The Snows of Summer (GM Reference)


Reign of Winter

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The group I'm running this AP for met Gardhek the Doppelganger disguised as Lady Argentea in Q11 and automatically assumed they stuffed up and let the imposter go at the start of the adventure and made no attempts to check if Gardhek was an imposter. With which the party decided to take Gardhek back to Heldren.

The question i want to ask is does anyone have any ideas on how i could use this as a continuing plot point further along the track


I'm running my group again this weekend (Session 2) and we'll be picking up right after the Wishbone Creek encounter with the Ice Elementals. They had to stop and start a fire to dry the Spellslinger's clothes out (he's currently wearing the courtier's outfits/dresses from the massacre site while waiting for his gear to dry, which is hilarious). They haven't even had a chance to notice the body in the snow yet.

So... now that I have cleared up my misunderstanding of the weather and the (virtually nonexistent) wind (see previous posts in this thread), what else should I make sure NOT to miss/screw up?

I expect to complete the High Sentinel Lodge for sure, at which point we'll stop and Level UP. We may possibly even get through the Soulbound Guardian if we can stay on pace. That would leave the finale with Teb and the Portal/Black Rider for the third installment.

So, for those of you who have run the Lodge already, what should I expect or look out for/be aware of? My players include: All Humans, Barbarian, Wizard (spellslinger), Inquisitor, and a Magus. I realize that's not much info, but as you can see there is little to no Stealth amongst them.

I know Rohkar's men are watching the trail leading to the Lodge, but they should suffer a -4 to Perception for the snow just like everyone else... Assuming they DO see the party, which they should given they have a back up alarm system in place with the crossbow trap, the deck should be totally stacked against my players. If spotted or if the alarm is set off, the whole place is going to spring to life, including Ten-Penny and possibly even the sick raiders..

I could have Ten-Penny join/assist the party from the start, seeing them as a means to free herself from Rohkar's grasp... OR, I could have her try and impress the bandit leader by doing the exact opposite... I think my players will be less than open to a mid-battle change of heart by TP, and just kill her along with the bandits...

Thoughts, advice, etc?


closetgamer wrote:

I know Rohkar's men are watching the trail leading to the Lodge, but they should suffer a -4 to Perception for the snow just like everyone else... Assuming they DO see the party, which they should given they have a back up alarm system in place with the crossbow trap, the deck should be totally stacked against my players. If spotted or if the alarm is set off, the whole place is going to spring to life, including Ten-Penny and possibly even the sick raiders..

I could have Ten-Penny join/assist the party from the start, seeing them as a means to free herself from Rohkar's grasp... OR, I could have her try and impress the bandit leader by doing the exact opposite... I think my players will be less than open to a mid-battle change of heart by TP, and just kill her along with the bandits...

Thoughts, advice, etc?

The approach to the lodge turned into a fairly exciting and dynamic battle as one, and then two PCs were spotted by the bandits (I turned off the snow as the players were getting a little annoyed by it, but that only worked in the bandit's favor). Two bandits went around the south side of the building, each 1 move action apart while the rest (I had added an extra bandit to the main room) stayed inside. One bandit opened a window to start shooting the two PCs who were taking a hatchet to the barred door and ended up taking an arrow to the chest and was out in an instant. One PC broke off from the door and engaged the first bandit that came around from the south, another PC snuck around the north and helped from the other direction. Once the door came down, that PC went inside only to be greeted by three readied shortbows. Then it was a rush to get inside and we had two separate groups of combatants, one large group inside and another outside.

Ten-Penny joined in late inside, I reskinned her shortsword as a meat cleaver ("Horses have mean bones. This gets through anything!") and had her fight defensively as per her written tactics. No flanking opportunities came up and she could already see the bandits were on the losing side so she decides to keep fighting defensively with her back into a corner. When ordered to stand down, she glances briefly at the only remaining bandit and then back to one of the PCs and continues to fight defensively. The PCs get the hint, finish off the last of the men, and at that point, I couldn't see any reason why she'd willingly choose to fight further.

The way I see it, she's a burglar and not a murderer or kidnapper. She takes things--not people. And being chaotic neutral she's more focused on keeping herself alive rather than having any sort of loyalty to some ragtag gang of bandits. Also, she's 3rd level and could kill one or more PCs if used too aggressively. By that same notion, she neither fears nor needs the PCs. Actually, now that I think about it, if she got the jump on Rohkar, she could likely take him out if he's not with his skeletons--say in his sleep. His room is right next to hers and there's even a door connecting the two. That she hasn't probably means that she doesn't want to.

I played her as copping an attitude to the players and funnily enough, one ordered her to "get back in the kitchen." I ran with that for a mile. "OH! You're just like those other bandits! Here I am, just trying to fit in, he's all like, 'Come join our gang, looting, stealing,' and I can dig that and what does he have me do when I'm here? The cookin'." She stomps back, picks up a ladle and throws it on the floor, "OH! I DROPPED THE SPOON. BY ACCIDENT. AGAIN." Crosses her arms and leans against a table while turning her nose up at the PCs.

She'll bolt when she sees the zombies marching upstairs. She didn't sign up for craziness on that level.

