Escape from Old Korvosa (GM Reference)


Curse of the Crimson Throne

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Curmudgeonly wrote:

For any GMs out there that have run this recently, I want to make sure I'm reading the labyrinth right.

** spoiler omitted **

Yep, that is sadly true (eventhough I'm wondering if those globes in some room could teleport you to prison room). That's how my players went through this dungeon. I changed adventure on the fly to have shapechanger as prisoner with sphinx so I could pull off "the shapechanged-Orsino doesn't recognise Neolandus"-scene. If I ever get to run this again I would change layout a bit so that isn't possible.


Curmudgeonly wrote:

For any GMs out there that have run this recently, I want to make sure I'm reading the labyrinth right.

** spoiler omitted **

I think that's the only way to get there if the group stays together.

If the group decides to split up after having pulled lever E3 once and lever E8 once, which would put them in rotation 2, part of the group could wait in room E12 while the rest of the group pulls one of the levers. This would give the people waiting in E12 access to the levers and spheres in E16 in rotation 3 and potentially allow part of the group to teleport to E20.

It's probably very unlikely that a group would ever willingly choose to split up though. I guess it could happen on the very first rotation if they don't know what the levers are for when they first encounter the E3 lever.

Just in case you missed this post earlier on in this thread, you can see the other rotations of the vivified labyrinth here.


Thanks for the responses everyone. I just wanted to make sure I had read it correctly before I had my players go through it.

Has anyone made any modifications to it to make it more challenging by chance?


I have an interesting situation on my hands in our Cotct game :

After defeating the emperor's troops twice in a game of blood pig, battle erupted between my players and the emperor's troops.

The fighter managed to grab a hold of his weapon scaring of the majority of his thugs with a mighty dazzling display, while the emperor got blinded because the cleric had trapped his throne with a glyph...

Anyway a very tough battle insued taking everything out of my players, our dwarf monk fought valiantly but he fell to the mighty swings of Jabbyr's axe who effectively killed him.

Now the group is begging a favor out of Laori, "please bestow the gift of life upon our friend"

While I agree that Raise dead might not be a standard spell for Laori, she decides to go along with it, only if the adventurers admit to be in her debt.
Our LG characters begrudgingly accepted on the counter-term that whatever it was that she expected them to do could not violate their code of conduct.

Now to my question, I wish to add a bit of flavor to our dwarven monk being resurrected by an evil deity, anyone have any funny suggestions how that could work out ?


Well, the simple answer is to play on the flavor of the Monk class itself. The Monk is a highly disciplined warrior. A monk is under some pretty tight regulations on what he can, and cannot, do. His method of fighting is restricted, his methods of diplomacy is restricted, is whole life, is restricted.

It might be interesting for someone who is so in control of themself, to suddenly desire to be controlled by someone else, namely, Laori.

Something else you might do is the Dwarf may find a sudden fondness for Salvatore Screams artwork. You may even give him a bonus skill checks pertaining to dark and gloomy art more-so art that may be influenced by Zon-Kuthon/Kazavon.

Another thing you may do, is that the Dwarf may suddenly find himself enjoying being clothed in dark colors for awhile. Say he dye's his hair and bear black, wears black robes and uses black weapons. Maybe he gets a piercing or two, and carries chains on his person. If you do this, I would advise the sensation lasts only a short while as the player might get unhappy that you are forcing a change in his characters personality without his consent.

You could also do something different, like giving the Dwarf a weightless, black, spiked chain that he must carry on his person at all times as a symbol of his debt. The chain is a reminder from Zon-Kuthon the he is in debt to one of his servants, and should the chain leave his person, he will begin feeling pain. First, a dull ache, then a sharp jolt, then a searing burn, then agony. The pain won't interfere with his movements of competency, but he will be unable to experience any positive emotions until the pain is gone. The pain can only be removed by ending the debt, or recovering the chain. Maybe something like a Godly-durationed Geas/Quest?

However you handle it, I would advise you set limitations on just how the debt could be repaid. For instance, helping Laori in combat would repay it, but risking his life to save hers, probably should. Also, Laori could end the debt at any time by invokin gthe deebt and asking for a service.

If the Debt is still active come the Friend/Enemy showdown in Scarwall, I imagine it could get very interesting.


So, what are the three paintings in the Emperor's room referencing?

