The Midnight Isles (GM Reference)


Wrath of the Righteous

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Revan wrote:
I believe both Thalacos, Herald of Sarenrae, and the Hand of the Inheritor, Herald of Iomedae, have been previously statted in Adventure Path backmatter. Presumably, when Herald of the Ivory Labyrinth comes out, the corrupted Thalacos' stats will involve twisted versions of his existing ones with Mythic Power layered on. Making it Thalacos instead will require building a new stat block from the ground up. It also makes more sense for Baphomet to target Iomedae's herald, as she is the driving force of the Crusades. But Sarenrae's church is certainly strongly involved in comabting the Worldwound as well. I leave it to people in the know to answer your question, but I wouldn't imagine that the switch would run into more significant issues than that.

That's what I was thinking. Seems like a reasonable assumption but I just wanted to make sure it would not cause horrible problems in later volumes if I decide to make that switch. Re-building the herald wouldn't be that difficult so I am not worried there, I just don't want to run into plot holes and story conflicts later on, or if I am going to run into them I would like a little warning so I know to look for them.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Aldarionn wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Aldarionn wrote:
brad2411 wrote:
Well from what I was understanding was that the herald was taken by baphomet and he was going to make him into his herald to fight the pc's and we need to either rescue the herald or kill him. Only my understanding and you can always change the adventures. But I was actual thinking along the same lines as you with one of my characters (cleric of iomedae and iomedae's daughter) become her herald.

That must be in the summary of the first book in the back cause I missed that part. I know I read those summaries but I have not recently re-read them. I'll have to re-read through some of that stuff.

I really wish the books had a better indicator of what was going to happen in upcoming issues. It would make DMing as the books are being released a little easier.

We do what we can for that, but it's not a great idea to sacrifice a book's current content in order to prep for the next one. There's certainly a lot of wisdom to waiting for all 6 parts of an AP to be out before you run it... but the GM can ALWAYS change things around to make things work.
Well then let me ask directly. If I change the Herald of Iomedae to the Herald of Sarenrae will that have a massive story impact in later episodes, or is it just as simple as some stat adjustments and swapping the name/style of one god for another?

Well...

Spoiler:
If you do that, you'll want to refocus a lot of the Iomedae elements in the AP to Sarenrae instead, so that it makes sense for Baphomet to abduct Sarenrae's herald instead of Iomedae's herald. Iomedae makes an appearance in Adventure 5, where she gives the PCs several tests and items and stuff associated with her legacy and history, so you'll have to rework and rewrite those to be Sarenrae flavored. And you won't be able to use the artwork of the fallen Herald since Sarenrae's herald looks different than Iomedae's. You'll also need to rebuild the stats, since they're a bit different.

The Worldwound is VERY much a part of Iomedae's story, and that's why we chose her herald to be the one in danger. Switching that to Sarenrae works... but I'd say you'd want to substitute Sarenrae for ALL of the Iomedae stuff in the entire AP to let the fifth adventure have the same impact.

That said, Baphomet DOES have some elements of hate for Sarenrae, and there are some Sarenrae elements in adventure 5, so her herald is probably the second-best choice of all the deities... but still... you'll have some not-insignificant rewriting to tackle at the start and the end of the 5th adventure.


James Jacobs wrote:
Aldarionn wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Aldarionn wrote:
brad2411 wrote:
Well from what I was understanding was that the herald was taken by baphomet and he was going to make him into his herald to fight the pc's and we need to either rescue the herald or kill him. Only my understanding and you can always change the adventures. But I was actual thinking along the same lines as you with one of my characters (cleric of iomedae and iomedae's daughter) become her herald.

That must be in the summary of the first book in the back cause I missed that part. I know I read those summaries but I have not recently re-read them. I'll have to re-read through some of that stuff.

I really wish the books had a better indicator of what was going to happen in upcoming issues. It would make DMing as the books are being released a little easier.

We do what we can for that, but it's not a great idea to sacrifice a book's current content in order to prep for the next one. There's certainly a lot of wisdom to waiting for all 6 parts of an AP to be out before you run it... but the GM can ALWAYS change things around to make things work.
Well then let me ask directly. If I change the Herald of Iomedae to the Herald of Sarenrae will that have a massive story impact in later episodes, or is it just as simple as some stat adjustments and swapping the name/style of one god for another?

Well...

** spoiler omitted **...

And THAT is what I needed to know. Thank you Mr. Jacobs, that was extremely helpful! I am not afraid to re-write sections of the AP if I have to. The issue here is I have a PC devoted to Sarenrae but none that are devoted to Iomedae. The Paladin in my group is a Paladin devoted to the ideal of Protection, and while he certainly offers prayers to Iomedae he prays more to Torag than other gods.

