Reign of Winter Obituaries Thread (Spoilers)


Reign of Winter

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Tangent101 wrote:

Have a LOT of fun with those environmental rules. Don't forget what snow does to archers - -2 to hit will hurt at lower levels. Heh heh heh. Also, no charging. No five-foot step. Enemies that fly and ignore that. I toned it down because my players are novices and I didn't want to just kill them all... but for an experienced group? Play it up. Be evil.

That said, rewrite Rokhar to be a Cleric 2/Rogue 1. Because played intelligently he'd wipe the floor with a 1st level party.

That actually happened in a game on these boards, party wiped in the fight and the game folded because the players weren't inclined to make new PCs.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I know. I commented on it. I'm not a fan of TPKs and feel it's a sign of poor design when it comes about. The Lodge was not a well-written part of the AP for one single reason: it's too powerful for 1st level characters. It would be a challenge for 2nd level characters!

That is another thing about the start of RoW that I disliked - there was no real reason to want to save Helgren or Taldan. You wander into town and then find out about adventure - winter weather in summer - and then you go forth to save the world. Whee.

Contrast that to RotRL or Night Below - in both you have a homebase from which you develop relations with the NPCs and thus when things start getting bad (say with the goblins preparing for a wide assault on town, or with slavers targeting people you care for) you have a reason to intervene. It isn't in RoW until the group makes it to the Winter Portal that they even get a significant noble reason to continue - save the world. Yet that personal hook never quite develops unless the players choose to cultivate a relationship of some sorts with Nadya.

RoW would have worked better by extending the first part with some side adventures at the very start. Let the players get to know the people of Helgren, start planting the clues that something bad is going to happen, and then when the winter weather descends... it is impacting people the group cares about.


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I had my PCs actually come from Heldren, and work the town into their backstories; only one of them was an outsider to the town. That worked pretty well.

The party actually used the plane shift/teleport trick to come back to Heldren during the epilogue of book 4. (My party's also a bit of ahead of the EXP curve - despite being on slow advancement, they started book 5 at 14th level. As the game's mythic I've been scaling encounters up. My Yrax was CR19 after sorcerer levels, mythic tiers, and house rules.)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Oh, my group started out at level 3-5 (one level 5, one level 4, two level 3s, and two GMPCs with a level 3 and level 4 - one was supposed to be kidnapped for Night Below but RoW and having used old Dungeon magazine adventures prior to NB meant they were just reaching Milbourne and hadn't run into kidnappers yet so...). I've been ratcheting up stuff every since, especially as I went with Mythic instead of a straight +2 to one stat. (They're at Tier 2.)

Seeing I tend to run stuff through playtests before siccing it on the group, I'm able to compensate for Mythic. Not to mention they have run into several mythic foes. ^^;;


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

the only reason i can think of not to play Shattered Star is for continuity if you also plan on running Rise of the Runelords:)


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Yeah, I remember that Tangent. IIRC, you also have a month or so between games, so playtesting encounters is a luxury most GMs don't really have.

I tend to just eyeball the numbers and hope they're good enough =D

Though there ARE powers I've stayed away from as too good (such as mythic vital strike - I almost gave to Yrax, but then he would've auto-killed a PC every time he attacked.)

My only PC death so far was against Vsevolod, though I've had a number of close calls - which I'm cool with.


Name: Party wipe
Race: varies
Classes/levels: lvl 2
Adventure: Reign of Winter
Location: Winter Portal
Catalyst: Color Spray
The Gory Details: Well it only took one CR 1/3 sprite to color spray 2 of them while the other was stuck in a hole inside an igloo. Non-lethal damage is so deadly when you're standing out in the cold snow at low levels. Honestly those fey are just a bit too strong for being CR 1/3. They have downed several parties of mine and I have had to call them off from time to time, but this time it was not possible. The Moss Troll Teb got alerted and was making his way over to finish them off.


My party has been struggling through Reign of Winter for the most part as well. It's the campaign that has caused the biggest amount of character deaths that I've run so far. Quite a few people are on their third characters already, and we've only finished the first book.

The environment caused them a lot of problems at the beginning. They got the hint before trekking out of Heldren to get cold-weather gear, but even then the multitudes of saving throws eventually caused them to take a fair chunk of damage. I didn't get any character deaths from this, but it certainly softened them up enough to make fights tougher.

I also had trouble keeping the players focused on the quest itself. After finding themselves in deep winter most of them immediately thought something along the lines of, "Oh crap we're in way over our heads. We should get out ASAP." I had to have the winter spread to cover Heldren before they decided they should go back into the forest.

I also had the trouble of characters who had the Black Rider's mark dying. All of them died, and after chatting with the group we decided to have the last remaining member with the mark to be risen as a ghost to continue the quest. But I know the amount of character deaths have discouraged some of them, especially one who joined when they were about to storm of the Pale Tower. He had a detailed backstory tying into The Shackled Hut, but then died in the final battle against Radosek. With his next character he just kind of gave up making any sort of backstory and is just going along with it just for the sake of it.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

This is why I'm an advocate of both using Hero Points (and allowing players to save their characters using just one Hero Point) from the Advanced Player's Guide, and also for GMs to fudge die rolls when necessary. In fact, I try to avoid player deaths until there is at least one character able to cast Raise Dead or Reincarnate.


As much as I would love doing that, I'm also hesitant on just trying outright to avoid character deaths. My players always know it when I'm pulling my punches, even when I'm not rolling in the open, and they've said that, while they hate dying, they also hate it when I'm just blatantly trying to avoid killing them. It takes away from the drama and tension in the game when they know that I just won't kill them.

