The Snows of Summer (GM Reference)


Reign of Winter

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I have a question about the spear that the troll that is fought right before they go to Irrisen. His spear re-adjusts for size right? A small character then would be able to use it fine if I am reading this correctly?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

If it readjusts for size, then anyone can use it. Hell, a sprite could use it, which would be most amusing. =^-^=


That is what I thought. The gnome sorcerer is going to be happy riding his triceratops and using this spear.


Shalafi2412 wrote:
I have a question about the spear that the troll that is fought right before they go to Irrisen. His spear re-adjusts for size right? A small character then would be able to use it fine if I am reading this correctly?

The write up on page 61 says the spear re-adjusts to fit the wielder's size. I assume that otherwise, if not wielded/carried, it defaults to Medium.


In Part 4, area Q12: Library, is Captain Hestrig's Greatsword magical? In the Offense:Melee section it says +1, but in her Combat Gear it says MW.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Masterwork Weapons grant a +1 to attack rolls.


Irnk, Dead-Eye's Prodigal wrote:
Masterwork Weapons grant a +1 to attack rolls.

Yes, I realize that. The question isn't what the bonus grants, rather what kind of bonus it is.

If you look at the next NPC stat block (Jairess Sonn Area Q17), it says under Offense:Melee MWK Shortspear. Then in her Combat Gear it says MWK Shortspear as well.

This is not the case with Hestrig, her Melee entry reads +1 Greatsword +8 (2d6+5/19-20) and her Combat Gear says MWK Greatsword...

so my question is still which entry is correct, Melee or Gear? Magic or MWK?

Edit I stand corrected!

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

She only has a masterwork greatsword. However, her Melee entry indicates a +1 greatsword because the Tactics section of her stat-block explains she casts magic weapon on it before combat. That's why her Base Statistics ratchet it back down to a masterwork greatsword again and give you the stats for that, as well.


Neil Spicer wrote:
She only has a masterwork greatsword. However, her Melee entry indicates a +1 greatsword because the Tactics section of her stat-block indicates she casts magic weapon on it before combat. That's why her Base Statistics ratchet it back down to a masterwork greatsword again and give you the stats for it, as well.

Ahh... I was just perusing and skipped the tactics of that encounter. Makes sense now.

Thanks Neil!

BTW, I had Rohkar (who had gotten away during the Lodge battle) coordinate his attacks later on the trail to Somir Valley with the Frost Skeletons. In addition, I had him recover bodies from the Lodge to raise (with his scrolls) during the ambush. He got 2 raised before he was spotted and then went Invisible to attack with his poisoned sword. He missed the Barbarian (rolled a 2), who promptly started beating the everloving crap outta him (and why I need to know if Hestrig's greatsword is magical). Rohkar and his Undead got in some good licks, but he was eventually incapacitated (natural 20 to stabilize at -2). He gave up the info per the book once he awoke, then was judged guilty by the Inquistor and quickly beheaded.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

closetgamer wrote:
Rohkar and his Undead got in some good licks, but he was eventually incapacitated (natural 20 to stabilize at -2). He gave up the info per the book once he awoke, then was judged guilty by the Inquistor and quickly beheaded.

Cool. He's the kind of sub-villain who just keeps on giving to the storyline of the adventure.


Neil Spicer wrote:
closetgamer wrote:
Rohkar and his Undead got in some good licks, but he was eventually incapacitated (natural 20 to stabilize at -2). He gave up the info per the book once he awoke, then was judged guilty by the Inquistor and quickly beheaded.
Cool. He's the kind of sub-villain who just keeps on giving to the storyline of the adventure.

BTW Neil, my players are absolutely loving this first module. We made it to the Portal and they received the Keys and Black Mantle from the Black Rider (I only gave them a +1 ability bump since they have above average stats already, I'll probably throw in the other point later on sometime). Next session I hope to get through Waldsby and finish just before the Pale Tower, leaving the tower as the final session for book 1.

Thanks for a great story/module!

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

closetgamer wrote:
Thanks for a great story/module!

No problem. Thanks for taking it and running it in such a great way for your players. GMs are always the ones who make our work shine the brightest at the gaming table.


