The Snows of Summer (GM Reference)


Reign of Winter

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I really liked the duality of the Heldren-Waldsby. I built on the idea that everyone in Heldren has a "double" in Waldsby, by giving the PCs doubles as well. I took a bit of the each PC's personality/skills/backstory and warped them to make a deplorable version of the PC. My players seemed to really enjoy interacting with and learning to hate their doubles. It really cemented the "Heldren-Waldsby have weird similarity that can't be coincidence" plot.

The doubles ended up leaving Waldsby before the PCs went to deal with the Pale Tower. I'm planning to have the doubles make an appearance somewhere in Whitethrone. If they survive long enough, I'll have them end up working for Elvanna (or one of her servants), and have them encounter the PCs as recurring enemies in later adventures.

More Specifics:

PC Aeon "the Insightful" is an Ulfen barbarian from a small village in the Lands of the Linnorm Kings. His double was his childhood rival, Grimbo, who always seemed to one-up him. Grimbo appears to be a decent guy, which makes Aeon look like the bad guy, but Grimbo really is a jerk. This was emphasized by the fact that Aeon attempted to fight Grimbo every time they bumped into each other in Waldsby. It culminated with Aeon attacking Grimbo, when the rest of the group was fighting Volan and the innkeepers. Grimbo left Aeon for dead and doesn't expect to see him again. (Aeon's recklessness cost him 2 Hero Points)

PC Rena is a changeling sorcerer from Heldren, that grew up as an anti-social outcast. Her double is James, an arrogant womanizer from Waldsby. He's basically a young Zapp Brannigan. James quickly became enamored with Rena, even though she rebuffed his advances, with shocking grasp. Rena hopes to never see James again.

PC Mokoa is a former slave-driver from Cheliax turned Cleric of Sarenrae with a drinking problem. His double, Latate, is a slave driver from Cheliax, who really likes his job (think Krombopulos Michael). Latate came through a Winter Portal that appeared in Cheliax with Arcellmy. Mokoa shared many drinks with Latate, but thinks he is beyond redemption, even by Sarenrae.

PC Roland is a former minor noble from Taldor, that killed his brother in a duel over the right to marry the love of his life. Roland now seeks redemption by serving as an inquisitor of Sarenrae. His "double", Arcellmy, broke her cousin, Nazhena Vasillonva's arm, when she was young. Nazhena got her vengeance by faking Arcellmy's death and selling her to a slaver from Cheliax. Arcellmy returned to Irrisen after convincing Latate of her noble heritage. Roland didn't really interact with her much, as he spent most of his time keeping Aeon away from Grimbo, and James away from Rena. I didn't make her parallel to Roland strong enough, so I decided Arcellmy actually killed Roland's "real" double back in Cheliax. Hopefully, this will be revealed the next time they meet.

PC Thelmyr is a dwarven wizard. His whole backstory was about how he struggled in his youth to prove that he could use brains over bronze to overcome obstacles. His double, Myriad, is a halfling witch, that believes dwarves are stupid and bad at magic. She found the concept of a dwarf wizard super hilarious, and spent most of the time laughing at/making fun of Thelmyr, while he tried to prove he was good at magic. Thelmyr was really looking for an excuse to have magic duel with her, but she left town before he got the chance.


Any ideas on how to increase the difficulty of the Winter Portal encounter?

I have six players, and I've leveled them up to 3 due to their participation in a homebrew arc where they defended Heldren from an attack by Irrisen's forces. The Battle of Heldren was a brutal series of encounters that lasted three sessions.

Dark Archive

Apply advanced template to Teb Knotten. Have Hommestaub be at the portal actively advising Teb when the PCs arrive, instead of separate encounters. If he's already dead, have Teb be at the portal greeting new arrivals when the PCs show up. That was he has some reinforcements.

Dark Archive

I'm worried my PCs won't get it in their heads to go to the Pale Tower. The Black Rider even says that the portal to Taldor is only one of many. I'm worried the PCs will take that to mean "Closing this portal is worthless. We should figure out how to stop ALL the portals". So, how do I keep the PCs on the railroad without letting them see the tracks?


Simple as: Maybe if we learn how to close this portal we can get to close all the portals. They have a good opportunity there to investigate about it. Just make them know.


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Or have Radosek kidnap or arrest a beloved NPC so that they have to free him/her from the pale tower.


We had recruited Nadya and she wanted to take revenge of Nazhena so we went there looking for her. Also Lady Argentea was part of our group and she faced her own doppleganger. It was funny.


Lady Argentea facing her own doppelganger. That is epic!
My group took along Nadya. She is married to one of the PCs now, and pregnant.


Our Argentea is a Fighter and my character and her had been kinda intimate at that point. It was funny having both of them trying to convince my character that they were the real one and me wondering if I had being dating a doppleganger.
I even suggested that the fake one might not know it was a copy. It was pretty cool.

Dark Archive

How far is Waldsby from the portal? Is it intended to have random battles on the way to Waldsby, or is that covered by the mantis, the raven swarm, and the winter-touched forlarren?


