The Snows of Summer (GM Reference)


Reign of Winter

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GM Reference thread for Snows of Summer.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

I'm somewhat confused at the purpose and/or functionality of the teleportation keys.

Does the person using the teleporter have to have the key on them? If yes, doesn't that trap the key on the wrong side of the teleporter (since only one person can use it at a time)?

Paizo Employee Developer

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BobROE wrote:

I'm somewhat confused at the purpose and/or functionality of the teleportation keys.

Does the person using the teleporter have to have the key on them? If yes, doesn't that trap the key on the wrong side of the teleporter (since only one person can use it at a time)?

This is why the inhabitants of the Pale Tower normally use the pass phrases instead of the keys to use the teleporters. :)

More seriously, though, the best to way to probably handle this is to allow a character to hand the key to another person before teleporting. It takes an entire round for the person using the teleporter to be encased in ice before he is teleported, giving him time to hand the key to a friend. Since the ice is already forming, he's already used the key and the teleporter is already activated, so handing off the key at that point would be okay.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

Rob McCreary wrote:

This is why the inhabitants of the Pale Tower normally use the pass phrases instead of the keys to use the teleporters. :)

More seriously, though, the best to way to probably handle this is to allow a character to hand the key to another person before teleporting. It takes an entire round for the person using the teleporter to be encased in ice before he is teleported, giving him time to hand the key to a friend. Since the ice is already forming, he's already used the key and the teleporter is already activated, so handing off the key at that point would be okay.

Yeah, the pass phrases do make it easier, but if the PCs don't get the right stuff, the keys may be the only method to use them.

Thanks for the feedback/idea.

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Polar Bear in Bestiary section missing XP, based on CR 4 should be 1600


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

So, once the PCs get to Irrisen, they have to make saves against the cold every ten minutes, yes? And they travel for more than a day. So that's at least 144 fort saves, less 60 for about 10 hours in camp. How is it possible to survive that without endure elements or cold resistance? You're almost guaranteed to roll a few 1s, even if you have a good fort save and cold-weather gear. Plus, the DC goes up for every previous save. So, long story short, how does this not just kill everyone except the Boreal Sorcerer in one day?

Paizo Employee Developer

chopswil wrote:
Polar Bear in Bestiary section missing XP, based on CR 4 should be 1600

Good catch, however, its CR 5 that is 1,600 XP.


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deathsausage wrote:
So, once the PCs get to Irrisen, they have to make saves against the cold every ten minutes, yes? And they travel for more than a day. So that's at least 144 fort saves, less 60 for about 10 hours in camp. How is it possible to survive that without endure elements or cold resistance? You're almost guaranteed to roll a few 1s, even if you have a good fort save and cold-weather gear. Plus, the DC goes up for every previous save. So, long story short, how does this not just kill everyone except the Boreal Sorcerer in one day?

^ The NEW Rum Ration

Paizo Employee Developer

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deathsausage wrote:
So, once the PCs get to Irrisen, they have to make saves against the cold every ten minutes, yes? And they travel for more than a day. So that's at least 144 fort saves, less 60 for about 10 hours in camp. How is it possible to survive that without endure elements or cold resistance? You're almost guaranteed to roll a few 1s, even if you have a good fort save and cold-weather gear. Plus, the DC goes up for every previous save. So, long story short, how does this not just kill everyone except the Boreal Sorcerer in one day?

This is the reason the PCs meet Nadya Petska soon after arriving in Irrisen. Her skill is supposed to help the PCs survive the cold. She can make Survival checks to give them a bonus on their Fort saves, and the reason she sets camp to wait out the storm is to create a warm place to get out of the worst of the weather. It's assumed that she and the PCs have a warm fire in the camp, so as long as they stay with her, they should be able to avoid making Fort saves while camping, and can even heal any nonlethal damage they acquired beforehand. Her caravan might also have some extra cold weather gear if the PCs didn't acquire some in Heldren.

Long story short, Nadya is there to help the PCs survive, and since no one wants to make 144 separate saving throws, her presence can help mitigate the danger of the cold. In short, use the cold to threaten the PCs and make them aware pf the danger, but don't make it deadly.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
deathsausage wrote:
So, once the PCs get to Irrisen, they have to make saves against the cold every ten minutes, yes? And they travel for more than a day. So that's at least 144 fort saves, less 60 for about 10 hours in camp. How is it possible to survive that without endure elements or cold resistance? You're almost guaranteed to roll a few 1s, even if you have a good fort save and cold-weather gear. Plus, the DC goes up for every previous save. So, long story short, how does this not just kill everyone except the Boreal Sorcerer in one day?

