Forest of Spirits (GM Reference)


Jade Regent

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This thread is a GM Reference thread for Part 4 of the Jade Regent Adventure Path. Links for the individual threads for each part are as follow:
The Brinewall Legacy (Part 1)
Night of Frozen Shadows (Part 2)
The Hungry Storm (Part 3)
Forest of Spirits (Part 4)
Tide of Honor (Part 5)
The Empty Throne (Part 6)


I have it! It looks really good, awesome cover, cool kami artwork, interesting adversaries.

One question though: the shikigami kami and the zuishin kami stat blocks both refer to Bestiary 3, which won't be available for several weeks... can we have a preview?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Zen79 wrote:

I have it! It looks really good, awesome cover, cool kami artwork, interesting adversaries.

One question though: the shikigami kami and the zuishin kami stat blocks both refer to Bestiary 3, which won't be available for several weeks... can we have a preview?

We'd hoped that we'd have Bestiary 3 out by this point, obviously, but often the cruel fingers of reality make such things not possible.

Fortunately, the shikigami and zuishin kami encounters are, in the grand scheme of things, relatively minor encounters that can be skipped if you can't wait for a few more weeks or however much longer it takes us to get Bestiary 3 out there.

That said... we ARE getting pretty close to the book's release, and doing some previews of the contents would be cool. I'll see if we can't get those two kami and mabye a few other critters up on the blog in the next week or so... no promises, though! The blog's been increasingly in the iron clutches of other masters of late...

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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OKAY! I rattled my saber and looks like we'll get stat blocks for those two kami up as a blog post this Thursday!

Liberty's Edge

James Jacobs wrote:
OKAY! I rattled my saber and looks like we'll get stat blocks for those two kami up as a blog post this Thursday!

Thanks James!


Great news!
By the way, I think I could live with 2 blog posts per day once in a while... ;-)

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Awesome!


Any chance the Kitsune will be stat'd before mid december?

Or do I have to reverse engineer it until then?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Montana77 wrote:

Any chance the Kitsune will be stat'd before mid december?

Or do I have to reverse engineer it until then?

Why do you have to reverse engineer it in the first place? Out of curiosity? The character's built to serve her role in the adventure already for you.

If you instead are eager to play (or allow one to be played in your game) a kitsune character... though... (which is NOT the purpose of the kitsune in this adventure) you'll need to wait for the Dragon Empires Gazetteer to come out. We'd originally hoped it would be out at the same time as this volume of Pathfinder... but various reality-associated roadblocks and difficulties made that impossible. Hopefully, it'll be out in December.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Zen79 wrote:

Great news!

By the way, I think I could live with 2 blog posts per day once in a while... ;-)

Not us. It's not easy to wrangle blog posts together, since they need to be:

1) Written by an expert.
2) Edited by a different expert.
3) Placed and formatted on the website by a third expert.

And all three of those experts are super busy. We've managed, after a few years of doing the blog, to get one blog per work day worked into those three people's schedules, but doing two a day? MADNESS!


James Jacobs wrote:

Why do you have to reverse engineer it in the first place? Out of curiosity? The character's built to serve her role in the adventure already for you.

If you instead are eager to play (or allow one to be played in your game) a kitsune character... though... (which is NOT the purpose of the kitsune in this adventure) you'll need to wait for the Dragon Empires Gazetteer to come out. We'd originally hoped it would be out at the same time as this volume of Pathfinder... but various reality-associated roadblocks and difficulties made that impossible. Hopefully, it'll be out in December.

Just curious about the race and it's abilities/stats.

I'll wait impatiently until DEG comes out ;)


James Jacobs wrote:
Zen79 wrote:

Great news!

By the way, I think I could live with 2 blog posts per day once in a while... ;-)

Not us. It's not easy to wrangle blog posts together, since they need to be:

1) Written by an expert.
2) Edited by a different expert.
3) Placed and formatted on the website by a third expert.

And all three of those experts are super busy. We've managed, after a few years of doing the blog, to get one blog per work day worked into those three people's schedules, but doing two a day? MADNESS!

I had to try...

You are doing a great job with the blog, I'm looking forward to it every day.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

In the "Way of the Ninja" article, there is mention of the benevolent Swallowtail Clan (as one of the rivals of the Oni's Mask). However, there is no write-up for Swallowtail in the article. Was it cut for space? Any chance we might see it as a bit of bonus content on the blog?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Folks eager to see those kami stats should head over to the blog for a November Miracle!


James Jacobs wrote:
Folks eager to see those kami stats should head over to the blog for a November Miracle!

Thank you Easter Dino Bunny!

The Exchange

James Jacobs wrote:
Folks eager to see those kami stats should head over to the blog for a November Miracle!

