Rasputin Must Die! (GM Reference)


Reign of Winter

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Here's a pair of fun questions. My party teleported into the "feeding" barracks, and learned about the vampires, so they wanted to ambush them. They evacuated the prisoners to an auxiliary magnificent mansion within the barracks. The chaplains, of course, smelled something wrong when they opened the door. An exciting fight followed, ultimately culminating in the vampires turning into bats and escaping, but not before surreptitiously dominating the fighter to act normally and await further instructions. The party then fled back to their own mansion to lick their wounds, without liberating the prisoners from the other mansion.

Now, two questions. First, I have the feeding barracks staffed with a troop at the moment. What do you think happens if the mansion expires before the PCs get back to it? Is there a way for the vampires to get to the soldiers before then? (Maybe get Rasputin to dispel the mansion?)

Second, how should the vampires use the dominated fighter? The one thing I've done so far is get him to reveal the location of the cattle soldiers, but not the means by which to get to them (which the fighter doesn't know).


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Note that the sense motive check to figure out something is wrong with the dominated fighter is very easy - only a 15 or 20. Though if the party is bad at sense motive...

If the player rolls with it, the meanest thing to do would be to have the fighter both talk the party into splitting, and then lead some party members into an ambush with the Brothers Three and the cossacks, while a projected Rasputin deals with left overs.

Heh. In my game, the party was evacuating the soldiers when Rasputin arrived in a possessed soldier and lobbed a gas trap cylinder (complete with trench mist) into the middle of the room, while a group of cossacks engaged from the other end.

Left the casters scrambling to stop the trench mist from getting at the larder soldiers while the "martials" (a ranger, an arcane duelist bard, and a black powder inquisition inquisitor) dealt with the posse of cassocks with revolvers.


Has anyone been able to find the map on p24 of Akuvskaya Prison Camp online? Or been able to replicate it? I'll draw it if I have to, but there's quite a lot there so a shortcut would be appreciated!


Look here for more information.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Oooh, a sighting of Rasturin the Mad Monk. ;)


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magnuskn wrote:
Oooh, a sighting of Rasturin the Mad Monk. ;)

And a new alias is born. ;)


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My work here is done. <vanishes in a cloud of smoke> ;)


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That's really interesting, thank you very much! I'm absolutely going to print some of those pictures...

I was after the map itself though, so that I can show them where they've gone/have to go without having to draw it out myself. I did it for Artrosa and am finishing off Ivoryglass, so it's not problem, but anything that could save me time would be appreciated.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Brandon Hodge wrote:
baradakas wrote:

The troop subtype description says that they deal automatic damage to any creature within reach and that its stat block has "troop" in its Melee entry with no attack bonus given.

The very next column of that page (pp. 17) shows the stat block for a Russian Rifle Troop with its Melee entry listing a +20 attack bonus.

Other than a scenario (which I played in and don't remember the name of), this is the only reference I've found for the troop subtype, so I'm not sure where else to look for this info.

Hey Baradakas!

The subtype description is correct--troops deal automatic damage like a swarm, and the target gets a save, as you'll see under the Fusillade and Grenade Volley abilities. Seems someone must have mistakenly slipped a +20 in there before the book went off to the printer, which is weird because when we debuted the troop subtype on the blog, it didn't include that, and is the more correct version.

But anywho--ignore the +20: troops deal automatic damage and the target gets a save.

I'm still trying to figure this out, as I see the only other example of Paizo using a troop that I'm aware of (in the PFS scenario Assault on the Wound) also has an attack modifier.

One of the lines in the troop traits reads, "Troops threaten all creatures within their reach or within their area, and attempt attacks of opportunity as normal with their troop attack."

I'm wondering was there a late decision to make it so troops have to roll as normal for attacks of opportunity or are those also considered auto-hit?


I give troops the auto-hit (enforces troops being a sort of super swarm), but I believe Mr. Jacobs has mentioned that we haven't seen troops in more places because there's some in-house disagreement about how they should work.

