Serpent Skull Obituaries


Serpent's Skull

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Hey, you're back! Glad to see your campaign isn't over.


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Supperman wrote:
Hey, you're back! Glad to see your campaign isn't over.

LOL. At the rate the kids are going, this campaign is going to last until they're all off to college.

Plotlines? Clues? Logic? What are these bizarre things you speak of?


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So wait, you stab the logic, smash the clues and burn the plotlines, makes sense to me:)
i also dont see what they did wrong...:p


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Since people are enjoying my kids' shenanigans (well, they're not all MY kids, just the kids I GM for), here's an "almost" where I agreed to back down because the sailors had already killed one character pointlessly, and the kids were in an utter panic about losing another.

Name: Narmina
Race: Gnome
Classes/Levels: Bard 4
Adventure: Souls for Smuggler's Shiv
Location: The "rescue" ship (and it really needs to go in quotes now that it's killed one and nearly killed two more PCs)
Catalyst: Failing to listen to the GM's repeated warnings that the sailors were Unhappy with them

The Bizarre Details:

Spoiler:

As detailed in the last obituary, the party managed to set the rescue ship up beautifully to be attacked by Nylithali and her ghoul companions, didn't help at all as 7 crew members were dragged off, and then claimed (to the sailors) that one of their own had come up with the entire plan.
I tried to be merciful, but one of the PCs insisted on attacking the sailors on the RESCUE ship until he was beaten to death.

So I think I was fair in treating the ship's crew as Hostile towards the party.

So, the captain basically said, "Get my crew back or I'm warning all ships away from this island forever and you can rot here for all I care."

In yet another bizarre plot twist (running for kids is an adventure in and of itself), the kids defeated Nylithali and her ghouls, found the bound-and-fever-infested sailors, and, rather than bringing them back themselves, decided to go back to the ship empty-handed to try to get MORE of the crew to come ashore!

So here's my ship's crew. This ragged band of adventurers has already admitted to siccing the ghouls on them. One of their members has already attacked them. And now they're saying, "Oh, yeah, we FOUND your sailors, but the six of us are incapable of bringing even one of them back. You should split up again and send more of your crew members on shore with us."

So I did the only logical thing for the captain: "Bring back my sailors. Now. And if you show up empty-handed again, I will shoot you and then leave."

So they went back down. Made a magnificent Heal check to make sure the captive sailors were at least stable. But they realized that the six of them couldn't carry seven sailors AT ONCE back to shore.

So Narmina goes back to the beach. I say, "As soon as the captain and the sailors see you, they draw their bows, stand at the edge of the ship, and point them at you."

Narmina's response, "Oh, OK. I start swimming towards the ship."

What the ****!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

So I pulled out my die and asked for her AC, and her player said, "Oh, wait! Wait! I didn't think the captain meant ME! I don't do that at all!"

Yet again, had it been an adult, Narmina's arrow-filled corpse would have washed ashore for the others. As it was, I allowed yet another take-backsies, but I've started stopping the kids from saying they do things and forcing them to actually think about consequences.


Who says that RPGs aren't educational?


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LOL! yes, yes they are:-p

-will they be able to handle civilization anymore?
-maybe you should use this as a segue into Skull & Shackles book 2, perhaps a pirate's life is the life for them:-p
-of course nothing beats dinosaurs and lost cities, if they ever discover there is a lost city....
- good job with holding back, i myself have to remind mine all the time that some monsters just shouldn't be eaten ("Seriously Dad, Ogre Sweetbreads are the best! the secret ingredient is in-breeding"- my daughter)


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captain yesterday wrote:

LOL! yes, yes they are:-p

-will they be able to handle civilization anymore?
-maybe you should use this as a segue into Skull & Shackles book 2, perhaps a pirate's life is the life for them:-p
-of course nothing beats dinosaurs and lost cities, if they ever discover there is a lost city....
- good job with holding back, i myself have to remind mine all the time that some monsters just shouldn't be eaten ("Seriously Dad, Ogre Sweetbreads are the best! the secret ingredient is in-breeding"- my daughter)

Not to off-topic an obits thread (a cardinal sin), but I just keep imagining the player mistaking the captain for a panda:

"Wait, wait! Is he saying that he's going to 'eat shoots and leaves', or 'eat, shoot, and leave'?"


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Catch the arrows, bend the rails
Murder the gnomes and split the goats
Martyr the wolves and sleep in hostile huts
That's what NobodysHome hates!

Sacrifice the allies, tread on the traps
Leave the bones on the bedroom mat
Pour the character sheets on the pantry floor
Call the ghouls to every door!

Dump the rescue in a zombie hoard
Pound the barb up with a thumping pole
When you're finished if they are whole
Send them down the hall to roll

That's what NobodysHome hates!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWuQeh9QnWA


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You sir, have talent:-)


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Talent?!?!?! That's friggin' GENIUS!!!!

If my kids were bigger Hobbit fans I'd force them to perform it before the next game.

(One of my great regrets is that my boy ripped through all the Percy Jacksons, ate up the Hunger Games, devoured Harry Potter, and won't touch the Hobbit. I don't understand...)


