PFS#39 The Citadel of Flame [SPOILERS]


GM Discussion

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Grand Lodge

Seraphimpunk wrote:

running it tonight and noticed the low tier stats for Hafshi look like they're a 3rd level cleric, though the block says 4th.

her hp are listed as 18. if its 8 + 4 + 4 + 4 that's 20. if its 4x 4.5 that's 18. but if its 3rd level 8 + 5 + 5 = 18 as well. not sure which way they calculated hp. full first + hp / level like a classed PC, or avg hp for each HD.

her spells are 1 + bonus + domain, 2 + bonus + domain for 2nd and 1st. while a 4th level cleric would have 2 + bonus + domain, and 3 + bonus + domain.

her domain choice isn't that great, since she can't use her war ability on herself. Tactics domain would make a nice change, so she can roll twice for her own initiative. which helps in a final combat. ( Moloch's subdomains released in the paizo blog Subdomains for Everyone ).

changing her spells prepared to:
2nd - Aid, Produce Flame, Spiritual Weapon, Summon Monster II
1st - Burning Hands, Cause Fear, Endure Elements, Prodection from Good and Summon Monster I or Bane
can make it a more interesting fight, since Aid, Produce Flame and Protection from Good can be pre-cast to last 4 minutes giving her a better to hit, temporary hit points, and boost her saves/ac. produce flame is also a better ranged touch attack than her Fire bolt at 1d6+4 vs. 1d6+2.

Her feats at the low tier should really have been Toughness, Weapon Finesse, and Two Weapon Fighting. A. she gains the bonus hp and is a little tougher. B. when using a whip, she provokes anyway since whips provoke as a ranged weapon, but if she's not adjacent she won't risk an AoO for using the whip to trip. Weapon Finesse applies to CMB checks, so her trip stat for the whip would be +7. If she's given the toughness and her hp are calculated right 8 + 5 + 5 + 5, +4, she should have 27 hp instead of 18, and shouldn't go down in round 2. If you go so far to update her, might as well give her +2 con for being human too. (she's got a 20 point build, base of 2, 7, 0, 3, 10, -2 points spent. for 12, 15, 10, 13, 16, 8. +1 dex for level 4. but she...

Is optimizing the NPCs from the scenarios allowed in Society play? I thought the encounters were designed to be level appropriate, and to guarantee some consistency whether the scenario is played in Oregon or Indiana. However, off the top of my head, I can't think where that would be written. How much rebuilding of NPCs is allowed in Society play, and where would the guidelines be? I thumbed through the guide to lay very quickly and didn't see it specifically covered.

Silver Crusade

No, changing the NPCs or anything else about the scenario isn't allowed in PFS. But I agree that the NPC in question was a total wimp, and that final fight was way too easy. It's a weakness of the scenario, which was mostly fun otherwise.

Grand Lodge

Fromper wrote:
No, changing the NPCs or anything else about the scenario isn't allowed in PFS. But I agree that the NPC in question was a total wimp, and that final fight was way too easy. It's a weakness of the scenario, which was mostly fun otherwise.

Based on what? I agree, but I'd like something to point to that supports the position other than my Spidey senses.

Silver Crusade

Based on a whole LOT of conversations here on the forums. Just search for the word "RAW" in all caps on these forums, and I'm sure you'll find at least a few dozen examples of Mike Brock (PFS Campaign Coordinator for Paizo) saying that it's against the rules to change anything in a scenario. And I'd bet it's in the Guide to Organized Play somewhere, but I don't remember exactly.

Sczarni 4/5

I don't really see her being weak. On tier 4-5 she can lay the darkness and channel.
And no, you aren't at liberty to change anything, tho she does have more spell slots free, so you could prepare some additional spells or use them for spontaneous castings.

Silver Crusade

I played it recently in tier 1-2, and my character never got to act in the fight against her, because she went down so fast. For that matter, I don't think she ever got to act, either. And that was just a 4 player table with all level 1 characters.

Sczarni 4/5

Well, I cant really say for sure. I played her once and it was on tier 1-2 with 7 players. We were a bit short on time so I had to hasten the fight. She isn't too hard, but fight can last a bit. There are also some of those lava and steam exhausts. It can be made tougher if needed within GM limits.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

You can't change/optimize the NPC.

