PFS#39 The Citadel of Flame [SPOILERS]


GM Discussion

1 to 50 of 98 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
The Exchange

I ran a slot zero of this scenario last night at the low tier. The table did not have much knowledge or linguistic skill, but they were all experienced players and compensated well. Begin

Spoiler:

The fire elementals went down easy. I always call the first combat the “warm-up fight” and I wonder if Mr. Roberts was making a pun here. Including the holy arrows was a nice touch, useful but not overpowering. The players fell completely for the Secret Spine encounter. I made them pre-roll 4 fortitude saves (for the heat), 4 perceptions (for the peepholes) and 4 sense motives (for the distractions). Done properly the PCs will not likely be in the Citadel long enough to suffer environmental effects but I dropped it on them once when they entered the Sacred Sauna.

Back to the Secret Spine. Some of the players at the table were ‘spontaneous’ and liked to trigger multiple encounters. They started opening up doors and triggering attacks from Gali. His tactics were excellent as far as the PCs wasting their resources chasing his phantoms. Pre-rolling the perceptions and sense motives makes it harder for the players to meta-game but puts more work on the GM. Once they figured out the illusions one player found a peep hole and started to attack the wall. That was not foreseen. I made up some hardness and HP figure out of my head, but afterward I looked it up and figured the walls were superior masonry (PRPG pg 411), hardness 8 and 90 HP per 10x10 section. So how many inches thick are the interior walls of the Citadel? I don’t really need a ruling, but I dislike feeling arbitrary.

They frightened Gali out of his panic room. He managed to get a color spray off that dropped two PCs but they grappled him and it was all over. They questioned him, beat him unconscious and hog-tied him for later.

The next encounter was interesting. It does not say in the scenario where the gaav is before the fight begins. Is it inside of the covered bridge? Outside? Underneath? The PCs used a bench from the entry hall to bridge the hole in the floor. I let the two best fighters cross over then the gaav flew in through the gap and attacked the PCs on the other side. If I would have thought about it, the gaav should have kicked the bench out of the gap as his action… It wasn’t very tough, but it put up more of a fight than the elementals. The noxious breath is hardly worth using since it can only affect one target. I do like the superior grappler ability. What do you other GMs think about having the gaav grapple then try to drop a PC through the hole in the floor? I’d give the PC a reflex save to grab the edge, but they’d drop whatever they had in their hands. Is this a fair tactic?

The encounter with the dwarvern weaponsmith Vulcus turned from role-playing to combat when he was approached by a Qadiran PC who asked him why he was making weapons for the cult. I had the dwarf sass the PC, which resulted in a swift beat-down. The problem was the Taldor PC wanted the dwarf alive, and the Qadiran PC might have killed the dwarf if he was strictly role-playing his character. We all understood organized play, but the Taldor PC came very close to acting against the Qadiran to save her Faction point. I don’t have a big problem with this being part of the scenario, I just want the GMs who read this to consider what their intervention will be at their table.
The Pilgrim Passage was very cool. I love the Chelaxian mission that involves deliberately hurting themselves. That gave me a lot of satisfaction as a GM. After the 1st level Chelaxian cleric sandblasted his face and had 4 HP left, he healed himself. I didn’t think this was in the spirit of the ritual, so I made him do it again, LOL, before he prostrated himself before another deity then went to 0 HP by sticking his hand in a profane blowtorch. Seriously, there should be an atonement required if a cleric or paladin goes through with this, even though it is outrageously funny to watch the player perform. I think a Will save would be better than a diplomacy or intimidate check to resist Moloch’s influence. The fire resistance granted is a very nice touch though. It doesn’t help much at the low tier but it certainly will at the high.

The fight against Hafshi was anti-climactic. Her minions really don’t make much of an obstacle and it’s not long before she’s backed into a corner and failing her concentration checks to cast defensively. Her build with the combat expertise and the improved trip really does not make her a challenging opponent. She’d be better off with combat casting and heavy armor proficiency. And a playmate. She died in round two.

Overall I think this was a fine scenario and I am looking to doing a better job of running it the next time around. The rooms are full of interesting stuff and there’s lots of dots for the players to connect that keep them engaged with the story instead of playing with their dice waiting to roll the next initiative. Steven Robert is a really good contributor and I’m looking forward to seeing more of his work.

The Exchange 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Western Eurasia-Middle East aka Wintergreen

I ran this as a slot zero the other week (ready for a convention in the UK that starts tomorrow). I ran it at 4th level and totally had a blast. The players seemed to love it. Similar experiences to Doug Doug apart from the final encounter was a truly epic battle .

The faction mission went really well with the PC almost giving up on it and the other characters amazed at what he was doing.

A great adventure.


When I first began developing this scenario I knew it was a winner when I reached that mission. I'm glad to hear your Chelaxian players had fun with it.


I ran this mod this past Saturday, and overall, we had a great time with it. I put up pictures up here:

Pictures on Dwarven Forge

(BTW, Josh, could I put up a picture of the map from the map to show how well the DF set works for this particular mod?)