It's been a few minutes since combat ended so the sick bandits will likely venture out to see what's going on, hopefully surprise the PCs, and draw the fight back into the room using the door as a chokepoint. I don't expect them to last very long. If you had the sick bandits join in the fight with the other bandits, it probably wouldn't change much. You'd have a huge fracas in the main room--a grand brawl--and all the bandits would ultimately lose. One big fight or two normal fights. Probably the same outcome no matter what. I would guess that if they're already sick, the bandits would prefer the more tactically sound position of fighting from their room versus the main hall.


Thanks Ansel. I'll likely borrow the "Get back in the kitchen!" bit as a sore spot for Ten Penny.

As for Rohkar and his pre-combat tactics. When he goes Invisible while waiting for the party to come upstairs, it would seem more difficult to then have to squeeze past the PCs to get downstairs. The whole upstairs is really cramped. I think I will have him head downstairs immediately after casting his Buffs so that he can see what's going on and find a nice spot to observe. Then when the PCs go up stairs he can raise his full complement of (potentially) 9 bandit Zombies using his scroll. That will leave him closer to the exit if/when he flees.


If each zombie is 2 HD, then the animate dead scroll should only be able to raise 5 of them.

And that's a good idea about sneaking out of the room early. If he takes 10 and only moves at half speed, Rohkar gets a 36 on his Stealth check while invisible.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I'm planning on having him raid his stash of low-level Animate Dead scrolls.

Though this does bring up an interesting ethical conflict for my GMPC. He's a Paladin of the Goddess of Death (and Healing). While he has a "do not kill prisoners" philosophy, he ALSO has a "Thou Shalt Not Let a Necromancer Live" philosophy as well. So when Rohkar goes and claims "Necromancer!" and then realizes there's a Paladin of Marashieb who hates and kills necromancers in the room? Hee!

(Though I could always rework it with him faking being a priest because of the priesthood's hunt-and-kill policy. Then again, the worship of Marashieb is banned in many regions (the corrupt priesthood of the God of Law hates the faith and gets it banned whenever possible).


Ansel Krulwich wrote:

If each zombie is 2 HD, then the animate dead scroll should only be able to raise 5 of them.

And that's a good idea about sneaking out of the room early. If he takes 10 and only moves at half speed, Rohkar gets a 36 on his Stealth check while invisible.

Yeah I thought that was going to be a really tough fight. Thanks again Ansel, that's why I love these boards!, I think my players will be hard pressed enough as is.

Note: This is my first venture behind the screen in many years. I plan to continue bouncing things off these boards. Thanks in advance for all the help!


The lodge was nearly a TPK for my group. You can read about it here. I ended up using a morale failure on the bandits to avoid wiping out the party, playing them up as cowards who run as soon as things start to look bad, and Rokhar yelling at their incompetence as the PCs limped away. I would make it a point to not use any of the sick bandits in the initial combat. The action economy of being outnumbered and the cruelty of the dice can make the lodge dangerous. Much safer to run the encounters separately if you can.


So I've been doing a fair amount of research and I can't find anything really for or against this argument, but does cold resistance (campaign trait Blood of the North) protect the PC's from the non-lethal cold damage? If so, do they still suffer fatigue (from walking through snow etc?)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Yes, cold resistance protects from non-lethal cold damage. If the amount of damage fails to penetrate the resistance, then I'd rule the fatigue does not affect them.

One other problem with running everyone together is how long it takes. Of course... it took long for two other reasons: first, the bandits had to go around the building to reach the PCs (the crossbow trap caught them PCs TWICE. First time at night, the PCs snuck away and decided to sleep and come back in the day. At which point it was reset and the thief failed to detect it. Despite deliberately looking.

Second? Illusionary fallen tree. I kid you not. The wizard/priest used Silent Image to make it look like a tree fell across the way. The entire group of thieves stopped. They KNEW it couldn't be real. And all rolled below a 10 to save. Nine bandits all flubbed their rolls. Then I realized the PCs ALSO had to save. Most of them failed their saves too.

Half an hour was spent (and rounds of combat) in which gradually one person would see what was going on, try to convince their allies, while the wizard/priest tried hard not to laugh his bottom off because of the idiocy of bandits and allies. (That and the Druid cast Entangle to stop an attempted charge.)

Round 2 was more interesting because Rohkar snuck around back while the PCs were assaulting the skeletons, used Channel Energy to kill those bandits that hadn't died, and then raise five of them as zombies. He was brought exactly to 0 hit points and surrendered. I was most surprised to find he didn't have a single healing potion or anything. ^^;;


Necrovox wrote:
So I've been doing a fair amount of research and I can't find anything really for or against this argument, but does cold resistance (campaign trait Blood of the North) protect the PC's from the non-lethal cold damage? If so, do they still suffer fatigue (from walking through snow etc?)

Since the nonlethal damage actually occurs over a minute or more, my group's always gone with cold resistance stopping it completely - that the environment has to be hostile enough to overcome your resistance in a single round in order to actually hurt you.

If you don't like it being that strong, just role the 1d6 subdual, subtract cold resistance, and the person's fatigued if they still actually took damage.

But I'd let a tiefling go skinny dipping in freezing water or walk through the desert at noon in a parka without suffering any ill effects, assuming the environment isn't so bad that I'm rolling damage every round.

I feel that if your natural defenses can mitigate dragon breath, then they should trump frostbite and heatstroke.


