Night of Frozen Shadows (GM Reference)


Jade Regent

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Paizo Employee Creative Director

magnuskn wrote:
J-Bone wrote:

Is it just me or does this read like one long frustrating investigation? I mean as a GM I'm going to have to go to great lengths to make sure the clues to the next spot are made very very obvious to my players. For example finding a feather after the Elemental attack seems a bit loose.

Also all the dead ends read sorta frustrating, I cant imagine my players will take well to them.

How are others finding this?

Eh, I found the clues super-obvious and the whole module mostly reads as a lead-you-by-your-nose railroad. Especially the "you must do a night raid against Asvig!" part, which, I am pretty sure, will not work out that way for 75% of groups who run the module.

But don't expect a developer to give an answer to this, they seem to have completely abandoned reading this forum. Which doesn't bode very well for the rest of the AP, IMO.

We're still reading. We're also still really busy with other things, though. Like vacations.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
magnuskn wrote:
Helaman wrote:
I'm reading Jade Regent comments and more and more this AP just doesn't seem to shine - sure its only 2 of 6 but I haven't seen any one rave over this one yet.

I'd say that functionally it is totally fine. There are interesting encounters and nice situations.

The problem for me is that the word-of-mouth from James Jacobs was for a "roleplaying heavy" AP and as of now it is much less so than Carrion Crown, which wasn't marketed as especially roleplaying heavy ( but turned out to be excellently so ). This AP so far is much more heavily slanted towards combat and dungeon exploring.

The potential for great roleplaying is there with the important NPC's, but the official support for that is near to nil ( and it appears that will continue to be so for the rest of the AP ) after the initial write-ups for them.

This AP weighs heavily on how the Tian elements will be introduced. I guess that everybody is holding their breath for adventures 5 and 6 which will pretty much be the do or break for this AP. Everything before is just a setup.

And regarding Night of Frozen Shadows: Greg Vaughan is the dungeon crawl expert and his adventures are usually geared towards combat and challenges via ingenious encounters and unusual locales. So it could be expected that NoFS will be mostly about hacking ninjas and vikings and not much else.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
J-Bone wrote:

Is it just me or does this read like one long frustrating investigation? I mean as a GM I'm going to have to go to great lengths to make sure the clues to the next spot are made very very obvious to my players. For example finding a feather after the Elemental attack seems a bit loose.

Also all the dead ends read sorta frustrating, I cant imagine my players will take well to them.

How are others finding this?

Eh, I found the clues super-obvious and the whole module mostly reads as a lead-you-by-your-nose railroad. Especially the "you must do a night raid against Asvig!" part, which, I am pretty sure, will not work out that way for 75% of groups who run the module.

But don't expect a developer to give an answer to this, they seem to have completely abandoned reading this forum. Which doesn't bode very well for the rest of the AP, IMO.

We're still reading. We're also still really busy with other things, though. Like vacations.

Yeah, sorry about the tone of that post. It's pretty frustrating if you are prepping for a campaign, need some help on an important topic and nobody is responding for a long time.

Now that I know that the important NPC's are not getting any further official personality advancement support I can work with that. It's not what I wanted to hear and I think it's a bad idea to do it like that from your part, but it is what it is.


Umm, how good are the Varisians of Sandru's caravan as sailors?
I ask since PCs going back to Sandpoint to tidy up business before going on to Kalsgard is perfectly credible and... Well, since Sandpoint and Kalsgard are both ports and since travel under sail is generally faster (and in theory safer) than travel over land, getting a ship to Kalsgard instead of going overland with a caravan looks a pretty good choice, since the only immediate known objective (it seems to me) at the commencement of Night of Frozen Shadows is to go to Kalsgard to retrieve the sword.
The 'Fury of the Northmen' encounter still fits in pretty well with PCs taking a ship, since the ulfen are presumably just as happy attacking from a longship on the high seas; I can even see Ameiko bringing along her best friend Shalelu along for a voyage too; but I can't currently see a way to credibly get Sandru et al on board a ship.
Since the caravan seems to be something which could be managed without in Night of Frozen Shadows I suppose once a group make up their minds at the end to go over the Crown, Ulf could use some contacts in Kalsgard and parts 3+ could continue with an expedition force of Ulfen traders (and possibly some slightly adapted rules) in place of the Varisians?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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magnuskn wrote:

Yeah, sorry about the tone of that post. It's pretty frustrating if you are prepping for a campaign, need some help on an important topic and nobody is responding for a long time.

Now that I know that the important NPC's are not getting any further official personality advancement support I can work with that. It's not what I wanted to hear and I think it's a bad idea to do it like that from your part, but it is what it is.

There's a LOT of good reasons why waiting for all six of the parts of an AP to be out before you run the AP is a good idea.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Charles Evans 25 wrote:

Umm, how good are the Varisians of Sandru's caravan as sailors?

I ask since PCs going back to Sandpoint to tidy up business before going on to Kalsgard is perfectly credible and... Well, since Sandpoint and Kalsgard are both ports and since travel under sail is generally faster (and in theory safer) than travel over land, getting a ship to Kalsgard instead of going overland with a caravan looks a pretty good choice, since the only immediate known objective (it seems to me) at the commencement of Night of Frozen Shadows is to go to Kalsgard to retrieve the sword.
The 'Fury of the Northmen' encounter still fits in pretty well with PCs taking a ship, since the ulfen are presumably just as happy attacking from a longship on the high seas; I can even see Ameiko bringing along her best friend Shalelu along for a voyage too; but I can't currently see a way to credibly get Sandru et al on board a ship.
Since the caravan seems to be something which could be managed without in Night of Frozen Shadows I suppose once a group make up their minds at the end to go over the Crown, Ulf could use some contacts in Kalsgard and parts 3+ could continue with an expedition force of Ulfen traders (and possibly some slightly adapted rules) in place of the Varisians?

