does the forgefiend have the ability to heal itself between encounters? Tonight, the PCs had two brief encounters with the forgefiend, knocking it down by more than 100 hp to 35. Does it have a way to heal at all? If not, I think its next meeting with the party will be its last.
Not on his own, but maybe someone else (like the lamia clerics, if they are yet not dead) could heal him. He can also be more careful, starting with casting deeper darkness, or creating wall of fire from far away, not approaching the PCs.

Yeah, I was looking at its SLAs - I think the next encounter with it will be in/near its lair, just after the Headless Lord, so I might as well blow it out. I deliberately avoided using some of those abilities in the earlier encounters so they would be a surprise later, but they hit it so hard there isn't going to be more than one "later."


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Adjoint wrote:

By trial and error, my PCs have figured out how to use the runeslave cauldron, although they don't know everything about it yet. (They've put a body of a defeated hill giant zombie in it and it revived it.) They are eventualy going to figure out more, by analyizng the revived giants or research in the library.

How should the runeslaves created by the PCs act? Obey the person who put their body inside the cauldron? Obey the first person they've seen after being revived? Not automatically obedient, although easily influenced and prone to domination?

I think it would make for a pretty interesting wrinkle if you went with the "whoever it saw first" angle, and randomly determine which present PC it saw. It could throw in some neat roleplay hooks if it turns out that the enslaved giant just happens to only listen to a PC that didn't want to be involved, but did nothing to stop it.


I might be missing something, but the whole raid on Sandpoint seems like a really bad move from Mokmurian. From what I read, Mokmuriam wants a pieace of the old light so that Conna can use Stone Tell to find out if that is the place were Scribler was stationed 10000 years ago. They want to know that because the Scribler had too much information on Karzoug and the runeforge and there might still be something around that could compromise the plan of his return.

So, a much more reasonable plan would be to send someone on disguise like a lamia, or hire a small team of mercs to do it. who would care if one morning there is a stone from a ruin missing. I think I read somewhere about digging to get a stone, but that doesn't change the fact that it would be much easier and call much less attention then an attack from a giant band allied to a dragon for no apparent reason, specifically about a place and a time they want to keep a low profile.

Also, why Mokmurian sent a written message to Barl when he can use Sending. It is much safer. Although without a raid there would be no message about it and Barl might even not have been told about teh search.

I hope this is the right place to post this questions.


The raid has a second purpose: to capture as many greedy Sandpoint merchants as possible, for the purpose of branding them with Sihedron and using their greed to speed up Karzoug's return.


Still not worth the risk in my opinion.


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Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Frederico Gomes wrote:
Still not worth the risk in my opinion.

It's important to remember that the individuals involved with the events of an adventure are almost never looking at things from the same bird's-eye view of events as the GM perspective allows. Mokmurian has recently dominated whole tribes of giants, which have in turn dominated a clan of ogres, which have in turn annihilated a defensible human fort. He's got no reason to even suspect that a piddly little town like Sandpoint could mount enough of a resistance to become even a minor inconvenience to the plan. And if it turns out that the intel shows that what he's looking for is there? Well the assault on the town will have already devastated what resistance they could put up, and going back should be a breeze at that point.

Giants pop up fairly frequently in adventures, and so many times they are portrayed with an inflated level of hubris to match their advanced stature. So, while it might not seem like a good idea to you personally, there are enough clues present to suggest that it was a fine idea in the minds of those doing the actual planning.

And, if you still can't reconcile that, you're totally free to decide otherwise and change things around. The AP developers are always quick to point out that a GM knows their table and its expectations best, and tailoring the scenarios to better fit one's individual tastes is not just allowed, but expected. The trade-off is that you just have to do a little bit of extra work to make things more in line with your understanding of what the best course of action is for the actors driving the plot from behind the scenes. Either you need to come up with a different hook to involve the players or come up with an entirely different scenario to bridge the gap between books 3 and 5. All choices are equally valid if they result in increased enjoyment for you and, especially, your players.


Leedwashere wrote:
And, if you still can't reconcile that, you're totally free to decide otherwise and change things around.

I know I'm free to change what I want. I just want to be sure I'm not missing something if I decide to do it. Defending Sandpoint looks very cool but the way it is doesn't sit well with me. It feels like the big red button to self-destroy the BBEG base.

I consider expand the first part of the adventure and make the goblins band together to attack Sandpoint. Something similar to an anime I don't want to name so as not to spoil it.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Frederico Gomes wrote:
Leedwashere wrote:
And, if you still can't reconcile that, you're totally free to decide otherwise and change things around.

I know I'm free to change what I want. I just want to be sure I'm not missing something if I decide to do it. Defending Sandpoint looks very cool but the way it is doesn't sit well with me. It feels like the big red button to self-destroy the BBEG base.

I consider expand the first part of the adventure and make the goblins band together to attack Sandpoint. Something similar to an anime I don't want to name so as not to spoil it.

Don't forget that Mokmurian has brought together numerous tribes of giants under his leadership, promising them plunder and a return to the (supposed) glory of their ancestors. He has dozens of young hotheads stuck in tent camps around a fortress most of them are not even allowed to enter, and he has made them sit there for months doing nothing. While M continues to build his army in soldiers, materiel, and intelligence, waiting for the moment that his own master is ready for him to lead his army out of the mountains and sweep over the lowlands like a tsunami, these young hotheads are bored. So Mokmurian has a decision to make. He can force them stay in the camp, causing trouble, fighting each other and sowing disunion among the tribes. The alternative is to send them on in small groups to raid the smallfolk, learn to work together across tribal lines, boost morale, spread a little terror, and while they're at it, find something Mokmurian and his boss are looking for anyway. Given the traditional arrogance of the giants, as Leedwashere says, I think it was an easy decision.