So, ran my second session beginning just after crossing Wishbone Creek. As the party prepared to break camp they heard the roar of a Polar Bear (random encounter). The bear was attempting drag the body of Farmer Dansby back to his den (or at least away from the trail). It was nearly a TPK with the injured Barbarian going down after one swipe of the bear claw. Next the Magus dropped (both in negatives). Luckily the Spellslinger and Inquisitor got some solid (and lucky) hits in, and were able to drop the bear. I allowed a Survival check to skin the bear and another to use it as Cold Weather gear.

The three bandits on the trail didn't stand a chance (after the party healed up), being surprised by the PCs and not lasting through the 1st normal round.

The Lodge was great, even though my group completely by-passed the crossbow trap by electing to trudge through the snow drifts 5' a round until they reached the windows on the north side of the lodge. The bandits had ample time to prepare as did Rohkar. I had the bandits all ready their bows, and they did cause some damage, but they all dropped to the Barbarian's sword and Spellslinger's pistol pretty easily. Rohkar waited Invisibly until the party (all but the Spellslinger) went upstairs. Rohkar raised his 5 Zombies hoping to take out the solo PC, but the PC made it to Ten Penny's room and was able to take the Zombie's out (most of them) at the door with one shot each at Point Blank.

As the Barbarian, Magus and Inquistitor were dealing with the Frost Skeletons (which did the most damage of all), Rohkar was getting the impression that he might need to flee and tell Izoze/Teb what was happening. ((I had really hoped to get him into the fight a bit more, but he wouldn't have stood a chance alone against these PCs)) So I gave everyone (once the others came back downstairs) 2 Perception checks to notice the invisible Rohkar move to and out of the doors leading to the rope bridge. No one spotted him and he made off to warn Izoze/Teb.

Ten-Penny hid when the fighting broke out in the Trophy Room. When the Inquisitor looked in the Kitchen from the doorway, he failed his Perception check to spot her hiding behind a kitchen/pot rack. By this time numerous gunshots had rang out, the Frost Skeletons had exploded etc. So when they did find her at the end and she went full-defensive, it was easy enough to subdue her. She posed no threat, and the Barbarian actually took a shine to her.

The PCs find and free Lady Argentea with help from TP, interrogate Vrix, and loot the lodge. Being as there is no Cleric, I swapped some treasure for 2 CLW Potions, and they stopped to heal/Level up. After that they took the horses from the stable (I decided there were 4) and return to Heldren with Lady Argentea. I decided, too expedite the game, that the party made it back to Heldren in 2 days, as they stopped frequently and took every advantage to protect vs the cold.

The party was met and rewards (the 500gp) were given, equipment purchased/sold etc..

I had the PCs make 10 cold checks (10 hours) to get back to the lodge on horseback. They actually did very well with just cold weather gear and Survival bonuses. It wasn't until the checks got to DC:20 that anyone failed. Ten Penny went with the party too, but only to bring the horses back to Heldren as I ruled they would never cross the rope bridge willingly.

They reached the bridge. My players, being as old as we are, decided to tie a rope to the Spellslinger and tie the other end to one of the stanchions holding the bridge up (suffice to say they took every conceivable precaution to guard against falling). I asked him how fast he was moving across the frost covered rope bridge swaying in the wind. He said "Half speed. We're still in the snow." to wit I agreed. Once he got 10 feet out on the bridge he failed the first Reflex save and slipped off the bridge. The Barbarian and Inquisitor were feeding the rope out, so I gave one of them a Strength check to catch the Spellslinger as he fell, with a +2 for the other helping. No Problem, they lay back on the rope and pull the guy up on their turn.

Eventually the Spellslinger gets out halfway across and Izoze gets a surprise attack on him with her Breath Weapon. PC saves. Izoze goes on to hit him with Magic Missile, a Bull Rush attempt (failed), and a few claw attacks, before he gets all the way across and ties the rope off to the opposite side. The Magus managed to hit with an Acid Splash once or twice, but for minimal damage that Izoze eventually healed. The Magus began crossing and the Barbarian behind him, 5' a round. Since Izoze is trying to take out the first person to get across the bridge, the others are free to cross, slowly. Though once they get across and in range, Izoze was able to get the 3 in her Breath Weapon, sickening 2 of them.

At the end, all the PCs got across, Izoze took damage, but not enough to overcome her DR and Fast Healing. UNTIL they all got across and then the Barbarian got a good hit on her, dropping her to 10. She Withdraws, but based on her movement/route the Spellslinger is able to get off a shot, but can't bring the Mephit down...

SO. Now I have Izoze AND Rohkar waiting to ambush the PCs on the trail. Or would they go fortify the portal? I know either Izoze or Hommelstaub are supposed to ambush them before the portal, but I need to fit Rohkar in and he needs to be able to shine a little.

There are the 2 Frost Skeletons coming up on the trail. I could have Rohkar attack with them...

Not sure how I want to work it yet.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

If they reinforce the portal, it's a death trap. However, Izoze could be sent back with the ambush later on.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Might want to read through this thread...

What Is Rohkar's Next Move?

...for some additional ideas. Not all of it would apply, as your circumstances differ from the OP in that thread. But, at least a few of the possible outcomes could still be in play for you.

My two cents,
--Neil


Thanks guys.

