4-19 The Night March of Kalkamedes


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Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

My group not only had enough rope for getting up and down the cliffs, but even had a separate rope to use as a leash on Kalkamedes. Whenever they spotted a hazard, they just held him back until they figured out what they wanted to do. (I called for opposed STR checks each round of trying to hold him back, probably several dozen over the course of the scenario, and only rolled double-digits like three times. That certainly made things easier for the group...)

Dark Archive

Searching Kalkamedes' house could probably give unprepared PCs some of the tools they might need. A brand-new level 1 party could probably get some hints from Sheila as well.

Shadow Lodge

Everyone here is of course completely right. The problem is that most of them were playing pregens, which, for reasons inconceivable, do not come equipped with rope. And the scenario doesn't allow for buying anything. I tried to prompt them to search, but nobody listens to the GM when he's trying to help... ;_;

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Sesharan... you can't blame the scenario for circumstances that no scenario should have to accommodate.

You can't blame the scenario because most of the level 1's were playing pregens.

You can't blame the scenario because the players weren't being smart about adventuring.

And you can't blame the scenario for having a series of fairly standard adventuring trope obstacles to overcome.

At some point the players must take the responsibility for being prepared, being smart about how to adventure, and improvising when they are human about the first two.

Liberty's Edge

Just ran this today. My group had a lot of rope. They leashed Kalkamedes to a mule. I also did opposed strength checks for Kalkamedes to keep moving when they stopped the mule. The only time he rolled well enough to move the mule , more than a small distance, was when they were getting someone across the canyon, with rope. The "Oh Crap" looks on the players faces when I rolled 19s and 20s for K while they rolled 2s and 3s for the mule, were quite hilarious.


I just wanted to note that I adore the chronicle for this scenario.

Lantern Lodge

Andrew Christian wrote:
Sesharan... you can't blame the scenario for circumstances that no scenario should have to accommodate.

Yeah, but under those circumstances wouldn't this also completely hose any prepared caster. No time to prep = no spells to prep. Thankfully in this case our GM was least kind enough to give us that chance to have our "default spells in place to begin with.

Overall, I enjoyed this particular adventure. Yes, if you don't prepare well (which if your playing iconics, or newly minted 1st-level characters, is very possible), it's going to be a serious challenge for you. It requires a lot of creative thinking and problem solving to get through to the end. You play smart, you'll do well. You don't, well... I think our halfling rouge got the "point" of that.

5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Georgia—Atlanta aka Yiroep

Patrick Harris @ SD wrote:
I just wanted to note that I adore the chronicle for this scenario.

Recent Chronicles Derail:

I have noticed that lately the chronicles have gotten better in season 4. Having something special that could actually come into play is something that should continue to happen.

It used to be 95% of the chronicles were "Here's your gold, XP, and prestige/fame, and the other stuff you found but you're gonna be able to buy with fame anyway unless it's a partially charged wand or different CL magic item."

Now, the chronicles are a lot more meaningful, and you can showcase your cool new item/boon!

And yes, even among season 4 ones, this one has one of the better ones.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Lei Xiao wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:
Sesharan... you can't blame the scenario for circumstances that no scenario should have to accommodate.

Yeah, but under those circumstances wouldn't this also completely hose any prepared caster. No time to prep = no spells to prep. Thankfully in this case our GM was least kind enough to give us that chance to have our "default spells in place to begin with.

Overall, I enjoyed this particular adventure. Yes, if you don't prepare well (which if your playing iconics, or newly minted 1st-level characters, is very possible), it's going to be a serious challenge for you. It requires a lot of creative thinking and problem solving to get through to the end. You play smart, you'll do well. You don't, well... I think our halfling rouge got the "point" of that.

For the Record, you always come with spells prepped. PFS scenarios do not assume you just finished the last scenario (unless it specifically says so, like in Before the Dawn Part II: Resue at Azlant Ridge or the Wonders in the Weave series or Rats of Round Mountain series) and so even when woke up in the middle of the night, you have spells prepared.