Quote:

The first depicts a full portrait of a thin humanoid wearing shadows as he stands framed by a dolmen of great size. The figure’s brilliant blue eyes are the only true points of color in the piece, and they seem to almost glow with anger.

The second picture depicts a rugged mountain range above a desert under a brilliant blue sky. In the foreground, a quartet of Vudran tusked camels ridden by N’darr tribesmen race across dunes that, upon closer examination, consist of tiny skulls.

The final portrait is perhaps the most disturbing, for it depicts a handsome man in the process of peeling away the flesh of his arms as if he were taking off a pair of gloves - underneath, his arms are muscular and covered with glittering blue scales. The man’s expression is one of delight, yet his eyes are empty pits of blackness. Half seen in the shadows beyond him are what can only be thousands of humans impaled on towering wooden poles erected in the shadow of an indistinct shape looming on the horizon - perhaps a castle, maybe a mountain, but likely something more.

The third one is obviously Kazavon, and the indistinct shape is Scarwall, I assume.

But if the third one is Kazavon, is that him in the first one also? Why is it of importance that he is thin? And what's with the dolmen?

I'm assuming the second one doesn't have anything to do with CotCT, but am I wrong?


Good question TKD. I would like to know as well.

If you don't get an answer, you might want to consider asking JJ directly on his "Ask James Jacobs all your questions here" thread.


Thanks for the idea Laric, here's James's response:

Quote:
The first two don't really have anything to do with the plot. The point here is that there are 3 paintings, but the most disturbing of them is the only one that serves as a subtle bit of foreshadowing as to what's going on. The images are little more than mysterious story hooks you can expand upon later, but not everything that the painter paints needs to be a vision on canvas.


I'm a little confused about when the rakshasas are willing to reveal themselves as rakshasas. My impression is that the guards will pretty much attack the PCs in their true form, same with Vimanda if she's unable to trick them. But Bahor will do anything to prevent people from finding out the truth. But if the guards and Vimanda are reavealed, then it's pretty obvious that Bahor is a rakshasa as well.
So under what conditions would you say the guards, Vimanda and Bahor reverts to their true forms?

Dark Archive

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Well the guards would reveal themselves if there is an intruder. If the party isn't trying to infiltrate the estate they shouldn't reveal themselves. Vimanda should only reveal herself if the party clearly caught on on her trick(found Vencarlo or attacked her) she may warn the party that Bahor is like her in that case. Bahor himself would only reveal himself if Vimanda revealed the truth to the party. After all, he may employ the rakshasa as guards due to his family ties to Vudra. Doesn't mean hes one of them. You should push the secret to the limit and inly reveal himself in a fight with the party if he is clearly winning, doing so to glatter is Pride.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My PCs are set to return to the Arkona Manor to deal with the Arkonas once and for all. Do you have any soundtrack recommendations as they navigate the manor and the labyrinth? I'd greatly appreciate any and all ideas!


Just had a quick scroll through and didn't see anything that jumped out at me.

Did anyone figure out a good way to run the Labryth map via VTT without just making multiple maps? I'm using Fantasy Grounds to run this and whilst it's months off them entering this dungeon the logistics of running a map with moving parts on a VTT is a nightmare.

Additionally after reading the hardcover I wasn't able to figure out if Vimanda was meant to be fighting in her human guise or her true form. Considering the PCs don't know who she is if she's in her true form wouldn't it make sense for her to fight in that?

Is it only Bahor those above in the palace who try to hide their true identities?


(1) I used Roll20, loaded the base map, and then put four circular cut-outs on top of the map to represent the four rotating areas. Other than having to rotate each area individually every time the PCs pulled a lever (and they pulled a LOT of levers!), it worked well.

(2) In the original AP, Vimanda is disguised as Vencarlo. Once they see through the disguise, there's no reason for her not to shift to her natural form. It gives her an element of surprise, and the shock of the PC's reaction to her bestial nature would appease her raksasha nature. So I think she doesn't want them knowing she's an Arkona, but shifting from Vencarlo to vixen tells them nothing other than, "Uh oh, we're in trouble!"

In short, if they had ANY way to figure out her true identity, she'd continue to try to hide it. Since they're not going to look at the foxy lady and say, "Wait a minute! That's one of the Arkonas!", there's no reason for her to hide her true nature.


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Thanks. I am using Fantasy Grounds which by default only has the one map layer. I'll have to try the multi-layer extension and see if how you did yours will work.

