2-01 Before the Dawn Part 1 - The Bloodcove Disguise


GM Discussion

Dark Archive 4/5 Venture-Agent, Colorado—Colorado Springs aka Dust Raven

I'm prepping this scenario to run this Saturday, and I have a question with Act 2.

Spoiler:
The description of the encounter states the ants have been fought back into the basement area, but have given the existing guards/etc so much trouble they have no one brave/skilled enough to follow them. I get that. However, when the PCs head down, there are only a few there unless we're in subtier 6-7. I'm expecting characters in the range of levels 1-4, which leaves only 2-3 ants. To me, that doesn't sound scary enough to keep the locals from handling things on their own.

So I'm looking for suggestions on how to describe the encounter to add more suspense/fear/fun without actually changing the difficulty.

Any ideas?

5/5 Venture-Captain, Massachusetts—Central & West aka Harley Quinn X

Here's what I did:

Spoiler:
Have a several ants head back into the hole. About 7 or 8 more than will be left. Have a few carrying sugar and other things, and having some carrying the bodies of guards.

It gave my players a sense of wanting to fill the hole quickly. In fact, someone darted over there to try and do that right away, so that the others wouldn't come back.

Dark Archive 4/5 Venture-Agent, Colorado—Colorado Springs aka Dust Raven

David Montgomery wrote:

Here's what I did:

** spoiler omitted **

It gave my players a sense of wanting to fill the hole quickly. In fact, someone darted over there to try and do that right away, so that the others wouldn't come back.

Hehe, I like that!

Spoiler:
I could even describe the sounds of the ants returning and "getting closer" from down the tunnel every other round or so to add extra urgency

Dark Archive 4/5 Venture-Agent, Colorado—Colorado Springs aka Dust Raven

Another Question!

This one about the final encounter...

How exactly does a tiny lizard pickpocket something? Doesn't it provoke an AoO just by entering the square of whoever it's pickpocketing, and if not, why not?

Dark Archive

Dust Raven wrote:
How exactly does a tiny lizard pickpocket something? Doesn't it provoke an AoO just by entering the square of whoever it's pickpocketing, and if not, why not?

Stealth. You have to see it to attack it.

I have run this several times and its unusual for it to pull it off.

Dark Archive 4/5 Venture-Agent, Colorado—Colorado Springs aka Dust Raven

ZomB wrote:
Dust Raven wrote:
How exactly does a tiny lizard pickpocket something? Doesn't it provoke an AoO just by entering the square of whoever it's pickpocketing, and if not, why not?

Stealth. You have to see it to attack it.

I have run this several times and its unusual for it to pull it off.

I thought that in combat, you could only make a Stealth check to be undetected if you are either unobserved (already hidden) or if you have cover or concealment, or if those who have observed you become distracted and a place of cover or concealment is within a normal move. On top of this, you can't move at your full move while making Stealth checks, at best you can move up to "less than your normal speed" which I interpret to mean 5' less than normal speed, which for a lizard is only 15' (normal 20'). There's at least 15' of movement required to reach the PCs, and provided I accept Xeanja's actions as a suitable distraction that still gives each and every PC a chance to spot the lizard before it can reach the PCs. And even then, once anywhere near the PCs there won't be a place of concealment/cover and everyone will notice it's there before it can do anything.

Maybe I'm just over thinking it.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Better question: how does Xeanja find the PCs, and what makes her think there's a key in the first place?

"'Cause she's a witch! And witches know stuff." is not good enough. She's nowhere near powerful enough to cast contact other plane or divination.

2/5

I did an analysis of the lizard pickpocket a while back.

Lizard pickpocket analysis:

I think the lizard trying to steal the key is actually the unique aspect of this encounter, and without the lizard having a chance of success, it's boring.

When I was a player, I had no idea a lizard even existed, so this unique aspect of the encounter was lost.

On average it takes the lizard 4 rounds to perceive the location of the key. In most cases the combat won't last 4 rounds. I figured if Xeanja was good enough to get a vision of the key, she was good enough to see the location of the key. /shrug

In practice, the lizard still has to Stealth to the PCs, which is unlikely because someone always has a high Perception. (And according to "the rules", even though the PCs aren't facing the lizard, Stealth always fails without cover).

Then, he has a 35% chance of success (which means an average of 3 rounds) to pick pocket it. During that time, the PC gets perception checks (opposed Perception against a +6 Sleight!) to detect the lizard.

So if Omb doesn't know which PC has the item, it's going to take him an average of at least 8 rounds to complete his mission (1 round travel minimum). This fight isn't going to last 8 rounds.

the lizard needed to make a +14 Stealth check (opposed by player Perception), followed by a +1 Perception check (DC 15), followed by a +7 Sleight check (DC 20), followed by a Sleight check (opposed by vs victim perception).

The probability of oom doing it in 3 rounds is... low. Just the Perception and Sleight checks, it would be 14%, then add in the opposed Stealth and Sleight checks. Actually, the probability, since the target was invisible is 0% (rolling a 20 wouldn't even make the Perception check). Yeah... LOL. GM god mode!

My home game PCs killed Omb with an AoO because he failed his Stealth check. And that's how it goes. At least it was cool that he tried to pick pocket.

Also, there's no real penalty for losing the key. In part 2, the Aspis army has the key on them anyway. So if the lizard gets crazy lucky and gets away with it, it's just part of the story.

Basically, there's no chance the lizard will pickpocket the party before the encounter is over (statistically). Especially if you play Stealth RAW, because without cover, the lizard is automatically detected. Basically if it happens, it's because the GM ignored the rules to make it happen.

Grand Lodge

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Chris Mortika wrote:
Better question: how does Xeanja find the PCs, and what makes her think there's a key in the first place?

Presumably the Aspis Consortium has access to the same sort of divination resources as those Pathfinder folk who write faction missions.

5/5 Venture-Captain, Massachusetts—Central & West aka Harley Quinn X

She could have been scrying on the EXACT spot where the Pathfinders teleported into!

Dark Archive

Aspis presumably have several spies, paid informants or sympathisers inside the Pathfinder Society, so they may have known it was coming, just not necessarily when.

Dark Archive 4/5 Venture-Agent, Colorado—Colorado Springs aka Dust Raven

Chris Mortika wrote:

Better question: how does Xeanja find the PCs, and what makes her think there's a key in the first place?

"'Cause she's a witch! And witches know stuff." is not good enough. She's nowhere near powerful enough to cast contact other plane or divination.

She had a scroll of "appropriate divination spell" and made her Spellcraft check. :p


I had a question about this scenario as well.

Spoiler:
In Scene 3B, The Sanguine Pit, it says that Ichon keeps the cure locked in a cabinet behind the bar, which is a DC25 to find. Her stat block does not state 'key to said cabninet'.

Question 1) can I assume she has the key?

Question 2) What is the lock DC?


Fate: i know its an old question but i would assume she had the key as this was during buisness hours with the crowd and all.

about to run this tuesday and looking at it, is losing the key (as unlikly as it is supposed) enough to call the mission failed and award no prestiege?

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, Tennessee—Knoxville aka tchrman35

When, in the opening briefing, the PCs are told that if they dip into their own supplies, the society will attempt to reimburse them...

That's a weird little thing. How am I supposed to interpret that?

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