I think that you should make that GMs call. When I played that part I already thought it was pretty straightforward and had enough combat encounters, so I wouldn't have enjoyed to get more of them.
If your party seems to be enjoying them you could throw some more encounters but if they find them boring or repetitive just skip them.

Dark Archive

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I forgot to recheck the board before running the game ^^
I ended up not doing any further combat encounters. I think they were kinda done after the mantis. Then the PCs were suspicious of Mierul and wouldn't let her leave the group unescorted (plus our magus straight up told her they were in Irrisen because of witches), so the rest of the trip went uneventfully until they got to Waldsby and let her go, because they had no more reason to keep her.

Grand Lodge

You gotta use the Ravens... they are so much fun!


It was an interesting encounter indeed. They added something to the story and we were afraid some of them got away and alerted the Witches.

Dark Archive

The spell Irrisini Mirror Sight specifically says that "you receive only visual information". However, in multiple locations the AP mentions using the spell to pass information. And in several places in this thread people have talking about this spell in a similar way. Is it intended to be able to speak and hear through this spell? Or is everyone just houseruling it the same way?


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Ectar wrote:
The spell Irrisini Mirror Sight specifically says that "you receive only visual information". However, in multiple locations the AP mentions using the spell to pass information. And in several places in this thread people have talking about this spell in a similar way. Is it intended to be able to speak and hear through this spell? Or is everyone just houseruling it the same way?

Write a note and hold it up so it can be read. Lip-reading. Some form of sign language, even.

There are several ways to pass on information in a visual-only format.


Honestly I would just allow sound through it - although lipreading also works.

Shadow Lodge

Ectar wrote:
The spell Irrisini Mirror Sight specifically says that "you receive only visual information". However, in multiple locations the AP mentions using the spell to pass information. And in several places in this thread people have talking about this spell in a similar way. Is it intended to be able to speak and hear through this spell? Or is everyone just houseruling it the same way?

The users passed notes in our games. In fact, I believe that I'd set it so that the PCs found some of the notes one-way notes of the conversation between Radosek and Nazhena in the Pale Tower.

Dark Archive

I ended up allowing sound. Made the initial interactions with Radosek more fun. He was suave.
My rundown of the pale tower:

It's a decent bit of typing:
My players went through the tower without stopping and almost died several times. I have 5 players, so every other encounter I make a bit harder. I had an extra tower guard along the outer wall, I had Hestrig enlarge herself before the fight. Stuff like that.
The troll who wanted to eat the dogs earned the PCs wrath far greater than anything else in the tower. And they refused to leave the courtyard before the guards were dead. But they had very few ways to deal damage at range, so I let them climb the chutes at a pretty high climb DC to end things.
The water elemental bashed in a 3pp sphere user pretty good. He stuck his face right over the bath, so the elemental grappeled his face. I could have just had the elemental swim down with him in tow, but I felt that'd have been too mean.
Hestrig got a nice crit on the sphere user (he had a rough dungeon) that brought him down to 1 hp from actual death, but got a potion before his next turn.
The mandragora never managed to break out of his chains. He had several rounds to try, but rolled poorly.

Jairess could've been a much bigger problem than she was. We had a character change from witch to zen archer to balance out the party halfway though the tower, but she was immediately blinded by ravens. I ended up not using the windwall, because then it'd have just been really annoying for everyone. The sphere user then heal checked the eyesight back.
I played the spriggan as just an angry cook. He yelled and shooed the party (who were mostly wearing guard uniforms) out of the kitchen. The wizard noted the cookies and asked for one. The wizard ate the spiteful cookie. He does not realize the impact of that yet.
The party didn't clear out the barracks before attacking Radosek. This will be relevant later.
I also gave him a bunch of scrolls of mirror sight, so he knew when the PCs were going to attack him.
I realize now that I was running the teleporters incorrectly. I missed the bit where the ice melts immediately; I had it melting after a round. After a few uses, I modified it to let two people teleport at once, but that's my bad. Sorry players.
Radosek, knowing the players were coming up, got a surprise round to finish his summoning. I also gave him a bestow curse to replace his mirror sight. Luckily the monk saved on it and then slaughtered Valstoi.
The bloodrager smashed and the archer shot radosek, who was now flying. He flew out the nearby window, much to the annoyance of the PCs, who thought he was going to escape (though he had no plans to do so).
The wizard doled out the three featherfall potions to the bloodrager, archer, and sphere user (healer), while the wizard and magus took the long way down.
Now with an animated dragon statue and 2d8+3 more hp, Radosek resumed battle, and called into the barracks to gain more support. He blinded the monk (for the second time this game), and supported the dragon until it fell. After a few rounds the guards came, half armored, half not. The evoker wizard dropped the unarmored half with a burning hands, while the magus fought the remaining guards, including the seargent.
The sphere user ran out of spell points, but took out the dragon and Radosek in subsequent rounds with the elixer of fire breath. With the boss man unconsious (but stable) and all of the other guards dead, the seargent surrendered.