But I had the feeling we could correct gross errors like miscaculated bonuses, erronious entries and missing spell slots and the like. and when tactics aren't spelled out they can be "played smart".

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Running this on Sunday. What are the key pointers to keep in mind?

Grand Lodge

Get everyone's Will Saves and Perception check modifiers noted before you start.

Crucial for this scenario, IMO.

A few of the faction missions are kind of futsy, so make sure you note which factions are present at the table and make sure to describe the scenes extra well when necessary.

Figure out what horrible thing the BBEG is going to do before you get there. She's got some options(lots of spells) and a good plan of attack will make sure the final fight is a challenge.

Also if you want to borrow my set of Maps for this drop me an email.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

sveden wrote:

Get everyone's Will Saves and Perception check modifiers noted before you start.

Crucial for this scenario, IMO.

I'm thinking of trying out Chris Mortika's notecard idea, with pre-rolled initiatives, Perception, etc.

Thanks for your other tips as well! (I think I'll do my own maps, though; I want to get better at map-drawing. Thanks anyway!)

5/5

sveden wrote:
Also if you want to borrow my set of Maps for this drop me an email.

I've run this one six times, but I'd still love to see your maps! I have a set that I made up in Dundjinni if you want to trade. I'm just interested in seeing other techniques and ideas. I've sent you a PM with my email address.

Liberty's Edge

sveden wrote:
Also if you want to borrow my set of Maps for this drop me an email.

sveden,

I will be running this as my first PFS game in a few weeks, so I would also love to see your maps. I sent you a PM.

Grand Lodge

I guess I'll post it here so I stop getting requests.

I only have a printed copy of these maps. If I had a digital copy and it was legal for me to share my re-sized and edited copy of the map I would, but I can't so I shan't.

Dark Archive 5/5

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

Myron, check yer private mail.

Dark Archive 5/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
RedDogMT wrote:
sveden wrote:
Also if you want to borrow my set of Maps for this drop me an email.

sveden,

I will be running this as my first PFS game in a few weeks, so I would also love to see your maps. I sent you a PM.

Check out this post.

Dark Archive

Steven Robert wrote:

Indeed, Doug is correct - it was meant to be part of the whole package, just mattering long enough for the scenario.

Doug: You make an interesting point about the skill check, and it is something I had considered. My thoughts:

** spoiler omitted **

In any case, these "bonus" missions are supposed to be challenging, so players shouldn't expect to succeed all the time, as you say.

The problem where is picking Charisma skills, you do end up negatively impacting characters of certain classes. I ran this table with 5 cheliaxian PCs, and 2 of them could not make a DC 20 diplomacy or intimidate. Had you choosen Will Save instead it would have given everyone a chance.

However, I don't fault your logic that cheliaxian PCs should be investing in some social skills. It was just frustrating for those PCs who took all the bad stuff from the ritual, then didn't have a chance to get their second PP.

Dark Archive

Joshua J. Frost wrote:

Hey Tom,

If one member of the faction completes it, all members of the faction complete it.

There are two faction missions in each scenario. One is rather easy and one is rather hard. The rather hard one may come down to a single die roll. If the hard mission had multiple ways to solve it ... it wouldn't be hard. :-)

That said, the PA system doesn't assume you'll get every single PA every single time. So if you miss one every once in a while, it's not a huge deal.

This adventure explicitly states that each Cheliaxian faction PC must succeed at the DC 20 intimidate or diplomacy check to get the PP from this faction mission.

Shadow Lodge RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

I know this thread has been quiet for a some time, but just on the off chance...

I'm running this scenario at a con in a couple of weeks. As I'm looking at the map, the lava for the BBEG fight isn't particularly wide an I'm assuming a PC (or NPC, for that matter) can stand in the square without taking damage but if they're tripped by the BBEG's whip, they fall prone and are in the lava. Is that the right way of looking at it?

Silver Crusade 2/5

Spoiler!!!

Am I the only gm to make the players make acro checks to leap over the lava flow in the final encounter? Its supposedly a few feet wide (I ruled 3), which is dc 3, or 13 without a running start. Pretty tough for the fighter types in medium or heavy armor. I mean it lists the lava damage and the width of the lava for a reason..

I made sure to emphasize this last time I ran it, and it was one of the most memorable fights I have ever seen.