Tusk the Half-Orc wrote:
Frederico Gomes wrote:
Leedwashere wrote:
And, if you still can't reconcile that, you're totally free to decide otherwise and change things around.

I know I'm free to change what I want. I just want to be sure I'm not missing something if I decide to do it. Defending Sandpoint looks very cool but the way it is doesn't sit well with me. It feels like the big red button to self-destroy the BBEG base.

I consider expand the first part of the adventure and make the goblins band together to attack Sandpoint. Something similar to an anime I don't want to name so as not to spoil it.

Don't forget that Mokmurian has brought together numerous tribes of giants under his leadership, promising them plunder and a return to the (supposed) glory of their ancestors. He has dozens of young hotheads stuck in tent camps around a fortress most of them are not even allowed to enter, and he has made them sit there for months doing nothing. While M continues to build his army in soldiers, materiel, and intelligence, waiting for the moment that his own master is ready for him to lead his army out of the mountains and sweep over the lowlands like a tsunami, these young hotheads are bored. So Mokmurian has a decision to make. He can force them stay in the camp, causing trouble, fighting each other and sowing disunion among the tribes. The alternative is to send them on in small groups to raid the smallfolk, learn to work together across tribal lines, boost morale, spread a little terror, and while they're at it, find something Mokmurian and his boss are looking for anyway. Given the traditional arrogance of the giants, as Leedwashere says, I think it was an easy decision.

Damn. That's what I was going to say if only I hadn't been too lazy to reply earlier. And Tusk said it better.

I'd add a few minor notes:
1. Yes, this is the correct thread for this discussion.
2. Yes, stealth could accomplish the job, with less fanfare but really who in Mokmurian's entourage has stealth as a strength? They're all giant class creatures - sneaking is not what they do.
3. You can change the tactic but then you have to give the pc's another way to learn about Mokmurian and the location of Jorgenfist. And why it's important.
4. This line of reasoning is dangerous. If you follow it, Karzoug is also a fool. Sending a couple lamia matriarch's into Lower Varisia to start harvesting greed in very flamboyant ways is pretty showy. He almost certainly would have been more successful if he had started harvesting greed much more slowly and surreptitiously over say the course of a 100 years. He's been entombed for 10,000 years, what's a few more? But then we wouldn't have an AP. Sometimes NPC strategies are an expression of their character. Karzoug is arrogant and grasping and always seeks to show his dominance. Mokmurian follows his master's lead.


Latrecis wrote:


2. Yes, stealth could accomplish the job, with less fanfare but really who in Mokmurian's entourage has stealth as a strength? They're all giant class creatures - sneaking is not what they do.

Actually you wouldn't need stealth. Disguise could do the same. A disguised lamia could go there and do the job, or hire a group of mercenaries to do it, or seduce Brodert Quink and convince him to excavate a stone.

Latrecis wrote:


3. You can change the tactic but then you have to give the pc's another way to learn about Mokmurian and the location of Jorgenfist. And why it's important.

Yes I would/will.

Latrecis wrote:


4. This line of reasoning is dangerous. If you follow it, Karzoug is also a fool. Sending a couple lamia matriarch's into Lower Varisia to start harvesting greed in very flamboyant ways is pretty showy. He almost certainly would have been more successful if he had started harvesting greed much more slowly and surreptitiously over say the course of a 100 years. He's been entombed for 10,000 years, what's a few more? But then we wouldn't have an AP. Sometimes NPC strategies are an expression of their character. Karzoug is arrogant and grasping and always seeks to show his dominance. Mokmurian follows his master's lead.

I agree it looks like a bad plan overall, but I'm not willing to change that much the story.

Silver Crusade

Just chalk it up to the bad guys being arrogant and over-confident. They go for the direct approach, because they think they can get away with it.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

The subtle villains are all in book 6, anyway.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Man, after so much build up, the big fight against Mokmurian turned into a big dud after he rolled a natural 1 on his save vs. feeblemind just a couple of rounds into the encounter. I knew that sort of thing was a risk going in, but it's still frustrating. Oh well, the players still had fun and enjoyed their victory, and I guess that's the most important thing.

Silver Crusade

Jhaeman wrote:
Man, after so much build up, the big fight against Mokmurian turned into a big dud after he rolled a natural 1 on his save vs. feeblemind just a couple of rounds into the encounter. I knew that sort of thing was a risk going in, but it's still frustrating. Oh well, the players still had fun and enjoyed their victory, and I guess that's the most important thing.

I had something like that with Barl Breakbones. My group killed him way too easily. Mokmurian, on the other hand, caused the group's second PC death - that was actually a pretty epic fight.

Liberty's Edge

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So my little band of murderhobos took down Mokmurian a week ago (took me a bit to write this up), burning through multiple encounters in the time it took just to fight the Headless Lord the session before. They defeated Big M in less than 3 rounds. Here's how it went down:

Wall of Text:
At the start of the session, they were ambushed by the Forgefiend, but finished it off quickly. It was done in by a sneak attack in the surprise round followed by a blind casting of Holy Smite by the cleric in the midst of Deeper Darkness, moments before the scanderig would have cast Flesh to Stone on her. It started the attack down 90 hit points from their previous encounters, so it really came down to the initiative rolls - it rolled poorly, so even in the surprise round the rogue went before it did. It cast Deeper Darkness in the surprise round with 14 hit points left, but the cleric went before it in round 1 and that was the end of that.

The monk and wizard/eldritch knight were calmed by reading the runes in the hallway. The group decided to hold off on trying the big bronze doors after the rogue looked them over (stating clearly that she was not going to touch them), and investigated the door in the rubble to the east.