I may try Hero Points one day, but some don't like it, and most of them will likely forget about it anyways, so I doubt that would actually change anything in my group.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Resigned to TPK/TP Capture
The Shackled Hut
The Howlings

Told that the entire city was on watch and that the Howlings was the easiest way to get into the city, but that they needed to get fake papers after delivering food to the poor, the party bribed their way in, led by Ringeirr. The party had hung around at the pocket of Summer and met with/recruited the druid responsible for it, who disguised himself as the donkey pulling the cart.

When the goblins set their ambush, the party wiped them out pretty handily, thanks in part to the npc druid stunning a bunch. Much ado was made about the fact that this would be looked at as murder in Whitethrone, and that they would have to be careful to avoid drawing any attention to it. They dragged the bodies into the nearby covered alley and the npc druid shapechanged into a dire tiger to consume the evidence while they moved on to deliver the fish.

They spotted the mirror man and Ringeirr explained that they needed to avoid being seen by him, or if chased, they needed to make sure it was dead quickly and quietly.

They started moving away, but cast concealing mist, which only attracted his attention. Several of them moved far enough away to avoid being spotted anyway, but two moved over to where the npc druid was eating the goblins, and when the mirror man came into sight, the PC druid decided to cast call lightning, and a few of the others came back to destroy the mirror man. The mirror man called the drunk winter wolves to help telepathically, and the npc druid, aware by now that the whole city might come down on them, cast wall of flame on the winter wolves hoping to finish them quickly and discourage others from coming.

Ringeirr meanwhile is cursing the day his niece brought these... people into his life, trying to drop off the fish as quickly as he can.

The party finishes off the mirror man and the 2 winter wolves, and the npc druid explains that calling lightning down from the sky is sure to have attracted unwanted attention. He volunteers to try to save their bacon again, this time transforming into an allosaurus and saying he'll act both as a distraction and an explanation for the lightning, they should rejoin Ringeirr and try to salvage the mission.

They find Ringeirr, tell him to dump the fish so they can retrieve their gear and try to make it across town to get their papers. Ringeirr begrudgingly agrees, if for no other reason than to be rid of the party.

On their way across town, they run into the winter wolf and his slave. He tells them it's his household and he's going to have some sport. Ringeirr lowers his head and walks by, hoping the party would get the clue. They don't.

A failed attempt at a slumber hex from the witch, and they have another fight on their hands. Only this time, they are just an alley away from the 2 winter wolves and 3 ice trolls. And they're still using call lightning.

The only actual death that occurs is the sorcerer, who dies from winter wolf breath. This, however, sets off the party cleric, who decides to surrender since the party got her best friend killed and doesn't seem to be following Ringeirr's advice about discretion. (Ringeirr is running for his life at this point.)

The party is pretty beat up and now their cleric is healing their enemy. A brief discussion ends the campaign.

Edit:Frankly, with all that flashy magic, I think the entirety of the Howings would have come down on their asses. Like, winter wolves streaming out of every house... but I didn't want to force a tpk.


Wow, your party botched that amazingly badly. Not "attack Greta at the gate" bad but still pretty badly.

Did the PC druid also cast the obscuring mist that drew the mirror men?

Some one might not have gotten the memo about "stealth mission."

Though I'm a little confused at the mirror man calling in the drunk winter wolves - I don't know if it has any reason to know that they're there, and the winter wolves don't like the mirror men and resent their presence in the Howlings. Trying to boss around an inebriated winter wolf might go badly.

But so's hiding the evidence by eating the goblins. That takes time, ya know =P

(My PCs hid themselves from the mirror man by burying themselves in the snow and using Nadya's snowshoes to obliterate all signs of their presence.)


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Great! Now I want to add Goblin eating contests at all the country fairs:)

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

It was either the druid or the cleric who cast obscuring mist... I'm not positive on that one any more. (It was an online game via maptools and skype and that session was about three weeks ago..)

The drunk winter wolves were within line of sight and within telepathic range when he was attacked, and he called them telepathically. Basically a "hey, there's some troublemakers here." sort of thing. They may have resented his "summons" but not half so much as the wall of flame that popped up as they came.

And yeah, the npc druid-as-tiger was only part way through the first goblin when they came back. That's part of why he wanted to cast shift blame onto himself for the party. The npc druid did pull Greta and another guard ww (coming to see where the lightning came from)away from the party before they decided to interfere with the slave. (He used transport via plant to escape after drawing them away.)


Name: Valgard
Race: Human
Class/Levels: Fighter (Viking) 11
Adventure: The Frozen Stars
Location: Rimekeening Crevasse
Catalyst: Carnivorous Crystallization

Name: Nevra
Race: Dragonkin
Adventure: The Frozen Stars
Location: Rimekeening Crevasse
Catalyst: Carnivorous Crystallization

Valgard and Nevra took the front line against the Carnivorous Crystal, and neither could make a fortitude saving throw. The two arcanists and the dexterity fighter had a hard time making a dent in the spreading crystallization process, and both heroes were crystallized. Zolia, Jexx, and Ben fled, but not before finally killing the Crystal.

After a couple of days and consultation with the mercane, Zolia returned to see if a Break Enchantment could fix the problem. Instead of two statues, Zolia found two more Carnivorous Crystals.