Link

Paizo Employee Creative Director, Starfinder

Michael Gentry wrote:
In the "Way of the Ninja" article, there is mention of the benevolent Swallowtail Clan (as one of the rivals of the Oni's Mask). However, there is no write-up for Swallowtail in the article. Was it cut for space? Any chance we might see it as a bit of bonus content on the blog?

The Swallowtail Clan was cut in editing, but unfortunately, we didn't catch all references to it. In this case, you can simply replace them with the Emerald Branch as rivals of the Oni's Mask.

It probably won't show up as blog content, since the Emerald Branch fills the role of "benevolent ninja clan" pretty well, and how many benevolent ninja clans do you really need? These are ninja!

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Rob McCreary wrote:
These are ninja!

I assume this is followed by a chest kick.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Are the Five Storms the ultimate oni authority on Golarion? This volume seems to imply that Anamurumon is the de facto ruler of all oni. I could definitely be wrong - in fact, I'm pretty sure I'm wrong. Why? Because Anamurumon is a wind yai, and there's at least one oni breed stronger than him (the void yai, and likely the water yai as well).

I know we'll learn much more about the Five Storms in the final two Jade Regent volumes, so I'm not too worried about this issue, but it certainly has me curious. Maybe it's just that Anamurumon and his Five Storms are one of the more organized oni groups on Golarion, and thus more of a threat than a single (albeit powerful) void yai. Or maybe Anamurumon is himself merely a puppet.

Also, more idle speculation! Anamurumon finally managed to produce a tiefling grandson, and that grandson is - dramatic pause - the Jade Regent.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Generic Villain wrote:

Are the Five Storms the ultimate oni authority on Golarion? This volume seems to imply that Anamurumon is the de facto ruler of all oni. I could definitely be wrong - in fact, I'm pretty sure I'm wrong. Why? Because Anamurumon is a wind yai, and there's at least one oni breed stronger than him (the void yai, and likely the water yai as well).

I know we'll learn much more about the Five Storms in the final two Jade Regent volumes, so I'm not too worried about this issue, but it certainly has me curious. Maybe it's just that Anamurumon and his Five Storms are one of the more organized oni groups on Golarion, and thus more of a threat than a single (albeit powerful) void yai. Or maybe Anamurumon is himself merely a puppet.

Also, more idle speculation! Anamurumon finally managed to produce a tiefling grandson, and that grandson is - dramatic pause - the Jade Regent.

The Five Storms are a group of powerful oni, but they're NOT the ultimate oni authority on Golarion. They're not even the ultimate oni authority in the dragon Empires—that's probably the nation of Chu Ye.

There are, I suspect, MANY oni organizations out there. The Five Storms just happens to be one of them.


The Thundering Blade of the House of Sugimatu costs 28,415 gold, and it's a +1 thundering naginata (market value 8335 gold) with the once per day ability of Shout as a standard action. Is the Shout really supposed to be worth 20,080 gp, or was there a typo that worked its way in there somehow?

Paizo Employee Creative Director, Starfinder

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Rogue Eidolon wrote:
The Thundering Blade of the House of Sugimatu costs 28,415 gold, and it's a +1 thundering naginata (market value 8335 gold) with the once per day ability of Shout as a standard action. Is the Shout really supposed to be worth 20,080 gp, or was there a typo that worked its way in there somehow?

That's a mistake - it was erroneously priced as a +2 thundering naginata. The correct price should 18,415 gp.


Rob McCreary wrote:
Rogue Eidolon wrote:
The Thundering Blade of the House of Sugimatu costs 28,415 gold, and it's a +1 thundering naginata (market value 8335 gold) with the once per day ability of Shout as a standard action. Is the Shout really supposed to be worth 20,080 gp, or was there a typo that worked its way in there somehow?
That's a mistake - it was erroneously priced as a +2 thundering naginata. The correct price should 18,415 gp.

Ah, that's just what I expected, given that 1/day Shout would be worth roughly 10,000 by the guideline of 2000 (use activated) * 4 (spell level) *7 (caster level) /5 (1 use per day). I think I may just upgrade it to a +2 thundering naginata for my game, with the original price, when I get a chance to run this--I know it's more due to the way it lets her mock House Sugimatu that she carries the thing, but to make up for granting her a negative level, I'll want it to be quite the weapon.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I have a few questions about the Withered Blossom Pavilion at the heart of the Spirit Forest.

1) How do the Aranea get their opium? They have been there for 60 years. Any supply brought with them should have been used up long ago.

2) How do the Aranea and the Hobgoblins get slaves? Noburo, a kami spirit (looks to be pretty powerful, 123 HP, fast heal 5, but no beastiary 3 yet, so some details missing) guards the clearing. As he will not let evil into the clearing (the Aranea were a one time entry from what I understand), so why would he allow any of the Withered Blossom Warriors or Aranea to enter with slaves? Even if that were possible, they would have to travel for hundreds of miles to get the slaves, thru all kinds of kami.