We ran out of time from there, but I think the party has a single 2nd level spell, no rounds of bloodrage, no spell points, and few (if any) cure scrolls left. All in all, a good time. Now just have to finish deactivating the portal to round out book 1.


I'm part-GMing a game that I'm also playing in (DM is new to PF and wants help with math and tactics), and i'm noticing both IC and OOC that the pre-portal wintertouched fey are... blue. (sprites, Hommelstaub.)
And Mierul, who is a Fey (forlarren) is also Wintertouched.
And... is blue.

IC, I've just decided that anything blue is evil and wintertouched.

Is this true for the rest of the books?


The wintertouched template actually turns things blue - it's visually distinctive.

Later fey don't have the wintertouched template and thus aren't blue, but may well have other templates that are visually distinct in their own right.


Ectar wrote:
(plus our magus straight up told her they were in Irrisen because of witches)

Our dwarven melee wizard did the same thing adding that we were there to KILL said witches. Party made a furious attempt to convince her he was crazy and that we were fur traders, complete with both weasel and giant hamster fur as proof.

It was the other guy's turn gming, but I'm pretty sure we failed that bluff.


I got this item from 3.5's Magic of Faerun, then adapted it somewhat.

The caster level is 3rd, and the base price is 1200gp. The cloak weighs one pound.

The cloak sheds all precipitation down to the knees. Once per day it can become a one man tent. Every day, it provides up to 2 gallons of either sugared hot tea or cool spring water in a 1pint flask in a pocket inside the cloak. As well, you get trail rations for one person each day. You could alter this to instead provide racial trail rations like Elven. Finally, it grants 5 points of cold resistance.

If you pair this cloak up with a cold weather outfit, your PC's will be immune to just about any cold weather!


Sorry, got some details wrong. Here's the correct stats.

Travel Cloak- 5 cold resistance, sheds precipitation to the knees, gray-green color, wandermeal for one each day (you could make it a racial version if it was inherited by a PC), turns into a 1 man tent once per day, a 1 pint flask in a hidden extradimensional pocket that provides up to 2 gallons of fluid each day either sugared hot tea or cool spring water. Weighs 1 pound, costs 1200gp, Craft Wondrous Item, CL 5, endure elements, create food and water, enlarge.


I have a question about the game environment and it's effects on my PC's. All of my party has 5 cold resistance, and are wearing cold weather outfits. How much does the severe cold, snow etc affect them? I know that they're slowed (1/2 movement) already, and that when it's snowing they take a -4 to Perception and ranged attacks. But, what about the repeated Fortitude checks where cold weather is concerned?


If they all have cold resistance, then I'd say they can ignore the fortitude saves.

Considering that they can withstand 5 points of cold every 6 seconds, 1d6 inflicted over the course of 10 minutes or an hour simply does nothing. At worst, they're a little uncomfortable and need to bother with shelter to rest.

Of course, the rules don't explicitly state this, but there's finite room in the rulebook.

I.e., a tiefling or aasimar has a pretty broad range for t-shirt and shorts weather.

Now, the movement speed and vision stuff come from there actually being frozen water everywhere and in the way.


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Hey, there, boyos. I've been reading this thread over and over while running my own campaign and decided to post here with some of the changes I've made so far. The party is about to enter Waldsby and consists of:
Suan, the Half-Elf Sorceress (Cross-blooded Fey/Celestial)
Cocidius, Human Rogue (Knife Master/Relic Raider with a Legalistic Oracle curse added)
Silphi, the Snowcaster Elf Investigator (Spiritualist, but can still make potions)
San De, the Human Monk (Qinggong)
Absoleth, the Human Warpriest of Desna (Arsenal Chaplain)
All the players are first-timers.

I also use some DnD 5ed elements in my game, such as a Background (just as a way to create well-made characters), the Inspiration mechanic (a token that can be used to roll a second d20 in a time of need. Rewards excellent roleplaying), and, of course, the random trinkets!

First of all, I'm particularly happy with how I managed to tie all the players to the story. A good amount of them had some pretty legitimate reasons to be in Heldren, either temporarily or permanently, and I tried to tie each and every player with at least one NPC in order to give them that extra dose of attachment. The Spiritualist Investigator, for example, was one a job - she was hired by local authorities to investigate a massacre at a Taldan military outpost by speaking to the dead soldiers' spirits. Lore-wise, the encampment was swiftly defeated by some of the first waves of creatures from the portal, but the local authorities are trying to pin it on the Qadirans. When she was taken to the mausoleum with all the remains of the soldiers, all the remains were missing. (Stolen and animated by Rokhar). She was staying with Old Mother Theodora, who I decided was going to be a relatively powerful and Good-aligned ancient Hedge Witch. The statue in Heldren was dedicated to her. The Rogue was visiting Heldren to interrogate the Butcher of Jalrune, the sorceress was working at the lumbermill, doing some accounting and gambling on the side.. etc.

