Edge of Anarchy (GM Reference)


Curse of the Crimson Throne

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Something I would advise to just be aware of is that the Hellknights' role is essentially already over, and is intended to be replaced by the much more severe grey maidens in the next book. The riots are essentially at an end by the time they get Gaeken's body back and go to the execution, and the Hellknights are essentially the evil riot cops that will tackle you (if not just cut you down), over use pain submission, and then just pepper spray you while they have you detained in a line with a bunch of other people out of spite. Perhaps they can be used to scare the PC/party a bit when you start the interrogation/parlay with Ileosa, but you definitely don't want them squaring up against a squad or even a lone Hellknight. At the barest minimum, a true Hellknight is a minimum CR 5, and the queen likely wouldn't just have a rookie Hellknight near her. Hellknights also hold a grudge. Basically don't put them in a fight with any Hellknights unless you have something planned like the summoned mantises that Inspectre recommended.


Thanks. I was planning to use more Glorio Arkona as the evil goatee advisor as suggested by Inspectre (thank you Inspectre!). I tend to prefer him to the hellknigths as two of my PC backgrounds are linked to the Arkonas.

The first one is himself an Arkona. He's from a family branch fallen in disgrace 200 years ago when the Arkona came back from Vudrani. The idea is that this branch is not aware that they are some Rakshasa and they are use for dirty/not so important business. And this PC has been raised in bitterness and dreams of taken back their place at the head of the family.
And I have another elf PC who got her husband killed by the Arkona Rakshasa (even if she does know it yet).

So, to make this long story short, I think it's nice to bring some Arkona early in the game, as they will be some nice evil guys (so it's less that probable that my PC will ever make an alliance with the Arkona. But who knows...)

I played a bit with the Hellknights (trying to catch Trinia and managing the riots in a bloody and efficient way), but as they don't have a big upcoming role, I am not sure I want to spend too much effort on them. I used them to put a bit of pressure on the PC.

I don't intend anymore to play any fight here (unless something very unexpected happens). The queen, advised by Glorio, will either try to convince them that Trinia is guilty (with the help of some false evidences put in place by her allies), either try to convince that maybe she's not guilty, but that the city needs a culprit, and the list of candidates is small. I have not figured it yet.

And I like the idea to give them a role in the trial, I'll see, but it sounds cool. I think it makes more sense if the Queen plays that "Trinia is guily".

And the hellknigths could do their own investigations and challenge a bit the PC, but I'm not sure it is that interesting if I don't bring them back later.


-Hellknights-

Yeah, unfortunately the Hellknights just aren't a thing after Edge of Anarchy, which is pretty weird given they seem to have zero ideological problems with Ileosa's tyranny, and given her resources it shouldn't be impossible to continue hiring the Hellknights out to do her more open dirty work in the same way the Red Mantis are hired to do all of her covert dirty work. Of course, she does have the Grey Maidens later on for day-to-day oppression, and they are more loyal as brainwashed fanatics than glorified mercenaries, but still. It is really weird that this army of hardcore mercenaries just scampers off to their fortress outside Korvosa and never interact with the plot again.

But since you don't have any provided material on the Hellknights beyond "they leave after Book One and are never seen again", and the players haven't wired their characters motivations/backstories into dealing with the Hellknights, it seems perfectly fine to just let them fade into the background and save yourself the work.

If you do want to use the Hellknights as the opposition pressing for Trinia to be prosecuted here, as their final villainous send-off to the campaign, I'd agree that you want to use either a rookie Hellknight hoping to turn Trinia into their first big case and make a name for themselves within the order (and thus be around that minimum CR 5) or perhaps an armiger which is a non-proven Hellknight (or trainee/wannabe Hellknight which can be of any level really but probably below 5th or 6th) looking to use Trinia's sentencing as justification for them undergoing the trial to become a full-blown Hellknight. Basically, the Order of Hellknights doesn't care about Trinia much because nobody is paying them anymore to care, but there's that one annoying guy who's looking to show initiative and get ahead.