If you don't cast a spell, it does not need to be re-prepped the next day. If you want to replace it, you can prep a new spell in that slot. But spells stay prepped in perpetuity until replaced, cast, or some other effect happens.

Walking into a session, you should always have a list of spells prepped. It is common courtesy to your other players, so they don't have to wait around while you pick what spells to prep for the day. This is especially true at higher levels when you might have 20 or 30 spells to pick.

Any GM who would make you walk into a PFS scenario without prepped spells is not following the rules (unless the scenario says otherwise).

Sovereign Court 5/5 RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

Couple things I ran into when I ran it (four level 1s, one level 3)

  • The cliffside is lethal. Even with two 50' coils of rope, we almost lost two PCs to it. (Gravity is a harsh mistress. Fortunately we had some former servicemen who knew how to run rope harnesses that helped with the plan, and had a halfling acrobat that could take 10 and run across the rope he set up (I allowed taking 10 here)*

  • The Bog. They hogtied him, and marched around the bog. AT one point the plan was to hold him up and spin him, using Sense Motive to discern which direction he wanted to go. One player's comment. "Best. Compass. Ever."

  • The ambush. Continuing my tradition of something going wrong, I grabbed the wrong map, so I improvised the river map instead. it turned out to be a good thing for the party. Since they were at 5, the ambush would have been brutal if they'd gotten surprise. I'd have hated to see what would have happened if they all got into melee. As is, they let one flee, and the others died (bleed damage sucks when you're an NPC)

  • The strength trap. Ironically one of the PCs who almost died at the cliff figured out (by accident) how it worked. A wizard with a strength of 7, just what the Thassalonians ordered! I allowed knowlege history and arcana here, since I wanted to share backstory on the Runelords. I'd already decided to omit the skunks, turned out to be good with the time it took.

  • Final room. I'd a slight problem with the map. The <redacted> doesn't seem to really fit in the circle on the map. One of the PCs decided to taunt happy fun <redacted> with his throwing daggers attacked to cords. One readied action later... he's dangling by a cord. I allowed him to sunder the cord and run away. So of course, he decides to get the level one paladin knowing full well his roll of 27 missed to come in and help flank him. Since they're in melee they had to be in the circle... one full attack** later, we've two dead PCs.

    I will admit a bit of sadistic glee, since I'd already revealed the <redacted> when they freed the 'elf chick' and healed her, I asked the store owner if he had another huge mini. (The roomates helpfully cleaned and I couldn't find mine) he plops down another <redacted> the look on their faces made it worth it. They free the 'elf chick' and she banishes the <redacted> (I decided it didn't take the rogue's blood crystal dagger with it, I'm not that mean) Then, since the SRD says she has <i>raise dead</i> and <i>restoration</i> the party agreed to raise the paladin and get rid of one of his neg levels.***

    Now one question. I'd crossed off Gamiel from the sheets, since they didn't search the room, or even ask for help. Is that correct? Since they never found him, they don't get him?

    *

    Spoiler:
    Yes I suppose you could argue that he couldn't take 10 since the penalty for failing by more than five was gravity poisoning.

    What we did with the rope bridge (one rope) was after much fretting over the DCs, I set it at DC 15 (climb) to move half speed. Rolling a 10 or less (falling) I allowed a DC 10 reflex save to catch the rope. (again, first level PCs, two of which were fairly new, I'm going to give them every chance) Then a DC 15 climb check to get back up on the rope to shimmy. They got Kalkamedes across by trussing him like a chicken and then looping the ropes around the bridge and pushing across. I also 'kindly' let one of the players roll his own falling damage. tHe other I dropped to -7 with a coincidentally 'really bad damage roll.' no guesses who the newbie player was.

    **

    Spoiler:
    Well, almost full attack, since one of the small hands was holding the halfling's knife. When they brought the paladin back, I said "The last thing you saw was this hand grabbing you by the belt, and a pair of huge jaws descending..."