Since I am considering having my Sarenrae worshiper related to the herald in question it would make more sense for him to be related to Sarenrae's herald than Iomedae's and it would have a more significant impact on him personally due to his choice of deity. I would introduce the herald earlier than the AP does in order to lend weight to his abduction at the end of the 4th book, and give the PC some connection to his father.

I'm not 100% sure I will go this route but fortunately it looks as though the 5th book will be released either as we are finishing the 2nd book, or right as we are delving into the 3rd book. That gives me time to plan ahead.

The Exchange

Aldarionn wrote:
Lord Snow wrote:
Aldarionn wrote:
I actually kinda like EYE-ra-beth a little better to be honest. It's a bit more unique, and actually has an analog in our world. Ira is a Hebrew name meaning Watchful, and it is pronounced EYE-rah.
It is actually pronounced Eh-run, and doesn't really mean "watchful". It's just a name that appeared in the bible (also, it's a name for boys, not for girl). Some people associate it with "watchful" because the word "watchful" is pronounced EH-rah-ni, but it could also easily be associated with "fresh" - "RAH-ah-NUN", or really with anything else people can come up with. The actually name simple refers to the name of some dude from one of the ancient Hebrew tribes.

The Wiki article had it pronounced EYE-rah and listed the meaning as Watchful, which is where my info came from. It also had it listed as a unisex name. I don't speak Hebrew so of course I cannot confirm this myself, and Wikipedia is editable by anyone so I suppose my source is also suspect ;-)

Source
Additional Source

The wikipedia article is incorrect, then. I am a Hebrew speaker. My cousin is called Eh-ran. While the word is indeed similar to "watchful", it's actual source is just one of the characters from the old testament.What is most certainly true is that the word is not pronounced EYE-ran. Maybe Jews who live in America pronounce the name that way, but they have a tendency to change Hebrew names and pronounce them all wrong, anyway.


Fair enough. Again, I don't speak Hebrew so I'm not able to confirm what my sources tell me.

I can tell you though that if you go to Google and type on "Ira name meaning" basically every link that comes up will give that definition. It may be wrong to a native speaker, but it is what Google says is right which means to most people who look but do not speak the language, the meaning and pronunciation they find online is correct.

This is actually one of the ways languages evolve. Take the word Ginormous. 100 years ago it meant nothing, then someone in the 1940's decided to form a contraction between the words Gigantic and Enormous and the word caught on. Now it's in the Oxford English Dictionary.

I'm not saying you are wrong, because I will not argue that point with a native speaker of a language, but I am saying it is highly likely that a large percentage of parents naming their children Ira pronounce it EYE-rah and believe it means Watchful because Google says so, and that they are not wrong either. It's also not outside the realm of possibility that a dev somewhere got the inspiration for Irabeths name from a certain wiki article when generating names for fantasy characters.


Well it turns out I won't need to make any decision concerning the heralds of Iomedae or Sarenrae. Gerrard found himself on the wrong side of a critical hit from a Half Fiend Minotaur's Greataxe and is now littering the floor of Citadel Drezen in two pieces. Mythic characters may be a little harder to pin down but they split just as easily with a solid hit!

His obituary can be found here

Scarab Sages

He fell to pieces, eh?


Lochar wrote:
He fell to pieces, eh?

One might say he made a split-second decision and his opponent's divided his attention.

Okay that was bad and I should feel bad.

On a more serious note, since he died inside the citadel it shouldn't be hard to replace his character. The party can come upon what was otherwise an empty room and find the new guy under torture, captured or otherwise in some sort of peril. According to my player he will be a Champion, so it can be easily explained that he was at a Stolen Fury ritual and the death of a nearby mythic creature awakened his Mythic potential.

Much cleaner than having to use a demonically corrupted scroll of reincarnate or something......


Well you could still save his character. If he died in the Citadel you could find the Oil of Life in Staunton's personal chest. It acts as True Resurrection.


Mal_Luck wrote:
Well you could still save his character. If he died in the Citadel you could find the Oil of Life in Staunton's personal chest. It acts as True Resurrection.

I told them there might be a way for him to be resurrected but it appears the player wants to make a new character and the party are alright with leaving him dead if that's what the player wants.

We will cover it in more detail the next time we meet but I will abide by the players decision. It is after all his character, not mine.