My current work arounds are:
1) There are opium poppy plants being cultivated outside of the pavilion, cultivated by the Aranea.

2) The gate is being influenced by the last Oni, being warped and is now randomly grabbing a being from one of the surrounding countries, and transports them into the pavilion with most arrive in the hobgoblin territory but a few into the Aranea territory.


Mistwalker wrote:

1) How do the Aranea get their opium? They have been there for 60 years. Any supply brought with them should have been used up long ago.

2) How do the Aranea and the Hobgoblins get slaves? Noburo, a kami spirit (looks to be pretty powerful, 123 HP, fast heal 5, but no beastiary 3 yet, so some details missing) guards the clearing.

1) A number of ways -- evil traders, grown somewhere nearby, etc. In fact, I'd almost prefer it NOT to have an answer -- in real life, there are some things that don't make sense on cursory examination, and it should only come up if the PCs capture and interrogate The lead Aranea or his bodyguards, anyway.

2) Reading this last night, Noburo doesn't guard the Pagoda -- the pagoda is actually about a mile from where the clearning actually is. There's a section that says that Miyaro can guide the PCs from the clearing to the Pagoda, but that she'll wait at the clearing with the caravan.

The Kami collectively guard the Pagoda, but the divine laws don't say anything about the Oni's Hobgoblin servants, only the Oni themselves. Kami are apparently funny that way, with the whole "letter of the law" kind of thing.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

At least one prisoner is described as having wandered into the pagoda accidentally and been captured. I was under the impression from the rest of the text that the Forest of Spirits was a place that people in Tien Xia simply Don't Go, though.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I like for the adventures to be internally consistent. This way, if a player goes off in an unexpected direction, I have a good chance of having the necessary answers.

ENHenry wrote:
1) A number of ways -- evil traders, grown somewhere nearby, etc. In fact, I'd almost prefer it NOT to have an answer -- in real life, there are some things that don't make sense on cursory examination, and it should only come up if the PCs capture and interrogate The lead Aranea or his bodyguards, anyway.

Even if the PCs never look into the matter, as a GM, I should be ready to answer those questions. It isn't addressed in the adventure. I was wondering if the author had addressed it but that it had been cut out in editing.

I have no problem coming up with possible solutions and scenarios (as I stated what my work arounds currently are), but I would likely find it much easier to use what the author has/had come up with.

As for evil traders, even if I could internally explain their prescence in the forest, I don't see anything that the Araneas could use for trade. Which is why I suggested that they are cultivating a poppy field.

ENHenry wrote:
2) Reading this last night, Noburo doesn't guard the Pagoda -- the pagoda is actually about a mile from where the clearning actually is. There's a section that says that Miyaro can guide the PCs from the clearing to the Pagoda, but that she'll wait at the clearing with the caravan.

Ah, right, forgot/missed that the clearing was not at the same place as the pagoda.

ENHenry wrote:
The Kami collectively guard the Pagoda, but the divine laws don't say anything about the Oni's Hobgoblin servants, only the Oni themselves. Kami are apparently funny that way, with the whole "letter of the law" kind of thing.
Forest of Spirits, page 7 wrote:
When a tribe of araneas, under the leadership of a sorcerer named Akinosa, came to the House of Withered Blossoms 60 years ago, in search of great stores of wealth and knowledge that Akinosa believed lay in the dungeons beneath the palace, the kami allowed them to pass, hoping that the araneas would drive out the last of the oni.

The adventure states that there is a paucity of people in the forest, meaning little to none, except around the edges. From the description in certain parts of the pagoda, they seem to go thru a lot of slaves. So, where are they getting them?

As for not attacking the hobgoblins, why wouldn't the Kami do that? They don't just guard the pagoda, but all kinds of things as well. Several seem very hostile to evil creatures, with Noburo being an example. The excerpt above would indicate that the kami do control access to the forest, or at least the pagoda.

I find it harder to internally explain that the hobgoblins extensively mapped the forest, to know where all the major "good" kami are, then proceed hundreds of miles to acquire slaves.

Tis why I was asking, to see if the author had considered the questions, and if not, present a couple of solutions to anyone else who may stumble across the problem.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Revan wrote:
At least one prisoner is described as having wandered into the pagoda accidentally and been captured. I was under the impression from the rest of the text that the Forest of Spirits was a place that people in Tien Xia simply Don't Go, though.

I don't have a problem with a few of the slaves having wandered in, but not only does the text imply that the folks of Tien Xia don't go into the Forest of Spirits, but it also seems to indicate that both the Aranea and Hobgoblins go thru the slaves at a furious rate (several recent executions). So, where are they all coming from?

Contributor

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The original draft contained a reference to a collapsed chamber;

The Broken Supply Tunnel
A collapsed tunnel.

Once this tunnel led a mile and a half into the Forest of Tears above, and from where Munasukaru used to send her minions to capture slaves. Her own rage destroyed the shaft about a year ago.

