What is Rohkar's Next Move?


Reign of Winter


My latest session with our group yesterday went horribly wrong for the PC's due to very poor tactics and multiple criticals from the dm (7 in total) and yes I roll in the open.

It all started when our group of 6 PC's arrived at the High Sentinel Lodge. They stealthed around to the backside kitchen chimney and the cleric decided to create water in the chimney to see if they could lure a few out to see why water was coming down the chimney.

I had ten-penny raise the window and stick her head out and spotted the cleric and ran to alert the others. Ended up with 2 fighters and a druid climbing through various windows while two rangers and a bard stayed outside. The crits caused the three inside to be dropped within three rounds. None of the bandits had been taken down yet.

I had the bandits rush outside except for a couple. It was brutal it was an obvious overmatched party now with a TPK looming. I did everything to prevent it. Having the bandits attack the mounts while the players regrouped. Had Ten-Penny turn to help the PC's after being dropped to 1 hp and the party cleric healed her in good faith. It was an incredible tough battle even with me using dumb tactics to keep from over running the PC's. Ten-Penny got a opening and ran for the bridge to escape where she was slayed by the Ice Mephit (PC's don't know this yet) The battle left the casters out of spells and the Cleric only had 1 healing chanel left.

They then to my disbelief decided they wanted to clear out the lodge upstairs and ran right into Rohkar. He easily almost wiped the group and the frost skeletons were harsh with there cold damage for adjacent PC's. Three PC's went down the others trying to drag them out. To save the group this time I had Rohkar give them a very sterm warning about never returning and he let them go. Probably way out of character since they had killed all his men.

The party retreated back down the trail a ways and made camp for the night.

Probably should have TPK'd them in the second fight for being so stupid but hey they are first level and I didn't want to slaughter them outright.

Anyway here is my question:

Since all his men are dead, and Lady Argentia is still in the basement what would be Rohkar's immediate plan. Surely he wouldn't stay and just wait for the groups return. What would he do with Lady Argentia?

Also since Ten-Penny was killed by the Ice Memphit she obviously knows what is going on now so what should she do? I doubt she would care to help Rohkar defend the lodge? Also what would Rohkar do with the captured sprite Vrixx?

I have two weeks to prepare this scenario and am looking for all the feedback I can get.

Thanks in advance.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Interesting dilemma:

Spoiler:

bwatford wrote:
To save the group this time I had Rohkar give them a very stern warning about never returning and he let them go. Probably way out of character since they had killed all his men.

Definitely out of character. Rohkar is a killer through and through. He has no conscience which would interfere with killing anyone...including his own men, which he's perfectly willing to turn into zombies if they die so he can re-use them again and again. In addition, just like Teb Knotten's cold fey, Rohkar is charged with keeping outsiders from interfering with Nazhena and Elvanna's plans for invading Taldor through the winter portal. Even though he doesn't know the full extent of their plans, he's beholden to Teb Knotten and takes direction from the moss troll. So, letting a group powerful enough to slay all his bandits escape with only a stern warning just isn't a very credible outcome given both his personality and the obligations he's under.

bwatford wrote:
Since all his men are dead, and Lady Argentea is still in the basement what would be Rohkar's immediate plan?

Turn his fallen men into zombies or skeletons with his scroll of animate dead. He'd probably have to release them as "free-willed" (or uncontrolled) undead, however, as he'd prefer to maintain direct control over the more dangerous frost skeletons.

bwatford wrote:
Surely he wouldn't stay and just wait for the group's return. What would he do with Lady Argentia?

This is debatable. He could either stay and try to defend the lodge (and his prize), as Teb Knotten and Izoze commanded. Or, he could view the lodge as lost and remove Lady Argentea from the cellar, taking her with him to Teb Knotten's camp at the winter portal (while leaving behind the animated zombies of his fallen men to kill the PCs if they came back). Rohkar knows the fey have plans for the noblewoman, and he also knows they'd come looking for her, even if he tried to escape with her on his own so he could sacrifice her to Norgorber as a ritualistic murder victim.

So, if he did take Lady Argentea to the moss troll and ice mephit, she'd be near death traveling in the wintry conditions by the time they arrived, while he would stay safe in his cloak of the yeti...which means, Teb and Izoze would be very put out with him as they view her as being far more valuable than Rohkar and his bandits. The moss troll would likely take a dim view of Rohkar's capabilities anyway, as Izoze would have already informed Teb that he lost the lodge. Rohkar wouldn't stand a chance against that many of Nazhena's minions...from Teb Knotten and Izoze to Hommelstaub and the sprites...they'd punish him for his failings, either killing him outright or by dumping him in the igloo pit to freeze to death after stripping him of all his belongings.

