Haunting of HarrowStone (GM Reference)


Carrion Crown

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Hey guys. Quick question. Does the 30 days the professor asks the chracters to stay in ravegro include the time they go to the prison or do they have to wait 30 days to go to the prison?

It looks like the majority of you let them go to the prison IN the 30 days rather than after.
Thanks much


ern2112 wrote:

Hey guys. Quick question. Does the 30 days the professor asks the chracters to stay in ravegro include the time they go to the prison or do they have to wait 30 days to go to the prison?

Thanks much

Includes.

Your PCs have to spend 30 days in the area. What they do during that time is up to them.

That means that the bloody letters begin during those 30 days, the zombie nightmare happens in those 30 days, the town hall meeting happens in those 30 days, and they're supposed to investigate the prison in those 30 days.

My PC (singular, solo campaign) did it all within the first week.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
ern2112 wrote:

Hey guys. Quick question. Does the 30 days the professor asks the chracters to stay in ravegro include the time they go to the prison or do they have to wait 30 days to go to the prison?

It looks like the majority of you let them go to the prison IN the 30 days rather than after.
Thanks much

They need to deal with the prison within the 30 days.


Thanks guys


I would recommend you to be prepared for PCs leaving before the 30 days though, if you have players like mine who rarely follow the rails unless it seem logical to them.

(My players left for Lepidstad within 2 weeks after they got help from the village to crudely raze the prison and casting hallow on the area.)

The Exchange

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Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Leonal wrote:

I would recommend you to be prepared for PCs leaving before the 30 days though, if you have players like mine who rarely follow the rails unless it seem logical to them.

(My players left for Lepidstad within 2 weeks after they got help from the village to crudely raze the prison and casting hallow on the area.)

Wow. So they didn't follow the instructions in the will then? What happened to Kendra? I'd have the characters receive a letter in Lepidstad from the councillor informing them that being left alone in her grief she killed herself. Yes, guild trip the players, have them return for that funeral then let them get back to the adventure.


Am curious if anyone really has a pretty good list of things I should just plan to modify....form the start. Like the journal....instead of being in the box...Kendra having it....to keep players out of the prison too early. Just want to make this seamless and come off well.

Anyone really got a handle on this?

Thanks


ern2112 wrote:

Hey guys. Quick question. Does the 30 days the professor asks the chracters to stay in ravegro include the time they go to the prison or do they have to wait 30 days to go to the prison?

It looks like the majority of you let them go to the prison IN the 30 days rather than after.
Thanks much

In Ravegro includes the Prison. The Players are expected to go there inside of the 30days as else Splatterman will win....


Shadowfoot wrote:
Leonal wrote:

I would recommend you to be prepared for PCs leaving before the 30 days though, if you have players like mine who rarely follow the rails unless it seem logical to them.

(My players left for Lepidstad within 2 weeks after they got help from the village to crudely raze the prison and casting hallow on the area.)

Wow. So they didn't follow the instructions in the will then? What happened to Kendra? I'd have the characters receive a letter in Lepidstad from the councillor informing them that being left alone in her grief she killed herself. Yes, guild trip the players, have them return for that funeral then let them get back to the adventure.

Well they did more or less, but they didn't want to sit around while their reward was waiting for them and AV on the loose. (they found out the professor's killer's first name through the planchette). Kendra decided she would move to Lepidstad, but they didn't wait for her to finish packing. They handled it well and inspired courage to the people through a great speech and their actions so I don't see any need to 'punish' them for not following the letter 100%.

Grand Lodge

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What a pity... oh well, as long as they had fun.

@Ern2112 - do a search of the forums here for both the Carrion Crown active and archive threads - some AMAZING stuff there.

Also search Obsidian Portal for Carrion Crown campaigns, many of the DMs have done the handouts in E-formats that could use for your own games if you don't find what you want here.


Helaman wrote:

What a pity... oh well, as long as they had fun.

@Ern2112 - do a search of the forums here for both the Carrion Crown active and archive threads - some AMAZING stuff there.

