Spires of Xin-Shalast (GM Reference)


Rise of the Runelords

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Silver Crusade

Yeah, being able to use Wish to heal all his HP damage will probably be his best use for those two spells. I'll probably have him do that if he gets down to less than half his HP. And with the Greater Quicken Metamagic rod, he can probably still throw something offensive at the party in the same round. Because they're arriving staggered, he's less likely to use the rod's three daily charges on AOE attacks in the first round or two.

Another stupid question that I can't seem to find in the book: How high's the ceiling in the Eye of Avarice? I'm figuring Karzoug will put up a Wall of Force in the first round or two to keep arrows and direct spells from hitting him in the throne area. He'll poke out from behind it to cast offensively, but then retreat behind it after casting. So every other round, he should be hidden behind it. I just have to figure out exactly where the borders will be, and I figure he's like to just fly up and cast over the top of it, which makes ceiling height relevant. Also, half my party will be trying to fly over the wall to get to him.


I couldn't find a reference to the height either. You could just assume there's a uniform height across the space and make it 50' above the highest point (the platforms - Y2) putting it 70-80 above Karzoug's throne (Y4.)

More devilish than a wall of force would be a permanent prismatic sphere at the based on the stairs to the Runewell. He's been trapped in the Eye for several months. Just how much time can he spend reading and scrying? He's the Runelord of Greed, I think he can afford to make whatever he wants permanent. :)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I've always kind of envisioned him sitting on the edge of those platforms, gazing out over the vast sea of molten gold, drumming his heels against the wall, and wondering why the heck he ever thought it would be a good idea to put somebody else in charge of letting him out. And how he managed to recruit such incompetent apprentices that they couldn't do the one job he gave them.

Not even angry at them any more. Just so, so bored after ten thousand years of reading the same books over and over and over. I imagine he made some pretty serious efforts at researching new spells to get himself out, which just continually came up short because he didn't have the materials he needed.

After the first few centuries he took to writing poetry, which was terrible and did little to keep his attention. So he tried setting up a golf driving range at the edge of Y4, and after he perfected that skill, he spent a few decades summoning monsters and blowing them away for no very good reason other than to blow off steam.

Frankly it's amazing he's still sane.

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Modules, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Maybe I'm misremembering (it's been a couple years since I finished), but I thought Karzoug was in actual stasis of some sort and only woken up when Mokmurian started messing around Xin-Shalast.

-Skeld


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

That was my impression too Skeld. He has not been active even in the Runewell until very recently.

I did give him a permenant Prismatic sphere, he was going to retreat into it before healing himself. Unfortunatly I thought he would survive one more round before he needed to do that and kill another pc before retreating. I misjudged and he took 2 Paladins and a Synthesist summoner in the face , if he had teleported to safety he would have won.

Best thing to cover the entrance with is a wall of suppression, watch the pc's do the prebattle buff dance , charge in and ...

In the next campaign the players threw a rock with continual flame on it through all doors before charging in.


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Oh? Well, I must have missed that. I suppose that makes better sense than 10,000 years of boredom.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Tinalles - those fancy press-on nail extensions of his make him immune to any form of insanity or other mental illness. Also, my expectation was that, after waking back up and telling all his minions how worthless they were for failing him so badly, he would have spent his time communicating with Ceoptera and Khalib, demanding information on what had happened in the meantime.
By the time he meets the PCs, he'll have learned - but refuses to speak - conversational Taldane, have known that Ceoptera's children were killed, and will expect that once he's Claimed all the land that was always his by right, this Cheliax place will take one look at it and ask him to conquer them.


TomParker wrote:
... For the Eye, I'm going all out and trying to build a 4' x 7' model.

I would be very interested to know how this turns out and what materials/methods you used.

I've never built table-top terrain (single elements much less entire set pieces), but I thought it would be neat to make the final battle visually memorable from the moment they arrive at my house.