It's perhaps worth noting as well that the gardens outside the pagoda were detailed quite extensively, with lots of spiders and aranae, but these and the house were too big even to fit into my first draft over to Rob. I'll whizz those onto here when I get chance over the weekend so people can use them if they wish.

Huzzah!
Rich


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Richard Pett wrote:
I'll whizz those onto here when I get chance over the weekend so people can use them if they wish.

Thanks, much appreciated.

Contributor

19 people marked this as a favorite.

Not proof read, so apologies for any errors. It may not make too much sense as some encounters have been lifted, but initially the garden was to be an intergal part of the pagoda area. As often happens space restrictions mean it had to be shelved alas, but I hope it is useful to some GMs:

The Garden of Vivid Decay Features
The angry spirit of Munasukaru, a fury that frequently manifests itself in storms and earthquakes that have ripped this area apart, has broken the garden, like the whole region around the House of Withered Blossoms. Furthermore, the presence of the nearby kami has had a curiously beneficial effect upon the living things within the garden and has caused them to thrive. Orchids and trees are huge in comparison to their more earthy cousins, and the whole area teems with a profusion of growth which can make movement difficult.

Steep terracing surrounds the House of Withered Blossoms, sections of this terracing are paddy fields, whilst other sections are garden. The gardens cower beneath dozens of enormous keteleeria trees (ketelereeria’s are evergreen pines that usually grow to around 60 feet high) all of which are wreathed in thick webs. Dark shapes hang in these trees, and along with several enormous (but harmless) local orb spiders are some more dangerous spiders harvested by the Aranae that live within the pagoda.

Twisted and broken pathways stagger through the garden, which is mostly overgrown and home to thousands of huge vividly-hued orchids and opium poppies. Broken statues litter this garden, whilst streams dance through it on their way to oblivion at the garden’s heart.

Finally, the garden reaches the Edge, where it falls into the Echo, a huge pit that once held a lake. As the garden approaches this area decay sets in, plants take on an ochre hue from about fifty feet away from the edge, this hue deepens the closer plants come to the edge itself, however, even though withering, the plants are still alive – an effect caused by the presence of the kami and oni nearby.
General garden features are described below, in essence the place is a riot of color and confusion.

Rice Fields The rice fields are overgrown with wild rice and sunk in water that bubbles in the hot sun. Whilst uncomfortable the fields are not dangerous, however, the terrain counts as shallow bog (Pathfinder Core Rulebook 427). Each terrace is held back by a low wall of stones around ten feet high. The climb DC of these walls is 5 as they have frequent handholds and are not sheer.

Gardens The gardens are filled with bizarre plants of all colors, including a huge number of opium poppies, be sure to emphasize the sights here; the place is wild with turquoise and orange and crimson orchids, black roses and the white and violet lotus flowers. The garden is so overgrown and thorny however that it counts as heavy undergrowth (Pathfinder Core Rulebook 426).

Statues Hundreds of statues litter the garden, in general these are around 2-5 feet high and depict either kirin, dragons or great fish. The statues are of little value other than as curiosities.

Pathways Whilst broken by frequent tremors, the pathways, which are made of flagstone, offer the quickest way through the garden. The paths count as hewn stone floors (Pathfinder Core Rulebook 412).

Arched Bridges Numerous arched bridges cross the watercourses in the garden, although all those near the edge, which once crossed the lake have been destroyed. The bridges are made of stone.

Pavilions Throughout the garden are a number of pavilions where once the gardens could be properly contemplated from. These structures are all similar – they are open timber and stone buildings with circular entrances and seats arranged in a circle in the buildings center.

Walls The garden is broken up by a series of walls, those which have been destroyed consist of light rubble. Standing walls are 10’ high (climb DC 10).

The Trees: The keteleeria trees have also grown to an unnatural size and most tower over a hundred feet tall. Their canopies are spun with thick webs that are home to thousands of unnaturally large orb spiders which, although unsettling in length (some growing to around 2’ across) they are harmless. Living within the trees however is a nest of phase spiders. They are generally responsible for the scores of bodies that hang in cocoons, wafting like paper silhouettes in the air. Most of these victims are peasants from surrounding villages long since plundered of life, however, there are also hobgoblins within some, although most have been stripped you may decide to allow the PCs to come across the odd useful item – a glaive, a helm or other oddment.

Amongst the bodies are other animals including gryphs from the Lake of Tranquil Contemplation (Area#2), some of these creatures struggle still against their bonds waiting to die.