Sczarni 4/5

I believe it's assumed that if something is up to 5 feet wide that you can simply step over it. It wouldn't require Acrobatics check. It's fuzzy a bit in head, but I remember reading something like that in scenario or the books.

Lantern Lodge 3/5

Had a lv 1 Gunslinger fell face first into lava, after failing her acrobatic check... 6d6... 21 points of damage >_<!

She survived the first round thanks to toughness, 15 hp and full health.

Luckily the paladin was able to make his jump (in plate armour!), pull her out and heal her... whew... :)

Scarab Sages

I'm running this on Monday and I have a couple of questions. At the last room, are the lava rivers 5 ft? so they need an acrobatic DC 5, with a running start, DC 10 without one. Since faction missions are not been done, what alerts the BBEG of their coming? steal vs. perception?

The Exchange

There's no mechanic for crossing the troughs of lava, as you know from doing your prep work (kudos to you). That gives you the discretion as the GM to decide what the check should be, if any. I would weigh it against how challenged the PCs have been by earlier fights. If they have had an easy time of it, make the terrain an obstacle. If they are running on fumes, out of healing, etc then have some mercy. Your call. Citation:

Guide 5.0, page 32 wrote:
Additionally, the GM may consider utilizing terrain and environmental conditions when those effects have been written into the flavor of a scenario but the mechanics that are normally associated with them by the Core Rulebook have not been added to the encounters.

I think the Chelaxian mission is one of the best ones ever written. You can hand it out if you want to, just let the player know that it is optional.

I'd also concur that the BBEG is alerted on a successful Perception vs Stealth check. Make sure that everyone going up the stairs makes a check. The guys in the heavy armor are the weakest link. As soon as Hashfi hears them coming she'll start summoning and the PCs will know they are expected. She's rather weak so she'll need every advantage she can get to live for more than two rounds.

Grand Lodge 4/5

When I ran it I made the rivers 5' of lava.

As for knowing they're coming, do not underestimate the ability of players to do any of the rituals just because they're there.

Liberty's Edge 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Washington—Seattle aka The Great Rinaldo!

Jeff Merola wrote:
When I ran it I made the rivers 5' of lava.

Same here, though Doug is absolutely right. If the party is having a rough time you have the leeway to make them less of a challenge in order to make the encounter reasonably challenging, rather than a death-trap.

Jeff Merola wrote:
As for knowing they're coming, do not underestimate the ability of players to do any of the rituals just because they're there.

So true. Some players assume that because there *is* something to do, they *must* do it, and it will be good for them. It's good to get that out of their system.

5/5

Malokay wrote:
Since faction missions are not been done, what alerts the BBEG of their coming? steal vs. perception?

I always hand out faction missions. Even if they no longer earn prestige, players can decide if they want to do them or not. And, they often provide great information to the party which can help with the less-knowledgeable types. Just make sure the players know they are optional - some are hard on resources, and so only the hard-core faction members will want to do them.


GM Lamplighter wrote:
Malokay wrote:
Since faction missions are not been done, what alerts the BBEG of their coming? steal vs. perception?
I always hand out faction missions. Even if they no longer earn prestige, players can decide if they want to do them or not. And, they often provide great information to the party which can help with the less-knowledgeable types. Just make sure the players know they are optional - some are hard on resources, and so only the hard-core faction members will want to do them.

I do this exact same thing. I hand out the sheets and I give a little encouragement to do them. Mostly because many new people were told negative things abotu them and never even look at them when I do so.

I do this because I enjoy them and it is up to the players to do.

Grand Lodge 4/5

I give out faction missions that I think are interesting, relevant to the plot and consistent with current faction goals (this one, for sure), aiming for potentially 2 to 4 of them to provide a similar experience to Season 5. Agreed that players should be told they're optional and offer no mechanical reward.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, Tennessee—Knoxville aka tchrman35

<casts Thread Resurrection>

Am I missing something in this mod? Why is the sorc's Caster Level Check for the Burning Sphere a DC5? In fact, why does he have a CL Check at all?

CRB 490 wrote:
If the user meets all the requirements noted above, and her caster level is at least equal to the spell's caster level, she can automatically activate the spell without a check. If she meets all three requirements but her own caster level is lower than the scroll spell's caster level, then she has to make a caster level check (DC=scroll's caster level+1) to cast the spell successfully.

