Forest of Spirits (GM Reference)


Jade Regent

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Liberty's Edge

I'm about to start Forest of Spirits, and I've got to ask if anyone's had trouble with the Prince. His casual servant-killing antics seems like the kind of thing that might get under my player's skin, and I'm worried they'll be attempting royal murder before the five feasts are through.

Have any other groups run into similiar problems? Or have people toned him down?


brreitz wrote:

I'm about to start Forest of Spirits, and I've got to ask if anyone's had trouble with the Prince. His casual servant-killing antics seems like the kind of thing that might get under my player's skin, and I'm worried they'll be attempting royal murder before the five feasts are through.

Have any other groups run into similar problems? Or have people toned him down?

Yeah, I've been having that issue. About half of the characters in my game are serious equal-rights-for-all down-with-the-aristocracy types (I changed Ameiko's motivations a bit because of this, too.) Even after toning the Prince down - I made it that he frequently punishes servants and *might* execute them if he's unhappy enough, to add a bit of tension to the wedding-proposal scene - I'm getting the distinct sense that some of my players hate the Prince and want him to die to the extent that it's becoming problematic.

I tried to set it up so that royal murder would look suicidal and pointless (they'd be hacked apart by guards and someone just as bad would probably replace him), but that means they're just seething and angry and frustrated.

The ninja attack should be happening shortly, and I'm hoping that saying goodbye to Ordu-Aganhei is going to improve everyone's mood.


Just finished up The Hungry Storm with a long and Epic battle against Katiyana. They had to knock Bormurg out and then had Katiyana play whack a mole :p More importantly though, we ended the session shortly after meeting the Prince and then heading out to explore the city, and do some much needed shopping :p

So my question to brreitz, Kyrademon and anyone else up to or past this section. How exactly are you playing the staff being punished? Are you having it happen right then and there, and if not how exactly are you having the PCs catch wind that the dozen servant who witnessed the PCs rudeness were killed (or whatever infraction it is he find so brutalize someone). The PCs are definitely picking up that everyone is on edge, but how do I communicate the princes brutality with more subtlety than public executions/beatings.


I've been playing it subtle because of the aforementioned adventuring party heavy with radical revolutionaries. Whipping a servant in front of them would have led to a complete derailment I wished to avoid.

On the first day, two of the PCs reacted somewhat poorly to being followed around by servants. One, an ex-slave, freaked out completely and had to be calmed down by her girlfriend. The other was asking a servant some questions and got miffed when he wouldn't stop being obsequious and assumed he was being sarcastic and insulting her.

The next day, I noted to those people that the servant the second one had been talking to, and the entire retinue of the first one, had been replaced. Suspecting something was up, they asked around or made knowledge rolls and realized that those servants were being punished for upsetting them, and that the way to stop it was to ask pretty please nicely to have those particular servants - along with their replacements, since they didn't want to replacements punished - to help them ought because they had been so wonderful. Then I quickly had them fetched, looking a bit in pain from being whipped but smiling away. Then later I dropped hints that if the Prince ever got really upset - such as, say, by someone turning down a wedding proposal - he'd probably execute a lot of people.

It's gone as I expected it to, plotwise, after doing that, but honestly ... if I were doing it again with the same group, I might drop the whole thing. It's definitely a feature of the particular group of people I'm playing with, but I think it's upsetting them too much and interfering with their fun. In Kalsgard, they seethed at the injustice of the thrall system, but at least it wasn't in their face all the time and they got to rescue some mistreated thralls from Asvig. Here, they're just seething, and it's always present, and there's nothing they can do about it, and I think a lot of players are going to be glad when we're out of Ordu-Aganhei.


I went with the assumption that the prince doesn't kill/hurt his servants in front of his guests (that would be impolite, and would probably make him look bad), so I played him as always seeming cheerful and happy when talking to the PCs, and switching to Tien, which I had him assume none of the PCs knew (after all, they're foreigners, so in his mind, why would they?) when dealing with the servants who upset him.

Essentially I had him go on smiling, while he (in a pleasant, cheerful tone of voice) berated failed servants repeatedly in Tien, giving them indirect (but obvious enough to recognize what he really meant) death threats among the insults.

Of course in our group's case the only player who took Tien as a language is playing a coward who didn't tell the others what he'd heard because he didn't want to get involved. I also gave the prince a high bluff score (Skill Focus, 12 ranks, made it a class skill, and -1 for Cha) to hide his anger from those just watching him and listening to tone of voice. None of them were able to beat his +20 to bluff, and they only really started to dislike him when he began making unwelcome advances on the party's female member.

