Skeletons of Scarwall (GM Reference)


Curse of the Crimson Throne

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Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
rkotitan wrote:

Unfortunately in the Deathhead Vault a player who has a habit of running his characters into danger and getting them killed to make new characters caught on that SoS was about undead. Lo and behold his druid was killed.

In an attempt to completely nullify the entire next book he created a mesmerist who is designed to do nothing but control and charm undead. The character has no other purpose and he has gloated pretty openly that his plan is to force every undead creature he comes across to set off traps and be his slaves.

Is there a book from another path of roughly the equated level and power that would allow me to substitute something so this book isn't a completely pointless wash?

I think that's a problem that can't (and shouldn't) be solved in-game.


In my game the players spent all the loot they got from the previous module on gear to boost the cleric's abilities against undead. So he was able to deal with many of the encounters very easily, but not all of them. There are more in the AP then just undead, and even the undead can sometimes avoid the effects.

The dragon, the devils, and the aberration could give him some trouble. The creatures at the end where the sword is would also be tricky.

You could always say that the undead get +4 to their saving throws against such charms as part of the castle's aura.

The dread wraith popping in and out of walls caused my party some trouble before they realized they needed to ready actions for when it appeared.

The dance was also fun in that they didn't spot the cause and those that made their saves detected magic under the floor snd started trying to dig it up. Trinia was with them and used countersong which got her killed but revealed the monster.


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rkotitan wrote:

Hey everybody.

I'm running CotCT through Roll20 and I've already put an obscene amount of work and time into prepping for book 5.

Unfortunately in the Deathhead Vault a player who has a habit of running his characters into danger and getting them killed to make new characters caught on that SoS was about undead. Lo and behold his druid was killed.

In an attempt to completely nullify the entire next book he created a mesmerist who is designed to do nothing but control and charm undead. The character has no other purpose and he has gloated pretty openly that his plan is to force every undead creature he comes across to set off traps and be his slaves.

Is there a book from another path of roughly the equated level and power that would allow me to substitute something so this book isn't a completely pointless wash?

Well first off, that player is a dick. You may want to tighten your GM-leash a bit on him/her. After all, how do the other characters in the group know/like/trust this revolving cast of characters that just happen to keep being the spotlight. I'm assuming this player decided to kill off their druid after they found out their abilities that were useful in A History of Ashes weren't going to be anymore. That's some meta-gaming shenanigans of the highest order.

If confrontation isn't your bag, then just remember that just about everything that Castle Scarwall does is at a CL 20th. It's highly unlikely that a 13th-14th level caster will have the power needed to break through that kind of power on their own. Even if they did, it can't happen many times.

I currently have a cleric that wakes up every morning and casts a full load of Hide from Undead on all his team. Great! That's a 1st level Cleric spell that eliminates the need for random encounters from mindless undead (I'm not big on random encounters anyways). Any intelligent undead get to make a save to see them, otherwise its just invisibility vs undead. That's strong but not game breaking in any way. Plus, I get the added bonus of describing them sneaking around this haunted castle through hallways of random ghosts and skeletons that don't touch them. It gives my cleric a chance to shine a bit without breaking anything too much and makes my job easier and funner.

Speaking of great character choices, I have a druid who is absolutely obliterating things with Sunbeam, which between that and Searing Light from the cleric, are the best spells for this dungeon.

All in all, no one player should be the "star" of your adventure unless everyone wants to play that way and letting a player just make a new, highly optimized character for each book kinda defeats the greater purpose of an adventure path.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Quick question about whether I'm reading Mithrodar's stats and abilities.

I'm speaking of Chain Spirit and Spiritsense.

After turning on an aura in Roll20 to indicate what his spiritsense covers on floors one and two of Scarwall is it simply a given if there are less than 4 spirit anchors that Mithrodar will attempt to subvert either Laori or Sial within 100 ft of his chamber with Chain Spirit once per day?

I guess I could go for Knurlott, Glimkarus, Mandraivus, or Malathrothe BUT I like the idea of trying to take out one of their allies and given the amount of charisma those NPCS have I might prefer to try and take out Sial if I'm clear on how spiritsense/chain spirit both work.


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rkotitan wrote:

Quick question about whether I'm reading Mithrodar's stats and abilities.

I'm speaking of Chain Spirit and Spiritsense.

After turning on an aura in Roll20 to indicate what his spiritsense covers on floors one and two of Scarwall is it simply a given if there are less than 4 spirit anchors that Mithrodar will attempt to subvert either Laori or Sial within 100 ft of his chamber with Chain Spirit once per day?

I guess I could go for Knurlott, Glimkarus, Mandraivus, or Malathrothe BUT I like the idea of trying to take out one of their allies and given the amount of charisma those NPCS have I might prefer to try and take out Sial if I'm clear on how spiritsense/chain spirit both work.

I had him hit Laori every time she entered the castle. With a CHA of 8, he has a chance of one-shotting her. It definitely added to the party's sense of anxiety.

And once two anchors were down, he instead started going for the "easy pickings" in the castle proper. (I don't know whether it was technically legal, but I saw nothing indicating he couldn't grab the water elemental inside the donjon, so he grabbed it once he gave up on Laori.)