@Neil - I actually read that one the other day. I had hoped Rohkar would've had the upper hand and been able to really put the PCs to the test, especially after all the posts I've read. But it didn't happen. Even though the Inquisitor walked up to the lodge (5' shy of the crossbow trap trip wire) to be in range to use his Detect Evil and was spotted by the bandits inside. The party then spent no less than 10 rounds slogging through the snow to get to the windows on the north side. So I had Rohkar buffed per the book on the main floor "hiding" near the exit. The only reason they even know he was there is because of Ten Penny. Would it be more likely that Rohkar would attack on the trail with the Frost Skeletons at the Ancient Invaders encounter, or would he want to hang out near the Troll? I'm assuming he's afraid of Teb and wouldn't want to disappoint, but it has been about 4 days. I purposely left the lodge empty, as I didn't want to take that safe spot from the PCs.

Thanks again for the input!


The Frost skeletons are incredibly brutal level 1 enemies, in the confines of the house especially they mow people down with their automatic damage. I will never send them against level 1 players again, as it is sick and wrong.


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My players had their battle against Rohkar yesterday. While dealing with the sick bandits, Rohkar snuck downstairs while invisible and found the bedroom (between the kitchen and his room) where the unconscious bandits were piled into from the previous fight. Channels twice, kills everyone in that room, then used the scroll of animate dead. With the room pretty well packed, he hung back in his bedroom.

After completing the battle with the sick bandits, the Erutaki oracle PC had everyone take up positions around the first floor, asked for an axe, and then climbs onto the table and proceeds to hack through the ceiling to get into the room above. "Ooooookaaaaay," I say while laughing and thinking about how much fun this is going to be.

What happens next:
The beast rider cavalier (halfling on a wolf) stands guard outside the room full of zombies and after a perception check, the wolf nervously sniff at the door. She yells, "Guys, I think there's something in here," right as the oracle finishes smashing a hole in the ceiling and looking up to find two pairs of skeleton feet. Initiative is called as Rohkar commands his minions to attack.

Ten rounds of combat ensue with two separate fights going on. The oracle and fighter take on the skeletons who shove the table out of the way and fall/jump down. One skeleton had taken a hit before the oracle jumped down and failed the jump check through the hole, falls to the floor, and takes just enough damage to explode doing damage to the oracle. The second jumps safely down, is clubbed shortly thereafter, explodes and the oracle is significantly damaged but is otherwise alive.

Meanwhile, the zombies are pinned into two bedrooms, Rohkar's and the bandits' and so begins a Scoobie Doo battle of one zombie opening the door, a second zombie striking out at a player, another player trying to strike back and then closing the door, and repeat. All the while the winter witch keeps running between the bear skin rug room and the great hall trying to keep line of sight on Rohkar to continue cackling. As the doors open and close, Rohkar successfully casts hold person on the halfling cavalier and then murderous command on her wolf companion. She never saw that one coming.

The spell-less ranger had snuck outside and fired an arrow through a window, shattering it and missing Rohkar but managed to pop his copycat image. A quick cause fear sent her running into the forest. Rohkar channeled twice to keep his zombies up which really kept the challenge going against the players as the party had burned pretty much all of their spells and channels to keep everyone healed. Rohkar got a successful attack with his poisoned blade against the fighter, a few rounds later all of the zombies had been wiped out, and Rohkar is beaten to within an inch of his life and he pleads for mercy.

During the fight, Rohkar flubbed his slight of hand check and everyone near him caught sight of something being put back into the wrist of his glove. They frisk him and find his unholy symbol. "Uh, that's not mine. I stole that from some cleric." It seems apparent that the party doesn't buy his story and are going to continue attacking so he grabs the symbol, gets his final channel off to harm, I roll snake eyes on the 2d6 and poetically he's quickly smacked into unconsciousness, stripped down to his skivvies, his unholy symbol destroyed, and he's tied up and left to rot while the PCs fix up all the damage to the lodge with mending spells.

The PCs find the sprite in the cage upstairs but refuse to let her out, being highly untrusting of fey now. They torture (!)her (I'd swapped Vrixx and Pym) but she refuses to talk so they end up just killing her eventually. I just love my murderhobos. Lady Argentea is rescued but the PCs seem suspicious of her at first but eventually figure she's who she says she is. She suspiciously eyes the Qadiran cleric but thanks everyone anyways since they have rescued her.

Rohkar is interrogated the next day and figuring himself to be a deadman coughs up information remorselessly. "I really wanted to cut on her a little, but the fey wanted her unharmed for some reason." After there are no more questions, the Qadiran cleric of Sarenrae takes him outside near the rope bridge and beheads Rohkar.

Izoze chuckles to herself a little.

They spend a couple days healing all of the bandits, helping them recover from the chillbane shakes, and then march everyone back to Heldren. While they're deciding what to do with the cloak of the yeti, the Lady looks at it remarking, "I'd look nice on me oh, but no, don't worry about that I mean, I understand as a Qadiran you'd want to hold on to whatever treasures that you have..."

"What do you mean, 'As a Qadiran?'"

Ah, good times!

After returning to Heldren, the party offers to escort Yuln and Lady Argentea for a couple days out. She thanks them. "You're a credit to your race, young Sarenrist."