On the other hand, if you want to spin Rohkar as a more sinister villain, you could have him risk Teb Knotten's wrath by killing Lady Argentea outright before leaving the lodge...and hunting them down (backed with all the animated zombies he could create). If Teb's forces recaptured him, Rohkar would simply claim the PCs killed Lady Argentea by mistake during their assault on the lodge. With Ten Penny Tacey dead, there'd be no one to reveal his lie. Teb and Izoze might buy this explanation, but they'd still distrust and look unfavorably upon Rohkar's additions to the team, setting him up as cannon fodder in any eventual conflict with the PCs. Of course, if you put Rohkar in the encounter at the winter portal, it'll become even more lopsided in favor of the PCs' enemies. So, tread carefully here.

One last option also exists. Rohkar could completely abandon his alliance with Teb Knotten and the cold fey, murdering Lady Argentea for his god's dark purpose, and then striking off into the cold to leave the Border Wood behind. With his cloak of the yeti and judicious use of his invisibility domain spell, he could likely make it pretty far before any of Teb's fey allies found him, even making it all the way back to Heldren where he might skulk about and seek revenge on the PCs should they return to town. He's vengeful enough to pursue that kind of outcome, maybe even hiring or attracting more bandits to join him so they can follow the PCs back into the woods and ambush their campsite.

Ultimately, there's a lot of directions you could go with this situation. Rohkar is a complicated animal, adept at presenting one kind of persona even as the other plots the glorious murder of those around him. He could target the PCs just as likely as Lady Argentea or even Teb Knotten. It's all up to you which way he turns.

bwatford wrote:
Also since Ten-Penny was killed by the Ice Mephit she obviously knows what is going on now so what should she do? I doubt she would care to help Rohkar defend the lodge?

No. Izoze wasn't charged with defending the lodge. So, it was Rohkar's failure and she'll leave him to fail, returning to Teb Knotten to warn him of the powerful newcomers loose in the forest. She'll also blame Rohkar for everything, as she's come to loathe the bandit lord. And this is what prompts Teb to send Izoze and the air elemental Squald to hunt the PCs down.

bwatford wrote:
Also what would Rohkar do with the captured sprite Vrixx?

Good question. Vrixx knows too much about Rohkar's duplicity in serving Teb. So, the bandit wouldn't care to let the sprite live, likely roasting him alive in his cage with a single flask of alchemist's fire. Alternatively, you could have Rohkar burn the entire lodge, setting fire to the place before he leaves. He'd drag out the bodies of his dead men beforehand, but Vrixx would quickly perish in the flames. Then he could animate the dead bandits with his scroll of animate dead and have them linger in the area to attack anyone who comes as he flees (with or without Lady Argentea).


But that's just my two cents,
--Neil


Thanks for the advice Neil.

I think that he would know it would be just a matter of time before the PC's would return and he would prepare for that using his scroll to re-animate his men if they returned.

If he brought his case to Izoze would she just stay to defend the bridge or just leave and not return to tell the others? If so the bridge would be undefended. (Given one of the sprites escaped an earlier encounter and is with Izoze as it escaped an earlier encounter.)

He needs to lay some sort of trap for the PC's maybe animating the undead and placing them in the lodge in case they returned. Maybe even placing the frost skeletons in the cellar since the PC's removed the bear skin rug and never replaced it nor opened the lock.

I think he would take Lady Argentia and use his scroll of Endure Elements from his chest on her to protect her for the travel hoping Izoze would remain on the bridge in case someone got past his trap at the lodge.

Once he secured her at the portal camp then I think he would maybe try to get Kneb to give him some reinforcements to help hunt down the PC's


Ok after playing our next session today I will tell you how this turned out.

Spoiler:

I had Rohkar first drag in the dead bandit bodies from outside that had been slain and make a nice pile to re-animate.

He then tortured and killed the poor caged Vrixx to leave no information behind.

He then took Lady Argentia from the cellar and animated 10 zombies using his scroll and his scrolls in the chest.

He locked them in the lodge and fled using his scroll of endure elements on Lady Argentia to deliver her to the portal camp.

When the PC's returned to the lodge and looked in the windows they decided to shatter a window and range the zombies inside, I had the zombies fling themselves through the window as best they could but they were cannon fodder with only the window to work with and no real tactics.

However the group quickly compared what was going on here to the zombies left in the carriage and concluded that it was the same type tactic. They soon found the dead sprite and that Lady Argentia had already been taken.