G1 Phase Spider Nest (CR 10)
Lurking in the upper arms of a 100’ high keteleeria is a particularly dense web which shrouds the whole canopy of the tree, which chokes within yet still manages to grow thanks to the abundant nature of the garden.
Creatures: Six phase spiders occupy the tree, the aranae use them to watch the garden from this high point.
PHASE SPIDER (6) CR 5
XP 1,600
hp 51 (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 226)
TACTICS
During Combat The phase spiders do not attack openly, preferring instead to hunt as a pack by phasing in and out of combat after stealthy approach. Usually a pair of spiders will get ahead of their victims and lurk ethereally, waiting to pounce and make a full round of actions before ethereally jaunting away. In the meantime two further phase spiders move into the flanks of their opponents, attack and then similarly ethereally jaunt away.
Morale The phase spiders hunt as a pack, and whilst at least half their number remain they keep up their assault, once only two remain the survivors flee back to their nest to lick their wounds. These spiders have long memories however, and if the PCs return through the garden again a day after an assault they attack again, using the lurking tactics above. This second assault lasts until both spiders are slain.

Treasure: The husks of several hobgoblins hang within the web in the tree (a DC 10 climb check), these include a pair of cure serious wound potions held in gourds, a masterwork nunchaku, and the desiccated remnants of one of the lesser children of Munasukaru (for more information on these offspring see Munasukaru’s Penance)

G2 The Lake of Tranquil Contemplation (CR 6)
Here a stream cascades down a series of three weirs which link a trio of lakes, whose surface dances with lilies and lotus plants of great size. Seeveral dozen strange heron-like birds swim or fly near the water, which seem sabundant in gold fish.
The lakes are around twenty-feet deep and filled with still, cool water (swim DC 10). The fish are koi carp, some of which have grown to around two foot long.
Creatures: Some thirty gryphs live in and around the lakes. Generally the creatures avoid combat, however, if they are attacked or someone jumps or sails across the lake six of them attack.
GRYPH (30) CR 1
XP 400
hp 15 (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 2 150)
TACTICS
During Combat The gryphs attack as an unruly group, attempting to overpower one opponent so that they can implant an egg in them.
Morale The gryphs flee when half their number are slain, however, should their opponent remain either attacking them or in or on the lake a further six rounds later a similar group attack, these attacks go on until half the gryphs are slain, in which case they flee into nearby trees until their attackers or intruders have left the lake, when they all return to the water.

Treasure: Some of the koi are of a valuable type which the right collector would pay handsomely for, a knowledge (nature) check (DC 25) or an appraise check (DC 30) reveals that three of the koi are kohaku (they are white skinned with red markings). If the PCs could somehow catch these creatures alive (by for example a profession (fisher) or survival check (both DC 25)) and keep them alive, the foot long fish would raise 1,000gp each to the right buyer.

G3 The Pavilion of the Dark Spider (CR 8)
This pavilion teeters on the edge of the garden and stares into the dark, the remnants of a graceful arched bridge more intact than others at the edge extends out across the dark void beneath, this bridge has a gap of a mere dozen or so feet between it and the remnants of the other side of the arch, which touches the choking pagoda above.
The pavilion, like the others in the garden is little more than a roof supported on four stone corners, with a circular entrance at both the garden side and the far side where the bridge extends outwards. In the centre of the pavilion are the dry remains of an ornate circular pond, which now forms a shaft which drops twenty feet before the remnants of a large clay pipe six feet or so across and which presumably once fed the pond with water.
The bridge extends from, whilst ruined, is safe to leap across, the gap is fifteen feet.
Creature: The water pipe is some eight feet long and then opens into a large circular space where a giant tarantula lurks.
GIANT TARANTULA CR 8
XP 4,800
hp 115 (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary2 256)
TACTICS
During Combat The tarantula waits until someone enters the dry lake-bed or until movement of any opponents reaches the bridge. The tarantula then attacks, first with its barbed hairs, and then bite. It takes any overpowered prey back into its lair to digest later.
Morale The creature flees back into its lair when reduced to 50 Hit Points, but if attacked in its lair it fights until killed.

Treasure: The bodies of six dry hobgoblins lie in the spider’s lair. Each of these hobgoblins wears a kabuto (metal helm) with curved horn clasped onto brow to form a crescent moon shape, and breastplate with scale armor trim. There are also 3 morning stars and 3 glaives within the chamber.