They're no good as sailors at all. They should take their caravan to Kalsgard, not only becasue they're BETTER at caravaning than sailing, but because it's probably a safer and might even be a SHORTER route, since a caravan doesn't have to sail around a bunch of remote land masses and through waters often plagued by scary sea monsters or raiders.

In any case, if your players want to do boat stuff... then you shouldn't run Jade Regent for them. You should wait a few more months and run Skull & Shackles.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
There's a LOT of good reasons why waiting for all six of the parts of an AP to be out before you run the AP is a good idea.

Oh, I know. But real life circumstances pretty much decided this for me. It's quite possible that I may have to move to another city in one year and I really wanted to get this particular AP done with those particular people. Which means that I had to start it right away.


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(edited, attempt to improve clarity)
I'm looking at the possible options for repair-work if a group concentrating on 'let's check this sword stuff out first before we make any more decisions based on the visions an insane spirit which possessed our best friend conjured up' decides to drop the caravan after Brinewall and travel by ship to Kalsgard. After all, supernatural storms aside, sea travel was apparently safe enough for Ameiko's immediate ancestors to use it (and indeed prefer it over land travel) for nipping around at least Varisia...
Then, having dealt with events around Kalsgard, such a group which has abandoned the caravan in travelling to Kalsgard decides that for a longer trip to Tien Xia geography actually favours a switch back to a land approach...
Further Edit:
Conceivably a group travelling overland may lose the Varisian caravan to the 'Fury of the Northmen' encounter with some very bad dice rolls, and need to pick up an alternative at the end of Night of Frozen Shadows.

Scarab Sages

Taking a boat might be faster, but it defiantly won't be cheaper. Also there is zero time stress in the mods so far (with the exception of the boat burning which I may likely rework). So taking a boat seems an unlikey and foolish choice.

Also, as a DM I'm sure not going to tell the PCs that the source of the visions is what KOed Marry Sue. I mean Amiko.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Matthew Trent wrote:

Taking a boat might be faster, but it defiantly won't be cheaper. Also there is zero time stress in the mods so far (with the exception of the boat burning which I may likely rework). So taking a boat seems an unlikey and foolish choice.

Also, as a DM I'm sure not going to tell the PCs that the source of the visions is what KOed Marry Sue. I mean Amiko.

Only that Ameiko is not a Mary Sue at all.


Matthew Trent wrote:

Taking a boat might be faster, but it defiantly won't be cheaper. Also there is zero time stress in the mods so far (with the exception of the boat burning which I may likely rework). So taking a boat seems an unlikey and foolish choice.

Also, as a DM I'm sure not going to tell the PCs that the source of the visions is what KOed Marry Sue. I mean Amiko.

Which is what clearly works for the play style of yourself and your group, and I'm pleased for you if you find you can run the module with so little modification. :)

However, I'm interested in some of the tinkering and adaptation which may help to keep things running smoothly for other groups with different styles of play.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Charles Evans 25 wrote:

(edited, attempt to improve clarity)

I'm looking at the possible options for repair-work if a group concentrating on 'let's check this sword stuff out first before we make any more decisions based on the visions an insane spirit which possessed our best friend conjured up' decides to drop the caravan after Brinewall and travel by ship to Kalsgard. After all, supernatural storms aside, sea travel was apparently safe enough for Ameiko's immediate ancestors to use it (and indeed prefer it over land travel) for nipping around at least Varisia...

Sure, let's look into this.

There are no ships sailing from Brinewall, because Brinewall is a dead city. It doesn't have commerce. So, you are going to have to go somewhere else to get a ship. But still, they somehow get a ship and go.

That might solve that problem with having the NPCs around.
Sandru isn't going to abandon his caravan. He stays with it. It is his HOME, after all.
Koya is there to go on a great journey, and she's sort of grandmother to Sandru. She probabily not leave the caravan.
Shalelu is there because of Ameiko. She will go where Ameiko does.
And Ameiko? Those supernatural storms were caused to kill her ancestors. And as for them thinking it was safer? There are two of her family's ships rotting in the marsh that say it wasn't safer.
I'd say she stays in the caravan with her friend, Sandru.

So let your players go on ahead. There's no awkward "What are the NPCs doing" problems that way, no "Ameiko got captured again" problem, no "we gotta travel slow" problems. Who cares what those stupid NPCs think anyway?

Charles Evans 25 wrote:


Then, having dealt with events around Kalsgard, such a group which has abandoned the caravan in travelling to Kalsgard decides that for a longer trip to Tien Xia geography actually favours a switch back to a land approach...

Then they find out that no one is sending out a caravan right now, and no one but one crazy guide will work with them anyways.

But the rest of the module might unfold as written.


I specified from Sandpoint in my earliest post in this exchange regarding PCs abandoning caravan as a means of travel in favour of ships to get to Kalsbard.
Night of Frozen Shadows actually says it anticipates some groups will want to go back to Sandpoint from Brinewall to wrap up loose ends (including Ameiko having a motivation to go back to take care of her business interests there). It takes account of that.
What isn't sketched out are ways to get a caravan/expedition back in at end of Night of Frozen Shadows if either the PCs decide to travel by ship to Kalsgard (from Sandpoint) or if they travel overland but the Fury of the Northmen encounter (run as written) and bad caravan management turn into a caravan wipe out.