Dark Archive

My party is just about to head into the deadhead vault, but decided to take a 6 months ingame break so the conjuration wizard could use all their saved up gold for crafting. so my 3 lvl 12 characters have the WBL of a lvl 14. having crafted some +6 belt's and headbands + some other things..

my 4th player haven't been with us lately because of work and is making a new character starting at lvl 12 as well since her last one died (we're using the advancement track to level, so no xp, it's worked fine so far!)

so my worry is:
between the summoner (wizard) & bard's summons & buffs & the huge amount of wealth they have I'm worried that they will just steamroll the upcoming content.
I don't want to discurage them for using tools available to them, but I do want them to feel at least a little chalanged.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

For your guys... I would be tempted to say start picking up templates from either the Monster Codex or just straight up mythic templates to your various creatures.

I will say that Ileosa should have crushed and subjugated Varisia with absolutely no resistance over a six month period.


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For my 6-person party with a fairly-optimized ranger and alchemist, I use the Advanced Template, max HP, and multiply the number of mooks by 1.5. For bad guys with class levels I give them 2 extra levels.

Other than accidentally one-shotting the fighter with a +2 level Mother of Thorns, it's been decently challenging to them, but not overwhelming.

And I have to agree with rkotitan: While crafting is part and parcel of the game, you have to set up a timeframe wherein, "And at this point the BBEG will achieve x. At this point they will achieve y. Yadda yadda yadda"

If there's no sense of urgency, then
(a) Your players won't feel as immersed. The AP will play out more like a video game. I consider this the greater issue.
(b) You'll end up with them having gear such as you describe. This is easy enough to adjust with templates and class levels for the bad guys, but it's a lot of extra work for you because the players aren't taking the situation seriously.

So, water under the bridge for this AP, but for my APs I put in dates where the bad guys achieve things and I provide the players with plenty of notice that "things are getting bad now". My players tell me they appreciate this, because it reminds them that they really DO have to do things, and can't just hang around in a pub for 6 months while the wizard crafts.

At least make him get a demiplane for his crafting. Sheesh. :-P

Dark Archive

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rkotitan wrote:

For your guys... I would be tempted to say start picking up templates from either the Monster Codex or just straight up mythic templates to your various creatures.

I will say that Ileosa should have crushed and subjugated Varisia with absolutely no resistance over a six month period.

total ended up at 106 days. so a litle over 3 months not 6. My bad...

And while I agree Ileosa should have crushed and subjugated Varisia in that time, the book does state that when the party gets to her she is only a week or so away from doing so. (I had to check once they told me of this plan.) I'm going to change that too 2 days. so they can get a 2nd chance if they somehow have to retreat once.

I'll probably end up slapping the advanced template on some stuff since im playing on roll20 and can do that with a few clicks.

I'll also probably have the npc's be pretty angry at them for just leaving for so long without saying anything. At least we're all having fun which is all that matters in the end.


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NobodysHome wrote:

For my 6-person party with a fairly-optimized ranger and alchemist, I use the Advanced Template, max HP, and multiply the number of mooks by 1.5. For bad guys with class levels I give them 2 extra levels.

Other than accidentally one-shotting the fighter with a +2 level Mother of Thorns, it's been decently challenging to them, but not overwhelming.

And I have to agree with rkotitan: While crafting is part and parcel of the game, you have to set up a timeframe wherein, "And at this point the BBEG will achieve x. At this point they will achieve y. Yadda yadda yadda"

If there's no sense of urgency, then
(a) Your players won't feel as immersed. The AP will play out more like a video game. I consider this the greater issue.
(b) You'll end up with them having gear such as you describe. This is easy enough to adjust with templates and class levels for the bad guys, but it's a lot of extra work for you because the players aren't taking the situation seriously.

So, water under the bridge for this AP, but for my APs I put in dates where the bad guys achieve things and I provide the players with plenty of notice that "things are getting bad now". My players tell me they appreciate this, because it reminds them that they really DO have to do things, and can't just hang around in a pub for 6 months while the wizard crafts.

At least make him get a demiplane for his crafting. Sheesh. :-P

Player chiming in.

For me, part of the urgency of a dungeon crawl comes from, idk, actually REMAINING IN THE DUNGEON and keeping watch with the scent of evil constantly up your nostrils.

When the party jumps back to Magnimar with greater frequency than Saturday Night Live cuts to commercial breaks, well, I lose my sense of the immediacy of the danger, and I lose my feeling of buy-in.

DUNGEON CRAWLS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE DANGEROUS.

Hopping out again every ten minutes (of actual in-game time) kills it for me.


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lisamarlene wrote:

Player chiming in.

For me, part of the urgency of a dungeon crawl comes from, idk, actually REMAINING IN THE DUNGEON and keeping watch with the scent of evil constantly up your nostrils.

When the party jumps back to Magnimar with greater frequency than Saturday Night Live cuts to commercial breaks, well, I lose my sense of the immediacy of the danger, and I lose my feeling of buy-in.

DUNGEON CRAWLS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE DANGEROUS.

Hopping out again every ten minutes (of actual in-game time) kills it for me.

Yeah, Scarwall always disappoints me because it lists all these ultra-cool effects for what happens to parties who actually try to sleep within the castle's walls, but then does nothing whatsoever to keep the party from just moseying right out the front door and sleeping in the barbican.

Just putting in something really simple, like an orc army arriving to besiege the castle so as long as the curse is in effect they're stuck inside, would go miles towards making it way creepier...


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Just a thought but ...

what about twiking the scarwall curse so that every living personn entering the castle is effectively stuck inside ? (same restrictions as the spiritual anchors).