By the time they'd left the city they'd all built up a dislike for the prince, but it hadn't yet risen to a level of planning regicide.


Hmm, alright, looks like we're all more or less on the same page with his behavior. I too figured he should have a high bluff score, but all the PCs speak Tien so they're going to know what's going on as far as that goes. Thanks for sharing :)


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If you want the party not to be as able to understand it on some occasions, you could also have him speaking Hon-La instead of Tien; I actually did that once or twice since my whole party speaks Tien and it makes just as much sense for him to berate the servants in what is, after all, his and their native language rather than the Tian Xia equivalent of Common (however, one person in my group does speak Hon-La, and a couple of the NPCs have truespeech.)


Hmm, yeah not a bad idea. The Wizard of the party has been learning all the languages he's heard along the way, and has just asked the prince if he can provide a translator to teach him their language and Minkaian. The Oracle in the group has also taken Spivey as a cohort, so again there's the true-speech angle. I probably will have him speak in Hon-La I spose.

Liberty's Edge

We got through the Five Feasts last Saturday, and it went very well. I did play down the Prince's cruelty, at least to the character's faces, but it worked out in some ways I didn't expect. For example, the Prince became enamored with the muskets of the party's gunslinger, and invited him to go shooting as an excuse to shoot, and perhaps acquire said muskets. The targets were a group of criminals (and Huk!), but the gunslinger was able to disable his guns so that they could not fire straight. After several failed shots, the Prince no longer desired the guns and the gunslinger was not party to execution!

And then ninjas.

Overall, I really liked this segment of the module, as did my players.

Liberty's Edge

Does anyone have a drawing (or could anyone make a drawing of) the house of withered blossoms in profile? For some reason, I'm having a lot of trouble figuring out where there are and are not floors, and where there are and are not big webs. I've tried to draw one out on some graph paper, but it's been to no avail. Help!

Contributor

brreitz wrote:

We got through the Five Feasts last Saturday, and it went very well. I did play down the Prince's cruelty, at least to the character's faces, but it worked out in some ways I didn't expect. For example, the Prince became enamored with the muskets of the party's gunslinger, and invited him to go shooting as an excuse to shoot, and perhaps acquire said muskets. The targets were a group of criminals (and Huk!), but the gunslinger was able to disable his guns so that they could not fire straight. After several failed shots, the Prince no longer desired the guns and the gunslinger was not party to execution!

And then ninjas.

Overall, I really liked this segment of the module, as did my players.

This is why I love these boards, a great piece of role-play. I'm glad you and your players are having fun.

Huzzah!

Slithers off...


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Hello, spirits of the forest!

Regarding the Withered Blossom Warriors: Did I miss something or...

Spoiler:
do they lack their Rogue Talent in the stat block? And if they actually wear do-maru they can't use their Acrobatic skill and Evasion, do they?

I gave them Assault Leader as Rogue Talent and leather lamellar as armor.


I need some clarification on area B6 (Balcony of Pillars) in the Penance. Where exactly is the balcony? Is the whole area of B6 the balcony, overlooking B5, or is B6 a multi-levelled area with a balcony overlooking a ground floor?

Paizo Employee Creative Director, Starfinder

Gluttony wrote:
I need some clarification on area B6 (Balcony of Pillars) in the Penance. Where exactly is the balcony? Is the whole area of B6 the balcony, overlooking B5, or is B6 a multi-levelled area with a balcony overlooking a ground floor?

All of area B6 is above the floor level of area B5. The only true "balcony" overlooking area B5 is the central 30 feet around the stairs. So the actual balcony is 30 feet long, even though the rest of the room extends on either side of that.


Ah, wonderful. That's what I suspected, and that's how I'll be running it then.


Had an amusing encounter at the lattice, area C9 last night. It's a cool setup, but not one that handles very well with flight. The party got to it, and essentially nobody except the sisters of the broken path (who were waiting for them) set foot on it. Instead, the barbarian (who still had a fly spell active on him) charged at one through the air and bull rushed her into the pit. The summoner's eidolon bull rushed another and likewise knocked her into the pit. With just one sister left, the summoner decided to summon a huge air elemental right in the middle of the room... Who promptly bull rushed the last sister into the pit.

...And that's how a CR 11 encounter was finished in one round.