Grand Lodge

Lord Snow wrote:
Aldarionn wrote:
Lord Snow wrote:
Aldarionn wrote:
I actually kinda like EYE-ra-beth a little better to be honest. It's a bit more unique, and actually has an analog in our world. Ira is a Hebrew name meaning Watchful, and it is pronounced EYE-rah.
It is actually pronounced Eh-run, and doesn't really mean "watchful". It's just a name that appeared in the bible (also, it's a name for boys, not for girl). Some people associate it with "watchful" because the word "watchful" is pronounced EH-rah-ni, but it could also easily be associated with "fresh" - "RAH-ah-NUN", or really with anything else people can come up with. The actually name simple refers to the name of some dude from one of the ancient Hebrew tribes.

The Wiki article had it pronounced EYE-rah and listed the meaning as Watchful, which is where my info came from. It also had it listed as a unisex name. I don't speak Hebrew so of course I cannot confirm this myself, and Wikipedia is editable by anyone so I suppose my source is also suspect ;-)

Source
Additional Source

The wikipedia article is incorrect, then. I am a Hebrew speaker. My cousin is called Eh-ran. While the word is indeed similar to "watchful", it's actual source is just one of the characters from the old testament.What is most certainly true is that the word is not pronounced EYE-ran. Maybe Jews who live in America pronounce the name that way, but they have a tendency to change Hebrew names and pronounce them all wrong, anyway.

And sabra have a tendency to just make up pronunciations and whole parts of the language that previously, didnt exits. Door swings both ways bro.

The Exchange

Maccabee wrote:
Lord Snow wrote:
Aldarionn wrote:
Lord Snow wrote:
Aldarionn wrote:
I actually kinda like EYE-ra-beth a little better to be honest. It's a bit more unique, and actually has an analog in our world. Ira is a Hebrew name meaning Watchful, and it is pronounced EYE-rah.
It is actually pronounced Eh-run, and doesn't really mean "watchful". It's just a name that appeared in the bible (also, it's a name for boys, not for girl). Some people associate it with "watchful" because the word "watchful" is pronounced EH-rah-ni, but it could also easily be associated with "fresh" - "RAH-ah-NUN", or really with anything else people can come up with. The actually name simple refers to the name of some dude from one of the ancient Hebrew tribes.

The Wiki article had it pronounced EYE-rah and listed the meaning as Watchful, which is where my info came from. It also had it listed as a unisex name. I don't speak Hebrew so of course I cannot confirm this myself, and Wikipedia is editable by anyone so I suppose my source is also suspect ;-)

Source
Additional Source

The wikipedia article is incorrect, then. I am a Hebrew speaker. My cousin is called Eh-ran. While the word is indeed similar to "watchful", it's actual source is just one of the characters from the old testament.What is most certainly true is that the word is not pronounced EYE-ran. Maybe Jews who live in America pronounce the name that way, but they have a tendency to change Hebrew names and pronounce them all wrong, anyway.
And sabra have a tendency to just make up pronunciations and whole parts of the language that previously, didnt exits. Door swings both ways bro.

Of course, everybody does, it's just a super surreal experience to hear someone foreign speaking their own version of your language. Kind of like in that monthy python scene where the frenchman insults Arthur and his friends by calling them "Knights", and his pronunciation of the word is silly enough to be considered a joke.

What makes the thing even weirder is that locals (I never heard the word "sabra" before, only it's Hebrew verson, which sounds more like "Tsabar") are usually aware of it when they create an entirely new word or an abbreviation of one, while American Jews will often sincerely believe that they got it right. Not all that surprising - I know English mostly from reading and I get words wrong all the time.


Lord Snow wrote:
Kind of like in that monthy python scene where the frenchman insults Arthur and his friends by calling them "Knights", and his pronunciation of the word is silly enough to be considered a joke.

As I recall, that's the way it was pronounced in medieval times.


Minagho has no rogue talents. Did Baphomet steal them? What should I give her?


Lord Snow wrote:
Kind of like in that monthy python scene where the frenchman insults Arthur and his friends by calling them "Knights", and his pronunciation of the word is silly enough to be considered a joke.

You mean kniggits?


Aleron wrote:
Lord Snow wrote:
Kind of like in that monthy python scene where the frenchman insults Arthur and his friends by calling them "Knights", and his pronunciation of the word is silly enough to be considered a joke.
You mean kniggits?

Now go a-way or I shall taunt eew a second tim-ah!

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Lawful GM wrote:
Minagho has no rogue talents. Did Baphomet steal them? What should I give her?

Oops...

You can either just assume that she lost those abilities when Baphomet messed her up, or give her whatever rogue talents you'd like. I'd suggest:

fast stealth
resiliency
surprise attack

Since those don't mess with her stats much. Feel free to give her whatever though... in the grand scheme of things, her rogue talents are going to be pretty small drops in the bucket compared to her other attacks for the most part.