They killed four Hounds of Tindalos (I added one to toughen up the encounter a bit) in two rounds. Chain Lightning, followed by another Holy Smite, followed by a flurry of blows, a sneak attack, the fighter connecting with power attack and vital strike, and then a couple of arrows from the wizard/eldritch knight's shocking bow finished them.

The wizard cast Detect Magic, and found the Alarm spell on the door to Mokmurian's lair. The cleric tried to dispel the Alarm, but rolled a 2 on the caster level check. They suspected it might be M's room - none of the other rooms they have been through have been protected.

The monk - whose catch phrase since Book 1 has been "Gronar marches forth" - ignored all of their plans to buff before the final battle and opened the door. They saw Mokmurian sitting on his chair, looking right at them - he had heard the battle with the Hounds, of course. He smiled, barked something unintelligible, snapped his fingers, and a wall of Solid Fog concealed the room from their sight.

They slammed the door closed and started arguing. Was that Mokmurian? He could have been anybody! Are you nuts - you think he's just a random stone giant who can cast a fog spell? In a room filled with wizarding gear?

The fighter (GM NPC) holds up a handful of potions. "You guys said I was supposed to drink these before we fight Mokmurian. Should I drink them now or not?"

While they were arguing, the monk decides to settle the matter definitively. He opens the door and shouts into the fog, "Who are you?"

I asked him three times if he was sure. He said he was.

My wife, the party cleric, had her head in her hands by this point.

What was I supposed to do? Mokmurian tossed a fireball at the cracked open door, succeed at a ranged attack to get it through the doorway into the hall. It did 26 points of damage to the fighter (sigh), 13 to the wizard (made his save), 6 to the cleric (fire resistance 20 from the fire domain), and none to the monk and the rogue who each had evasion and made their saves. Good thing, too - the monk was carrying Enga's necklace of fireballs.

Once the rest of the party finished yelling at the monk, it was clear that he had been right - he had settled the question of who was on the other side of the door. They drank their potions: Fly (except the wizard, who was already rocking Overland Flight as one of his daily castings), Owl's Wisdom, and Bear's Endurance. From wands, the spellcasters cast Greater Invisibility on the rogue, Enlarge Person on the fighter and the monk. The fighter (who has a couple of levels of sorcerer) was told to take the monstrous humanoid slaying arrow from the Storval Stairs encounter. As soon as he was through the fog and could see Mokmurian, he was supposed to cast True Strike on himself and then shoot the arrow in the next round (I turned the fighter over to the monk's player for the duration of the combat). The wizard cast Spectral Hand so he could deliver touch spells. At the last moment, the cleric cast Silence on one of the monk's shuriken.

Mokmurian finished his own buffs and set up a couple of surprises for the PCs while they got themselves ready. I particularly liked the Acid Pit hidden by the Solid Fog a few squares into the room.

None of it mattered.

The PCs reopened the door. The wizard flew into the entrance and 20 feet up - getting outside the area of Silence - and used his arcane bond to cast Gust of Wind to disperse the Solid Fog. Without waiting for the fog to clear, the fighter flew into the room blind and promptly slowed to a crawl.

Mokmurian, unseen through the fog, hit the fighter with two quickened Scorching Rays for 39 points of damage but missed on the third. For his standard action, he fired off a Disintegrate at the monk - he knew the grappling, punching, giant-hating dwarf would be a problem from watching the fight with the Headless Lord - but the monk made his save (Bear's Endurance again).

The monk (with the Silenced shurikin)joined the fighter in the Solid Fog to get far enough away from the cleric so that she could cast Blessing of Fervor. Using the extra speed from BoF, the invisible rogue powered through the Solid Fog - straight into the Stinking Cloud that Mokmurian had cast behind it during the rounds the party was buffing. Once again, it was Bear's Endurance for the win - she made her save and kept going, veering up to get above the cloud.

When it came back around to the wizard's turn, the Solid Fog dispersed, and the party saw... the Stinking Cloud. Having enough of this nonsense, the wizard flew straight up and found Mokmurian flying above the cloud. He cast Touch of Idiocy at the stone giant and nailed him with the Spectral Hand, and that was the beginning of the end for Mokmurian - a 1d6 to each of the target's mental stats (the wizard rolled a 4) is no joke, especially with a duration of 10 minutes/level and no saving throw. Mokmurian didn't lose any spell levels, but all of the saving throw DCs for his spells dropped by 2, and his own Will save bonus dropped by 2.

The fighter flew up over the Stinking Cloud and cast True Strike, monstrous humanoid slaying arrow at the ready.

Mokmurian targeted the wizard with his second prepared Disintegrate, and once more, a 300 gp potion of Bear's Endurance saved one of the PCs.

The cleric cast Spellcrash, another no-save spell (at least on the first round), and Mokmurian lost one of his Telekinesis spells. I started thinking about having him cast Wall of Force on his next turn, to cut off the spellcasters and the fighter with that giant-slaying arrow.

The monk zoomed in and tried to grapple him, he made his acrobatics check to avoid the attack of opportunity, but failed the grapple check. The rogue slipped in to try to sneak attack, but Mokmurian saw her coming. She relied on her invisibility to avoid the attack of opportunity instead of acrobatics; by the time she realized he could see her, it was too late. He backhanded her with the club but because he had not yet taken a single point of damage, he didn't bother with Vampiric Touch.

And so we come to the top of round 3 of the actual combat, and the wizard's turn. Understand that everything they have done since they closed the door after Mokmurian's Fireball has been according to a plan they came up with back in January or February. I knew the outlines, but since I had already worked out any variations from Mokmurian's tactics as written, I wasn't going to change anything unless they showed their hand someplace Mokmurian could see them, like in the Headless Lord fight, and they didn't.