And so troop rules aren't actually nailed down.

Contributor

In my home system where the current troop rules come from, troops always auto-hit non-troop creatures. But in troop-to-troop combat, troops have to roll an attack to hit another unit with the troop subtype.

It's because I use the troop rules for tabletop wargaming, and auto-hitting in gameplay of that nature just doesn't feel right. But it's also made calculating balanced attack modifiers versus other troops' AC a little tricky, because the hit dice-based attack modifier scales way quicker than any AC you can give them, and there isn't a whole lot of challenge when you're hitting on a 6+. I finally fine-tuned it at home, but, again, that's for a whole different type of gaming, and Paizo is hesitant to get into by diving deeper into the troop subtype in more products. And trust me--I keep nagging them to do it.

So, the attack modifier that originally showed up in the troop statblock in RMD (but was corrected, I think, in the "Russians Are Coming" blog) is an artifact of that troop-versus-troop rule from my original draft, but the developers' intention was that troops would always auto-hit just like a swarm.


Currently speaking, how does one apply the troop subtype? It can be eyeballed based on RMD! - but it'd be nice to have a firmer guideline/template to use. (One use is likely to crop up for Chapter 6 of Shattered Star.) <grin>

Contributor

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Heh. You know, I *keep trying* to get the base troop statblock into a Bestiary. I think you guys need to show up en masse at GenCon with torches and pitchforks and corner the powers-that-be if you want to see it!

Right now, you can build the statblock from scratch using the monster creation charts in the bestiaries, just like you're building any other creature. Don't get hung up on the fact that it's a group of smaller creatures--just build the creature appropriate for CR, like you're building a giant or something, and use the RMD statblock as a guide to give it abilities like ranged attacks, etc. Keep in mind that the sum is almost always LESS than the total of its parts. After all, if you actually individually rolled attacks and damage for a thousand rat statblocks that are actually in a swarm instead of relying on the adjusted numbers from the swarm statblock, you'd turn a 10th-level PC into a bloody skeleton in a single round. Just roll with the numbers right of the monster creation charts, and apply the subtype when you're done! =-)

Most troops of regular humanoid type creatures are in the 8-12 hit dice range. I haven't really branched out into statblocks of creatures more powerful than, say, humans, goblins, orcs, skeletons, zombies, and lemures, but you could do it for anything, really. It just scales up quick, so I try to reserve it for lower-CR basic creatures to keep them relevant at higher levels as groups of mooks.

ALSO: My friend Charlie Bell wrote several troop statblocks for his "Armies of Cheliax" article in Wayfinder #11. Look it up--he rocked it. I had a chance to review it when he was working on it, and he absolutely nailed it. That gives you a few more statblocks at your disposal.


Well ... since I'm applying it to

Spoiler:
clockwork soldiers and vampire spawn for Chapters 6 and 7 respectively
this should be easy enough to do. Thanks for the advice!


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What I do when I'm making a troop:

1) Obviously, look at the base creature.

2) Look at the monster creation rules and decide what CR you're after. As a rule of thumb, a troop should be +6 or more CR over the base creature. Edit: this will guide you the AC, HP, hit dice, etc. to shoot for.

Though

Edge of Anarchy CotCT Book 1:
I did put a CR 1 orphan troop in the fishery.

Player 1: Wait, is that a troop? Of children?
Me: *grins* Maybe?
Player 2: *starts laughing* You're a bad person.

3) Figure out how the base creature's melee attack converts into a troop attack (straight damage? Should there be riders, such as grab or poison? Do you WANT there to be a rider?)

4) Convert the ranged attack into an AoE attack of some sort and figure out reflex save DCs.

5) Decide whether a special ability represents the entire troop (standard), part of the troop (move action), or a single member of the
troop (swift action), and have it work accordingly. A standard action should be relatively brutal - equivalent to the troop attack or better.