    ***
    Spoiler:
    And I just realized I did the neg levle wrong since he's first level, should have been a point of CON. *sigh*

  • Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

    Why did you have the [redacted] slaughter two PCs when the scenario says that if anyone enters the circle he takes them hostage to buy his freedom?

    Liberty's Edge 5/5

    Matthew Morris wrote:

    Couple things I ran into when I ran it (four level 1s, one level 3)

  • The cliffside is lethal. Even with two 50' coils of rope, we almost lost two PCs to it. (Gravity is a harsh mistress. Fortunately we had some former servicemen who knew how to run rope harnesses that helped with the plan, and had a halfling acrobat that could take 10 and run across the rope he set up (I allowed taking 10 here)*

  • How was it lethal with 100' of rope? Rope on a wall (regardless what the DC to climb the wall is) is DC 5. If the rope is knotted, its DC 0. Most characters should be able to take 10 to climb down the wall with a rope.

    Sovereign Court 5/5 RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

    Andrew Christian wrote:
    Matthew Morris wrote:

    Couple things I ran into when I ran it (four level 1s, one level 3)

  • The cliffside is lethal. Even with two 50' coils of rope, we almost lost two PCs to it. (Gravity is a harsh mistress. Fortunately we had some former servicemen who knew how to run rope harnesses that helped with the plan, and had a halfling acrobat that could take 10 and run across the rope he set up (I allowed taking 10 here)*

  • How was it lethal with 100' of rope? Rope on a wall (regardless what the DC to climb the wall is) is DC 5. If the rope is knotted, its DC 0. Most characters should be able to take 10 to climb down the wall with a rope.

    50 feet of rope was used in tying up Kal,

    Sorry I wasn't clear.

    Liberty's Edge 5/5

    all 50'!? What'd they wrap him up like a mummy with it?

    Sovereign Court 5/5 RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

    Jiggy wrote:
    Why did you have the [redacted] slaughter two PCs when the scenario says that if anyone enters the circle he takes them hostage to buy his freedom?

    The first time he had the halfling on a string he tried it. The party (including said halfling) said no. So they go back into the circle again and he already knows they won't let him go. So his alternatives are

    a) get some pleasure in killing them
    b) ????

    Sovereign Court 5/5 RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

    Andrew Christian wrote:
    all 50'!? What'd they wrap him up like a mummy with it?

    That actually was an old 2E joke. "Do you have rope use?" "Nope, I have 50' of rope."

    More seriously, the player said "I have two coils of rope, one is around Kalkamedes, the other we can use." He's the VL, who am I to argue?

    Liberty's Edge 5/5

    chuckle... his fault I suppose.

    They could have also grappled him to the ground while using the 100' of rope to climb down the cliff.

    Sovereign Court 5/5 RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

    True.

    Just curious how many GMs got the fun moment of
    "I'm moving to attack here!"

    "I'm moving to flank here!"

    "I'm moving over here to cast a spell!"

    "I'm tumbling past to give him a harder target!"

    "Hey wait? Who's watching Kal?"

    5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

    Tony Lindman wrote:
    I also prerolled all of the knowledge checks, and made little cards to pass out with the various things they figured out, giving each to the character who passed with the highest roll.

    So, did the players need to do anything ("I inspect <thing_to_inspect>") to make the knowledge checks or did they just get the information when they hit the encounter? (Or, as soon as something triggered it, like for the name check.)

    I like the idea of the information cards and will use that idea.

    Scarab Sages

    Pathfinder Card Game, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
    Matthew Morris wrote:

    True.

    Just curious how many GMs got the fun moment of
    "I'm moving to attack here!"

    "I'm moving to flank here!"

    "I'm moving over here to cast a spell!"

    "I'm tumbling past to give him a harder target!"

    "Hey wait? Who's watching Kal?"

    Lol, my players experienced that moment. Fortunately for them, Kalkamedes' condition was explained to the baddie, so he didn't see the poor fellow as a threat when he moved to the 'elf' before the battle.