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So, for Mierul I had actually written down notes for a song that she'd sing:

Notes on Mierul's song:
Sung in Varisian, it is the story of a songbird hatched into a family where she is mocked for being uglier and looking different from her siblings. Despite her beautiful singing, she is forced to leave her family at a young age by her mother. As she travels, she meets a beautiful white swan who takes her in and teaches her about inner beauty, independence, and faith in oneself. From then on, the young bird idolizes the white swan and tries to be like her as much as she can but despite how swan-like she tries to be, no one ever loves her because the white swan's beauty eclipses the songbird's. In the end, she dies alone and unloved.

If asked about the sad ending she simply shrugs and says, "Eh... Varisians."

If Meirul survives past the Pale Tower and escapes, the shard of ice in her heart snaps and she dies alone on the frozen planes of Irrisen on her way back to Whitethrone and her song becomes eerily prophetic.

I even had a chord progression practiced out and my trusty Garage Band on my fruit phone but none of the PCs would trust that the forlarren wouldn't try to cast some sort of suggestion on everyone so they insisted she not play anything. Eh... Players.

If anyone wants some BGM for the trip to Waldsby I'm using the second movement from Shostakovich's Piano Concerto No. 2.. The melancholy reflects the sorrow Nadya feels for the loss of her daughter and the romantic overtones evokes the stark bleakness of the Irriseni winterscape.


I like the song idea, would like to use it in my campaign. I made Mierul a little different, adding more background to her and the song fits in perfectly.

My version of Mierul plays off the dual nature of the race. In her background, she is from Varisia. Being raised by her mother, she finally came under the apprenticeship of a Dervish Dancer dedicated to Sarenrae (the Dervish Dancer, with Sarenrae being about redemption, saw it as a trial of faith to redeem this wayward forlarren).

Mierul has a split personality and the Dervish Dancer archetype, as well as the Dervish Dance Feat. When her fey nature takes over, she is actually a NG worshipper of Sarenrae; during her fiendish moments, she is her typical NE alignment, still looking for redemption. Her ranks in Perform (Dance) and Perform (Sing) swap depending on which personality is manifesting, as does her spell set. She is the classic tragic character; during one of her more hateful moments she accepted the ice sliver and now regrets it, feeling it has doomed her and perhaps has shattered all hopes of redemption.

I think the song idea is a perfect match for her!


My group is just past Thora and the little hut.

I'm planning on when they go through the Winter Portal for it to be a little different. When they go in they will be in the Lands of Winter in the First World and have to travel along a path to get to Irrisen. Stepping off the path will lead to bad things.

I'm going to have the Black Rider (with a growing ice spear through his side) encounter them here instead of in the real world and possibly an encounter with Baba Yaga herself out of time sequence. If the Ulfen PCs anger her then this will be the cause for her to notice the path to Irrisen and to invade the Land of the Linnorm Kings 1,400 years ago.

As a twist since the First World is the primal land of the fey where things are ruled by arbitrary laws in a different reality I'm going to have everybody convert their characters to 1st edition AD&D while they are in the First World.

I've got one player who is an inquisitor however and I'm looking for good 1e class conversion options.

I have the Dragon Magazine CD, does anybody know the issue with the alternate alignment paladins? I'd like to check out the 1e LN paladin variant but tracking down which issue that is in is less easy than I was hoping.

I've got the 2e Dancing Hut module so that will give me some Baba Yaga AD&D stats as well as rider stats. However if anyone remembers which Dragon issue has the Baba Yaga hut adventure/info as well I'd appreciate the reference too so I can look that up as well.

Paizo Employee Developer

Dragon #83 has Roger Moore's original Baba Yaga's hut adventure.

Shadow Lodge

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Voadam wrote:
I've got one player who is an inquisitor however and I'm looking for good 1e class conversion options.

Multiclass Cleric/Assassin or Cleric/Thief?

Cleric/Assassin was allowed for Half-Orcs, and Cleric/Thief was allowed for pretty much everyone else (although for some of those races Clerics were considered NPC classes only, I believe).

The Cleric levels capped at some absurdly low level for most races -- like 4 or 5 -- but the Thief & Assassin levels were unlimited.

And for human you could always dual class.

All depending on how strictly you want to adhere to the race/class/level restrictions.