If we assume (PFS rules) that all scrolls are presumed to be made by wizards and clerics, then the CL of a Scroll of Burning Sphere would be 3. This particular sorcerer is L3. So he should be able to autocast the scroll.

If the rules for the spell's caster level are based on the user's caster class, then the CL for the spell would be 6, and the check would then be 7. (This seems to be the spirit of the rule, but I don't think it's actually the rule.)

EVEN if the the above was true, and the writer was trying to make it easy on us and was giving us the straight roll DC (Scroll CL + 1 - User CL), the DC would be 4.

None of these things is what is listed. Am I missing something?

Sczarni 4/5

If a caster has insufficient caster level (minimum needed for the spell) he has to make a caster level check to activate scroll if it's on his spell list. The DC to activate scroll of Flaming Sphere is 4 (3+1).

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

@tchrman35: I think you're right, there's no need for the check.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, Tennessee—Knoxville aka tchrman35

I read sideways on the 2nd item. Here's the quote:

tchrman35 wrote:
If the rules for the spell's caster level are based on the user's caster class, then the CL for the spell would be 6, and the check would then be 7. (This seems to be the spirit of the rule, but I don't think it's actually the rule.)

I read crooked across my chart, so the CL for the spell for sorcerers would be 4, not 6, and the DC for the check would be 5. So that's probably the metric used when creating this scenario.

My VC told me yesterday that for caster level checks, you use the activating person's class as the template, which seems like it would make sense. I still can't find a rule that states that, though. I mean, it REALLY sounds like the Scribe's CL is the number to beat when you read it from CRB (see above).

I've been searching the forum for answers to no avail. Does anyone know of a thread that clarifies this rule?

Grand Lodge 4/5

Scrolls, CRB p. 490 wrote:
The level of such spells depends on the caster scribing the scroll.

I agree that the caster scribing the scroll in PFS is a wizard and the minimum level he can scribe the scroll is 3rd. A 3rd-level sorcerer has a caster level (at least) equal to the scroll's caster level and doesn't need to make a check.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, Tennessee—Knoxville aka tchrman35

Running this again tomorrow night with another party (core this time). The Druid has an animal companion with scent ability.

The whole illusory encounter just got shot, didn't it?

The Exchange

1 person marked this as a favorite.
tchrman35 wrote:

Running this again tomorrow night with another party (core this time). The Druid has an animal companion with scent ability.

The whole illusory encounter just got shot, didn't it?

I'm not sure what situation you are referring to. The animal is not intelligent enough to communicate that something is an illusion, or that it smells someone hiding behind a wall. Cats can have a keen sense of smell, but they still jump at a red dot on the wall :)

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, Tennessee—Knoxville aka tchrman35

Doug Miles wrote:
tchrman35 wrote:

Running this again tomorrow night with another party (core this time). The Druid has an animal companion with scent ability.

The whole illusory encounter just got shot, didn't it?

I'm not sure what situation you are referring to. The animal is not intelligent enough to communicate that something is an illusion, or that it smells someone hiding behind a wall. Cats can have a keen sense of smell, but they still jump at a red dot on the wall :)

I mean, the cat will know that there is something behind the wall. But reading up, it seems you're right. I'm not sure the cat would have any way to tell the druid about it, nor the intelligence to know that he should.

<sigh of relief> That's my favorite part of the scenario!

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

1 person marked this as a favorite.

You could also point out that the place is pretty smokey, and that this makes companions unhappy.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

The building is also painfully hot so it wont want to walk on the stone floor with its bare feet and if not carried will be dancing about uncomfortably and trying to find cooler footing. It will likely be in heat distress unless under an Endure Elements spell. There are dead bodies just outside the door and in the armory which are going to be distracting scent wise, not to mention the PCs own strong sweat. There is a lot of stuff for an animal to be upset about here.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, Tennessee—Knoxville aka tchrman35

Yet another question about this scenario - how does Gali get out of the Secret Spine? There are NO doors on the place. How does he ever F2F the PCs?

Grand Lodge 4/5

tchrman35 wrote:
Yet another question about this scenario - how does Gali get out of the Secret Spine? There are NO doors on the place. How does he ever F2F the PCs?

Spoiler:
There is a secret door entering from E5.