    4/5

    Take 10 minutiae:
    Matthew Morris wrote:
    Yes I suppose you could argue that he couldn't take 10 since the penalty for failing by more than five was gravity poisoning.

    Penalty of failure doesn't affect your ability to take 10. Only when in immediate danger or distracted.

    Taking 10 wrote:
    In most cases, taking 10 is purely a safety measure—you know (or expect) that an average roll will succeed but fear that a poor roll might fail, so you elect to settle for the average roll (a 10).

    Dark Archive 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Minnesota—Minneapolis aka Silbeg

    redward wrote:
    Penalty of failure doesn't affect your ability to take 10. Only when in immediate danger or distracted.

    Definitely one of the most common misconceptions... I don't know how many times that I have had the discussion that you cannot take 10 when climbing "because falling can cause you to get hurt". That is not what is meant by a stressful situation... that is more about combat, or perhaps being bounced around in a carriage going at full speed over rough terrain?!

    Luckily, our GM acquiesced and allowed us to Take 10 on our checks, which was the only reason we were able to succeed!

    Sovereign Court 5/5 RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

    *shrug* I personally think that walking a rope 70' in the air is an immediate danger.

    5/5

    Jeffrey Stop wrote:
    Tony Lindman wrote:
    I also prerolled all of the knowledge checks, and made little cards to pass out with the various things they figured out, giving each to the character who passed with the highest roll.

    So, did the players need to do anything ("I inspect <thing_to_inspect>") to make the knowledge checks or did they just get the information when they hit the encounter? (Or, as soon as something triggered it, like for the name check.)

    I like the idea of the information cards and will use that idea.

    I had each character roll for every knowledge check, then as each got into line of sight of a visual I applied distance penalties to determine how close they had to be to notice, or as they were able to hear a verbal I just checked the roll. If more than one succeeded I gave it to the best roll. It worked quite well, and the info cards did what I hoped - got them all talking "Hey, I just realized that ..." "Oh? Well I was just thinking ..."

    5/5

    Matthew Morris wrote:
    *shrug* I personally think that walking a rope 70' in the air is an immediate danger.

    Walking a rope 70' in the air is no more difficult than walking on one 7" in the air, other than the inherent stress of knowing the greater distance. I would allow take 10 unless there was high wind or sound of an approaching danger from behind.

    Liberty's Edge 5/5

    Matthew Morris wrote:
    *shrug* I personally think that walking a rope 70' in the air is an immediate danger.

    But the game developers disagree with you. SKR has specifically said that failure causing any sort of damage (even potential death) is not enough to stop Taking 10.


    I interpret immediate danger to mean:

    - Someone is throwing stuff at you
    - There is a giant boulder barreling toward you
    - There are bats/rats/other vermin
    - The lava is rising or flowing toward you
    - The room is flooding/filling with gas
    - Etc.

    As Tony said, taking 10 should be allowed unless there is wind or something else that might distract you

    Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

    As Sean K Reynolds has said more than once, you need to be distracted by "something other than the task at hand" to prevent take 10.

    Sovereign Court 5/5 RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

    No worries, since I allowed the take 10 anyway.

    Grand Lodge

    I haven't seen anyone mention it, so my question is - does Kalkamedes attempt to slug anyone who tries to grapple him or tie him up? He is flat-footed and unconscious, but the "During Combat" section of his stat block suggests he might take a swing at anyone getting in his way - PC or NPC. What do you think?

    Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

    When I ran it, I didn't have him take a swing at grapplers. I interpreted that tactics bit as being if someone got in his path to try and be a human(oid) barrier. I could see interpreting it differently perhaps, but seems unnecessary. I had him try to escape grapples of course, but having him slug people seems like it would accomplish nothing but take up table time with happystick sessions, you know? Of course, I'm just theorizing on that and could easily be dead wrong.

    Dark Archive

    The GM we had running it had him taking slugs at us after a few rounds of being grappled. It made us try to find solutions that involved not grappling him, so I think it was fine.