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Thanks. :)


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My daughter loves Harry Potter and The Hobbit movies!
she hasn't seen, read or expressed any interest in The hunger games franchise, she likes the Percy Jackson's author Egypt books more (again hasn't asked about the movies) her all time favorite film franchise tho is Pirates of the Caribbean, like not even close:)

Grand Lodge

Name: Mirallia
Class/race: Half orc ranger 12
When: The Thousand fangs below
Cause of death: Elder Earth Elemental pile driver

The party having successfully cleared the mansion and met Udarra the morlock oracle, start to head towards the urdefhan sector of the city. Having skirted round the former svirfneblin druid's area they on this occasion (and against the barbarian's better judgement) decide to investigate in the process awakening the 2 elder earth elementals.

The elementals start in on the party causing masses of damage to them with repeated power attacks until eventually Mirallia, having broken her bowstring on a fumble moved in to fight the elemental with her greatsword. Unfortunately having been quite badly wounded she happened across the elemental just as it confirmed criticals with both of its slam attacks boosted by power attack. 118 points of damage later poor Mirallia was reduced to a small puddle of blood and indeterminate parts after the elemental smashed her into the rubble.


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Well, I finally "got" him, but I can hardly take credit...

Name: Xethos
Race: Kobold
Classes/Levels: Sorcerer 4
Adventure: Souls for Smuggler's Shiv
Location: The Azlanti Temple
Catalyst: Not healing up between fights, splitting the party, and ignoring the GM's ominous warning. Plus serpentfolk skeletons!

The Bizarre Details:

Spoiler:
At long last, after many, many months of trying to herd a group of teen and pre-teen kids into remotely following the AP, last session ended as the bay drained and the doors to the Azlanti temple swung open. Ever the bizarre and cautious sort, Malek the grippli barbarian caught a large fish from the bay and threw it through the doors and onto the passage floor. As I pantomimed the desperate flopping and gasping of the dying fish, Hooken the half-elven ranger declared that he was going to rescue the fish. Cue two more party members joining in the argument as to whether to save the fish or let it die...

Cue Xethos. Fed up with the party's seeming inability to do ANYTHING without a Herculean effort, Xethos announced that he was going to walk into the cave. Alone. The other party members continued arguing. As he moved forward, I warned him that the passage opened into a chamber ahead. Then came the fateful words, "I walk into the chamber."

The party's fish bickering was interrupted by the sounds of two javelins running throough Xethos' unarmored form (not even Mage Armor! We went into initiatives, and with a natural 20 the serpentfolk skeletons went again, this time with one hit and one crit. Xethos took a total of 42 points of damage before he got to take an action. At full health he would have been at 32 hit points with a CON of 12 and Jask could have saved him, but he'd used his own blood in the ritual, so was only at 23 hit points when they hit him.

But that wasn't the best part. *AFTER* the skeletons were dead, Malek broke open the trap door, spotted the soulbound dolls, and decided he needed something with which to block the hole. Cue an attempt to stuff Xethos' corpse and the two dead skeletons into the hole, much to the objections of the other party members. Malek's best line of the night? "Wow! He's more useful dead than he ever was alive!"

So yeah, pretty amazing to hit so many RPG cliches in one death. Quite the astonishment!


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:
weren't those skeletons on a ledge above and they walk off it and take s!&~ loads of damage and then fight
i'm not picking nits or anything its just been 2+ years since i had the book and can't remember.

way to go by the way, hand out those life lessons
and you thought your teaching days were past:-p
my favorite part was the stuffing of the hole, kids do the most hilarious stuff sometimes, like pickling Dire Corby livers (lots of Iron and protein they said!)


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captain yesterday wrote:

** spoiler omitted ** i'm not picking nits or anything its just been 2+ years since i had the book and can't remember.

way to go by the way, hand out those life lessons
and you thought your teaching days were past:-p
my favorite part was the stuffing of the hole, kids do the most hilarious stuff sometimes, like pickling Dire Corby livers (lots of Iron and protein they said!)

Spoiler:
They have 4 javelins each. They throw the javelins, THEN drop and smash themselves. It was pretty funny, actually. Of the 8 javelins, 4 stuck in Xethos, 2 in Hooken, and only 2 misses. Not bad shots. THEN the skellies jumped off the platform, one exploded, and one met Malek (and exploded).


NobodysHome wrote:


The Bizarre Details:
** spoiler omitted **...

When being as impartial as possible when game mastering; sometimes you can't help but shake your head when the party splits itself. Speaking of which...

Name: Ixava
Race: Human
Classes/Levels: Swashbuckler 6
Adventure: Racing to Ruin
Location: The Spirit Dancers
Catalyst: Accepting the dance invitation when the other party members didn't.

The Gory Details

Spoiler:
Color me surprised because when the Saurian Shaman reached 6th level and got wild shape for the first time he decided the best way to develop his character more was to leave the caravan and roam the jungle as an Allosaurus. Keep in mind we never discussed this prior to the start of the session so I was just as surprised as the players.

Meanwhile upon meeting the three spirit dancers Dufrane, only party member who wasn't fascinated by them, shot a spirit dancer out of paranoia which caught the attention of Zakiyya who told him to leave the camp, which he did. She did urge Gunther and Ixava to join the dancers so they could awaken their spirit animals which they both agreed to.

HUGE mistake. After Ixava fell unconscious via poisoned food, Gunther smelled something fishy so he checked on the other huts and found Zakiyya being offered Ixava. An attempt to flee with Ixava in tow was shot down via dominate person from Zakiyya. The night ended with Ixava being level drained to death while Gunther became a slave of the succubus.