Now it looks to me, since the Right Honourable Mr. Vaughan wrote the module with the caravan and caravan NPCs having negligible positive impact on proceedings, that it's possible to run Night of Frozen Shadows without any caravan (although the PCs miss out on the opportunity for Sandru to use contacts for a bonus to a dice roll in at least one investigation/negotiation situation). Heck, even if the PCs are just looking for Suishen, and not for any guides at all at this stage, they're going to end up at Ravenscraeg in the end because it was the place Asvig Longthew's feudal overlord was known to hang out, and if the sword wasn't on the funeral longship, then it's the next logical place to look for it - and it's just bad luck for the Frozen Shadows that they just happened to have moved in there. When you look at so much of the underlying flexibility the Right Honourable Mr. Vaughan built into the adventure, it's almost breathtaking. You can run Avsig's minions as a raid against a ship (and the raven can track a ship too), you can drop the looking for a guide aspect if necessary, you can flip NPCs and allegiences around (Uksahkka works just as well with a background of working willingly or under duress with the frozen shadows, sending the PCs off on a wild goose chase, then into an ambush on the funeral boat, and finally failing to show at a rendezvous but an elemental showing up instead...) and with a shapeshifter in the mix too.
Besides data on reincorporating a caravan at the end, the only generally useful information missing is some guidelines for happens if PCs start getting tired of being shadowed, sniped at and having their food poisoned and they pay a cleric to run a divination spell or two?

The module seems to be unbelievably sandboxy, and a tribute to the Right Honourable Mr. Vaughan's ingenuity. As far as I can see it's not a 'There Is Only One Way To Run This Module And You Must Do It Exactly That Way' module at all.

I'm interested in the possibilities for tidying up some loose ends left by taking advantage of that flexibility and all I seem to have at the moment is posters telling me 'you mustn't run this module that way' or 'forget it; this module and adventure path doesn't have ships in; if you want ships wait for the next path'.


And for the record, with the inherent flexibility this module has, I rate it as a four star product - and at the 'nearly one star higher' end of what counts as four stars.
Given its stand-alone potential too, I wouldn't be completely surprised if this one ended up as an early sell out of the print version.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Funnily enough I found it to be completely "lead with a ring through your nose" railroady. ^^


Hi all.

Long rant ahead (don't say you weren't warned).

Big Spoilers on NoFS ahead:

I just can't make the assault on Ravenscraeg work in my mind. Throughout the module we have been told how efficient and dangerous the Frozen Shadows are, yet when a bunch of PCs attack them, they just sit there waiting for the next wave?

Yes, yes. They call for reinforcements, but come on!!, how am I going to sell to my PCs that they can just raid the fortress, kill several enemies, and come back later expecting to find just that some of the dead have been replaced??

The Frozen Shadows already know a lot about the PCs. For starters, they know of the caravan, and they know who they are. If the PCs have enough NPs they even have kidnapped one of their friends, and they probably suspect that the PCs want to get Suishen. They have a lot of influence on Kalsgard, not to mention that just the difference in numbers enormous.

So what would such an organization do if the PCs assault their fortress? For starters, its minions would not take the time to finish reading the newspaper before joining the fray. By the time the PCs are getting to area C4 -say, after finishing up the swarms-, they would be facing at least all the ninjas-human and tengu-, monks and tugs. That alone would be more than enough to stop then (dead, most probably), but let's say they are really lazy and don't want to leave their cozy rooms before the PCs arrive there, and the PCs can make a successful raid and kill a good number of them.

The PCs leave, and the FS should get in motion, for god's sake!! They should track them and deny them the time to rest. They should impound their caravan in Kalsgard and arrest their friends. They should just take Ameiko and place her in a crow cage, then ask the PCs to surrender or they kill her. They should place traps all over the place. They should take Suishen far...

There's so many things that would happen in a "normal" scenario, that I can't think of a way to sell this to my PCs and make it believable. Oh, they will accept it if I say so, but it's plainly wrong, and would break the suspension of disbelief in an irreparable way.

There are some cases where such an scenario can work out. The assault on Brinewall, for example. The corbies are disorganized, and their leader isn't a genius. Ok, I can buy that, but here all the module goes against the planned conclusion.

So, is it just me? Am I too demanding? When I play the game, I need the history to make sense, and to me this does not make any sense at all.

I have some ideas that might, but nothing decided:

* I could enlist the NPCs in the assault. After all, if Ameiko has been kidnapped that's the logical reaction, as others have pointed out. This would play out basically in a "while you are being attacked by these ones, your friends have been in another battle" way, greatly reducing the PCs resource wear, so the whole upper level could be cleaned, and they could even block the exit from the dungeons.

* I could take a completely different approach, making the assault an infiltration, poisoning food, blocking the communications, I don't know... this one doesn't look good, either.

* I can just empty the place, and make the "fortress" an easier pick. Just some ninjas, the trolls in the dungeons, and the bosses, conveniently offset so they can take them out. Maybe play out some battles in the city or outside, to take the PCs to level 6 before the attack and justify the empty fortress.

Any ideas? And if Mr. Vaughan could give me his two cents on this, I'd really appreciate it.

Regards,
Josep

EDIT: Added the spoiler tag to the post.