Nevra will be missed, and her memory mourned. Valgard's soul is deciding what to do with itself.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Name: Thordis
Race: Human
Classes/levels: Cleric of Torag, Level 7
Adventure: Maiden, Mother, Crone
Location: Dancing Hut
Catalyst: Animated Dream
The Gory Details:
My group handled the first two riddles of the Ravens quite good. And even this one went fine so far, as they managed to get the informations they needed (with the help of a plot card, to be honest but nevertheless they got them). Unfortunatly, they tried to gather some more informations and as the Nightmare were "forced" to answer truthfully it became angryer and angryer until I thought, it was enough and I let it attack.
I rolled high for Initiative and casted a Deep Slumber on the Fighter of the group (she played a Witch in our last campaign and slumbered far too much encounters... so I thought I show her how that feels!). The Animated Dream (or Nightmare? Can't remember the right name) then became flanked by the Cleric and the Ranger, both with Magic Weapons and the Wizard got through it's Spell Resistance with a Disruptiv Spell. So I began to attack Thordis. The first hit was quite hard (I still don't know why this is a CR 8 encounter!) and my group a) still didn't really realized that they won't beat this thing and b) hoped for the Command of the Bone Oracle (worked quite good with a lot of encounters so far...). The Oracle didn't got through the SR and the rest of the group was trying their best.
When it was the the dreams turn, it attacked Thordis again and hit... with an affirmed Crit which brought the cleric way into the negativ HP (I think she had -24 HP afterwards). The player (my wife) was able to cheat death with two Hero Points...
The rest managed to flee out of the room, dragging Thordis behind them (the fighter got waked up by a successful attack by the wolf companion of the Ranger)

But nevertheless: The first death in this campaign! (after a lot of close calls)


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Name: Frostbite
Race: Wolf
Classes/levels: Animal Companion Level 4
Adventure: Maiden, Mother, Crone
Location: Maiden, C-2
Catalyst: unwise decision and crit rolls

Name: Tarja Lumi
Race: Human
Classes/levels: Fighter, Level 7
Adventure: Maiden, Mother, Crone
Location: Maiden, C-2
Catalyst: unbelieveable dice rolls...

The Gory Details:
My Party went to the Maiden and after they convinced Gurra Gurra to let them pass (I decided, some nice RPGing isn't bad and they came up with such a good solution... I had to let them at least a try!) they entered the tunnel and encountered the Frost Giant, which shouted an alarm and began to retreat. Tarja charged him before he could do anything, so the giant made a full attack and crawled 5 foot backwards. Tarja got some damage from him, but they managed to kill the giant. Unfortunatly for them, the Demons in the room on the other end of that tunnel heard the Giant and came running. Two of them jumped on/over the giant and threatened Tarja and Thordis (the group's cleric) and the other two teleported between the front-chars and the Oracle and the wizard.
Tarc, the Ranger of the group decided to aid Tarja up front (and earned a very confused and a bit angry look from the wizards player) and his wolf Frostbite charged the demon next to him... alone!
Next round that demon made a full attack against the wolf, critted once and hit with the rest of his attacks which brought poor Frostbite far below - Constitution.
The rest of the fight was really poor dice rolls for the party on both sides:
I made a total of four confirmed crits (a fifth crit wasn't confirmed) and good hits while Tarja and Tarc didn't hit and the wizard and the Oracle of the Party failed on the SR of the demons a couple of times....
Finally they decimated the demons down to two and one was finally commanded by the Oracle to drop, when Tarja got hit by a full attack, including a crit which dropped her below - Constitution.
Luckily for her she still had 2 Hero Points remaining, so she could Cheat Death.

Now the entire Party has no Hero Points left (except for the Ranger, which still has three, but I ruled that he can't use them for his companion).
It get's interesting....


Name: Patyr
Race: Human
Classes/levels: Cleric of Seranrae 4
Adventure: Shackled Hut
Location: Road to Whitethrone - Day 2
Catalyst: 2 Timber wolves during night time watch. He was alone while the others slept. He failed his perception and they got the surprise round and got good rolls.

and

Name: Axel
Classes/levels: Druid 1
Adventure: Snows of Summer
Location: Road to Sentinels Lodge, just after Icy Crossing.
Catalyst: The players made camp to Regen before approaching the Lodge. I was trying to kill a player who left the game (due to real life) with a Gray Ooze (random encounter that rolled during their night time watch) and the Druid decided to get close and try to get the other character out of the way. Eventually the Gray Ooze got a hold of Axel and it was down hill from there.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber

Name:Gramsci
Race: Elf
Classes/Level: 8 Rogue
Adventure: Maiden Mother Crone
Location: Maiden Dungeon
Catalyst: Caigreal rend hit after Unholy Blight from Poryphanes. The fiend-satyr had fled the last fight, and taken up with the Annis Hag. Together they made a deadly combination for this rogue, who thought he was a front-liner once too often.

{First Death in the Campaign; actually first really close call since lower levels.}


Name: Zacarius
Race: Human
Classes/levels: Spirit Shaman
Adventure: The Shackled Hut
Location: About a day outside of Whitethrone
Catalyst: Ambush by hawkmasters and Norgrimm
The Gory Details: The hawks scouting for Norgrimm's rangers easily spotted the group. Norgrimm buried himself in the snow along the party's path while the archers set themselves in small copses of trees along a low ridgeline where they could get a good 400' range shot. The group moved forward until shot at, when they split up. Norgrimm waited until melee was too far forward to help, then went after the kineticist and shaman in the back (they had been dealing with hawks). Norgrimm critted Zacarius the round after breathing on him, then fell to the kineticist before he could do any more damage.