They handled Izoze next, she was accompanied by one of the sprites that had escaped the PC earlier on the trail. I played the sprite in a very taunting way, sticking its tongue out and calling the PC's names, etc. btw my group now hates the winter sprites with a passion. I have played them as tricksters and pranksters since the beginning.

The sprite failed with it's color spray and the group focused range on it and had it down to 2 hp fairly quickly. I played Izoze as the heartless Ice Memphit she is and really took the wind out of the players sails when she was the one that delivered the killing blow to the sprite companion by catching it and squeezing the life out of it as she called it weak and useless.

After a few rounds of using her few spells and breath weapon which btw the chill metal had them worried sick that it was going to freeze the player solid. I had her engage in one round of melee where she was dropped to 10hp and then flee while she was screaming "I will see you again soon my new friends."

The group retreated to the lodge to rest. I plan on having Rohkar again at the next event encounter I. The Frost Skeletons he created by accident has stopped his escape. I plan on having Rohkar, Lady Argentia, his two frost skeletons locked in battle with the three uncontrolled Ancient Invaders (Frost Skeletons). I figure Rohkar is trying to protect his prized kidnapped victim against one of the uncontrolled frost skeletons while his two skellies are engaged with the other two when the PC's round the trail.

I don't have it completely fleshed out yet but I think I want it to be more of a challenge to get Lady Argentia out of harms way esp with the automatic cold damage from the skellies before they begin combat. Maybe Rohkar goes invisible and lets control loose from his skellies as well to attack the PC's?

I would welcome any feedback from everyone on this next encounter. I don't want the six PC's to have to fight 4 frost skeletons and Drakar at one time, so I want to keep Rohkar out of the fight until the skeletons are down.

And to be honest I also toyed with the ideal to have him carry Lady Argentia back to the camp and return with the doppelganger Lady Argentia to a point where the PC's would rescue her (The wrong one) and return her back to Heldren and when they come back to continue on they would find the real Argentia at the camp or the pale tower dead. That would make them feel like they got played like pawns. Especially if they found the real one in the Pale Tower and couldn't get back through the portal to tell anyone. I mean if we wanted to really build up anomisity toward the winter witches and their minions I believe using the players to deliver their plans would be a tremendous plot device. I mean what could be better than have the Heroes rescue the wrong one, it could not have been planned any better. Like that was the queens plans all the time and lured the PC's here. That could also be the reason that Rhokar let them escape with their lives in the first confrontation. Because there was plans for them all along. Oh my god I am like the eviliest DM ever...... HA HA HA HA HA


Neil, I would like you to give me your opinion on the last part and what the ramifications might be if it happened and is the doppelganger really ready to fill the role yet?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Spoiler:
The only problem with having Argentia switched is that the enemies would kill her. Thus the PCs may never know what they did. And it may not even have any impact over the long run - when the PCs close the Winter Portal then the Doppelganger would be trapped on the other side.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

bwatford wrote:
Neil, I would like you to give me your opinion on the last part and what the ramifications might be if it happened and is the doppelganger really ready to fill the role yet?

Spoiler:

bwatford wrote:
I also toyed with the idea to have him carry Lady Argentea back to the camp and return with the doppelganger Lady Argentea to a point where the PC's would rescue her (The wrong one) and return her back to Heldren...

That could certainly pose an interesting turn of events. Honestly, the doppelganger encounter in the Pale Tower was designed to make the PCs second-guess themselves. As in, did we rescue the real Lady Argentea? Or did we just enable Elvanna's plan?

bwatford wrote:
...and when they come back to continue on they would find the real Argentea at the camp or the Pale Tower dead.

Not necessarily. A noblewoman such as Lady Argentea could continue to hold value as a captive. Both in terms of ransom, further interrogation, or as a bargaining chip in the event Radosek, Teb Knotten, or even Nazhena needed a hostage. Likewise, the doppelganger might still need to contact his winter witch allies (via an attentive mirror) to make requests for additional information only Lady Argentea would know in order to more properly carry out his ruse in Oppara. So, it's not a given that they'd simply slay Lady Argentea. Killing her is something Rohkar would want to do (because of his faith in Norgorber). But the winter witches don't typically think that way. They're much more manipulative and cunning than a brute murderer, no matter how divinely inspired he might be.

bwatford wrote:
That would make them feel like they got played like pawns. Especially if they found the real one in the Pale Tower and couldn't get back through the portal to tell anyone.