Tormas:
How far have things actually progressed? If you're still at the stage simply of prepping to run the module, you can make a couple of tweaks so Asvig is/always was more of a mercenery type, and he swiped Suishen for his feudal overlord Snorri (who don't forget was collecting powerful items for 'the end of the world') and Asvig has only more recently, once Snorri started to get seriously ill, been contracting out to the Frozen Shadows.
The Frozen Shadows ended up not caring so much about Suishen (it's just a magic weapon, after all, and they're after the bloodline) and Suishen actually is on board Snorri's funeral boat for the PCs to find.
If the PCs don't have to search the whole fortress for the sword (and so long as nobody's been kidnapped) then if Snorri had, say, been stockpiling large quantities of smokepowder someplace such as one of the cellars or the armory it becomes a case of break in, reach the barrels, light a fuse, and go all Götterdämmerung on the place... Nobody's likely to complain too much if they blow up a fortress full of ninjas.
(Maybe they could be harrassed by odd ninjas who were 'out on missions' for the adventure or so.)
As regards a guide, it becomes more a case of nobody at all will help the PCs because of Frozen Shadows influence, but once the Frozen Shadows are smashed, guides are queuing up to help the PCs...

Edit:
Oh yes, Asvig doesn't know so much about the Frozen Shadows, but isn't under a die-if-I-talk geas. The PCs can come back to him later, if they left him alive, to get descriptions of his old lord's lair, once they discover that the Frozen Shadows had moved in to use it as a new base.

Frog God Games

Tormas wrote:

Hi all.

Long rant ahead (don't say you weren't warned).

** spoiler omitted **...

Good questions. The idea is not that the FS are disorganized so much as scattered on different assignments and such. That's why it takes time for reinforcements to arrive. The adventure does describe the reinforcing of the main entrance. It alos describes the results of escalating NP results. If those aren't sufficiently challenging for your party, I'd continue along that track with the hit teams, etc. But by the time the PCs get to ravenscraeg they've already

Spoiler:

taken out several assault teams or Ulfen raiders and ninja, taken out one of their main strong arms in Asvig, ransacked their guildhall, and fought off their own escalation. The leadership is intact, but they have taken some significant hits. Plus the FS isn't inept so much as Kimandatsu suffers from a bit of hubris. She's been really successful in recent decades in building her littel empire and has a lot of irons in the fire that prevent her from perhaps giving the full necessary attention to the PCs. After all she's already recovered Suishen and the only available guide, she can afford to wait and let the PCs wear themselves out.

Plus, to be honest, most parties of that level will likely not last long against the organized counter offensive of an entire ninja gang, so some condieration had to be given to that in the design.

However, if you party is optimized enough to be capable of challenging the full force of the FS, I say throw it at them. Bring in the reinforcemetns all at once and launch a campaign of terror as you have described. It sounds really cool, but they get mad at me when I write them like that.

Kill one of them for me. ;-)

The Exchange

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Tormas wrote:
Any ideas? And if Mr. Vaughan could give me his two cents on this, I'd really appreciate it.

I've been planning to have the fortress oddly empty when the PCs arrive, with only a token resistance and minimal leadership. Everyone is out--but not far. Kimandatsu only shows up once the PCs are exiting the building with Ameiko in tow, at which points she rages enough to order everything to chase them.

After fending off the first wave of ninjas, Kimandatsu panics, and gives a rash order to fire skyrockets at the mountainside. She would rather bury her own men under an avalanche than admit defeat. This explains why the remaining ninjas are too disorganized to come at the PCs all at once, and also makes the climax of the adventure ten times cooler, because OH MY GOD WE'RE BEING CHASED BY AN AVALANCHE

I haven't figured out how I'll justify the ninjas riding snowmobiles, but that seems integral. Maybe I'll just give them skis?


Greg A. Vaughan wrote:


Plus, to be honest, most parties of that level will likely not last long against the organized counter offensive of an entire ninja gang, so some condieration had to be given to that in the design.

However, if you party is optimized enough to be capable of challenging the full force of the FS, I say throw it at them. Bring in the reinforcemetns all at once and launch a campaign of terror as you have described. It sounds really cool, but they get mad at me when I write them like that.

Kill one of them for me. ;-)

Thanks for the reply! My point is, in fact, that a full counter offensive is too much, but the idea of the evil guys just sitting there waiting for the PCs to get them is absurd. It looks like something taken directly out of the "Evil Overlord not to do list".

I can see why they would be mad at you if you describe a full out FS counter attack. It's the perfect recipe for a full party kill. However, Leadpal's idea...

jumping to spoilers:

...of using a "reverse dungeon crawl" could work for me. Let the PCs clear the fortress (with most of the minor minions in, but no bosses), and once they get out with the sword and Ulf, and have had time to rest, spring events 11 and 12 on them (beefed up with the missing minions), and go for a final, epic battle against the bosses, with Ameiko's life on the stake.

This has an additional advantage in that the group would feel safe, believing the module ended (after all they have the sword and the guide), and would get a real shock.

That leaves me with just the work of coming up with a good reason for the bad guys to leave the fortress in force, and letting the party find about it from some of the information sources - probably the documents in the safe in B9- so they can plan the assault at the right time.

Yep, I think I'll use something like that.

Thanks for your comments. And thanks to Charles, too, but that would change the plot too much for my taste. IMHO, the script of the module is just fine, allowing for investigations leading to a major action scene. It was just the inner workings of the RPG, with the PCs depleting their resources and therefore having to leave to recover, that did not agree with me.

Oh, and if I get one of them (with Hero Points that is not as big a problem as it was a year ago), I'll just let them know I had your approval. Heeeehhh, heeehhhh, heh..


Tormas/Fox1212:
No reason why you should have to do all the work. You could feed you players sufficient information to give them an idea of what's going on in the fortress and leave it up to them to figure out a means to lure most of the inhabitants out.


Charles Evans 25 wrote:


No reason why you should have to do all the work. You could feed you players sufficient information to give them an idea of what's going on in the fortress and leave it up to them to figure out a means to lure most of the inhabitants out.