Also search Obsidian Portal for Carrion Crown campaigns, many of the DMs have done the handouts in E-formats that could use for your own games if you don't find what you want here.

Awesome...thanks!

Dark Archive

Does anyone know whether the illustrations on pages 4, 55 and 64 pertain to the module, and if so - where do these events occur?

I thought page 55 might be the Splatter Man, but I'm not sure.

Thanks

Richard


Page 4 - No.
Page 55 - Yes, that is Splatter Man. Somewhere in Harrowstone.
Pagr 64 - no.


Still a little new at DMing, so bare with me. I'm still in the process of preparing Carrion Crown for my PCs. My concerns are on how the PCs might uncover the problem with

Event 1:
The Monumental Desecration.

As I've been rereading it, I'm still bit concerned the PCs won't discover the monument at all, given its location on the map (p 60) from "O" to "Q". Since the book only mentions Gibs wandering into farms after 1 am, preferably when the PCs might end up sleeping at The Outward Inn ("K" on the map). I thought maybe, instead, that Old River ("A", the dog mentioned), would be around to start barking at Gibs who would pass through town now at that time of nite, giving them a DC to see if they might awaken to hear it at night (Probably DC 25).

I can't help but feel I am missing something or overlooks something in the adventure that I shouldn't feel the need to change it in the first place.

Any advice you have would be considerably great!

Sovereign Court

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Once the first letter had been scrawled on the monument, the group heard about the crime, and visited the monument to see what had happened. Once there, they were able to offer their assistance to Benjan the Sherrif. He refused at first, but after the second desecration had occurred, he reluctantly accepted the party's offer of aid. The group's rogue spent several nights hiding in the tree branches near the monument until the next time it was desecrated, stealthed sucessfully, followed the perp back to his home, and then notified the authorities of his discovery. Worked great.


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I had my PC (solo campaign) drawn out of bed by sounds of running in the street. Several minutes of shouting down at people were needed before she managed to get some kid to spread the news. The whole town knew about the letters on the monument before my PC did. It was a subtle way to drive home the "no one trusts you" aspect of small town living.

Sovereign Court

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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens Subscriber

You can also use the Posting Poles around town to notify everyone of the desecration and a warning, say, from the Sheriff to stop doing it.

J


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I have mixed feelings in that, although the game is going very well, several sessions in and 10 1/2 in-game days (and by far the best adventure I have ever run).

The research went well, we have had several diversions thanks to additional ideas on these boards (which are awesome btw folks!) but I was planning to hold the town's festival with a wedding later on in the current day.
I wanted to set up the 'random' stirge encounter during the festivities later in the evening but the party has just made their first visit to the prison and went via the balcony straight to defeat the Piper.

It was a fairly heated battle and they used up most of their resources (especially as it had followed the rat swarm and the scythe) But I am not sure if it makes sense to still have the stirge encounter once the Piper has been defeated?

Any ideas?

I had a rough concept that there could be some encounter at the wedding itself (half the guests turning out to be the groom's late in-laws or something) but I have run several zombie and skeleton encounters so would like a bit of variety - which the stirges would have provided - whatever happens, as it is in the presence of so many townsfolk it would be the trigger for the town hall incident.

The party have made the trust mechanic seem like a tally chart, gaining trust left right and center so they are sure to be minor celebrities at the festival.... and also the first people to hide behind when danger is about.

Do you think there is a logical way to leave the stirges in, or does anyone have any alternative ideas I could pinch which would freak the town out properly?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Rulebook Subscriber

You could have a local farmer inquiry around town because a whole bunch of disoriented stirges wandering away, maybe ate a cow.

Sort of giving the idea that something drew them to town, but now they are just confused and leaving the area?

Grand Lodge

Galnörag wrote:

You could have a local farmer inquiry around town because a whole bunch of disoriented stirges wandering away, maybe ate a cow.

Sort of giving the idea that something drew them to town, but now they are just confused and leaving the area?

Yeah - I'd do that rather than raid the wedding with stirges.