Edit: Or maybe even Cleric/Ranger? I think that was allowed for Elves and Half-Elves.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Anyone else notice that there are no stats for the Tatzlwyrm anywhere in this AP?

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

That's because the tatzlwyrm already appears in Bestiary 3. You can easily get its stats from there and Paizo generally avoids reprinting such a stat-block when they can save room for more adventure content. There references to other such creatures in the various bestiaries, as well. If you don't have Bestiary 3, you can easily look up the stat-block via their online PRD here.


If you're crunched for time, re-skinning an equal CR creature usually works just fine. I threw some badgers at my group when they were supposed to be fighting dire rats once because I had forgotten my Bestiary and just had Bestiary 2 on hand. No one noticed.

The tatzlwyrm doesn't have a long-term purpose. It seems to be there to point out to the PCs that not only is it snowing, but that creatures that do not belong in Taldor are showing up.

You could use an auroch if need be.


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For the encounter with the greater witchcrow, the PC with the keys to the Hut had them in her handy haversack. Not wanting to sunder my wife's PC's new magical goodie and also not wanting to cause a swift and irreversible end to the campaign I decided to have Lytil vanish, stealth (small creatures get a +4 on the check plus the bonuses for being invisible) while flying at half speed, then used Sleight of Hand to just pluck the frost giant's beard from the haversack.

Since she succeeded wildly on the stealth check, the PCs weren't aware of her presence which allowed the use of Sleight of Hand.

The floating visible beard lets anyone pinpoint Lytil's location but it worked to steal one of the keys. The PCs then surrounded, shot, and killed the greedy little bird before she could Acrobatics up towards the sky and to freedom.


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I have a question about the fight with the arctic tatzlwyrm.

Under "Tactics" in the tatzlwyrm's stat block, it states that it pounces and rakes before grappling. Pouncing requires charging, which requires at least ten feet of movement. However, this fight takes place in a deep snowdrift, which counts as difficult terrain.

Nimble Moves doesn't let the tatzlwyrm ignore more than 5 feet of difficult terrain, though, so what allows it to charge in this situation when normally you can't charge through difficult terrain?


good question- and a surprise round pounce on a level 1 wizard is almost certainly going to put him her or into the deep negatives, so probably best NOT to have it work


Phillip0614 wrote:

I have a question about the fight with the arctic tatzlwyrm.

Under "Tactics" in the tatzlwyrm's stat block, it states that it pounces and rakes before grappling. Pouncing requires charging, which requires at least ten feet of movement. However, this fight takes place in a deep snowdrift, which counts as difficult terrain.

Nimble Moves doesn't let the tatzlwyrm ignore more than 5 feet of difficult terrain, though, so what allows it to charge in this situation when normally you can't charge through difficult terrain?

IIRC, this is a mistake. I believe it was addressed in this thread by Rob, but I haven't located it (yet). Though I think there was a mention of just clearing the terrain to allow for the Charge...


If you want that encounter to have any amount of teeth, I'd recommend keeping the ground clear of difficult terrain, just do the POUNCERAKE, and forget trying to drag the victim under the snow and all the suffocation stuff. You're still close to the edge of the Border Wood so the ground could have just a light dusting of snow. You can then start ramping up the depth of the snow to difficult and then very difficult as they get closer to the portal.


3 +7 attacks vs. an AC 10 (assuming the arcane caster didn't get lucky with timing a one hour mage armor) caster. Average (assuming 3 hits) of 16.5 damage on a surprise round. Really expecting more dead wizards in the obit thread, though I guess the description specifically involves not doing damage during the next round.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I thought you could only make one attack at the end of a charge.


As I understand pounce+rake- if you hit with the pounce (primary attack) you then get the rake attacks. Not sure if you get the charge bonus though.


Question about the Pale Tower... I presume the floors are made of ice just like everything else? Are they slippery or textured in some way?

Paizo Employee Developer

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Ansel Krulwich wrote:
Question about the Pale Tower... I presume the floors are made of ice just like everything else? Are they slippery or textured in some way?

As with the rest of the Pale Tower, the floors are also made out of ice. Slippery floors would make day-to-day life in the tower pretty hazardous, though, so they're likely textured in some way to provide traction. Also, there are probably rugs in many places, especially high-traffic areas or living quarters (those floors would be cold on bare feet!)