I may reuse the lattice idea in an entirely different home game at some point, but at lower levels, with a shallower pit (and weaker monsters at the bottom), and perhaps with slightly wider beams (because of the lower-level point). It should make for a neat encounter when players can't fly.

...Alternatively, the monks on it could be multiclassed into wizard just enough to qualify for the Dispelling Fist feat. That'd make things interesting I bet.


Yeah, the sisters were fairly disappointing in that regard. My PCs are a bit overpowered, but getting knocked prone when flying doesn't really work... well, unless it's actual wings anyway I assume.

Shouldn't the sisters have gotten a reflex save or the like when they got pushed off the bars, or am I remembering a rule from somewhere else? (my PCs just killed the sisters, only one of them fell down and got stoned)


Peanuts wrote:


Shouldn't the sisters have gotten a reflex save or the like when they got pushed off the bars, or am I remembering a rule from somewhere else? (my PCs just killed the sisters, only one of them fell down and got stoned)

I gave them DC 15 reflex saves to grab another bar (well, I gave two of them saves anyways, the third was bull rushed into the big wide-open northeast corner where there was nothing to grab, just open air, but she wasn't knocked back far enough to use the wall to slow fall). The two that rolled saves rolled a 1 and a 3 respectively, so both of them failed to grab anything that might stop their fall.


Oh wow, heh fair enough then :p Some unlucky rolls there.


Two out of three of the 8d6 fall damage rolls were well above average too. The only one that still had enough hp to survive the initial gorgon attack after the fall failed her first climb check to get out of the pit and ended up permanently turned to stone.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Had an interesting little event occur in area C17 that I thought I'd share.

Spoiler:
The party had just arrived at the top of the path/waterfall and saw it spiraling down into darkness instead of beginning making their way down into the depths the wizard pulls out his magical pigments, and draws a boat. He then gets the barbarian to push it into the river with him and the magus on board leaving the party's samurai, oracle, and barbarian on shore. The intent was that the barbarian would hold the boat while the rest of them jumped in. But sadly the barbarian rolled <10 on his strength check to fight back against the swiftly flowing current.

As would be expected this resulted in a flume ride for the wizard and magus, and thoroughly startled the hobgoblin monks who were waiting to ambush them around the first turning in the path.

The party survived the ride, via the magus managing a spectacular casting of D-Door off the boat and onto the path. Sadly though the boat did not regardless of the barbarian bravely jumping in after it..and promptly failing his swim check, he made a follow up reflex save to grab the ledge just below the monks and pulled himself out. The battle against the Sisters was anticlimactic as they were all fascinated by the insane antics of the party and/or shoved into the river to fall into the lake below.

The remainder of the evening was taken up fighting giant gar(barbarian got eaten then punched his way out), the entire party -1 getting petrified by a giant gorgon and deafened by Destchans, though none of that was as fun as me trying to ward off laughter induced asphyxiation from waterfall ride. (If interested I did rule that crashing at the bottom of the waterfall did 1/2 of what the distances falling damage should have been).

tl;dr: Magical rowboat flume ride into dire combat.


Since I run an online game I rely on using the PDF's of the games and ripping the images out of them. It's worked great for the past three books but when I got to book 4 every image ripped is for some reason EXTREMELY dark. Increasing the brightness of the image only helps a little, especially if there is any white in the background of the image as it rapidly becomes blinding. Maps are basically unusable.

I'm unsure of what to do now for my weekend game. Should I start looking for art and maps in other places? I'd really appreciate it if anybody has suggestions on how to fix this. I've been using the Some PDF Image Extractor.

By the by, I'd really enjoy if all the art and maps in each book were available in a separate file of images for download so the cumbersome process of ripping it could be avoided. I don't think it would be that big of a deal and would REALLY REALLY help us online GM's. Because right now without a scanner I am sorta up a creek without a paddle.


It's time-consuming (for a while, until you get the hang of it) and less pretty, but I use Excel spreadsheets to make maps for online play. Turn each cell of the spreadsheet into a square, and use thick borders to represent walls (with non-black borders being doors, windows, etc.), colour fills to detail different terrain, and thin borders to represent the grid itself. Then use text or clipart to indicate the positions of creatures.

As an example, this is what it looked like to convert a section of Ravenscraeg (with PCs and NPCs in it) from book 2 into spreadsheet-map form in my game:
Example

(You'll recognize it as area D2 and the hallway intersection just south of area D4)


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Gluttony wrote:
It's time-consuming (for a while, until you get the hang of it) and less pretty, but I use Excel spreadsheets to make maps for online play.

