Running Thornkeep [SPOILERS]


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Dark Archive *****

just got done running lvl 3 (enigma vaults)

the vistant w a long fight... almost an hour long. after an hour our Sorcerer decided to try and use the Bag of devouring as weapon..

after a few failed attempts.. the bag grappled the Mi-go.

Shadow Lodge **

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Sniggevert wrote:
Sewicked wrote:
...managed to tag the paladin with the wight but he made his save and didn't get a negative level...
Just an FYI, if the wight hits, he gives a negative level each time. The save is done 24 hours later to try and remove the temporary negative level and it becomes permanent on a failed save.

Very late reply, sorry. He only got hit once and he did the save 24 hours later, so no permanent damage.

Grand Lodge **** Venture-Agent, Nevada—Las Vegas aka kinevon

Sewicked wrote:
Sniggevert wrote:
Sewicked wrote:
...managed to tag the paladin with the wight but he made his save and didn't get a negative level...
Just an FYI, if the wight hits, he gives a negative level each time. The save is done 24 hours later to try and remove the temporary negative level and it becomes permanent on a failed save.
Very late reply, sorry. He only got hit once and he did the save 24 hours later, so no permanent damage.

As long as he was second level to begin with, otherwise things could go badly.

Finally had the wight hit someone, but the target, luckily, only got hit once, and was second level, so no second wight to deal with.

The party also decided to go preemptive on the Restoration, so got the less expensive version while the negative level was still temporary, before rolling the save to see if it became permanent or went away...

Grand Lodge Venture-Agent, Illinois—Plainfield aka Tiercis

Andrei Buters wrote:

The Dark Menagerie struck me as the laziest level of the entire book. Any clown with graph paper and a 2b pencil can create a dungeon where every room is a different biome with a different bestiary monster in it.

I was expecting something totally different from Ed Greenwood, I read that level and was like 'That's it?!' Just my opinion.

In the context for what the level was when this place was occupied by the Azlanti exile, and then how it changed over time as the magic faded, I think it's a thematically cool level.

***** Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Chicago aka thunderspirit

Apologies for the thread necro, but I'm running Enigma Vaults soon and I'm curious what other people have used as a mini to represent the Visitant.

*

Bluh. I recently started Thornkeep (waiting on Paizo to restock their Emerald Spire flipmats...), and whereas I pointed the PCs in the right direction easily enough (the barkeep in the "better" inn dropped hints that got them going)...

How many people know about the dungeon, in the town? It seems to be a place of renown; there's several rumors about it... but the entrance is in a semi-hidden thicket(? If I read it right?) I kinda glossed over them finding the entrance, but in my reading I didn't see any of the NPCs telling the PCs "Hey. The Accursed Halls you keep hearing about? They're over there."

Any clarifications?


That's a good question. There seems to be a lot of room left for the GM to modify.

Dot.


BigNorseWolf wrote:

Before I go give this thing a 1 star review, could someone explain why the hell there's a monster in there that auto kills level 1s ?

Reading these old complaints are hilarious.

You must play with saftey bumpers for your players.

"Don't worry, PCs, Big Daddy Wolf, is going to nerf the dungeon for you before you enter."

Doesn't sound like fun at all. I give your one star review a one star review.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

What review?


Take your pick. Most one star reviews are pretty ridiculous.

Shadow Lodge *****

Yeah, mine got deleted for 'not being a serious review' and 'just trolling'.

**

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Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I think it’s best to let any reviews speak for themselves.

I will say the common complaint on this thread about the wight as an encounter for the Level 1 dungeon is worth paying attention to. Last week it killed two PCs with one hit each, and then they rose as additional wights a few rounds later. The players at the table were understandably of the view that the encounter went well beyond the bounds of fairness.

***** ⦵⦵

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PFRPGrognard wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:

Before I go give this thing a 1 star review, could someone explain why the hell there's a monster in there that auto kills level 1s ?

Reading these old complaints are hilarious.

You must play with saftey bumpers for your players.

"Don't worry, PCs, Big Daddy Wolf, is going to nerf the dungeon for you before you enter."

Doesn't sound like fun at all. I give your one star review a one star review.

Your level of derision is inversely proportional to any substantive points you might have.

review of your review of my review no stars and even fewer rat's rear ends.