Liberty's Edge

Ansel Krulwich wrote:
Question about the Pale Tower... I presume the floors are made of ice just like everything else? Are they slippery or textured in some way?

I kind of pictured it like the ice castle in Die Another Day where nobody had any difficulty moving around until it started to melt.

Dark Archive

I just wanted to say thanks to everyone in this thread. I'll be starting my PC's through this in a few weeks and this has been very helpful. I suspect you may see me again.


Tatzlwyrm was fun to run the group through. Wizard went unconscious for the 3rd time in as many encounters. Oh the joys of level 1!


Rob McCreary wrote:
Ansel Krulwich wrote:
Question about the Pale Tower... I presume the floors are made of ice just like everything else? Are they slippery or textured in some way?
As with the rest of the Pale Tower, the floors are also made out of ice. Slippery floors would make day-to-day life in the tower pretty hazardous, though, so they're likely textured in some way to provide traction. Also, there are probably rugs in many places, especially high-traffic areas or living quarters (those floors would be cold on bare feet!)

I figured it was something like that. The bit about the straw mattress bunks on raised blocks of ice had me wondering if the Pale Tower was even a comfortable place to stay.

The ice floors are going to make the fight against Radosek's elementals a lot of fun. Thanks!


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I added an extra encounter in Waldsby that takes place a day after the run-in with the Goltiaeva's but before the Pale Tower guards arrive. It only works if Nadya is told of Thora's fate during the trip to Waldsby from the Portal. Here are some quick notes with some extra commentary:

This event takes place mid-day while Nadya is in the early stages of preparing dinner. Orm shows off a wooden soldier he's carved from a piece of scrap lumber to one of the PCs. If they guess his name wrong, he responds in an exasperated tone, "No, I'm Orm. He's Mjoli." He walks away to his room while Mjoli approaches and asks, "Are you gonna help mama help get Thora back?" (You should have seen the look of panic on my player's face. "I don't think I'm ready to answer that question," she said.)

Nadya pauses and takes a breath before turning to the PCs. "Could... You go get two day's worth of firewood from town? I need a... I need some time." As the PCs head out, they hear Nadya calling for her boys to come sit down. (The players also asked if Nadya needed anything else and she asked for a pound of flour/meal. This turned out to make things a bit more interesting so you may want to have Nadya ask for it at the last minute as the PCs are leaving the house.)

The PCs can further explore town, perhaps checking the sawmill or Verana's Sundries for firewood. If they go to the sawmill, Garthur refuses to sell a day's worth of firewood for less than 5 sp to the PCs in an obvious attempt to gouge them. The general store sells it at the normal price of 1 cp. Verana herself is ill today so her daughter, Milivsa, is running the store. She struggles to find anything in the place but eventually produces whatever it is that the PCs ask for. They don't normally have firewood but Milivsa sells whatever they need from their personal store of wood, angered at Garthur's attitude. All the while, she asks them various probing questions about where they come from, what life is like far to the south, how they got here, and the like. (My players split up with two headed to the sawmill and the other three going to the store. One that went to the sawmill was a native to Heldren and got to interact with Arbagazor and learned that the gnomes are identical twins. My players haggled Garthur down a couple silver and took his inflated price.)

While they're shopping, screams are heard from outside as a trio of boars from the winter portal roar into town and attack the villagers. During the first round of combat, Iziamir, armed with a longspear and not much else, draws the attention of one who charges him. (Boars, especially wire-haired ones with black, gray, or brown fur, aren't native to Irrisen [at least not my Irrisen] so they're pretty fearsome to the villagers. They did a number on Iziamir and the three PCs until more help arrived. I let the two PCs at the sawmill join the fight in 1d3+1 rounds.)

When the PCs arrive back at Nadya's, the boys are quietly sobbing in their bedroom and the rest of the day passes painfully slowly and uneventfully. That night, the dishes aren't cleaned nor are the clothes put away as Hatch grieves for Thora as well.

---

After successfully fighting off the boars, the townspeople start to warm up to the travelers just a bit. Iziamar is certainly thankful to still be alive (assuming he lives).