Off all the denizen of the castle, only Malatrothe (and her mount) would be able to go out as she will, part off her contract with Mithrodar.

Maybe the PCs should be warned of what will happened. Nothing more sad than a group of heroes dying from the lack of food/water. Then again ... it's Scarwall, and the place have seen more than one unfair death.

(PS : sorry for the awfull english, not my 1st langage)


Maybe, if them leaving all the time is an issue, move the checks to avoid being trapped up from once a week to once for each day they spend.

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
meumeujeu wrote:

Just a thought but ...

what about twiking the scarwall curse so that every living personn entering the castle is effectively stuck inside ? (same restrictions as the spiritual anchors).

I'm thinking about doing something like this. knowing my players, they're going to want to teleport out everyday or something similar.

-Skeld


Skeld wrote:
meumeujeu wrote:

Just a thought but ...

what about twiking the scarwall curse so that every living personn entering the castle is effectively stuck inside ? (same restrictions as the spiritual anchors).

I'm thinking about doing something like this. knowing my players, they're going to want to teleport out everyday or something similar.

-Skeld

I like it because you can give the players their DC 24 Will save (or whatever it is), and you know one or two of them will miss it, so they get the choice of splitting the party or not teleporting out. They have agency, but it's BAD agency...

Grand Lodge

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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
NobodysHome wrote:
Skeld wrote:
meumeujeu wrote:

Just a thought but ...

what about twiking the scarwall curse so that every living personn entering the castle is effectively stuck inside ? (same restrictions as the spiritual anchors).

I'm thinking about doing something like this. knowing my players, they're going to want to teleport out everyday or something similar.

-Skeld

I like it because you can give the players their DC 24 Will save (or whatever it is), and you know one or two of them will miss it, so they get the choice of splitting the party or not teleporting out. They have agency, but it's BAD agency...

*Looks at personal decisions*

*Looks at thread*

It's pretty obvious that I'm all about bad choices.

-Skeld

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

My players are about to enter the donjon with about 300k in their bags of holding and I'm actually pretty worried they will decide to head out and teleport to Janderhoff for a week.

The option of the orc horde sounded pretty good until I realized that they would likely do absolutely anything to get around it up to and including attacking a small army of orcs.

While them jumping into the tarn to avoid the curse would have hilarious consequences I would expect them to likely just fly above the castle and teleport away.

Maybe it wouldn't hurt to use the old Ravenloft method? A mist (manifestation of the castle's desperation to prevent them from killing the anchors) that requires a fort save whenever they are within the valley in an open area. Effect would be fatigue / exhaustion and then does con drain to them?

I guess in that instance I would be counting on them not having life bubble prepared, which they do.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

So in regards to the destruction of spirit anchors. how have people been handling Zev Revenka? Is he being counted as severed from Mithrodar when his skull is destroyed and is rejuvenating or when he is permanently destroyed?


I plan to run it that Zev's link is severed when he is destroyed. He's no longer corporeal at that point and will take 2d6 days to reform. Mithrodar can only anchor corporeal undead.

My question is, the party is doing research on breaking the chains. The Chained Spirit entry says that Dispel Evil/Law will work, but the dispel evil/law entries say they won't work on any spell that Dispel Magic can't remove. Dispel Magic won't work on the chains.... so how did you word that conundrum assuming they spoke to any of the reasonable anchors?


In this case, the specific rule (creature description) should take precedence.

Normally it might not work, but for this creature it does. Also, it isn't a spell anyhow, so that sentence doesn't apply.


fujisempai wrote:
So in regards to the destruction of spirit anchors. how have people been handling Zev Revenka? Is he being counted as severed from Mithrodar when his skull is destroyed and is rejuvenating or when he is permanently destroyed?

Anyone run it differently? Might be the best variant, as the Demilich is extremely dangerous, but I‘m hoping for more thoughts :)

Sorry for the Thread Necromancy.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

No need to worry about accusations of thread necromancy here. This is a GM-only thread for an AP installment. There is no such concept as thread necromancy for a thread like this, as the thread is always relevant to GMs running CotCT.

Not to mention the fact that the thread is also "stickied", so that it always appears near the top of the first page of the CotCT sub-forum. :)

(Sorry, but I can't help with the specific question, as I'm just skimming the threads myself in preparation for running the AP.)

Grand Lodge

rkotitan wrote:

Maybe it wouldn't hurt to use the old Ravenloft method? A mist (manifestation of the castle's desperation to prevent them from killing the anchors) that requires a fort save whenever they are within the valley in an open area. Effect would be fatigue / exhaustion and then does con drain to them?

I guess in that instance I would be counting on them not having life bubble prepared, which they do.

I like this idea with a couple tweaks.

What I am going to do is when the living physically enters Scarwall a fog forms around the castle effectively surrounding it with a fog. The effect is actually a sphere that continues into the water and under Scarwall. The fog has a visibility of 5 feet (even underwater and underground the vision is obscured) and starts about 100 feet from the castle proper. Anyone outside of the fog does not see it. Anyone attempting to leave either, by walking (boating), swimming, tunneling, or flying gets caught in the fog. The person gets lost in the fog and finds himself exiting the fog inside the sphere (tunneling characters find themselves at B37). Time spent in the fog is costly and the character gains 1d6 temporary negative levels (as per mythic enervation CL 20), and is sickened for 24 hours.