My players, do not look here!:

I've redone the map of the Eye to make the whole area generally larger (so the giants can fit), and I'm doing away with the pillars (and probably the chains supporting the side platforms) because I think they would be murder to build. My table is not that big, so I kept the redesign small enough to fit on my battle mat, which is 3'x4'.

I was planning on getting some of those interior wall insulation boards, the 4'x8' pink foam things, and cutting them up to stack up the proper shapes, but I haven't started anything yet, so I'm open to ideas.

Thanks!


Running Anniversary Edition, PCs have entered Xin-Shalast (Lower City) and looking ahead at encounters brought up a question:

Why do named denizens need to have the Altitude Affinity feat? The chapter intro specifically states that all denizens encountered are already "acclimated" to the high altitude. So what need do they have of Altitude Affinity (or Endurance, for that matter)?

Most of them have some kind of cold resistance or endure elements going on, so I don't see them having to make Fort saves vs. environmental effects. Based on the number of casters in my group, the baddies would get a whole lot more mileage out of Iron Will and Improved Iron Will.

Thanks for your thoughts.


Shooting from the hip without a lot of research - the feat is how they got to be acclimated.


Latrecis wrote:
Shooting from the hip without a lot of research - the feat is how they got to be acclimated.

I thought in the environment rules you can get acclimated without a feat by living for a month at altitude, but if you spend more than a month away then return, you have to re-acclimate. The feat says "automatically" so I guess if you have the feat you don't have to wait, but if the denizens of the lower city pretty much live there, they wouldn't need the feat, right?

Scarab Sages

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BushidoWarriorWookiee wrote:
I was planning on getting some of those interior wall insulation boards, the 4'x8' pink foam things, and cutting them up to stack up the proper shapes, but I haven't started anything yet, so I'm open to ideas.

That's what I'm doing. I've purchased a couple foam cutters, including a Proxxon.

I haven't made much progress lately, but you can see how things have gone so far here. I have a few initial foam areas blocked out with some temp prints of the floor taped to them. The pillars have been easier than I expected using a Forstner bit and just inserting them into the hole. They won't all be perfectly vertical but I'm okay with that. There are just so many of them, and it's a pain to paint them all.

I had a professional printer do that full size map, which made things a lot easier. I had one copy with the floating platforms photoshopped out, to serve as the base level. And I have a second copy that is pretty much as shown in the AP, which I may cut up and use as the surface of the model. (But the map turned out so nice; I'm reluctant to cut it up.)

There is so much foam left to cut. And glue into stacks. And sand. And paint.


Mother of . . . Wow. That's inspirational, TomParker!

Scarab Sages

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Thanks! If anyone cares how I mapped out the elevations, here's how I'm approaching it. I decided not to show the entire 100' to the lava at scale, so I started the entrance platform at 2" height.

Eye of Avarice levels

We had a lengthy conversation in the community content thread about whether that map was 5' squares or 10' squares. I ultimately went with 10', which is why it is so huge, because it's the only scale where the elevation changes make sense and where the giants fit on the platforms where they are stationed.

I'm really looking forward to the final scene being pretty epic, and I think being able to actually see the different heights is going to help. (It's also made clear to me that Karzoug doesn't have line-of-sight when the PCs teleport in, assuming he is on his throne; the elevation and the Runewell block it.)


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It's good that I planned so far in advance, I had thoughts, side treks and ideas planned well in advance - and it was important to do so, as I am running this in my own long time homebrew. Changing place and people names, deciding how to alter locations based upon a completely different geography, changing names when appropriate or when I just didn't like the mouth feel of the name, but I stopped at the Vekker Cabin.

I'd always just sort of assumed that by the time they reached the city of greed, that it would be pretty much just the remaining slide ride for the campaign, especially with my groups strategy of stealth past threats and move on to the important bad guys.

Which is what they've been doing.
Spending several sessions scouting and planning.
Avoiding engagements at all costs.