The next day, the Pale Tower guards visit Nadya's house the encounter plays out as normal. The PCs took most of the guards hostage and tied them up (only two guards were killed in battle). While they argued about what to do with them (I give them 10 to 15 minutes), they hear screaming and yelling from the center of town. There, the sergeant addresses the village and announces a new edict: The banning of all fire magic and any fire weaponry (my PCs have been heavily spied upon by both the soulbound guardian as well as Teb's mirror). The first to stand accused of running afoul of the new law is Iziamir who is being set up as bait to draw out the PCs. The guards have stripped him down of armor and his shirt and have him bound at the statue of the lady and produce the three vials of alchemist's fire that they "found" in his shop. All the townspeople have to do is turn over the suspicious travelers or give them the information about the Black Rider that they are searching for. The town's spirit is broken but no one comes forward. Iziamir says nothing. Tula, his wife, pleads, "Please, he's going to freeze to death out here. You can't do this!"

"You heard the woman," the sergeant says. "Warm him up." (If you've seen Darkman, channel your inner Durant.)

The guards lift the vials of alchemist's fire and prepare to throw them.

---

Iziamir Polovar CR 2
XP 600
Male human (Ulfen) commoner 1 expert 3
LN Medium humanoid (human)
Init +0; Senses Perception +0
--------------------
Defense
--------------------
AC 12, touch 10, flat-footed 12 (+2 armor)
hp 25 (3d8+1d6+8)
Fort +2, Ref +1, Will +3
--------------------
Offense
--------------------
Speed 30 ft.
Melee mwk longspear +5 (1d8+3/x3)
--------------------
Statistics
--------------------
Str 15, Dex 11, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 8
Base Atk +2; CMB +4; CMD 14
Feats Field Repair, Skill Focus (Craft [weapons]), Toughness
Skills Appraise +4, Craft (armor) +7, Craft (blacksmith) +7, Craft (bows) +7, Craft (weapons) +10, Knowledge (local) +4, Perform (sing) +3, Profession (merchant) +7, Sense Motive +4, Survival +4
Languages Common, Skald
Other Gear mwk leather armor, mwk longspear

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Excellent! I may end up stealing this!


Ansel, love the idea; I may indeed use this (it's called bench-marking Misori, stealing is such a dirty term, =)


I have to say, I am quite a fan of some of Ansel's ideas. I intend to steal Mierul's song and maybe this recently presented encounter.

I had an interesting experience with the lodge. First party was an Inquisitor (Erastil), a Barbarian/Fighter, a Fighter/Rogue, an Alchemist, a Druid, and a Fighter all with 20 pt builds and no races over 11 racial points. Right after the fight with the bandits I elected to have Rohkar show up, and because of the damage done by the skeletons I allowed them to level up to second level mid-fight. I gave them their new hp (while retaining current wounds) and access instantly to any new spells and abilities. They died fighting Rohkar after he turned his lackeys into zombies. The druid escaped and that same day she lead another group to finish off where the previous party had left off.

Now aware of how deadly snow was, our (Ulfen) Inquisitor rerolled as the melee-focused brother of his previous character, a Fighter/Cleric of Saerenrae, a Paladin (Torag), a Fighter/Paladin (Iomedae), and a Ninja. They almost wiped fighting him the second time. Cleric went down, and others were dangerously low. He had used his scrolls of animate minor undead to raise the old fighter, inquisitor, and barbarian.

Round 2: Ready, Fight!:

That fight had taken all night, and the result of the break between games lead to several character changes (Sarenrae to Desna for the Cleric/Fighter) and the Druid wanting a total overhaul (Which I was going to allow up until the encounter with the Black Rider.) And so last night was filled to the brim with roleplay as they interrogated Rohkar, flirted with Argentea (Silly Paladins, she's still technically taken), and abused Vrixx (Whilst being taunted a second time.) In the end, the Inquisitor and Paladin of Torag demanded they execute Rohkar for his crimes, while the Druid, Cleric of Desna, and Iomedaen demanded he stand trial in Heldren. During this argument, the Ninja searched Rohkar, and after a DC 22 Perception check to find his Holy Symbol, requested to learn the truth about Rohkar's magic.

