Shadows of Gallowspire (GM Reference)


Carrion Crown

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Voomer wrote:
Does the teleport trap affect summoning bringing creatures from another plane? Or does it only affect spells with "teleport" in the name? I'm finding the teleport trap mechanic a little unclear...

I believe it is meant to function against any spell of the conjuration (teleportation) subschool, as well as any SLA or other effect that results in teleportation. That's how I ruled it in my game, and it worked well.

This means, for example, that any attempt to Dimension Door within Renchurch puts the subjects into the banshee cage, which would be a nasty surprise if their first use of teleportation is one person using that spell to get across a battlefield or out of a sticky situation. Luckily for my party, they met the banshee together and at full strength.


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That interpretation makes sense, but the module says that the vampire they meet with The Chamberlain has a dimension door wand she will use to escape, and there's no mention of her ending up in the cage. The module says the trap covers, "All long-range teleportation (including
shadow walk, teleport, greater teleport, teleportation circle,
and transport via plants spells)," so I think the author did not intend to include dimension door. But that leaves plane shift and summoning unclear. I guess I'm inclined to say plane shift triggers the trap (given that it is in the teleportation subschool), but summoning somehow does not -- I guess because the summoning subschool's conjuration mechanism is different than teleportation.

In my game a barbed devil summoned by the guardian barbed devil tried to teleport and ended up in the banshee's cage. THAT must resulted in an interesting negotiation! Any thoughts on how that would have played out would be welcome. The summoned devil did not really have any way "to show proper dedication to Urgathoa or produce evidence of the cult’s good graces." I rolled some diplomacy and the devil rolled poorly, so the PCs did hear a banshee wail in the distance, but I haven't figured out where things went after that. The devil would be long gone in any event. The PCs may come across the banshee tonight as they seek somewhere to rest.


Voomer wrote:
That interpretation makes sense, but the module says that the vampire they meet with The Chamberlain has a dimension door wand she will use to escape, and there's no mention of her ending up in the cage.

To be fair, the module doesn't mention anything about where the vampire ends up after an escape attempt. Assuming she knows about the teleport trap, she'd probably be fine with escaping to the cage--the banshee has no attacks that could possibly hurt her, after all, and she can mist out of there with ease.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

I did something a little different with the witchgates. I had them intercept all teleportation effects, down to dimension door. However...

The moribund key from the previous adventure showed shockingly little use. I added a thing where each witchgate had a specific "combination" - by setting a moribund key to that set of runes, you could teleport to a specific gate.


Voomer wrote:
Where did your PCs rest when going through Renchurch?

They rested twice, each time teleporting out to the cage, then sneaking off to a different hideyhole each time. They covered their tracks well and used Mage's Secure Sanctum, among other safeguards, so I let them rest undisturbed. Otherwise I would have had the lichwolf and the worm that walks use hit and run tactics on them.

Each time they rested, I added a couple of encounters to Renchurch to represent the Whispering Way reinforcing itself, so they wouldn't get complacent. For example, all the Renchurch Novices they killed on their first trip came back as revenants that chased them around the ruins. Their reactions were priceless--"Oh, crap...we've just been giving the necromancers more bodies to work with!" They put some effort into disposing of bodies from that point on. :)

Voomer wrote:
Also, given the magic circle of good effect in the monastery, does that mean it is impossible to summon good creatures at all, or only that they can't touch the PC's foes in the monastery? If the latter, how is that any different than just having the monastery's inhabitants benefit from a PvG effect?

My interpretation is that every qualifying creature is the locus of a MCAG spell. So summoned good creatures can't approach (or be summoned into) within 10' of them or touch them, and any ally that the Unhallow doesn't benefit--any living member of the Whispering Way, for example--still gets the benefit of Protection From Good if they're within 10' of someone the Unhallow does benefit.


After having to retreat after an ambush by the morhgs and the worg necromancer Lucimar descending into the catacombs, the party is planning to re-enter through the grate past St. Vesbias' tomb. The WW knows the party's whereabouts, so I'm curious about any tips on how to arrange the foes at this point. I figure the lich alchemist will continue to defend his lab, but perhaps the golems will throw bombs at the PCs while they are engaged with the demon in the honeycomb. I think the Morhgs and monks may head over to the grotto to reinforce the monks already there -- basically meaning there will be a battle royale in those chambers past the catacombs.

Any thoughts on how to run that big battle in the catacombs -- strategies of WW monks (novices) in that kind of a battle? Any other thoughts?

Thanks!