In the Runeforge, Vraxeris mentions in his journal the idea of sending an agent into Xin-Shalast. It struck me that this may make a better central "quest giver and information dispenser" than Morgiv and Gyukak are directly. So I've gone with the idea that Vraxeris DID manage to get a Simulacrum out of the Runeforge and that simulacrum (SimVrax for short)has made it to Xin Shalast and has been scouting and spying on the city for a while.

SimVrax has learned quite a bit, using illusions and a great deal of caution. He has also set up a network of magic mouth spells set to trigger on specific conditions - conditions that notify him when potential allies find their way to Xin-Shalast.

Sim-Vrax will have as contacts both Morgiv and Gyukak, allowing him to direct my skittish part to Morgiv and Gyukak as needed, giving me a flow chart something like this:

1 - PCs get to X-S
2 - PCs stumble around/scout
3 - PCs trigger one of SimVrax's Magic Mouth
4 - SimVrax contacts them - extra cautiously
5 - SimVrax gives them basic city info, fills in knowledge gaps
6 - SimVrax brings them to Morgiv, Do Hidden Beast
7 - SimVrax brings them to Gyukak
Path branches depending upon player's choice after talking to Gyukak, good point to insert Kahlib and put an end to SimVrax.
8 - In no particular order engages last of encounters important in lower city, Ghlorofaex, Gamigin, maybe Yeti or Lamias (someone mentioned earlier in this thread the idea of Gyukak trying to convince the PCs to stir up trouble to help get some of the uncontrolled giants free)
9 - Up the Spire with their required rings.

Scarab Sages

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My group is finally at the Spire. Lucrecia had escaped long ago, so she's going to be there. Any thoughts on the appropriate way to make her level appropriate? I was thinking adding another 5 or so sorcerer levels.

And here's an update on the Eye. I have all the areas cut and am fine tuning, sanding, and coating. The pillars aren't in place in this photo, but I have them all cut.

I have a modeler creating the Runeforge. So it's all almost there. I have less than 30 days to finish. Ugh.


That is super cool!

My answer for Lucrecia was simpler (she also survived in my campaign) - I made her a Hungerer (that the players could vaguely recognize) and put her in X17 with Ceoptra. The transformation was punishment for her failures.

Scarab Sages

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Latrecis wrote:

That is super cool!

My answer for Lucrecia was simpler (she also survived in my campaign) - I made her a Hungerer (that the players could vaguely recognize) and put her in X17 with Ceoptra. The transformation was punishment for her failures.

Thanks! And your solution is awesome, storywise. I was actually considering having a somehow transformed Kaven with her, who tracked her after she and he fled. My party would rather see him get a tragic comeuppance than her. Not sure what she should have done to him.

As an aside, I saw some mention having Lyrie in Xin-Shalast. My group wants to go full Runelords, so they’re insisting we do Shattered Star next. I think I’ll save Lyrie to show up there as a prisoner, possibly along with Shayliss who ran off for the bright lights of Magnimar between Rise and SS.


Crazy idea: you could give Kaven the broken soul template.

Scarab Sages

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That's very cool. I was not aware of that template. I might go that route if I have him participate in the fight, rather than just having him there is a non-useful state.

Scarab Sages

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A couple of questions for all of you.

First, looking at the awesome summary of creatures and their response to an alarm in the community-created content, how did you handle an alarm? Is there a mechanism to sound the alarm, or is it just the Wardens in X1 shouting and then normal perception checks with appropriate modifiers for the others to hear? Did you just have everything identified as responding come running?

Second, in the Eye, how would you use Karzoug's prismatic wall? The AP doesn't seem to specify the height of the space, just the distance from the lava. Is prismatic wall very useful here? Karzoug's allies would probably have to stay away from it, and it might not go to the ceiling. Would you use it, and how?


Not sure how much my answers will help given they stem from my "style" which may not fit everyone.

I assumed the Pinnacle was on high alert given the pc's had spent the previous few days decimating the leadership in Xin Shalast to get Sihedron rings (and of course to be as disruptive as possible to Karzoug's plans.) So I didn't much worry about how the alarm "worked" only that it did automatically. I assumed the residents were consistently checking on each other. Also, I moved Karzoug's images to where the NPC's were (instead of in the middle of unoccupied rooms as in the AP.) Why? So he could support his minions and make those encounters more challenging. And that was another justification for why the various groups knew the pc's were making trouble.