Ah yes! Damn I only read that part two weeks ago and I already forgot that's part of her actions to disguise as Vencarlo. Otherwise yes I was kind of wondering where any logic would be in her not being her true form if the PCs have not seen her in her Arkona form at any time.

Thanks again, given me some stuff to think about and test to get past these.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Quick question for my fellow DMs although my game is in about 6 hours so I might be a trifle late.

Would you have 'Glorio' give the party the ring of evasion as a reward if they didn't visit them first to make the deal to finish off the Emperor?

Clearly it's in his best interest given it's special qualities I was just wondering what other DMs had done if events played out in this order?

I'm worried that giving them such an obviously expensive item as a reward might make them suspicious.

I'm also, with Glorio's ridiculous bluff skill, contemplating using the 'Feign Harmlessness' and 'Suggest Course of Action' rules for Bluff from the Giant Hunter's Handbook. I really want to make sure they are completely surprised by the revelation though. How would you guys handle all that bluffing without tipping the hand with constant requests for Sense Motive checks?

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

So the group made mistakes and I wanted to bridge a question to you guys, my former question now unimportant.

So the group dishes with Glorio and they genuinely liked him so much that when he said, "Wander through this maze I built for my amusement," they were like, "Hell yeah, you're the man Glorio!"

Anyway, the fungal Janni really tore into them and I was starting to get concerned but they finished them off.

They get down to the level with Avidexu and are literally two steps from entering the labyrinth and getting an immediate increase to 10th level.

The lore warden sees the double doors down below and decides, alone to go and listen at the door.

He hears the snakes eating the molted skin and Avidexu say, "Yes, my children. Feast!"

He immediately yells out to the group who are well away from him, "Hey, someone in here is eating children!"

Combat begins, with the party spread everywhere. The wizard rolls her knowledge during the fight and doesn't ask about DR.

At one point the entire rest of the party offers to feed the lore warden to him as a sacrifice to his god who he keeps going on about.

Then the wizard says, "We know you are a Rakshasa." *sigh*

I don't think they can win this fight. He is going to chase them and they are headed into the labyrinth.

What should I do?


My tendency is that unless the players are actually asking to roll Sense Motive, you assume they're taking 10 the whole time. If you've surreptitiously obtained all of their Sense Motive bonuses in advance, you roleplay things out. And if one of the players wants to roll, by all means let them.


rkotitan wrote:


They get down to the level with Avidexu and are literally two steps from entering the labyrinth and getting an immediate increase to 10th level.

Combat begins, with the party spread everywhere. The wizard rolls her knowledge during the fight and doesn't ask about DR.

Then the wizard says, "We know you are a Rakshasa." *sigh*

I don't think they can win this fight. He is going to chase them and they are headed into the labyrinth.

What should I do?

- Why you give players XP before they rest? I find it bad decision as a GM. It gives the players the idea that they became more powerfull so they can keep going, and ignore their fatigue through adventures.

-If the wizard had no idea with his knowledge about rakshasha, or he made a bad roll and understood only the DR of Rakshasha, then this comment:"We know you are a rakshasha" is a big foul. I would award him a minus of 3000XP at least for breaking the game. Also, i would mostly make the group to critically win the fight(two down the rest at 20 hp only, and without spells). And yes this would happen as punishment for bad roleplaying.


So something of interest I noted.

Bahor is given two sets of stats within the rewrite. His human form stats remove his DR/SR and states he doesn't want to fight in this form due to losing those.

Vimanda only has one set of stats, and her block says she doesn't use her real form. Doesn't this then mean she also gives up her DR/SR in a fight if one happens?

I know both want to keep their forms secret because of their place within Korvosa and would rather flee than give that secret away, but it seems the Vimanda fight (if it happens) is much weaker than expected if she's dropped all of her defences.


I'm a little confused on how the PCs get to the Emperor. The way the module is written you're basically supposed to hit them with the random encounters with the Emperor's Thugs as soon as they hit Old Korvosa. So either they fight the Thugs, or they're taken to the Emperor. If the kill the Thugs, there's another Thug encounter, where either the go to the Emperor or the kill the Thugs. If they win that one, a third group of Thugs politely asks them to visit the Emperor. However, they don't know they want to visit the Emperor until after they're met Laori, which shouldn't have happened yet.

Did this confuse anyone else? How did you deal with it?


You don't have to run the thug encounters all at the beginning of the module.