For a sample, here's a baykok troop statblock that I used in my Carrion Crown after-campaign and in Book 6 of RoW. I made it a couple years ago at this point, so I don't remember how I arrived at some members other than pure arbitrariness.

Baykok Troop - CR 17:
Baykok Troop CR 17 XP 102,400
NE Medium undead (troop)
Init +19; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +29

DEFENSE
AC 39, touch 26, flat-footed 24 (+15 Dex, +1 dodge, +13 natural)
hp 195 (26d8+78)
Fort +12, Ref +25, Will +17
Special – Troop Traits; Immune undead traits

OFFENSE
Speed 30 ft., fly 60 ft. (good)
Melee troop attack (6d6+15)
Ranged Volley (20 ft burst) 8d8+24+8d6 negative energy (DC 27 for half) plus paralysis DC 27
Special Attacks devour soul (DC 27), dread howl (DC 27), infused arrows

STATISTICS
Str 32, Dex 40, Con —, Int 11, Wis 10, Cha 15
Base Atk +11; CMB +14; CMD 31
Feats Dodge, Ability Focus (Volley), Improved Initiative, Fly-by Attack, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes, Great Fortitude, Imp. Lightning Reflexes, Ability Focus (Dread Howl), Mobility, Toughness, Ability Focus (Devour Soul), Combat Reflexes
Skills Fly +32, Intimidate +31, Perception +29 Stealth +24
Languages Common

SPECIAL ABILITIES
Devour Soul (Su)
A baykok troop as a swift action may devour the souls of all adjacent dead or dying creatures. A dying creature can resist this attack with a DC 25 Fortitude save. If it fails, the target is instantly slain. If the creature is already dead, it does not make a saving throw, although the body cannot be more than 1 hour dead. A creature subjected to this attack cannot be brought back to life via raise dead (resurrection and more powerful effects work normally). When a baykok troop devours a soul in this way, it heals 5d6+10 points of damage. This is a death effect. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Dread Howl (Su)
As a move action, a baykok troop can unleash a blood-curdling howl. Any living creature within a 30-foot-radius burst becomes paralyzed with fear for 1 round unless it resists with a DC 27 Will save. Any creature that makes this saving throw is instead shaken for 1 round. This is a fear effect. The DC is Charisma-based.

Infused Arrows (Su)
Baykok troops create arrows of bone as baykoks; the increased DCs are reflected above. Every victim damaged by the troop's volley must roll the fortitude save or paralyzes for 1d3 rounds. The DC is Charisma-based.

So the baykok troop has a weak troop attack because baykoks are lousy in melee. But the ranged attack is brutal - a 20 radius volley of arrows dealing piercing and negative energy damage with a chance to paralyze. Amusingly, baykoks have garbage for charisma, so the troop wound up having a lot of hit dice instead.

Troops are really screwball, but I enjoy writing them up.

I bet a troop could be written up pretty quickly with the Unchained monster creature rules.


I'm intregued to know what you did to try and get the party to meet the children before the Tsarina? I'm already thinking of contingency plans in case it looks like it won't happy in the right order, but did it happen right/wrong for you, what did you do etc?


I moved the children's location so as soon as I got the hint as a GM they were heading the mothers way they spotted the children hiding.


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could someone explain to me why rasputin's saves are so high? It seems to me that they should be fort +13 ref +10 will +18 (+4 vs some stuff) but instead it is fort +16 ref +12 will +20 (+4 vs some stuff) this includes unholy aura.

Ideas?

[edit]Ah never mind he has the feats, and I thought he had less con.

Coolest boss ever can't wait to run him.


My players hatched a plan this evening to knock down one of the towers. Two create pits on two of the bottom legs, then two disintegrates on supports on the top. The torus on top of the tower retaliated with Chain Lightning for both disintegrates, and the relevant trench was firing on them, but they weathered this assault, and retreated the next round.

Does the tower collapse? If so, what happens to the World Anchor? I want to try to discourage such destruction, but I'm not sure what to tell them.


