The Witch Queen's Revenge (GM Reference)


Reign of Winter

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GM Reference thread for The Witch Queen's Revenge.


While I know the next AP will be the one utilizing the Mythic rules, will there be any bits advising GMs on adapting Mythic rules into the end of this AP?

Sovereign Court Developer

The Continuing the Campaign article has some ideas for incorporating mythic rules after the AP is over, but not about adding mythic to the published adventures themselves. This was primarily an issue of timing - the final mythic rules were being worked on at the same time as this adventure.


I am most curious as regards installing Anastasia as Queen of Irrisen. The Continuing the Campaign article touches on it, mentioning that the Irriseni (?) people will enjoy a happy and prosperous rule.

Anastasia, if given use of the advanced firearms from Chapter 5 (and plenty of salvaged ammunition for them) can earn her fair share of XP. Should she survive to be made Queen, I am curious to see what thoughts are as to what her class(es) could/should be.

Shadow Lodge

Turin the Mad wrote:
I am most curious as regards installing Anastasia as Queen of Irrisen. The Continuing the Campaign article touches on it, mentioning that the Irriseni (?) people will enjoy a happy and prosperous rule.

Well well, looks like someone's learned the lessons of her [supposed] father's reign. Interesting that she seems to have learned the exact opposite lesson her [supposed] grandfather Alexander III did when his father was killed by revolutionaries.

On the other hand, given that the PCs learn the fate of the Witch-Queens of Irrisen in this chapter, would they wish such a fate on her? I don't actually have my copy yet...does the possibility of her avoiding such a fate exist?

Quote:
Anastasia, if given use of the advanced firearms from Chapter 5 (and plenty of salvaged ammunition for them) can earn her fair share of XP. Should she survive to be made Queen, I am curious to see what thoughts are as to what her class(es) could/should be.

If you want to give her magic powers Sorcerer would be a decent way to do it. She's certainly got a bloodline steeped in the magical arts and doesn't seem like the type to embrace winter witchery right off the bat. On the other hand, if she's gaining her XP by using firearms, giving her levels in Fighter or Gunslinger would make sense too. On the other other hand, maybe Irrisen could do without a monarch with a bunch of class levels this time around, hmm? ;)


zimmerwald1915 wrote:
On the other other hand, maybe Irrisen could do without a monarch with a bunch of class levels this time around, hmm? ;)

I rather fancy Anastasia Romanov being Aristocrat 3/Gunslinger 15 IMC, complete with a brace of Nagant hardware and a Nagant rifle behind/beside her throne. ;)


I'm not sure Anastasia Romanov would want to use firearms... let alone let them in her kingdom... after what happened to her and her family.


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zimmerwald1915 wrote:
On the other hand, given that the PCs learn the fate of the Witch-Queens of Irrisen in this chapter, would they wish such a fate on her? I don't actually have my copy yet...does the possibility of her avoiding such a fate exist?

You get one boon from Baba Yaga for freeing her. As the adventure presents it, that means either asking her to leave and never come back to Golarion or to install Anastasia as new queen of Irrisen ( among a host of other options ). Of course it is possible to take option one and do option two by force when Baba Yaga has left, but it would be quite an undertaking against the assembled Yadwiga.

Of course Baba Yaga takes with her Elvannas daughters, so there exists a power vaccum, but then again the Yadwiga are not exactly known for lack of ambition.

Tangent101 wrote:
I'm not sure Anastasia Romanov would want to use firearms... let alone let them in her kingdom... after what happened to her and her family.

Only Turin would read about finding a obviously traumatized Anastasis in Rasputin Must Die! and think "Let's give her a gun and send her against undead and other monsters!". ^^


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magnuskn wrote:


Tangent101 wrote:
I'm not sure Anastasia Romanov would want to use firearms... let alone let them in her kingdom... after what happened to her and her family.
Only Turin would read about finding a obviously traumatized Anastasia in Rasputin Must Die! and think "Let's give her a gun and send her against undead and other monsters!". ^^

Nothing says "therapy" like blowing away horrific monstrosities with 7.62mm projectiles from a safe distance. Especially following a restoration and a heal.