I'm reading through Midnight Isles, and with regards to the meeting with her:

Spoiler:
It seems as though the boons offered are... well, not exactly equal. I refer, of course, to Nocticula.

- Answer to any one question (subject to GM discretion).
- 15,000gp in a magic item.
- Her Profane Ascension.

It's the last one that bothers me a little bit, especially compared to the second one. Her Profane Ascension is a massive boost in power (equivalent to 64,000gp in items before you take into account that it's the equivalent of slotless - so double it up to 128,000gp - and involves profane bonuses rather than enhancement, meaning they stack with actual magic items), far above the mere 15,000gp item she offers. And the way her Ascension is worded, she doesn't seem able to target the PC with her SLAs (since the PC is treated as the source of the ability, not a target) and needs to remotely scry on the area to know what's happening without said PC telling her. Her SLAs don't even let her use suggestion through it like Shamira can (Shamira's Benediction inherits the succubus' Profane Gift wording, but Nocticula's Ascension explicitly does not) to push the recipient into doing what she wants (in fact, her SLAs are decidedly offensive in nature, and would be unsuitable against a PC except for the lone mass suggestion) since her dominate ability is supernatural.

More morally ambiguous PCs (or even outright evil ones) don't really have any particular reason to refuse the Ascension at this point. And since Nocticula is agreeable to helping the PCs with the whole Worldwound problem, it reads as though they'd need to act against her first before she'd think about removing it (which, granted, is going to be painful), especially if retaining her boon through to the end of the final part of the AP is plausible.

I recognise that those who accept her boon here, including the Profane Ascension, may run into problems in the 6th WotR book, as described, but right now those problems are given no elaboration - I'd have preferred some hints or a brief summary, such as what was provided for the Campaign Trait upgrades in the first WotR book.

Her Profane Ascension is extraordinarily good, so what I might actually wind up doing is cutting that out entirely. Nocticula can only grant it to one person at a time, after all, so it could easily just be that she's given it to somebody else for whatever reason (perhaps she has other plans), or is unwilling to grant it to the PCs here. Perhaps she'll offer up a "loyal" succubus "assistant" or two to the PCs instead if they want the benefits of a profane boost to their ability scores.


Has anybody gotten up to this point or passed it yet?


Or you could just alter the wording of the ability to include the succubus wording like Shamira's Benediction. She is a Demon Lord after all so that would not be an unfair adjustment. Also, remember that players do not know her Ascension is any different than what a Succubus can do and she does not have to tell them she cannot do certain things. The PC's might just assume she will have some form of control over them with the Ascension and choose to refuse on those perceived grounds alone.

It is highly unlikely that the PC's will be able to best her for some time, especially if they accept the Ascension considering what it does if she removes it, so if the PC's do something that is well outside her interest she can teleport to them and demand they take another course of action, then if they refuse she can strip the boon and attack, likely killing those PC's silly enough to have accepted it in the first place. She could then leave, smiling coyly at the remaining PC's and whispering some quip about not trusting Demon Lords.

Basically, play her to her alignment. She is Chaotic Evil, and should be treated as such.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Alleran wrote:

I'm reading through Midnight Isles, and with regards to the meeting with her:

** spoiler omitted **...

Well...

Spoiler:
... they're not INTENDED to be equal. Accepting her profane ascension is a chaotic and evil act, and it's meant to be in there as a temptation for the PCs. They're not SUPPOSED to accept that offer, but she is, after all, a demon lord. There needs to be some danger in the encounter, and that danger is represented by succumbing to the temptation for more power and abandoning your soul a bit to get it. FURTHERMORE... if someone accepting the profane ascension causes party strife and conflict... she's kinda okay with that too. She's chaotic evil, after all!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Now James, everyone KNOWS that she is actually seeking redemption through Ascension into Godhood! She's got a good heart!

Now if you'll excuse me, I've a bribe to collect upon....


Aldarionn wrote:
Basically, play her to her alignment. She is Chaotic Evil, and should be treated as such.

Chaotic Evil doesn't mean she doesn't want to side with/help the PCs, though.

Spoiler:
The adventure as much as states it outright. It's in her best interests (and she knows it) for the Worldwound to fail, and she's been waiting for a good reason to move against Baphomet without doing so openly.

Without deilberately modifying it, or the PCs deliberately going blatantly against her interests (unlikely given the above, but possible - though I will wait for the next two installments to see what they say about the issue, if anything, since I won't be getting to this point for a long time), I don't see her just removing it for giggles. Smart PCs who study up on outsiders, particularly demons, have a very good idea of how it works.