More gory details at http://mylesotter.blogspot.com/2015/02/quicklings-be-damned.html (or just http://mylesotter.blogspot.com/ for the entire campaign so far) :)


Name: Jexx
Race: Human
Classes/levels: Silver-Dragonblooded Sorcerer 12
Adventure: The Frozen Stars
Location: Ivoryglass
Catalyst: He turned on the garbage disposal.
The Gory Details: Rebelling against Zolia's advice to check out the room opposite the library, Jexx and Valgard opened the northernmost door, and were confronted by a bare chamber with a small plugged well. Mercilessly exploiting carrying capacity rules, Jexx enlarged Valgard to haul out the plug, then needed to know what was down there. He first cast light on a coin and tossed it down. When that winked out, he tried a bead from his necklace of fireballs.

Shocked at being hurt, the ooze living in the hole surged out and grabbed him. Jexx died to a couple rounds of constriction and acid when nobody really came to his aid. Zolia destroyed the beast with an anklyosaurus and chastised Valgard. Valgard quietly replaced the plug.

It turns out Jexx has a Do Not Resurrect card in his wallet, necessitating that I find a way to fit a new (human) PC into the campaign. I think this is our sixth death. Make that 7th, counting Nevra the NPC.


Name: Zolia Eriath (and then some)
Race: Human
Classes/levels: Diviner 14

Name: Valgard Grissom
Race: Human
Classes/Levels: Viking 14

Adventure: Rasputin Must Die
Location: Outside Akuvskaya Prison Camp
Catalyst: Pissing off the Yetis

My players used scry-and-die tactics on the yeti hut within the camp. The yetis managed to kill poor Sven, a Russian soldier the players had dragged along with them, but didn't do too much damage otherwise. When the Paladin realized that these things weren't evil and could speak, he used his Greater Angelic Aspect to get them to stand down. The two surviving female Yetis told the party they were trackers for Rasputin, that they were going to leave ASAP, that the mates of the Yetis they killed would be pissed, and that yes, the male of the species was stronger than the female.

A pair of Advanced Agile Yetis ambushed them the next morning, having tracked our heroes to the spot where they employed a magnificent mansion. They both charged Valgard and bounced off his armor, then turned to tear down Zolia and Ben (Metal Oracle) before they even got a turn. Zolia was brought to exactly dead, but only for a moment. Ben Breath of Life'd her and successfully played dead herself.

Dagren (Divine Hunter) and Zolia escaped into the air and spent time buffing and summoning, while Valgard tried to hold off the increasingly violent attacks. Ben got into the air as well. The yetis finally dealt the killing blow to Valgard, but having no flight, beat a hasty retreat back towards the camp. The artillery of Zolia and Dagren finished them off, while Ben was tasked with scooping up Valgard.

Valgard was resurrected by a one-use magic item gifted to him by his grandmother. This is his third death, and he's the only link to the original party. His death represents the 9th party death overall.

Agile is certainly a kick in the pants, isn't it? I won't use that lightly again.


Name: Lardoch (and almost Pellen)
Race: Aasimar - resurrected from half-orc (Pellen is human)
Classes/levels: Fighter 11 (Slayer 11)
Adventure: The Frozen Stars
Location: Deeprun Crevasse
Catalyst: "Free treasure"
The Gory Details: They were attracted by the shiny gems in the walls of one of the caverns in the crevasse. They went round the walls popping them out. Then Pellen found the carniverous crystal that grabbed hold of his leg and encased him. Lardoch ran over to help and it entrapped him too. They failed saves. They were nommed by a crystal creature. After some good RP from my players (and a lucky roll from me) Pellen was save-able. Lardoch was smashed into crystally bits.


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Name: Ragnar
Race: Human (Ulfen)
Classes/levels: Ranger 1/Skald 12
Adventure: Rasputin Must Die!
Location: Akuvskaya Prison Camp
Catalyst: Polkovnik Lavrenti
The Gory Details:

Immediately following the showdown with the Dusha Koza, Lavrenti threw a dimensional grenade and engaged the party. Ragnar was the only one to notice him and moved to engage him. As the rest of the party noticed the new threat Lavrenti took aim of Ragnar and used Grit Shot, critting along the way. The party had already been fighting a good deal that day, and with an attack doing 100 dmg, his poor body couldn't handle the strain and he fell, dead as a doornail.

Luckily for him, the Warpriest had a Breath of Life spell prepared and with a shove from the gnome Druid (surprisingly made his CMB check to move the Warpriest 5ft so that he could reach the Skald), and was able to quickly resurrect Ragnar. The Winter Witch of the party (and also his girlfriend) Dimension Door'd him to the Druid. The rest of the party dispatched Lavrenti while the Druid and the Winter Witch (via a potion shoved down his throat) healed up the wounded Skald.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber

Name: Chuck
Race: Human
Class/Level: Wizard 11
Adventure: The Frozen Stars
Location: Rimekeeing Crevasse
Catalyst: Exploding Worms
The Gory Details: Stumbling across two frost worms in the Crevasse on the way to Ivoryglass, the party was hit by one and then the others breath weapon. The 60' cones caught the party wizard both times, when he thought he was a safe distance away. The last attack brought him unconscious (at about -10HP). Even though they had made the knowledge check to know about the exploding worms, the paladin slew the first worm immediately thereafter and the resultant explosion blasted the corpse of poor Chuck into unrecognizable bits (his HP now at -92). The offending paladin eventually succumbed to the second worm as well, but his corpse was rescued as the rest of the group used Dimension Door to get the hell out of there.

