Children of the Void - Level Curve


Second Darkness


So, my party is about 3/4ths through Children of the Void and they haven't even gotten enough experience to get to 5th level, much less 6th. They've hit every single combat encounter on the island--

Spoiler:
they fought Varis the wraith, they fought the akata siege, the centipedes in the west tower, and a random encounter with 5 akatas and an "advanced" megakata (quick advanced template) that jumped the PCs when they went to get their horses from the Witchlight area after the tower collapse
-- and they're still almost 2,500 exp away from levelling to 5th.

The only encounter they haven't taken on was Zincher's camp, but at the moment they're literally standing outside of the drow caves, ready to go in. They followed Zincher down-- who made sure to lead them-- and are about to make the plunge.

So... what level _should_ they be? I'm getting the feeling I'll have to turn to my PCs and go "Well... you're 7th level now!" or just make up two levels of content in the AP.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

"Children of the Void" ended up being VERY short on XP, unfortunately. You have a few options to handle this:

1) Simply level the PCs up to 7th. You could justify this by saying "By avoiding the fight at Zincher's camp and learning what's going on there and not killing everyone, you still gain XP for the thugs at the camp as if you defeated them... you did, after all, solve that encounter area."

2) Expand the drow caves by several encounter areas, putting in a section where the PCs have to fight through some monsters and wildlife in the caves that the drow use as advance guards.

3) Have the PCs encounter some more wandering monsters on Devil's Elbow.

4) Tone down the drow encounters in the cave so that they're good challenges for 5th-level characters, and then once this adventure is over, send the PCs on a short side adventure of your own design or using another published adventure when they get back to Riddleport to level them up so they're ready for "Armageddon Echo."


James Jacobs wrote:

"Children of the Void" ended up being VERY short on XP, unfortunately. You have a few options to handle this:

2) Expand the drow caves by several encounter areas, putting in a section where the PCs have to fight through some monsters and wildlife in the caves that the drow use as advance guards.

I think this sounds like a good idea to me-- one thing I've noticed about SD is that if your party is heavily armored, good luck ever hitting them. A lot of the monsters are constructed with a bunch of attacks with low bonuses, and while that'd be good if my party was, say... a monk, a rogue, a cleric and a sorceror, my party's a paladin, a sorceror with shield and mage armor, a cleric who took heavy armor prof. and a barbarian who wears medium armor and a shield. I've given every single creature a secret +2 to hit since the beginning of Children, and nobody's felt threatened in the slightest because even with that I've had to roll 19s or 20s to even hit them.

So... doing that will let me slip in some more challenging monsters. The akata siege had the players excited and tense (especially when I dumped my entire mini box out on the map to represent the hundred or so akatas) but once they realized the akata were no threat to them whatsoever, it became more of a slog-fest until the tower started rolling.

James Jacobs wrote:


4) Tone down the drow encounters in the cave so that they're good challenges for 5th-level characters, and then once this adventure is over, send the PCs on a short side adventure of your own design or using another published adventure when they get back to Riddleport to level them up so they're ready for "Armageddon Echo."

That's a good idea as well, but like I said, my party hasn't felt threatened yet. Even if they're 5th-- heck, even if they were 4th-- they won't need toning down! I actually toned it up a bit and made Xakhin a summoner instead of a druid.

I think I'm still going to have to run a level worth of adventures inbetween CotV and AE but I just don't want to have to run 2 and 1/2 levels of my own adventures. I like writing stuff and including my own personal twist on a lot of the AP material, changing things as I think they should be, but I wouldn't want to risk writing up what could be 3-4 sessions that might lure the PCs away from their goal at Celwynian.

Nonetheless, thanks for the response. Now at least I know it's supposed to (kind of) be that way.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Well... if your party hasn't felt threatened yet... maybe you should just forge ahead! Let them stay 5th level and start the next adventure below the recommended level. A group of experienced gamers who have lots of skill at playing the game combined with lots of experience with each others' play styles and strengths and weaknesses is ALWAYS going to do better than the average group, after all. Might be a good idea to just keep going as written!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Rulebook Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
Well... if your party hasn't felt threatened yet... maybe you should just forge ahead! Let them stay 5th level and start the next adventure below the recommended level. A group of experienced gamers who have lots of skill at playing the game combined with lots of experience with each others' play styles and strengths and weaknesses is ALWAYS going to do better than the average group, after all. Might be a good idea to just keep going as written!

Agreed!

Armour is they key to the AP at least the first three books, the encounters tend to be full of low level fodder who can't hit for beans.

Make sure to have them assisting big bad guys hitting instead of just hitting attacking (and missing) themselves.


I've decided to have the PCs end up travelling through some extra underground sea caves. As they tail Zincher, he pops through an elf-gate or a teleportation circle or some such and they have to find out how to work the circle to continue-- something they learn from Virashi at the end of the mini-dungeon.

Any tips on what would be appropriate for a dungeon like this? I'm stretching my mind for interesting encounters.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My party faced a similar situation, but it was exacerbated by the fact that all the players FORGOT that we were on the fast XP progression, and ended up fighting the final battle with the drow at level four! Samaritha helped somewhat, and the Pathfinder rules helped them considerably, but one still died to the Orca.

They then leveled up to 5th after that. I pitted them against a Moonflower to help get them some more XP, and only after that encounter did everyone realize they should have been 6th.

A lot of shaking their heads on that one.

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