I did not use Primatic Wall, it was very likely to be useless/easily bypassed and an inconvenience to his minions that could not fly. Prismatic Sphere on the other hand - very useful. I had a permanent one placed at the foot of the stairs to the Runewell. He's the Runelord of Greed ("What's your superpower? I'm rich.") and has a whole lot of free time on his hands so he shouldn't be constrained by limits of time or money. I put a post out here somewhere (too lazy to link to it) about the final battle and changes I made to his spell list (which I completely overhauled given it's ummm... mediocre nature.) Short version: Wail of the Banshee rocks.

Scarab Sages

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Thanks! That's very helpful.

Scarab Sages

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So I ran the final fight this weekend. Some questions that occurred to me should I ever run it again:

1. The disorientation from the anima focus lasts for one minute after they leave. Do you all think that should have continued in the Eye? I did not do that; they likely would have died had the miss chance been in effect for the first 9 or 10 rounds.

2. After the above discussion, I decided that the cave of the Eye sloped gradually out to a height of about 80' above the highest point—basically allowing for prismatic wall to make sense as a strategy. I ruled that his wall could reach the ceiling to a point about 10' to 20' in front of his throne. So he walled himself off.

3. Whether you choose Wall or Sphere, how does that function in play? Can he step out, cast, and quickened dimension door back behind his Prismatic X? Otherwise, how is either very effective? If he steps out, he can't step back, meaning he's opening himself up to multiple attacks each time.

4. Because I wasn't sure about that, he got stuck outside the wall at one point, and quickened DD behind the Runewell column. Someone flew over to look for him, Karzoug cast dispel magic on his celestial armor, and he dropped slowly into the lava.

5. The group did pretty well while they were out of Karzoug's range. He stayed near his wall, they took out the giants and dragon while he fired off a few long range spells. Once they got close and he was away from the wall, he used Wail of the Banshee, killing two members of the party outright. Then the paladin smote him.

Photos are here.


I don't know the RAW interpretation on the wall/sphere and Prismatic Sphere has a weird clause ("When you're inside it..." Meaning it's not true when you're not inside it???) But I've always made it simple - the wall/sphere blocks everything from outside to in. No magic goes through. Including things like dimension door and teleport. The only thing that goes through physically is the caster. Inside to out, however everything goes for magic. The caster that's inside can fire magic out or use dimensional travel to leave. So in my interpretation the caster cannot dimension door or teleport back inside.

In my version, Karzoug had a sphere and my plan had been for him to use time stop to move back into the sphere. My determination was that there was no place he could put a sphere or wall and control the entire cavern and protect his minions so at some point he was going to have to leave. When he did, the wizard cleverly threw a hemispherical wall of ice over the top of it, preventing him from moving back. He could have done something to the wall of ice but he was already on the short end of the action economy battle. The wizard had summoned what seemed like a horde of monadic deva's and the pc's took out the Rune Giant as a #1 priority to move the storm giants to their side.

As in your battle, Karzoug did not stay mobile enough and ended up taking a full attack action from the dwarven fighter. And that, as they say, was that.

Yes, Wail of the Banshee rocks. Also Clashing Rocks rocks. :)


I have a question about altitude effects in Xin-Shalast. One one hand, Anniversary Edition says

Quote:
ALTITUDE DANGERS: The entirety of the lower city of Xin-Shalast is above 15,000 feet in altitude. As such, creatures are subject to altitude fatigue and sickness, as detailed on page 430 of the Core Rulebook. All of the creatures found in Xin-Shalast have acclimated to these conditions, and need not worry about these effects.