Thanks for the reply. But here is the problem, the maps and images are pretty much half the reason I buy the Adventure Paths because it really cuts down on my prep time as an online GM. If I have to go around creating every map and finding my own images for all the NPC's n Monsters and doing all of this it gets the point where I might as well just make my own adventures and save the cost of paying for an AP subscription.

I've tried some tips that other people have given about trying to use Adobe or other things to grab the images but no dice. I don't feel like this should be that hard to pull off and that the assorted images and maps should be made available to purchasers of the PDF. Or make it a subscriber exclusive image pack or something.


Interestingly enough, I just ripped book 5 and book 6 to get the images and maps and they came out perfectly fine just like the others. A little rough sometimes around the edges but good enough to use in my game. Book 4 however seems to be a problem. I've tried ripping it to other formats such as JPEG, BMP, etc to no avail. Not sure what the issue is here. I think I can stomach it for such a single book and try and find ways around it. But just attaching HR artwork and maps to the downloads would be really, really awesome.


As an example, I uploaded a single picture from book 4 to give an idea of what I am talking about. Remember that awesome picture of the Jade Regent on book 4? This is what it looks like ripped and then lightened up as much as I dare before the brightness/contrast gets all wonky:

The not-so Jade Regent.

EDIT: I've had trouble using Adobe or anything else to extract the images from the PDF's for use. After trying a couple of different programs, Inkscape seems to be easiest to use to extract the images. Of course it is manually rather than automatic, but it does do extraction cleanly and completely and without the strange darkening effect on book 4. I'll be using that as my backup program when SomePDF fails to extract to my specifications.


I don't have the AP in PDF form, so I'm afraid I can't help you.

Sorry, and good luck.


Have you tried using something like Gimp(Free!) or Photoshop to export the images? (i.e. Selecting the image in the PDF, copying it and then pasting it into your image editing tool?)

I've done this for all 6 books without issue so far. Give it a shot! :)

Sovereign Court

My group just got into Ordu-Aganhai last session, and their initial impression was "It's Ba Sing Se! Where's Joo Dee?"

Liberty's Edge

The 5-Storms Ninjas have Weapon Finesse added to their Katanas, which can't be finessed.

Liberty's Edge

Hi guys
I’m wondering if the community can help me (yet again) or point me in the direction of an appropriate thread.
We are about to start the Forest of Spirits and I need to start thinking about levelling up my NPCs. Problem is I don’t have a lot of time (damn life getting in the way) to go through them all, pick feats and equip them etc.
Has anyone already done this, levelled Ameiko, Sandru, Shalelu, Koya and Kelda up to about level 7 and got an excel or stat sheet to share? Possibly Ulf but he’s less important because none of my players like him anyway lol.
Thanks as usual


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@JamZilla: For your convenience, here's my Ameiko at level 7, and at level 8 (in case you don't count the aristocrat level as a "real" level). The only change that still needs to be made is swapping her equipment, potentially, but for now I've left it as her starting equipment on the assumption that it's the party's responsibility to buy her better things.

I haven't statted the progression of Sandru, Shalelu, Koya, Spivey, Ulf, or Miyaro yet (and my Kelda is dead, so I had no reason to advance her in level), but I plan to get around to it.

Quote:

Ameiko Amatatsu CR 6

XP 2400
Female human aristocrat 1/bard 4/rogue (rake) 2
CG Medium humanoid (human) (Human: Pathfinder Core Rulebook, 27) (Rake: Pathfinder APG, 134)
Init +6; Senses Perception +9

DEFENSE

AC 17, touch 14, flat-footed 14 (+3 armor, +1 deflection, +2 Dex +1 dodge)
hp 38 (7d8 + 7)
Fort +2, Ref +9, Will +7; +4 vs. bardic performance, language-dependant, and sonic
Defensive Abilities evasion

OFFENSE

Speed 30 ft.
Melee +1 mithral rapier +7 (1d6+1/18–20)
Ranged dagger +6 (1d4/19–20)
Special Attacks bardic performance (14 rounds/day, countersong, distraction, fascinate [2 targets, DC 16], inspire competence +2, inspire courage +1), bravado’s blade, sneak attack +1d6