What Happened?:

As they lead Rohkar back to town, the Ninja and Rohkar came up with a plot to basically get Rohkar free. Now, I want to give props to my roommate/Our Ninja for roleplaying this really well. What they did, was the Ninja requested the final shift guarding Rohkar's cell inside Heldren's Town Hall's miniature jail that I incorporated into a side part of the building.
During this shift, the Ninja unlocked Rohkar's cell, gave him the MW Theives tools back, watched as Rohkar casted Disguise Self to match the Ninja's appearance and since Rohkar had just about as much experience speaking with the Ninja as the other party members, was able to emulate the Ninja fairly well. (I had my player RP the shapechanged Rohkar). Then, Rohkar tied the Ninja up, and gagged him, as per plan, and casted invisibility on the Ninja. The Ninja was bound poorly and allowed him to place the lock back on the cell door. And Rohkar bolted into the main hall where the party slept and raised the alarm that Rohkar had casted a spell and disappeared.
Naturally the Paladins and the Inquisitor grabbed arms and bolted into the room and then laughed when they noticed the lock was still on Rohkar's cell. That was the Ninja's queue to open the lock, and swing open the door, then, go lay in the corner of his cell. Rohkar then requested to run and warn Ionnia Teppen of what was going on. The Inquisitor told the disguised Rohkar, no, he didn't need to warn the council, as long as Rohkar was in the room, his invisibility would wear off. Rohkar began to panic and told the Inquisitor that he was going anyway.
At this point, had my players doubted me or the Ninja, I would have required bluff and sense motive checks, but the Inquisitor just sidestepped the door so that Rohkar could run away. This is when invisibility wore off, and the Inquisitor flipped. He ran out into the center of town to find that Rohkar had stolen one of the horses from the stables, and rode north out of Heldren. He got one shot off and he missed.

Now what? I was wondering if I should have him show back up in Whitethrone, or take Neil's advice and have him change his name, look, and begin his nonsense again.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Rohkar's got no loyalty to Irrisen, so I imagine he'd ride elsewhere for greener and warmer pastures.


I'm prepping the final chapter of Book 1. Any suggestions on running the assault on the Pale Tower?

My plan so far:
My group is more powerful than the AP is geared for, so I have already taken to giving the baddies max HP. I have also doubled the guards in the tower. Two of the (now) 6 guards on the battlements will shoot down on the PCs, while the other two run to warn Yana and the remaining soldiers in Q6/Q7. I'm thinking of giving Bordegga some help on the ground too. Maybe some dire wolves...

I plan to have nearby NPCs join into any fight they could possibly hear (no matter how slight the chances of hearing it may be). Basically, any fight on any given level of the tower will draw the attention of all the inhabitants on that floor (save for Gardhek and Mig Epsel who I believe are completely self serving and wouldn't jump in unless they had to. Though, throwing the Spriggan into the mix with the Atomies and Mierul in the dining hall would be fun. Then there's Hestrig too.) The dining hall might get pretty deadly.

Additionally, I will make the floor near the Water Elemental wet and slippery per Ansel's idea..

I'm also thinking of adding a level or two the Radosek, Hestrig, and Jairess. None of the BBEGs have effectively threatened my party yet, so I really want to balance the playing field a bit...

Any suggestions?

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

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Phillip0614 wrote:
I have a question about the fight with the arctic tatzlwyrm....Under "Tactics" in the tatzlwyrm's stat block, it states that it pounces and rakes before grappling. Pouncing requires charging, which requires at least ten feet of movement. However, this fight takes place in a deep snowdrift, which counts as difficult terrain....Nimble Moves doesn't let the tatzlwyrm ignore more than 5 feet of difficult terrain, though, so what allows it to charge in this situation when normally you can't charge through difficult terrain?

That was an oversight on my part. For some reason, I was imagining Nimble Moves allowed enough movement to charge through difficult terrain. In actuality, it's only the gateway feat to Acrobatic Steps (which would allow that tactic to be carried out). Personally, I think the best way to salvage the integrity of that encounter is to reinterpret the arctic tatzlwyrm as a variant of its kind. My suggestion would be to drop the poison breath attack and give it Acrobatic Steps as a bonus feat with an assumed burrow movement rate in deep snow only. That would give it the ability to pounce from the snow and grab a victim. Then, with opposed combat maneuvers, it could drag someone under the snow via its burrow ability.