    Dark Archive 5/5 ⦵⦵

    We tried to get clever... and attempted to hobble him (by tying his feet together with a short length of rope), but our K kept stumbling every few steps (with risk of injury). Eventually, we just let him go between hazards.

    It was plenty fun watching my ST8 Wizard helping the others grapple, and help others with the rope. It was also a lot of fun at the strength trap... having our bard tap me with the ray of enfeeblement, and making me STRONG! I was sad to return to my normal frailty.

    Dark Archive

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    The wand of Enfeeblement only lasts one round per charge (I wonder if the author was thinking of the 3.5 edition which lasts a minute per level?). Should the wand be a higher caster level to compensate?

    Dark Archive 5/5 ⦵⦵

    @ZomB, I don't think it was a mistake at all.

    In this case, as a player, you don't want to be weakened for minutes. It just makes for an interesting puzzle to solve. I just wouldn't ever buy a wand of ray of enfeeblement. That'd be useless.

    We burned through probably about 10 charges until we made the STR check needed. But that was fine. We had the bard keep it just in case, but it wasn't used again.

    For sure, this is a spell that would be FAR better at levels over 1st... but isn't one that I'll be taking (Necromancy is an opposition school for me)

    Sovereign Court 5/5 RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

    Re: Grapple

    I had him try to break the grapple, but not take swings.

    Oh, one funny bit I forgot...

    Spoiler:
    They tied him up and I allowed sense motive checks to get around the brambles. (sensing which way he was providing least resistance. Player comment "Best. Compass. Ever."

    Dark Archive

    Jiggy wrote:
    When I ran it, I didn't have him take a swing at grapplers. I interpreted that tactics bit as being if someone got in his path to try and be a human(oid) barrier. I could see interpreting it differently perhaps, but seems unnecessary. I had him try to escape grapples of course, but having him slug people seems like it would accomplish nothing but take up table time with happystick sessions, you know? Of course, I'm just theorizing on that and could easily be dead wrong.

    If the group are in combat around him then, as written, on every turn he should punch the person in front of him, or try and move through their space (acrobatics feels wrong but is presumably the skill to use). This would cause him to take one or more attacks of opportunity from the bad guys. This could be fatal to Kalkamedes (and the mission ends early) and likely will push him over the damage threshold for a certain faction mission.

    Shadow Lodge 5/5

    For those of you doing opposed Str checks, the designers have already created rules for just such a situation: Drag combat maneuver. That's what I used. He was even able to drag the horse they tied his leash to 5' a couple of times... :D

    Shadow Lodge

    Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

    We finished playing through this last night, and it was great fun. I don't think I would recommend playing up in it in general, but it did work surprisingly well for a mixed group. As the token level 2 (Monk) in a party of level 5s I was worried I'd be useless, but I was kept quite busy as Kalkamedes babysitter and bodyguard. All I had to do was stick close and trip him at the first sign of trouble -- which there was no shortage of. As a Flowing Monk it was really nice to be able to put Trip and Reposition to good use.

    And I have to ask -- did the 'gnome' really not speak Gnomish? The moment he couldn't answer our gnome's hail, we immediately ignored him. You'd think if you were going to disguise yourself, you'd make sure you could speak the language.

    Dark Archive

    Heh, as written he is a standard version of the creature and therefore cannot even speak common (which is clearly not intended). He has telepathy however.

    EDIT: It would of course make sense that he could speak Gnomish and that is why he chose that particular race to imitate.

    Shadow Lodge 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Lieutenant, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East aka thistledown

    Well, I played this (somewhat forcibly blindly, having already read it) on Saturday and ran it today. Had a good time both times. Both times, the chasm cause problems for those who rely on mounts. When I played, it was just luggage mounts, no big loss. But the cavaliers in the second had issues.

    The Dire Skunks when I ran it were very potent, incapacitating 2 and KOing one, and the raging barbar with 21 strength accidently stepped on the inverter - got paralysed and munched on a lot.