The group consisted of a

Osiriani Half-elf Monk 1 / Sorcerer 1
Qadiran Half-Orc Barbarian 1
Qadiran Half-Orc Cleric 1
Osiriani Human Ranger 3
Andoran Human Cleric 3 - this player was particularly happy as he was playing a cleric of Sarenrae.

Ran it at Tier 1-2

The first fight with the elementals barely hurt the group. They discovered the writings, and the Andoran spoke Kelite, so noted the trials before of his fellow Sarenraeites.

The group completely fell for Gali's "footsteps in the sand" leading up to the sauna, and nicely opened the trapped door and got the full fire in the face. A few also decided to spend time in there to decipher the glyphs about the sandstorm. Thinking about it now, I should have had Gali give trouble to those who waited downstairs at the ones upstairs took 20 and suffered from the heat.

In any case, they moved on into the Trophy room, and noticed the light from the Secret Spine, but ignored it. They was to their dismay as the Flaming Sphere appeared and got the Ranger. The barbarian tried to should his way through the wall at that time, but ended up only hurting himself. Meanwhile the group tried to figure out what was going on as the Sphere took down the Ranger. The Qadiran cleric quickly deduced that there was a secret room beyond and noted the eyeholes in the wall to the entry hall. (I agree with notes about the hardness & hp of the wall as I'm sure many others will try the same).

They stuffed some of the tattered cloth into the eyeholes to prevent more tricks. They decided to try to ambush Gali by going through the Trophy Room, into the Reception Chamber and from there, the Secret Spine. Meanwhile, the Andoran removed some cloth and opted to summon a celestial dog into the secret spine. I had him roll for init, and he beat Gali; so he bent to look in and saw an eye staring right back at him. He was casting a full-round spell, so Gali attacked back with his ray, but it was insufficient to disrupt concentration. The next few rounds, Gali spent dealing with the dog as the PC's hear barks, yelps, and shouts of pain from within. They soon got in there and captured Gali.

As they were trying to figure out what to do with him, the Ranger went ahead to scout out the bridge. I had him make a Perception check to see if he was surpised by the Gaav. He made it, and so heard the flapping of wings just as the Gaav appeared at the crack. The Gaav was going to attack, grab him, then drop him off the bridge, but alas, the ranger was too quick and fled back to the reception chamber. There, it engaged the entire party. It managed to grappled the Barbarian, who had charged up a few seconds later. It was then going to fly away with him to the crack, however, the Ranger critted it while using one of the Holy +1 arrows. Did something like 40 points of damage, in addition to the other Holy arrow which hit - it was rather incredible as they were not being very successful getting past its DR with the other attacks. Quite a memorable and fun encounter!

They next managed to talk to the Dwarf and, while not necessarily convincing him to help them, agreed not to hinder them if they promised to "dispose" of the Hafshi.

No one decided to perform the rituals, (although the Andoran guessed correctly that a Chelaxian would have to 8-), and they arrived upstairs. As there was no warning to their appearance, she was not prepared. She did hear them coming up the stairs however, so was not surpised. It didn't matter much as the monk sprinted up to her, hindering her casting, and on round 2, the barbarian was next to her and, with another crit, took off her head. I concur that this was rather a pushover encounter. Perhaps add a few other cultists (could she really have sacrificed every last other person?) who can serve as speedbumps so that the players don't just steamroller her.

In any case, a very fun, and enjoyable mod with interesting faction missions.

BTW, is this considered a Living Campaign where the PC's actions can affect future mods? Ie. if most did not destroy the mural, will it show up later? If so, how do we "report" whether Gali was killed, or the mural destroyed, etc.?

-Andrew


To be fair, a final encounter doesn't always have to be the climactic encounter. :-) With time to prepare, she's a monster. But if the PCs are careful and she's not warned, she's not so much of a monster. The "push-over" aspect is really a reward for the players. :-)

I'm glad your groups are enjoying this one!

The Exchange

Fu-Man Chu wrote:
BTW, is this considered a Living Campaign where the PC's actions can affect future mods? Ie. if most did not destroy the mural, will it show up later? If so, how do we "report" whether Gali was killed, or the mural destroyed, etc.?

Andrew, those were AMAZING pictures of the Dwarvern Forge terrain. Thanks for sharing them! I am a guy who appreciates a good map, too.

As for your Living Campaign question, the answer is no--at least not for now. Never say never. Josh has maintained the answer is no, but keep your fingers crossed and we'll see if he still has the energy to resist us by Season Three or Four :)

So the short answer is that the results of one scenario seldom have an impact on another, with the exception of multi-part scenarios such as The Echoes of the Everwar series which started with PFS#36 The Prisoner of Skull Hill. Your character's actions may have an impact on later scenarios in the series, and that is reflected on the Chronicle sheet you'll receive at the end. But if 20 tables utterly fail to stop the Black Echelon agents from assassinating key government officials in Absalom, it doesn't mean for the next year there will be chaos in the streets as a factional struggle errupts in the power void. Does that help?


There will be metaplot items such as this in March, some more in June, and then a bunch in a big way beginning at Gen Con 2010.