-

Note that the rules laid out in the Player's Guide (and the Core rulebook, for that matter) are much more generous than those in Snows of Summer.

Spoiler:
According to the Player's Guide and Core, only unprotected travellers need make the check at 0-40 degrees, and those wearing cold-weather gear only check every hour in Irrisen. These rules seem altogether more reasonable and more reflective of bundling up in cold weather months. The general store in Helgren even has five cold weather outfits at only eight gold apiece.

As written in the Snows of Summer, the rules are problematic. Even in Taldor the save is once every hour, with protective garments giving a +5 to checks rather than protecting against them.

The scale on the map is 1 inch = 4 miles, and characters move half speed through snow (meaning a party with members at speed 20 will be moving 1 mile per hour). There are of course a few places an enterprising party could make camp. But even avoiding all other potential damage at points A & B on the map, I don't see how arcane spellcasters in particular, with their low Fort and 6 hp, will even make it to point C (at about half an inch on the curving trail, that's a 2 hour travel time and a potential 12 points of non-lethal damage. For a 6hp character,or even a 10 hp one, this means unconsciousness and ongoing lethal damage.) More optimistically, looking at average damage of 7 hp on a 2d6, they're still not in great shape.

Turning around and backtracking to town would take another 2 hours, meaning a party near freezing, with DC rolls now at +3, +4, or even higher, would never make the trip. Once the last member fails his Fort check and falls unconscious, it's all over. And Point H is several more hours away.

Just using the rules as spelled out in the Player's Guide and Core are probably the best solution. I could even see handwaving the checks until closer to the portal to reflect an intensifying coldness.


Urm ...

Spoiler:
the AP forks over endure elements goodies hand over fist. Any group of players that doesn't take even the most rudimentary steps to prepare sufficient endure elements to survive is not paying attention.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Turin the Mad wrote:
Urm ... ** spoiler omitted **

All of these but one are in the last third of the adventure. Unless I've missed a treasure trove of them in my skimming!

In any event, I'm just pointing out the cold rules in Snows of Summer disagree with those presented in the Player's Guide (page 8) and the Core Rulebook (Page 442).


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The text of the adventure seems to suggest that players can reset the stacking fortitude save by making a campfire. Any suggestions on how long the party needs to stay by said campfire to do so ( also, how long to get over the hypotermia fatigue )?


magnuskn wrote:
The text of the adventure seems to suggest that players can reset the stacking fortitude save by making a campfire. Any suggestions on how long the party needs to stay by said campfire to do so ( also, how long to get over the hypothermia fatigue )?

8 hours if I am reading the fatigued condition correctly to eliminate the hypothermia. Getting the fire started fast enough the spark 0-level cantrip/orison easily takes care of ignition - gathering the fuel fast enough is the hard part.

Paizo Employee Developer

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Ageron wrote:
deathsausage wrote:
So, once the PCs get to Irrisen, they have to make saves against the cold every ten minutes, yes? And they travel for more than a day. So that's at least 144 fort saves, less 60 for about 10 hours in camp. How is it possible to survive that without endure elements or cold resistance? You're almost guaranteed to roll a few 1s, even if you have a good fort save and cold-weather gear. Plus, the DC goes up for every previous save. So, long story short, how does this not just kill everyone except the Boreal Sorcerer in one day?

-

Note that the rules laid out in the Player's Guide (and the Core rulebook, for that matter) are much more generous than those in Snows of Summer.

** spoiler omitted **...

The cold weather rules in "The Snows of Summer" were meant to be a summary of the rules in the Core Rulebook, with the assumption that PCs in Taldor in the summer would be likely to start out "unprotected" from the weather. I can see that it's a bit unclear, however, and might seem harsher than the normal rules.

In any case, you should definitely use the standard rules for cold weather presented on page 442 of the Core Rulebook in both Taldor and Irrisen.

Paizo Employee Developer

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magnuskn wrote:
The text of the adventure seems to suggest that players can reset the stacking fortitude save by making a campfire. Any suggestions on how long the party needs to stay by said campfire to do so ( also, how long to get over the hypotermia fatigue )?

The fatigued condition from hypothermia ends when the nonlethal damage taken from the cold is healed (Core Rulebook 442). Nonlethal damage is healed at the rate of 1 hp per hour per character level (Core Rulebook 192), so how long it takes depends on how much damage a character has taken.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Thanks Rob. And Turin, although your answer was the wrong one. ;)


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Just a suggestion for the GMs... One way to give the PCs a huge hint as to the type of the environment they'll be facing is to actually have a few villagers or outlying farmers come into Heldren with cases of frostbite, or even have a family member of one of the PCs die from cold weather exposure.