James Jacobs wrote:
Alleran wrote:

I'm reading through Midnight Isles, and with regards to the meeting with her:

** spoiler omitted **...

Well...

** spoiler omitted **

I'm just not sure that the (few) downsides are enough to balance out the huge bonuses, or compare in any way with the other options (it's not just better, it all but completely obliterates them).

A "free" cohort (succubus or lilitu) can still represent temptation, and would also slot in nicely with the other boons - a bit stronger, with the temptation aspect to balance the boost (and lilitu get a profane wish as well - just think, the PCs know that their assistant can grant a wish, but know that it'd be risky, but she's right there in case they really think they need it... and maybe they will wind up needing it...).


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Alleran wrote:
Aldarionn wrote:
Basically, play her to her alignment. She is Chaotic Evil, and should be treated as such.

Chaotic Evil doesn't mean she doesn't want to side with/help the PCs, though. ** spoiler omitted **

James Jacobs wrote:
Alleran wrote:

I'm reading through Midnight Isles, and with regards to the meeting with her:

** spoiler omitted **...

Well...

** spoiler omitted **

I'm just not sure that the (few) downsides are enough to balance out the huge bonuses, or compare in any way with the other options (it's not just better, it all but completely obliterates them).

A "free" cohort (succubus or lilitu) can still represent temptation, and would also slot in nicely with the other boons - a bit stronger, with the temptation aspect to balance the boost (and lilitu get a profane wish as well - just think, the PCs know that their assistant can grant a wish, but know that it'd be risky, but she's right there in case they really think they need it... and maybe they will wind up needing it...).

Yes, she wants to side with the PC's in that she wants the PC's and their leaders/Gods to owe her. She is simply trying to curry favor with the enemy of her enemy. That does not mean she wants to be good, or that she doesn't wish to use the PC's abilities to her own ends. She is more likely to make it mutually beneficial for her and the PC's in this one situation because she wants that favor to call in later (perhaps to forgive her for some drastic action she plans to take?), but she is a Demon Lord. Her schemes have schemes of their own!

Any PC that trusts her insofar as to do.......things.......with her and receive her Profane Ascension is taking a massive risk, because if they end up on opposite sides of the table again later on down the line, Nocticula has one HELL of a trump card to use against that PC. It's basically a Hump of Damocles! I'm not saying they WILL end up on opposite sides - I cannot know that for certain with the information presented thus far - but the narrative certainly suggests that Nocticula will think less of a PC that accepts her Ascension and to me that means she is more likely to try to use that PC as a pawn in some scheme and she is MORE than capable of doing so even if she cannot just pull a remote trigger and have the PC dancing on her strings after a failed will save. I wouldn't trust PC's to fail will saves anyway. I would use other ways to manipulate them into doing what Nocticula wants them to do.

Regardless, I would be VERY surprised if at least one of my players did not opt for that boon, and if they do I'm going to have EPIC amounts of fun with it.


Just thought I'd chime in to say that it isn't specified that Nocticula can maintain only one Profane Ascension at a time. That text refers to the creature receiving it, and mentions that the target's name appears in glowing Abyssal runes on her wings. Considering the amount of runes on her wings, I think its safe to assume she can use this ability as often as she wants! :)

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Varisian Wanderer wrote:
Just thought I'd chime in to say that it isn't specified that Nocticula can maintain only one Profane Ascension at a time. That text refers to the creature receiving it, and mentions that the target's name appears in glowing Abyssal runes on her wings. Considering the amount of runes on her wings, I think its safe to assume she can use this ability as often as she wants! :)

This is absolutely correct. The entire party can gain it if they want.


Aldarionn wrote:
Yes, she wants to side with the PC's in that she wants the PC's and their leaders/Gods to owe her. She is simply trying to curry favor with the enemy of her enemy.

Politely disagree.

Spoiler:
It states very specifically that she thinks Deskari & Baphomet are making a mistake with the Worldwound, and that it is in her best interests for them to fail.

The only reason she hasn't intervened directly yet is because their actions are minor to her so far, and she's not yet ready to move openly against Baphomet (she doesn't want to impede a future alliance by doing so - which is why she's waiting for somebody else to move against him and keep her hands free). That changes at the adventure's end, of course, when she takes direct action.

Yes, picking up some favours in the process is a good thing, but it simply maximises her gains. It is absolutely not her sole reason.

Quote:

[...] (perhaps to forgive her for some drastic action she plans to take?)

[...] if they end up on opposite sides of the table again later on down the line, Nocticula has one HELL of a trump card to use against that PC.