Once a first spirit anchor is destroyed the sickened effect goes away
Once a second Spirit anchor is destroyed the characters get a DC 24 fortitude save. A successful save halves the temporary negative levels (minimum 1)
Once a third spirit anchor is destroyed the temporary negative level effect goes away, but the character still find herself returning to Scarwall.
Once the fourth spirit anchor is destroyed the dissipates and the characters can come and go from Scarwall without effect.
Of course, if Mithrodar regains a lost spirit anchor, these rollback.

Life bubble does not offer protection from negative energy.

Grand Lodge

Not sure how I should handle this.

The party went and found the Mithrodar before they had killed any of the anchors. They took him down after a brutal fight (almost killing one of them) and then proceeded to heal and the such. By the time they were done, the Mithrodar had reformed and the fight was on again. This time they pretty much owned it and killed him quite quickly. They decided that burning his big wooden chair and the pillars (thus collapsing the ceiling) was how to end him. They set the chair on fire and were attempting to lite the pillars on fire when Mithrodar reformed again (and in a Steve Rogers fashion said, "I can do this all day"). They decided to run this time.

Now my quandary is, will the castle and the Mithrodar defend/prevent the pillars from burning, or does it burn? If the pillars do burn, it does stands to reason that the floor and tower (D5, D13, D14, D17, D18) above will collapse into area C14.

The implications of all this is hard to imagine. The treasure hoard ends up in C14, Do the critters move to another location. Can you imagine the Mithrodar, Nihil, and her followers all ending up in C14? That would be an epic fight and likely a TPK.

I am leaning towards the pillars resisting burning. But I definitely can see the chained spirit having some of the wandering encounter critters attack the escaping party.


Olmac wrote:

Not sure how I should handle this.

The party ... decided that burning ... the pillars (thus collapsing the ceiling) was how to end him. They set the chair on fire and were attempting to lite the pillars on fire when Mithrodar reformed again. They decided to run this time.

Now my quandary is, will the castle and the Mithrodar defend/prevent the pillars from burning, or does it burn?

Keep in mind that solid sections of wood don't light on fire that easily. Hold a match to a log, and it isn't going to light. The only description we are given is "Thick wooden columns, their sides caked with dust..." The map depicts them to be roughly 5 feet in diameter.

I would assume that columns such as these have had their bark peeled, and been somewhat sanded and smoothed. They may still display some of the natural undulations of the trees they were formed from, but they wouldn't have lots of small fibers that would easily catch fire.

Also keep in mind the Hardness rules. Wood has Hardness 5, and 10 hit points per inch of thickness. That's Hardness 5, and 600 hit points for a 5-foot section of a column. And fire damage is halved before applying Hardness, so any fire used to light them would have to deal at least 12 points of damage to have any chance of actually damaging the column for even a single hit point of damage. As a quick spit-ball, I would say you need to deal consistent, round-to-round damage, dealing at least 10% of the total hit points (so, 60 hit points) before the column would actually catch fire and continue to burn on its own.

Of course, accelerant would make it easier to accomplish the above; I didn't catch exactly what your PC's did, and if they got the columns lit.

I feel your pain on the prospect of your PC's inflicting massive structural damage/changes on a set-piece encounter location like Scarwall. I once had a druid use Transmute Rock to Mud (I think that was it, anyway) on a central portion of Castle Ravenloft... That is, until I looked into the rules of the spell, and learned it could not be used on worked stone. It's important to know the limitations of the PC's methods before adjudicating what occurs.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

On to matters of my own. I'm just beginning my first read-through of Skeletons of Scarwall, and I've noted a few things that I've got questions about. For reference, I am running the original module in D&D 3.5, with a six-player party. I've noted NobodysHome's recommendation to run the original, less-populated module, to keep the creepy factor, and prevent it from turning into a slog. I largely plan to do this, but do want to cherry pick one or two encounters/monsters from the Anniversary Edition to place into the castle when I run it.

Primary among the new encounters I want to import is the Graveknight, Knurlott. However, just having him hang out in his quarters seems... dull. Anyone have a suggestion on a better spot to place him in the mostly-empty original incarnation of Scarwall?

I've seen reference by posters in this thread about various monsters not being able to use their teleport SLA's, but I was under the impression that the dimensional anchor effect of the Unhallow laying over the castle only affected non-residents of the castle.

SoS p. 19 wrote:
Unhallow: The entirety of Castle Scarwall lies within a permanent unhallow effect. All of the castle’s inhabitants gain protection from good. Turn undead checks are made at a –4 penalty, and rebuke undead attempts gain a +4 profane bonus. This effect also creates a dimensional anchor effect for all non-inhabitants of the castle. This unhallow effect functions at CL 20th, and if dispelled, automatically returns after 1d4 rounds of being suppressed.

As such, shouldn't Nihil, as well as the Barbed Devils and Bone Devils be able to use their Greater Teleport SLA's? (I haven't gotten that far through the module yet, but noted it being mentioned here in this thread.) Is there something I'm missing?

In the original, Sergeant Lashton's steed is just a skeleton Nightmare, and as such has no intelligence or special abilities from before its death and reanimation. I note in the Anniversary Edition that the mount is instead a Skeletal Champion Nightmare (which does retain intelligence and abilities), but it is noted as being unable to use its Plane Shift ability. Why is this? Wouldn't it and Lashton be considered residents of the castle?