Top of round 3: the wizard cast Feeblemind, DC 20 - our wizard is an air elementalist specializing in evocation, so he doesn't have any bonuses to the DC beyond the spell level and his casting stat. However, Mokmurian's Will save, already down by 2 due to Touch of Idiocy, also takes a -4 penalty because he's an arcane caster. His normal +15 Will save was effectively +9.

I rolled in the open. Natural 7. Even without Touch of Idiocy, Mokmurian would have failed the save.

Pandemonium at the table as I describe Mokmurian just hanging in the air, tightly gripping his club, glaring at the PCs but unsure whether and who to attack. The players began to debate whether and how to kill him, and I realized that despite Mokmurian still having full hit points - he had not taken a single point of damage - this was the moment for Karzoug to take control. He had been totally defeated, there was no way for him to come back, and anything the party did at this point would probably kill him too quickly for Karzoug to have time to step in. So I described the scene. As soon as Mokmurian started trying to speak in Karzoug's voice, the monk dropped the silenced shuriken into the mist below so they could hear. I played them the recording in Thassalonian from the Community Created Stuff thread, and then for the two PCs who had studied Thassalonian, the recording of the translation. The cleric even recognized Karzoug's voice from the communications room in Thistletop.

That's when Karzoug cut the puppet strings, and Mokmurian died, crashing to the floor below. This felt a little odd - as written, M is down to his last few HP when Karzoug takes over, so you can imagine the shock to his system being enough to kill him. But Mokmurian had not taken any damage at all, so I briefly considered leaving him alive. But I couldn't predict where it would go; I thought there would be a decent chance that the party would just decide to kill him anyway, but if they didn't it could turn into a long diversion very quickly. So Mokmurian died, and with a couple of spellcraft checks the wizard was the happiest player I have ever seen.

Finally, they found the key that matched the keyhole on the big bronze doors, bypassed the thing that would have happened if they had tried to force the doors (some of my players are reading this before I post), and met the clockwork librarian. They have taken Mokmurian's head and plan to use it to convince his army to disperse. We ended the session in the library, with them asking the clockwork librarian questions about what materials the library has about Karzoug, Xin-Shalast, and the Runeforge.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Jhaeman wrote:
Man, after so much build up, the big fight against Mokmurian turned into a big dud after he rolled a natural 1 on his save vs. feeblemind just a couple of rounds into the encounter. I knew that sort of thing was a risk going in, but it's still frustrating. Oh well, the players still had fun and enjoyed their victory, and I guess that's the most important thing.

As you can see, I feel your pain, Jhaeman.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Hey, thanks for the write-up! I had the possession by Big K take place as soon as the feeblemind hit too, as I thought anything else would have been even more anticlimactic. I later kept second-guessing myself, but it's nice to hear another GM made the same call.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

@ Tusk: Quite the final battle for Mokmurian! Even though it felt like an anti-climax to have M die while still at full hit points, it still feels like the right thing to do. (At least, it does to me.)

One note: giants are Humanoids, not Monstrous Humanoids, so if the NPC fighter had used that arrow, it wouldn't have had its intended effect.


Nice--didn't sound like a letdown at all, just an awesome (if short) battle!

Kudos on having K kill M on the way out--can't leave someone with so much intimate knowledge in the hands of the PCs, "worms" or no.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

So now the party is clearing out Jorgenfist after killing Mokmurian and intimidating most of the other giants into leaving. The dwarf monk killing Lokansir in 3 rounds in single combat in last week's session made quite an impression on Galenmir and the other stone giants who watched, so the general and Conna are leading the tribes away from Jorgenfist. They still had to fight the lamia priests and their charmed dragons - in which one of the lamias blinded the monk, and learned that blinding a monk with the blind-fight feat just means that he can ignore the miss chance from Mirror Image and kill you faster. Oops!

last night’s game:

In game, we started late in the afternoon of the day Mokmurian was killed. Some of the PCs teleported back to Sandpoint to get rocks from the Old Light to give to Conna so she could cast stone tell and ask the questions Mokmurian had made her ask the other stones his troops collected for her. They arrived a few hours after the earthquake, and immediately tied it to the killing of Mokmurian based on the timing. They know they are on a short clock and are waiting anxiously for the other shoe to drop, but they still wanted to get the information from the stones, and needed to move quickly, as Conna would be leaving at dawn with the rest of the stone giants. They brought back several stones from the Old Light and Brodert Quink to help them research (and just because they knew the Library would make him so happy).
They got a fair amount of information from the stones - they now know that Xaliasa worked and died at the Old Light, that he was a double agent for Alaznist and Karzoug and had secrets of his own, and learned to their surprise that the area of Sandpoint was not always on the coast. On top of that, they hit all the knowledge checks for information about Karzoug, Xin-Shalast, and Runeforge in the Library. They're feeling much more confident that they are beginning to understand what's going on behind the scenes.
After a little while resting and researching in the Library (and leveling up their characters to 13), they moved up to ground level to begin dealing with the non-giant encounters they skipped by going in through the Deathwebs' cave. They had also made a deal with Longtooth to trade a 1/6 share of the treasure for information when they first arrived, and he watched the giants pack up their camps and depart with increasing annoyance. When he saw the PCs come up out of the pit, he flew down to confront them, but in his irritated state, he made a fatal error: he thought they would still be weak from the fighting they had done, so he demanded a 1/3 share instead of 1/6. Our cleric - the party face and diplomancer - had had just about enough, and so initiative was rolled.
Round 1: the wizard casts Baleful Polymorph, Longtooth fails both saves, and now the rogue has a new pet cat with around 140 hit points and which can bite for 2d6 + 13 points of damage. Combat over.
The evening ended with a fight against the harpy monks outside the doors of the Black Tower. It took 5 rounds (and felt like 10 because everyone was so tired). but included the wizard's first use of the spell Enemy Hammer, which was great fun for all. At one point, the monk crit-fumbled an attack - he insisted on using the Critical Fumble deck, and drew "Deafened," making him immune to the harpies' Captivating Song for the rest of the combat. At the end of the night, the wizard's player (my 14yo son) reminded me about how when he was at level 1 or 2 and complaining about how weak his character was, I told him that in time he would be ridiculously over-powered, and asked if this was what I meant.
Next time, we finally get to see what's in the tower! And if the PCs survive, I think they will have a quick trip to Janderhoff to bring the dwarves prisoners home, do some shopping, sell the crown, and give the monk a chance to tell his parents that he found his late older brother's shield (in Galenmir's chamber), but only after he had let the giant who killed him walk away, almost as an ally. That shouldn't be awkward at all.