The experience with the frost skeletons prepared the players for their next encounter in the forest, although for 6 PCs I should have added a third skeleton (I was tired and just wanted the encounters to move on). They still did some decent damage against the PCs. The skeletons are rather brutal against first level players, for certain, but if they make good knowledge checks, they should know about the aura and possibly the 'splody parts. If they regularly dump Int and fail those checks... Well natural selection is only natural. ;-)

The frost firs brutally pummeled the cleric when he shot a fire bolt at one of them. For that fight, I had the forest floor cleared of snow allowing for full movement without penalty which really helped the frost firs charge. That was a fun fight as I played up the groaning and snapping of wood and branches. The players made some good knowledge checks and they harvested the firs' limbs for sap and tindertwigs. They also kidnapped the buried pinecones. Murderhobos! All of them!

They found Dryden's journal, successfully found all of the bear traps, and then came across the mysterious hut. As the PCs walked carefully around the ice boulders, the image of Thora led them deeper and deeper in. No one ever asked her name or who her mother was but once they got to within sight of the hut, they climbed up the mounds of snow to get to it. The cavalier went around, triggered the haunt and sent half the party scrambling for the trees. The fight with the soulbound doll was brutal as it quickly sped around, cast frost fall on a few PCs, and stabbed anyone who was nearby in the foot with her dagger. My dice were hot for that fight and I rolled three crits doing a whopping two points of damage with the dagger plus the d6 of cold. The PCs used alchemist's fire to good effect (occasionally eating the splash damage since it shares the PCs square to attack) on the doll and eventually it fell over in a mass of burned clothing, melted hair, and charred porcelain.

Since no one seemed to be asking the girl's name, I intricately described the blue ribbons with a white gingerbread pattern in her hair. Nadya will have similar ribbons in her braids.


Ansel - I assume Izoze retreated to the Portal then? Hacking through the floor? That's an interesting tactic... not going to gain any surprise, that's for sure ;)

I think I'll just have Rohkar attack on the trail with the second set of Frost Skeletons (My PCs are hearty, they got max HP at 1st and 2nd level since there is absolutely minimal healing potential in their party). I'm going under the pretense that Rohkar fled across the bridge, told Izoze of the debacle at the Lodge (she took great pleasure in his failure), and then made his way to the Portal to inform Teb (Izoze wasn't going to be the bearer of bad news, "Let the chump tell he Big Guy himself" she figured). So, by the time the party gets back to the Lodge, crosses the bridge, defeats Izoze (she fled at 10 hp per the book), Rohkar has had plenty of time to get to Teb, take his lumps from the Troll, work his way back set an ambush with the Skeletons.

I think I will have Izoze run her ambush as described in the book and leave the Portal as written...

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Ansel Krulwich wrote:
Since no one seemed to be asking the girl's name, I intricately described the blue ribbons with a white gingerbread pattern in her hair. Nadya will have similar ribbons in her braids.

Nice.


I was re-reading parts of the AP last night and I realized that the Ancient Invaders encounter is supposed to have 3 frost skeletons, not 2. Baaah. I really should have called the game after the party went back to Heldren, sent everyone home, and taken a nap.

Ok, so I've got a question about arctic animals. The tactics for the giant weasel state that it charges a target. If the ground is covered in snow making it difficult terrain, how does that work? I was going to start describing arctic-variant and boreal creatures as having larger footpads to mitigate the snowy terrain but I'm wondering if there's just something that I'm missing.

Paizo Employee Developer

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That's a mistake. The giant weasel can't charge through difficult terrain, unless you rule that that particular area has less snow, either from rocks exposed by wind or heavy tree cover.


Ansel, I ran into the same issue. When my players looted the Lodge and freed Lady Argentea, I completely missed the stash of alchemist's fire, scrolls of lesser animate dead etc. However, since Rohkar got away, I've rationalized that he took his stuff with him (he had about 15 rounds to prep as my players slogged through the snow drifts on the north side of the lodge).

So, as previously stated up in the thread, Rohkar will have the three skeletons from the Ancient Invaders encounter and possibly (if I need some fodder) a couple of zombies (he would have had time to go back to the lodge and recover some of the corpses).

My players already realize the trail ahead is going to be extra perilous since they let two bad guys get away, but they have no idea the Bride of Chucky is waiting for them ;) I think I will even giver her Jenifer Tilly's voice (or a child's version anyway).


Had an inquiry and didn't know where to put it. This seemed as good a place as any to avoid putting the whole thing in spoilers.

One of my players has expressed interest in the Arctic domain. It seems like an appropriate domain, but it has the somewhat-concerning Call Cold power. It lets you channel energy to heal cold creatures (whatever) or command them (say whaaaaaaaat!).

How would you deal with this? At first glance, the answer is NO to total enslavement of all the minions I can throw at the party. But then, if it's not going to be allowed in this game, that option is never a good idea! What if we were to work with it?

Let's take a closer look. If I'm reading everything right, you can only control total creatures up to your hit dice. That means it won't work on stronger creatures in the first place. That limitation should safely rule out a good number of creatures. (And if the encounter is really important, I can add hit dice.)

The other limitation is that it requires Charisma to work well, not something Druids usually have. But, the character can certainly be made with this in mind. Ultimately, though the ability may easily solve some encounters, it may be fun to have some random cold fey or (eventually) ice trolls following the party around.

What do people think? Try it out, or ban it now while the banning is good?


I wouldn't allow it in this campaign... But that's just me. I think you might end up regretting it and have to address it in the middle of the campaign. No one likes that.