The rest of the party did show up later on and Gunther was saved after succeeding on his second save against domination. Dramatic music was cued upon finding Ixava's withered husk. All the spirit dancers were killed by an angry druid Allosaurus and the culprit teleported away.


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NobodysHome wrote:

Well, I finally "got" him, but I can hardly take credit...

Name: Xethos
Race: Kobold
Classes/Levels: Sorcerer 4
Adventure: Souls for Smuggler's Shiv
Location: The Azlanti Temple
Catalyst: Not healing up between fights, splitting the party, and ignoring the GM's ominous warning. Plus serpentfolk skeletons!

The Bizarre Details:
** spoiler omitted **...

Is the fish ok?


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Supperman wrote:
NobodysHome wrote:

Well, I finally "got" him, but I can hardly take credit...

Name: Xethos
Race: Kobold
Classes/Levels: Sorcerer 4
Adventure: Souls for Smuggler's Shiv
Location: The Azlanti Temple
Catalyst: Not healing up between fights, splitting the party, and ignoring the GM's ominous warning. Plus serpentfolk skeletons!

The Bizarre Details:
** spoiler omitted **...

Is the fish ok?

The fish escaped unharmed. The round Xethos died everyone was just standing around waiting for Light to be cast, so some of them spent their round ensuring the fish's survival...

...priorities, people!


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When we played Serpent's Skull with my nephews, daughter and one of their Uncles they had a random encounter with a Pterodactyl.

The Pterodactyl did a fly-by attack on the Uncle and knocked him down to -1 or -2, one of the nephews scored a most awesome crit with an improvised throw of his Grappling Hook (which was the only ranged weapon they had amongst four people) and so my daughter, playing the Cleric immediately cast CLW on the dying Pterodactyl, my Brother asked (jokingly) "what about me?" my daughter just waved him off and said "oh, you'll stabilize on your own"

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Name: Thaddius

Race: Dhampir

Classes/Levels: Cohort Rog2/Clr5

Adventure: The City of Seven Spears

Location: The Southern Entrance (L4)

Catalyst: The group made truce with the troglodytes earlier, asking the trogs to kill any other factions that didnt give the proper password. They returned to visit the trogs and ask if other factions had tried to enter the area and asked if the trogs knew anything about the south gate entrance. Trogs explained about giving the 'killing birds' tributes. PCs went to investigate moving around the area when 4 camulatz flew down on them. The first round of combat, the cohort moved away from one of the camulatz to use a wand on an ally, but he didnt tumble or anything, so he provoked an AoO by moving away. I rolled a 20 and followed up with a 19. Off with his head and a gave a 50/50 spit or swallowed the cohorts head. The bird spit it out at the feet of one of the party members...


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my favorite part of Serpent's Skull, Giant Demon worshipping head chomping parrots!
gets the Players every time! lol
:-p


You got a minute? Two times TPK. Same mistake. Maybe I'm a tough GM and didn't cut any slack. Maybe my party didn't make the smartest choices. With the new party they are the bomb!

TPK 1
Name: Norian
Race: Human
Classes/Levels: Cleric 3
Adventure: Souls for Smuggler's Shiv
Location: Feasting Cavern (V27)
Catalyst: Ghoul Fever, survived the attack and killed Nylitathi, but died because of Ghoul Fever before she could exit the cavern

Name: Marsh
Race: Human
Classes/Levels: Rogue 3
Adventure: Souls for Smuggler's Shiv
Location: Feasting Cavern (V27)
Catalyst: Nylithati -> paralysis. Survived it, but kept fighting in the darkness

Name: Siegfried
Race: Human
Classes/Levels: Fighter 3
Adventure: Souls for Smuggler's Shiv
Location: Feasting Cavern (V27)
Catalyst: Nylithati, kept fighting in the darkness she cast

Name: Salah-a-Din
Race: Human
Classes/Levels: Wizard 3
Adventure: Souls for Smuggler's Shiv
Location: Feasting Cavern (V27)
Catalyst: Nylithati -> paralysis -> coup de grace

TPK 2
Name: Gaju
Race: Half-Orc
Classes/Levels: Ranger 5
Adventure: Racing to Ruin
Location: Spirit Dancers encounter (encounter R)
Catalyst: Was nearly killed by a dominated oracle. Then the babau got summoned and finished the job

Name: Marsh
Race: Human
Classes/Levels: Witch 5
Adventure: Racing to Ruin
Location: Spirit Dancers encounter (encounter R)
Catalyst: Charmed by succubus

Name: Elyn
Race: Half-Elf
Classes/Levels: Oracle (battle) 5
Adventure: Racing to Ruin
Location: Spirit Dancers encounter (encounter R)
Catalyst: Babau cast darkness and kept fighting in the darkness

Name: Maximillian
Race: Halfling
Classes/Levels: Druid 5
Adventure: Racing to Ruin
Location: Spirit Dancers encounter (encounter R)
Catalyst: Fell for the initial trap the succubus had planned. He survived the kiss, but never woke up while his companions were being killed


Nick van Engelen wrote:


TPK 2
Name: Gaju
Race: Half-Orc
Classes/Levels: Ranger 5
Adventure: Racing to Ruin
Location: Spirit Dancers encounter (encounter R)
Catalyst: Was nearly killed by a dominated oracle. Then the babau got summoned and finished the job

Name: Marsh
Race: Human
Classes/Levels: Witch 5
Adventure: Racing to Ruin
Location: Spirit Dancers encounter (encounter R)
Catalyst: Charmed by succubus

Name: Elyn
Race: Half-Elf
Classes/Levels: Oracle (battle) 5
Adventure: Racing to Ruin
Location: Spirit Dancers encounter (encounter R)
Catalyst: Babau cast darkness and kept fighting in the darkness

Name: Maximillian
Race: Halfling
Classes/Levels: Druid 5
Adventure: Racing to Ruin
Location: Spirit Dancers encounter (encounter R)
Catalyst: Fell for the initial trap the succubus had planned. He survived the kiss, but never woke up while his companions were being killed

Did the druid and ranger have animal companions? If so what happened to the them?