However the Core Rulebook says

Quote:
High Peak (more than 15,000 feet): The highest mountains exceed 15,000 feet in height. At these elevations, creatures are subject to both high altitude fatigue (as described above) and altitude sickness, whether or not they’re acclimated to high altitudes. Altitude sickness represents long-term oxygen deprivation, and affects mental and physical ability scores. After each 6-hour period a character spends at an altitude of over 15,000 feet, he must succeed on a Fortitude save (DC 15, +1 per previous check) or take 1 point of damage to all ability scores. Creatures acclimated to high altitude receive a +4 competence bonus on their saving throws to resist high altitude effects and altitude sickness, but eventually even seasoned mountaineers must abandon these dangerous elevations.

So which one is it? Should I apply for PCs the rules for High Peaks, that say that you cannot ever fully acclimate to them? But the inhabitants of Xin-Shalast were obviously able to live ther. I can accept yetis and other races that lived there for millenia - maybe they evolved to overcome normal limitations. But even the giants that only recently arrived to Xin-Shalast are able to get accustomed after some acclimation period. This suggest using the rules for the lower altitudes.

I could declare that either the dimensional unstability in the region, or possibly some ancient transmutation magic, makes the air in Xin-Shalast a bit thicker than it would normally be; just enough for humanoids to be able to acclimate. Still, I'd like to know if anyone else noticed the contradiction I've mentioned above and how you've dealt with it.

Dark Archive

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I just ran this whole section as though Xin-Shalast was "Low Peak/High Pass" altitude, and anything above that was "High Peak" altitude. It made Xin-Shalast a viable city, and the Pinnacle of Avarice a dangerous place for anyone to go to that relies upon air.


Misroi wrote:
I just ran this whole section as though Xin-Shalast was "Low Peak/High Pass" altitude, and anything above that was "High Peak" altitude. It made Xin-Shalast a viable city, and the Pinnacle of Avarice a dangerous place for anyone to go to that relies upon air.

Ditto. The AP contradicts the rules. If the lower city is High Peak where even altitude acclimation only gives you a +4 to save to resist altitude sickness, how can any of the inhabitants live there?


Specific trumps general. The denizens of Xin-Shalast are special and able to survive, permanently, at this altitude. Everyone else follows Core.


John Mechalas wrote:
Specific trumps general.

That applies to system rules, and I don't think AP qualify. I'm not against giving bosses unique abilities (like ability to survive at very high altitude here), but giving them to all the mobs in the adventure, especially those that have no explanation why they should have them (like the giants that only recently arrived from lower altitudes), while denying access to this option to the PCs simply doesn't seem fair.


AP's have plenty of new rules and subsystems.

For RotR, Xin-Shalast is filled with beings who have lived up there for their entire lives, and are descended from generations of others who have done the same. Call it an evolutionary adaptation if you want. I get the fairness argument, but it also wouldn't make sense to have an entire city filled with denizens that are constantly suffocating.

Grand Lodge

John Mechalas wrote:

AP's have plenty of new rules and subsystems.

For RotR, Xin-Shalast is filled with beings who have lived up there for their entire lives, and are descended from generations of others who have done the same. Call it an evolutionary adaptation if you want. I get the fairness argument, but it also wouldn't make sense to have an entire city filled with denizens that are constantly suffocating.

I think this is being brought up much like earlier posts in this thread - pointing out discrepancies and errors in the writing and figuring out how to rule on it. The first few pages especially are filled with that. And, RAW, it seems very much like Xin-Shalast is filled with creatures who are conveniently immune or else have luckily avoided altitude sickness. This is especially messy given that this is never clarified in the AP itself as a subsystem, feat, or special ability, simply as a matter of fact with no clear origin.

That being said, I think Misroi's solution is the least obtrusive and makes the most sense from a narrative standpoint. For instance, how was Xin-Shalast even established if only creatures that didn't need to breathe could have built it (which excludes enslaved giants).


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John Mechalas wrote:
...but it also wouldn't make sense to have an entire city filled with denizens that are constantly suffocating.

OR WOULD IT.