Bard Spells Known (CL 4th; concentration +8)
--2nd (2/day)—blistering invective (DC 16), summon swarm
--1st (4/day)—charm person (DC 15), cure light wounds, feather step, unseen servant
--0th (at will)—detect magic, light, mage hand, prestidigitation, summon instrument, unwitting ally (DC 14)

STATISTICS

Str 10, Dex 14, Con 13, Int 12, Wis 8, Cha 18
Base Atk +4; CMB +4; CMD 18
Feats Arcane Strike (+1), Dodge, Iron Will, Weapon Finesse, Improved Initiative, Improved Iron Will

Skills Acrobatics (5 ranks +3 class skill +2 Dex = +10)
Bluff (versatile performance [string] = +13)
Diplomacy (versatile performance [string] = +13)
Escape Artist (1 rank +3 class skill +2 Dex = +6)
Intimidate (7 ranks +3 class skill +4 Cha = +14)
Knowledge (Arcana) (1 rank +3 class skill +2 bardic knowledge +1 Int = +7)
Knowledge (Dungeoneering) (1 rank +3 class skill +2 bardic knowledge +1 Int = +7)
Knowledge (Engineering) (1 rank +3 class skill +2 bardic knowledge +1 Int = +7)
Knowledge (Geography) (1 rank +3 class skill +2 bardic knowledge +1 Int = +7)
Knowledge (History) (1 rank +3 class skill +2 bardic knowledge +1 Int = +7)
Knowledge (Local) (3 ranks +3 class skill +2 bardic knowledge +1 Int = +9)
Knowledge (Nature) (1 rank +3 class skill +2 bardic knowledge +1 Int = +7)
Knowledge (Nobility) (1 rank +3 class skill +2 bardic knowledge +1 Int = +7)
Knowledge (Planes) (1 rank +3 class skill +2 bardic knowledge +1 Int = +7)
Knowledge (Religion) (1 rank +3 class skill +2 bardic knowledge +1 Int = +7)
Perception (7 ranks +3 class skill -1 Wis = +9)
Perform (Sing) (7 ranks +3 class skill +4 Cha = +14)
Perform (String) (7 ranks +3 class skill +4 Cha = +14; +15 with mwk samisen)
Profession (Tavern Keeper) (2 ranks +3 class skill -1 Wis = +4)
Spellcraft (7 ranks +3 class skill +1 Int = +11)
Stealth (7 ranks +3 class skill +2 Dex = +12)

Languages Common, Tien, Varisian
SQ bardic knowledge +2, versatile performance (string), rogue talents (combat trick)

ECOLOGY

Gear +1 leather armor, +1 mithral rapier, daggers [3], ring of protection (+1), belt pouch, gold signet ring worth 100gp, mwk samisen (string instrument), silver holy symbol of Shelyn, spell component pouch, 18pp, 3gp

Quote:

Ameiko Amatatsu CR 7

XP 3200
Female human aristocrat 1/bard 5/rogue (rake) 2
CG Medium humanoid (human) (Human: Pathfinder Core Rulebook, 27) (Rake: Pathfinder APG, 134)
Init +6; Senses Perception +10

DEFENSE

AC 17, touch 14, flat-footed 14 (+3 armor, +1 deflection, +2 Dex +1 dodge)
hp 44 (8d8 + 8)
[b]Fort
+2, Ref +9, Will +7; +4 vs. bardic performance, language-dependant, and sonic
Defensive Abilities evasion

OFFENSE

Speed 30 ft.
Melee +1 mithral rapier +7 (1d6+1/18–20)
Ranged dagger +6 (1d4/19–20)
Special Attacks bardic performance (16 rounds/day, countersong, distraction, fascinate [2 targets, DC 16], inspire competence +2, inspire courage +2), bravado’s blade, sneak attack +1d6

Bard Spells Known (CL 5th; concentration +9)
--2nd (3/day)—blistering invective (DC 16), eagle’s splendor, summon swarm
--1st (5/day)—charm person (DC 15), cure light wounds, feather step, unseen servant
--0th (at will)—detect magic, light, mage hand, prestidigitation, summon instrument, unwitting ally (DC 14)

STATISTICS

Str 10, Dex 14, Con 13, Int 13, Wis 8, Cha 18
Base Atk +4; CMB +4; CMD 18
Feats Arcane Strike (+2), Dodge, Iron Will, Weapon Finesse, Improved Initiative, Improved Iron Will