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Last night deserves honorable mention, since if I were actually upping these encounters I would have had a clueless double-kill on my hands:

Name: Hooken
Race: Half-Elf
Classes/Levels: Ranger 5
Adventure: Racing to Ruin
Location: Pearl Diving
Catalyst: Splitting the party. AGAIN! *SIGH*

Name: Malek
Race: Grippli
Classes/Levels: Barbarian 5
Adventure: Racing to Ruin
Location: Pearl Diving
Catalyst: Splitting the party. AGAIN! *SIGH*

The Near-Death Details:

Spoiler:
The party was searching for black pearls for Nkechi, and Malek made two unsuccessful attempts to find any. Hooken went down and I mentioned that he saw "many human bones" on the floor of the ocean, and a "dark shape" swam nearby. He quickly fled to the surface and shore, and that's how we ended last week's session.

So this week I reviewed: They were supposed to be fetching pearls, but there was something large and deadly swimming in the water there. Did they talk to the natives? No! Did they take any precautions whatsoever? No! In fact, they buffed up Hooken with Heroism and Shield of Faith INSTEAD of Protection from Evil (as the bard's player put it, "Who's ever heard of an evil fish?"), and the bard out-and-out demanded that he go down alone, without a rope.

In fact, I was getting ready to just have Hooken's player hand over his character sheet when Malek's player said, "I go with him."
The bard's player was incensed. "Why! He doesn't need you! You're just wasting all our time! If you go down there, I will shoot you!"

Yeah, it was THAT bad.

But Malek, being a stubborn force of personality, went down anyway.

If I were actually playing for 6 players and an NPC, I would have added a second kelpie, or at least applied the Advanced template to the first. Had there been two kelpies, both PCs would have failed their Will saves and it would have been over.

As it was, Hooken failed his Will save horribly and just sat there underwater, following the kelpie and starting to drown. Malek and the kelpie exchanged blows, and with the fight underwater, him being Small, and him only having a 2-handed weapon, it was going VERY poorly for him.

He finally managed to escape her attack-of-opportunity-and-grab on his third try, got to the surface, and screamed for help.

Unfortunately for the kelpie, there's nothing in the rules about Magic Missiles not working underwater and the sorcerer made quick work of her.

But seriously, another week, another ridiculous decision, another two near-deaths.

I just cannot comprehend why this group keeps splitting up. There are two players who keep saying, "Will you just go do that? The rest of us will wait here!"
I keep telling them, "DO NOT split the party! Do not listen to those two!"
But in the excitement of the game, they keep right on doing it.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

All right, this is a long, slightly embarassing story, but I finally killed the party's fighter (temporarily). Spoilers ahoy.

The Party:
The party consists of two players: a human fighter (lore warden/martial master) who fights with a shovel (using the Rough and Ready trait from Adventurer's Armory) and a half-Ekujae hunter (read: healer) with a giant wasp companion. 25 point-buy and Hero Points, plus use of the Tides of Battle product, are in use. They also have Sasha Nevah (who I knew would be popular based on previous experience) as a fully equal swashbuckler/ranger (and eventual wereshark, possibly werewasp).

Near-Death Experience (NDE) #1: While exploring the sunken ships on Smuggler's Shiv, a bluetip eurypterid (the Large variant from the issue's Bestiary) pounced its way out of the half-submerged hold, laying a painful full-attack on the fighter. He was dragged to safety, and the party retreated.

NDE #2: The Cannibal Camp. My players snuck in, the hunter used wild empathy to get the cannibals' tied-up Shiv dragon on the party's side, and then they attacked. The three of them, Tsada the giant wasp, and an ornery Shiv dragon... against twenty-two cannibal goons (handbuilt, so 22 hp and AC 8 each), four human skeletons, Malikadna the witch, and Klorak the Red (rebuilt and equipped with an ancient Azlanti greataxe). The fighter fell unconscious at least three times, but the party triumphed (the Shiv dragon took down three cannibals by itself, and Klorak killed one for cowardice).

Actual Death: On the trip back to civilization, I had sahuagin attack the ship (see Racing to Ruin's foreword). Four sahuagin rangers and a malenti archer as their commander. Sasha was chained up below in wereshark form, so it was just the PCs and the wasp, plus eventually a couple of the other survivors (who were all helpful by now). The tridents of the sahuagin finally brought down the intrepid fighter.

Why all this trying to kill him, you might ask?

The Reason:
We tried out rolling his backstory up with Ultimate Campaign. It ended up that he had an adoptive sister, a gnome, who may have been involved in his leaving home. I did some behind-the-scenes work, making her a sorcerer with the Dark Fey wildblooded bloodline (from People of the River) and decided that she had cursed him to misfortune and doom. (This part of the decision came a few sessions in, after he had already started having truly-random bad luck; I just added a reason.) She has since shown up as the Aspis Consortium's faction leader, although she didn't recognize him. The reason for that?