Grand Lodge **** Venture-Agent, France—Paris

I would say the wight isn't the worst culprit for that level of the dungeon. Pitting a pair of pouncing beetles totalling a CR 5 encounter against (very often) level 1 characters is, geez.

Grand Lodge **** Venture-Agent, France—Paris

They're missing the target anyway so I don't take these opinions into account. Thornkeep 1 has never been adjudicated to be level 1s-friendly, but has to be taken more as a Bonekeep-lite level of difficulty. Which can be difficult to swallow, but there's worse things than that.


That's probably the best way to look at it.

Shadow Lodge *****

PFRPGrognard wrote:
Because it is hard?

Because it's a boring dungeon crawl at level one where your options are to roll the dice and hope they are high numbers or leave.

The Exchange ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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I've run the first level of Thornkeep over a dozen times, and I think it's a blast. I've also watched it run in Pathfinder Society by other GMs, and their decisions can make or break the adventure.

My suggestions:

(1) Use the town. It has resources in it that the party can use, and hints about the puzzles, and back-story that helps the players put the dungeon in context. I understand that PFS GMs can't use the encounters in the town, but a lot of GMs start their players at the mouth of Level 1, Room 1, with maybe a sentence about the town on the surface.

Thornkeep is in many ways Paizo's contribution to the tradition begun with the village of Hommlet and Shadowdale.

(2) Take your time. I've seen people power-run the dungeon - because if you can get five levels done in one day, your 2nd-level PC levels all the way up to 7th! I've seen people try to get through Level 1 in 3 -4 hours. That's doable, I guess, like power-walking through a museum, but I think it deprives the dungeon of its power, its mystery, and much of its enjoyment. There's a door. It's a mystery and a puzzle. Relative to, say, the World of Greyhawk, Golarion doesn't have many of those. Relish it.

(3) Yep, there's a couple of very powerful encounters there. For the wight, remember that it starts the encounter lying down, and needs to take an action to stand up before it advances. The party should always have an opportunity to act. But the PCs have also just encountered some skeletons and met some big-ol' warnings about undead, so they should be prepared.

The shadow is another really tough fight, particularly if the party encounters it in flight from the wight.

The bugs are a strong fight, but a party that meets them fresh and has good tactics should be okay; I'm pretty generous here about the things being territorial and not pursuing if the party retreats.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

Chris has the excellent advice. My run of the Accursed Halls went well thanks to tanglefoot bombs sticking the wight in place and sequence breaking the doors with a high Disable Device check to allow the party to fight the final beetles from the opposite angle. Was still a concern, but we managed to avoid character deaths.

Grand Lodge ***** Regional Venture-Coordinator, Eastern Eurasia-Africa

PFRPGrognard wrote:

That's a good question. There seems to be a lot of room left for the GM to modify.

Dot.

So you are aware that this thread is the Organized Play section of the board? And that in PFS a GM is not allowed to modify the adventure?

**

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Starfinder Charter Superscriber

The thing with Thornkeep (and a lot of modules, really) is that they're not written for PFS. So while no encounters can be changed, a GM does have some discretion in describing what the PCs' mission is, how various NPCs in the town are role-played (sometimes there are personality descriptions and even pics, but not always), and even what the general "feel" of the area is (a lawless place where the locals buy protection from mercenaries to protect themselves against thieves and bandits!), etc. Playing up the town and its NPCs (and the various plot threads between them) are what can keep Thornkeep, even in PFS, from being a straight-up dungeon crawl. That's what I've been trying to do, at least.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

Plus you get a lot of leeway in tactics most of the time.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Representative

Removed some posts. I could not remove the initial attacking post as it would remove the context for the rest of the discussion which does culminate in productive advice. Please remember to flag and move on from content which violates community guidelines.

Personally attacking anyone for their opinion is not acceptable on our forums. Insulting GMing styles is never a productive element of an adventure discussion.


I'm running Thornkeep as part of the Emerald Spire Superdungeon. I let my players decide where they wanted to start in the setting, so they wound up going to the Thirsty Ogre in Thornkeep.

I added an opening hook to help set the stage for their interaction with the Hellknights in Fort Inevitable. I had them discover a dead hellknight surrounded by a group of dead Brambleclaw Goblins. The players decided to deliver the dead hellknight to Fort Inevitable and the Hellknight orders therein.