My (12th level) party ended last session on the brink of open warfare on the Giant Army at Jorgenfist.

After some scouting, and a discussion with Longtooth (who survived Sandpoint with 4HP but has recovered all his health with natural healing) which has lead to the Dragon (aided with an extended Greater Invisibility spell) creating a distraction, and basically wiping out the two closest Stone Giant camps to his cave before flying away.

The party are currently split (their idea) with 3 characters sneaking to take out the Watchtower, and the Greater Invisibile, flying Sorcerer taking on the smallest camp - Minderhall's Maidens, the leader of which is a level 5 Oracle with no officially listed stat block.

Am I being a terribly horrible GM by making the Oracle a Whimsy Oracle with the Pranked curse and is granted Faerie Fire and Glitterdust as bonus spells to counter the Invisible Spellslinger?

Longtooth was the only survivor from the assault on Sandpoint, where the Sorcerer employed the same Invis/Fly/Fireball rinse repeat tactic, but Longtooth isn't really on good terms with Mokmurian as per the module.


Define "terribly horrible." :)

If the 12th level sorcerer's plan is to fly at maximum range and pummel the Maidens with fireballs, the 5th level oracle can't do anything with faerie fire or glitterdust because the sorcerer will be totally out of range. Also, unless the oracle has see invisibility or some other method to detect the always invisible sorcerer, he/she couldn't target the sorcerer anyway given faerie fire is a 5' radius burst and there's almost no chance the oracle could guess where to target. And while glitterdust is a 10' radius burst, the sorceror had better be hundreds of feet out of range.

There really isn't much the giants can do to stop the sorcerer from bombarding them with impunity unless Mokmurian himself joins in - the forces at Jorgenfist don't really have much magical ability to counter a 12th level arcane caster. Engaging the giant army factions on the ground in combat - horrible idea. Engaging the giant army from the air while always invisible - fantastic idea.

Welcome to a common GM predicament - the particular group of pc's are well suited to exploit a notable/significant weakness in a set piece encounter in a published adventure. Either let the pc's pound them easily or adjust the encounter to make more of a challenge. My normal inclination is to let things run as is - sometimes the pc's have it easy, sometimes they have it hard (when they have a weakness or limitation.) And I take it as a challenge to puzzle out how the NPC's will respond to the strategy/tactics of the pc's.

In this case, Mokmurian has not ignored the air - he has the dragon, the roc's and maybe the harpies and wyverns as options. Except he mismanaged the relationship with the dragon (and the pc's have exploited that) and none of his aerial forces are good against high level spell power. I'd probably let the pc's pound the bejeebers out of the Maidens and the next day, Mokmurian is ready with fly, see invisibility, faerie fire, etc. And if the pc's do it again, he flies out, and hits the wizard with faerie fire (which has no save.) At that point the roc's can attack the sorcerer directly, etc.


Ok cool, so as long as my efforts to specifically engineer this vague encounter to the Giants advantage (within the listed parameters of the encounter) relies on poor tactics on the players part to actually work in any meaningful way, it won't come off as unfairly metagaming on my part right?


Jut a note, after they destroy one or two camps, the rest of them wouldn't stay put and wait to be slaughtered the next day. Unless the party can get rid of all of them at once, they'd better have a way of avoiding detection from the scouting parties that doubtlessly will be sent to locate the assailant.

Remember also that taiga giant Cinderma has Spirit Summoning ability, which, as a guard, she's likely using to have see invisibility 24/7. If she's still alive, she likely saw exactly what happened an can help the rest to find the PCs or to prepare a trap.


Allyx wrote:
Ok cool, so as long as my efforts to specifically engineer this vague encounter to the Giants advantage (within the listed parameters of the encounter) relies on poor tactics on the players part to actually work in any meaningful way, it won't come off as unfairly metagaming on my part right?

Maybe... Chances are the pc's/players will trash the Maidens and their oracle leader without much thought or analysis. But if the oracle's abilities prove to be a thorn in their side, some questions about where those abilities come from might arise. And a whimsy oracle will likely come across as contrived or meta-gaming on your part. "Wait, the stone giant leader of the all female band is a fey-touched oracle with woodland powers? Is that what it says in the AP? You did that just to get faerie fire." I'd be inclined to make her a wizard (or sorcerer) who is another apprentice to Mokmurian. This would be consistent with Karzoug/Mokmurian bending Stone Giant culture back to the study of arcane magic. (And justifies giving her more spell flexibility.)