"Nagant made me equal to you!"
blam!blam!blam!blam!blam!blam!blam!

And gaining gobs of XP. ^______^


magnuskn wrote:
Of course Baba Yaga takes with her Elvannas daughters

Will she? With Elvanna dead, there's no need for her to kill this batch of granddaughters.


The Boon(s) at the end are sometimes mentioned in singular and sometimes in plural. I'll probably grant 1 boon per PC, because that may get very interesting results.

The boon options include getting a lesser version of the dancing hut, massive wealth (or being taught like 200,000 GP worth of spells! And Baba Yaga knows damn near all of the spells), asking to be crowned queen of irrisen, asking for Anastasia to be crowned, asking to become one of her riders (essentially, gaining immortality and a bunch of powers in exchange for serving Baba Yaga for 100 years), being allowed to travel with Baba Yaga throughout the multiverse, and asking Baba Yaga to never return to Golarian.

Dear Grandmother honors her bargains.

If you ask Baba Yaga to end the eternal winter, she tells you no, and you need to pass a diplomacy check to be allowed a different boon.

Assuming she isn't barred from returning to Golarian, Baba Yaga sweeps up Elvanna's children to claim their essence.

Apparently, each of the queens has power that will actually transfer to their children if the queen is killed. Baba Yaga collects the grandkids and kills them to prevent that transfer before she drains a queen's essence and turns her into a Cold Queen.

So when the PCs kill Elvanna, presumably scraps of her power actually flow to the various L15+ grandkids she has running around. If allowed to return to Golarian, Baba Yaga plot damages them all out of existence so that she can claim those scraps.

Now, if Baba Yaga isn't coming back to Golarian, then any claimants to the throne need to deal with Elvanna's kids, who are all pretty dangerous in their own right.

The scraps of power thing has me thinking that the party might check up on Anastasia at the end of everything to find the kid's now become a rather bewildered haunted oracle, or perhaps a sorcerer with the haunted curse because why not, with 14 levels - one for daddy and one for each of the queens.

Side note - a party that wants to kill Baba Yaga technically has their best opportunity right after her release, as she's been re-united with her death (which she normally keeps in a demi-plane only she can accesss!) and the party has both her broom and her mortar & pestle, which are minor artifacts, either of which could be used to deal a deathblow to her. Of course, that still requires actually beating Dear Grandmother in a fight and knowing they need to end her with the artifact. I'd expect them to disintegrate her instead, which wouldn't do it.

And even as ridiculously strong as my PCs usually get, I think she'd mop the floor with them. I don't know yet what the hell a mythic wish does, but it can't be good for them.


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Evil Midnight Lurker wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
Of course Baba Yaga takes with her Elvannas daughters
Will she? With Elvanna dead, there's no need for her to kill this batch of granddaughters.

She still wants to eat their liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti. For the life force she sucks out of them and their mamas.


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Zhangar wrote:

So when the PCs kill Elvanna, presumably scraps of her power actually flow to the various L15+ grandkids she has running around. If allowed to return to Golarian, Baba Yaga plot damages them all out of existence so that she can claim those scraps.

Now, if Baba Yaga isn't coming back to Golarian, then any claimants to the throne need to deal with Elvanna's kids, who are all pretty dangerous in their own right.

Hmm, I may have read that wrong, but I think she takes them out even if she agrees to leave Golarion forever, as a last act of "screw you, kids!" to her family. ^^


Zhangar wrote:
The boon options include getting a lesser version of the dancing hut

The winter witch in my party will stop right there and take the hut. Forget the eternal winter and forget totalitarian rule from an evil, oppressive monarchy. The citizens of Irrisen can sod off. She'll take that hut and go jaunting around wherever it will take her.


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Only is your GM reads the boon part as "everybody gets a car!", instead of what I think is the real "one single wish for everyone" intent I think it has.