Exactly. And that would be one more reason to hurry and free Baba Yaga so they can end the threat posed by Elvanna and her minions. However, keep in mind that if you do put the real Lady Argentea in the Pale Tower for them to find, presumably, the PCs will trap her there along with them when they close the winter portal. Of course, it's possible they could delay the closing of the portal to give her time to cross back into Taldor. If an enterprising PC learns the Irriseni mirror sight spell and they give Lady Argentea a mirror, it would be easy to confirm her escape from Irrisen. Then, it would be up to her to expose the imposter in Oppara. Of course, during that time, the PCs would also run the risk of more of Nazhena's minions (i.e., Winter Guard, cold fey, etc.) returning to the Pale Tower and attacking them. So, it'd be a calculated risk, but at least they'd still have a chance of returning the real Lady Argentea to Taldor.

As for Rohkar himself, the man is probably living on borrowed time. His role in Elvanna's plans is becoming more and more limited the deeper he goes. Teb Knotten especially will have the bandit's head if fails him again. So, if after delivering the real Lady Argentea to the moss troll (and she's subsequently taken through the portal to the Pale Tower), he'd probably charge Rohkar with taking Gardhek (i.e., the doppelganger) back towards the PCs with the intention of letting them "rescue" her. Whatever happens to Rohkar after that, the moss troll won't care. In fact, he'll probably encourage Gardhek to run to the PCs as soon as they're sighted, claiming Rohkar abducted him/her to more properly carry out the ruse. Rohkar will basically be betrayed, thinking Teb Knotten only wanted him to escort Gardhek safely through the forest to ensure the doppelganger could reach Heldren. In essence, Rohkar will think it's his big change to escape the expanding winter weather (and Teb's vengeance), planning on parting ways with Gardhek as soon as they get back to town. If Gardhek carried out such a plan, Rohkar would likely turn invisible in an effort to evade the PCs. But, from there, he'd be looking to follow them back to Heldren so he could take revenge on the PCs and eliminate them before they can return to investigate the winter portal. In fact, Teb might have charged Rohkar with doing just that, but the bandit will have to weigh the odds of success vs. the likelihood of dying if he crossed the PCs in such an obvious manner. More likely, he'd look for ways to murder them one at a time...whether in town or on the trail.


That's how I'd play things,
--Neil


Thank you Neil....

Spoiler:
I think I am going to have them switched and have Rohkar assigned with taking the doppelganger back so the PC's can rescue the wrong one. Leaving the real Argentia locked in the pale tower where the doppelganger encounter would have been. Rohkar will be charged with making the rescue look convincing. Which Rohkar would plan on making it convincing and then turning invisible to slip away. Once the PC's have him injured I will have a dramatic scene where Gardhek (the doppelganger) gets free and delivers the killing blow to Rohkar before he can escape. This will be a brutal killing as if Argentia has built up rage from her captivity, stabbing Rohkar over and over until a PC pulls her free. Thus helping to have her cover cemented in the PC's mind and at the same time getting rid of Rohkar.

Once they bring her back to Heldren and return to find the real Argentia locked in the Pale Tower they should still be confused about which one is the real Argentia.

Now where would be the best place to have the rescue happen at? The Bear Traps? Make it look like either Rohkar or Aregentia got caught in one of the traps which slowed their escape?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Spoiler:
There's one other thing to consider: timing. Will the agent at the Tower be ready for the assignment? If you consider the PCs reach the Pale Tower probably a week after the start of the adventure, unless the PCs are diddling around town instead of going after Rokhar and his captive then the agent isn't ready for assignment.

The timeline likely goes: Three Days to reach the Transit point. Two days to Waldsby, two days until the Guards show up, maybe one day to the Pale Tower, at which point they meet the agent, who isn't yet prepared for the role in question.

You can, obviously, alter the timeline to suit your own desires and have the agent be ready. But you also have to consider this: how long has it been since the Pale Tower was aware the Lady was taken? Probably one day. They can't just instantly get an agent ready; it took them four days from learning of the Lady to having an agent starting to study the role. (And it is likely the Agent is planning on replacing the Lady after the fact; the Pale Tower knows the PCs are coming and that they likely rescued the Lady.)

There is one other possibility: have them encounter the two Ladies in the Pale Tower, with both accusing the other of being the plant.

Second Seekers (Luwazi Elsbo)

Starfinder Superscriber

This thread has been super helpful since Rokhar TPKed my party. I love all the ideas that everyone has had, especially bwatford and Neil. Can't wait to get my group back in the game next Sunday!

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Spoiler:

Better solution - why stop with one false Argentea? What if both were dopplegangers? That way, no matter which way they choose, they pick the wrong Argentea. Rohkar's taken the real Argentea with him to be taken back to Irrisen.

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