The evil DM worldbuilder in me is intrigued by the idea of an evil empire that just doesn't care if the enslaved inhabitants of a city die off at an alarming rate. What does it look like and/or function. How would my players react to their characters finding such a callous place? Mmmmmmmmm, delightful malevolence....

Shadow Lodge

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mousmous wrote:
John Mechalas wrote:
...but it also wouldn't make sense to have an entire city filled with denizens that are constantly suffocating.

OR WOULD IT.

The evil DM worldbuilder in me is intrigued by the idea of an evil empire that just doesn't care if the enslaved inhabitants of a city die off at an alarming rate. What does it look like and/or function. How would my players react to their characters finding such a callous place? Mmmmmmmmm, delightful malevolence....

True. According to Greed, everyone and everything is expendable. If your minions are broken, just get some new ones.

Of course, now I want to include the Spaceballs reference, complete with Thasillonian mosaics of semi-precious gems that spell out
CONSERVE AIR: BREATHE LESS


Maybe the atmosphere was thicker before Earthfall, or maybe magic.

Edit: or Mhar slowly pushing it's way up/in has gradually raised the local elevation.


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This represents the only time in history that people were clamoring for Air Supply.


I'm personally several years from getting here for my group but... I suspect I'll just make it possible to acclimate at a reasonable time period for new arrivals, such as a week....

Thinking about it, it's DC 15 +1/6 hours. Looking at the residents, barring 3 creature types (and those are long term residents), they all have ridiculous Fort Saves.

So, If I make acclimatization at (Point A) for the +4, and full immunity at say (Point B), we're looking at DCs:

19 on Day 2
23 on Day 3
27 on Day 4
31 on Day 5
35 on Day 6 and
39 on Day 7.

Looking at the range of +15~24ish for most residents, slapping Point A at around Day 4 makes things pretty safe. Day 6 on is risky for most, even with the +4 for those with 'only' a +15 (+4), needing a 16 is, harsh.

Perhaps, Starting on Day 4 or 5, a stacking +4 bonus each day, so that essentially, the DC ramps up to 'hard', but doable, and then stays mostly stable, and after a week, you don't need to make them at all.

So! Effectively as follows, with the bonus resulting in a -4 to the DC for visual sake:

15 on Day 1
19 on Day 2
23 on Day 3
23 on Day 4
23 on Day 5
23 on Day 6 and
-- on Day 7.

The long term residents have no issues, and the new arrivals QUICKLY have no issues, but only the hardy (Such as Giants) can survive to become long term residents.

Perhaps to add a measure of drama, make the Pinnacle have it's own acclimatization clock, Dare we rest, or should we push on?


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The Shifty Mongoose wrote:
CONSERVE AIR: BREATHE LESS

If I ever run this again, I'm putting this in any divination my players attempt about Xin-Shalast.


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Still on the topic of altitude and air ... one of my two groups has discovered the Life Bubble spell (APG; Druid 4, Cleric + Wizard 5, Ranger 3), and their druid makes also makes frequent use of the Fairy Ring Retreat spell (ACG; Druid + Shaman + Witch 7; basically the nature version of Mage's Mansion). Okay, so if they want to expend the necessary spell slots (also using a metamagic rod to Extend the Life Bubble duration), then fine by me.

But I'm still thinking about what happens if a successful Dispel Magic or similar effect gets thrown at them.

If they decide to use the Fairy Ring Retreat in an unwise location, then they will definitely run the risk of getting the shelter spell dispelled from underneath them, and therefore of being dumped back into the death zone willy-nilly, possibly without any protections up and running.

One of the characters is an unchained Barbarian with the Invulnerable Rager archetype. He would eventually suffer ability score damage from failed Fortitude saves against the increasingly higher DCs. However, he has a high DR against non-lethal damage, which in effect means that he's immune to the slow suffocation effect of the death zone. Hurray for barbarian health, I suppose?