From the get-go, the players were terrified of the zombies at the massacre site. I wanted to make things extra creepy and had one of the horses still alive, but very injured. They were very cautious of it, and as soon as they were done with the zombies in the carriage (Rogue was on top of the carriage and managed to very swiftly dispose of them..), they were very hesitant on what to do with the horse, thinking that it might turn into a zombie horse. Cleric raised it, and with some pretty good Handle Animal and Ride checks, they were able to use it to drag the wagon forward (completely forgetting about the frozen captain up top... it was a fun scene when they went back to Heldren with the frozen body on top of the carriage).

The spiked log trap almost 1-shot the Investigator with a nasty crit. She was very close to dying.
The Tatzlwurm was easy, but it almost killed the sorceress.

The players got Yuln's masterwork cold iron longsword.

One fun little encounter I added to the game was a single Winter-touched Tooth Fairy. It ambushed the party while they were resting in a cave and managed to put the meditating monk standing guard to sleep. Then it went to the sorceress who had the highest Charisma, and got one of her teeth. The look of sheer horror as the player woke up numbed (staggered), and paralyzed.. Priceless. They managed to kill the fairy in like a round, but they didn't have the magical healing to put the tooth back. I added this encounter with Angus Goldtooth (the barger/surgeon/dentist ... and jeweler (that's my addition) of Heldren), hoping that they'd go back to him for some much needed dental work. The players also found a gold tooth.. which eventually turned out to belong to Angus Goldtooth.

They went back to town and Yuln told them that they could keep the sword if they find the lost scabbard (conveniently, it's the scabbard with the decorated filigree of deer, located in Teb Knotten's cave) they could keep it

Down the line, the players fought the Giant Weasel, and the sorceress (who is purely a support, low-magic caster), attempted to cast Magic Weapon from a scroll. Back then I wasn't 100% sure on how casting stuff from a scoll worked and assumed that she'd have to do an Use Magical Device check since the spell was not a spell she knew (turns out no UMD is needed as long as the spell is on her spell list of spells available. Not known. Oh well). She rolled a 1. I rolled on a random table an said that the spell worked on her weapon and on the fists of the monk she was casting it on, but it did some nasty fire damage. I also secretly gave her vulnerability to magical weapons as a hidden flaw.

Then they fought Hammelstaub and the air elemental... Same thing. Sorceress cast Magic Weapon on the masterwork cold iron longsword given to them by Yuln. Natural 20. I ruled that the previously "rewarded" vulnerability to magical weapons was removed... and made the sword permanently magical.

They completely destroyed Teb Knotten by bombarding him with alchemist's fires. They almost split the party in front of his tree shape, but at the last moment the Investigator did a DC30-ish Knowledge (Nature) check and I just had to tell her that the big tree in front of them was not typical for the region...

THEN! The Black Rider! AND A BIG REVEAL.
As part of the Monk's backstory, he is searching for his parents and we decided that though he was raised in Tian Xia, he was not from there. Secretly, we also decided that he knows of the potential existence of the planet Earth and that he knows he is from there.
Anyways... the Black Rider turned out to be his grandfather. A warlord from the Land of the Linnorm Kingdoms who was well on his way of becoming one of the Kings who succumbed to temptation when Baba Yaga asked him to be her Rider. He joined with the hope that when he is done serving her, he'd use all his new powers to lead a rebellion in order to free Irrisen. Baba Yaga allowed him, as a boon, to sire a child after he had served about 30 or so years.. but his child grew to be resented by his peers in the Linnorm Kingdoms who knew of his father and called him a traitor and a turncoat. Eventually he started hating his father and redoubled his efforts to defeat Baba Yaga. So when the Black Raider's son had a son, the Black Raider (with his mother's approval), stole the child in order to break the circle of hatred, and dropped him off at one of the most peaceful and serene places he knew of - a temple in Tian Xia.

It was a very epic encounter full of joy, some answers, and even more questions. And when the Black Rider gave his grandson the artifacts to operate the Dancing Hut and slit his throat, there was definitely a very emotional outburst from the group. I actually made my Monk player tear up...
His last words were "Though you have accepted the Mantle of the Black Rider, you still have to prove yourselves worthy of carrying it. You will be watched and judged whether you succeed or fail. But I'm sure that you will succeed in this, my grandchild. Go forth, but never repeat the mistakes I've made. Farewell, <insert Monk's actual birthname which he got to hear for the first time!!!!>...
..and then, I transported the players to do Kobold Press' Challenge of the Fang quest (from their Tales of the Old Margreve adventure path). One big change I made to the environment is that I said that the Old Margreve forest is of The First World.

On the Black Rider's Mantle - I gave all players their choice of a +2 to one attribute, but they couldn't pick their highest attribute, nor could the same attribute be chosen by more than one person.
Based on how they fared with The Challenge of the Fang adventure, I also awarded them an additional trait of my choice, plus the Signature Skill feat for a skill of my choice.


Yesterday my players finally reached Waldsby, but before that they had to face against the Raven Swarm!
Now, my party is a 5-man party and recently they have been really crushing all these challenges. I decided to up the ante a little bit, and decided to make a couple changes to the swarm.
1. I gave the Swarm the Advanced template, so it got stronger in general with more HP, AC, and basically +2 to everything, making it's Distract (to Nauseate) Fortitude DC 16, and the eye-rake (to blind for 1d4 days) at Reflex DC 16.
2. I added the Crow's Curse.. well, curse, from Irrisen - Land of Eternal Winter, at a Will DC 15 - initial effect is panicked for 5 rounds, Secondary effect is shaken permanently. It does that as a reaction.