I changed something else in the adventure. Instead of the mundane scroll of raise dead in the Treasure Pit, I put a made-up artifact in. The scroll tube itself had what I called a prophecy lock, an ancient Azlanti relic that wouldn't open until "the time was right". In the Age of Lost Omens, of course, this could mean such a lock might never open; however, sometime after Captain Quellig buried it (but before the PCs found it), the lock opened to reveal an ancient scroll - a mythic Azlanti artifact as well.

The scroll contained a ritual of both druidic and arcane magic, called mythic revenance. It was linked to the return of ancient threats, and would return the dead to life "imbued with the might of a hero of old". So you can see where this is going. The idea comes from a rather infamous trap from another AP, and in this case, restored the fighter to life as ancient Savith, complete with pureblooded Azlanti racial traits, albeit with no idea why or about who this body belonged to. (I'll play that part up in Book 3, where art and sculpture of Savith will obviously be both prominent and reverent.) This is also my excuse to add Mythic to the game later, if I want to by then. Linking those involved to ancient heroes also gives me an excuse to restrict them from taking certain problematic Mythic powers.

I felt a bit guilty for a while about this. The player is rolling with it, though, and I'm reserving final judgment on my actions until after Book 3, to see how he feels then. Still... I'm a bad girl. :)

I also want to find something to buff the other player, who is dissatisfied with the hunter class. Thoughts include buffing the class (focusing on the teamwork aspect, possibly adding more companions, allowing summons to gain focus or teamwork feats, a designating effect when he attacks) or linking him to an ancient hero of late Azlant (adding an arcane aspect or something). I'd like to make it very flavorful (either Azlant or Ekujae, depending), and I'd love to have others' thoughts.

Thank you (especially if you read all that). :)


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NobodysHome wrote:

Last night deserves honorable mention, since if I were actually upping these encounters I would have had a clueless double-kill on my hands:

Name: Hooken
Race: Half-Elf
Classes/Levels: Ranger 5
Adventure: Racing to Ruin
Location: Pearl Diving
Catalyst: Splitting the party. AGAIN! *SIGH*

Name: Malek
Race: Grippli
Classes/Levels: Barbarian 5
Adventure: Racing to Ruin
Location: Pearl Diving
Catalyst: Splitting the party. AGAIN! *SIGH*

The Near-Death Details:
** spoiler omitted **...

Your party finally made it off the island in only one year? How did they do that?


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Ha! I didnt even catch that, I just assumed it was the pearl beds on the Shiv:-)


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[derail]
You guys! We play one 2.5-hour session per week. And it's two 10-year-olds and four 13-14-year-olds. Focus? Attention to detail? What the heck is that?!?!!?

I've started spending the first 10-15 minutes of every session recapping the previous session, describing the goals they decided on, and taking a Q&A before we start.

Yep, that's how it is when you're running the young...

EDIT: My favorite example was around 8:40 pm Wednesday night. Malek lost the wrestling match to one of the Ijo warriors and they demanded the feather back. The party refused and the bard tried to use Diplomacy. I warned her that missing by more than 5 would result in a fight as the warriors had already won the feather fair and square (by wrestling a frog no less!), but she rolled anyway and missed by 11! So I said, "Look, these four guys are no match for you. Can we just roll a die, mark off how many of them die, and move on?"
They were all good with that, until they rolled that 2 of the 4 had died. They said, "No! We don't want to kill two of them!"
I responded, "OK, look. It's late, and I'd like to get you to a good stopping point. If I only kill one of them will you let me skip the fight?"
And they said, "No! We want to fight! We're not going to kill any of them!"

So of course the sorcerer started blasting Scorching Rays at the heavily-wounded ones, and they ended up with...
...1 dead warrior, EXACTLY as if we'd skipped the fight, with the exception that it was now time to call it a night. *SIGH*

[/derail]


I enjoy hearing about your trials of running this with (pre)teenagers, as I plan to run this once my children are old enough for them. I can always picture a lot of them same results happening ...


@Kalindlara
One thought is to put in an ancient Azlanti artifact weapon itself. You could tie it directly to another one of the ancient heroes that took on Ydersius.

To curb power, you just need to decide on its final powers and progressively let it get stronger as you go (either event based or level based). Once its ego comes online, you can use it to help drive plot in later on without resorting to out of place NPCs.

There is a good post here on how someone modified Tempest in Legacy of Fire in a similar way.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
justaworm wrote:

@Kalindlara

One thought is to put in an ancient Azlanti artifact weapon itself. You could tie it directly to another one of the ancient heroes that took on Ydersius.

To curb power, you just need to decide on its final powers and progressively let it get stronger as you go (either event based or level based). Once its ego comes online, you can use it to help drive plot in later on without resorting to out of place NPCs.

There is a good post here on how someone modified Tempest in Legacy of Fire in a similar way.

I see. I'll check it out! Thank you! :)


Nick van Engelen wrote:

You got a minute? Two times TPK. Same mistake. Maybe I'm a tough GM and didn't cut any slack. Maybe my party didn't make the smartest choices. With the new party they are the bomb!