The world anchor keeps discharging chain lightnings until they set it upright again.

Just how to do that is their problem.

The world anchors are indestructible while the World Engine still operates, I believe.

let them trash the towers; they'll be cursing when they find out that they need anchors later.

Contributor

Yeah, agreed with Zhangar 100%.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Leave the anchor where it was, 20 (?) feet above the ground supported by it's own energy, completely unharmed. Should make things interesting later.


So I tweaked the start of this book a little, mostly to make sure they got to the point where they left the hut but also because a more RP-centric approach seemed most appropriate.

One player died to the Bogeymen (phantasmal killer), they spoke to Little Ovik (but I didn't attack them), they set off the shadow trap and they all ran off for later, they fought the big ol' spider demon, they rescued the Doll and they had a conversation with The Coffin Man. I gave him loose flesh and made him a bit more Russian, including by giving him a cigarette. They asked him all the questions they needed and I loved telling them when and where they were, plus who they were now looking for.

It was an amazing opening that we all enjoyed - thank you!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

We finally kicked this off today (2 days shy of the 2nd anniversary of starting the AP), and already my players have thrown me a curve-ball that I would like to hear people's thoughts on.

But first some background...

Our sorcerer discovered the mad monkeys spell during Shackled Hut, and fell in love with it.
Here you go.
Since then I have allowed her to design two more, higher level, versions of the spell. One that gives the monkeys rage and higher damage, and now a 6th level version that effectively combines mad monkeys with creeping doom. The spell is still at the field-testing stage, but seems to be going ok. That is not the "problem"...

So.

They arrive in the Domovoi Gulag, which goes well, and despite finding the tunnel in the fire place, they choose to open the eastern door. The fighter steps through into the Gingerbread Hut, fails his Will save, and throws himself face first into the cupcake table. (Am I really typing this?) The party hook him back out with a reach weapon, slam the door, hit him with break enchantment, and head for the fire place. So far so good. Into Little Otik's room, which quickly dissolves into a fight. Monkey Mayhem is cast to defoliate the assassin vines, freeing everyone else up to cover Otik. Again all seems ok. But...

The fight ends with quite a bit of time left on the swarms, and so the sorcerer orders them through the tunnel, back across the Gulag, and to "tear down that door, and destroy the room beyond".

How should the swarms interact with the mass suggestion trap? I'm thinking that despite the spell specifically saying one target per level, the trap hits "any creature that enters the room", so that's one save per swarm, and whole swarms being effected.
The poison, I'm less certain about, but am erring towards again just treating each swarm as a single creature.
The Bogeymen? Well, now there I'm falling flat. (Other than the lack of door now meaning that they will torment the PCs in other rooms too.

Your thoughts please?


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The monkeys should totally be vulnerable to the suggestion and poison.

The bogeymen have very little they can do to a swarm, so they might want to just invisibility + gaseous form and go exploring while the monkeys eat the toxic candy.

And getting to type sentences like that is part of why this AP is so great.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I must never let my players find this thread.

I've already a player who wants to do Hairy Telekinesis and Blonde Tentacles (as the petite sorceress' favorite spell for a long time was Strangling Hair). Having her create Creeping Hair would just be... disturbing.


Has anyone run the shadows as weaker versions of the PCs? So shadows with class levels? I'm debating it but don't want to overwhelm the PCs or ruin a later fight by doing it...


Well I did this in the end and it worked very well. I used Greater Shadows and applied the basic templates, which they seemed to enjoy. Two have got away and they'll come back before they leave I suspect...

My Ifrit Sorceress managed to stop Rasputin rather effectively with an anti-magic field, but I think they enjoyed the fight regardless!

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Next session will begin with the party stepping out of the hut into the Great War, but I'm having trouble getting my head around some of the weaponry. Any chance of advice?