Thanks for the feedback, folks! It is great for us novice writers to hear how things play out in other groups, and I'm glad people have enjoyed it. Special thanks to Fu-Man Chu for the pics - especially nice to see things come alive!

Sorry about the lack of detail on the walls - I guess that slipped out of my final draft. I definitely picture superior masonry, which should give Gali plenty of time to react to PCs bashing in his hidey-hole.

Again, thanks for the feedback!


Joshua J. Frost wrote:
To be fair, a final encounter doesn't always have to be the climactic encounter. :-) With time to prepare, she's a monster. But if the PCs are careful and she's not warned, she's not so much of a monster. The "push-over" aspect is really a reward for the players. :-)

That's a good point - and they did prepare well 8-)

Steven Robert wrote:

Thanks for the feedback, folks! It is great for us novice writers to hear how things play out in other groups, and I'm glad people have enjoyed it. Special thanks to Fu-Man Chu for the pics - especially nice to see things come alive!

Sorry about the lack of detail on the walls - I guess that slipped out of my final draft. I definitely picture superior masonry, which should give Gali plenty of time to react to PCs bashing in his hidey-hole.

Again, thanks for the feedback!

My pleasure Steven, I hope the set ups did justice to your vision!

-Andrew

The Exchange

We ran three tables of this scenario yesterday at uncleden's gameday. We actually mustered the tables by asking all the Chelaxian players to raise their hands. Appropriately there were three so we built the tables around them to ensure that all the tables would enjoy participating in/witnessing the mission. One Chelaxian player refused to even attempt the ritual, which was appropriate since he was a cleric of a different deity. A question arose on an alternate solution to the mission. What if Hafshi Al-Moloch was charmed into cooperation and returned to the faction as a substitute? Would that still earn the point? A Chelaxian player at my table had a 1st level wizard with an 7 charisma. He had zero chance to succeed in this mission, despite going through all the steps of the ritual. He was upset about the DC 20 charisma-based skill check at the end of the ritual. Nothing to be done about it now. I told him that the missions aren't supposed to be gimmes and he should expect to fail from time to time. It does seem like a circumstance modifier could have been included to help the charisma-challenged PCs.

Why couldn't the fire resistance gained be permanent? Pathfinder Society PCs level up so quickly and it seems like a mere fire resistance 5 would not be unbalanced, especially at higher levels. Favors are still sparse on the Chronicles and this one seemed like an obvious choice that would make this mission more rewarding. It could be limited to the first player to complete the ritual, so a maximum of one player per table would gain the boon. If it seems like it neglects the other factions then there could be future benefits for the others in scenarios yet to be released. A lot of the players in my local area look at their Chronicles regretfully because of the lack of favors & unique items.

Sovereign Court 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Missouri—Cape Girardeau

I'm planning to run this Sunday and the ritual sparked a question.

Spoiler:
part B of the ritual states that if a PC prostrates themselves willingly they have a -1 to all saves against Moloch cultists spells and spell like effects.

Is this permanent? Or only last the rest of the module? It does give a time limit on both the benefit if you succeed and the penalty if you fail but not on that.

If it is permanent, I know it has to be noted in conditions gained, and I hope the player is honest the next time the cultists come up in play.

The Exchange

Tim Statler wrote:

I'm planning to run this Sunday and the ritual sparked a question.

** spoiler omitted **
Is this permanent? Or only last the rest of the module? It does give a time limit on both the benefit if you succeed and the penalty if you fail but not on that.

If it is permanent, I know it has to be noted in conditions gained, and I hope the player is honest the next time the cultists come up in play.

No Tim, it is not permanent. You are right that it would be noted on the Chronicle if it was. If that was the intention it would be printed on the Chronicle and the GM would need to cross it off if the player didn't do it. I think most players would accept it if it were permanent so long as they could keep the

Spoiler:
fire resistance 5.

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:
I debated between a skill check like this and a save (which at least would have auto-success on a 20). However, I decided that a save would arbitrarily penalize characters of certain classes (with poor Will saves). At least with a skill check it is the player's choices about his/her character that determine the chances of success - and I thought this particular subset of skills (and Charisma in general) fit in well with Cheliax anyway.

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 Exchange

Steven, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I wish more faction missions were as entertaining and agonizing for the PC (and their players) to experience.

I have a question that maybe you can help with. There was a table at our game day (I wasn't the GM) where the Chelaxian player

Spoiler:
refused to even attempt the faction mission. He stayed true to his deity and looked for an alternative way to accomplish his mission. When the PCs squared off against Hafshi the bard threw a Hail Mary charm person at her and she failed. The GM allowed them to take her alive. The Chelaxian player had an idea that the cleric of Moloch had probably undergone the ritual herself and had the devil's influence in her. He had the bard persuade her to return with them to Absalom and turned her in as a proxy for his mission.
Now whether you agree with this or not, the GM felt the player had come up with a creative solution and rewarded him by granting the faction point. I'm just curious if you think that was an appropriate decision.