The paladin was eventually raised from the dead, but Chuck's body was not recovered and the player rolled up a new PC (a Triaxian Ranger) to continue the AP.


Name: Ben
Race: Human
Class/Level: Metal Oracle 15

Name: Valgard Grissom
Race: Human
Class/Level: Viking 15

Name: Dagren Carter
Race: Human
Class/Level: Divine Hunter 15

Adventure: The Witch Queen's Revenge
Location: Queen Bremagyr's Throne Room
Catalyst: One Violent Resident

The Gory Details:

The party slew two Omox Demons and walled themselves into the Garderobe (not the most pleasant of staging areas) but came under siege from some baykoks on the inside and the Warsworn outside. They teleported into Nuragla's torture chamber, and disposed of her after she had released only one swarm. The party teleported away to the balcony of the throne room to avoid dealing with the swarm and the ooze.

The (semi)final battle for Vashliq was thus triggered, consisting of the party vs. the Queen, 4 baykoks, and one very weak Omox demon. The party focused on the mooks while the Queen closed, and they (and I) soon realized that Queen Bremagyr was a much bigger threat than anticipated. She stepped onto the balcony where the casters were hanging back, and nearly killed Zolia. Ben Healed her, but died herself the next round. Valgard followed, to a tear-jerking swell in the music. By this point, they hadn't even scratched her. Zolia panic-teleported away, while Dagren made a valiant stand and finally dealt more than 200 damage before succumbing to a brutal rend.

Zolia had escaped, but still had to reckon with the remaining rounds of Blightfire. She could only make that save on a 20. She survived with 2 Constitution (and a touch of DM fiat), and made herself a hole in the mountain to sleep off the fight.

I have now killed my players 12 times this campaign. This is my second career TPK.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

If one party member escaped, then it's just a near-TPK (unless you're taking the fudging into account). :)


Without the fudging, the player would not be alive. I would have to write new characters into the game in the last leg of the journey, or string together some sort of B-Team for a retrieve and resurrect mission. Better this way, probably, to keep some semblance of player agency, but I think I get to count it as a TPK on principle.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Name: The Skyrim game (aka my Reign of Winter campaign)
Catalyst: Lack of time, no game in over six months

With much regret... I ended the game. I've gotten tired of chasing after people and trying to get schedules to mesh to run this. It's a shame, I had fun plans... but when you end up with under four games a year... and in this case only one or two games since January... it's time to call it quits. :(

On the plus side, my online Skype-based Runelords game is coming along nicely. So it's not all doom and gloom. :)


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It is a sad thing, but it happens. We will miss you here. Good luck with your Runelords campaign.

Have you considered continuing with a smaller group?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I may return to RoW in the future with a different group.

But of the three tabletop players, one hasn't talked to me in six months and whom I'd already written off from the group (this isn't the first time I'd written her off, though previously she quit the part-time job that prevented her from playing and was able to rejoin), and the other two have RL concerns that have pretty much prevented us from playing in over half a year.

The last two (who joined us via Skype and Roll20) are also players in my Runelords game. One had already commented on possibly dropping out of RoW to focus on Runelords... and the last is the one who said the RoW game is pretty much dead, and led me to end the game.

If I run it again? It'll probably be with strangers. Maybe people from one of the Pathfinder Society groups in the area (I've been intending on joining one and starting to play, and start socializing more).


Good luck with that.


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Name: Zolia Eriath
Race: Human
Class/Level: Diviner 15
Adventure: The Witch Queen's Revenge
Location: Outside the remains of Mametqul's Tent
Catalyst: Drawing the Ire of a Sepid Div

The Gory Details: In the aftermath of the victorious rematch with Queen Bremagyr, the group was ambushed by the group of divs upon returning to the tent (in a somewhat roundabout way). This fight lasted a long time, as neither the divs nor the party could muster a particularly strong attack plan. Zolia kept dispelling Mametqul's deeper darkness, and at the first opportunity, hit him with a prediction of failure, thus earning his ire. He enervated Zolia for 4 levels, but was caught off guard and wrapped up in his tent when Zolia upended the battlefield with tornado force winds from her Staff of Heaven and Earth.

After the party regrouped, Mametqul worked his way out of that debacle and returned for round two. Having cleared the caster blank spellblight (yet another reason to hate Zolia), he disintegrated the weakened wizard into a fine dust. Dagren returned the favor by killing him as he gloated over his personal victory.

She was resurrected later that session.


Name: Yelin
Race: Elf
Class/Level: Winter Witch 2
Adventure: The Snows of Summer
Location: Heading back to Heldren after defeating Rokhar.
The Gory Details: This was an unfortunate chance of the random encounter. They rolled up the mosquito swarm. Things started off well for the crew of Slayer, Summoner, Gunslinger, and Witch. But the tide quickly turned with some bad rolls. The party decided to flee leaving behind a summoned dog and the Yelin last in the initiative. Yelin dropped and stayed because she was fresh meat and the dog was still there. Failed saves and blead out. Summoner sent his eidalon in to fetch Yelin but the damage was done. They are now trying to figure out how to bring her back once they arrived at Heldren. Thats where I left off for the night.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Why not let her have two Hero Points, spent, so she somehow barely survived at -9 hit points but stable? There's no need to penalize a party of 2nd level adventurers at this point. (Or for that matter... have her wake up suddenly when everyone else thought her dead. She remembers an old crone telling her "Find me" and has the Geas already on her from the encounter with Baba Yaga's Black Rider. Baba Yaga herself reached through space and time to have this Witch free her.)