Skills Acrobatics (5 ranks +3 class skill +2 Dex = +10)
Bluff (versatile performance [string] = +15)
Diplomacy (versatile performance [string] = +15)
Escape Artist (3 ranks +3 class skill +2 Dex = +8)
Intimidate (8 ranks +3 class skill +4 Cha = +15)
Knowledge (Arcana) (1 rank +3 class skill +2 bardic knowledge +1 Int = +7)
Knowledge (Dungeoneering) (1 rank +3 class skill +2 bardic knowledge +1 Int = +7)
Knowledge (Engineering) (1 rank +3 class skill +2 bardic knowledge +1 Int = +7)
Knowledge (Geography) (1 rank +3 class skill +2 bardic knowledge +1 Int = +7)
Knowledge (History) (1 rank +3 class skill +2 bardic knowledge +1 Int = +7)
Knowledge (Local) (3 ranks +3 class skill +2 bardic knowledge +1 Int = +9)
Knowledge (Nature) (1 rank +3 class skill +2 bardic knowledge +1 Int = +7)
Knowledge (Nobility) (1 rank +3 class skill +2 bardic knowledge +1 Int = +7)
Knowledge (Planes) (1 rank +3 class skill +2 bardic knowledge +1 Int = +7)
Knowledge (Religion) (1 rank +3 class skill +2 bardic knowledge +1 Int = +7)
Linguistics (1 rank +3 class skill +1 Int = +5)
Perception (8 ranks +3 class skill -1 Wis = +10)
Perform (Sing) (8 ranks +3 class skill +4 Cha = +15)
Perform (String) (8 ranks +3 class skill +4 Cha = +15; +17 with mwk samisen)
Profession (Tavern Keeper) (2 ranks +3 class skill -1 Wis = +4)
Spellcraft (8 ranks +3 class skill +1 Int = +12)
Stealth (8 ranks +3 class skill +2 Dex = +13)

Languages Common, Tien, Varisian, Minkaian
SQ bardic knowledge +2, versatile performance (string), rogue talents (combat trick), Lore Master (1/day)

ECOLOGY

Gear +1 leather armor, +1 mithral rapier, daggers [3], ring of protection (+1), belt pouch, gold signet ring worth 100gp, mwk samisen (string instrument), silver holy symbol of Shelyn, spell component pouch, 18pp, 3gp

Liberty's Edge

Gluttony. Thanks very much for your Ameiko, that's really helpful.

It's interesting how different games go, our Spivey got clubbed to death pretty early on but Kelda is probably more popular than Ameiko in my group (excep for one character who is infatuated with her)

Liberty's Edge

Anyone else statted their NPCs?


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Here's my (newly made) Sandru for you. If I get some free time tomorrow, I'll see if I can level up some more of those NPCs that you wanted:

Quote:

Sandru Vhiski CR 5

XP 1600
Male human rogue (swashbuckler) 6
NG Medium humanoid (human) (Human: Pathfinder Core Rulebook, 27) (Swashbuckler: Pathfinder APG, 135)
Init +6; Senses Perception +8

DEFENSE

AC 19, touch 12, flat-footed 17 (+5 armor +2 Dex +2 shield)
hp 45 (7d8 + 14)
Fort +3, Ref +7, Will +4; +2 vs. fear
Defensive Abilities evasion, uncanny dodge

OFFENSE

Speed 30 ft.
Melee +1 scimitar +10 (1d6+4/18–20)
Ranged mwk shortbow +8 (1d6/x3)
Special Attacks sneak attack +4d6

STATISTICS

Str 16, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 13
Base Atk +5; CMB +8; CMD 20
Feats Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Power Attack, Toughness, Weapon Focus (Scimitar), Defiant Luck, Inexplicable Luck

Skills Acrobatics (7 ranks +3 class skill +2 Dex +2 daring = +14)
Appraise (7 ranks +3 class skill = +10)
Bluff (7 ranks +3 class skill +1 Cha = +11)
Craft (Carpentry) (7 ranks +3 class skill = +10)
Diplomacy (7 ranks +3 class skill +1 Cha = +11)
Disable Device (7 ranks +3 class skill +2 Dex = +12)
Handle Animal (7 ranks +1 Cha = +8)
Knowledge (History) (7 ranks = +7)
Perception (7 ranks +3 class skill = +10)
Profession (Merchant) (7 ranks +3 class skill = +10)

Languages Common, Varisian
SQ skilled, daring (+2), martial training, rogue talents (combat trick, weapon training, positioning attack)

ECOLOGY

Gear +1 chain shirt, +1 buckler, +1 scimitar, masterwork shortbow, arrows [20], potion of cure light wounds (CL 1st) [3], potion of cure moderate wounds (CL 3rd), belt pouch, everburning torch, masterwork thieves tools, trail rations [4 days], wineskin, bottle of fine brandy worth 50gp [4], 76gp

Liberty's Edge

Is it me or is

spoiler:
Munasukaru at the end of Forest of Spirits an absolute pushover? I think 2 out 4 of my group will one shot her.