The original book had her listed as a level 5 Cleric, the AE version we're running lists her as a level 5 Oracle, but doesn't go into specific build details. By my count there are 34 Paizo official Oracle Mysteries, and 34 Curses of which the Oracle picks 1 of each at creation, Faerie Fire is granted by 3 of these - 2 Mysteries and 1 Curse. While it is true hand picking the most beneficial options for a single encounter would seem to be metagaming, my understanding of the Oracle Class is that they are either just born that way (like a Sorcerer's bloodline) or something unexpected happens to them that makes them become an Oracle, it's not something the individual can actively choose, therefore any option is a feasible possibility.

My method of identifying where to cast Faerie Fire or Glitterdust is likely going to be a factor also, my original plan was cast Detect Magic and concentrate till round 2, but if he stays outside the 60' range that's not going to help, I'm guessing Perception checks to ID the square he's in is going to have a high DC: 0 base score from spell casting, +20 from invisibility, +1 per 10' of distance, so it's likely it won't make a jot of difference in any case unless the Sorcerer comes in close.


So the Hounds of Tindalos seem like a really interesting monster, but if I'm reading the room description correctly they'll be completely incapable of using their Angled Entry ability. Is this correct?

Shadow Lodge

Yes, that's what's keeping them there, and angry as well.


I'm a bit confused about the shining child/door to the library hallway.

First there are things written on the walls that, if read, hit the player with calm emotions, there's no mention of a save? So just reading it causes the PC to be under calm emotions?

Then there the door. What is the DC to open the door? It's closed by an Arcane Lock, in 3.5 Arcane Lock simply locked something and made it impossible to open, but in PF rules AL says it creates a DC 20 lock or increases the DC of an existing lock by 10. The text mentions a key, which Mok has stolen. No mention of what the DC here is.

My players have the password from the Black Monk, so are going to use it. This doesn't seem to actually open the door though just turns off the Shining Child for one attempt to "force" the door?

So what is "forcing" the door open? Just trying to open it at all while it's locked? OR is it only if they're trying to pick the lock/break it down? Does attempting a dispell on the Arcane lock count as forcing it?

The Shifty Mongoose wrote:
Yes, that's what's keeping them there, and angry as well.

Makes sense, thanks!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My group entered through Jorgenfist through the caves and were ambushed by Enga in a wider section of tunnel before it opened up. She took advantage of the tight space and began the smackdown on the swashslinger. They managed to trip her right at her flee threshold so I had her detonate the necklace right there.
Earlier, I had handwaved the fight with the redcaps, rolling 1d3 damage to each character, to account for the ambush. Turns out that damage was EXACTLY how much was needed to push the swashslinger into permadeath. I gave him options to choose from as far as an introduction point for his new character. He wound up being a Thassilonian scholar/adventurer in search of the library. Conna found him and spirited him into the library tunnel between levels. She has been tending Mokmurian more to keep him in the library. In the meantime, the player was supposed to play bad guys until he was introduced.
The group decided to sneak to the library level, rather than make sure no one might come down after them... They have a bad habit of this.
I get the feeling that they will truly discover why this is the Player Killer AP.


My party scouted Jorgenfist using arcane eye and then dimension doored to the library area. My question is: should I award them XP for all the encouters they've bypassed? They are already lagging behind the expected advancement level somewhat.


I'd say no, but you can make tem experience these opponents later, or you can get the opponents to come down to the library (Mokmurian may send the forgefiend to tell them they are needed downstairs). If the players are confident they are ready to face the boss while having enemies at their back, let them.


Speaking of entries to Jorgenfist... I'm just wrapping up The Hook Mountain Massacre now and thinking about how my group is likely to handle Mokmurian and Jorgenfist. They've got a scryer subschool wizard and setting aside the question of whether he'll want to pre-empt Teraktinus' assult on Sandpoint by scrying on the giant and launching a teleport-enabled surprise attack on the raiding party before it's in position, I'm thinking ahead to what other scry-and-teleport tactics he might employ.

Following the raid on Sandpoint, the PCs can interrogate one of the stone giants and should have a good idea that Mokmurian is, if not the "boss monster" of Fortress of the Stone Giants, at the very least a major mover-and-shaked at Jorgenfist and the architect of the raid on Sandpoint. For scrying purposes they have certainly heard of him (save DC +5, modified to 0 by the Scrying Adept supernatural ability of the divination arcane school) and have one of his possessions (the missive he wrote to Barl Breakbones, found at the end of THMM) which imposes a further -4 penalty on his saving throws, reducing his Will save of +15 to an effective +11 vs. a save DC that will be at least 20 at that stage in the campaign and may well be a point or two higher. It's quite possible that the PCs' very first attempt at scrying will succeed, and even if it doesn't, Mokmurian can't reliably make his saves.

Yes, he's a level 11 wizard and a CR 15 creature, but if the PCs use scrying and then teleport, they'll catch him without his buff spells active and based on past experience will take him apart on action economy alone.

So: what defences does (or might) Mokmurian have against scrying and/or teleport, and failing that, what are the implications of the PCs, armed with knowledge of the villain's name at the very start of the module, using those spells to confront him immediately and essentially skip past the entire module?


TheOrganGrinder wrote:

Speaking of entries to Jorgenfist... I'm just wrapping up The Hook Mountain Massacre now and thinking about how my group is likely to handle Mokmurian and Jorgenfist. They've got a scryer subschool wizard and setting aside the question of whether he'll want to pre-empt Teraktinus' assult on Sandpoint by scrying on the giant and launching a teleport-enabled surprise attack on the raiding party before it's in position, I'm thinking ahead to what other scry-and-teleport tactics he might employ.

