Night of Frozen Shadows (GM Reference)


Jade Regent

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Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Just finished Night of Frozen Shadows and I thought I'd give an summary of the changes I made to the first half of the adventure.

When beginning to run the investigation I had two issues with the way it was written.

1 - If the frozen shadows knew who the party was why didn't they just kill them? Obviously they had the advantage of territory and numbers.

2 - The angel helmet.

I tweaked the adventure a bit to adjust for these issues.

First I decided that a number of caravans came in at the same time and the frozen shadows did not know which group was the heir. So they were watching a number of the groups trying to figure out which was the threat. This meant that they couldn't watch the party 100% of the time (as is implied by the events like the ravens), and also they couldn't kill all the caravans without attracting too much attention. This would probably have to be reworked if the party ever got to the higher level notoriety events, but my party never got that high.

Second I didn't like the idea of the angel helmet. It felt very out of place for an investigation plotline. So instead I worked out another solution. The party had already befriended the kid watching them (one of the notoriety events), and had basically paid him to leave a note and stay safe.

After the funeral barge the players end up running into a representative of the local Scarzni who wants to talk. They have a meeting with the Scarzni who tell them the kid had been killed and found in the river. (I wanted to reinforce how evil the Frozen Shadows were). The Scarzni were able to give most of the information the angel helmet was, but without the Oni and Jade Throne elements.

This solution also solved a problem I had with the old man notoriety event not feeling like it came from the Frozen Shadows, I instead had it come from the Scarzni.

After that the adventure continued pretty much as written.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

Good ideas!

I did the same thing with the caravans. My players did not want to traverse the plains alone with the caravan, so they waited untill more people left towards Kalsgard.

Of course at the last moment they broke a wheel. They had hoped to replace it quickly so the others went on ahead... Sadly it took way more time then planned so they had to spend the night on the plains, with Kalsgard in sight. So the ambush did happen.

Once they get to Kalsgard, they will have travel friends waiting for them there, so they wont be the obvious caravan.

I like the idea about switching the helmet. I do not want to leave it out alltogether, as my party is fond of collection oddities. But this is a good idea. They are the type to befriend the boy, so this is a good idea.


Has anyone had trouble with the Advanced Caryatid Columns

Anytime anyone hits them with a weapon, the weapon takes 3D6 Damage.
I have a Barbarian with a +1 Earthbreaker and an Inquisitor with a +1 Great Axe. Both have Hardness 7 and 20 HP.

I can see them going in to face the Big Boss with broken weapons!!


3d6-7 is about 4 points of damage per attack on a typical roll. 'Broken' is 50% HP. They can probably attack a couple of times each before there's a serious risk. After that? Most players are adaptable enough to have secondary weapons. And anyone using Suishen isn't going to have to worry about breaking him.


The Caryatid Columns have DR 5/- so the chances are good. The primary weapon will be broken. Yes they all have back up weapons, but facing a big boss CR 3 above party level with back up weapons looks like trouble.

I had not considered Suishen (The party had decided to present it to Ameiko, but are still carry it). You are right it does help with the initial fight and evens up the big boss fight a lot.


I'd have thought they'd switch to back-up weapons against the columns rather than risk breaking their primary weapons once the danger becomes clear. Many non-magic weapons have hardness 10, so those will last for some time.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I'm toying with the idea of putting the original Thorborg Silverskorr into the plot, with the classic, 'she's in Kalsgard in disguise and has been biding her time for revenge, and when the PCs show up, she sees an opportunity' trope.

I have this mental image for an ending where the PCs defeat Kimandatsu and the original Thorborg reassumes her position in the Rimerunners Guild.

I'm thinking that Thorborg has some interaction with the PCs before the assault to Ravenscraeg, and gives them a ruby, telling them to touch it to Kimandatsu's forehead after defeating her. Then when the PCs are leaving Kalsgard, and Thorborg is back in charge, the camera can zoom into her pendant with a large big ruby inset, and Kimandatsu screaming and hammering at the gem from the inside, nobody can hear her, and Thorborg smiles. It's cliche, I know, but it's still an ending I like.

I'm throwing around ideas for why Thorborg wouldn't just reveal herself in public and openly claim that Kimandatsu is an imposter. I'm thinking that either a) she's afraid she'll just be quickly assassinated and the thing covered up, and/or b) maybe she doesn't even look like herself anymore? Maybe she's an undead, a revenant or something? Or horribly disfigured, or cursed with a different appearance? Turned into a toad, I don't know. I even threw around the idea that maybe she was Kelda Oxgutter, and the imprisonment in Book 1 was why she doesn't make it back to Kalsgard until now. Or, she could be Fynn Snaevald.

Either way I imagine her surreptitiously helping out the PCs a few times, like maybe she can be an alternate way to find out about the Rimerunners Guild (right now, as written, Helgarval seems to be the only way to find out). Pointing the way at a few critical places.

I'm not sure if I want the PCs to be aware of who she is until the end -- should they know they are in business with Thorborg, and that they are trying to help her unseat an impostor, or should that only be a revelation they find out at the end. Maybe should just leave that open to RP and see how rolls go.

Any advice/thoughts from anyone about how to insert her into the plot?


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Samy wrote:

I'm toying with the idea of putting the original Thorborg Silverskorr into the plot, with the classic, 'she's in Kalsgard in disguise and has been biding her time for revenge, and when the PCs show up, she sees an opportunity' trope.