In short, yes.

Spoiler:
Munasukaru is very much a pushover for most parties of the level that will take her on, especially because of her lack of action economy (i.e. boss enemies should not fight alone, it makes them easier to kill and less impressive).

I get the impression the challenge of Munasukaru is supposed to be that the party just slogged through a meat-grinder of a dungeon to reach her, and is meant to be tired, and low on resources by the time they arrive for the last battle.

If your party stopped to rest close to the dungeon's end, and is about to reach her room at or near their full strength, I'd suggest changing the tactics of the sisters of the broken path in the room ahead of her. Instead of fighting to the death to keep enemies away from Munasukaru, have some or all of them pull a tactical retreat so that they can fight alongside her. Doing so should increase the enemy action economy a fair bit, and make the fight an actual challenge without having to depend on the PCs being pre-weakened.


Gluttony wrote:

In short, yes.

** spoiler omitted **

I think your idea at the end there is a particularly good one Gluttony. That would give a bit more meat to that encounter.

Did you try this with one of your groups? I had this idea as well while I was doing my prep-work for this book, but sometimes it is hard to say for sure where your party is going to be a book ahead of where you are currently.


I did, but that party is one with a master summoner, a second summoner whose Eidolon has a ridiculous number of limbs, a nigh-invincible hard-hitting barbarian, and an inquisitor that had saved use of her Bane for the end fight.

i.e. they shredded through Munasukaru and the sisters of the broken path simultaneously.

Dark Archive

That is why I banned summoners and the summon monster spell at the start of the campaign.

Far too powerful and they take up too much time at the table when used by the group I play with.

We are just about to leave Ordu Aganhei so I will bear this in mind and give her some extra protection and maybe a potion of haste.

:o)


^ I found the standard summoner who used his eidolon more than the summon monster spells wasn't too powerful, nor did it take up too much time. It's the master summoner, who was likely to have at last a dozen summoned monsters taking actions each round on their turn that got extremely powerful and risked slowing things down.


In the end, my group stopped playing Jade Regent with this book. It wasn't this book's fault primarily, but my players wanted nothing to do with the Forest of Spirits. They wanted to charter a boat around the coast because they (rightly) realized the direct route to Minkai would be a battle. Or they wanted to go west and then charter a boat east across the sea to Minkai directly.

I had been putting in pretty heavy rails the whole time during this AP to try and keep the players on some sort of track and they were starting to cry foul and I was feeling terrible about doing it because it was pretty transparent and the players were coming up with great ideas and I had to keep shooting them down because the progress of events is so tight in JR, and their ideas were reasonable and understandable. (They also wanted to try and find support in other nations for a coup in Minkai.)

I tried to make what was going on clear at the beginning of the adventure, about the necessity of rails and this being a caravan, but after tromping across the ice they wanted nothing more to do with the AP's rails. The other problem was the importance of the NPC's which got harder and harder to stomach as they usually ended up being the ones who tried to keep things on the rails.

My advice is...even if you talk it out with your group beforehand, it is not enough. The rails are so tight here that unless your party is the type to be lead by the nose they will have real problems. Generally most will put up with it for awhile but the entirety of late book 2 to book 3 to book 4 is a choo-choo. Be absolutely sure of what you are getting into.

Dark Archive

I am having a 50/50 time with it at the moment. I love the story but I can't be bothered with combats just for the sake of XP.

I wish APs ran just to 10th level but that's just me.

I realy want to finish JR but high level play is just not for the group I play with, combats when you are traveling and you only have one encounter a day are either pointless or long drawn out slug fests.

Hopefully now we are in the house of withered blossoms it will be a bit more interesting than the forest of spirits was.

I am also hopeful he last two books bring the story to the fore a lot more. So far it has been a very long road to get to the actual story.

The Exchange

Andrew Jackson 394 wrote:

I am having a 50/50 time with it at the moment. I love the story but I can't be bothered with combats just for the sake of XP.

I wish APs ran just to 10th level but that's just me.