Following the raid on Sandpoint, the PCs can interrogate one of the stone giants and should have a good idea that Mokmurian is, if not the "boss monster" of Fortress of the Stone Giants, at the very least a major mover-and-shaked at Jorgenfist and the architect of the raid on Sandpoint. For scrying purposes they have certainly heard of him (save DC +5, modified to 0 by the Scrying Adept supernatural ability of the divination arcane school) and have one of his possessions (the missive he wrote to Barl Breakbones, found at the end of THMM) which imposes a further -4 penalty on his saving throws, reducing his Will save of +15 to an effective +11 vs. a save DC that will be at least 20 at that stage in the campaign and may well be a point or two higher. It's quite possible that the PCs' very first attempt at scrying will succeed, and even if it doesn't, Mokmurian can't reliably make his saves.

Yes, he's a level 11 wizard and a CR 15 creature, but if the PCs use scrying and then teleport, they'll catch him without his buff spells active and based on past experience will take him apart on action economy alone.

So: what defences does (or might) Mokmurian have against scrying and/or teleport, and failing that, what are the implications of the PCs, armed with knowledge of the villain's name at the very start of the module, using those spells to confront him immediately and essentially skip past the entire module?

I don't think it would be unreasonable for an accomplished mage, which Mokmurian certainly is, to have his quarters protected with a Mage's Private Sanctum spell. He also has the capacity to make the effect permanent. Whilst on his travels he could utilise the spell Non Detection, it all depends on how aware he is of your PCs abilities and perhaps how paranoid he is.

Grand Lodge

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So, this may just be my personal philosophy on character building, but I'm very much under the impression that characters, especially Big Bads with decades of magical experience, are fairly good at protecting themselves - that's why they survive. While Mokmurian's spell kit is pre-outlined, those are spells he's prepared while expecting the PCs, not necessarily his daily kit.

What I'm getting at is: 1) Mokmurian should have detect scrying up. It's a 24-hour spell without am expensive material component, and it doesn't block scrying (which Karzoug uses to check in on his servants via the sidhedron medallion), and there's little reason for him not to have it. He'd drop this spell from his daily preparations if he's likely to be engaging in combat any day now, but from his study in Jorgenfist, this seems like a very smart spell to have on him.

2) I don't really think counting Mokmurian's note as a "possession" is necessary. It's something he wrote on briefly, not anything of significance - certainly not something impactful to cause a -4 to his save. That won't stop them from scrying, of course, but it might make the party give up on that tactic long enough for my next point:

3) The raid on Sandpoint was an order direct down from Karzoug - it mattered to him, and the party foiled it. If he has never scryed them in the past, this may prompt him to finally scry them and get a look at the 'Heroes of Sandpoint.' Once he has a basic gauge of what they look like, there's nothing stopping him from telling Mokmurian that there are 'new players' on the field, and that one of them is a wizard who may even be Mokmurian's equal (they should both be level 11 at this point - even if your PC isn't quite as accomplished as Mokmurian, achieving 6th level spells with a much shorter life than a stone giant should peak their interest).

4) I agree that Mokmurian likely has a mage's private sanctum, but I don't think he should be IN it when the party first scrys him - it should be where he sleeps, AKA where he wouldn't be able to protect himself if he was found.

5) If Mokmurian is caught totally unawares, there's nothing stopping him from using a dimension door to flee to find his general, giving him time to buff and putting the PCs at a disadvantage. Maybe they can make the "viewed once" teleport after getting a scry in, but even if they do - how likely are they to land a kill before Mokmurian's initiative?

Lastly - even if all of this is for naught and Mokmurian is found and killed, they won't have found all of the information they need yet, so you'll still have the chance to lead them into getting that.


Just my two cents, but if you want to avoid Scry and Fry for the back half of the path, most of the books have SOME sort of "because reasons, bad idea", and you might take the following tactic.

"You managed to scry a massive figure, that appears to be deep in though poring over ancient tomes. Based on the architecture in the background, it appears he's holed up in some ancient structure. Probably Ancient Thasilonian. Make me a Knowledge History check. 25? You recall several spectacular failures of careless wizards doing long range teleportation into such structures they weren't intimately familiar with. While only about half were fatal, most were incredibly damaging to otherwise sterling reputations."

In this instance you can see that someone's tampered with the walls behind this monumental figure, in that they are strangely smooth, and you can't quite put your figure on why, but the dimensions of the room seem .... off." If they manage another good check, Perception or K Planes perhaps, or some such, you can toss the fact that someone went to great effort to make the room have zero corners or fixed angles.

This might make them more cautious. On the flip side, this might be one of the last places they can actually pull the tactic off.

Still better, this could just be resolved with an OOC conversation. Which results in more fun for EVERYONE at the table? (You included)


Does the book cover the watch schedule for the Giants in the Watchtowers?

I don't recall any mention of what happens when they need to sleep or where any replacements come from.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

There are also the rules which back the fact that scry and fry doesn't work, unless you and your party enjoy that sort of thing of course.

In which case they may be wiped out by Karzoug at some point before they are anywhere near his level.


Another question, Mok's club is listed as his Arcane Bond, normally any abilities added to an item via Arcane bond go away when the wizard dies.

Are the magic abilities on the club from the Arcane Bond meaning the party will find a Masterwork Club after he dies, or is it a normal magical weapon and retains its magic?


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Many thanks to everyone who's answered my concerns here; a big part of the reason I'm asking is that I'm relatively unfamiliar with these mid-to-high levels of Pathfinder in general and with running wizards at these levels in particular, so I don't have a good sense of the toolkit available to the class. Your insights here are invaluable to me.

Franke, thank you for your point re: mage's private sanctum. I think Mokmurian lacks the caster level to use permanency to make the sanctum permanent (he can cast permanency, just not for that particular spell effect) but it's definitely the sort of thing I can imagine him casting daily.

Askar Avari, thank you for your detailed set of points which I'll do my best to answer here.

1) I can definitely see Mokmurian making use of detect scrying in the way you've described and will add this to his tactics and defences.