I personally am all for creative solutions - I think that's the best part about RPGs! So I think the GM made a great decision. (Keep in mind, though, that my opinion is just that, and it isn't official in any way!)

Sovereign Court 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Missouri—Cape Girardeau

Btw, just reading thru the senario, it is really good. I like it.

Dark Archive

Steven Robert wrote:

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.

I had my 1st level chelaxian cleic RP through this faction mission. I was the guinea pig and had a LOT of fun with the way it played out. Until the end:

Spoiler:
To have the whole thing come down to a single d20 role was extremely fruastrating and agravating. Frankly, success for something as important as a faction mission should never come down to a single roll. If so, there should always be at least a 50/50 shot at success. I had a 1 in 20 shot, another player had no chance of ever succeeding and the other two watched us, hand waved their way through the ritual and said thanks for the free points guys, to bad you two loose out.....

So, while I think the mod was well written, the challenges were cool, fun and interesting, that one point does leave a bad taste. There should always be another way of succeeding. This mission had so much potential, then ....fizzle....

A question comes to mind:

Spoiler:
If one PC succeeds, were all members of the faction to get the extra point or does each PC have to face/perform the challenge as well? This has come up in other mods where, well, if you got four members of a faction trying to "secretly' perform a task, it's really stupid. (for example, trying to hide an object/letter/ on an npc "secretly" or aquiring a personal item from a npc "secretely" while in their presence.) When you ask the DM, you get "thats up to you" or "you will have to figure it out". Then no point. A ruleing that one PC's success is good enough for all members of the faction in the party would move things along and avoid some silliness that just drags down the flow of the mod.

Other than that, though, the mod was a lot of fun and I look foward to running it in the future.


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.

Dark Archive

Joshua J. Frost wrote:

Hey Tom,

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

Josh, thank you for that clarification. It will make a difference as a

player and DM in the future.

Quote:

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.

I understand that Josh, I may have been unclear. I know thats how the 2 missions work now. And that is fine. The game is about the adventure, not neccesarily the faction missions or accumulation of points.

Spoiler:
It was just frustrating to RP through a really cool scene in the mod and then find out it was all about 1 die roll rather than what the character had just done in game. It was a well thought out and fun scene in the adventure (I can't praise the author and editor enough on that point). But it's impossible for some characters to succeed.

And then the DM denied two of us (who failed the check) the PA point and then awarded the point to a character who watched me do hard part but they easily made the check.

I am NOT trashing my DM here BTW. They do a great job and eat alot of mods on our behalf. They made a judgement call based on their understanding of the rules.

I guess my point is it would have been nice if the roleplaying at that time had counted for something. But whats done is done.

That said, I feel the faction missions add a LOT to the adventures. I know for cheliax, reading the print out of the mission(s) is something we all look foward to every adventure. And the look on other players faces when a player carries out some of those missions, (and you are in the dark of what or why they are acting that way) regardless of faction, is worth the price of admission every time. You and your authors are doing a fine job with the mods and missions. I am really looking foward to the meta plot stuff you hinted at for the future.

Thanks for the response Josh

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Regarding the difficulty with the skill check:

Spoiler:
What about Aid Another's? I could easily see a case for the PC attempting the ritual telling the other PCs (especially his faction members) generally what was going to happen and allowing them to make Aid rolls of Diplomacy or Intimidate as they coach him back to his senses or try to smack some sense into him. If he didn't tell them what was happening I might be inclined to give them Sense Motive checks as he battles for control with the final roll and then allow Aid rolls if anyone succeeded and could explain.

The Exchange 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Western Eurasia-Middle East aka Wintergreen

ithuriel wrote:

Regarding the difficulty with the skill check:

** spoiler omitted **

spoiler:
First time I ran this the Cheliax faction wizard was having a hard time but clearly determined to go through with it. So for the final roll, the other PCs wanted to help. Ended up with the fighter/barbarian sacrificing some rage to bellow at the Wizard. The aid bonus from that got him through but that rage sure would have been useful in the final combat!
The Exchange

ithuriel wrote:

Regarding the difficulty with the skill check:

** spoiler omitted **

Aid Another would certainly be an option and could create some good role-play moments as well. However, only 12% of the players in our area have chosen to play Cheliax, compared with the 37% who play Andoran and would not ever assist that faction to achieve its goals. Basically, the odds of two Cheliax players sharing a table in my area are remote. After the other players watched the Chelaxians conduct an unholy ritual they might figure the player got what they deserved.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Spoiler:
As the barbarian in question, HELL YEAH! Man that end fight was great, but ooooo so hard. It's never good when the PCs are down to stabbing villains with arrows.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

I just had a TPK with this for 5 first level PCs. After the fact I noticed that there are a few errors in the Gaav statblock. First, its small spear should do 1d6 not 1d8 damage. Second, I can't figure out how it gets a +7 on the spear attack. I see +3 BAB, +1 Str, +1 size, +1 enhancement (mwk). In the end, this wouldn't have saved the PCs as they never found the holy arrows and couldn't beat the thing's DR. It could continually greater teleport (or fly 60 ft) to catch them and whittle them down. One PC died against the sorcerer even before getting there, since the other four PCs were all laid out with color spray.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Nicely timed yoda. Running this later today. Will note the changes.