So, the relatively harmless raven swarm got pretty tricky all of a sudden, with challenging abilities targeting all three saves, an auto-wounding ability, with three different effects - nauseate, panicked/shaken, and blind!

The sorceress was quick to Disguise Self as one of Nadya's friends and stood in the open to make things less suspicious while everyone else hid in the snow/tarp. Everyone rolled really high on Stealth and I rolled really low on Perception, getting a 15 on a Perception +13, but that was enough to spot one of the players, so the ravens descended and started attacking.
It was a fight with lots of 1's on attack rolls. Two of the players got blinded (3 days and 1 day) and then they proceeded to roll 1's and drop their weapons. The Rogue got Cursed, Nauseated.

The best part was how they went about treating the blindness. You see, the Investigator Elf has the Mutant Eye trait, which gives her a third.. mutant eye on her forehead. She usually covers it with a metal diadem. So when she got blinded, I ruled that she wasn't totally blind, since she has her third eye.
Well... then the party's warpriest tried to help her. I ruled that with 8 hours of intensive care, 2 healing kits, basically a combination between Provide Long-Term Care/Treat Deadly Wounds. DC20.

He rolled a 1.

So I described his methodology of healing as relatively adequate, involving a concoction which managed to open up one of the damaged eyes.. however an unexpected side effect was that her mutant eye bagan to spasm and convulse, turning a milky white color. So opened one eye, closed another.

Then, he tried it again. 8 hours, 2 more healing kits. DC20 Heal.

He rolled a 1. Again.
At this point I just rolled a d20 to see the severity of this botched attempt, fully committed to blind her permanently if the result was low.
Rolled a natural 20...
So I ruled that a new concoction opened up her mutant eye, at the expense of destroying her normal sight. Mechanics wise, I'll give her a -2 to Perception checks and light sensitivity.


This is a nice read, BulgarianFirstborn, and brings back fond memories. My group had 5 characters as well, but they had lots of problems with these adventures, especially with Rohkar.
I hope this remains a fun campaign for you.


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Thanks, Luna eladrin!
More update: My players ended up saving Nadya from inside the White Weasel after they successfully hid from the soldiers when they came to get Nadya. Even though they were suspicious..
Sorceress cast Disguise Self to look like the babysitter..

After taking care of the soldiers (had the Sargeant with the Advanced template), they dressed up like soldiers and off they went for the Pale Tower, pretending to be bringing Nadya Petska for questioning..

Note: After the players slaughtered the soldiers and tried to pawn off all their armor and weapons to the local smithy, the guy only offered to buy them for a quarter of what they are worth. His reasoning was that since he makes them and knows who the only buyers are going to be, he knows that the White Witches and their soldiers will basically extort him for the gear and pay less than half their worth anyways, so he refused to buy the gear for 50% as is the norm and offered 25%. They failed to convince him otherwise.

Nadya Petska used Survival to find a shortcut that might provide some cover from the prying eyes of patrolling birds..
And she rolled a 1.

So I ran the suggested encounter with the Snare Sisters - I had them face 5 trappers. 4 were geared and armed as per the original NPC in the book, one was armed with a masterwork musket. I also had 5 bear traps - identical to the ones in the White Weasel encounter.
Now, these trappers technically are supposed to be paired with badger animal companions, but since the general description of the random encounter mentioned no badgers, I missed that part in the NPC statblock and didn't run them. The encounter was conveniently just enough experience for them to level up, which I think is ideal for the Pale Tower encounter, especially if they go all commando and start massacring everything in sight - at least they'll be all leveled up and we won't have to slow things down from them to do their level 4 "accounting". Plus, they'll get to practice their new skills and abilities on some of the first encounters!

I figured, since the game is going to introduce modern firearms down the line, it would be cool to at least introduce some firearms early on, just in case one of the characters is interested in becoming proficient with this powerful weapon.

Additionally, the trappers are conveniently equipped with a plethora of useful gear which will come in handy especially if the PC's had no luck with the hostile merchants. There's X2 scrolls of cure light wounds, climber's kits (to scale that frozen wall), healer's kit....per trapper!


selunatic2397 wrote:

They already have a barbeque pit big enough for a butchered out dragon!

Dragon BBQ and jerky seem to be their trademarks...any giant crayfish or crabs are also hungrily gobbled up!

Sometimes I wonder if my players are a secret cult of foodies led by the galloping gourmet.

That or Martha Stewart followers...any expensive furniture or odd items seem to be of more interest than the random magic stuff they capture.

Oh well...it's always interesting and we always have fun!

In my Skull & Shackles group I have one player that insists on bringing a bunch of critters to Fishguts to cook for her and the others. So far they've sampled the manticore and sea cats among others. I wonder where this will take them, but at least they draw some lines. No sahuagin...