The Tsar Tank's main gun. As I read it, it works as a direct fire siege weapon, but gets multiple attacks per round due to its "advanced" status. However it both says that it is a Hotchkiss 6 pounder and a burst weapon (which the Hotchkiss isn't according to its stat' line). Which should it be? Also, " direct-fire weapon uses a normal attack roll", modified by the size difference between the weapon and the target. Should this be against AC or touch AC (if within fie range increments)?

The Aasen mortars appear to be worse. They should be "indirect-fire
advanced siege" weapons, using the rules for indirect weapons in Ultimate Combat. But those rues say that indirect weapons are targeted using skill checks against DCs set by the individual weapon, and the mortar doesn't have any that I can find. How should they work then? Is there no chance to miss their target square? Should the wielder just make a ranged attack against AC 5 modified by range? They have a "misfire" value, that surely means there's an attack roll somewhere.

And then there's Mortar Troops. It appears that they automatically hit their target, with no chance of deviation or misfire at all.

What am I not seeing? Thanks.


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With the Troops it's best to think of it as multiple individuals within the group all firing at the same target. The damage comes from those that hit, not that all of them do actually hit. So some of them might deviate or misfire, but that is factored into the damage.

Paizo Employee Senior Developer

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Darrell Impey UK wrote:

Next session will begin with the party stepping out of the hut into the Great War, but I'm having trouble getting my head around some of the weaponry. Any chance of advice?

The Tsar Tank's main gun. As I read it, it works as a direct fire siege weapon, but gets multiple attacks per round due to its "advanced" status. However it both says that it is a Hotchkiss 6 pounder and a burst weapon (which the Hotchkiss isn't according to its stat' line). Which should it be? Also, " direct-fire weapon uses a normal attack roll", modified by the size difference between the weapon and the target. Should this be against AC or touch AC (if within fie range increments)?

The Aasen mortars appear to be worse. They should be "indirect-fire
advanced siege" weapons, using the rules for indirect weapons in Ultimate Combat. But those rues say that indirect weapons are targeted using skill checks against DCs set by the individual weapon, and the mortar doesn't have any that I can find. How should they work then? Is there no chance to miss their target square? Should the wielder just make a ranged attack against AC 5 modified by range? They have a "misfire" value, that surely means there's an attack roll somewhere.

And then there's Mortar Troops. It appears that they automatically hit their target, with no chance of deviation or misfire at all.

What am I not seeing? Thanks.

The Hotchkiss 6 pounder on the Tsar tank is a direct fire siege weapon, and gets multiple attacks. It is not a burst (or automatic) weapon (and I can't find anything that says it is). Its HE shells do explode in a burst area, however. Like all advanced firearms, it attacks touch AC within 5 range increments (Ultimate Combat p.136).

The Aasen mortar is an indirect fire siege weapon. Its targeting DC should be 15 (this was unfortunately left out in print).

And Black_Cat is correct regarding the troops' mortar barrage.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Thanks to you both. I think that I was confusing the area effect of the HE shells with some form of non-attack rolled burst.


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Close only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades, and if you use enough grenades one will get close enough.


Is it just me or should this module have it's own campaign set in post WWI Earth?


Ejrik the Norseman wrote:
Is it just me or should this module have it's own campaign set in post WWI Earth?

It's just you. ;)

That it paves the way for future trips is another matter. Perhaps Strange Aeons will address this ...


Ejrik the Norseman wrote:
Is it just me or should this module have it's own campaign set in post WWI Earth?

Being a history buff I would love to see a published continuation of this set during the Russian Revolution. (I don't have the time to create if myself) After book 6 one of my players decided to stay on earth and escort Anastasia to St. Petersburg.


I can't believe that it took me this long to notice.

There are discrepancies between the early descriptions of loading times for the Russian firearms and the later descriptions.

Early on it says that it is a swift action to reload the M1895 rifle by way of stripper clip/charger, whereas the equipment section says that it is a move action to do the same thing.

Which is correct? I'm currently assuming it is a swift action, but characters' gotta know!

Paizo Employee Senior Developer

Turin the Mad wrote:

I can't believe that it took me this long to notice.