That said there are tonnes of stuff you can do at the wedding/town meeting including Zombie apocolypse.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Rulebook Subscriber
Inkwell wrote:

Still a little new at DMing, so bare with me. I'm still in the process of preparing Carrion Crown for my PCs. My concerns are on how the PCs might uncover the problem with

** spoiler omitted **

Any advice you have would be considerably great!

The monument is a known meeting spot for young lovers, and nothing screams louder then an amorous young milk maid, whose morning tryst is disrupted by spotting a bloody V, have her coming screaming into town and you will have cause to send the PCs to the monument.

Dark Archive

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DjinnJah wrote:

although the game is going very well,

Any ideas?

DjinnJah, I am not sure how much work you want to put Into this but there is a great mini adventure called No Dignity in Death which are actually three mini scenarios each having to deal with brides.

The plots in this mini adventure are almost tailored made as side quests for this AP, all are adult themed and not (although can be) combat driven.

The first of the three mini adventures is perfect for Ravengro (the second is a shoe in for Wake of the Watcher), and has the added benefit that you can easily recast the gypsies in it as either Varisians entertainers or even the Krooked Kin from Trial of the Beast. (I actually used Madame Ivanja from Broken Moon so that she will be more willing to help the PCs later on.) Also this adventure could fill in small XP gaps your party may need as well as giving them something to do before the 30 days in town is up.

I also set up Harrow readings through the use of the gypsies in this mini adventure.

If you want my further notes on how to inegrate this to HoH let me know.


baron arem heshvaun wrote:
DjinnJah wrote:

although the game is going very well,

Any ideas?

DjinnJah, I am not sure how much work you want to put Into this but there is a great mini adventure called No Dignity in Death which are actually three mini scenarios each having to deal with brides.

The plots in this mini adventure are almost tailored made as side quests for this AP, all are adult themed and not (although can be) combat driven.

The first of the three mini adventures is perfect for Ravengro (the second is a shoe in for Wake of the Watcher), and has the added benefit that you can easily recast the gypsies in it as either Varisians entertainers or even the Krooked Kin from Trial of the Beast. (I actually used Madame Ivanja from Broken Moon so that she will be more willing to help the PCs later on.) Also this adventure could fill in small XP gaps your party may need as well as giving them something to do before the 30 days in town is up.

I also set up Harrow readings through the use of the gypsies in this mini adventure.

If you want my further notes on how to inegrate this to HoH let me know.

Well as far as how much work I can put in..... not much, although we aren't playing again until after New Year.

I checked this out and I like it, sounds like I should be able to fit it right in but how difficult is conversion or creating stat blocks etc? I am not too hot on that and don't have much time for prep work.

If you could give me more info it would be cool, thanks.


Is there a limit on the number of

Spoiler:
stirges
in the town?

Because one of my players is a bard who plays music.

Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

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Cheapy wrote:

Is there a limit on the number of ** spoiler omitted ** in the town?

Because one of my players is a bard who plays music.

In town...:
It's totally up to you. Personally, if I had a bard in my group, I'd have stirges show up about 1/3 of the time they started any sort of performance.

It's the perfectly creepy sort of thing that goes along with what's going on in Ravengro.


Alright.

One of the more amusing moments so far is when he the bard

Spoiler:
started to play during the funeral procession.

I could barely contain my laughter.

Dark Archive

As an aside I had a young female priest sing "Ave Pharasma" during the funeral.

As a further aside, I really like that the Carrion Crown threads got busy all of a sudden.

Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

Boyar Аркадий нezhиамин wrote:

As an aside I had a young female priest sing "Ave Pharasma" during the funeral.

As a further aside, I really like that the Carrion Crown threads got busy all of a sudden.

It is handy. I'm running HoH and reading TotB right now, so I'm not really paying much attention to the four other groups of threads, but that will come.


So my players are about to brave Harrowstone after 11.5 straight hours of roleplaying and investigation (only 3 combat encounters which lasted 10 minutes each). One player kept complaining about the fact they hadn't had any fights and I kept reminding them "they could return to Harrowstone at any point."