Ran this mod through with a group this past weekend and I had a question regarding the interior of the temple:

Spoiler:

Will Protection from Fire prevent from the heat damage of the temple?

I went ahead and allowed the reduction of heat, but I am wondering now if I should not have allowed it since they were taking damage from heat, and not from direct fire.

Thanks in advance.

By the way, this was most definitely one of my top mods to run!

The Exchange

Lord Pel wrote:

Ran this mod through with a group this past weekend and I had a question regarding the interior of the temple:

** spoiler omitted **

Thanks in advance.

By the way, this was most definitely one of my top mods to run!

I would agree that both Resist Energy (Fire) and Protection from Energy (Fire) would work against the environmental effects in the temple. I would have said no if the effect was fatigue or something other than heat damage. Trying to break the damage type down as "dehydration" or something similar is overcomplicating things. Casting such a spell seems like overkill when Endure Elements would work just as well, but the caster probably had avoiding fire damage in mind when he/she cast it.

You likely thought of this, but if the spell was cast prior to entering the temple I would keep careful track of the time spent exploring because of the short duration.

The Exchange

Just ran this over the weekend. Loved running it, took 5 1/2 hours though, lots of role-playing opportunities. Was especially fun because they had a fire elemental sorceress of Cheliax in the party. While she completely enjoyed the location and fire theme, she felt pretty powerless because everything had fire resistance or immunity.

Ran this at tier 4-5 with 6 players two 3rd, two 4th, two 5th. Lost a 3rd and 5th to the Fire sorcerer's 4 fireballs. They got two of them before they even got to him, plus a burning hands as they all stood by the secret door when it was opened.

Hafris was very difficult after she cast deeper darkness. Most of the party left the room leaving the barbarian with scent and the cleric's summoned wolves/dogs (creatures with scent) to attack Hafris. Fight went long enough that Hafris ran out of spells, but just couldn't stand toe-to-toe with the barbarian.

Was a very fun scenario, the players said they liked it, and I assume they must have because they played right through lunch without asking to stop and get something to eat.

Note to Paizo: Everyone playing that scenario has decided that "When playing a barbarian, the first rage ability taken shall be scent." Doesn't seem like a powerful ability, but without it, they may have lost the entire party. We had to read the rules several times, cross checking with every source we had to make sure we were doing it right.

Thanks for such a fun scenario!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Mark Moreland begin_of_the_skype_highlighting     end_of_the_skype_highlighting wrote:
I just had a TPK with this for 5 first level PCs. After the fact I noticed that there are a few errors in the Gaav statblock. First, its small spear should do 1d6 not 1d8 damage. Second, I can't figure out how it gets a +7 on the spear attack. I see +3 BAB, +1 Str, +1 size, +1 enhancement (mwk). In the end, this wouldn't have saved the PCs as they never found the holy arrows and couldn't beat the thing's DR. It could continually greater teleport (or fly 60 ft) to catch them and whittle them down. One PC died against the sorcerer even before getting there, since the other four PCs were all laid out with color spray.

It has +4 BAB. So +4 BAB +1 Str, +1 Size, +1 Mwk = +7.

But Ollibolli pointed out that a small creature should have 1d3 claws.


Keep in mind that monster design is 1/2 art and 1/2 math.

The Exchange Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6

Mark Moreland wrote:
I just had a TPK with this for 5 first level PCs. After the fact I noticed that there are a few errors in the Gaav statblock. First, its small spear should do 1d6 not 1d8 damage. Second, I can't figure out how it gets a +7 on the spear attack. I see +3 BAB, +1 Str, +1 size, +1 enhancement (mwk). In the end, this wouldn't have saved the PCs as they never found the holy arrows and couldn't beat the thing's DR. It could continually greater teleport (or fly 60 ft) to catch them and whittle them down. One PC died against the sorcerer even before getting there, since the other four PCs were all laid out with color spray.

Keep in mind that just because a monster *can* do something to a party, doesn't mean it has to. Your goal as GM is to present a fun and challenging adventure, not squeeze all of the CR you can out of the foe. If these were new players, they probably didn't get the greatest impression of PFS by being slaughtered, some times you need to adjust tactics to fit a weaker group. It's probably the strongest weapon in the GM arsenal to control challenge.

I generally avoid fly/teleport style strafing. It drags out the game, skews CRs, and isn't particularly fun for anyone involved.

Best way to handle that thing if you can't beat the DR easily is probably to find a way to net or grapple it.

Really good adventure. I had a fun time running it for a party of 6th (1 2nd level) at Gamestorm week before last.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Also in the Tier 1-2 tactics for the Gaav it says it will pick one target and attack it until it drops then choose a new one. If you really play up the teleport thing the Tier 1-2 parties will have no chance as it would zip around getting the casters first. Sticking to the one target thing makes it much more likely to fight against someone who can take a hit while the other players can heal and support.