I ran the first little group shorty after they arrived in Old Korvosa, before they got to the fencing academy. This one was mostly to give a bit of the flavor of the area, showing the chaos in the streets and roaming gangs of thugs. they were no challenge at all for the party.

I didn't run the second attack until after the group had met Laori. I figured with the fighting between arkonas and the emperor, the areas near the arkona grounds were likely not as full of thugs.

After fighting off the second group, the party was moving towards the palace on their own, so i didn't end up running the 3rd encounter.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I'm very sad. My PCs refused to play blood pig. Despite a huge crowd chanting "Blood pig! Blood pig!" and a very persuasive deal offered by the emperor, they said "My character wouldn't do that" and they left when the emperor got bored of them.

It's obviously not going to derail the AP, but I was very excited about that game. Stupid good-aligned PCs. I have no choice now but to make sure they all go to the tall knife.


How would Detect Scrying interact with the bloodstones Bahor has placed around the Arkona palace? I have a PC that has become very paranoid after the Queen survived Marcus Endrin's assassination attempt, and has begun casting Detect Scrying every day.

Based upon the description of the Third Eye magic item, it doesn't appear that the bloodstones themselves are magical (for example, they are never italicized).

Third Eye wrote:
The owner of a third eye can use it to see through the donor creature’s remaining eye. The third eye can also be attuned to specially prepared bloodstones, allowing the user to observe things in that stone’s vicinity as if it were an eye as well.

... as if it were an eye as well.

Certainly the surviving creature's remaining eye doesn't detect as magical; if the bloodstone is treated "as if it were an eye" then it shouldn't detect as magical, either, correct?

Obviously, the party mage's Detect Scrying will detect the presence of the Third Eye in "Glorio's" palm, which may present issues, but so far as I can tell, the bloodstones themselves should not, yes?

But then again, they would be considered the magical sensors of the Third Eye...

Detect Scrying wrote:

You immediately become aware of any attempt to observe you by means of a divination (scrying) spell or effect. The spell’s area radiates from you and moves as you move. You know the location of every magical sensor within the spell’s area.

...


@KSB Snow Owl

Curse of the Crimson Throne, Page 165 wrote:
This bloodstone’s faint divination aura, like all of the third eye bloodstones, is hidden by a magic aura (CL 10th).

That said, I don't believe the magic aura conceals an active sensor (such as when Bahor is actively looking through one) from detect scrying and therefore, while in use, the sensor would be picked up as per the normal rules for the spell.

----

On a similar note, I found it odd that the Vivified Labyrinth is under the effects of a permanent mage's private sanctum in the Pathfinder edition... but the effects aren't actually applied to the NPCs (Sivit still uses clairvoyance, and Bahor still has a few bloodstones installed in the place.)

They also have a strange disregard for cast times... but I guess you can do that when you're a powerful outsider.


LadyGrayRose wrote:

@KSB Snow Owl

Curse of the Crimson Throne, Page 165 wrote:
This bloodstone’s faint divination aura, like all of the third eye bloodstones, is hidden by a magic aura (CL 10th).
That said, I don't believe the magic aura conceals an active sensor (such as when Bahor is actively looking through one) from detect scrying and therefore, while in use, the sensor would be picked up as per the normal rules for the spell.

Thank you very much for that! The quote gave me some key words to use to search the PDF, and the exact same description is in the original adventure (which is what I'm running), but LIFE has kept me from performing a second read-through of the adventure just before beginning it.

On first blush, I agree that Detect Scrying would still pick up the active sensor, but... On reading Magic Aura, I'm not so sure that it wouldn't prevent the PC's Detect Scrying spell from ever "pinging" on the sensor.

Magic Aura wrote:

You alter an item’s aura so that it registers to detect spells (and spells with similar capabilities) as though it were nonmagical, or a magic item of a kind you specify, or the subject of a spell you specify.

If the object bearing magic aura has identify cast on it or is similarly examined, the examiner recognizes that the aura is false and detects the object’s actual qualities if he succeeds on a Will save. Otherwise, he believes the aura and no amount of testing reveals what the true magic is.

I think that's pretty ironclad; the only chance to ... Well, now I'm talking myself back into agreeing with you.

Detect Scrying absolutely falls into the category of a "detect spell" or spell with similar capabilities, so it absolutely wouldn't detect as magic (assuming that was the option chosen by the caster)...