My two cents,
--Neil

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

closetgamer wrote:
I'm prepping the final chapter of Book 1. Any suggestions on running the assault on the Pale Tower?

No suggestions on my part. It's hard to plan or adjust things for each individual play group. Since your party is more advanced at this stage of the game, only you know them well enough to consider what changes to make so they'll still be challenged.


My players just snuck through the entire first floor dressed as Pale Tower guards. They were immediately identified by Meirul on the second floor as they came up. I've also got Radosek sweeping the tower with mirror sight and one PC managed to make the Perception check to detect the scrying so now everyone's smashing every single mirror.

I'm pretty sure this means that Radosek is going to send the guards from the first floor on up to deal with the intrusion and now I'm pretty worried for the group.

Shadow Lodge

Neil Spicer wrote:
Phillip0614 wrote:
I have a question about the fight with the arctic tatzlwyrm....Under "Tactics" in the tatzlwyrm's stat block, it states that it pounces and rakes before grappling. Pouncing requires charging, which requires at least ten feet of movement. However, this fight takes place in a deep snowdrift, which counts as difficult terrain....Nimble Moves doesn't let the tatzlwyrm ignore more than 5 feet of difficult terrain, though, so what allows it to charge in this situation when normally you can't charge through difficult terrain?
That was an oversight on my part. For some reason, I was imagining Nimble Moves allowed enough movement to charge through difficult terrain. In actuality, it's only the gateway feat to Acrobatic Steps (which would allow that tactic to be carried out). Personally, I think the best way to salvage the integrity of that encounter is to reinterpret the arctic tatzlwyrm as a variant of its kind. My suggestion would be to drop the poison breath attack and give it Acrobatic Steps as a bonus feat with an assumed burrow movement rate in deep snow only. That would give it the ability to pounce from the snow and grab a victim. Then, with opposed combat maneuvers, it could drag someone under the snow via its burrow ability.

Why not just replace the standard tatzlwyrm's Stealthy feat with Acrobatic Steps? It would still have a +24 to Stealth checks in the snow, so you're not losing much, you keep the poison breath, and the encounter can be run as written.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

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zimmerwald1915 wrote:
Why not just replace the standard tatzlwyrm's Stealthy feat with Acrobatic Steps? It would still have a +24 to Stealth checks in the snow, so you're not losing much, you keep the poison breath, and the encounter can be run as written.

I try not to replace the baseline feats woven into an existing creature. They pretty much represent what makes it a tatzlwyrm. Now, augmenting those feats with something additional feels fine to me, particularly if it's just a bonus feat. But, to make room for that, you either need to advance its Hit Dice or replace some other monster ability to justify it. That said, it's your game. Adapt the encounter however you see fit.

Shadow Lodge

Neil Spicer wrote:
zimmerwald1915 wrote:
Why not just replace the standard tatzlwyrm's Stealthy feat with Acrobatic Steps? It would still have a +24 to Stealth checks in the snow, so you're not losing much, you keep the poison breath, and the encounter can be run as written.
I try not to replace the baseline feats woven into an existing creature. They pretty much represent what makes it a tatzlwyrm. Now, augmenting those feats with something additional feels fine to me, particularly if it's just a bonus feat. But, to make room for that, you either need to advance its Hit Dice or replace some other monster ability to justify it. That said, it's your game. Adapt the encounter however you see fit.

I dunno, the special abilities of a monster - the poison breath in this case - feel more defining of that monster than its feats do, especially when the feat in question provides a very minor, passive bonus that the PCs encountering the monster are unlikely to notice or care about. There's also something to be said for swapping out a feat for a feat, rather than swapping out a special ability for a feat. Feats are theoretically balanced with one another, while special abilities are balanced with neither each other nor with feats.

That said, I'm not trying to convince you of anything. The adventure* - which is very fun to read, by the way, though I haven't gotten a chance to play it from either side - is already written. I'm just throwing out another method GMs might reasonably use to include Acrobatic Steps in the monster's stats and thereby run the encounter as it was intended.