G7 The Pinnacle and Writhing Tower (CR 12)
An island of vast broken stones is piled, impossibly, one atop the other from the base of the pit and rise to the level of the Edge and pagoda. Teetering over this isle is a leaning tower throtttled by thick hard vines – a place that looks likely to fall at any moment. Webs choke the landward side of this tower, whilst on the opposite side, a huge stone arched bridge dancing with statues grasps the feet of the porcelain pagoda.
The Toll-Keeper and his Mistress guard the main access between land and the House of Withered Blossoms, and watch over the second alarm of the House – a great gong which, when sounded, reverberates throughout the area and alerts everyone – Munasukaru’s children included.
The temple is built upon three levels, each forty feet apart and connected by a tortuously broken spiral stair which requires a climb check (DC 5) to use. The structure has been smashed by the fury of Munasukaru and lies mostly open to the elements, its four corners miraculously stable although themselves leaning so that the middle floor lies ten feet east of the ground floor and the rooftop ten feet more eastwards, giving the tower a look of imminent collapse. Only the grasping withered vines hold the place from collapse.
The middle floor contains a huge gong and beater, which is sounded by the Toll-Keeper of his mistress in the event of attack. Whilst this second alarm alerts those within the House, it also reverberates downwards, echoing through the tunnels beneath and alerting Munasukaru, at which point her fury is released here.
The top floor is choked in webs and is used as a nest by the curious pair.
The bridge, like the one linking to land, is gracefully arched and lined with kirin statues, which act as a handrail on each side.
Creatures: The Toll-Keeper (an ettin fighter 5) and his Mistress (a phase spider) guard the main entrance to the House of Withered Blossoms. The phase-spider finds the companionship and protection of the ettin useful, and the mutual protection has been useful for some time. The two have ventured far from the Darklands below over a period of many years and eventually made their way here. The Mistress is able to speak goblin and amuses the Toll Keeper with her particularly unsettling and cruel phase spider tales (which almost all involve eating things alive).
The two have developed a companionship reflected in their tactics.
THE TOLL-KEEPER CR 11
XP 2,400
Male ettin fighter 5
CE Large humanoid (giant)
Init +3; Senses low-light vision; Perception +12
DEFENSE
AC 21, touch 8, flat-footed 21; (+5 armor, –1 Dex, +8 natural,
–1 size)
hp 65 (10d8+20)
Fort +13, Ref +3, Will +6 (+7 vs fear)
OFFENSE
Speed 40 ft.
Melee 2 masterwork katana +19/+14 (2d8+7)
Ranged 2 javelins +10 (1d8+6)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Special Attacks superior two-weapon fighting
STATISTICS
Str 23, Dex 8, Con 15, Int 7, Wis 10, Cha 11
Base Atk +12; CMB +14; CMD 23
Feats Cleave, Critical Focus, Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Katana), Improved Initiative, Improved Overrun, Iron Will, Power Attack, Sickening Critical
Skills [Plus 5 (Fi5)] Handle Animal +8, Intimidate +5 [MR], Perception +12; Racial Modifiers +4 on Perception
Languages pidgin of Giant, Goblin, and Orc
Combat Gear The Harmheart and the Lost – huge masterwork katanas decorated with nailed ears and fingers on the pommels, amongst which, unnoticed by the Toll Keeper is a ring of swimming, and a trio of other fine silver rings worth 100gp each. Lost’s scabbard is made of flayed cloaker flesh, whilst Harmheart’s is coated within with phase spider poison; Other Gear Hefty dark hooded cloak made of sewn hobgoblin skins, large gong beater (see below)
TACTICS
During Combat The Toll Keeper fears Akinosa, and as soon as he is aware of combat he moves to the gong and strikes it, the ettin then moves into combat, attempting to keep intruders at bay whilst awaiting Aranae reinforcements from the House of Withered Blossoms. However, should the Mistress become badly injured he abandons all duties and goes to aid the phase spider.
Morale The Toll Keeper never flees whilst the Mistress is alive, and if she is killed he flies into an insane rage, striking out at random targets nearby (including its allies) as it howls its grief until it too is dead.
SPECIAL ABILITIES
Superior Two-Weapon Fighting (Ex) An ettin fights with a flail or javelin in each hand. Because each of its two heads controls an arm, the ettin does not take a penalty
Armor Training (Ex): Reduces AC check by 1 and maximum Dex by 1.
Weapon Training (Ex): Blades
THE MISTRESS - PHASE SPIDER CR 5
XP 1,600
hp 51 (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 226)
TACTICS
During Combat Stay close to the Toll Keeper, the Mistress has learnt over long years that the best tactic when fighting with an ettin is to stay ethereally nearby until the opportunity for a flank attack and quick escape is possible.
Morale If the Toll Keeper is slain, the Mistress escapes ethereally and plots her vengeance slowly. How this develops in the future is up to you, but consider that whoever struck the killing blow on the ettin is going to have a phase spider waiting in the shadows for him to be at his most vulnerable before attacking.

Treasure: The gong itself is an eight-foot round metal disk held in a frame made from lashed (hobgoblin) bones. The beater is a hefty metal bar similar to a morning star but set with rough-cut lapis lazuli worth 300gp. The Toll Keeper and his Mistress’ lair is littered with various hobgoblin body parts and bones, as well as some objects from the pairs travels in the Darklands – a curious clay pot containing a black powdery ore (inert lazurite), the split head of a strange insectoid creature (a cave solifugid that the Toll Keeper split in two with one strike and which it still finds amusing) and a seugathi skin wrapped around a chest roped to an intact otyugh upper jaw. The chest contains 210gp, and a fine fire opal (worth 500gp). For more information on some of these curious objects see Into the Darklands.