He has no reason to confront the PCs unless they get into E5 and find the secret door, as his spell selection and tactics allow unlimited ranged attacks.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, Tennessee—Knoxville aka tchrman35

Starglim wrote:
tchrman35 wrote:
Yet another question about this scenario - how does Gali get out of the Secret Spine? There are NO doors on the place. How does he ever F2F the PCs?
** spoiler omitted **

OMG I am ridiculously dumb. I had edited the map for an online game some months ago, and removed the secret door. Then I never looked at the original again. DUH!

Thanks!

2/5

More thread resurrection.

So my turn to run this scenario is coming up. I'm trying to figure out the devil's tactics on the bridge.

Where does it start? A couple of GMs have implied that they start it flying somewhere nearby, so it flies up through the gap.

Is it hovering the entire combat? That's the only way I can envision a weapon and 2 claw attacks.

Also, the magaav has a reach weapon, so despite the written tactics, he would likely use the weapon against a second opponent while using his claws on another, no?

Hoping to do a good job on this scenario without being too hard on the players. I was in a 7-member party that was in the 4-5 subtier with only two players in tier. We did not do too well.

Dark Archive 5/5

Smallfoot wrote:

More thread resurrection.

Where does it start? A couple of GMs have implied that they start it flying somewhere nearby, so it flies up through the gap.

Is it hovering the entire combat? That's the only way I can envision a weapon and 2 claw attacks.

Also, the magaav has a reach weapon, so despite the written tactics, he would likely use the weapon against a second opponent while using his claws on another, no?

If the magaav attacks with its ranseur it cannot also attack with its claws. I don't exactly remember the tactics as written, but it would likely use its ranseur while remaining on the far side of/over the gap until it starts getting hit with arrows, then it may change to try and prevent that from happening.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, Tennessee—Knoxville aka tchrman35

DrParty06 wrote:
Smallfoot wrote:

More thread resurrection.

Where does it start? A couple of GMs have implied that they start it flying somewhere nearby, so it flies up through the gap.

Is it hovering the entire combat? That's the only way I can envision a weapon and 2 claw attacks.

Also, the magaav has a reach weapon, so despite the written tactics, he would likely use the weapon against a second opponent while using his claws on another, no?

If the magaav attacks with its ranseur it cannot also attack with its claws. I don't exactly remember the tactics as written, but it would likely use its ranseur while remaining on the far side of/over the gap until it starts getting hit with arrows, then it may change to try and prevent that from happening.

The math doesn't make sense (he should be taking penalties on the claws I think), but I think the magaav is supposed to take all 3 attacks. a 5ft step would allow all 3 on one target, plus rend (if both claws hit.)

The Melee block would say "or" if it was supposed to be either/or.

Dark Archive 5/5

tchrman35 wrote:


The math doesn't make sense (he should be taking penalties on the claws I think), but I think the magaav is supposed to take all 3 attacks. a 5ft step would allow all 3 on one target, plus rend (if both claws hit.)

The Melee block would say "or" if it was supposed to be either/or.

I was looking at an updated version that is in Bestiary 4. The Citadel of Flame version does have the full set of attacks and can either 5 ft. step to attack the same person or attack PCs at a different distance.

2/5

DrParty06 wrote:
tchrman35 wrote:


The math doesn't make sense (he should be taking penalties on the claws I think), but I think the magaav is supposed to take all 3 attacks. a 5ft step would allow all 3 on one target, plus rend (if both claws hit.)

The Melee block would say "or" if it was supposed to be either/or.

I was looking at an updated version that is in Bestiary 4. The Citadel of Flame version does have the full set of attacks and can either 5 ft. step to attack the same person or attack PCs at a different distance.

Ah, thanks! Weapon OR claws makes much more sense. The other differences between the scenario statblock and Bestiary 4 are

*the Infernal Wound is changed to bleed 2 - no caster level check for healing spells
*the rend damage goes from 1d6+1 to 1d6+6 plus 2 bleed
*CMD is down to 25 instead of 26

Unless I hear differently between now and running the game, I'll plan to use the updated version.

2/5

Sorry for the necro, but i need to know for sure about the claws.

Does it use its feet-claws? Is what i assumed and seemed logical.
Or do these claws come into action when the ranseur is lost?
Hand claws.

This could make a difference.

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