Sczarni 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Connecticut—Manchester aka Cpt_kirstov

Russ Taylor wrote:
Keep in mind that just because a monster *can* do something to a party, doesn't mean it has to. Your goal as GM is to present a fun and challenging adventure, not squeeze all of the CR you can out of the foe. If these were new players, they probably didn't get the greatest impression of PFS by being slaughtered, some times you need to adjust tactics to fit a weaker group. It's probably the strongest weapon in the GM arsenal to control challenge.

Don't worry, we weren't new just a sub-optimal group, all of which with brand new characters that had only completed one adventure, so a little ill prepared, especially when we missed

Spoiler:
The arrows in the entryway
Russ Taylor wrote:


Best way to handle that thing if you can't beat the DR easily is probably to find a way to net or grapple it.

Spoiler:

We were dumb and stood on the edge of the ravine, so it just hovered over the hole and attacked for the first kill of the 4 person party....Because of this and the positioning prior to combat, Flanking was unlikely, and our hardest hitter got hit by his breath weapon thingy for max number of rounds, then kept missing by 1.

Liberty's Edge

Doesn't this mod completely break the rules?

You have *godsorc* casting spells through walls when there's no line of effect available. No perception checks to catch all this spellcasting. And this is just the second room.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Spoiler:
According to his tactics he doesn't use any spells which require line of effect until he leaves the secret room into the Reception Hall to fight. If you wanted him to fight from inside the room for some reason he has the equivalent of disguised arrow slits to fire through. In one room he has the mouth of an efretti bas relief, in another a disguised torch sconce, in one it is hidden by a weapon rack, and in another a sheer tapestry covers it up. Again- he isn't supposed to use any line of effect spells through the viewports, but I suppose you could rationalize it if you did. I'll admit that I didn't notice that he should leave the room to attack after his final distraction so when I ran this he /did/ fight from inside until they got the door open. As long as the players are smart though they can easily get into positions where he can't see or target them with LoE spells. It's easy to see where a ray of fire came from after all. Then you just put your back against his wall or crouch down against it until someone can get the door opened.

#39 wrote:
The disguised viewports to the other chambers grant improved cover to those in the Secret Spine.

Improved Cover: In some cases, such as attacking a target hiding behind an arrowslit, cover may provide a greater bonus to AC and Reflex saves. In such situations, the normal cover bonuses to AC and Reflex saves can be doubled (to +8 and +4, respectively). A creature with this improved cover effectively gains improved evasion against any attack to which the Reflex save bonus applies. Furthermore, improved cover provides a +10 bonus on Stealth checks.

Also you do get checks to catch his spellcasting, it just requires one extra roll due to his use of a magic item.

#39 wrote:
Note that he often uses his hand of the mage to cause a distraction (a falling object, fluttering tapestries, etc.). To adjudicate this, allow Gali a Bluff check (opposed by Sense Motive) to conceal his spellcasting. If he fails, PCs can make the normal DC 15 Perception checks to hear his voice.

Dark Archive

I ran this on Sunday at Tier 1-2 for five first level PCs, and it was easy to run, and a nicely put together scenario. Everything just worked and nicely climactic.

Act2

Spoiler:
Gali gave them the run around. They found the trap but set it off anyway. They spent ages copying the murals in the spire, so got to make a heat check and took damage. Finally spotted Gali and luckily found the entrance to his room immediately after they heard him.

Bridge was challenging

Spoiler:
The gaav was a tough fight and it bugged out on zero HP.

Vulcus was an easy but fun encounter

Spoiler:
They made the diplomacy check and then some

Pilgrim passage was fun as there was a Cheliax in the party.

Spoiler:
They also spent a long time searching all the side rooms.

BBEG encounter was climactic

Spoiler:
As Hafshi was forewarned the summons were out and they had a hard time reaching her (and staying there). She ran out of offensive spells and was into her fire bolts as it went on so long before anyone reached her and stuck.

A fun and easy to run scenario.

2/5

When I GMed this, I found this scenario to be a bit of an endurance fest and think it would be a little hard on any level 1 party that doesn’t yet own a wand of cure light wounds. My home group’s cleric used all of his healing as well as 16 charges of CLW from his wand. Without it, they’d be dead (or perhaps would have stopped the scenario). Having said that, the encounters aren't deadlier than normal.

Faction mission strife:

I think there is an above average amount of faction friction in this scenario.

When I played this scenario, we had a little faction friction at my table between me and the Paladin, but I backed down (out of character).

When I GMed this scenario, we had a bad combination of factions at our table: 2 Taldors, Andoran, and Chelaxian.

I found the Taldor mission was at odds with common sense as well as the general well being of the party. To finish the Taldor mission, there was a power struggle between my two Taldor players (who wanted to let Hafshi go), the Andoran NG Cleric, and the Chelaxian (who didn’t think what they were doing was smart). In the end, my Chelaxian player (of all the PCs) wanted to kill Hafshi (and kept asking) and I had to tell him he couldn’t do it.