I've been considering it, yep. However, there's a difference between the PCs finding out the FS are out in some mission and letting them lure them out: In the first case, the PCs will probably get a sense of security believing the module is over and just begin to plan the journey over the Crown of the World, so the ending can be more shocking to them. If they plan the whole thing, they would know what has happened to the bosses and be more prepared for retaliation -or at least that's how my group would probably react.

And yep, I've changed my avatar's name. Long story ;-)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
LeadPal wrote:
I haven't figured out how I'll justify the ninjas riding snowmobiles, but that seems integral. Maybe I'll just give them skis?

This made me laugh so very hard. :D


Night of Frozen Shadows p12 wrote:


If the PCs pay him weregild or convince him
that they are not the culprits (by changing his attitude from
hostile to friendly with a successful Diplomacy check),
Gorvald goes away mollified.
Core Rulebook p93 wrote:


If you succeed, the
character’s attitude toward you is improved by one step.
For every 5 by which your check result exceeds the DC, the
character’s attitude toward you increases by one additional
step. A creature’s attitude cannot be shifted more than
two steps up in this way.

Please reconcile?


Helaman wrote:


I'm reading Jade Regent comments and more and more this AP just doesn't seem to shine - sure its only 2 of 6 but I haven't seen any one rave over this one yet.

You can have one from me. :)

After finishing my front to back read of part 2, I am impressed. Im strongly considering running this AP soon.
A big +1 to Charles Evans 25 posts above about the sandboxy elements to this one. Also, the trend continues in that the PCs are not overshadowed by their NPC counterparts and the module goes out of it's way to keep it this way. It's still great to have them along if you need one of them to bail out PC's from a tpk-like situation. As a GM, I also like that I have alot of freedom as to how much I want to spice up the Caravan travel part of it. The module also keeps a good balance of city/wilderness/dungeon crawl.
All that said, I'm not really a fan of extra rules mechanics (like trust points, mass combat,relationship points, etc), but the Notoriety Point system makes sense story-wise with the Frozen Shadows so deeply embedded into the city, and it looks like it is well thought out and perfectly balanced according to the PCs progress.

While I'm not thrilled from Greg's last two AP outings with Wake of the Watcher and Vaults of Madness (and I'm a fan of his work since Tammeraut's Fate in Dungeon #106), this one goes up as my #2 favorite from Greg right under Varnhold.


Purplefixer wrote:
Night of Frozen Shadows p12 wrote:


If the PCs pay him weregild or convince him
that they are not the culprits (by changing his attitude from
hostile to friendly with a successful Diplomacy check),
Gorvald goes away mollified.
Core Rulebook p93 wrote:


If you succeed, the
character’s attitude toward you is improved by one step.
For every 5 by which your check result exceeds the DC, the
character’s attitude toward you increases by one additional
step. A creature’s attitude cannot be shifted more than
two steps up in this way.
Please reconcile?

My take is that the, single, Diplomacy check basically clues him to the fact that he's got the wrong culprits. Once he realizes that, he's fine. Thus the jump from hostile to friendly, he's drunk after all, so wild swings in temperament can be expected. :)

"You killed my dog! Weregild now!"
"No we didn't; here, have another beer."
"Oh, ok. You're good folk, let's sing!"

Frog God Games

Zaranorth wrote:
Purplefixer wrote:
Night of Frozen Shadows p12 wrote:


If the PCs pay him weregild or convince him
that they are not the culprits (by changing his attitude from
hostile to friendly with a successful Diplomacy check),
Gorvald goes away mollified.
Core Rulebook p93 wrote:


If you succeed, the
character’s attitude toward you is improved by one step.
For every 5 by which your check result exceeds the DC, the
character’s attitude toward you increases by one additional
step. A creature’s attitude cannot be shifted more than
two steps up in this way.
Please reconcile?

My take is that the, single, Diplomacy check basically clues him to the fact that he's got the wrong culprits. Once he realizes that, he's fine. Thus the jump from hostile to friendly, he's drunk after all, so wild swings in temperament can be expected. :)

"You killed my dog! Weregild now!"
"No we didn't; here, have another beer."
"Oh, ok. You're good folk, let's sing!"

This explanation is probably as good as any, unfortunately the real one is that unfortunately I simply forgot about the two-step shift limit (D'oh!). So I'd either run it the way Zaranorth has described it or make it a shift from Hostile to Indifferent. The fact of whether he's friendly or not is really pretty irrelevant. The key is that it requires a pretty high Diplomacy check to talk him down, and Indifferent works for that just as well as Friendly. Maybe add a -5 penalty to the check to account for him being a belligerent drunk if you want to keep the check just as hard. Good catch, Purplefixer.

Frog God Games

Sunderstone wrote:
Helaman wrote:


I'm reading Jade Regent comments and more and more this AP just doesn't seem to shine - sure its only 2 of 6 but I haven't seen any one rave over this one yet.

You can have one from me. :)

After finishing my front to back read of part 2, I am impressed. Im strongly considering running this AP soon.
A big +1 to Charles Evans 25 posts above about the sandboxy elements to this one. Also, the trend continues in that the PCs are not overshadowed by their NPC counterparts and the module goes out of it's way to keep it this way. It's still great to have them along if you need one of them to bail out PC's from a tpk-like situation. As a GM, I also like that I have alot of freedom as to how much I want to spice up the Caravan travel part of it. The module also keeps a good balance of city/wilderness/dungeon crawl.
All that said, I'm not really a fan of extra rules mechanics (like trust points, mass combat,relationship points, etc), but the Notoriety Point system makes sense story-wise with the Frozen Shadows so deeply embedded into the city, and it looks like it is well thought out and perfectly balanced according to the PCs progress.