Alternatively, you can use a higher-ranking Hellknight who's just there as an intimidating threat/social challenge since the PCs can't take them in a head-on fight (much like Sabina). When it comes to a physical confrontation, if you want to add one at the end of Edge of Anachry at the Trinia/Trinia replacement execution, have the high-ranking Hellknight summons some low devils like a bearded devil and/or some hellhounds to chase Blackjack and (fake) Trinia through the streets, which the PCs have to discretely intercept after the escape from the execution.

-Arkonas-

Anyway, the Hellknights are a fairly "meh" choice in your situation I'd say, and given the player backgrounds I would definitely put Glorio and Melyia Arkona more front-and-center as the obviously evil red herring villains leading up to Book Three when the party can finally go deal with them. Maybe they'll be convinced of the argument for a temporary truce/non-aggression pact with Glorio given the reveal of Ileosa's evil, maybe he'll just run away and manage to escape the PCs for revenge later, or maybe they'll manage to kill him outright in Book Three. He's pretty high-CR for the party in Book 3, but faced alone against a prepared party he should be killable.

-Trinia Trial-

If you do decide to go for a trial as a juicy drama alternative to the Hellknights, you can just drop them entirely and have the voice of the prosecution be a very unhappy Kroft, who shares the PCs' belief that Trinia/surrogate Trinia is completely innocent, but due to the high profile nature of the case as the Field Marshall of Korvosa she has been asked to serve as the prosecutor before the arbiters during the trial. She is really NOT happy about that, but it's a stated duty of the Field Marshall, and Kroft is pretty big about fulfilling the duties of her office, unpleasant as they may be. A trial would as mentioned before also give you a chance to show Zenobia Zenderholm to the party prior to her fall and undeadification, although if you do not plan on running the hard cover's addition to Book Four of the Deathshead Vault then this won't be necessary.

As for the party arguing Trinia's innocence before Ileosa, I would definitely think ahead a bit on what her arguments will be for why she believes Trinia did it. In order to keep up the deception her reasons will need to either sound logical for someone who doesn't have all the facts (i.e. Trinia had access to Eodred and is someone whose loyalty to Eodred is questionable), and/or Ileosa plays dumb and naive who is getting bad advice (pointing to Glorio as said "bad" adviser).

One thing you can definitely spin later on after Trinia/surrogate Trinia is sentenced to execution if the players question why, is 1) Ileosa wants to show mercy of a quick and clean death while offering closure to the city, instead of consigning Trinia to a slow torturous death in the dungeons as the normal punishment for regicide. In actually, of course, she wants to wrap this up and consider everything done before some do-gooder can investigate matters further and pick apart Trinia's "guilt". Same with the potential Feeblemind on the surrogate Trinia - if her mind is gone, she won't experience the pain and fear associated with the execution.

And of course, Ileosa can answer truthfully that she did not poison Eodred, although things will get more blurred on whether or not she's responsible for his death, since she is the mastermind.


Thanks for all the ideas and the details. Thanks everyone, this will be super cool I think!


Hey guys! We played last friday.

We played an audience with the queen, and she gave some arguments to explain her point of view. She gave them 3 days to investigate as they were insisting. The players noticed that she started to doubt the loyalty of Kressida (especially after what they told the queen ^^' - i.e. approximatively "Kressida sent us to catch Trinia and hide her"). They totaly went for the idea that Glorio Arkona was gaving her advices, maybe even threathening her (they came with that themselves).

So their next move was to go to Kressida and warm her: "The queens knows everything, you should give her back Trinia". I am quite glad that they are worried about Kressida's fate. But I try to keep Kressida always busy and moving around, and never sitting in her office. So she was busy with the Shoanti and Pharasma's priests trying to figure out out to manage the Dead warrens crisis. So they decided to put on hold the Trinia's question, and they started to clean the dungeon (two of my players have backstories linked to Rolth Lamm, so they literaly jumped on it).

So for next session, they will close this Shoanti/Dead Warrens "interlude" and then they will go back to the investigation and the trial.