My players aren’t in love with factions right now, this scenario didn’t help. My players don’t like being at odds with each other, so they’ll probably change factions and work for the same faction (maybe even the Pathfinder lodge to be "factionless").

Anyway, I think this scenario has more faction strife than other scenarios I've read.


My tweaks to the scenario:

Most of my tweaks were done to emphasize that Moloch wants sacrifices performed using fire/heat. I also made the temple disappear only 30 years ago, so the fight against Moloch seems more “current”.

I removed the Hoodoos and instead made Act 1 a “field of corpses” (that was difficult terrain). For 1 round, fire came from the ground where the elementals would appear, and then they spoke before emerging. They said “Servants of Moloch, you must prove your worth to pass.” If the PC stuck his hand or body in the elemental, they’d take damage as if hit, but would not be attacked. Trying to pass the elementals without a sacrifice will cause them to attack.

Instead of prayers to Sarenrae (why would you be scrawling prayers when you’re being buried alive by a sandstorm?!?), I had the Qadiran faction mission be to find holy symbols of Sarenrae. Same DC Perception.

In the entry hall, instead of doing footprints up to the sauna, I waited until they were about to open a door and did an illusion of a gaav and had him say “You must prove your worth to pass”. He wants them to put their hand in the large bonfire.

To open the sauna, I made them put their hands on a hot plate for 1d3 fire damage.

I had the gaav use his telepathy and try to convince the PCs to “sacrifice one of their friends down the hole to pass”. If they threw someone down, the gavv attacks that person. If they do nothing and cross, the gaav attacks the last person trying to get across. I moved the gaavs treasure and I put it in Hafshi’s bedroom.

In the Blacksmiths room and the Temple, if a PC tried to move at full speed or fight across one of the lava channels, they needed to make a DC 3 acrobatics check (only really possible to fail for PCs in heavy armor) each round. If they fail they fall prone and take 1d6 fire.

Instead of “steam”, I had lava bursts. Disarming it meant allowing the lava to flow so fast that none of it stays in the temple.

For the Pilgrim Passage, I didn’t allow anyone performing the ritual to heal, or they had to start over. The final test was a Willpower DC 15 saving throw (instead of a Diplomacy or Intimidate check, which made no sense at all for resisting the influence of Moloch). Success was 5 fire resistance, failure was an additional -2 on saving throws (-3 on saves total when going against Hafshi).

The gaav’s treasure was in Hafshi’s bedroom.

Instead of Hafshi starting with a Lemure (which is a tough mook at subtier 1-2 because of its DR and energy resistances), I thought it was more appropriate to have a small fire elemental (although it’s not as tough as a Lemure). To counter the weakness, I traded in Hafshi’s Cure Moderate Wounds for another Summon Monster 2 (another fire elemental). If the PCs were noisy, I had the elementals block the PCs in the doorway to the temple.

During the fight, I had Hafshi try to convince the PCs to join her and Moloch. After being burned so many times during this scenario, the PCs should answer with an emphatic “NO”!

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

NotMousse wrote:

Doesn't this mod completely break the rules?

You have *godsorc* casting spells through walls when there's no line of effect available. No perception checks to catch all this spellcasting. And this is just the second room.

Just played this yesterday, and I had the same comment. All spells need line of effect, not just rays and cone, etc. See the Line of effect section from the magic chapter of the core rulebook.

prd wrote:

Line of Effect: A line of effect is a straight, unblocked path that indicates what a spell can affect. A line of effect is canceled by a solid barrier. It's like line of sight for ranged weapons, except that it's not blocked by fog, darkness, and other factors that limit normal sight.

You must have a clear line of effect to any target that you cast a spell on or to any space in which you wish to create an effect. You must have a clear line of effect to the point of origin of any spell you cast.

A burst, cone, cylinder, or emanation spell affects only an area, creature, or object to which it has line of effect from its origin (a spherical burst's center point, a cone-shaped burst's starting point, a cylinder's circle, or an emanation's point of origin).

An otherwise solid barrier with a hole of at least 1 square foot through it does not block a spell's line of effect. Such an opening means that the 5-foot length of wall containing the hole is no longer considered a barrier for purposes of a spell's line of effect.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

On the other hand, the fireball spell description includes the following block:

Quote:
You point your finger and determine the range (distance and height) at which the fireball is to burst. A glowing, pea-sized bead streaks from the pointing digit and, unless it impacts upon a material body or solid barrier prior to attaining the prescribed range, blossoms into the fireball at that point. An early impact results in an early detonation. If you attempt to send the bead through a narrow passage, such as through an arrow slit, you must "hit" the opening with a ranged touch attack, or else the bead strikes the barrier and detonates prematurely.

By the definition JoelF847 provides, fireball doesn't need line of effect, but the hidden caster does need to make a ranged touch attack.

Is the rules abuse solved by having 1-foot circular doors, which the caster can open or close, covered by illusions of the wall?