While I'm not thrilled from Greg's last two AP outings with Wake of the Watcher and Vaults of Madness (and I'm a fan of his work since Tammeraut's Fate in Dungeon #106), this one goes up as my #2 favorite from Greg right under Varnhold.

Thanks, Sunderstone!

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps Subscriber
logic_poet wrote:
At last, death to the Jade Ravens! A nice, subtle Easter egg.

On what page is this mentioned?


Greg A. Vaughan wrote:


This explanation is probably as good as any, unfortunately the real one is that unfortunately I simply forgot about the two-step shift limit (D'oh!). So I'd either run it the way Zaranorth has described it or make it a shift from Hostile to Indifferent. The fact of whether he's friendly or not is really pretty irrelevant. The key is that it requires a pretty high Diplomacy check to talk him down, and Indifferent works for that just as well as Friendly. Maybe add a -5 penalty to the check to account for him being a belligerent drunk if you want to keep the check just as hard. Good catch, Purplefixer.

*thumbsup* I always double check my mechanics when I'm not sure of something. Ran across that and 'uh-oh'd'. My party actually has fairly high Diplomacy value, so there was a good possibility they could make that.

But no. He rolled a six. ^.^


Purplefixer wrote:
Greg A. Vaughan wrote:


This explanation is probably as good as any, unfortunately the real one is that unfortunately I simply forgot about the two-step shift limit (D'oh!). So I'd either run it the way Zaranorth has described it or make it a shift from Hostile to Indifferent. The fact of whether he's friendly or not is really pretty irrelevant. The key is that it requires a pretty high Diplomacy check to talk him down, and Indifferent works for that just as well as Friendly. Maybe add a -5 penalty to the check to account for him being a belligerent drunk if you want to keep the check just as hard. Good catch, Purplefixer.

*thumbsup* I always double check my mechanics when I'm not sure of something. Ran across that and 'uh-oh'd'. My party actually has fairly high Diplomacy value, so there was a good possibility they could make that.

But no. He rolled a six. ^.^

As always, that is a question of how you play the game. In my group we tend to roleplay these situations and leave the dice out of them. Everybody understands that you cannot roleplay -not easily at least- the physical parts of the game, like combats or perception checks, but it feels wrong to just say 'My PC uses diplomacy to improve his attitude... oh good, I rolled a 30, I convinced him!!'.

DnD, and Pathfinder thereafter, are role playing games, and we, at least, try to make the most of the roleplay part. For the same reason, I'll be using a lot of the caravan encounters in the Fireballed Mage post, which are basically non-combat events.


Fox1212 wrote:

As always, that is a question of how you play the game. In my group we tend to roleplay these situations and leave the dice out of them. Everybody understands that you cannot roleplay -not easily at least- the physical parts of the game, like combats or perception checks, but it feels wrong to just say 'My PC uses diplomacy to improve his attitude... oh good, I rolled a 30, I convinced him!!'.

DnD, and Pathfinder thereafter, are role playing games, and we, at least, try to make the most of the roleplay part. For the same reason, I'll be using a lot of the caravan encounters in the Fireballed Mage post, which are basically non-combat events.

We mix role play with rolling. If the player RPs good, they get a bonus to the check or even make it to where we don't even roll the check. But at the same time we'll roll a lot of stuff, especially for the players that still aren't comfortable with role playing certain scenarios.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Helaman wrote:


I'm reading Jade Regent comments and more and more this AP just doesn't seem to shine - sure its only 2 of 6 but I haven't seen any one rave over this one yet.

I'm sorry you're getting that impression. I haven't been posting on here that much because we have been loving it, and I'm only stopping by occasionally to mine ideas or (once every two or three weeks) post some thoughts from our sessions.

My players and I are loving the AP. I've got one player who is all about combat and enjoys RP but can get quickly bored by it. He's loving it. I've got two new players to our table who love combat/RP/caravan building/everything, and they're just having a blast. It offers something for everyone.

Are there some flaws? Sure. Everything has a flaw, it just depends on your perspective as to precisely what that flaw might be. Would I like a few more details on caravan-related events and role-playing the NPCs? Probably. But, in their absence, I'm having fun coming up with stuff on my own (and looking here for ideas).

I would highly recommend picking up this AP. My last campaign was a 3.5 DragonLance official Age of Mortals campaign and by the end of it I was thinking I'd never GM again. The Jade Regent AP has inspired me, and I'm having a blast.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Heron_ wrote:
logic_poet wrote:
At last, death to the Jade Ravens! A nice, subtle Easter egg.
On what page is this mentioned?

The treasure on the bodies of the ninja.

The Exchange

Wait a minute--

Quote:

Each time Suishen’s wielder is involved in a fight in

which an oni of the Five Storms (such as Kimandatsu) is killed,
the wielder is made aware of one new power in the following
order. If a new person wields Suishen, that person must learn
the sword’s additional powers all over again.
• Resist energy (cold) 3/day becomes protection from energy
(cold) at will.

At will? Maybe the intent is that Suishen doesn't use this power on anyone who hasn't learned it in combat, but right now it means that as soon as the PCs beat up Kimandatsu, everyone in the caravan gains de facto cold immunity forever. The new upgrade should still be 3/day.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

A question came up the other night in a session of this path and while I resolved it I am still curious.

I've spoiler tagged it due to it referencing a major plot point.