TPK 2
Name: Gaju
Race: Half-Orc
Classes/Levels: Ranger 5
Adventure: Racing to Ruin
Location: Spirit Dancers encounter (encounter R)
Catalyst: Was nearly killed by a dominated oracle. Then the babau got summoned and finished the job

Name: Marsh
Race: Human
Classes/Levels: Witch 5
Adventure: Racing to Ruin
Location: Spirit Dancers encounter (encounter R)
Catalyst: Charmed by succubus

Name: Elyn
Race: Half-Elf
Classes/Levels: Oracle (battle) 5
Adventure: Racing to Ruin
Location: Spirit Dancers encounter (encounter R)
Catalyst: Babau cast darkness and kept fighting in the darkness

Name: Maximillian
Race: Halfling
Classes/Levels: Druid 5
Adventure: Racing to Ruin
Location: Spirit Dancers encounter (encounter R)
Catalyst: Fell for the initial trap the succubus had planned. He survived the kiss, but never woke up while his companions were being killed

Ouch! I do believe if a party goes down(TPK or some) in that encounter, then just scrap saving the Spirit Dancers and treat them as willing cultists so the new party can cut them down.

New PC #1:What are those women dragging out of the hut?
New PC #2:Looks like a body, er...I think that is a member of that expedition that was ahead of us.
NPC #1: Right. Buff up, we hit them in the usual formation.


Can I just say that in preparing for this campaign, this thread has been super useful. Looks like the consensus is that the lacedon cleric and the chemosits need to be toned down. Thanks!

Liberty's Edge

I collected some data from this thread. A few interesting notes:

  • Deaths exponentially decrease by adventure, except for a small spike in SotSG.
  • Nyilathi and the lacedons top the list at 30 deaths overall - about a fifth of all deaths in this thread.
  • Smuggler's Shiv in general tops the list, with the treasure pit and the cannibal camp being notable runners-up. (This is likely because so many more groups play the first adventures than the last, however.)
  • The top encounters for each adventure are: Nyilathi, the spirit dancers, the Green God, Gbala, the Avatar of the Serpent God, and a six-way tie between encounters in The Thousand Fangs below.
  • There have been six TPKs reported in this thread; Nyilathi and the lacedons, and the spirit dancers, are each responsible for 2 of these.
Take this with a grain of salt, because I don't have all the books and could not always tell if people were referring to the same encounters. NPC and animal companion deaths, though tragic, were not included.


Surprised the Coils of Ydersius were so low.

Liberty's Edge

They're pretty high, compared to the other encounters in SotSG. I think the issue is just the small sample size of groups that actually get to that last adventure.

Actually, I can do the percents. The first six deadliest encounters, by % of deaths in their adventure, are

  • Gbala (71%)
  • Nyilathi (41%)
  • Avatar of the Serpent God (30%)
  • The Green God (21%)
  • Coils of Ydersius (20%)
  • Astradaemon (20%)


Don't forget those durn Spriggans in book 2. Bane of Rogues everywhere.


Name: Tsarnok
Race: Half-Orc
Classes/Levels: Ranger (Skirmisher) 10
Adventure: The Vaults of Madness
Location: The Vault of Silence
Catalyst: The Horror, the Horror

The Gory Details:
After ending the previous session with two party members energy drained from Spectres, the PCs picked up right where they left off and pushed forward into the Vault of Silence. With two players infected by Midnight Spores and the Room of Darts and Blades doing its thing, several party members were overwhelmed by the nausea of the Rawbones. To make matters worst, the Fighter set off the Symbol of Weakness Trap. Fleeing from the Vault pursued by the Rawbones and Gbala, the nauseated PCs left the Wizard and the Ranger Tsarnok to handle the situation. While the Wizard was able to use Command Undead on Gbala, but continually failed Charisma checks to make the vampire act against his nature. Firing arrow after arrow at the undead, the Ranger Tsarnok was overtaken by the Rawbones and their grabbing/grappling entrails and became unconscious. Running low on spells and with the rest of the party nauseated and weakened, the Wizard closed the outer door to the Vault and cast Hold Portal on it and the PCs fled. The next time they saw Tsarnok the Ranger he was floating, dead and skinless, in Gbala's blood bath.

Name: Lart
Race: Halfling
Classes/Levels: Alchemist (Mindchemist) 10
Adventure: The Vaults of Madness
Location: The Vault of Silence
Catalyst: The Horror, the Horror

The Gory Details:
Determined to avenge their comrade (see above) and reclaim their dignity, the party once again entered the Vault of Silence. With all PCs invisible except for the Fighter, the party explored the Vault. Eventually, with all of the PCs "in place," Lart the Alchemist gave the signal for the battle to begin. Unfortunately, the not invisible (read: visible) Fighter (paranoid from Midnight Sports and distrustful of Lart the Alchemist due to faction rivalry) interpreted the signal as an attempt to give away he location, fled from the Vault and began to fortify the door against exit. His other two companions battling desperately with Rawbones and Dire Tiger Fast Zombies, Lart saved the day by wading into the fray and using the Detonate spell.

Liberty's Edge

Rynjin wrote:
Don't forget those durn Spriggans in book 2. Bane of Rogues everywhere.

Are those the ones with the eloko bells, or something else?

Spreadsheet updated - Gbala/rawbones now ties for 3rd-deadliest encounter with the Treasure Pit.


Yeah. They have the hypnotism/Fear inducing bells.