Detect Scrying wrote:

You immediately become aware of any attempt to observe you by means of a divination (scrying) spell or effect. The spell’s area radiates from you and moves as you move. You know the location of every magical sensor within the spell’s area.

...

"You know the location of every magical sensor within the spell's area."

As of right now, I think the correct way to rule this (and the method I'm leaning toward at this point in time) is to say that the Detect Scrying does make the caster aware of an active attempt to observe through the bloodstones, however, he does NOT know the location of "every magical sensor" within the area, at least not with respect to the bloodstone, since as far as the Detect Scrying spell is concerned, the bloodstone isn't magical.

Yeah, I like that. It makes my PC's cautious spell selection useful, and feeds into his paranoia, but doesn't completely give away or negate the use of the bloodstones.

The PC will still get the opposed caster level check to look back and see who is scrying him. The party is still carrying around Verik Vancaskerkin's silver dagger... Hopefully Vimanda tells Bahor that one of the PC's has up Detect Scrying once she realizes they are coming to the Arkona estate... (though I don't know that she would do that...) Otherwise... Maybe Bahor is smart enough to never look through the bloodstones unless he first hides away from watchful eyes, and changes form into some other visage, on the off chance someone had Detect Scrying up? He wouldn't want someone to look back via that and see that Glorio is magically spying on people, I don't think.

As I said previously, I'm actually running the original modules in D&D 3.5, so I'll skip the updated anniversary edition's problematic addition of Mage's Private Sanctum to the Vivified Labyrinth. I certainly supplement my D&D 3.5 campaign with ideas from the anniversary edition, but in this case I'll stick with the original.


The stat block of the Beatific One has this ability:

Quote:
Monk Qualities: A beatific one emulates many of the strengths of the monk character class. On top of its own racial abilities, the beatific one receives the AC bonus, unarmed damage, bonus feats, speed bonus, and weapon proficiencies of a monk with a level equal to its Hit Dice, along with the diamond body, flurry of blows, improved evasion, and still mind abilities. All of these benefits are included in the statistics above.
However, its Armor Class line only includes "+2 monk AC bonus" and doesn't give the Beatific One its hefty +7 Wisdom bonus to AC, despite the Monk's "AC Bonus" entry covering both the addition of Wisdom bonus to AC, and the scaling level-dependent bonus.
Quote:
AC Bonus (Ex): When unarmored and unencumbered, the monk adds her Wisdom bonus (if any) to her AC. In addition, a monk gains a +1 bonus to AC at 5th level. This bonus increases by 1 for every five monk levels thereafter (+2 at 10th, +3 at 15th, and +4 at 20th level).

Shouldn't the Beatific One's AC be 32, not 25?

The attack bonus on her Kukri attack was left off. I'm assuming it should be +17, just like the Spear? It appears she takes no penalties for fighting with multiple weapons? Should Multiweapon Fighting penalties be applied?

Also, her Flurry of Blows attack line is completely wrong. As far as I can tell they forgot to add in her Strength bonus. It should be:
Flurry of Blows +17/+17/+17/+12/+7 (1d10+6)

The writer also forgot to add in the +16 bonus to Jump that is provided by her 70 foot move speed.

James Jacobs wrote:
Matthew Starling wrote:
Shouldn't the DR for Rakshasas be Good and Piercing and Wood?...

Wood is not an "official" material as far as damage reduction goes. We introduced it in the nosferatu in Pathfinder 8, but that's the only time it's shown up, as far as I know. ...

In any event... rakshasas and the blessed crossbow bolts thing hasn't really been a part of the game since 2nd edition. ...

I know it's many years after the fact, but I thought I'd point out that both of these statements are actually incorrect.

The 3.0 WotC module The Standing Stone has some Tiny extraplanar lemur/squirrel creatures called Hobyahs that have DR 10/Wood.

Rakshasas suffered instant death from blessed crossbow bolts all the way through 3.0; it wasn't until 3.5 that they changed its Damage Reduction when trying to unify the DR rules. In 3.0 they had DR 20/+3, and this:

Quote:
Vulnerable to Blessed Crossbow Bolts (Ex): Any hit scored with a blessed crossbow bolt instantly slays a rakshasa.

Note that in 3.0, Rakshasas were CR 9, and a 9th level Good-aligned cleric casting Greater Magic Weapon produced both a +3 weapon (or 50 pieces of +3 ammunition) and caused that weapon (or ammo) to be considered blessed.

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