Along that line of thinking, I'm planning to add the Dread Skeleton template (Advanced Bestiary; already used for the Dread Skeleton Minotaurs) to a Nightmare to make the mount. This would allow it to retain some intelligence, as well as the 3.5 versions of the Nightmare's planar travel abilities (Supernatural astral projection & etherealness). Obviously the entrapping curse would keep Lashton and his steed from astrally projecting, but is there any good reason that I'm missing for not allowing them to travel ethereally? They would still be "in" the castle, and could not leave its grounds, and there are ghosts in the castle (Pegg & Loute) who are there ethereally. If one argued that Lashton and the Nightmare couldn't go ethereal, would you also rule that Pegg & Loute must remain manifested, and could not stop manifesting onto the Material Plane?

This last question I think I figured out earlier tonight, but I'm going to pose it anyway, just in case I'm still not understanding things correctly...

How is Mithrodar chaining some of the creatures like Zev Ravenka (the demi-lich)? Mithrodar is anchored to one spot (presumably the middle of area 18), and automatically returns there after each of his turns. He also only has a fly speed of 60 feet. There is more than 60 feet between area 18 and the chapel (area 39). He would not have ever been able to move the distance from where he is anchored, to see the demi-lich in the chapel, and still have an action left to activate his Chain Spirit supernatural ability.

Okay, and the answer that I think I worked out... Mithrodar's Chain Spirit supernatural ability doesn't require line-of-sight, and he can use it on any evil corporeal creature he can sense with his Spiritsense ability. Meaning he can target any undead within 500 feet, regardless of any intervening walls, or any non-undead within 100 feet (but intervening walls block this sense, since it acts as Blindsight, which "must have line of effect to a creature or object to discern that creature or object").

... But now that I'm typing out the above, I realize that this answer still doesn't work, because all the stone of the castle (1-foot-thick inner walls) would block Mithrodar's Spiritsense (as one foot of stone blocks it, as per detect undead). So, how did he possibly anchor Zev Ravenka?

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Quote:
So, how did he possibly anchor Zev Ravenka?

As with most things involving demiliches, very very carefully.

Grand Lodge

KSB Snow Owl wrote:
Olmac wrote:

Not sure how I should handle this.

The party ... decided that burning ... the pillars (thus collapsing the ceiling) was how to end him. They set the chair on fire and were attempting to lite the pillars on fire when Mithrodar reformed again. They decided to run this time.

Now my quandary is, will the castle and the Mithrodar defend/prevent the pillars from burning, or does it burn?

Keep in mind that solid sections of wood don't light on fire that easily. Hold a match to a log, and it isn't going to light. The only description we are given is "Thick wooden columns, their sides caked with dust..." The map depicts them to be roughly 5 feet in diameter.

I would assume that columns such as these have had their bark peeled, and been somewhat sanded and smoothed. They may still display some of the natural undulations of the trees they were formed from, but they wouldn't have lots of small fibers that would easily catch fire.

Also keep in mind the Hardness rules. Wood has Hardness 5, and 10 hit points per inch of thickness. That's Hardness 5, and 600 hit points for a 5-foot section of a column. And fire damage is halved before applying Hardness, so any fire used to light them would have to deal at least 12 points of damage to have any chance of actually damaging the column for even a single hit point of damage. As a quick spit-ball, I would say you need to deal consistent, round-to-round damage, dealing at least 10% of the total hit points (so, 60 hit points) before the column would actually catch fire and continue to burn on its own.

Of course, accelerant would make it easier to accomplish the above; I didn't catch exactly what your PC's did, and if they got the columns lit.

I feel your pain on the prospect of your PC's inflicting massive structural damage/changes on a set-piece encounter location like Scarwall. I once had a druid use Transmute Rock to Mud (I think that was it, anyway) on a central portion of Castle Ravenloft... That is, until I looked into the rules of the spell, and learned it could not be used on worked stone. It's important to know the limitations of the PC's methods before adjudicating what occurs.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

On to matters of my own. I'm just beginning my first read-through of Skeletons of Scarwall, and I've noted a few things that I've got questions about. For reference, I am running the original module in D&D 3.5, with a six-player party. I've noted NobodysHome's recommendation to run the original, less-populated module, to keep the creepy factor, and prevent it from turning into a slog. I largely plan to do this, but do want to cherry pick one or two encounters/monsters from the Anniversary Edition to place into the castle when I run it.

Primary among the new encounters I want to import is the Graveknight, Knurlott. However, just having him hang out in his quarters seems... dull. Anyone have a suggestion on a better spot to place him in the mostly-empty original incarnation of Scarwall?

I've seen reference by posters in this thread about various monsters not being able to use their teleport SLA's, but I was under the impression that the dimensional anchor effect of the Unhallow laying over the castle only affected non-residents of the castle.
SoS p. 19 wrote:

Unhallow: The entirety of Castle Scarwall lies within a permanent unhallow effect. All of the castle’s inhabitants gain protection from good. Turn undead checks are made at a –4 penalty, and rebuke undead attempts gain a +4 profane bonus. This effect also creates a dimensional anchor effect for all non-inhabitants of the castle. This unhallow effect functions at CL 20th, and if dispelled, automatically returns after 1d4 rounds of being suppressed.

As such, shouldn't Nihil, as well as the Barbed Devils and Bone Devils be able to use their Greater Teleport SLA's? (I haven't gotten that far through the module yet, but noted it being mentioned here in this thread.) Is there something I'm missing?