Andrew <:-{}


Hello all,

I am a very new GM and I am running the Reign of Winter AP and I am running into the problem of when to level up my PCs. I like the idea of leveling up based on the suggestion of the AP. We are into our 3rd session and I am not really liking the idea of keeping the xp track. My PCs are almost the the hunting lodge, I was thinking is it after this part of the adventure would it be a good place to level them up? I know it suggests that they should be at 2 by the portal.

I have 3 players who are all GMs and seasoned players so they are really helping me but I need help with story elements and can't talk to them.

So if any one here can give a newbie GM any pointers on this AP it is appreciated.

The Hunting Lodge is going to be my first sandbox environment and I hoping to prepare it well enough. My PCs let a sprite get away so I know that Izoze might be prepared for their possible arrival, however I am also toying with the idea, with rather than running straight to Izoze and Teb Knotten I might have the sprite following them or attacking them again?

Thanks for any pointers you can give me! This AP is so interesting and I am really liking GMing for the first time.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

Theblakeness wrote:
My PCs are almost the the hunting lodge, I was thinking is it after this part of the adventure would it be a good place to level them up? I know it suggests that they should be at 2 by the portal.

Normally, it's best to level the party right after the fight at the hunting lodge or during their trek to the Winter Portal. However, some groups have found those series of encounters (i.e., inside the lodge) particularly difficult, especially if they draw out all of the bandits at once, and Rohkar starts bringing undead servants into the fight. So, depending on your party composition and player experience, you may want to consider leveling them up before the hunting lodge. The adventure's written for 4 PCs. So, if you have a bigger party than that, run it as-is. If you have 4 players or less, level them up.

But that's just my two cents,
--Neil


Neil Spicer wrote:
Theblakeness wrote:
My PCs are almost the the hunting lodge, I was thinking is it after this part of the adventure would it be a good place to level them up? I know it suggests that they should be at 2 by the portal.

Normally, it's best to level the party right after the fight at the hunting lodge or during their trek to the Winter Portal. However, some groups have found those series of encounters (i.e., inside the lodge) particularly difficult, especially if they draw out all of the bandits at once, and Rohkar starts bringing undead servants into the fight. So, depending on your party composition and player experience, you may want to consider leveling them up before the hunting lodge. The adventure's written for 4 PCs. So, if you have a bigger party than that, run it as-is. If you have 4 players or less, level them up.

But that's just my two cents,
--Neil

Awesome input, thank you. I have only 3 players so I was toying with leveling them up just before the lodge. Because they're so many people and variables.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

Theblakeness wrote:
Awesome input, thank you. I have only 3 players so I was toying with leveling them up just before the lodge. Because they're so many people and variables.

Then, either level them up, or add an NPC or two to help them and even out the odds.


Neil Spicer wrote:
Theblakeness wrote:
Awesome input, thank you. I have only 3 players so I was toying with leveling them up just before the lodge. Because they're so many people and variables.
Then, either level them up, or add an NPC or two to help them and even out the odds.

Alternatively, have one enemy conspicuously eating a honeycomb and if things look bad for the party? Sudden bear attack on said enemy.

I mean, the sudden snow obviously has to be upsetting the local wildlife, right? :P


Poldaran wrote:
Neil Spicer wrote:
Theblakeness wrote:
Awesome input, thank you. I have only 3 players so I was toying with leveling them up just before the lodge. Because they're so many people and variables.
Then, either level them up, or add an NPC or two to help them and even out the odds.

Alternatively, have one enemy conspicuously eating a honeycomb and if things look bad for the party? Sudden bear attack on said enemy.

I mean, the sudden snow obviously has to be upsetting the local wildlife, right? :P

That is also a good idea! I'm ending my next session before the hunting lodge, so I am going to start working on that soon. It's my first sandbox situation. I'm excited.


Hi,

I'm currently preparing for running this Adventure soon. Just finished reading through and wondering,

did any of you draw handouts for some of the stuff? The Map in the lodge H15, the journal of Dryden in J, and the globe in Q20 sound pretty much like stuff you want handouts for. If anyone could link an image/photo I would love that.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

For anyone interested in an alternative Nadya build (seeing her Wisdom of 8 makes it impossible for her to use any spells), here's a Nadya Slayer build I came up with. Given that she is stated to be a Merchant, I put a point in Profession Merchant and adjusted skill points accordingly along with 1 point of Bluff - seriously, most Merchants know how to bluff at least a little bit.

Given in a previous game I ran, she ended up a PC, I'd give her the Northern Ancestry Trait and possibly something related to grief that gives a bonus to Emotion spell saves if she became a PC but that's really up to the GM (and player). I also gave her a Masterwork Backpack as her gear's too heavy for her which wasn't accounted for in her stats. (If I were to give her a more effective build I'd put her +2 to Dexterity, and give her a 13 Str, 16 Dex, 12 Con, 12 Int, 8 Wis, and 14 Chr.)