Really good GMs (alas, I do not fit in that category), could even put in a little creep factor by having the PCs find a corpse on the road, the corpse displaying obvious signs of severe frostbite with a message written in blood, 'Don't go to the wood.'

There's that classic scene in John Carpenter's 'The Thing' where MacReady and the outpost doctor investigate the Norwegian station and see the corpse that slit his wrist... Some food for thought.

Speaking of the Pale Tower is there a map somewhere that got left out showing the Irrisen environs of Waldsby and its relation to the distance of the tower? Or is that in the Irrisen gazetteer? (I preordered mine from my local gaming store so I haven't seen it yet)


If the portal is open and slowly spreading winter, wouldnt the ambient temperature even in town be seasonably cool? Fore shadowing with "my I havent seen cold mornings like this in all my years" or "Dang this cold weather, woke up this morning and by cabbages were covered in a thin layer of frost... I'm going to lose my whole crop if this keeps up!"


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Pendagast wrote:

If the portal is open and slowly spreading winter, wouldnt the ambient temperature even in town be seasonably cool? Fore shadowing with "my I havent seen cold mornings like this in all my years" or "Dang this cold weather, woke up this morning and by cabbages were covered in a thin layer of frost... I'm going to lose my whole crop if this keeps up!"

If subtle isn't working, have a brief squall dump a few inches of snow. Describe the kiddies having snowball fights and making snowgoblins, fearful farmers eying the sky, superstitious types warding themselves with the Stink Eye, etc...

If sub-til (above) isn't working, have a Wendigo terrorize the town and DRIVE their butts into the woods!


Hah wendigo!

Why am I thinking of an ice mephit wearing a set of diapers and a beard he scalped off a dwarf villager tied to his face holding a sign saying... "The END Is NEAR!"


Rob McCreary wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
The text of the adventure seems to suggest that players can reset the stacking fortitude save by making a campfire. Any suggestions on how long the party needs to stay by said campfire to do so ( also, how long to get over the hypotermia fatigue )?
The fatigued condition from hypothermia ends when the nonlethal damage taken from the cold is healed (Core Rulebook 442). Nonlethal damage is healed at the rate of 1 hp per hour per character level (Core Rulebook 192), so how long it takes depends on how much damage a character has taken.

So, if I understand correctly, in order to heal fatigue caused by hypothermia a PC must rest for 1 hour per HP of nonlethal damage taken, with the added necessity of a heat source for warmth?


For a five player group what changes should I look towards? As it stands the xp rewards are too low so keep the encounters as they are and use the faster xp track? Do I need to increase the challenge of some of the encounters or does it present a challenge as it stands?

I am pretty new to the GM side of things so all suggestions are appreciated.


Mendaril wrote:

For a five player group what changes should I look towards? As it stands the xp rewards are too low so keep the encounters as they are and use the faster xp track? Do I need to increase the challenge of some of the encounters or does it present a challenge as it stands?

I am pretty new to the GM side of things so all suggestions are appreciated.

I'd keep the XP awards for a normal 5-player group the same as if it were a 4-player group. The loot I would leave the same. Hit Points you might bump to maximum for the single critter fights.

Shadow Lodge

Or add minions.


closetgamer wrote:
Rob McCreary wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
The text of the adventure seems to suggest that players can reset the stacking fortitude save by making a campfire. Any suggestions on how long the party needs to stay by said campfire to do so ( also, how long to get over the hypotermia fatigue )?
The fatigued condition from hypothermia ends when the nonlethal damage taken from the cold is healed (Core Rulebook 442). Nonlethal damage is healed at the rate of 1 hp per hour per character level (Core Rulebook 192), so how long it takes depends on how much damage a character has taken.
So, if I understand correctly, in order to heal fatigue caused by hypothermia a PC must rest for 1 hour per HP of nonlethal damage taken, with the added necessity of a heat source for warmth?
Rob McCreary wrote:
The fatigued condition from hypothermia ends when the nonlethal damage taken from the cold is healed (Core Rulebook 442). Nonlethal damage is healed at the rate of 1 hp per hour per character level (Core Rulebook 192), so how long it takes depends on how much damage a character has taken.

Note the "per level" part in the recovery rate. So 1st level characters, yes 1 hour per point of non-lethal damage from the cold. 2nd level characters, 30 minutes per point. 3rd level, 20 minutes per point. And so on. None of that can start until they have a heat source, however.