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TPK by Itombu in Racing to Ruin

Name: Burt
Race: Dhampir
Classes/levels: Sorcerer (Fire Elemental Bloodline) 5
Adventure: Racing to Ruin
Location: Bodies on The Riverbank
Catalyst: Shadow Demon claws

Name: Miroto
Race: Vanara
Classes/levels: Ape Shaman Druid 5
Adventure: Racing To Ruin
Location: Bodies on The Riverbank
Catalyst: Shadow Demon claws

Name: Abarat
Race: Half-Elf
Classes/levels: Oracle (Bones) 5
Adventure: Racing To Ruin
Location: Bodies on The Riverbank
Catalyst: Shadow Demon claws

Name: Ihys
Race: Human
Classes/levels: Infiltrator Ranger 5
Adventure: Racing To Ruin
Location: Bodies on The Riverbank
Catalyst: Shadow Evocation (Lightning Bolt)

The Gory Details: The party came across the possessed dire ape within the Screaming Jungle, initially all but Miroto failing their saves against his Fear spell. Itombu chased down the druid who had stayed with Abarat to protect him, stalking them through the jungle. With the group scattered, the ape shaman had to power himself up to take on the dire ape on his own - an easy enough feat, though none in the party had Knowledge The Planes to realize what the demon they faced was.

Itombu emerged from his host by the time the rest of the team regrouped, and began his attempt to summon shadow crocodiles. Interrupted by a timely magic missile spell from the sorcerer, he instead took to flinging shadow evoked Fireball spells and using its claws to decimate the party's ranks. The party eventually fled after attempting to use the fetish to banish the demon (it failed), but it snagged the body of Ihys with Magic Jar.

The party regrouped with their caravan, but despite warnings did not buy any magical cold iron or good weapons to combat the demon, instead opting for resistances to cold and fire. They returned to find Ihys covered in blood, for the poor soul had stalked the jungle murdering anyone he could find. Knocking out the ranger, Itombu emerged once more and began utilizing his illusionary fireballs once more. Seeing that his spells were resisted, he opted for a different route - a Shadow Evocation Lightning Bolt, which outright killed Ihys (who had been revived and had run by that point).

With the remaining three tearing into the demon with their spells as best they could, Itombu summoned a second shadow demon and tore them all apart. They managed to knock Itombu down to 2 hit points before he succeeded, and now he walks the jungle wearing the flesh of a vanara...


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A twofer, but I'll do two separate posts because it was two separate encounters:

Name: Nkechi the Tempest
Race: Human
Classes/Levels: Cleric 6
Adventure: Racing to Ruin
Location: Somewhere along the Korir river
Catalyst: Zakiyya's amusement

The gory details:

Spoiler:

This may be considered a "jerk GM" moment, but I do really tire of my group's over-heavy reliance on NPC clerics. They absolutely, positively refuse to play healers, the AP hands them to them in profusion, and they proceed to abuse the privilege by asking the NPC to make all important decisions for them, feed them information, perform all interactions with all other NPCs, etc. Basically, "Do everything for us 'til the next fight." So Jask was already marked for death.

I was rather ecstatic with the way the spirit dancers played out. The party figured out that something was wrong with the dancers. They knew Zakiyya had some kind of supernatural control over the dancers. But when they rolled a 27 Sense Motive and Zakiyya seemed to honestly want to grant them totem spirits, they decided to go along with everything she suggested. (I *love* "lessons in metagaming".) There were only 4 women, so Zakiyya told the party she could grant only 4 totems. The fifth would be more... difficult, as she would have to couple with the inductee, and he would experience extreme pain. Needless to say, Malek the grippli barbarian was more than eager to volunteer for this "duty", and so the stage was set: Four PCs willingly drank the blue whinnis, willingly failed their saves, and willingly went into deep slumbers. Malek and Nkechi stood watch. Zakiyya, having a dislike for "good" clerics and a positive adoration for stupid lustful barbarians, Dominated poor Malek's fragile little froggy brain like an elephant stepping on a casaba.

Then she had him ruthlessly beat Nkechi to death.

When the party woke up, each one was tattoed with a symbol on his or her forehead (none of them speak the local language any more, so none of them know it says, "Fool"), and each one had been drained of a level. Nkechi was dead. And Malek was left unscathed and Dominated, with a message that if the party ever tried to seek her out, Zakiyya would have Malek kill them all.

All in all, an entertaining conclusion to the dilemma of, "How do you keep Zakiyya from TPK'ing the party?"

I really have to give honorable mention to Izran the gunslinger as well, aka Deady McDeaddead's latest PC. Had he been present tonight, I'm *sure* he would have found a way to get himself killed. It was quite the tense situation, and he could have turned the balance towards a hopeless fight...


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And a more straightforward death, though again a strange one:

Name: Baron terroskas terranact
Race: Syrinx (custom race)
Classes/Levels: Sorcerer 6
Adventure: Racing to Ruin
Location: Tazion
Catalyst: Waiting for an army, then killing them too well

The gory details:

Spoiler:

This one saddens me quite a bit. Baron's player is in Germany at the moment, and he woke up at 2:30 am to join us on Roll20. He really liked Baron, and I felt pretty bad slaughtering his second character.

But...