Shadow Lodge

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Bellona - there is a story about incautious use of such glamping spells. So, unless they end up using one of them right under Khalib's nose, they should be okay.
But yeah, spells that let PCs ignore dangerous environments tend to make things easier on the GM as well. I just wish one of my PCs would pick up Life Bubble.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Yeah, Misroi's anecdote was one of my inspirations. :)

But you've got me puzzled with the word "glamping". Typo, or is this a word that I don't know?


Haha, I didn't catch the use of glamping before- perfect use!

Glamping = glamor camping. Think posh, high end cabins with all the amenities of day-to-day living. It's camping, but not really.


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Thank you for the explanation. :)

Dark Archive

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It pleases me that my report has been of use to other GMs.

It probably pleases my players less, but that's no concern of mine. ;)

Liberty's Edge

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My players have just finished the Wrath wing of Runeforge and next session will build their dominant weapons and finish book 5, so I'm beginning to prep book 6 in earnest. They are also looking ahead to picking their characters' last couple of feats and class features.

The rogue/rose warden has recently discovered the joys of Hide in Plain Sight. I ruled that Runeforge counted as the "underground" ranger favored terrain for this purpose, since the demiplane is a two-mile sphere of rock and the dungeon is carved inside of it (and was originally formed from the caverns now inhabited by Arkhryst). At level 17, she will get a rose warden class feature that effectively gives her HIPS (urban), so that should cover Xin-Shalast and the Pinnacle. But what type of terrain is the Eye of Avarice? Would she need to take HIPS (planes [Leng]), or would it still qualify as underground?


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Hide in Plain Sight is an extraordinary ability, not supernatural, so I think that it makes use of physical physical features of the place, not of its metaphysical identity. Thus, for the purpose of Hide in Plain Sight, I would count Eye of Avarice as dungeon, and squbsequently as "underground terrain".

That being said, I would note that there aren't many places to hide in the Eye of Avarice, and Stealth (even with Hide in Plain Sight) is not Invisibility. You still need cover or concealment, or your Stealth is going to be broken at the end of your turn. Make sure that the player understands that.
Check this thread for the related discussion.

Liberty's Edge

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Adjoint wrote:

Hide in Plain Sight is an extraordinary ability, not supernatural, so I think that it makes use of physical physical features of the place, not of its metaphysical identity. Thus, for the purpose of Hide in Plain Sight, I would count Eye of Avarice as dungeon, and squbsequently as "underground terrain".

That being said, I would note that there aren't many places to hide in the Eye of Avarice, and Stealth (even with Hide in Plain Sight) is not Invisibility. You still need cover or concealment, or your Stealth is going to be broken at the end of your turn. Make sure that the player understands that.
Check this thread for the related discussion.

Thanks, Adjoint, that’s helpful. And the thread was interesting, if not totally enlightening. All my player really wants is to be able to use sneak attack occasionally when she doesn’t win the initiative roll or have a flanking buddy and is too far for the wizard to cast invisibility. She gets that attacking or ending her turn in plain sight will end any stealth she starts with HiPS. Not round after round, of course - the 10’ movement requirement makes that almost impossible - just for her first attack, when she moves in to melee range to engage her opponent.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Bellona wrote:

Still on the topic of altitude and air ... one of my two groups has discovered the Life Bubble spell (APG; Druid 4, Cleric + Wizard 5, Ranger 3), and their druid makes also makes frequent use of the Fairy Ring Retreat spell (ACG; Druid + Shaman + Witch 7; basically the nature version of Mage's Mansion). Okay, so if they want to expend the necessary spell slots (also using a metamagic rod to Extend the Life Bubble duration), then fine by me.

But I'm still thinking about what happens if a successful Dispel Magic or similar effect gets thrown at them.

If they decide to use the Fairy Ring Retreat in an unwise location, then they will definitely run the risk of getting the shelter spell dispelled from underneath them, and therefore of being dumped back into the death zone willy-nilly, possibly without any protections up and running.