G8 The Swaying Bridge and Hollow Tree (CR 8)
A clearly dead tree that somehow still has green leaves it the extremes of its branches hangs over the chasm, its dead arms hanging in webs which stretch over to the golden rooftop of the pagoda.
The tree is hollow, but still grows in the strange atmosphere hereabouts. A hollow space links form a 2’ wide crawl-hole at the base, rising upwards via an 8’ wide tunnel one hundred feet to another opening (this one 10 feet wide) accessing the web, which stretches across to the pagoda roof (Area #H17). The aranae call this access the swaying bridge.
Creature: A giant tarantula lurks within the hollow trunk, waiting for victims to pounce on, allowing only Aranae and their kin access.
SPIDER, GIANT TARANTULA CR 8
XP 4,800
hp 115 (Page XXX)
TACTICS
During Combat The tarantula uses the narrow hollow space to keep attackers facing it to the minimum possible.
Morale The tarantula retreats twenty feet each time it looses 20 Hit Points, until it reaches the outside of the tree, which it tries to make its escape down.


Wow, great stuff.
Although I find it hard to imagine how the place looks without a map.
Was the Pagoda supposed to be surrounded with a deep chasm? Is the garden sloping down towards the pagoda, or is it raising upwards?

Contributor

The pagoda sat in the low centre of a bowl of terraces.
Rich

The Exchange

Question: are the mohrgs allied with the aranea or the oni, or are they a faction unto themselves? They don't have an origin listed.


Flask of endless Sake.

Drunken Master Monks best friend.

That is all.

prototype00


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Thanks for the extra garden material, Master Pett!
And as a reference to others:
Keteleeria fortunei is the tree mentioned, a Chinese pine:
Keteleeria fortunei on Wikipedia | Picture of a Keteleeria


Clarification question about the pagoda's upper levels:
A8a, A8b, and A8c are three slices of a single room at +0, +20, and +40 feet. Likewise, A9a/A9b and A10a/A10b, with the "a" layers of all three rooms having a spiked floor, and b/c layers being "open ceiling space" with little solid ground except the central pillars.

A8a can be reached via staircase from the lower levels, and A10b can be reached from the hole in the roof on A11, but A9 (because of its floor and the floor on A10a) appears to be entirely sealed, with no specific mention of how to access it, and no apparent holes, staircases, or even windows.

How exactly is travel between A8 <-> A9 <-> A10 supposed to work?

Paizo Employee Creative Director, Starfinder

Daviot wrote:

Clarification question about the pagoda's upper levels:

A8a, A8b, and A8c are three slices of a single room at +0, +20, and +40 feet. Likewise, A9a/A9b and A10a/A10b, with the "a" layers of all three rooms having a spiked floor, and b/c layers being "open ceiling space" with little solid ground except the central pillars.

A8a can be reached via staircase from the lower levels, and A10b can be reached from the hole in the roof on A11, but A9 (because of its floor and the floor on A10a) appears to be entirely sealed, with no specific mention of how to access it, and no apparent holes, staircases, or even windows.

How exactly is travel between A8 <-> A9 <-> A10 supposed to work?

There is a web funnel in A8c that leads up through a hole in the floor of A9a (this is in the description for A8c).

Likewise, another web funnel leads up from A9b through a hole in the floor of A10a (this is in the description for A9b).

So to traverse these areas, you either need to fly, climb the webs, or (if the webs are destroyed) climb up the walls and ceilings.


Rob McCreary wrote:


There is a web funnel in A8c that leads up through a hole in the floor of A9a (this is in the description for A8c).

Likewise, another web funnel leads up from A9b through a hole in the floor of A10a (this is in the description for A9b).

Thanks. I had read through the description, but it hadn't clicked for some reason.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
LeadPal wrote:
Question: are the mohrgs allied with the aranea or the oni, or are they a faction unto themselves? They don't have an origin listed.

When I first read that section, one thing immediately became clear. The Mohrgs have to be undead geishas.

Stick with me on this. Don't imagine skeletons in kimonos.

Imagine slender... even gaunt, pale women all painted up and wrapped up in traditional geiisha garb, with great long, segmented tongues lolling and questing from their mouths.

This is why they don't immediately slaughter their victims as a mohrg normally would.. they're geishas, and they carry off their victims (read "guests") to entertain them and sooth their wearied brows. However, the geishas' murderous mohrg instincts drive them to make torture of their performances, slowly and surely killing their honored guests with kindness. How intentionally ironic the slowly murdering torture-performances are... ie, whether the mohrg geisha understand what they're doing causes pain and suffering rather than calm and happiness; or if they exist in a fugue state of routine and simply don't realize they're driven by undead instincts of hate is up to you.