If I'm not mistaken, the Fey in the beginning of the module will likely fail (they have a Will modifier of +1, Thora has a +1, the Frost Firs have a +2). Assuming your Druid has at least a +1 in Charisma that will make the DC at minimum a 12. So it's less than 50:50 for the fey to make it, more if the PC's Charisma is higher (to a max of DC15 or so depending on the PC).

It's a pretty big advantage in this campaign I think. But you could work with it if you wanted to. Personally, I wouldn't want to. Yet, if the campaign focused on Undead, I doubt I would prohibit players from playing with the Sun Domain... but I would want to ;)


The difference may be that Undead are made and balanced with the idea that they could be cleric playthings in mind. Creatures with the cold subtype most assuredly are not, because who picks domains like this?

Going by the hit dice, though, many creatures are out of reach of the ability. The sprites at first level have 2 hit dice. Thora has 4. The Frost Firs are the first potential target for the ability - you meet them at 2nd level, they have 2 hit dice. The winter wolves and ice trolls in the second book look to be vulnerable, but I can always look into adding hit dice.


I'd allow it contingent upon the player agreeing that if it gets out of hand we'd revisit it later and negotiate a rebuild. As it is, it's has the HD limitation and I'd even say that intelligent creatures (which should be most of them, including the frost firs) get a new save every day. At some point, the control will break and the party will have a fight on its hands. If the enemy is particularly clever, they'll pretend to stay under the player's command and attack when it is most advantageous.


Don't forget, there's this wording about command undead (which is the basis for the Arctic Druid ability):

"If an undead creature is under the control of another creature, you must make an opposed Charisma check whenever your orders conflict."

So perhaps Rohkar or Izoze also has the fey under their own command? Or Hommelstaub or Teb Knotten.

Or as a cool foreshadowing, Radosek Pavril has them under command and when the arctic druid uses the ability he makes the check and you describe the conflicting will when/if they fail.


I'm pretty certain "under the control of another creature" refers to control undead, not command (which has only a 1 round duration). It would probably only apply in this case to another character using the Arctic domain Call Cold power on the same cold creature.


I don't see anything wrong with it. It's less powerful than a fire caster blasting everything, and it's unlikely to be that effective at high level against creatures with a semi-decent will save.

It's really not much different than a cleric trying to command undead in an undead heavy game.


I was thinking of putting some restrictions on the control. I don't want to entirely remove the fun of having the ability, but absolute control seems, well, good. Ignoring suicidal orders, at the very least, certainly isn't out of line. I think I will also use the part of the text of Dominate Person that says if you don't share a language, only basic orders can be followed.

Much more than that and you enter DM territory that could invalidate the ability entirely, making it so you may as well not give it to them. This could be a delicate situation, but it could also be a very profitable experience. (If only for me, to learn to never let this happen again.)


@Ansel - Fair enough, but if they were dominated or charmed or some such. Command was just an example. If they are being controlled by another then it requires the check.


Do APs include a list of what other books are required? I downloaded this one and there are already two sourcebooks (Bestiary 3 and whatever book has the "barkeep" class). Is it just assumed you may be expected to have any other sourcebook that has been printed up to the publication date?


Look on the Credits page in the frontmatter. There's a list of Paizo books there along with abbreviations.


ok found it, thanks.
Is there a formula within an AP for "hey, you should own that other book already!" vs. "ok, this one is pretty obscure and there are multiple cross references, so here's the full stat block"?


There might be, but basically all of the disparate information is on the SRD. That includes the NPC archetypes like the Barkeep. That means I certainly don't complain. :)

Paizo Employee Developer

If the information can be found in one of the "core" hardback rulebooks (and therefore, is also available free online in the PRD), then we do not reprint the information. If it's from some other source, usually either another product line (such as a Campaign Setting, Player Companion, or another AP) or a third party book, we reprint the information or provide a full stat block.

In the case of Reign of Winter, one of the reasons we included the "Reign of Winter Toolkit" in Pathfinder #67 (and reprinted the winter witch archetype and prestige class in the free Reign of Winter Player's Guide) was to collect some rules elements from different sources not in the PRD that we knew we'd be using throughout the AP. That way, people wouldn't have to buy a bunch more books to get one archetype or spell, and we wouldn't need to reprint it in every volume in which it appeared.


the toolkit looks like a big help. Saves me a lot of time from having to look up stuff like "numbing cold" online if I forgot to prep for it during a gaming session.

this looks fun and hard. I like that the second combat encounter of the entire thing is basically "dragon pounce the wizard"


About to start on the Irrisen section

Questions from Part 3 onwards:

- Would PCs in cold weather gear have to save against cold every hours (and everyone else every 10 mins)? Is there any clothing that would remove the need to save? I'm just preparing for the inevitable questions of 'What do the residents do', 'Does the population always have to make hourly saves' etc

- How far are people saying that Waldsby is from the portal? I assume due the symmetry the same as on the other side? So several more random encounter attempts

- Did anyone re-write the Unfriendly hosts event. Because as written it seems like a bit of a easy encounter. I understand everyone can't have loads of PC levels but I cannot see why an expert and adept would challenge a group of 4/5 pcs no matter how unfriendly they were feeling.

Theoretically the PCs should not be carrying heavy weapons and armour around Waldsby but still....