One of the characters is an unchained Barbarian with the Invulnerable Rager archetype. He would eventually suffer ability score damage from failed Fortitude saves against the increasingly higher DCs. However, he has a high DR against non-lethal damage, which in effect means that he's immune to the slow suffocation effect of the death zone. Hurray for barbarian health, I suppose?

Actually, I'm still thinking about that Invulnerable Rager.

Should slow suffocation damage be stopped by that form of DR? It's more of a direct attack on the body's necessary systems than simple "punching" damage.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Another couple of questions, brought up by one of my group's encounter with Karivek Vekker's ghost.

One of my players used the Blink spell to attack the ghost more easily. However, when I checked on-line afterwards, there seems to be some inconsistency with how Blink works vs. incorporeal beings. The language of the spell mentions "incorporeal" at one point but is mostly focused on the how the user becomes ethereal. My search-fu has dug up some threads which seem to agree that ghosts no longer exist on the ethereal plane. The upshot of the thread discussions seems to be that since the Blink spell makes use of brief transits back and forth between the material and ethereal planes, it should not give the user a better chance to damage an incorporeal ghost on the material plane. I need a definitive answer on that topic before the other group runs into the ghost (their bard also uses Blink).

The other question is how to handle a ghost's Telekinesis attack. I've never had to GM a hostile ghost before (at least, not one which used Telekinesis), so I'm a complete noob at that sort of encounter. (Also, I've never used that spell as a player.)

The Telekinesis spell has three different functions: Sustained Force, Combat Manoeuvre, and Violent Thrust. The first one only works on objects, so it doesn't apply to the ghost's tactic of sending a foe off the ledge. The Bull Rush CM option doesn't have a very good range of effect, especially considering how the ghost pops up at the back of a very big ledge. The Violent Thrust option is supposed to be used to hurl foes at objects - can Karivek use that to hurl foes across the ledge and over the edge?


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My players are just wrapping up The Skinsaw Murders and so are finding themselves with a little bit of breathing room to consider problems other than those immediately in front of them. The party's divination-focused wizard will be picking up scrying when he's brought back from the dead, and with two Sihedron medallions now in their possesion, I think now is about the time that I have to start considering the status of Karzoug and his layers of magical protection and obfuscation. Re: the occluding field...

1) Its effects are noted to cover the whole of the Spires of Xin-Shalast, but I don't know if it's specifically mentioned anywhere that this extends into the extraplanar Eye of Avarice. In particular I'm considering its function as an absolute barrier to scrying and divination - is it assumed that any attempt to cast scrying on a creature within the Eye of Avarice must go 'through' the anima focus and thus the Spires of Xin-Shalast and be blocked by the occluding field? Are there other magical barriers to scrying upon the occupants of the Eye of Avarice that I haven't found in looking through that section of the book? Or is it intended that PCs who find out Karzoug's identity early in the adventure path should be able to peek into the Eye of Avarice with no more than normal difficulty for scrying on a powerful NPC in an extraplanar space?

2) Does possession of a Sihedron medallion or Sihedron ring allow a character to bypass the occluding field's otherwise absolute barrier to divination effects, or does it 'merely' protection the character from the field's other effects (teleportation block, vertigo, damage, wisdom drain, blindess)?

I'm toying with the idea that a Sihedron ring protects the wearer from all of the occluding field's effects, while the less-powerful Sihedron medallion does not - from an in-setting perspective, I feel as though Karzoug wouldn't carelessly hand out items that, if captured, would allow strangers or enemies to bypass his magical barriers, and when it comes to running the game, I think keeping the Spires of Xin-Shalast/Pinnacle of Avarice/Eye of Avarice and Karzoug himself "off the table" or "behind the curtain" at this stage in the campaign might help to keep gameplay focused on the unfolding events in front of the PCs rather than on other places and characters they don't need to be considering just yet.

(I also feel as though Mokmurian, encountered in Fortress of the Stone Giants, ought to have some way to bypass the occluding field's effects - a Sihedron ring or Sihedron medallion, or perhaps his robe of runes is considered "a magic item with a powerful link to Thassilon," per the note on p. 342.)

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