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Thanks for the clarification Urath.


GreenGrunt wrote:
Just a suggestion for the GMs... One way to give the PCs a huge hint as to the type of the environment they'll be facing is to actually have a few villagers or outlying farmers come into Heldren with cases of frostbite, or even have a family member of one of the PCs die from cold weather exposure.

That ulfen guard who survived the noblewoman's carriage attack at the beginning has frostbitten nose and fingers, so that's somewhat covered.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Am I missing something with regard to the level advancement here? How in the world are the PCs supposed to gain an entire level between finding the winter portal and reaching Waldsby?

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

That's interesting. My original turnover had the PCs attaining 2nd level well before finding the winter portal...which means all the encounters at the winter portal, combined with their encounters on the road to Waldsby, should help them get to 3rd level. The most important thing is you don't want the PCs to assault the Pale Tower if they're still 2nd level. And they'd better be getting to 4th level by the finale, or that last battle will be a lot tougher on them.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Perhaps it's just an issue of the phrasing. The text says "The PCs should be 2nd level by the time they find the winter portal," which technically could mean the same as what you just said, but certainly seems to imply something a bit different. The distinction seems worth pointing out for the sake of those GMs who level by fiat rather than by XP totals.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

There should be enough xp for a party of 4 to reach 2nd by the end of the hunting lodge.

Paizo Employee Developer

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Shisumo wrote:
Am I missing something with regard to the level advancement here? How in the world are the PCs supposed to gain an entire level between finding the winter portal and reaching Waldsby?

The PCs should be 2nd level when they find the winter portal - but if they hit every encounter up to that point, they'll be close to 3rd level. Scribbling Rambler is correct that they can get enough XP by the time they leave the High Sentinel Lodge, but it does depend on how many encounters they have had.

The winter portal was an easy benchmark, but I can see how the wording could make it confusing.

Liberty's Edge

To be useful those passages needs to state when the players level up, not a point where they should be level 1.75, since many DMs will use them as "it says level 2 at the portal, so now everyone level up". Hell, I never even learned the pathfinder xp system.

Grand Lodge

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Coridan wrote:
To be useful those passages needs to state when the players level up, not a point where they should be level 1.75, since many DMs will use them as "it says level 2 at the portal, so now everyone level up". Hell, I never even learned the pathfinder xp system.

However, for those of us who do use the xp system, the level up point can vary greatly depending on: size of party, encounters bypassed, PC deaths, ...

All they can really offer is a general guideline.

Liberty's Edge

If you use the XP system you don't really need those blurbs at the front of each book (though they can be helpful I am sure). If you don't use it you need those blurbs and they need to be accurate to the expected point of leveling up so the PCs don't spend too much time at level 1 and hardly any at level 2

Addendum: this bugs me in shattered star too when it says players should reach level x by the end of the adventure. By the end of isn't helpful. Tell me if it is at the end, or a right before the final boss or a few rooms before then. If I wanted tovdo the xp math I would just do it.

Liberty's Edge

More specific to Reign of Winter, I am a bit ticked off we are getting yet another hot female patron. Sister Jenya, Lavinia, Shalelu, Cressidia, Alma, Janiven, Kendra Loorimor, Ameiko, Sandara Quinn, Sheila Heidmarch and now Nadya. This is becoming a rather irritating trope.


Might be an appeal to the gamer trope of being hopelessly single and male? ;)

re: Nadya:
She is highly disposable - you need to her to hwarf up her snowshoes and get them into Chapter 2, that's it.

Liberty's Edge

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Jim Groves wrote:
Coridan wrote:
More specific to Reign of Winter, I am a bit ticked off we are getting yet another hot female patron. Sister Jenya, Lavinia, Shalelu, Cressidia, Alma, Janiven, Kendra Loorimor, Ameiko, Sandara Quinn, Sheila Heidmarch and now Nadya. This is becoming a rather irritating trope.

I appreciate your point, Coridan. There should be hot male patrons too, particularly ones suitable for same sex romance. (But I don't assume that is or is not YOUR concern, I'm just sayin' that at face value). OR! Just romance period and allow the GM to portray them as they see fit.

In defense of the trend, I think its been part of an effort to depict women as strong, dynamic, intelligent, and capable people (because they are!) And too often, the old and really familiar cliche, that went on for decades, was to treat them as secondary characters.

But I can see over compensating as an issue too.

Nadya is a little different than all the others, in that she is a young unmarried (widowed) mother with children. That is a demographic I've not seen before.