Name: Klorg
Race: Human
Class/Level: Bloodrager 1
Adventure: Snows of Summer
Location: The very first fight with the Zombies.
The Gory Details: I'm hoping someone in the party will now learn to make sure all 3 damage types are covered. Not only that, but I'm hoping this players is now going to continue to attempt attacking the enemy, even when they miss the first 2 times, as opposed to just sort of standing there while they continue to die hard.

I'm hoping the whole campaign won't be this bad. To be honest everyone in the party was reduced to negative HP. I just figured that the zombies wouldn't try to coup de grace them or anything and left the final fate of death in the hands of CON checks. Afterwards just had someone from the town wonder where they were and go to see them.

I got to have them wake up covered in leeches, so that was fun!


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They lost to the zombies.

Holy crap that is mindblowingly bad luck.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I just realized, that I had forgotten to add the obituaries for my last two gaming sessions... so here they are:

Name: Thordis
Race: Human
Class/Level: Cleric of Torag 13
Adventure: Rasputin must die
Location: Akuskaya Prison Camp

Name: Valarevna
Race: Human
Class/Level: Oracle of Bones 13
Adventure: Rasputin must die
Location: Akuskaya Prison Camp

Name: Kress
Race: Human
Class/Level: Fire Elementalist 13
Adventure: Rasputin must die
Location: Akuskaya Prison Camp
The Gory Details:The party (the three characters above plus Tarc, the Ranger and Tarja, the Fighter) Wind Walked invisible into the camp. They got shot by one of the watchtowers, but my wife played a (Plot-Twist)card, which canceled the see invisibility effect of the lights.
They searched around the camp a bit, until they headed towards one of the World Anchors. Here they first got hit by the electrical storm around it. Then they climbed up the tower and convinced the troops on it to flee (with a Greater Command).They got some information about the machine and then they decided to harass the unearthly creatures in the camp before they would fly of again. So Kress summoned a Greater Fire Elemental, which was on its way to the next watchtower to lure out the cossacks. Which came. Also the Yeti trackers. And the Animated Tanks. And after two rounds I decided to teach them a lesson and Rasputins Projected Image also appeared. Realizing, that they were fighting against the odds (they were absolutly sure that Rasputin would not be here) they started to activate Wind Walk (which takes five rounds) and climbed down the tower so that the tanks could not shoot at them without coming closer first.
They did fine, but after some shots from the Cossaks and some attacks from the Yetis they were quite low on HP already. Then Rasputin cast a Firestorm and three failed saves later the three mentioned chars were lying on the floor, dead. Fortunatly they all had two Hero Points left, so everyone were able to cheat death and I also ruled that they were still preparing Wind Walk, as they were brought into positive HP before it was their next initiative turn. I also decided, that this would be enough of a lesson to not assault the camp in the open and let Rasputin's image vanish (I didn't wanted a TPK). Just in time before the two tanks came around the corner of of a house so that they could shoot at the PC's again Wind Walk kicked in and they fled to the Dancing Hut...

Name: Tarc
Race: Human
Class/Level: Ranger 13
Adventure: Rasputin must die
Location: Akuskaya Prison Camp
The Gory Details:The next day the party returned to the camp with the help of Dimension Door. Now warned that the Mad Monk in in this camp they were cautious to not get caught in the open. With the Cossaks and the Yetis dead this wasn't really hard. They found Dmitri, who told them a lot about the Monastery, the Vampire Chaplains and Victor Miloslav.
Eager to find out more about the strange towers (=World Anchors) they decided to go to the burned barracks where Miloslav was killed. As the made some struggle beforehand (killed the snipers and the stone golems in the monastery) I made that the daemon inside the barracks was more alert. Tarc started and charged the outsider. Kress tried a low level spell, as he was sure that either the dismissal of the oracle would banish the daemon, or if not that Tarja's greatsword and Tarc's Sword of the Planes, enchanted with holy weapon would make this a real short fight.
Then the baykoks rised and began shooting at Tarc. He failed his save on the first hit, as did the oracle. Next in initiative order was the daemon, which Coup de Gracéd the ranger who went down (but also had enough Hero Points to cheat death).

On a sidenote: The oracle was paralyzed for two rounds and then didn't made the SR-check for the dismissal. The group turned the baykoks against the daemon for one round (with the help of a well played plot-twist card and some good will of my own), paralyzing the daemon for three rounds. This was prolonged by two rounds with the help of two more cards and so the party could first take care of the baykoks and then slay the daemon.


Name: Nestruk
Race: Half-orc Barbarian
Classes/levels: Barb 4
Adventure: Shackled Hut
Location: Fishcamp Guardhouse
The Gory Details: When searching for Ringeirr they found the guardhouse and were just doing an epic fail of trying to talk the ogres out of the house. So they cut the door to shreds (Barbarian style) and then waded in. Well, two ogres and a rogue proved to be too much of a box of pain for the barbarian, especially since he was still under the bestow curse from trying to get into the vault at the end of the last adventure.

Sovereign Court

Name: Kiara Karina
Race: Human
Class/level: Slayer 7
Adventure: Maiden, Mother, Crone
Location: Just outside Baba Yaga’s hut
Catalyst: Too many giants

The Gory Details: So the encounter with the frost giants outside of Baba Yaga’s hut seems to be written as if expecting that it will be an easy one for the PC’s. I guess that depends how the giants act. Maybe they’re supposed to ignore the PC’s entirely, and focus only on attacking the hut?