In the original, Sergeant Lashton's steed is just a skeleton Nightmare, and as such has no intelligence or special abilities from before its death and reanimation. I note in the Anniversary Edition that the mount is instead a Skeletal Champion Nightmare (which does retain intelligence and abilities), but it is noted as being unable to use its Plane Shift ability. Why is this? Wouldn't it and Lashton be considered residents of the castle?

Along that line of thinking, I'm planning to add the Dread Skeleton template (Advanced Bestiary; already used for the Dread Skeleton Minotaurs) to a Nightmare to make the mount. This would allow it to retain some intelligence, as well as the 3.5 versions of the Nightmare's planar travel abilities (Supernatural astral projection & etherealness). Obviously the entrapping curse would keep Lashton and his steed from astrally projecting, but is there any good reason that I'm missing for not allowing them to travel ethereally? They would still be "in" the castle, and could not leave its grounds, and there are ghosts in the castle (Pegg & Loute) who are there ethereally. If one argued that Lashton and the Nightmare couldn't go ethereal, would you also rule that Pegg & Loute must remain manifested, and could not stop manifesting onto the Material Plane?

This last question I think I figured out earlier tonight, but I'm going to pose it anyway, just in case I'm still not understanding things correctly...

How is Mithrodar chaining some of the creatures like Zev Ravenka (the demi-lich)? Mithrodar is anchored to one spot (presumably the middle of area 18), and automatically returns there after each of his turns. He also only has a fly speed of 60 feet. There is more than 60 feet between area 18 and the chapel (area 39). He would not have ever been able to move the distance from where he is anchored, to see the demi-lich in the chapel, and still have an action left to activate his Chain Spirit supernatural ability.

Okay, and the answer that I think I worked out... Mithrodar's Chain Spirit supernatural ability doesn't require line-of-sight, and he can use it on any evil corporeal creature he can sense with his Spiritsense ability. Meaning he can target any undead within 500 feet, regardless of any intervening walls, or any non-undead within 100 feet (but intervening walls block this sense, since it acts as Blindsight, which "must have line of effect to a creature or object to discern that creature or object").

... But now that I'm typing out the above, I realize that this answer still doesn't work, because all the stone of the castle (1-foot-thick inner walls) would block Mithrodar's Spiritsense (as one foot of stone blocks it, as per detect undead). So, how did he possibly anchor Zev Ravenka?

Thanks for the response. I had forgotten the half damage to objects. Makes the decision much easier. They were trying to lit the pillars with torches so they would never have been able to make that work. The throne they burnt with a flaming sphere. That would be the closet thing they used as an accelerate. I also found some interesting rules while doing my search for answers (https://www.d20pfsrd.com/gamemastering/environment/environmental-rules/#He at From The Twice-Damned Prince PAP 30).

I definitely let the inhabitants of Scarwall use their teleport ability.

Never really put much thought into the how's of the current anchors. I don't think my players will either. They haven't connected the anchors to Mithrodar. They have only killed one so far, and I had the water elemental in F1 anchored as a replacement.

My thoughts on this. If you use the rules strictly as written he would never be able to replace an anchor which makes the ability useless. I am sure it was not intended that way.


Olmac wrote:

I definitely let the inhabitants of Scarwall use their teleport ability.

Never really put much thought into the how's of the current anchors. I don't think my players will either. They haven't connected the anchors to Mithrodar. They have only killed one so far, and I had the water elemental in F1 anchored as a replacement.

My thoughts on this. If you use the rules strictly as written he would never be able to replace an anchor which makes the ability useless. I am sure it was not intended that way.

Excellent, I will have no qualms about allowing the fiends to teleport, then, either (obviously, Nihil will still have the 100-foot leash of the Anchor limiting her movements).

Regarding Mithrodar and the Chained Spirit abilities... If you are writing a new monster, specifically for a module scenario, there is absolutely no reason to not ensure that the monster actually works in the scenario you wrote it for. Screwing that up is Wizards of the Coast-level incompetence. Thus far I'd been impressed enough with Paizo's products (largely just this Adventure Path, admittedly) that such lazy writing actually surprises me.

Yeah, I'll just have to DM-fiat Mithrodar to work the way its obvious he's supposed to work (treat the range limit on using his Chain Spirit supernatural ability as being 500 feet for undead, and 100 feet for other creature types, and assume that his Spiritsense ability is not blocked by walls and such).

Alternatively, I suppose there is a strictly-legal way Mithrodar could have done these things, exactly as the abilities are written...

Quote:

Chain Spirit (Su) As a standard action, once per day, a chained spirit can attempt to chain any evil-aligned intelligent, corporeal creature it can detect.

...
Spectral Sight (Su) A chain spirit can see and hear through the senses of any of its anchor spirits whenever it wishes, just as if it were using both effects of the spell clairaudience/clairvoyance.

In theory, he could have had different anchors at some earlier point in time. If one of those previous anchors got into the Chapel under his own power, then Mithrodar could see and hear through that anchor, and could have used those linked senses to target the demi-lich with his Chain Spirit ability, since he's detecting the demi-lich... just via a Clairvoyance ability.

Grand Lodge

KSB Snow Owl wrote:
Olmac wrote:

I definitely let the inhabitants of Scarwall use their teleport ability.

Never really put much thought into the how's of the current anchors. I don't think my players will either. They haven't connected the anchors to Mithrodar. They have only killed one so far, and I had the water elemental in F1 anchored as a replacement.

My thoughts on this. If you use the rules strictly as written he would never be able to replace an anchor which makes the ability useless. I am sure it was not intended that way.