At this point in the module, the enemies are doing everything they can (to the point of meta-gaming) to stave off the PCs invasion. The remaining WW forces will most likely take the choke points (honeycomb and the room beyond that splits the dungeon into two paths). Keep in mind that if Lucimar (if he still lives) and The Grey Friar have memorized spells that can be changed to adjust for PC tactics that have been utilized by them throughout the AP. This can include having Mass 'X' spells casts on groups of minions. I had Lucimar use Magic Jar/ Possession to attack them from an extreme distance, and when they closed on his body, minions held the PCs off long enough for him to cancel the spell and retreat. Its sort of up to you as to how easy of a time you think your PCs are having.
Minions I think that would rally around choke points would be all of the Cultists and Cenobites (except the ones in the final room), the Revenants (which can be used to locate resting PCs near Renchurch regardless of most precautions), the Totenmaskes, and Lucimar. The rest would stay in their respective areas.
Hope that helps!


Thanks! That's generally along the lines of what I was thinking, although it isn't clear to me the minions have much ability to harm the PCs. Any mass buffs you would suggest?

I'm not very experienced with magic jar and/or possession. Can you explain better how that works? Did you cast both spells or one or the other? What is the difference? Is the general idea that Lucimar casts spells at a distance from the body of a minion? With both spells could Lucimar fully perceive the battle scene from a couple rooms away?

Thanks again!


The cultists themselves are not going to pose a credible threat as written; they were one of the few monsters in the module I had a problem with as written. I turned them into Arcanists, but if you run them as is, I recommend Mass Bull's Strength, Bless, and Magic Fang for starters, and perhaps a Communal Resist Energy. With the cenobites, I had them concentrate on buffing themselves (Bull's Strength, Bless, Prayer, Keen Edge, Divine Favor) to make their scythes more of a deadly threat, especially if they critically hit.
Magic Jar doesn't require line of effect to work, so yeah, he can be some distance away (even on the next level if you wanted to be nasty), behind a locked door, and surrounded by minions. Basically, every round (and this can be augmented with effects from the Tyrant's Whispers.. Limited Wish to lower someone's save for a turn?) Lucimar tries to possess one PC. If they fail the will save, he takes control of them, doing what he wants (even commiting suicide and moving onto the next PC) until they can get to his body or he ends the spell. It is an extremely deadly spell.


Thanks! I've never used magic jar, so I'm not too familiar with it, but I think I see the idea now. I think the PCs always have mass PvE up (why on earth would they not, given PvE is one of the most overpowered spells in the game), so there would probably need to be some dispelling before the magic jar plan could be implemented. Currently they are fighting in the honeycomb, with the addition of the alchemical golems blocking both doors and the lich alchemist throwing bombs. We are just starting, so it will be interesting to see how they do. Then I guess Lucimar will take his stand with minions in the next set of rooms.


Voomer wrote:
I think the PCs always have mass PvE up (why on earth would they not, given PvE is one of the most overpowered spells in the game), so there would probably need to be some dispelling before the magic jar plan could be implemented.

faint whispering


Right. Definitely an appropriate use for the haunt!

On a separate note, am I missing something or is the lich alchemist's fear aura really tough for the PCs? As I understand it, it lasts 12 rounds, and anytime the fear runs out or gets removed the PC needs to re-save upon re-entering the aura. Am I missing something?


By the way, I really appreciate everyone's help. I've never GM'd or even played at anywhere near this level (currently the PCs are 14th) in Pathfinder, so I'm really flying by the seat of my pants!


Voomer wrote:

Right. Definitely an appropriate use for the haunt!

On a separate note, am I missing something or is the lich alchemist's fear aura really tough for the PCs? As I understand it, it lasts 12 rounds, and anytime the fear runs out or gets removed the PC needs to re-save upon re-entering the aura. Am I missing something?

No, it does exactly that. If they are running around with PvE, chances are that they have access to Remove Fear, which makes the aura a non-issue. But, yeah, if they've never faced a Lich before, it is a nasty ability to encounter for the first time.

Contributor

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The lower level minions were one of the first instances in my writing where I wanted to introduce my troop subtype rules from my home game in a Paizo product, but it was my first AP chapter and I didn't have much influence to get a new ruleset introduced (finally got them in Rasputin Must Die!).

So, that being said--the Cultist troop from Bestiary 6 (they are drow, but you can file off the serial numbers) are CR 11, and just about right for a substitute for the minions that populate Renchurch, if you want a more streamlined way to run a bunch of low-level cultists.


Thanks, Brandon! I'll take a look. I'm the first to admit that a big part of the challenge is my inexperience at GMing at these levels. The game relies on stacking buffs and teamwork to make minions more effective against high level PCs, but I don't have a lot of familiarity with all that and I can end up leaving it aside while trying to manage everything else!


Hey all. Why is Lucimar able to channel negative energy and what is the damage he does with it? The module lists the frequency and DC, but not the damage. I was not aware necromancers could channel negative energy, but maybe I missed that somewhere.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

The necromancer wizard specialization gives you a number of channels per day but only for use to control undead.

Necromancers

Lucimar was my favorite NPC in the path. I miss'm. :)


Thanks! I appreciate the clarification. Yes, he's a pretty interesting NPC. Hope to keep him alive for 2 more skirmishes.