Anyway, although the hut proved to be a big help in the fight, the giants were focusing about half their attacks on the hut and half on the PC’s. Kiara dealt a lot of damage, which, unfortunately, made her a high-priority target for the giants. The Witch and Bard in the group used hexes and spells to try to defend Kiara, but alas, one of the giants was able to hit her despite being blinded by Glitterdust. Poor Kiara collapsed to the ground, well past her constitution score in the negatives.


At that level, one frost giant is a big threat. Two is APL +4, practically at least one guaranteed PC kill in a normal fight. The reason for this threat is their damage output.

This encounter with up to 8 of them is easy because the hut represents a much bigger threat to their personal survival. Small fries like the PCs suddenly become a non-issue.

When I ran it, one of the PCs dropped below zero pretty much right away. I think I activated the hut to defend him. From then on, the PCs watched as the hut demolished them.


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Name: Apesh
Race: Lizardfolk
Classes/levels: Paladin 8
Adventure: Maiden, Mother, Crone
Location: Deeprun Cravasse
Catalyst: Kokogiak - Rolled random encounters 3 times and each time it insisted above 90. After a player informed me that he's on World of Warcraft I said....... fine here's your encounter.

BTW all my players think Paizo is a major dick for even creating such a creature. However, lesson learned I'm sure he won't be playing WoW during session anymore.

Sovereign Court

Name: Kiara Karina
Race: Human
Class/level: Slayer 10
Adventure: The Frozen Stars
Location: Event 4: Unleash the Dracolisks
Catalyst: Too many allies petrified by Dracolisks

The Gory Details: The fight against the Dracolisks did not go well in my campaign. The combination of two enemies having petrification gazes and flight was quite difficult to deal with.
It almost turned into a TPK.

The group's Brawler got petrified early in the fight, so a lot of the group's damage potential went away.
The Witch and the Bard tried to handle one of the dracolisks, but due to lucky saving throws, the Witch's hexes did very little, and eventually, the Witch got petrified as well.
The Slayer was able to wound one of the dracolisks so much that it fled (along with its precious blood that could have returned the Brawler to flesh), but, by the time she fought the Dragonkin who had been hanging back, she was very low on hit points, and got killed by his melee attacks.
The Bard was the only survivor... she fled into the Commander's tower with the witch's familiar, and they basically hid for the rest of the battle.
Thankfully, they had accumulated enough Victory points to ensure a Victory in Spurhorn's defense... even though they did not contribute at all in the last 2 encounters.

Given that half the group is petrified (and that they don't have access to Dracolisk blood), I decided that the elder seer Jarilne is able to turn them back to flesh once the battle is over.


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Name Azula Malith
Race Oni-blooded teifling
Class/level Monk 5
Adventure The Shackled Hut
Location The Bone Mill (off path)
Catalyst Saving some orphans in a random encounter in Whitethrone

So after saving a group of orphans from Cold chain Slavers (the shackled hut pg. 83 Whitethrone encounters) and learning about the Bone Mill (feeding orphans, slaves , foreigners to trolls, grinding bones for troll bread) my group really wanted to shut it down. I really thought that it should be a challenging battle. I had a coven of Hags operating as the head carvers, with vats for creating candles and the mill stones for grinding bones. I gave a pc the sheets for the hags so she could participate (her character is on a solo side mission to get kidnapped by Logrovich). She had the hags invisible at the start (the group got into combat with some starving winter wolves and alerted them) and used bestow curse on Azula. -6 strength right off the get. Azula stayed in melee with the green hag and proceeded to lose 6 more strength while the paladin worked on the Annis hag, the fighter and ranger worked the winter hag and the cleric was channeling. Azula didn't activate ki defense one round and the green hag hit with both claw attacks and turned it into a rend. This brought azula down to -34 Hp. The green hag died from the fighter the action immediately following. The Annis hag was at 2 :-P and tried to surrender but was smote by the paladin. The winter hag (at 50% hp) took an AoO from trying to turn invisible and flee but was chased down by the fighter and crushed. This is my first run as a Gm and my first character death.I know I set a hard fight but my group has been hitting above CR. No one tried to knowledge nature them until I prodded. I don't know if he will ask for raise dead or roll for a new character.


I'm a little behind on my death count. My Reign of Winter segued into Witchwar Legacy, so here they are for completeness's sake. These four deaths are behind a spoiler tag for your convenience.

Spoilers for The Witchwar Legacy:

Name: Zolia Eriath
Race: Human
Class/Level: Diviner 16
Adventure: The Witchwar Legacy
Location: The Witchwar Necropolis
Catalyst: Forbiddance after a fight.

Hingarl the deranged frost giant wasn't what, technically, killed Zolia. He surprised her, pushed her into the icy fountain, and died from multiple arrow wounds soon after. She escaped from the ice, rocketed into the air, and waited out the combat up there invisibly. However, she neglected to account for the fact that they were still taking damage from the tomb's forbiddance, and fell back into the pool after taking enough damage to knock her unconcious. Her allies fished her out of the pool and, and her Breath of Life boon triggered to restore her to life.

Name: Dagren Carter
Race: Human
Class/Level: Divine Hunter 16
Adventure: The Witchwar Legacy
Location: The Jailer's Wing
Catalyst: Wraiths!