Immunity to negative energy effects will stop the negative levels, but yes, again, there is a reference to something that might happen in the final WotR adventure. There's not really any clue of what that something is, so there's no way to judge how good or bad it could be for the PC(s) with the Ascension.

Ultimately, I still think at this point that I'll probably be swapping the Ascension out for a "free" Gift or Pact instead. It'll retain the "temptation" aspect for those players of mine who will do anything for a +2/+4 stat boost (since it's a profane boost it'll stack with other items and the like that they already have, after all), but doesn't completely overshadow the other two options.


You are making several assumptions here.

The first assumption is that you must mechanically tell your players how large of a boon the "Profane Ascension" is, or the extent of its weaknesses. They might gain some inkling through divination magic, high knowledge checks or other sources of information that this boon is similar to a Succubus's Profane Gift but likely more powerful, and it might come with different or more dangerous strings attached, but ultimately how much info you give your party before they make the decision is up to you. You by no means have to read the ability to them. When Demon Lords are involved it's likely that certain things are just not generally known about them.

The second assumption is that your party will automatically jump at the Ascension simply because mechanically it is better than an item or a question answered. Remember that a Paladin who does this should lose his powers until the Ascension is removed and he atones. He might even slip to Neutral alignment and need to be "redeemed". Good Clerics will likely be in danger of having their alignment slowly slip away from their deity the longer the Ascension is active. In fact most PC's would probably be in danger of this happening. It's not mechanically stated in the text of the ability but it's a perfectly reasonable assumption to make and well within the DM's power to implement.

The third assumption is that your party will choose any boon at all rather than just accepting thanks and moving on. PC's of neutral alignment will be more inclined to take a gift but good PC's who just readily jump into accepting gifts from Demon Lords without careful forethought might be playing a little off-alignment. Especially since every PC will have an Amulet of True Faith that can tell them just how dangerous THAT particular reward is.

Really I think you are borrowing trouble here, but you know your players better than any of us do. If you are truly worried about it, I would suggest inserting rumors of misfortune that befalls many who accept Nocticula's blessing, or whispers of the dangers it can present should the bearer of her blessing anger her. Or, as you suggest, change it up however you see fit. Personally I like having a reward so powerful that it could tempt even the righteous PC's in my party to take it, and if someone takes the bait I intend to play with it later.


Aldarionn wrote:
The first assumption is that you must mechanically tell your players how large of a boon the "Profane Ascension" is, or the extent of its weaknesses.

At least one will already know it, but you need a DC 45+ Knowledge check to know any of Nocticula's abilities in-character.

Quote:
The second assumption is that your party will automatically jump at the Ascension simply because mechanically it is better than an item or a question answered. Remember that a Paladin who does this should lose his powers until the Ascension is removed and he atones.

Do note that I specifically addressed this:

"More morally ambiguous PCs (or even outright evil ones) don't really have any particular reason..."

I would not under any circumstances describe a paladin as a "morally ambiguous" PC. It's about the "token evil member" or neutrally-aligned ones (or the ones who've snagged Beyond Morality). Not what the paragons of goodness and purity do when confronted with a demon lord and forced to consider which evil is the greater or lesser in their situation.


A DC45 Knowledge check would tell you that she has the ability to grant a Profane Ascension, but that does not mean you are required to allow that level of Knowledge check to give every line of the ability. If you play like that you might as well just let your players make a knowledge check, then sit with the bestiary open next to them metagaming exactly how to counter every ability of every creature.

We don't play that way. Players are not allowed to have the bestiary (or appropriate page of the SRD) open during encounters. If the party successfully makes such a check I would tell them Nocticula can grant a Profane Ascension, which is similar to a Succubus's Profane Gift but far more powerful, and more dangerous. If the PC is well above the DC I might say that it includes a large bonus to one stat and a smaller bonus to a second stat, and that removal of the Ascension can cause massive trauma to the character who receives it. The Amulet of True Faith the characters wear will tell them their alignment may suffer should they accept it, but a high knowledge check would probably do the same as well.

This is not just a standard Succubus, this is Nocticula. She is a unique Demon Lord and some aspects of her abilities may not be known to anyone but her, meaning no knowledge check would reveal everything about her. You are the DM which means you define exactly how knowledge checks apply to certain beings. If you want to tell them exactly what the ability does word for word, that's up to you. I choose to make it more mysterious and preserve some of the danger and intrigue of working with a Demon Lord.


Hopefully....in an AP specifically focused on players playing good characters, characters might be a bit suspicious of taking a boon from a demon lord.