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The lesser version doesn't have TARDIS functionality, though a sufficiently skilled witch might be able to start installing that into the hut.

Mechanically, the lesser hut is a permanent version of the Witch's Hut grand hex (making it something you can't normally have, though!) which, since it is permanent, can be bolstered with all sorts of crazy things, like a demiplane seed.

So Dear Grandmother will give you the core item necessary to make your very own dancing hut, but it's up to you to rise to the occasion and actually make it the real deal.

@Magnus - I think Baba Yaga cleaning house in Irrisen is what she does if the PCs don't make any requests that screw with that. Asking her to never come back to Golarian definitely screws with that.

Yeah, the intent does seem to be that Baba Yaga will do one single thing for the entire party, but that's less satisfying to me as a GM.

2nd edit - didn't re-read far enough; looks like if you install a new queen, she'll bring you back to Golarian and snap up the grandkids because she can.


I agree with Zhangar. It's not like the PCs stand all that much of a real chance of taking down Baba Yaga, even via alpha strike with a full rostrum of "buffs", so doling out a final boon per character (or a pool of 4 or 5 boons total for larger groups, depending on the boons).

Perhaps Anastasia-as-Queen + Depart Golarion = awarded boon as an acceptable compromise between "one boon only" and "one boon per PC", should the PCs think to (politely) request such?


Huh. It's already out? I've not gotten the PDF yet. Hmm... guess it's the last-minute order I added delaying things.

Dark Archive

PDF is available next Wednesday. These guys have hard copies, I suspect.


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Zhangar wrote:
2nd edit - didn't re-read far enough; looks like if you install a new queen, she'll bring you back to Golarian and snap up the grandkids because she can.

That's what I meant.

YuenglingDragon wrote:
PDF is available next Wednesday. These guys have hard copies, I suspect.

Suscribers get their PDF when the hardcopy ships.


I never use my pdfs...I'm a hard copy kinda man.


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Turin the Mad wrote:
I agree with Zhangar. It's not like the PCs stand all that much of a real chance of taking down Baba Yaga, even via alpha strike with a full rostrum of "buffs", so doling out a final boon per character (or a pool of 4 or 5 boons total for larger groups, depending on the boons).

First off, taking her down before she can undo Elvanna's ritual is explicitly mentioned as a terrible idea and the PCs are made aware of that in the adventure.

And even if they manage to take her down after that (an, um, unlikely proposition at best), she will just respawn like a raid boss 24 hours later, since she is mythic tier 10.


What would a PC need to replicate the the hut's teleporting ability?


I actually have a friend who's a subscriber and giving me the RoW pdfs as they come in, since I'll be DMing the campaign. I got the pdf late Tuesday night.

Anyways, Dear Grandmother's stat block has a lot of mysteries in it (like what mythic hexes and a number of her spells, like mythic heal, do) that'll remain cyphers until Mythic Adventures.

I'm a little surprised Baba Yaga doesn't keep mind blank prepared, since (a) that opens her up to a discern location-based scry & fry and (b) makes her illusion based defenses worthless against anything with true seeing, but maybe she just doesn't care normally?

@ Ataraxias - I'd looked at a cubic gate as a basis for where to start. They essentially need to enchant a huge construct with plane shift, interplanetary teleport, and/or gate.


*shrugs* My order includes pawns, a non-pristine source book (price savings! Besides, I just used duct tape on the binding of the core handbook, my books see hard love so pristine copies don't matter to me), and the module. So some delays are to be expected. But hey, I saved $10 on shipping. ;)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

So the wording is iffy on the whole Boon(s) thing? I wasn't sure if it was simply my rushed perusal.
Especially since it looks as though she grants one or two boons to each PC a bit earlier in the adventure to help them against Elvana & it specifically seems to state that those boons stick around even once they have completed the AP.


It's kind of a good thing my group IS so slow-paced in this. I'll likely be able to fully integrate those boons into Mythic Tiers in this case.