----------

Nadya Petska CR 2
XP 600
Female human (Ulfen) slayer 3 (Pathfinder RPG Advanced Class Guide 53)
CG Medium humanoid (human)
Init +2; Senses Perception +5
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Defense
--------------------
AC 15, touch 12, flat-footed 13 (+3 armor, +2 Dex)
hp 24 (3d10+3)
Fort +5 (+5 circumstance bonus vs. cold weather), Ref +6, Will +1
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Offense
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Speed 30 ft.
Melee dagger +5 (1d4+1/19-20) or
handaxe +3 (1d6+1/×3) or
light pick +3 (1d4/×4)
Ranged composite longbow +5 (1d8/×3)
Special Attacks sneak attack +1d6, studied target +1 (1st, move action)
--------------------
Tactics
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During Combat Nadya tries to keep her distance in battle, firing her bow at adversaries before they can close on her. When faced with more dangerous foes, especially those attuned to cold, Nadya hurls a flask of alchemist’s fire to hinder them.
Morale Nadya fights with conviction, but recognizes overwhelming odds and surrenders when necessary. In the face of truly uncompromising evil, she fights to the death.
--------------------
Statistics
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Str 12, Dex 15, Con 13, Int 12, Wis 8, Cha 14
Base Atk +3; CMB +4; CMD 16
Feats Point-Blank Shot, Skill Focus (Survival), Two-weapon Fighting, Weapon Finesse
Skills Acrobatics +6, Bluff +6, Climb +5, Disable Device +1, Handle Animal +5, Heal +5, Knowledge (geography) +6, Knowledge (local) +5, Knowledge (nature) +4, Perception +5, Profession (merchant) +3, Ride +6, Stealth +8, Survival +8
Languages Common, Hallit, Skald
SQ combat style (two-weapon combat), slayer talent (ranger combat style[ACG]), snow track erasure, track +1
Combat Gear potion of cure moderate wounds, alchemist's fire (2), oil (2); Other Gear mwk studded leather, arrows (20), composite longbow, dagger, handaxe, light pick, snowshoes of northern pursuit, cold weather outfit, flint and steel, hooded lantern, masterwork backpack[APG], tindertwig (3), trail rations (10), waterskin, winter blanket
--------------------
Special Abilities
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Point-Blank Shot +1 to attack and damage rolls with ranged weapons at up to 30 feet.
Sneak Attack +1d6 Attacks deal extra dam if flank foe or if foe is flat-footed.
Snow track erasure (1/day) Remove all tracks left in snow within a 60 ft radius.
Studied Target +1 (move action, 1 at a time) (Ex) Study foe as a Move action, gain +1 to att/dam & some skills vs. them.
Track +1 Add the listed bonus to Survival checks made to track.
--------------------

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Tangent101 wrote:
Stuff

Thanks for that. I have plans for Nadya coming up later and I wasn't looking forward to having to completely rebuild her to make her more interesting. I mean, I'll still need to level her a bit to be a challenge for a party comprised of a Witch's Doll, a Redcap and another character whose nature shall remain unnamed for the moment, but it saves me a fair amount of work for later. :)


I have never run a haunt before, and I'm looking through the description for the soul bound guardian area and I'm curious if anyone has infused the pcs histories into it or if that is even possible?

Shadow Lodge

Theblakeness wrote:
I have never run a haunt before, and I'm looking through the description for the soul bound guardian area and I'm curious if anyone has infused the pcs histories into it or if that is even possible?

Could your clarify your question? The haunt tells the story of Nadya's daughter, and the soulbound guardian was brought from Irrisen. Unless your PC was present at any of the events, I don't see how you would "infuse" any of your PCs' history into it.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Given the release of the Ultimate Wilderness book, I've chosen to alter the (to be honest... insane) whiteout rules at the Portal and instead assume that the valley itself is suffering from a blizzard condition.

Quote:

Blizzard: A combination of severe or stronger winds with heavy snow can create blizzard conditions. Blizzards reduce range of vision to no more than 20 feet, and even then, creatures takes a –8 penalty on Perception checks within that range. In a blizzard, the snowfall increases to 4 inches of snow each hour, and travel in more than 3 feet of snow is usually impossible without snowshoes or an ability such as waterwalk. Furthermore, the high winds make it feel (and affect living creatures) as if the temperature were 20° F colder.

Having lived in New England, I can legitimately state that some areas suffer wind tunnel effects and never truly accumulate much in the way of snow. That said when the wind slows, the snow will start to accumulate, so having snow hexes be Very Difficult Terrain (four squares of movement to enter into a square) makes sense. I would also allow for a stronger player to push through the snow and reduce its effect to just difficult terrain for those behind them. (No doubt a spell like Feather Step would negate the snow's impact, but the bard can only cast that three times before she's out for the day).

(Though to be honest, the map for this was... not exactly thought out very well. You would have the igloos facing away from the source of constant wind and snow, especially as snowbanks would build up on the side facing the Portal so if anyone wants to get into or out of the igloo they would need the entrance away from the snowbanks.)