Excellent, I will have no qualms about allowing the fiends to teleport, then, either (obviously, Nihil will still have the 100-foot leash of the Anchor limiting her movements).

Regarding Mithrodar and the Chained Spirit abilities... If you are writing a new monster, specifically for a module scenario, there is absolutely no reason to not ensure that the monster actually works in the scenario you wrote it for. Screwing that up is Wizards of the Coast-level incompetence. Thus far I'd been impressed enough with Paizo's products (largely just this Adventure Path, admittedly) that such lazy writing actually surprises me.

Yeah, I'll just have to DM-fiat Mithrodar to work the way its obvious he's supposed to work (treat the range limit on using his Chain Spirit supernatural ability as being 500 feet for undead, and 100 feet for other creature types, and assume that his Spiritsense ability is not blocked by walls and such).

Alternatively, I suppose there is a strictly-legal way Mithrodar could have done these things, exactly as the abilities are written...

Quote:

Chain Spirit (Su) As a standard action, once per day, a chained spirit can attempt to chain any evil-aligned intelligent, corporeal creature it can detect.

...
Spectral Sight (Su) A chain spirit can see and hear through the senses of any of its anchor spirits whenever it wishes, just as if it were using both effects of the spell clairaudience/clairvoyance.
In theory,...

I actually have been treating that Mithrodar is well aware of the goings on within Scarwall and can react to them.

Quote:
A final, and extremely important, aspect of the castle’s haunted nature is that the majority of the spirits trapped in the castle, from the ones the PCs will never see that infuse the structure’s walls to the majority of the undead foes they face in the adventure, are all under the sway of the chained spirit in area C14. The chained spirit functions as an anchor for these spirits, and as long as he retains his control, he can use the countless ghosts of Scarwall to watch and listen, giving the denizens of the castle a highly efficient organization against invasion.

I think this actually let him find new anchors, no matter where in Scarwall they are, and attack them to chain them.


Can anyone explain to me how Knurlott's attack bonus with his +2 greatsword is +26? I can't figure out the last +3.

Either it's just flat out wrong, or I'm missing something from some of the Pathfinder-specific feats that applies to get him that high.

Melee +2 cold iron greatsword +26/+21/+16 (2d6+19/17–20 plus 3d6 acid)
+12 BAB
+6 Str
+2 for Weapon Focus and Greater Weapon Focus
+2 enhancement bonus
+1 bonus from desecrate aura
= +23

I can also only figure out up to 2d6+15 for his damage. No clue where the extra +4 comes from. (+9 for 1.5*Str, +2 enhancement, +4 weapon specialization and GWS).

I also can't figure out how his armor spikes attack modifiers are so high...

armor spikes +21/+16/+11 (1d6+9 plus 3d6 acid) or slam +15 (1d4+5)
+12 BAB
+6 Str
+1 bonus from desecrate aura
= +19

The armor spike damage is also wonky, unless there was some change in pathfinder that I don't know about (it appears he's getting 1.5x Strength to damage, even though they are light weapons?)

And why is his Slam attack at only +15, and only getting +5 of his +6 Strength bonus to damage?

Grand Lodge

KSB Snow Owl wrote:

Can anyone explain to me how Knurlott's attack bonus with his +2 greatsword is +26? I can't figure out the last +3.

Either it's just flat out wrong, or I'm missing something from some of the Pathfinder-specific feats that applies to get him that high.

Melee +2 cold iron greatsword +26/+21/+16 (2d6+19/17–20 plus 3d6 acid)
+12 BAB
+6 Str
+2 for Weapon Focus and Greater Weapon Focus
+2 enhancement bonus
+1 bonus from desecrate aura
= +23

I can also only figure out up to 2d6+15 for his damage. No clue where the extra +4 comes from. (+9 for 1.5*Str, +2 enhancement, +4 weapon specialization and GWS).

I also can't figure out how his armor spikes attack modifiers are so high...

armor spikes +21/+16/+11 (1d6+9 plus 3d6 acid) or slam +15 (1d4+5)
+12 BAB
+6 Str
+1 bonus from desecrate aura
= +19

The armor spike damage is also wonky, unless there was some change in pathfinder that I don't know about (it appears he's getting 1.5x Strength to damage, even though they are light weapons?)

And why is his Slam attack at only +15, and only getting +5 of his +6 Strength bonus to damage?

Weapon Attack Bonus

+2 Fighter weapon training (heavy blades)
+2 bonus from desecrate aura due to this

Quote:
If the desecrated area contains an altar, shrine, or other permanent fixture dedicated to your deity or aligned higher power, the modifiers given above are doubled (+6 profane bonus to negative channeled energy DCs, +2 profane bonus and +2 hit points per HD for undead created in the area.

Weapon Damage Bonus

+2 weapon training (heavy blades)
+2 bonus from desecrate aura

Armor spike attack bonus

+1 weapon training (close)
+2 bonus from desecrate aura

Armor Spike Damage Bonus

+6 strength damage
+1 weapon training (close)
+2 bonus from desecrate aura

The Slam is totally messed up.

The slam attack should be +20

+12 BAB
+6 strength
+2 bonus from desecrate aura

Slam damage should be +11

+9 strength
+2 bonus from desecrate aura

Hope that helps.


Did anyone's party pocket Knurlott's armor? I expect my party to stuff it in their handy haversack, and I'm not sure whether he could get out again (but I definitely think he should).