Spoiler:

I was GMing this path volume on Friday and as luck would have it the group had stumbled upon the chamber containing suishen and after eliminating its protectors in an amusing sequence of the executioners hoods dropping and missing their targets no less than five times the time came to retrieve the sword.

While the group eventually came to the conclusion of summoning an earth elemental to fetch it for them (as both spivey and helgavarl were absent) the initial thought was to use a set of magical pigments that I in a fit of generosity allowed them to find on a bit of a sidequest to paint a fishing rod with a magnet attached to the end.

My problem here is two fold as I have no doubt these guys will ask about this again regardless of the fact they have already retrieved the sword.

1)Would the initial idea to retrieve the sword via magnet even work (I have no idea if it is made of a ferrous material or not, I assume it is though).

2)So help me I never thought I would have to say this in a serious context...Magnets how do they work? ...specifically would it be possible in terms of using the paint pots to create a magnet of sufficient power to lift a 6lb object 15ft.


admittedly this is approaching a thought experiment for me more than anything but I'd be interested to hear the opinions out there.

Scarab Sages

Magnets are magic. Just like electricity. Ask yourself if it's appropriate for the style of game you're running to solve the problem that way, and if so it works, otherwise not. A game with marvoleous pigments seems a bad one to go simulationist to me though.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Matthew Trent wrote:
Magnets are magic. Just like electricity. Ask yourself if it's appropriate for the style of game you're running to solve the problem that way, and if so it works, otherwise not. A game with marvoleous pigments seems a bad one to go simulationist to me though.

Eh your probably right about over thinking it, which is why I said it was more a philosophical quandary than a serious game question.

If it comes down to it the point that Magic A is Magic A would win out i.e. a magnet small enough to fit in the space and powerful enough to lift that amount of weight would end up being Numerian super science or some odd ball magic rock that would adhere to anything it touched.


Fox1212 wrote:

what he said:
By the time the PCs are getting to area C4 -say, after finishing up the swarms-, they would be facing at least all the ninjas-human and tengu-, monks and tugs.

Spoiler:
I can't seem to get my head around C4 of Ravenscraeg. My assumption was that it would be nearly impossible for the FS thugs and ninja in the adjoining rooms not to hear the sounds of battle when the raven swarms attack. Given this, why wouldn't they investigate? Given that, how does the party not get overwhelmed at this point? I could re-write it, but I feel as though I must be missing something about the scenario...or perhaps I don't undestand perception checks at all!

PhineasGage wrote:
My assumption was that it would be nearly impossible for the FS thugs and ninja in the adjoining rooms not to hear the sounds of battle when the raven swarms attack. Given this, why wouldn't they investigate? Given that, how does the party not get overwhelmed at this point? I could re-write it, but I feel as though I must be missing something about the scenario...or perhaps I don't undestand perception checks at all!

This kind of behavior is a classic of role-playing games, where the party explores a dungeon opening a door and resolving the situation (combat / trap / treasure) in the room before passing to the next one. That worked OK for my group way back when we were eighteen, but now it's just a nuisance. It's reasonable to assume that the spider in the next room won't leave it to investigate the ruckus you are making while battling the ooze in this one, but not that a group of mercenaries / thugs / whatever will stay in their bunks reading the newspaper while you are hurling fireballs at their pals in the main room.

In the end, we always change this kind of scenarios to make them believable.

Dark Archive

I'm tempted to unload the rooms into c4 on my players to see how it goes...

Frog God Games

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PhineasGage wrote:
Spoiler:
I can't seem to get my head around C4 of Ravenscraeg. My assumption was that it would be nearly impossible for the FS thugs and ninja in the adjoining rooms not to hear the sounds of battle when the raven swarms attack. Given this, why wouldn't they investigate? Given that, how does the party not get overwhelmed at this point? I could re-write it, but I feel as though I must be missing something about the scenario...or perhaps I don't undestand perception checks at all!

Cut in editing.

Spoiler:
Development: If the occupants have already been alerted to the PCs, then when they enter here the cultists and ninjas in C8 and C9 are waiting to ambush them, the ninjas hiding among the tables on the balconies and the cultists, led by Jorgan the Knife, with their troll ally waiting behind the doors of rooms C7 and C9 to rush out and try to take the PCs by surprise after having dealt with the ravens. The ninjas do not engage the PCs while the ravens remain in the room unless their hiding places are discovered by the PCs, when they attack normally (the ravens do not attack the ninjas). The cultists and troll are terrified of the raven swarms and do not emerge form their rooms for any reason as long as the swarms remain in C4. Jorgan does not personally attack the PCs in battle at this point, but can be seen giving orders from the rear. If engaged, he attempts to retreat and regroup with his cultists in C16 to make his stand. If Jorgan is killed or retreats, each remaining cultist has 25% chance to flee for the exit at C3 at the beginning of each round.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Greg A. Vaughan wrote:

Cut in editing.

** spoiler omitted **

My players are going through Brinewall right now and, on the fly, I just did something similar.

Spoiler:
They entered through the gatehouse, climbed the ladders, then entered the keep through the double-doors into the despoiled chapel with the Dire Corby priestess of Pazuzu. Fight ensued, along with gunslinger shooting his pistol repeatedly (lots of noise). After the battle, a player rolled a very good perception check at the door to the hallway, down which was the feasthall in which three dire corbies were supposed to be cleaning. So, I made a sound like something brushing on stones. Then I realized, whoops... all that gunfire should have alerted them to something; they wouldn't continue cleaning like that. So, I turned it into a trap. One corby was acting as bait, pretending to be cleaning the room, while two others were trying to use stealth to hide in the corners of the room. Not as elegent as Greg's content that was cut (evil editors and page limits), but it worked in a pinch and didn't result in overwhelming the PCs in their fight with the priestess.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Fox1212 wrote:

Hi all.