Hmm. So it seems likely (for my purposes) Tier 1 is at the Winter Portal. Tier 2 is attained in Artosia. Tier 3 would be the battle with Rasputin. And then a couple more while in the Hut itself.

Sovereign Court Developer

For Baba Yaga's final boon - her reward to the PCs for freeing her - the wording is "the PCs may request one boon from the Queen of Witches." Not one boon for each PC, but one boon, period. In some of the possible boons, such as "magic," the boon is broken down by individual PC (i.e., Baba Yaga gives each PC a single magic item), but the PCs need to choose that one boon to get the individual awards. In other words, one PC can't pick "magic" while another picks "leave Golarion forever" while another picks "The Three Riders."


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Well, as I said, then.

Hm, I wonder how the Three Riders boon breaks down with groups larger than three... ^^

Paizo Employee Developer

That assumes everyone will survive. ;)

Shadow Lodge

Adam Daigle wrote:
That assumes everyone will survive. ;)

Hmm, so if everyone does survive, does choosing this boon ensure one of them (assuming a four-person party) is killed? Conversely, does choosing this boon with a party of fewer than two PCs - the others having been killed - ensure that one is resurrected?

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Baba Yaga could always elevate anyone left over to become another "daughter." :->


Neil Spicer wrote:
Baba Yaga could always elevate anyone left over to become another "daughter." :->

polymorph any object ...

Paizo Employee Developer

zimmerwald1915 wrote:
Adam Daigle wrote:
That assumes everyone will survive. ;)
Hmm, so if everyone does survive, does choosing this boon ensure one of them (assuming a four-person party) is killed? Conversely, does choosing this boon with a party of fewer than two PCs - the others having been killed - ensure that one is resurrected?

No not at all. The example boons presented in the article are just examples and suggestions. In a group of six PCs, choosing the Riders boon would probably be a bad idea unless half the party couldn't care less about a boon and decide to split off and let the other half of the party run around as nearly immortal fey creatures for the rest of their lives. Not every party is going to want the same thing at the end of the AP and there's no way Rob and I can predict the kind of things people might want, so we chose as many likely outcomes we could fit in that space.

I'm curious to see what groups of PCs actually choose as their boon. (And the inevitable lists of reader-created boons that will pop up on the boards.)


Rob McCreary wrote:
For Baba Yaga's final boon - her reward to the PCs for freeing her - the wording is "the PCs may request one boon from the Queen of Witches." Not one boon for each PC, but one boon, period. In some of the possible boons, such as "magic," the boon is broken down by individual PC (i.e., Baba Yaga gives each PC a single magic item), but the PCs need to choose that one boon to get the individual awards. In other words, one PC can't pick "magic" while another picks "leave Golarion forever" while another picks "The Three Riders."

Hmmm. That does make me very inclined, if I still go with multiple boons, to make "crown a new monarch" (where she helps with the grandkids) and "leave Golarian forever" mutually exclusive.

Meaning that one way, Baba Yaga will help clean house, but will personally oppose any legitimate efforts to end Irrisen's winter, and the other way, she won't help with Irrisen (meaning the PCs may well have entire hostile armies to contend with, and need Sven Bloodeagle's help to triumph) but won't oppose the mythic quest of ending the eternal winter.

Heh. It's pretty amusing to see a GM reference thread that's so far almost entirely dedicated to the "Continuing the Campaign" section.

@Turin - Dear Grandmother can do way better than Polymorph Any Object. Dear Grandmother practically created a demon lord as an act of spite. Dear Grandmother might be able to make it so that you've always been her daughter. Reality's pretty much just a toy to her.

Paizo Employee Developer

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Zhangar wrote:
Heh. It's pretty amusing to see a GM reference thread that's so far almost entirely dedicated to the "Continuing the Campaign" section.