The Hellknights agreed to allow the PCs to apply for a warrant to go into the Emerald Spire in exchange for help dealing with the Numerian alchemist, Krenar Half-Face, who is hiding out in the Accursed Halls.

After being released by the Hellknights, they found the "help needed" listing for help finding the young missing Adeline Fraston in Thornkeep. They journeyed to Echo Cleft and recovered the young girl from a moon spider lair in the woods.

The players finally made it to the entrance to the Accursed Halls, at level two. I added a secret entrance that one of the players knew of from their backstory. They followed this path to the Hall of Demons and the Door of Seven Stars.

We'll pick up from there next time.

If anyone wants any details on my hellknight inciting incident, I will tell you the plot behind it all.

Reading through the book, the only changes I see myself making are changing the black widow spider in the Forgotten Laboratory to a Moon Spider, as it is more appropriate for the Echo Wood setting. I am also considering changing the Alzanti conjurer into an iounomancer kineticist, again, to increase the Azlanti flavor of the adventure.

And I'm going to add a few more ioun stones early on to give the players a taste of Azlant magic. I'm also porting over items from Open Design's Sunken Empires book, as most of the Ankeshellian artifacts are excellent proxies for Azlanti treasures.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Representative

Removed a post. Do not insult, disparage, or dismiss groups of players or other discussion participants.


Well, Sam, you have PFS players telling me not to post here where other GMs can actually read the advice about a module. That is a problem inherent only in PFS. If their money is all that is vauled here, then I'll take the message.

Grand Lodge ***** Regional Venture-Coordinator, Eastern Eurasia-Africa

PFRPGrognard wrote:
Well, Sam, you have PFS players telling me not to post here where other GMs can actually read the advice about a module. That is a problem inherent only in PFS. If their money is all that is vauled here, then I'll take the message.

This thread is about running this Module as part of PFS, so your advice might be well intended, but it's targeted at the wrong audience.

Community / Forums / Organized Play / GM Discussion

My advice would be to go to

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder Modules


THIS is the thread that comes up on forums searches, hence my posting here. Thank you for continuing the elitist attitude throughout though.

*****

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Sir, this is an Arby's.

Grand Lodge ***** Regional Venture-Coordinator, Eastern Eurasia-Africa

PFRPGrognard wrote:
THIS is the thread that comes up on forums searches, hence my posting here. Thank you for continuing the elitist attitude throughout though.

Sorry, it's not meant as elitist, it's just like you are trying to buy vegetables at the butchers and complain about them not having carrots.


PFS is moving to Pathfinder Second Edition. These threads will be legacy threads no longer used by PFS and will instead be used by players looking for advice using Pathfinder first edition. Hence, it is now my thread. If not, then mod me out and I won't be back and I'll take my cash elsewhere.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

2 people marked this as a favorite.

If you think I'm not going to be running PFS1E after 2E starts, you're sadly mistaken.

Grand Lodge ***** Regional Venture-Coordinator, Eastern Eurasia-Africa

An easy way to spot you’ve wandered into the Organised Play section of the boards are the Stars and/or Nova’s next to the names of people.

Scarab Sages *** Venture-Agent

PFRPGrognard PFS1e will continue to exist after 2e launches so this will remain a PFS thread, however, as pointed out above there are actually numerous threads about non-society Thornkeep play in the section of the boards dedicated to the discussion of modules. This is a matter of your advice not being applicable rather than it not being valued. Here is a link to all the non-Society Thornkkep discussions I found. https://paizo.com/search?q=thornkeep&forum=v5748dmtyyvgc I hope that is helpful.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Representative

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I wanted to clarify that my reasons for removing posts were due to the inappropriate treatment of other community members. Making judgements about the characteristics of entire groups of players and disparaging their play-style is inappropriate.

This thread is in the Organized Play section. Several posters have already suggested more appropriate places for discussion of a module outside of the context of Organized Play, and it is respectful to allow the Organized Play forum to maintain its discussions in the context of Organized Play. The style of play between your home table and what is required in organized play can be quite different. If you are not looking to give or receive advice that can be applicable to Organized Play, this is the incorrect forum to engage with.

This has caused this thread to trail off topic. I recommend re-centering the topic now that this has been addressed.

Grand Lodge ***** Regional Venture-Coordinator, Eastern Eurasia-Africa

In PFRPGrognard’s defense threads that were moved do show up in searches, so I can understand part of the confusion.

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