If they do...well let's say the threat of yanking that boon will be very real, and the PC might find themselves "asked" to do favors for Nocticula, favors that might not be very pleasant/safe.


Aldarionn wrote:
A DC45 Knowledge check would tell you that she has the ability to grant a Profane Ascension, but that does not mean you are required to allow that level of Knowledge check to give every line of the ability.

Yes and no:

"For every 5 points by which your check result exceeds the DC, you recall another piece of useful information."

It depends on how far you beat the DC by. Since it's quite possible to get a result of approximately 65 (75 when taking 20), that's a solid 20-30 points above. If they aren't learning what it does with a result that high, then something is up. It's not really a question of preserving danger/intrigue to me. If a player has chosen to devote their character's resources to being really, really smart and knowing everything, then I am not about to punish that person for doing so while the party Fighter is throwing down hundreds of damage with each hit or the Rogue is completely undetectable by anything and everything.

Anyway, the simplest, cleanest way for me to deal with the imbalance of the boons offered (as far as "ambiguous" individuals are concerned) is to remove the Ascension from play and replace it with something less potent. Still useful, with a temptation to balance out the increase it has over other options, but not quite so strong.

Quote:
This is not just a standard Succubus, this is Nocticula.

Yes. That's why the rules don't have a 10 + CR check for unique individuals, and instead bump it to 15 + CR (the SRD cites the Tarrasque as an example of a rare/unique creature deserving of a DC 15 + CR check, so a demon lord should be in that bracket). Whether such checks should be a 15 and not a 20 or 25 (or higher) to start with is, I think, a question on a scale broader than this specific circumstance.

Quote:

We don't play that way. Players are not allowed to have the bestiary (or appropriate page of the SRD) open during encounters.

[...]

If you want to tell them exactly what the ability does word for word, that's up to you.

I partially addressed this:

"At least one will already know it..."

We've also been playing together for a long time now. We don't need to have a Bestiary (B1, anyway) open as players when we can all eyeball a creature's abilities off the top of our heads. There's virtually nothing in the basic Bestiary they won't recognise and know almost exactly how to deal with (I often wind up modifying stuff and dig through more obscure sources and/or 3PP for that reason). Granted, you have/had no way of knowing this.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Alleran wrote:
It depends on how far you beat the DC by. Since it's quite possible to get a result of approximately 65 (75 when taking 20)

I thought I would just point out that it's not possible to take 20 on a Knowledge check.


Olwen wrote:
Alleran wrote:
It depends on how far you beat the DC by. Since it's quite possible to get a result of approximately 65 (75 when taking 20)
I thought I would just point out that it's not possible to take 20 on a Knowledge check.

Mythic Skill Focus means you can always take 10 or 20, and since specific (the feat) overrules general (general Knowledge rules) it should overrule the general rule of no take20s on Knowledge checks, or at least the rule for that specific knowledge skill. For comparison, the Unwavering Skill Trickster path ability includes a specific limitation preventing you from taking 10 or 20 with skills that normally don't allow it even though it otherwise has much the same wording - the difference seems quite clear.

Pending errata/FAQ, naturally. Of course, even without it you're sitting on a 65, and I'm sure it's possible to somehow wrangle a Moment of Prescience in there for another +15 or so.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

Sorry, my bad, I didn't realize you were assuming Mythic Skill Focus. :)

And, agreed, 65 is still pretty high…


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
page21 wrote:
Make sure you’re familiar with the Midnight Isle planar traits listed below, and use the Ten Abyssal Traits notes in the foreword to help bring home the fact that the PCs have left the Material Plane behind.

What exactly is the bolded part referring to?

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Zaister wrote:
page21 wrote:
Make sure you’re familiar with the Midnight Isle planar traits listed below, and use the Ten Abyssal Traits notes in the foreword to help bring home the fact that the PCs have left the Material Plane behind.
What exactly is the bolded part referring to?

I think it's in the James' (?) forward in that AP volume.

-Skeld


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Skeld wrote:
I think it's in the James' (?) forward in that AP volume.-Skeld

I thought so too, but while there are a few facts on the abyss, they are certainly less than ten, and don't warrant a capitalized reference to "Ten Abyssal Traits".


Alleran wrote:
**Long post removed**

My party are also pretty experienced and while most of them can in fact remember what most monsters in most bestiaries are able to do, with a few exceptions of obscure and strange monsters, I still require that they not have it open or use the SRD to look at monster stats. My reasons for this are to remove the temptation of blurring the line between player knowledge and character knowledge.