2) I've interpreted possessions fairly broadly in the campaign thus far and under the expectations that I've established for my players, Mokmurian's missive to Barl ought to count as Mokmurian's possession for scrying purposes - my own fault, but I'd rather not move that particular goalpost at this stage.

3) I'm never quite sure just how much information Karzoug is supposed to have about the PCs at different stages in the campaign, how he gets it, or how much of it he shares with his underlings, though at this stage I think you're right that he'll share whatever he knows with Mokmurian once the raid on Sandpoint is foiled. I know that Karzoug himself can see through the senses of anyone wearing a known Sihedron medallion, which at this stage means Xanesha's medallion; my PCs haven't yet killed Lucrecia, nor decided what they're going to do with Barl's medallion. Lucrecia can use dream to pass a message directly "up the chain" to Mokmurian, Khalib, Ceoptra, or Karzoug himself, and the forces at Jorgenfist have access to sending to do the same.

The campaign book explains the capabilities that the villains have but seems to largely leave it up to individual GMs to decide to what extent and in what fashion they're using those. If nothing else, the module writers can't assume that Karzoug uses the Sihedron medallions to keep tabs on the PCs since it's entirely possible that the PCs will decide to sell them rather than keep them.

I've generally been playing Karzoug as hands-off with his more remote minions and occupied largely with events at Xin-Shalast; those remote minions in turn have taken something of a "don't bother the boss" approach to interacting with Karzoug, getting on with their assigned tasks and doing their best to handle problems by themselves rather than inviting the Runelord's displeasure by reporting on any trouble they've been having. I suppose the raid on Sandpoint might be precisely the point at which Karzoug decides to satisfy his curiosity as to just why the influx of greedy souls from Magnimar has ended...

Mokmurian has some unexpected help in the form of Erylium, who (in my campaign) survived the PCs' wrath and was witness to their slaying of Nualia, fled to Jorgenfist (I figure her commune ability and the proper set of questions are sufficient to direct her to the active temple of Lamashtu in the Jorgenfist caves as a place to rally) and will be accompanying Teraktinus to Sandpoint. She can certainly fill Mokmurian in on what she knows, even if the two have some philosophical disagreements re: greed vs. wrath.

4) I think this is going to depend on when the wizard PC casts scrying - assuming Mokmurian keeps to something resembling a regular sleep schedule, a daytime scrying will find him up and about in his laboratory, while at night he'll be asleep and in his mage's private sanctum.

5) The PCs don't need to kill Mokmurian outright in the round on which they teleport; dimensional anchor, hold person, or even a readied action to make a ranged attack, triggered when Mokmurian starts spellcasting, are all sufficient to foul up his ability to escape.

As far as not having all the information they need is concerned, my worry about the whole "jump to the end of the module, scry and fry the boss," tactic is, oddly enough, that they may not even know enough to realise that they're lacking crucial information about what to do next and the threats that are developing in areas they've yet to explore. Instead I worry that the defeat of Mokmurian may be a "job's done" sort of moment, leaving them satisfied in their victory and waiting for a plot prompt that doesn't arrive.

Roonfizzle Garnackle, I'm definitely going to be sitting down with the player in question and the rest of the group when the opportunity presents itself, since this is the first time the situation has arisen in such a stark way. Nualia Tobyn, Xanesha, and Barl Breakbones are all potential surprises for PCs as the villains of their respective modules, whereas the party knows right from the stone giant raid on Sandpoint (or even before, depending on what questions they ask of Barl Breakbones) that there's a villain by the name of Mokmurian waiting for them at Jorgenfist.

You're quite right that this is the last opportunity they'll have to do this (Sins of the Saviours doesn't really have a 'main' villain to deal with in this way, and Karzoug himself is beyond the reach of teleport at the end of Spires of Xin-Shalast) and given that this is both their first and last opportunity to "scry and fry" in such a dramatic fashion I'd like to accommodate the wishes of the player who's keen on this tactic to at leat some extent, depending on course on just what the other players at my table have to say.


TheOrganGrinder Good luck! The good news is that there IS "Plot Prompt Magic" for killing Mok.

Ninja in the Rye There are a couple entries that give details that help with things like Alert, Day, Night, particularly A6, B4, and B10, not much, but it gives you something to start with. As for Mok's club, I would treat it as written in the Other Gear section ... unless you feel your players are drastically over wealth, given that most AP's tend to run at ~2.5x expected wealth per level, as not every treasure will be FOUND, let alone looted, which makes it a good opportunity to re-balance things. Mok HAS the craft feats, so it's not as if he HAS to use the virtual feats from Arcane Bond.

Grand Lodge

TheOrganGrinder:

I'm glad the points I provided was helpful! If, ultimately, the PCs get the jump on Mokmurian, lock him down, kill him, and get out again safe - good on them! I think adding a few extra hurdles (as it looks like you're doing) will ultimately make a tactic like that more rewarding.

As a final note: if your party genuinely pulls this off, I think Karzoug may be a little more impressed than scripted. They'll have identified Mokmurian as a threat and eliminated him within days, shortly following Barl Breakbones' elimination.

Ultimately, these might be exactly the sort of resourceful people he needs to locate Runeforge and find out how Alaznist and the other Runelords may have survived the Cataclysm. While perhaps he wouldn't offer them a job (like I'm leading up to in my game), he might try to prompt them indirectly to searching for Runeforge and try and observe what they're doing through the medallion or other methods.

Also, I'm delighted to hear that Erylium and Lucrecia have survived in your game. My players killed Erylium, and they're deeply regretting it after reviving Nualia (and learning Erylium is a survivor of the cataclysm, something that means much more to them now than it did back in Book 1).

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