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

Chris Mortika wrote:

On the other hand, the fireball spell description includes the following block:

Quote:
You point your finger and determine the range (distance and height) at which the fireball is to burst. A glowing, pea-sized bead streaks from the pointing digit and, unless it impacts upon a material body or solid barrier prior to attaining the prescribed range, blossoms into the fireball at that point. An early impact results in an early detonation. If you attempt to send the bead through a narrow passage, such as through an arrow slit, you must "hit" the opening with a ranged touch attack, or else the bead strikes the barrier and detonates prematurely.

By the definition JoelF847 provides, fireball doesn't need line of effect, but the hidden caster does need to make a ranged touch attack.

Is the rules abuse solved by having 1-foot circular doors, which the caster can open or close, covered by illusions of the wall?

I'd say fireball is a special case where for the most part it acts like a normal burst type spell and needs LOE, but in the case of narrow openings, it acts a bit like a ray and needs an attack roll to shoot through the opening (it would be nice to have ACs for such an opening, but it shouldn't be hard to wing it based on a 0 Dex and count as a small sized object).

I would say that having a 1-foot square or circular opening instead of a peephole would prevent the abuse - either as secret panels that are opened, cast through, and then shut, or hidden with illusions as you suggest. This would make it a lot easier on PCs once they discover what's going on, and give them some options to attack back through the holes. It would also make it a bit more clear what's going on. When I encountered the flaming sphere, I thought it was a haunt at first based on the other atmospheric things going on - in part because I "knew" that it couldn't be a caster since they didn't have the 1-square foot opening.

Liberty's Edge

I fail to see how fireball trumps the LoE rules. I see it as more of an additional limitation than 'I can fireball through the keyhole lulz!'. Given the arrow slit example within the fireball description, that is a breach large enough to allow any spell that requires LoE.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

NotMousse, I agree - I didn't intend to suggest that fireball didn't need LoE, but that for small openings like a 1' square hole or an arrow slit, it needed to make an attack roll, even though it normally wouldn't need to.

Shadow Lodge 5/5

I'm planning on running this scenario Monday, and I had read it over a while ago, but while I was going through it to make my enemy cards, I checked out the stats for Hafshi. Her whip attacks are listed as giving her damage and a trip. How does that work? Nothing she has should allow for that, unless I'm missing something. It seems they've given her the Trip special ability instead of how a normal trip weapon is supposed to work. Has anyone else seen this, and how have you played/run it?

Thanks.

The Exchange

Eric Clingenpeel wrote:

I'm planning on running this scenario Monday, and I had read it over a while ago, but while I was going through it to make my enemy cards, I checked out the stats for Hafshi. Her whip attacks are listed as giving her damage and a trip. How does that work? Nothing she has should allow for that, unless I'm missing something. It seems they've given her the Trip special ability instead of how a normal trip weapon is supposed to work. Has anyone else seen this, and how have you played/run it?

Thanks.

She doesn't live long enough to use the whip ;)

Seriously I don't use the whip at all. I start her 5' stepping back and using as many of her spells as she can before dying ignominiously.

Shadow Lodge 5/5

I'm pretty sure she will live long enough to use her whip. Our group doesn't have any big damage dealers in it, so unless they get really lucky... Plus, aren't we supposed to run them as their tactics dictate?


I saw this ran Sunday, some players decided to play up. It was almost a TPK 2, deaths. With one player standing fighting the boss. Then I realized wow this is still an awesome mod. Very good mod.

Shadow Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Northwest aka WalterGM

Doug Miles wrote:


She doesn't live long enough to use the whip ;)

Seriously I don't use the whip at all. I start her 5' stepping back and using as many of her spells as she can before dying ignominiously.

I found the same to be true. After what a pain in the a** the sorcerer before has been for my tables -- he's consistently not been discovered and had the PCs waste a majority of their spells on his trickery, not to mention dropping at least half the group each time he color sprayed -- my players were super surprised by how easy the final boss dropped.

One hit from a level 1 barbarian, gg.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The map doesn't seem to show the "C" area on the ramp leading up to the Lava Temple.

Anyone know where the "C" area is supposed to be?


Area "C" should be just north of area "A", on the ramp level above that one.

The Exchange

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

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 wasn't given a +2 for being human, which should have been out by the time #39 was released since that was year 1. ) so she'll have 31 hp, +4 if she gets hp/skill point at each level. not sure if they give that to npcs. they should for big baddies though.

w/ 31 or 35hp, and 9 temp from Aid, she'll be a good villain.
and she can still cast summon monster I for a fire beetle, and summon monster II for a lemure, that'll give her time to cast spiritual weapon, or start burning people.

BTW her trip stats are wrong
melee mwk whip +5 (1d3+1 plus trip) should be melee mwk whip +5 (1d3+1)
trip is its own thing, she doesn't get a free trip using the whip.
weapon finesse would also boost her to hit numbers to something like:

melee mwk whip +7 (1d3+1)
melee mwk light mace +7 (1d6+1)
melee mwk whip +5 trip, mwk light mace +5 (1d6)
base attack +3; cmb +4 ( +7 trip with whip ); cmd 17

1 to 50 of 98 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Organized Play / GM Discussion / PFS#39 The Citadel of Flame [SPOILERS] All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.