*By the way, what does one call individual installments of an AP? I used to call them "modules" but that doesn't seem right considering that's the name of a separate product line.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

zimmerwald1915 wrote:
...By the way, what does one call individual installments of an AP? I used to call them "modules" but that doesn't seem right considering that's the name of a separate product line.

As authors, we usually refer to them as chapters. That's how the developers chart them in the outlines we're given, as well.

zimmerwald1915 wrote:
...the special abilities of a monster - the poison breath in this case - feel more defining of that monster than its feats do, especially when the feat in question provides a very minor, passive bonus that the PCs encountering the monster are unlikely to notice or care about.

Generally, I'd agree. However, for an arctic tatzlwyrm variant, I think it makes more sense to drop the poison breath and focus more on it being a snow-burrowing predator which can pounce on its prey even in what amounts to difficult terrain for everyone else.

zimmerwald1915 wrote:
There's also something to be said for swapping out a feat for a feat, rather than swapping out a special ability for a feat. Feats are theoretically balanced with one another, while special abilities are balanced with neither each other nor with feats.

Which is why I was suggesting that you not only add the feat, but also the burrow movement rate, but tweak it so it only applies to snow, not actual dirt. Together, they're more indicative of what the value of the poison breath represents, because it's what empowers its unique pounce ability in difficult terrain. Bottom line, that kind of tweak keeps the equivalent CR balance in such a variant tatzlwyrm...whereas, retaining the poison breath in addition to the ability to pounce/ambush out of snowy terrain would increase the CR of the base creature rather than bring it in line with the original.

Also, as an aside, feats are not always "in balance with one another." Ask Sean someday about his thoughts on a point-based feat assessment. In essence, something like the Run feat isn't on equal footing (if you'll pardon the pun) as many others. So, there's more variation in there than most folks realize.

zimmerwald1915 wrote:
That said, I'm not trying to convince you of anything.

I'm not either. As I said, everyone's free to run it how they wish. From a design perspective, however, I still like the approach I suggested for the reasons cited above. And I hope everyone enjoys the adventure regardless of how they adapt things to fit their game.

Shadow Lodge

Neil Spicer wrote:
zimmerwald1915 wrote:
...By the way, what does one call individual installments of an AP? I used to call them "modules" but that doesn't seem right considering that's the name of a separate product line.
As authors, we usually refer to them as chapters. That's how the developers chart them in the outlines we're given, as well.

Ah, thanks.

Liberty's Edge

zimmerwald1915 wrote:
Neil Spicer wrote:
zimmerwald1915 wrote:
...By the way, what does one call individual installments of an AP? I used to call them "modules" but that doesn't seem right considering that's the name of a separate product line.
As authors, we usually refer to them as chapters. That's how the developers chart them in the outlines we're given, as well.
Ah, thanks.

I've always wondered that as well.

Also, damn fine adventure Neil, my group has just finished the lodge in a hell of a fight and so far this has been a fantastic romp.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

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Joshua Goudreau wrote:
...damn fine adventure Neil, my group has just finished the lodge in a hell of a fight and so far this has been a fantastic romp.

Thanks, Joshua. I really poured a lot of my heart into this one. I think I had more passion for it than just about any AP I've written for so far. And, a lot of that had to do with the responsibility of writing the first chapter. It's important to make sure the campaign gets off to a great start. And I did my best to ensure it did.

Hats off to Rob McCreary for his development, as well. He took the best parts of my turnover and made them better. And he gave me a fair amount of leeway in enhancing certain elements of the storyline...such as the Black Rider's mantle and the odd similarities between Heldren and Waldsby. Adam also let me suggest the frost fir and witchcrow as new creatures to add to the bestiary so I could use them in the adventure. And I did a lot of collaboration with Jim Groves to share certain elements between our adventures...such as the characterization of Nazhena and Nadya. We both wanted to do Irrisen justice with as much flavor as we could cram into our individual chapters.

I think it all came together in a very satisfying way from a storytelling perspective, and it was my hope it would translate to some fun play at the gaming table, as well. I'm glad you're enjoying it, because that's really the ultimate compliment of all. We always strive to provide as much entertainment as we can with our work. And when we hear from folks having a blast with what we wrote, that's what warms our hearts...even in the icy cold of the witch-ruled north. ;-)

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