While I'm sure at this point it's entirely a case of folks not having their copies and the reasonable assumption that no GM out there is just waiting for this book to drop so they can run their group through the the final book long enough to encounter problems, this makes me very happy. These are hard pieces for me to write because it's incredibly difficult at times to anticipate what the primary interests would be after the main goal is over and done with. And most of the time the material isn't used in game as much as it is a thought exercise of "what next?" I'm happy people are digging it and I'm glad that Rob and I seemed hit the mark with this one.


I'd think it would not be mutually exclusive to say something like "After you remove Elvanna and her brood, you never return." And hey, the party is 17th level at that point - I suspect they'd be able to put Anastasia on the throne themselves. ;)


It kind of funny to me that becoming Baba Yaga's Riders could be a boon to the PCs.

For one of my characters, I had added an event in his backstory where an "agent" of Baba Yaga encountered him and saw (well, tasted really) rider potential. He'll be getting subtly recruited over the course of the AP; it's hard to say how the character will actually respond to the offer...time will tell.

Can't wait to get a hold of this book...I also have a Jadwiga character in the party and I'd really like to provide an opportunity for him to encounter the daughter who is his great-something-grandmother.


An alternative, for the GMs who don't fancy the earlier boons granted by Baba Yaga during the adventure, is to hoard the boons that could otherwise have been granted to pile them up for the 'boss fight' and the subsequent post-'boss fight' boons.


I'd be interested in seeing suggestions from Paizo on how to integrate Mythic rules into the final AP - in essence, altering the Boons to be Mythic Tiers or the like. Obviously it would have to wait a month for the Mythic rules to come out... ^^;;

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Turin the Mad wrote:
An alternative, for the GMs who don't fancy the earlier boons granted by Baba Yaga during the adventure, is to hoard the boons that could otherwise have been granted to pile them up for the 'boss fight' and the subsequent post-'boss fight' boons.

An Idea:

Spoiler:

A more insidious plan would be to have Baba Yaga use the shared mantle of the Black Rider the PCs obtained back during Snows of Summer to use as a weapon against them if they try to betray her. I'd imagine some kind of safeguard like that being part of any mantle she bestows upon one of her riders. And, by the PCs coming to accept and benefit from the mantle over the course of the campaign, they could be seen as her creatures now...whether they want to be or not.

That kind of development could surely play havoc with their ability to effectively counter Baba Yaga in any future confrontations. And I think that'd be an interesting way for demonstrating how the Old Crone maintains her hold over the people she encounters and the places she seeks to control. If she willed the mantle's geas-like effect into a mythic geas-like effect, that would surely become a game-changer in their relationship with her...and could serve as the basis for a truly mythic-level campaign.


Tangent101 wrote:
I'd be interested in seeing suggestions from Paizo on how to integrate Mythic rules into the final AP - in essence, altering the Boons to be Mythic Tiers or the like. Obviously it would have to wait a month for the Mythic rules to come out... ^^;;

The "Continuing the Campaign" section suggests granting a mythic tier at the defeat of Elvanna and the release of the Old Crone. Additional tiers would be earned as the party begins world, and plane hopping to destroy the Winter Collectors. The Winter Collectors are artifacts scattered across numerous planes and worlds (like Triaxus, Earth, the border of Air and Water, and the Thrice-Tenth Kingdom) that are responsible for maintaining Irrisen's magical winter. It's recommended they get a mythic tier for every Collector destroyed.

Once enough of the Collectors are destroyed it'll be possible to destroy the Winter Controller at the heart of the Whitethrone palace.

If the PCs haven't gotten Baba Yaga to leave Golarian for good, they may well have to face her intervention at this point.

Considering how much of a pain it is to actually put Baba Yaga down for good, a party trying to destroy the Winter Controller may well be fighting Baba Yaga every single day until they can either re-locate her death, and thus have the means to kill her for good, or maybe reach a truce with her after destroying the Controller.

Though even forcing the 24 hour respawn is a good trick. I believe she has tarrasque-style regeneration (so she takes subdual damage from everything) and is also immune to all death effects. So now I'm trying to think of what could even get rid of her for 24 hours outside of chucking her into a sphere of annihilation.