The PCs got to Tazion, didn't bother doing any recon, and headed straight in. They started exploring around the Tower of Serpents, casting a bunch of Detect Magics, and eventually taking so long to do very little that I had one of the patrols of charau-ka discover them. The fight was short, brutal, and one-sided, but all three charau-ka got off their screams, alerting the other two patrols, the four at the well, and the four on the zigguraut. So the PCs made excellent Perception checks and asked, "Is anything coming?", and I responded, "Yeah. It sounds like an army. It's well over a dozen, and may be dozens. They're making their way towards you."

So, your GM tells you that an army is headed your way. You're right next to the exit. You ask about shelter or tactically advantageous terrain. The GM says there isn't any. You say, "OK, we'll just make our stand at this wall."
The GM asks incredulously, "You're going to STAY?!?!?! It sounds like there's a full-blown army coming!"

Yep... they chose to stay anyway. Once again proof that when your GM asks, "Are you really going to do that?", the answer should universally be, "No."

Surprisingly, Baron knew EXACTLY what he was doing -- his first Fireball dropped six of them. The rest of the party... stood there defensively, except the ranger, who shot and wounded... one.

So you're an angry mob. One guy is dropping fireballs on you. The rest are... standing there? Guess who you're going to throw your rocks at? Fortunately, Baron only took 15 points the first round. Unfortunately, no one bothered to heal him or run up to engage the enemy (except the ranger's wolf, whose instructions were, "Guard the sorcerer", so he ran up and engaged one, and the ranger, who shot up another one).
Next round... another fireball drops another 3 of them. Everyone else... does nothing. The remaining 5 guys pepper Baron with rocks, hitting him for another 27 points of damage. Considering he had only 30 hit points BEFORE he lost the level to Zakiyya and a CON of only 11, he dropped to the ground dead.
The other party members finally decided that maybe standing against the wall wasn't the best of tactical plans and ran forward to engage, slaughtering the remaining charau-ka with ease.

It was a real, "Let's see what goes wrong when we stand around and let the sorcerer do all the work," moment.

His player passed on Baron's final words:

Baron wrote:
HAHA! Eat fire, monkeys!! Ha! Missed me! You couldn't hit an elephant at this dis- oh wait no No NOOO!! I DONT WANT TO GO!!!


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

Saventh-Yhi is gonna eat them up :-)

Hopefully they do what my party did and walk up and try to pet the giant parrot:-D

Sovereign Court

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As a player, this was the first time I ever actually had a character get killed.
Name: Eshanya
Race:Catfolk
Class/Level: Ranger 11
Adventure: Vaults of Madness
Location: Vault of Silence
Catalyst:Trio of Zombie Dire Tigers aka the Blender Bengals
Gory Details: The rest of the party being slightly roughed up, Eshanya decided to be the first one into the next room, taking it a few steps ahead so she could warn anyone before anything happened. Never got the chance. Had just enough time to see them leaping at her before rolling poorly for initiative. Three Tigers, Three Pounces, Three Crits, one absolutely pureed catfolk. She got raised eventually by the cleric, but she opted to retire from adventuring after that little misadventure. It wasn't quite so fun anymore. Playing an Investigator now, which has been fun.

Liberty's Edge

Itombu is now responsible for the second-highest death count, edging out Klorak and the cannibal camp. RtR now has the most TPKs of any adventure in Serpent's Skull.


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Gark the Goblin wrote:
Itombu is now responsible for the second-highest death count, edging out Klorak and the cannibal camp. RtR now has the most TPKs of any adventure in Serpent's Skull.

Just doesn't surprise me at all. A shadow demon against 5th or 6th-level PCs? What did they expect? And then a succubus?

Unless the party follows the 'obvious' rules (use the head on Itombu and just lie back and let the succubus drain you) or has a paladin, they're two deadly, deadly fights.

EDIT: I'll admit, the succubus fight was only potentially deadly for my group because they had NO ONE with either Protection from Evil, Magic Circle Against Evil, or Align Weapon, all of which would render the succubus fight rather tame. If you're not ready for demons, they're pretty darned deadly...


I don't remember how my group beat the shadow demon, but I think the summoner's pounce eidolon drove off the succubus.

Sovereign Court

Name: Uobko
Race: Human
Class/Level: Brawler 7

Name: Athyra Crinhouse (Cohort)
Race: Human
Class/Level: Hunter 5

Name: Nkechi (Cohort)
Race: Human
Class/Level: Cleric 5

Adventure: City of Seven Spears
Location: E5, Isle of Shadows
Catalyst: Evil d6 and d8's.
Gory Details:
The PCs' expedition reached Saventh-Yhi near the end of the year. After a few days of exploration, a great feast was held in the camp to celebrate the new year. None knew then how tragic the events of Abadius 1st would be.

The following day, the PC's ventured into the forsaken ruin and were soon beset by shadows. Alas, during the fight, the shadows rolled quite high on their d6's and d8's to determine strength damage. Very quickly, both of the cohorts (Athyra and Nkechi) were slain, and the fact that they soon reappared as shadows, to be slain again by their former leaders, only added insult to injury.

Uobko, the group's brave Brawler, stood his ground against the Greater Shadow, trying to avoid death one last round as he was down to 1 point of strength. But alas... he was eventually slain, too.

Fortunately for him, PCs' have Hero Points that they can use to escape some deaths. So he "miraculously" survived.

Jaji, Athyra's raptor pet, screamed when his mistress died. Such a wretched sound had never before been uttered by the reptile. The poor creature fled the ruins, and was never seen again...


Poor raptor.

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