The Frozen Shadows already know a lot about the PCs. For starters, they know of the caravan, and they know who they are. If the PCs have enough NPs they even have kidnapped one of their friends, and they probably suspect that the PCs want to get Suishen. They have a lot of influence on Kalsgard, not to mention that just the difference in numbers enormous.

The PCs leave, and the FS should get in motion, for god's sake!! They should track them and deny them the time to rest. They should impound their caravan in Kalsgard and arrest their friends. They should just take Ameiko and place her in a crow cage, then ask the PCs to surrender or they kill her. They should place traps all over the place. They should take Suishen far...

I see things a bit differently

The Frozen Shadows will likely know a lot about the PCs and NPCs, true.

Suishen was dropped in on oubliette, where chances were good no one would be able to find it. Likely they couldn't destroy it. Easier to dispose of it somewhere where no one would likely find it, without any chance of it being recovered.

While the Frozen Shadows do have a fair bit of influence in Kalsgard in the guise of the Rimrunner's Guild, they are not in charge.

I don't see them having the influence to have the caravan impounded and the NPCs arrested, let alone putting Ameiko in a crow's cage. Merchant Guild saying "arrest that merchant caravan" would likely raise a few eyebrows, and if magic is used to determine guilt, who would come off the worse for the wear?

As for tracking them, the only two that I saw with the skill to do so are the guard captain (ranger) and the raven. Who would be sent out to track and take out the PCs? Tracking can also be slow.

I can see the BBEG thinking is this a distractions, a way of emptying the place, so that the more experienced adventurers can clean the place out? Hmm, maybe it would be more prudent to call everyone in, then go after the PCs and the Caravan - but have to make them disappear all at once, otherwise questions may be raised in Kalsgard if there are too many fights and the PCs pointing the finger at the guild just before they are killed.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Here's a bit of an odd question: is Varki a language? I ask because many NPCs in this adventure speak Varki, but it isn't mentioned at all in the book about the Land of the Linnorm Kings. Indeed, one of the Linnorm Kingdoms (Icemark) pretty much belongs to the Varki people, but its languages are listed as simply Giant and Skald.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Generic Villain wrote:
Here's a bit of an odd question: is Varki a language? I ask because many NPCs in this adventure speak Varki, but it isn't mentioned at all in the book about the Land of the Linnorm Kings. Indeed, one of the Linnorm Kingdoms (Icemark) pretty much belongs to the Varki people, but its languages are listed as simply Giant and Skald.

I'd personally let Varki be its own language. You could also let it be a mix of Erutaki, Skald, and maybe Hallit, based on how the Varki travel. Mostly, Paizo doesn't pay too much attention to languages, since not everyone wants to roleplay being unable to understand the NPCs. It's also why Common tends to have such a wide range of NPCs who speak it. That and the fact that lots of PCs don't have the skill points to burn on languages.

Dark Archive

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SnowHeart wrote:


My players and I are loving the AP.

Diddo. We cut the caravan rules but that's just a preference.

SnowHeart wrote:

Are there some flaws? Sure.

Everything that I feel needed to be changed is easily done so, as I've been at running games for a LONG time now {just got the "I feel old" feeling}.

Plus, I'm a BIG fan of the Legend of the Five Rings RPG and this is leading up to that flava in the BEST way possible for me. HEhe!!

Lantern Lodge

I wanted to get some others' feedback about the Shark-Eating Crab encounter (p.22). My party at the moment consists, regularly, of 3 players: a rogue, wizard (abjurer), and a sorcerer (boreal). I'm concerned, that even with the support of two NPCS (Spivey and Kelda) this is going to be an extremely challenging encounter that may result in a TPK.

Did anyone else's party have problems with this encounter? Any ideas how I might go about keeping it a challenge, but one within their abilities to handle?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Zach M. wrote:

I wanted to get some others' feedback about the Shark-Eating Crab encounter (p.22). My party at the moment consists, regularly, of 3 players: a rogue, wizard (abjurer), and a sorcerer (boreal). I'm concerned, that even with the support of two NPCS (Spivey and Kelda) this is going to be an extremely challenging encounter that may result in a TPK.

Did anyone else's party have problems with this encounter? Any ideas how I might go about keeping it a challenge, but one within their abilities to handle?

My group had a difficult fight with this crab but found it survivable (party consists of a Samurai, Wizard(universalist), Barbarian, Oracle(Life Mystery) playing as pacifist so has no real bearing on combat except for healing, and a Black Blade Magus) Ironically the people who had the hardest time were the Samurai and Barbarian as they had to close in to fight. I played the Crab as none too bright and had it go after the Kayaks unless there was a PC within its reach attacking it.

Seeing your group is made up of more or less squishy magic types, that would be my suggestion have the crab keep attacking what it may believe is a beached shark, unless a character is foolish enough to close into melee range.

Dark Archive

So we had D15 and D16 happen as one encounter...

The guardians trigger when someone without the jade ravens tries to enter. Our party almost being destroyed by a flame strike trap is pretty paranoid. So our rogue/loot manager lead the way to the fancy door. They are surprised when he open the door and nothing explodes/attacks. In the back of the room they here a woman casting a spell. The Barbarians runs forward. The statues come alive and move in on party members. Barbarians does a 180 back.rogue moves in ignoring statues (which are also ignoring him) and manages a sneak attack (due to high init) ninja.

Barbarian is able to level the statues pretty quick, and fight continues on.

This was a good fight, perfect difficulty.

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