I'm a bit concerned about the poltergeist. It can turn invisible and attack them while remaining invisible. They have no means to see an invisible creature, and it gets to move (at only 10 feet per movement, but that's enough to make assertaining it's square difficult).

The character classes (and party role) are:
* Oracle (healer) - no spells to counter invisibility
* Alchemist (rogue) - no spells to counter invisibility
* Sorcerer (arcanist) - no spells to counter invisiblity
* Paladin (fighter)
* Fighter (fighter)

The sorcerer has an animal companion with scent. But do poltergiests actually smell given they're insubstantial?


Give them some bags of flour. Or just have the alchemist do a bombing run.


Cheapy wrote:
Give them some bags of flour. Or just have the alchemist do a bombing run.

Wait, it's not JUST invisible, it's also insubstantial. The flour would just go straight through it, wouldn't it?

As for the alchemist, he's swapped out bombs for something else.


I figured it'd stick to some of the ectoplasm, but I see your point. Maybe suggest going back to the crypt, and they'll find a useful item that was well hidden? The oracle can use invisibility purge. I think.

Grand Lodge

Have them pick up a scroll or two of detect undead or see invis? There is a Scroll shop.


John Lynch 106 wrote:
The sorcerer has an animal companion with scent. But do poltergiests actually smell given they're insubstantial?

I would rule that they can't be detected by smell. IMO this encounter works best when run as written; worst case, the PCs just run away and come back later when they're good and ready. The one thing I would not do is force frightened PCs to flee into the furnace room.


John Lynch 106 wrote:
I'm a bit concerned about the poltergeist. It can turn invisible and attack them while remaining invisible. They have no means to see an invisible creature, and it gets to move (at only 10 feet per movement, but that's enough to make assertaining it's square difficult).

I gave my PC (singular) the chance to open the door, look inside. The poltergeist, visible at the moment, made faces then went invisible. And then the stuff in the room went flying. She slammed the door closed just as a volley of glass shrapnel embedded in the wood.

That room went unexplored. One of the very few left unexplored.


I wasn't too worried about my group until today.

Spoiler:
Today, the party's sorcerer died when he rushed out to meet two zombies as a part of the uprising. This was before they hit level 2. The party will now probably be a dervish dancer bard, an armiger, a ranger (archery. Real useful against zombies :p), and a maneuver master monk.

On a scale of 1 to DMPC, how tough will the Harrowstone be for them? The bard does have Cure Light Wounds, but...I'm a bit worried.

Any thoughts on what I could/should do?


AHalflingNotAHobbit wrote:
The one thing I would not do is force frightened PCs to flee into the furnace room.

While I didn't force it, that is exactly what happened in my group and resulted in a TPK that had to be rewound and solidified in their minds that I am a deadly GM to play under (I don't think I am that bad, but whatever).

Yeah, barring that, running away from this encounter isn't a huge deal.

Sean


So one of my PCs has sold their soul. Details can be found here


That doesn't have to do much with Haunting of Harrowstone, really, since neither the setting nor rules support it.

Grand Lodge

Toadkiller Dog wrote:
That doesn't have to do much with Haunting of Harrowstone, really, since neither the setting nor rules support it.

Thats my take away but I do applaud the GM for wanting to be creative and think of stuff for his players.


Toadkiller Dog wrote:
That doesn't have to do much with Haunting of Harrowstone, really, since neither the setting nor rules support it.

Hence why I didn't make the thread here but instead in the Advice sub forum. The feedback has helped change my thinking as to the consequences for partaking in the ritual.

I'm surprised at some of the animosity I'm getting for handing out a +1 sword in return for non-monetary bargaining.

Sczarni

Cheapy wrote:

I wasn't too worried about my group until today.

** spoiler omitted **

Any thoughts on what I could/should do?

Cheapy, I don't think it'll be too terribly hard for them, as long as they load out with good equipment, especially the gear in the hidden crypt.

Also, make sure they're leveled up sufficiently. Follow the advice for level progression as it's written in the adventure and they should be fine.