Gidonamor wrote:

Did anyone's party pocket Knurlott's armor? I expect my party to stuff it in their handy haversack, and I'm not sure whether he could get out again (but I definitely think he should).

Obviously I haven't gotten this far yet, but I had almost the exact same situation happen in a previous campaign. The party had defeated a D&D Sepulchral Thief (sort of a lich-like template for rogues). When they are "killed," their souls inhabit the single most expensive item in their possession (usually a weapon).

My party popped that weapon into their bag of holding and forgot about it... until several sessions later, they opened the bag to get something else out, and this undead creature leapt out and escaped (it gets a short-range shadow-jump ability, as well as Hide in Plain Sight).

So, just wait for the PC's to open the haversack... the problem is that a haversack is going to have a very small opening, and an armored Medium creature is almost assuredly not going to fit out of that... But he can still attack, and the party might end up rupturing the bag if they attack back (heck, maybe Knurlott could rupture it from inside...)

Quote:

In fact, each [compartment of the haversack] is like a bag of holding...

If the bag [of holding] is overloaded, or if sharp objects pierce it (from inside or outside), the bag ruptures and is ruined. All contents are lost forever.

Given that the biggest section of the Haversack has an 80-pound weight limit, Knurlott himself is likely to overload it as he is reforming... meaning the bag "breaks" and all the contents are lost on the Astral plane.

Additionally, since the original module indicates the curse of Scarwall extends into extradimensional spaces (as it will attack and claim Zellara, even if her Harrow deck is in an extradimensional space), I would rule that the party's Handy Haversack cannot leave Scarwall while Knurlott's armor is inside (assuming they haven't cleansed it).

Grand Lodge

Gidonamor wrote:

Did anyone's party pocket Knurlott's armor? I expect my party to stuff it in their handy haversack, and I'm not sure whether he could get out again (but I definitely think he should).

The Handy Haversack only holds 80 pounds of material. I would think once Knurlott reforms he would be expelled by the haversack.

That would be awesome if it happened while they are camped and half the party asleep.

I am sure my groups Gorum worshiping fighter will love to be wearing +3 spiked plate mail.

Grand Lodge

KSB Snow Owl wrote:

If the bag [of holding] is overloaded, or if sharp objects pierce it (from inside or outside), the bag ruptures and is ruined. All contents are lost forever.

Given that the biggest section of the Haversack has an 80-pound weight limit, Knurlott himself is likely to overload it as he is reforming... meaning the bag "breaks" and all the contents are lost on the Astral plane.

Additionally, since the original module indicates the curse of Scarwall extends into extradimensional spaces (as it will attack and claim Zellara, even if her Harrow deck is in an extradimensional space), I would rule that the party's Handy Haversack cannot leave Scarwall while Knurlott's armor is inside (assuming they haven't cleansed it).

I would agree with this, but I think Scarwall (Mithrodar) would simply have Knulott end up in some room close to where the party is and continue to defend Scarwall. My party has already crossed paths with Mithrodar and killed him twice. Of course he still has 4 anchors so the second time he reformed he said "I can do this all day". None the less, he pissed and wants them dead more than ever.

Scarwall did exactly that in my game, Zellara was sucked right out of a Handy Haversack.


Great thoughts! I agree, he'd probably prevent The bag from being taken out of scarwall. I'll just see whether I just have Knurlott po out as he reforms, or if he overloads (and thus destroys) the bag and then reappears in scarwall. Probably the former though, taking away their items feels harsh.


I also found NobodysHome's suggestion to run the original because it's less cluttered. I compared the versions and it really seems like many encounters are just cannon fodder (looking at you, scarwall guards).
That said, I fear that removing all those might make Scarwall too easy, with way less things that try to kill the PCs.


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Knurlott is wearing full plate (50 lbs) and a graveknight is described as a "husk of desiccated flesh and scarred bone".

Considering that an intact marrow-and-all skeleton is about 15% of your body weight (so 30 lbs for a 200 lb man), I would argue that the 80 pound limit of the haversack is enough for Knurlott to reform without bursting the bag.

My campaign was more fun because I let him go. The party teleported to Magnimar with him, sold the armor without knowing what it was, and the next time they were in town had to explain the murder spree they had engendered, and had a whole side quest to track him down, re-kill him, and pay restitution to the families of all those he had slain during his escape.

It was a very fun, "Oops. I can't believe we did something that dumb," moment that the whole group greatly enjoyed.


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My party dropped it in a portable hole (along with all the other treasure). So a few days later the party member whose portable hole it was was highly displeased when they opened it and were greeted by a blast of acid.
After again taking him out, they were then displeased to discover that Knurlott had taken out his frustrations on the contents as well.

After that the person who had decided to keep it to begin with was assigned to scrape out the contents every day.


Gidonamor wrote:

I also found NobodysHome's suggestion to run the original because it's less cluttered. I compared the versions and it really seems like many encounters are just cannon fodder (looking at you, scarwall guards).

That said, I fear that removing all those might make Scarwall too easy, with way less things that try to kill the PCs.

I've tried to find a happy medium in my game, leaving in the phantasms and haunts, getting rid of random encounters, but keeping most of the bad guys. My one exception to this point (my group is about halfway through) has been to fast forward the last couple of Scarwall Guards fights and just give the party a W. They haven't had an issue with them and it'll just waste time.

Later on, I may advance a few of them and see if that makes things better, but they just don't seem as interesting as they could be, so I've been focusing on the rest of the bad guys.

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