- On a similar note are the PCs likely to have any advance warning of the soldier raids. Could be substantially more challenging if they are sitting in normal clothing unarmed in Nadya's house

- In the Pale Tower is the bluff on the guards just a mechanic to get the PCs in (so 3 options of climb, smash or bluff)
Because it is not clear what would happen once they were let in. Would the guards go and call for Radosek? And does the troll encounter get skipped

It could be interpreted that a successful bluffing party no carrying fire (which they would not be unless it was night) could get past all the ground floor encounters and up the first teleportation pad. Surely this is not the intention...


Sloanzilla wrote:

the toolkit looks like a big help. Saves me a lot of time from having to look up stuff like "numbing cold" online if I forgot to prep for it during a gaming session.

this looks fun and hard. I like that the second combat encounter of the entire thing is basically "dragon pounce the wizard"

Mine went after the winter witch (it couldn't charge because of difficult terrain, nimble moves merely got it out of the underbrush), fumbled the attack, and was soundly beat upon by six PCs. It never stood a chance. :(

They then dragged its corpse around for two days until they had enough time to skin it. It'll make a nice handbag, I figure.

I'd recommend having the ground clear of snow for that encounter.


Lanathar, here are my interpretations of your questions!

Lanathar wrote:


- Would PCs in cold weather gear have to save against cold every hours (and everyone else every 10 mins)? Is there any clothing that would remove the need to save? I'm just preparing for the inevitable questions of 'What do the residents do', 'Does the population always have to make hourly saves' etc

The way I read it, Irrisen is usually Cold, but that only implies hourly checks if you're not bundled up, just as it was back in part 1 and 2. I imagine the residents are usually bundled up. However, every so often, at your option, the weather dips into Severe Cold. This means even characters prepared for cold weather have to make hourly checks. When this happens, I imagine the natives take cover, go inside, start a fire, anything to avoid frostbite. Incidentally, I think that's why the guards who go to Waldsby are outfitted with Potions of Endure Elements. If it gets supercold and they have to work, they can just drink their potion and keep going.

Lanathar wrote:


- How far are people saying that Waldsby is from the portal? I assume due the symmetry the same as on the other side? So several more random encounter attempts

Seems reasonable, though it may be possible that Nadya takes the PCs to her home via a more direct route. I wouldn't actually throw more than one random encounter at them anyway.

Lanathar wrote:


- Did anyone re-write the Unfriendly hosts event. Because as written it seems like a bit of a easy encounter. I understand everyone can't have loads of PC levels but I cannot see why an expert and adept would challenge a group of 4/5 pcs no matter how unfriendly they were feeling.

Theoretically the PCs should not be carrying heavy weapons and armour around Waldsby but still....

I'm not sure this encounter is meant to threaten the PCs mechanically, though the point about them not openly carrying weapons around is a good one. I see this as an interesting role-playing/tone-setting encounter. Katrina is a bit of an alarmist, but clearly believes she is doing what she must for her own safety. Emil is a decent guy who does what his wife says. Do the PCs kill them for that? Knock them out and flee? Apologize and leave? Will the PCs even agree with each other? Each path has different ramifications.

If you wanted to really threaten the PCs, though, then give Emil and Katrina PC class levels, or throw a few more NPCs into the room. (Drunkards, maybe?) Could be fun too!

Lanathar wrote:


- On a similar note are the PCs likely to have any advance warning of the soldier raids. Could be substantially more challenging if they are sitting in normal clothing unarmed in Nadya's house

The PCs or Nadya might expect retribution depending on what happened at the White Weasel, so they'll probably be on their guard. However, it could be fun to have Hatch "put away" some of their more important equipment if they put it down for a second...

Lanathar wrote:


- In the Pale Tower is the bluff on the guards just a mechanic to get the PCs in (so 3 options of climb, smash or bluff)
Because it is not clear what would happen once they were let in. Would the guards go and call for Radosek? And does the troll encounter get skipped

It could be interpreted that a successful bluffing party no carrying fire (which they would not be unless it was night) could get past all the ground floor encounters and up the first teleportation pad. Surely this is not the intention...

This part is entirely your call. If their story is good enough and the dice are with them, I wouldn't necessarily be opposed to letting them talk their way through the first floor. I don't think I would have the gate guards do anything else, once they established their "credentials". The PCs would have to explain themselves to the troll, mostly because she is hungry, and I imagine she has picked fights with more a few guards for this reason. They would also have to explain themselves to the captain of the guard, who probably is super-suspicious of the newcomers and gets a sizable circumstance bonus on her Sense Motive check. But hey, if they pull it off, good for them. Stabbing things isn't the only way to solve problems.

Hope this helps!


Thanks!

I played through part 3 before anyone had responded here.

I think I did some things badly

Players were really confused why they would be invited to the tavern only to have a crossbow pointed at them

They agreed to leave the next day. I decided that was not good enough and had Emil shoot. I figures the two paladins clanking in fully armed and armoured would have put him even more on edge than usual

(Incidentally how do people deal with PCs who insist on walking around town with swords, shields and half plate armour etc
There isn't really anyone who can stop them. I had Nadya recommend they didn't but they paid not attention (and I couldn't think of any serious ramifications)

The players grudgingly accepted the surrender of Emil and Katerina and took them to town hall to in their words 'await trial for their crimes'. I figure the soldiers would have gone their first found out and informed Radosek (had he no seen either fight in the White Weasel in mirror anyway)

Am I being unreasonable here?