I specifically banned my party (3 PCs) from taking any clerics or paladins, so that no one member would outshine the others too badly in Harrowstone. I had a knife master rogue, a witch, and a trip fighter. The fighter died and got replaced by a monk who was much more effective in combat (his fists counted as magical weapons, so he could hit the ghosts).

I didn't soft-pedal things very much. They had a good, difficult time, but they got through it.


Cheapy wrote:

I wasn't too worried about my group until today.

** spoiler omitted **

Any thoughts on what I could/should do?

I wouldn't worry about them too much. As long as your players are smart they'll be able to figure their way around things. Harrowstone will be tough, there's no getting around that, but not impossible. Remember, they have a month to goof off in the dungeon.

Sovereign Court

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I finally got off my first session with my group and it was a blast. I have to say that the 'Weegee board' as my group has come to call it is a pretty unimpressive pc magical item but an extrodinary DM tool.

I have been giving whoever has been holding it dreams about how the splatter man managed the escape though they haven't worked that out yet.

I managed to drive one PC (The party rogue who nicked the box containing the 'ghostbuster traps' and 'weegee board' while the rest of the group was fighting the centipedes.) halfway around the bend. When he awoke after the dreams, the board was spelling out H-E-L-P-M-E over and over again. He went screaming out the room to get the others. When they all came in the board was doing nothing and he thrust it into the hands of the party alchemist and ran downstairs.

The spirit plachantte is an excelent way to drip feed your pcs eerie hints on what is really going on and allows a dm to let pcs know a little bit more of the flavour that they might never normally see.

Also I removed the professors Journal from the chest and instead had Kendra notice that it was missing after several days and requested the pcs to find it. This allowed the pcs to enter into harrowstone and find the diary nowhere near where the body of the professor was found hinting that something might be wrong with his death. (It hadn't rained for the last nearly 3 weeks at the time and the farmers had been worried about a possible drought)


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alair223 wrote:

The spirit plachantte is an excelent way to drip feed your pcs eerie hints on what is really going on and allows a dm to let pcs know a little bit more of the flavour that they might never normally see.

Also I removed the professors Journal from the chest and instead had Kendra notice that it was missing after several days and requested the pcs to find it. This allowed the pcs to enter into harrowstone and find the diary nowhere near where the body of the professor was found hinting that something might be wrong with his death. (It hadn't rained for the last nearly 3 weeks at the time and the farmers had been worried about a possible drought)

I had the journal buried on the professor's body. (Small, slender book that stayed unnoticed in his breast pocket.) It will be on his person when he rises as a zombie and comes a-knocking...

Good ideas with the ouija board. May have to cop some of them.


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Interesting. For my game, I'm ditching the Spirit Planchette in favor of three scrolls of Detect Undead and a book entitled The Compleat Medium: being a Most Excellent and Thorough introduction to the Noble Art of Communion with the Restless Dead, which explains the following rules.

Haunt Communion:

Haunt Communion

As a full-round action, a PC under the effects of Detect Undead may attempt to commune with the spirit that animates a haunt. This may only be done when the haunt is active or resetting.

The haunt and the communer (i.e. the PC attempting communion) make opposed Charisma checks. For purposes of this check, use the haunt's CR as its Charisma bonus. If the PC is suffering damage from the haunt while attempting to commune with it, she takes a -2 penalty on her check.

If the communer wins this opposed check, she is temporarily possessed by the spirit animating the haunt, but is able to force it to speak through her mouth of the circumstances that created it, and of what action or circumstance would lay it to rest. If the communer loses the opposed check, she is afflicted by Confusion (as the spell) for a number of rounds equal to the haunt's CR. In the event of a tie, the attempt fails with no ill effect to the communer.

Regardless of success or failure, the communer cannot try again until 24 hours have passed. Other PCs are free to make an attempt. Certain unusually powerful haunts may be immune to communion. In this case, the attempt always fails, and the PC may or may not suffer ill effects from the attempt (GM's discretion).

The book won't describe it, of course, but a similar procedure can be used with the cursed items in the vault. Once any of the curses has been triggered, a DC 15 Kn (Religion) or (Arcana) check should be sufficient for the PCs to realize that they can try this; or Vesorianna can suggest it at any time after they meet her.