Heh. Dangerous old lady is dangerous!


Oddly enough...my players have a sphere of annihilation with them...hmmm...their plans to kill of Baba Yaga seem to be progressing faster than I have estimated...Back To The DM Cave! More Plotting Is Needed Here!!!


Heh, well keep in mind that the sphere of annihilation cannot kill her for good (which should be a pretty nasty surprise for the PCs when she shows up for round 2!), and she really should have a talisman of the sphere with her for the rematch.


Just got the PDF today. Skimmed it quickly.

Hmm... I really really hope my players don't decide to try and continue the campaign. Unless Paizo puts out a module pack for "continuing the campaign" for high-level characters, that is.

I still think it would be interesting to implement mythic tiers into the game at an earlier point, despite not planning on the PCs reaching Tier 10. Mostly I think it'll depend on just what the refined Mythic rules have to say on the subject! ^^;;


selunatic2397 wrote:
Oddly enough...my players have a sphere of annihilation with them...hmmm...their plans to kill of Baba Yaga seem to be progressing faster than I have estimated...Back To The DM Cave! More Plotting Is Needed Here!!!

Sooner or later - probably on the "much sooner" side, the controller is going to lose control of that thing. When they do ...


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm sure that is what YOU believe
But I know she has CHEMISTRY!
She tricked you all with level ten
And soon she will be back again!

A no-price for the person who knows where that is from. ^^

Shadow Lodge

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Turin the Mad wrote:
selunatic2397 wrote:
Oddly enough...my players have a sphere of annihilation with them...hmmm...their plans to kill of Baba Yaga seem to be progressing faster than I have estimated...Back To The DM Cave! More Plotting Is Needed Here!!!
Sooner or later - probably on the "much sooner" side, the controller is going to lose control of that thing. When they do ...

"Run awaaaaaay!"

And now for something completely different...

A hex map of Irrisen! For those GMs whose players choose to place Anastasia on the throne themselves instead of having Baba Yaga do it for them, and want to run a large-scale war against the Irriseni ancien regime (ironic to have a Romanov leading the revolt against any sort of ancien regime, isn't it?) using the Kingmaker/Ultimate Campaign Mass Combat rules.

Light green = plains*
Dark green = forests
Light brown = hills
Dark brown = mountains
Blue = water
Gray = settlements (taken from Irrisen, land of eternal winter)
Maroon insert = sites of interest (taken from Irrisen, land of eternal winter)
Red = national border
Pink = provincial border

*Strictly speaking, these hexes ought to be desert, but here's what the section on hex types has to say about that:

Ultimate Campaign wrote:
In cold environments, a desert is usually tundra, which acts like another terrain category depending on the current season. During most of the year, a cold desert is covered in a layer of permafrost, creating hard, stable terrain (which is treated as plains). During the warm season, the permafrost thaws and turns the area into mud (which is treated as marsh).

There is no "warm season" in Irrisen, and there won't be unless and until the PCs do something about it, so I feel justified in treating these hexes like plains hexes for purposes of the War of the Irriseni Succession.


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@zimmerwald1915: That is really helpful, thanks!


Turin the Mad wrote:
selunatic2397 wrote:
Oddly enough...my players have a sphere of annihilation with them...hmmm...their plans to kill of Baba Yaga seem to be progressing faster than I have estimated...Back To The DM Cave! More Plotting Is Needed Here!!!
Sooner or later - probably on the "much sooner" side, the controller is going to lose control of that thing. When they do ...

I am currently toying with the idea of having Baba Yaga create a wild magic zone when my heroes break out their sphere of anhilation...but what would that do to the sphere? [probably nothing to "HER" magic though!]

Some of my ideas are continuously altering the spheres size from its usual 1 foot diameter and slowish speed to 10 feet wide and slow as black strap molassas in January , to 1 inch wide and fast as a cheetah on crack...back and forth with only the benevolent dice to determine when or how often...

Any other ideas?

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