The party realized something was wrong when the room went dead silent, and they couldn't dispel it. Zolia fled as is her wont, while Ben and Valgard were able to retreat and cast spells at the wraiths back in the hall. Dagren was trapped in a cell, and fending off wraiths from all sides. He was able to pass most of the Fort saves to avoid death by Constitution drain, but he took enough negative energy damage to trigger the Breath of Life boon granted by Baba Yaga.

Name: Dagren Carter
Race: Human
Class/Level: Divine Hunter 17
Adventure: The Witchwar Legacy
Location: The Frozen Cenotaph
Catalyst: The Cenotaph's Guardian

In my campaign, a Mythic Cornugon devil assumed the role of the guardian. His second full attack murdered Dagren outright, but Ben was at his side to revive him with Breath of Life.

Name: Zolia Eriath
Race: Human
Class/Level: Diviner 17
Adventure: The Witchwar Legacy
Location: The Frozen Cenotaph
Catalyst: Party Infighting

The Final Curse of the Cenotaph turned Zolia into Tashanna's guardian. Dagren took her betrayal personally. When Zolia was unable to subdue him with Black Tentacles, Finger of Death, or Mage's Sword, he smote her evil self and killed her but good. The party relented and raised her with a scroll of raise dead - fortunately, after removing her from the Cenotaph.

This brings the death total to 17, assuming you count people who are raised by Breath of Life. (And I do.) It must be noted that the Witchwar Legacy presents a significant, and fairly lethal, detour from Reign of Winter.


How are you killing so many, Flamethrower? Is it a lethal game or are your players terrible?


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Put like that, 17 does seem... egregious, doesn't it? My players aren't terrible, far from it. They can be a little set in their ways, however, and may not be as adaptable as some circumstances require.

Scroll up a bit through the thread - all deaths back to the 5th are on this page as well, so you can see most of the causes. Four were blunted by Breath of Life. Two deaths were provoked by a fight that I made far too hard, and a practical TPK was caused by both the party and I underestimating the danger to them. A couple of parts of Witchwar Legacy are extremely dangerous. A couple were caused by classic player stupidity, or a lack of teammate support in a critical situation. One was an NPC, and might not even count.

I was a little shocked to see what it added up to. I wouldn't say Reign of Winter is more harsh than any other AP, though I don't have too much AP experience. I suppose I am fond of boosting my monsters and challenging my party, and sometimes they don't rise to the occasion. We still seem to be having fun, though, and that's the important part.


Thanks for the reply, I went back and read them. Sven sounds like an interesting character.


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Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Name: Hester Kaleah
Race: Changeling
Classes/levels: Witch 7/Winter Witch 10/Archmage 1
Adventure: The Witch Queen's Revenge
Location: The Witch Queen's Kurgan - Inner Sanctum
Catalyst: The Fight for Golarion
The Gory Details:

The final battle for Golarion had begun. Queen Elvanna flying above them raining spells down on them and her minions surrounding them from all sides. While the rest of the party dealt with the minions, Hester flew up and took on Elvanna 1-on-1. Both being mythic, it was spell after spell after spell, with Hester continually countering the queen's most potent spells, protecting the party and infuriating the witch to no end. A number of Hester's spells were ineffective against the queen, but a lucky Wail of the Banshee and a fumble on her save hurt her badly. Elvanna fumed with anger and with the queen isolated in darkness thanks to Hester's own Polar Midnight spell, only the young changeling could see what was about to happen.

Evanna reached out a hand and cast a spell. Out of mythic power, Hester was powerless to stop it from going off and found herself on the receiving end of a Destruction spell. Hester gathered her might, but was not strong enough to fend off the spell (a wonderful roll of 2 on the d20 for the fort save). Her lover, a powerful Skald, while inspiring rage in his allies caught a glimpse of what was occurring and quickly cast Saving Finale, but the dice gods were even less forgiving this time (fumble). Hester's body was engulfed in unholy fire, her possessions dropping to the ground, not a single ash remained.

Elvanna cried out in triumph and taunted the party that they would all suffer the same fate. As Hester disappeared from the Material Plane, so did her spell that Elvanna had been using to keep herself concealed from the party. Enraged by the lost of his love, the Skald unloaded his gun, taking down the already weakened queen. As the party moved in to finish her, they realized that she was not quite dead. Remembering Baba Yaga's wish to keep Elvanna alive for her own needs, they slit her wrists deep enough to provide enough blood to open the last Matryoshka doll, and yet, keeping the queen alive.

Baba Yaga, now released from her prison, smiled cruelly at her wayward daughter. She quickly paralyzed the party, so that their thirst for vengeance would not get the better of them, and whisked her prize away. A few moments later, she returned and as a personal thank you for keeping Elvanna alive for her own use, resurrected Hester and still gave the party their boon.

Thankful for returning their friend to them and changed by their experiences in the adventure, part of the group agreed to be her new riders (Hester included, and necessitated a new rider as there were 4 that wished to join her, The Blue Rider, her shining star), while the rest agreed to be a queensguard for the new queen of Irrisen (Anastasia) to make sure that this type of uprising never threatens Golarion again.

Dark Archive

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Starfinder Superscriber
Xelite wrote:

Name: Hester Kaleah

Race: Changeling
Classes/levels: Witch 7/Winter Witch 10/Archmage 1
Adventure: The Witch Queen's Revenge
Location: The Witch Queen's Kurgan - Inner Sanctum
Catalyst: The Fight for Golarion
The Gory Details:

EPIC! Thanks for sharing

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