It was certainly odd as I had a Paladin shouting at the soldiers and sergeant (in common) to surrender and await trial for their crimes. This could get trying as of course the soldiers haven't technically committed any crimes

One of the two paladins keeps saying that he emphasises the Good over the Lawful. Seems to think that Iomadae's doctrine is to go out and smite anything evil, no questions asked. Could prove a problem in Adventure 2...

I also got confused with Hatch's hiding. Didn't have much of an impact as PCs had time to find the stuff before it became an issue - Nadya's house is too small to keep things hidden for long!


Going forward:

For the Witchcrow encounter -

If the PCs have the keys in their packs the way I read Improved steal is that it would not work. This kind of negates the point on the encounter...

But surely no one would really have them tucked into their belt. So what did the writers intend here...?


Lanathar wrote:

Going forward:

For the Witchcrow encounter -

If the PCs have the keys in their packs the way I read Improved steal is that it would not work. This kind of negates the point on the encounter...

But surely no one would really have them tucked into their belt. So what did the writers intend here...?

I would also like clarification on this. One of my players has the keys in a belt pack tied around his waist. Does the witchcrow have a chance of snatching them? It doesn't seem likely it could flyby open the pack and grab the keys or even bite off the belt fastening the pack to the player. I am not sure what to do with this encounter.


Macgreine wrote:
Lanathar wrote:

Going forward:

For the Witchcrow encounter -

If the PCs have the keys in their packs the way I read Improved steal is that it would not work. This kind of negates the point on the encounter...

But surely no one would really have them tucked into their belt. So what did the writers intend here...?

I would also like clarification on this. One of my players has the keys in a belt pack tied around his waist. Does the witchcrow have a chance of snatching them? It doesn't seem likely it could flyby open the pack and grab the keys or even bite off the belt fastening the pack to the player. I am not sure what to do with this encounter.

Perhaps Lytil could use evil eye (-2 AC to lower CMD), misfortune (to help avoid AoOs), and cackle on the target PC, fly up, sunder the backpack or pouch, then simply pick up the keys from the ground or use improved steal to take them from the player if they pick up the keys first.

She'll have to be quick and lucky, though.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Chris Lambertz wrote:
GM Reference thread for Snows of Summer.

Okay...Page 13...Encounter C.

There's a reference to having monster chow...er adventurer "buried in snow."

Okay...how does that work? How does the critter (which doesn't have tunneling movement) move underneath the snow? How does the party "chase" after it? In a tunnel? Or the usual 4x movement costs (barring snowshoes, etc.) How does the adventurer in question dig himself out?

As written: requiring a grapple check to move at half speed and then only being able to move 1 square (30 ft->halved->4x movement cost) per grapple check, the poor critter is practically setting himself up to get beaten up. And then the silly creature waits for the adventurer to suffocate. Let's see 10 con=20 rounds of holding breath...10 rounds if he's doing standard actions. That's a long time to wait.

I suppose I can assume that the "arctic" variant implies full movement in and through snow...which opens up another can of worms (fighting creatures that can tunnel...full concealment/full cover).

Just wondering how you folks ran with it.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I had it ignore the snow. It didn't help it however, as there was a good archer and spellcasters handy.


I just gave the PC's a perception check on it (they didn't make it) so it got a surprise round and was in their face before they had a chance to do to anything. The rest of the combat proceeded normally because the creature failed its grapple. They killed it easily because it was hungry.


Ansel Krulwich wrote:
Macgreine wrote:
Lanathar wrote:

Going forward:

For the Witchcrow encounter -

If the PCs have the keys in their packs the way I read Improved steal is that it would not work. This kind of negates the point on the encounter...

But surely no one would really have them tucked into their belt. So what did the writers intend here...?

I would also like clarification on this. One of my players has the keys in a belt pack tied around his waist. Does the witchcrow have a chance of snatching them? It doesn't seem likely it could flyby open the pack and grab the keys or even bite off the belt fastening the pack to the player. I am not sure what to do with this encounter.

Perhaps Lytil could use evil eye (-2 AC to lower CMD), misfortune (to help avoid AoOs), and cackle on the target PC, fly up, sunder the backpack or pouch, then simply pick up the keys from the ground or use improved steal to take them from the player if they pick up the keys first.

She'll have to be quick and lucky, though.

I will give this a try but wow. I have to wonder what the writer had in mind. This sounds near impossible and quite a bit complicated which makes me wonder why the encounter is even here.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Oh, and one other thing with the Wyrm. Have them encounter a couple clearings ahead of time. The moment my group had to roll perception checks they grew ultra-paranoid. So I had them go through... and not get attacked. Until they were out of the clearing. THAT was when it went after the unarmored guy. ;)

So have them roll perception checks several times leading up to this. Or keep the perception check quiet.


BTW, because my players never opened up the sprites cage at the Lodge, I ended up saving the sprite's color spray for the battle at the winter portal and it was epic. They were fighting Teb and had taken out half of his hit points with burning hands and the like when one of the sprites flew up and out of the igloo and nailed over half the party leaving just 2 to fight off the troll.

You could just feel the hope draining from the room when that happened.

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