Did any of you change up the Worm That Walks' spell list? The default list in the Bestiary makes no sense for his position as a guardian who fights to the death (teleport, plane shift, dimension door X 2, etc.). I ended up having him prep deflection, and he's giving the PCs a heck of a time -- his high DR and high fast healing, combined with deflection making the PCs hit themselves all the time. He's been a major resource suck for the party before the final battle in Renchurch. Anyhow, just wondering if any of you changed his spell list as well. I think I may have overdone it...


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To match with a previously defeated NPC in the previous adventure, I turned the Worm that Walks into a cleric of equal level composed of flies to fit with the Urgathoan theme. Source severance and the WtW abilities made for a few dicey moments.


For the Soul Haunting effect in the Cathedral/Catacombs of Renchurch, is the soul of those who die within it trapped immediately, or only when they become a haunt 1d4 hours after their death?

Text for reference:
The soul of a living creature who dies
within the halls of Renchurch Cathedral or its catacombs is
soured and corrupted by the cathedral’s malign influence,
manifesting near the scene of its death 1d4 hours later as
a haunt with a CR equal to its original Hit Dice and its
alignment shifted to evil. Similar to a soul bind effect (CL
20th), the souls are trapped within the cathedral itself,
and spells such as raise dead, reincarnation, and resurrection
function only if both the soul and the body are removed from
the cathedral.


I'd rule that they are trapped immediately as the whole structure is a sinkhole of evil. It just takes a tad longer for the soul to coalesce into its new form.


I know this is an old AP but I was hoping to get some thoughts on my current campaign. My group out smarted themselves. They researched Renchurch’s location and then in meta, decided they had that much time to craft and purchase, even teleported Absalom to make sure the it Emser they wanted could be secured. The plan of course to make up for the down time by then teleporting to Renchurch. This of course failed because of the teleport traps. Now they are behind schedule. Much has been made throughout the campaign that the campaign is both on rails and on a timer. That time is of the essence in stopping The Whispering Way.

The biggest goal in playing is for everyone to have fun and they have developed clever ways to make up for a lack a downtime and meager treasure. They have also turned themselves into a juggernaut that only gets challenged during encounters if they get sloppy.

So do I each them a lesson about meta and have the Whispering way succeed because of the extra time they gave them?

Do I wave it off and proceed?

Or do I proceed with a higher level of lethality because they allowed a lesser version of the Tryant be created?

I’ve played with the idea of them reaching Grey Friar to find him scrying the scene atop the Gallowspire, to witness the transformation and A) it’s failure thus concluding the AP with a bittersweet conclusion or B) succeeding and ushering in a 1,000 years of suffering across the land.


Was the group aware of the kidnapping? If not, I would definitely handwave it.

If they were, then I would only slightly adjust the story... The kidnap victim is now dead (died before the ritual could be completed during an escape attempt or some such thing), and AA completed the ritual on himself as described in the book. Unfortunately, he is now trapped at the top of the tower, and is trying to figure out how to leave and trying to cement his power as a lich who cannot travel. Just adjust where the NPCs are and what they are doing, have some extra traps on the tower, have a formal guard schedule, have AA fully prepared for the fight, maybe bring in some extra NPCs that have come to check out this new lich...

It will make it harder (which sounds OK given their power level) and yet they can still defeat AA, and yet the delay will have had consequences for the kidnap victim. Whispering Way plans will have proceeded, but they don't have the bitter feeling of such a technical and unforeseen way to be defeated by an AP that they have spent a long time on.


Thadyne wrote:

Was the group aware of the kidnapping? If not, I would definitely handwave it.

If they were, then I would only slightly adjust the story... The kidnap victim is now dead (died before the ritual could be completed during an escape attempt or some such thing), and AA completed the ritual on himself as described in the book. Unfortunately, he is now trapped at the top of the tower, and is trying to figure out how to leave and trying to cement his power as a lich who cannot travel. Just adjust where the NPCs are and what they are doing, have some extra traps on the tower, have a formal guard schedule, have AA fully prepared for the fight, maybe bring in some extra NPCs that have come to check out this new lich...

It will make it harder (which sounds OK given their power level) and yet they can still defeat AA, and yet the delay will have had consequences for the kidnap victim. Whispering Way plans will have proceeded, but they don't have the bitter feeling of such a technical and unforeseen way to be defeated by an AP that they have spent a long time on.

They were aware of kidnapping and time element. And the AP being on rails.

You've offered up a good solution. I could also amp it up to make it unwinnable and let them go out as martyrs.....muhaha


The thing is that failing the campaign at the finale because you went shopping is extremely unfun and lame. Do Thadyne's suggestions so they can still have a good time. Make it hard and tough, but unwinnable just isn't very entertaining.


If you try to make it un-winnable, you will earn yourself a bunch of power gamers for however long you game with these people. Make adjustments to the story- What would a brand new lich be working on during the time period they were delayed for? Make it natural consequences.

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