It was really cool, maybe weird to put the Dead Warrens in the middle of everything, but all in all, I think everyone really enjoyed it, and we will go on next time. So a big thank you to everyone again :)

Next sessions is in a while, the 1st on july. Usually we have more a 3- 4 weeks rythm, but agendas were quite busy for June -_- I keep you posted!


Last session, we finished the Dead Warrens dungeon. Everyone is still alive, and will go for the investigation/trial/execution hopefully next session, in two weeks :)


Hello everyone,

We finally played the investigation and Trinia's trial yesterday. It was heavily based on your suggestions, and went quite well. To recap, a PC sent a letter to the queen after Trinia capture to say that he was convinced that she was innocent. He has a connection to the queen, so she convene the PC and ask them to give back Trinia, promising a fair trial. She gave them 3 days to investigate. She played a bit the game of a naïve queen, badly adviced by Glorio, and not caring that much about Trinia guilty or fate as soon as her death can calm the riots.

So they did investigate (after a small Dead Warrens interlude). They used "speak with the dead" to question the dead guard that confess under torture, seeing Trinia pouring the poison in the king's drink. They learned that:

- he did not see Trinia pouring the poison, but he did lie because of torture.
- Sabina killed him
- Sometimes, the king was arguing loudly and violently with an unknown voice (foreshadowing Venster)

They also questioned Trinia's neighbors (and a mouse living there), learning about Cinnarbar hiding some poison there before the visit of the hellknigths. They had a description of her hair, armor and blades. With the description, they managed to figure that it was probably the red mantis leader.

They tried to have information on the poison (who can do that kind of thing, but the rolled really badly). So they studied some books found at Rolth's place in the end, without much success. They went to Abadar temple, where the priest did some investigation on the poison found, and even if they had no information, one cleric PC met Ishani and it was a nice discussion.

They also tried to sneak in the queen's room using the shape changer'skills, and this was absurd and funny. I don't really like such foolish scenes, but everyone's fun matters.

They also went to Grau to have maybe some useful information about Sabina. They learned more about Grau's backstory, with was nice.

Then it was time for a new conversation with the queen, that convinced them that then Trinia's trial should go smoothly. She gave the prosecutor job to Cressida, and offered to the Senechal's son to take care of the defense, as a demonstration of goodwill, because she wants to be sure that she his not losing his trust nor support. He did accept.

So the next day, the Trial did happen. Trinia was under "feeblemind" spell effect. Zenobia launched her "Lesser restoration" and "Dispell magic", that should be enough for most common magic or poison effect. Either she thought that Trinia was then pretending to be sick, or she noticed that then he was probably a powerful spell and she did not want to be in the way of a powerful opponent, no one will never know ^^'

The PC made a quite convincing speech showing that all of this was a masquerade:

- poison put under the floor by a mysterious woman
- cannot trust the guard that was tortured
- Trinia had no good reason to commit the murder
The PC asked that Trinia would be interrogated in a zone of thruth, without many success.
Then a guard that saw the confesison of the dead guard also testified that he saw his colleague showing some torture signs when confessing seing Trinia pouring the power.
But the court did not really cared for the quality of a testimony under torture. And the lack of proof from the PC was quite of an issue, so Zenobia decided to sentence Trinia to death, succumbing to the overall political pressure.

Then we played more or less by the book, the PC deciding to help blackjack.

Overall, it was really nice, interesting, and fun, so thank you :) I was a bit afraid that they would be disappointed by the fact that the murder mystery part was long (3h), without finding any proper evidence. And that whatever they do, the trial outcome is very difficult to change (the PC speach was really cool though ^^')

But when I asked them, they told me "ha, no, it's fine, some powerful opponents are there conspiring and influencing. We tried, we lost, we find what is going on".

So he was really nice and fun to play. I'm really glad I asked for your advices, the result was really cool! Thanks!


Sound like it all went great. It might be a good "between modules" thing since you introduced Zenobia and showed her (semi-)remorseful over the decision to show her good side (before she disappears then comes back evil and transformed in book 4).

And if the party thinks they didn't "save Trinia from guilty verdict" (and later fugitive status) because they simply failed to save her from the mob and not actually evil Ileosa, all the better for the reveal in book 2.

Have fun!

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