Communing with the Cursed Items:

The Cursed Items

Since the five cursed items are tied to the primary spirits haunting the prison, the PCs may attempt to commune with the items. If the spirit in question has a normal CHA bonus higher than its CR, use that for the opposed Charisma check; otherwise use its CR as its CHA bonus.

On a successful communion, the PC is able to reveal the item's properties and drawbacks. On a tie OR a failed check, the communer suffers negative consequences that vary according to the item:

The Bloody Handaxe: if the PC fails the opposed CHA check, she is compelled to attack the nearest party member with the axe for 5 rounds, aiming for the neck. Treat the PC as proficient with handaxes, even if she isn't ordinarily. If any of the attacks hits, the curse is triggered as normal (in this case, continue to treat the PC as proficient with the handaxe until the curse is lifted).

The Holy Symbols: if the PC fails the opposed CHA check, she is targetd by an Inflict Moderate Wounds spell (DC 17 Will save for half). The DC is based on Father Charlatan's CR (10 + spell level 2 + 5 CR).

The Moldy Spellbook: on a failed CHA check, the PC begins bleeding from the mouth. The PC takes 1d2 damage for each letter in her name, and the splashes of blood she coughs out spell out her name on the floor.

The Smith's Hammer: on a failed CHA check, the PC is compelled to bash her own skull with the hammer for 3 rounds. Treat the PC as proficient with light hammers for the duration of this effect.

The Tarnished Silver Flute: on failed CHA check, the PC is compelled to make a Perform (Wind Instruments) check on the flute, with a +10 bonus. This triggers the usual effects of the flute's curse, with no Will save to avoid the effect. In addition, anyone in earshot of the communer must make a Will save (DC = the communer's Perform [Wind Instruments] check). Any listeners who fail their Will saves are Fascinated and can take no actions until the music stops. If the communer is prevented from playing through the end of the piece -- for example, by a party member wresting the flute from her -- then she learns nothing from the communion attempt. However, if she plays through to the end of the piece, falls unconscious and is stabilized by her allies, she automatically knows the full details of the flute's properties due to prolonged exposure.

It helps that one of the group is a Menhir Savant and thus permanently under the effects of Detect Undead. He's quite smug about it. I'm probably going to give him a penalty on saves against Insanity in Wake of the Watcher due to his heightened sensitivity to outsiders, fey, undead, and such. Bwa ha.


Skull Swarms. Have people run them as immune to weapon damage, as the block says, or as taking half damage from slashing and piercing?


Half damage from piercing and slashing. I assumed the "immune to weapons" was a typo, since they're freaking skulls, not a swarm of bugs. Unless the swarm was intended as rat skulls or something.

I added a skull swarm to the piper fight - after a couple rounds of combat, all the heads popped off of the skellies still trapped in cells and came a-biting.

And then it died immediately because it only had 9 HP and one of the party members was using a heavy flail.


John Lynch 106 wrote:
I'm a bit concerned about the poltergeist. It can turn invisible and attack them while remaining invisible. They have no means to see an invisible creature, and it gets to move (at only 10 feet per movement, but that's enough to make assertaining it's square difficult).

Isn't the solution to this like the solution to many (too many?) of such quandries in Harrowstone -- channel energy can damage the poltergeist. Also, since it rises in the middle of the room to use its frightener ability before returning to its invisible state and it can't move too fast, an area effect spell will have at least some chance of hitting the right square if the caster acts quickly.

I really think Harrowstone as designed doesn't really work for a party without a player who can cast channel energy. If there are parties that have been successful without such a player, I'd be interested to hear how the parties got around that problem. In parties with players that can cast channel energy, the module really requires them to burn through their channeling, thus requiring the party to come in and our of the prison.


While my party has a cleric, they barely used Channel Energy. While I'm not sure if that's RAW, I allowed Disrupt Undead and holy water to work against the haunts.

The party went through a massive amount of holy water, but they cleared the entire prison in three runs, with very little left to do on the last run - just the marauder and the torture chamber.

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