    I screwed up on the dragon. I forgot about the hat of disguise and let slip that it was undead during the description. It would have been second in the initiative, but the first guy pulled out a scroll of control undead and told it to stop. So much for that fight.

    Dealing with the 'gnome' went well both times. The second group picked apart its story. The first group had 2 paladins in the party that got smacked on their detect evils, but got the needed info. Amusingly, one paladin had been going "detect evil!" at every seen in the adventure, and the GM missremembered the 'shaken' condition as "KO'd for a few rounds" - was great when he finally fond Evil.

    Grand Lodge

    Thanks, all - I have to give the whole "throw a punch at those in his way" thing over a bit more.

    Just for the purpose of description, Kalkamedes is shown in the module with his eyes closed, but if I understand the real-life affliction, people sleepwalk with their eyes open (though with a glazed-over look). Did this distinction come up in your games?

    And how cool would it be to have a sleepwalking Kalkamedes mini? :)

    Dark Archive 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Minnesota—Minneapolis aka Silbeg

    pH unbalanced wrote:
    And I have to ask -- did the 'gnome' really not speak Gnomish? The moment he couldn't answer our gnome's hail, we immediately ignored him. You'd think if you were going to disguise yourself, you'd make sure you could speak the language.

    I don't know about that... it is one of the few Tiefling starting languages my wizard doesn't have. However (and I don't know which knowledge check he used, but he does have local), Angelo detected another incongruity... he had supposedly been trapped for 300 years (?), and hadn't started the "bleaching"?

    Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

    I am going to love running this at Origins.

    Sczarni

    Running this on Sunday! :) It sounds fantastic!
    I am going to use a strategy our GM for Bonekeep used and have the players pre-roll some of their more passive skill checks to cut down on the metagaming.
    I have a pretty solid RP plan for Koth' Vaul and I have my breathy Sheila Heidmarch down... but I really want to figure something out for Gamin!I think that's just too good of an RP opportunity to not do justice to! :D

    Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

    Lamontia wrote:
    ...but I really want to figure something out for Gamin!I think that's just too good of an RP opportunity to not do justice to! :D

    I already have a persona in mind.

    Sczarni

    TriOmegaZero wrote:
    Lamontia wrote:
    ...but I really want to figure something out for Gamin!I think that's just too good of an RP opportunity to not do justice to! :D
    I already have a persona in mind.

    Ahahahaha!

    That is awesome!

    Shadow Lodge 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Lieutenant, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East aka thistledown

    Lamontia wrote:

    Running this on Sunday! :) It sounds fantastic!

    I am going to use a strategy our GM for Bonekeep used and have the players pre-roll some of their more passive skill checks to cut down on the metagaming.
    I have a pretty solid RP plan for Koth' Vaul and I have my breathy Sheila Heidmarch down... but I really want to figure something out for Gamin!I think that's just too good of an RP opportunity to not do justice to! :D

    Some of the Valdemar novels and filk music include an intelligent sword (Need). I used that as my inspiration for Gamin. Snarky, bitter, gruff, but tough as nails. If it can't get into the fight, it'll at least be calling from the sidelines (to the annoyance of some party members and the glee of others).

    Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

    Just remember that Gamin doesn't necessarily reveal his nature at all.


    I've only read this scenario, but this seems like it should be a lot of fun to play. I do have some questions about K's somnambulism, though.

    Spoiler:

    Seems like there's some handwaving involved to set up this scenario, but hopefully I'm just missing something obvious.

    1) How did Sulianna contact K originally? She doesn't have telepathy or other means to contact him remotely. What is meant by "magical link?"

    2) K's somnambulism is a magical effect that doesn't seem explained very well, or at least I don't understand it. Can I chalk it up to K-V somehow granting his monthly Wish to K's subconscious? K's subconscious takes over at night since that's the only time the Black Edifice can be found, and so this magically induced sleep is the only way it can succeed. I think cooperative players can buy into that, hopefully. Is there a better explanation?

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