I realy want to finish JR but high level play is just not for the group I play with, combats when you are traveling and you only have one encounter a day are either pointless or long drawn out slug fests.

Hopefully now we are in the house of withered blossoms it will be a bit more interesting than the forest of spirits was.

At the risk of spoiling things... you're doomed. The dungeon is level after level of nonstop combat. There are so many encounters that even the interesting ones are suffocated by the grind.

On the plus side, the next books do offer a lot more story, and at last a bit of freedom (though I think it could be emphasized more).


Pretty much what LeadPal said. Forest of Spirits' meatgrinder dungeon will brutalize a party who can't handle lots and lots of encounters without resting, unless the GM is very lenient and doesn't play the NPCs as being particularly tactical.

Dark Archive

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We will give it a go and if it gets boring I will give them a summary and move onto book 5 I think.

Not being able to rest and nova every encounter may make the dungeon at least more fun as a tactical combat game for a while.

The giants in the forest of spirits seems like a complete waste of time and purely there for XP.

Dark Archive

We are done with this one. We got into the first level of the penance and I really can't be bothered running the rest.

It's just a dungeon crawl seemingly just to fill a fourth book or to push up the characters levels. The story is an after thought.

I will summarise it for the players and we will pick it up again with book five.

At high level combat after combat just for the sake of XP is not fun for ou group.

Liberty's Edge

I think that's a real shame. For my part, I played the first half of this adventure very roleplay heavy, expanding greatly on the events surrounding the feasts and the town itself. This is the PCs first real taste of the 'Far east' and I wanted to play on that with lots of interesting signettes. This resulted in two 6 hour sessions with no combat which I was surprised at because my group really like a fast paced game.

The pace slowed considerably in the last adventure and this one feels like a stop-gap to level them up a bit before things kick off in Minkai. I want to take advantage of that, especially in my very Studio Ghibli inspired Forest. I want the PCs to have a sense of wonder and mystery and give them time to reflect on their already amazing achievements.

I agree the dungeon crawl at the end of this doesn't have a big enough pay off in terms of either a climactic boss battle or a real drive to push on and take on the Jade Regent and that's what I'm missing at the moment.

Dark Archive

Thank you so much everyone for all of your contributions! These are going to help my game immensely! My players are about to take the plunge into the FoS. Looking forward!!

Dark Archive

We finished the Ordu-Aganhei/Prince Batsaikar chapter last night. Originally, I changed the ninja attack to be on the first night in order to introduce two characters. It's was a necessary change for us. That, however changed the mood of the caravan's stay within Ordu-Aganhei.

First, it heightened the paranoia of my players which is ALWAYS fun to play with. They were absolutely convinced that the Prince had a hand in the ninja attack. Of course, he didn't. The ninja attack happened after the first Feast. Standing out in the courtyard, the party wizard snaps at a group of 8 peasants who were seeking to assist the PCs in any way they could (as the Prince would've wanted). After being scolded, the peasants sank to their knees bowing with forehead touching the ground. During the next Feast but before the meal began, the Prince made subtle hints toward obtaining Suishen (the object of his obsession) all the while offering sincere apologies for his out of line and rude servants that angered the wizard the previous evening. It was then that the Prince's servant pulls a curtain open within the huge dining hall to reveal a small stone alcove with all 8 of the servants from the previous evening beheaded in a manor most gruesome. This situation caused the wiz to feel guilty for something that really wasn't his fault as well as highlighted the cultural differences of this foreign land. Lastly, it defined the Prince.

Due to heightened paranoia, one of the PCs (a local samurai) sent a magical message to his liege lord asking for aid. This had an effect on the PCs being able to eventually leave (see below).

The PCs spent the rest of the 5 days seeking to escape from OA. They were unsuccessful and since the Prince had not gotten his hands on the sword, he wasn't done with them yet :) He declared on the fifth evening of feasting that they shall stay in OA for another week to "grace the city even further with their foreign delights!"

The moment it was about to get messy was when Ameiko (pushed by her sister...a PC) stood up to the Prince demanding their release. The Prince was about to throw a royal fit in a BIG way....until an explosive entrance by the Kiritli Khan (the Prince's older brother and ruler of Hongal) on his massive destrier enters and proceeds to both teach his brother some manners as well as make it clear to the PCs that they are welcome with open arms for another 24 hours but no more.

Then they were off to the Forest of Spirits and got to the entrance to the House of Withering Blossoms.

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