There are discrepancies between the early descriptions of loading times for the Russian firearms and the later descriptions.

Early on it says that it is a swift action to reload the M1895 rifle by way of stripper clip/charger, whereas the equipment section says that it is a move action to do the same thing.

Which is correct? I'm currently assuming it is a swift action, but characters' gotta know!

Move action is correct. It's a little confusing, but the Mosin-Nagant uses a non-detachable internal magazine, which means it follows the rules for internal magazine firearms on page 63. The confusion comes from the mention of stripper clips in the next paragraph about detachable magazines, which the Mosin-Nagant does not have. So it's a move action to reload the magazine with a stripper clip, and as it says in the rifle's description, if you don't have a stripper clip, a move action only lets you reload 2 rounds of ammo.


I got that, just wanted to clarify between the early text (swift action) and the item text (move action).

The revolvers should take 3 FRA (full round actions) to reload, but that's a quibble.


Advice wanted! I am currently GMing this module and my group, getting tired of the mortar fire in no-man's land while trying to approach the Akuvskaya prison camp, teleported right into the onion dome of the Ruined Chapel (G). Unfortunately, I had not read that far ahead, but it was getting late so I stopped the session there.

Now... what all kinds of havoc can I wreak on them for jumping right into the middle of everything <evil grin>?

Thanks!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Well, the "whole" temple will still be in the First World, as the World Anchors will still be active, but they will have teleported into the nest of the three pale snipers. I hope that they have the ability to teleport back out.


Darrell Impey UK wrote:
Well, the "whole" temple will still be in the First World, as the World Anchors will still be active, but they will have teleported into the nest of the three pale snipers. I hope that they have the ability to teleport back out.

Yes, it looks they will have to deal with the heat,fires, and the snipers right off the bat.


And Rasputin waiting downstairs don't forget...

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

No, Rasputin is in the version of the temple that is in the "other" world. Until the World Anchors are disabled they can't get to him.


Except that with Rasputin's project image ability, he can show up anywhere in the monastery that you want.

Making him pretty aggressive with that ability can significantly increase difficulty.


I thought his image was waiting downstairs in the monastary in the ruins...? My players never went in there so I can't remember it outside the context of our game now!


Yeah, Rasputin is always watching them and appears here and there to taunt.

I like the idea of having him show up more than is in the module and anywhere anytime to taunt, cast a spell or two, and disappear again. My players did not go into area G3 where Rasputin is supposed to appear. They fought the stone golems in G2 and decided they needed to to rest somewhere, so I had Rasputin just appear there.

There was the half-fiend satyr, Poryphanes, in Maiden, Mother, Crone that escaped from their first encounter. I had him keep showing up, taunting and fighting with the PCs, then flying away again throughout the dungeon. He wasn't powerful enough to defeat the PCs, but powerful enough to be a real pest and the players loved it when they were finally able to kill him. I hope to make a similar pest of Rasputin.


If the characters do what my players typically do by the end of Chapters 3 or 4 in most APs (get rings of sustenance for everyone), once he realizes they are able to recuperate in 3-4 hours instead of 8-10 hours, he's not going to unload all of his heavy artillery via project image, saving the 9th and 8th level spell slots plus as many as are needed to defend H6/the World Engine with his nastiest magic. He may even be sneaky about it and dial down his CL a bit to misinform them of exactly what he can do. CL 15 sounds about right. ;)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

How did I only notice today that the buildings in the compound massively change in size between the map on page 24 and the one on page 38?

For example, barracks buildings shrink from 40'x180' to 20'x90', and watch tower from 40'sq to 20'sq. (The chapel itself shrinks, but not, it would appear, by 50%.)


Yeah, Darrell, that was a bit of a frustration when going back and forth between the maps. I went with the smaller size - easier to draw on a battlemat. If my players had noticed the discrepancy in the descriptions, it could potentially have been explained through issues in planar magic, which one of the characters is really interested in.

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