The impact of a blizzard condition (though I'll "downgrade" the winds to strong from severe) will be a -8 to hit with ranged attacks (-2 from the wind which will impact our fey Winter Oracle) while still allowing the Sprites to get ranged attacks without being hit by attacks of opportunity for using a ranged attack five feet from the PCs. The fey will suffer a -2 penalty to Fly checks and will need to make a DC 20 check each turn to be able to fly toward the Portal. Perception checks will be at a -8.

In addition, given where the Sprites are located, it makes sense that they are the "night watch" for the Winter Portal, seeing that the Atomie Oracle and Teb are stated to watch during the daylit hours. Thus they would need to make a Perception check to wake up when the Thunderstone is thrown. (I'd say the Thunderstone can be perceived as "combat noises" thus between the snowfall, approximate distance, and the ice wall (which I think would add +5 to the difficulty), the Sprites would need to roll a modified 6 while Teb, who is likely 100 feet away, would need to roll a modified 8. In short, unless 1s are rolled they will hear the Thunderstone thrown.)

One other thing to consider is this: Teb and crew know that there are Adventurers in the area. Radosek is stated to have been looking through doll-Thora's mirror eye using Irriseni Mirror Sight and also that he's in contact with Teb through HIS mirror. It would make sense for Radosek to warn Teb, which is why Izoze or the fey Oracle was sent to ambush the group in the night before the push on the Portal.


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Hello all!

My players are used to home brewed adventures and are really struggling to enjoy the adventure path (or as i call it) module. We are going to be hitting the pale tower next and after this I am thinking of trying to run with the story line, but not run the modules per say. Keep the vilians, npc's etc but try to make it along the lines of what they are used to. Having said that I think this option will be much more restrictive and I'm not sure I can work it out correctly.

I think that perhaps I should recommend that we table these adventurers and I dig into the old, cobweb section of my brain and make a totally new adventure for them. I picked this adventure path because it has been (before 6 months ago) over 25 yrs since i have GM'ed anything! I will take any and all opinions on my options. Thanks in advance!


ferris6266 wrote:

Hello all!

My players are used to home brewed adventures and are really struggling to enjoy the adventure path (or as i call it) module. We are going to be hitting the pale tower next and after this I am thinking of trying to run with the story line, but not run the modules per say. Keep the vilians, npc's etc but try to make it along the lines of what they are used to. Having said that I think this option will be much more restrictive and I'm not sure I can work it out correctly.

I think that perhaps I should recommend that we table these adventurers and I dig into the old, cobweb section of my brain and make a totally new adventure for them. I picked this adventure path because it has been (before 6 months ago) over 25 yrs since i have GM'ed anything! I will take any and all opinions on my options. Thanks in advance!

Welcome back!

Personally I think Reign of Winter is a great Adventure Path but it's hardly something I'd suggest for an out of practice GM.

Can you tell us what they're struggling with? What are your players enjoying and not enjoying? The same question goes for you? Are you having fun?


They seem to be enjoying the story line, but the pace is very slow it seems. all our other adventures have been homemade and we would advance faster (on the fast exp chart)and we seemed to have more goodies and plunder. I think they miss that.

As for myself, I think that i'm doing ok. I have a tendency to forget about spells and abilities for the bad guys sometimes. I did get to kill my sisters character 2 sessions ago! (evil laugh here)

Part of MY problem is that for the 1st session, I was really ready, reviewed everything had things really prepped. The past few sessions I have not been able to make the time to get as prepped as I would like to have (real life-bleh)

I have been toying with making a home made adventure the last few days. I will poll the group and see what their feelings are and then go from there. I will update here when I have the results!


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Well, i polled the group and we are going to suspend the module for now. perhaps revisit it at a later time.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

This is the second time I've run Reign of Winter.

And for the second time, I had the Black Rider kill Hommelstaub.

Seriously, the character is... a powergamer's dream character. We have an Oracle whose Curse is negated by the fact that it doesn't matter he's unable to walk fast because he's got wings. And he can easily see through the snow which basically means he's doing sneak attack damage every round while completely unaffected by the heavy snow that hurts everyone else.

And each time I had the Black Rider end the wee fae, it was for one reason and one reason alone: dealing with him would take hours. This is supposed to be a fun game. Having a faerie inflicting possibly 2d6 damage each round until he's out of spells, and then still doing 1d2 damage afterward with the party unable to hide from him because his perception is just. that. good. and able to take a five-foot step from those who DO close with him, go invisible, move off, and then continue those antics further... this isn't fun.

By having the Black Rider run him through each time, it established the Black Rider as a major player. Rather than run the Black Rider as a weak old man who is trying to use his age to get pitying party members to do his bidding, I had him operate from a position of strength. Here is a man who should be dead and yet he one-shots a fae Oracle that gave the party problems... and then he tells the party "I need your help. To save your world, and my mistress."

You know what my party did after they accepted the Black Rider's geas in the newest game? They gave him an honorable death ceremony, burning his body so that it wouldn't be desecrated by Winter Fae or the forces of Elvanna. And that is because he went into this in a position of power... having dealt a bloody nuisance foe the blow ending that fight so the game could go on.

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