You can play up the horror of their knowing cruelty, or the tragedy of their broken condition.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Loving the garden Mr. Pett - that's the pagoda situated in absolutely top-notch grounds. Thank you very much! *doffs hat*

And Mohrg=Geisha is yoinked for sure, Drakli. Now to persuade my group to stop STAP and start JR :-)


A question about spirits:

Maybe I'm misunderstanding how spirits work, but it looks like they select one opponent according to whatever, then must be adjacent to him and spend a full-round action trying to posses him. Is that right?

So if the PCs figure this out, all they have to do is just keep more than 5 feet away from the spirit while they channel enough positive energy to blast it? I really don't see any way for the spirit to possess his selected victim if it's ten or more feet away, as it won't have a full-round action once it gets to its victim.


Fox1212 wrote:

A question about spirits:

Maybe I'm misunderstanding how spirits work, but it looks like they select one opponent according to whatever, then must be adjacent to him and spend a full-round action trying to posses him. Is that right?

So if the PCs figure this out, all they have to do is just keep more than 5 feet away from the spirit while they channel enough positive energy to blast it? I really don't see any way for the spirit to possess his selected victim if it's ten or more feet away, as it won't have a full-round action once it gets to its victim.

Hmmm, no answer from the developers?

Paizo Employee Creative Director, Starfinder

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Fox1212 wrote:

A question about spirits:

Maybe I'm misunderstanding how spirits work, but it looks like they select one opponent according to whatever, then must be adjacent to him and spend a full-round action trying to posses him. Is that right?

So if the PCs figure this out, all they have to do is just keep more than 5 feet away from the spirit while they channel enough positive energy to blast it? I really don't see any way for the spirit to possess his selected victim if it's ten or more feet away, as it won't have a full-round action once it gets to its victim.

Spirits are invisible until they manifest, at which point they try to possess a host. So they don't need to move next to a host - they simply appear next to the potential host, and then try to possess it on their initiative count. Note that the first round that a spirit manifests is typically a surprise round. The potential target could move away from the spirit, but only if they noticed the spirit before it manifested.

That said, a spirit's possession ability should probably be a standard action, to allow it more opportunities to possess a host.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

I wanted to say "great job on spirits in general". I like how they leveraged the haunt rules and didn't create an entirely new sub-system, and that they add something that's been missing in the game, just like haunts did.


Rob McCreary wrote:
Fox1212 wrote:

A question about spirits:

Maybe I'm misunderstanding how spirits work, but it looks like they select one opponent according to whatever, then must be adjacent to him and spend a full-round action trying to posses him. Is that right?

So if the PCs figure this out, all they have to do is just keep more than 5 feet away from the spirit while they channel enough positive energy to blast it? I really don't see any way for the spirit to possess his selected victim if it's ten or more feet away, as it won't have a full-round action once it gets to its victim.

Spirits are invisible until they manifest, at which point they try to possess a host. So they don't need to move next to a host - they simply appear next to the potential host, and then try to possess it on their initiative count. Note that the first round that a spirit manifests is typically a surprise round. The potential target could move away from the spirit, but only if they noticed the spirit before it manifested.

That said, a spirit's possession ability should probably be a standard action, to allow it more opportunities to possess a host.

That's right, but since the first round is a surprise round, the spirit just manifests and sits there doing nothing, waiting for a full-round action. If its victim passes the Perception check, she can just move away from it, no sweats. If she doesn't, she still has the chance of winning the initiative and moving away, and then it's over. In the best case, the spirit gets a single chance of possessing its victim.

So I agree that the possession attempt must be a standard action. It just solves the problem.

On the other side, I like the concept of spirits. It's a cool rule that gives the gamemaster not only to give the PCs a taste of something different, but also a way to motivate the group, such as Kuyasu's hunger for revenge against Munasukaru.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

Hey! first of all, great adventure! I'm just wondering how Munasukaru has spirit naga daughters? Or how she has any children at all, being the only Oni present in the pagoda. Maybe I missed something, but any help you could provide would be great! Thanks!

Contributor

Glad you enjoyed Forest, it was great fun to work and a splendid change of pace from those asignments I'm lucky enough to get from time to time.

Now, interesting point, the spawn are detailed on page 44 although her ability to create spawn in a quite unpleasant way didn't make the final cut, which is a shame but totally understandable as it was truly horrid:)

Rich


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

In the 'hood. How does this attack work, exactly?

Spoiler:
The executioner's hood's engulf attack isn't very clear on its mechanics, is it? Does the creature have to make an attack, and - if yes - is this a touch attack or the indicated slam attack?

I can't make it out - even Misfit Monsters Redeemed doesn't tell more on this subject. It's mechanics are a bit different from that of some oozes, I guess.

Thanx in advance for your enlightning input.

The Exchange

prototype00 wrote:

Flask of endless Sake.

Drunken Master Monks best friend.

That is all.

prototype00

I know I'll have a happy player.

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