That being said, I hear your feedback. I, for one, hear you. Duly noted. That may not be much, but I hope it helps. :D

Thanks, I understand but I think the point has been driven home by now, to the point where it is tough to find positive male figures in PF material. And the last mancandy that I can recall (and I look for it) was Ruarc in Seven Days to the Grave. He had the plague though. That was five years ago, there have been some in non AP sources (a very attractive drow male in the Rivals Guide), it does feel a lot more like "targeting young straight men" over "empowering women" now.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Hey folks, I posted a reply. I deleted it. I thought it was a nice post, but I've elected to let the Developers reply instead. I'm just not sure this is a time or place for me to editorialize.

But don't worry, I didn't say anything unpleasant or particularly controversial (I think), so you didn't miss anything. I'm posting this just for the folks who might have read it 15 minutes ago.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

LOL! Never mind! I must stand by what I wrote!

Liberty's Edge

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Dunno why your post was deleted Jim, but in case my reply to it vanishes, just know I said thanks!

Edit: Now I know why ;)


Coridan wrote:
If you use the XP system you don't really need those blurbs at the front of each book (though they can be helpful I am sure).

Actually, you do. They're not there to tell you exactly when the characters should gain a new level. They're there to act like clearance notices.. if they aren't at least that level by this point, you should give them something else to do until they are, just like if your vehicle is taller than the clearance posted, you should not proceed ahead.

This, and the thread on whether people use the XP system to level up vs. fiat, make me wonder how the professional designers use XP in the development of the APs and modules for publication. The Pathfinder rules tie the design of encounters to an XP "budget" based on the overall CR of the encounter. I wonder if the AP design outline specifies what that budget is, for example.

When I see someone relying on the breakpoints in the AP volumes to declare when to level up by fiat, I wonder how often that translates to indirectly using the XP anyway, with the developer or author having done the XP tracking for them.


Urath DM wrote:
Coridan wrote:
If you use the XP system you don't really need those blurbs at the front of each book (though they can be helpful I am sure).

Actually, you do. They're not there to tell you exactly when the characters should gain a new level. They're there to act like clearance notices.. if they aren't at least that level by this point, you should give them something else to do until they are, just like if your vehicle is taller than the clearance posted, you should not proceed ahead.

This, and the thread on whether people use the XP system to level up vs. fiat, make me wonder how the professional designers use XP in the development of the APs and modules for publication. The Pathfinder rules tie the design of encounters to an XP "budget" based on the overall CR of the encounter. I wonder if the AP design outline specifies what that budget is, for example.

When I see someone relying on the breakpoints in the AP volumes to declare when to level up by fiat, I wonder how often that translates to indirectly using the XP anyway, with the developer or author having done the XP tracking for them.

Well of course it does. Sort of. Since they're not actually tracking XP, they're not affected by skipping encounters or by adding side adventures.


Scribbling Rambler wrote:
Coridan wrote:
To be useful those passages needs to state when the players level up, not a point where they should be level 1.75, since many DMs will use them as "it says level 2 at the portal, so now everyone level up". Hell, I never even learned the pathfinder xp system.

However, for those of us who do use the xp system, the level up point can vary greatly depending on: size of party, encounters bypassed, PC deaths, ...

All they can really offer is a general guideline.

True, but I assume those writing the AP have an idea where party will be for each section. The breakpoints given should reflect where the encounters stopped being designed for one level and started being written for the next. Especially in a basically linear adventure like this.

Looking at this adventure, the encounters in the lodge include 2 CR1s, 2 CR2s and a climactic CR3. There's also a potential CR3 that probably won't be triggered unless the PCs try to bypass the lodge.
From there to the Portal there are only 2 CRs, the rest are CR 3 or 4.

It looks to me like after the lodge, the encounter design was based on APL 2.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

thejeff wrote:
It looks to me like after the lodge, the encounter design was based on APL 2.

Correct. Which means, by the time they finish the winter portal and make it to Waldsby, they should be 3rd.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Just ran the numbers. A party of 4 on the medium track will nearly be level 2 by the time they reach the Lodge, and reach level 3 somewhere just before they reach Waldsby.

Liberty's Edge

See, I'm coming up with 1,250/2,000 before area H. Easily hitting 2nd level by the end of the Lodge.


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Exactly. But someone leveling by fiat and going naively by the Advancement Track would be likely to not level them until the portal, making those fights really hard.

If the track had said, "should be level 2 after exploring the Lodge", it would have been much clearer.


Note *Missing the DC for finding the hidden loot in H16. I guess I will make it a DC20. Its a pretty big haul. Any suggestions?

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