I have this mental image for an ending where the PCs defeat Kimandatsu and the original Thorborg reassumes her position in the Rimerunners Guild.
...
I'm not sure if I want the PCs to be aware of who she is until the end -- should they know they are in business with Thorborg, and that they are trying to help her unseat an impostor, or should that only be a revelation they find out at the end. Maybe should just leave that open to RP and see how rolls go.

Any advice/thoughts from anyone about how to insert her into the plot?

Returning Thorborg to her original status would be a nice foretaste of their ultimate goal of putting an Amatatsu back on the throne of Minkai.

I like putting such agents into the adventure, because my players like to do some investigation through roleplaying to get inside information. Unfortunately, such a role for Thorborg would provide too much information. Her identiity would immediately alert the party to the false Thorborg Silverskorr, guiding them directly to the Rimerunners Guild and skipping Asvig Longthews and the funeral ship.

If they discover her after the funeral ship, then they would not miss any encounters.

Kimandatsu could have kept Thorborg prisoner for years in case she needed any information about Thorborg's past business dealings. When Kimandatsu moved to her new headquarters in Ravenscraeg she could decide to finally dispose of Thorborg instead of moving her. Having her burn to death in the funeral ship would appeal to Kimandatsu's cruelty. As a precaution, Thorborg would be tied up, gagged, and almost paralyzed from poison. It would also explain why Frozen Shadows ninjas were watching the funeral ship.

On the other hand, if your players love detective work, then instead hide a clue in the funeral ship that leads them to Thorborg in disguise. In this scenario, you would need a reason why the original Thorborg was in disguise. Your suggestion of disfigurement is good. Perhaps Kimandatsu had used the same poison on Thorborg that she later used on Snorri Stone-eye, but had to stop before it killed Thorborg because she did not want a servant discovering a dead Thorborg before Kimandatsu took over as a live Thorborg. Instead, she strangled a nearly-dead Thorborg and threw her into the river. But Thorborg had stabilized and awoken downriver. But the poison and freezing water had disfigured her like the Oracle class's Wasting Curse. (Perhaps she became an oracle and had to run a mission for the river spirit that saved her.) Thorborg took a long time to return to Kalsgard under a new name and has been trying to gather allies against the Rimrunner Guild. When Snorri Stone-eye died of symptoms similar to hers, she left a funeral offering for him with a note, "Your death was my death. I shall have revenge for us both in due time." The players can trace the offering back to her and gain an ally. The party approaching Thorborg unexpectedly would explain why Thorborg might keep her true identity secret from the party until the end.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Oh, damn, that's sweet. Thank you for writing that! Consider it stolen!

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Soooo... I did something terrible to one of the characters in my game and it has resulted in a bad situation for the entire group. I will spoiler the whole situation below so those who want to read it can.

Ursan the Axe:
So the backstory for one of the characters in the game (an menhir savant druid) is that he is the caretaker of one of the other characters. That character is Goti Runecaster's half sister and he has his reasons to want her dead and tried to have the Frozen Shadows kill her 10 years before the game.

Luckily for her the druid smuggled her out of Kalsgard with a caravan and they headed south. At one point however, they were cornered by hidden assassins and there was very little chance of them escaping. The druid's first animal companion (Called Da Bear (Sr.)) remained behind and fought off the attackers so they could escape.

The druid got a new animal companion, the original Da Bear's young, and went on the run to the south.

(You might see where this is going.)

When back in Kalsgard (eager to hunt down and get some revenge on Roti) the group keeps hearing about the Rimerunner's chief of security Ursan the Axe.

They arrive at Ravenscraeg and fight the entire first hall. Jorgen (renamed Ursan) joins the fight and reveals that he is in fact Da Bear Sr. and that Wodes skinned him alive and dragged him to the First World warping him into a sort of reverse Lycanthrope (Bearwere). In the process he brainwashed him into believing that the druid had abandoned him and stolen his young and the druid was essentially a slaver.

So the group kills Ursan the Axe and due to the above gut-punch the druid has decided to put up a campfire wall in the center of the hall and hang out for like... 12 hours mourning.

There is one frozen shadow ninja and four thugs left.

I do feel bad about emotionally terrorizing the pc's but how feasible is it that only those four thugs and ninja would be there after 12 hours? I'm thinking at least Wodes, all the tengu, and the raven swarms would be hanging out to gang up on them.

Suggestions?


rkotitan wrote:

I do feel bad about emotionally terrorizing the pc's but how feasible is it that only those four thugs and ninja would be there after 12 hours? I'm thinking at least Wodes, all the tengu, and the raven swarms would be hanging out to gang up on them.

Suggestions?

I'd have suggested OOC that the druid shouldn't be camping out in a villain's headquarters while some of the enemies are still at large. What did you end up doing?

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Ultimately the rest of the party decided that the druid would be safe hanging out. They left him there while they went searching the rest of the place. When they found Wodes they sent Halgerval back to fetch the druid since he might be interested in getting revenge. The prospect of killing the druid got him back into the action.


A idea to use if the party wants to have a rest in the last dungeon, would be the use of the Fugitive's Grenade and just up the duration to 8 hours or most likely 9 hours if you have spell casters. A problem might come from that of the party getting or making more Fugitive's Grenade and using them for that in every situation. making it more expensive would make it less likely they would do so and would fit in the price formula of upping the duration.

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