That said, none of my players will have a Knowledge (Planes) check THAT high. The Wizard has a few Knowledge skills but he is not taking the skill focus feats for them as far as I know, nor Mythic Skill Focus. Assuming full ranks in Knowledge (Planes) he will likely have in the neighborhood of a +30. It's certainly possible he will know quite a bit about Nocticula, but not 100% guaranteed he will know everything about that one ability.

Regardless, one thing I am likely to do is have Nocticula offer each of them their boons independently, away from the rest of the party. She has the sort of personality that makes me think she might want to offer them as personal gifts. That way each person must weigh the decision against their own soul, and peer pressure won't come in to play.


Aldarionn wrote:
My reasons for this are to remove the temptation of blurring the line between player knowledge and character knowledge.

I have to say that I do somewhat envy you for players that can't recite the entire statblock of a B1 monster on command.

Quote:

That said, none of my players will have a Knowledge (Planes) check THAT high. The Wizard has a few Knowledge skills but he is not taking the skill focus feats for them as far as I know, nor Mythic Skill Focus. Assuming full ranks in Knowledge (Planes) he will likely have in the neighborhood of a +30. It's certainly possible he will know quite a bit about Nocticula, but not 100% guaranteed he will know everything about that one ability.

Regardless, one thing I am likely to do is have Nocticula offer each of them their boons independently, away from the rest of the party. She has the sort of personality that makes me think she might want to offer them as personal gifts. That way each person must weigh the decision against their own soul, and peer pressure won't come in to play.

Fair enough. Hope that works for you. Watch out for Display of Intelligence (the mythic ability) with those Knowledge checks, if the player takes it.


Well, we DID have a knowledge character in the party but session before last he was cut in half by a Half Fiend Minotaur. That's not exactly the Wizard's focus but that doesn't mean he is bad at it. Of course the party will be quite a bit higher level when it comes time to try to identify Nocticula's abilities (if they even ask to make a check) so they could have any number of other path abilities/feats to help them. We shall see. I think putting each of them on the spot alone, outside the group will make it more interesting, especially if I have them each text me their options so not everyone knows who got what. Should be an interesting session and I look forward to it.


Are we ever going to find out why when the Wardstone was shattered the PCs weren't hurt and neither were there allies? Or why the PCs ascended and not Irabeth?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Dragios wrote:
Are we ever going to find out why when the Wardstone was shattered the PCs weren't hurt and neither were there allies? Or why the PCs ascended and not Irabeth?

We already explained that. The energy released by the exploding wardstone, coming as it did from a holy artifact, only damaged foes of the wardstone—the demons and cultists caught in the blast. I suppose if some of the PCs were demons or cultists of demon lords they would have been hurt, but I felt safe in the assumption that no PC would be such in this AP.

As for why the PCs ascended and not Irabeth? Because of the PCs' destiny. Irabeth's destiny was not to ascend—that ONLY applies to player characters in this case. The more NPCs who ascend from this event, the less special you make the PCs, and this being the first Mythic AP... we wanted the PCs to feel very special.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Small Editing error.

The graveknight encounter specifically states that he calls out to the PC's in Abyssal about his mistress.

In his stat block, he doesn't know Abyssal.

Exactly one page later, the cultists know that he doesn't speak Abyssal, yet the only language the PC's are guaranteed to have heard him in is Abyssal.

Is this just an editing error, and he was supposed to speak out in Common?

==Aelryinth

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Aelryinth wrote:

Small Editing error.

The graveknight encounter specifically states that he calls out to the PC's in Abyssal about his mistress.

In his stat block, he doesn't know Abyssal.

Exactly one page later, the cultists know that he doesn't speak Abyssal, yet the only language the PC's are guaranteed to have heard him in is Abyssal.

Is this just an editing error, and he was supposed to speak out in Common?

==Aelryinth

He's supposed to speak out in Common.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

In Chapter 3, the PCs likely acquired a

maguffin:
talisman of pure good, at Area G Delamere's tomb (if they saved and atoned Jesker, which shouldn't be too hard or unlikely)

With this item, they could easily one-shot Hepzamirah the first time they see her. As far as I can tell, she is the first likely candidate to have this used on.

I'm tempted to change the maguffin to some other item to prevent this, but it is a cool item. The PCs would be disappointed if a single-use one-shot didn't work (especially if saving it for a critical moment). I could replace it with a Philospher's stone (they'll probably need another one at some point).

Any thoughts?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

1 person marked this as a favorite.
grandpoobah wrote:

In Chapter 3, the PCs likely acquired a

** spoiler omitted **

With this item, they could easily one-shot Hepzamirah the first time they see her. As far as I can tell, she is the first likely candidate to have this used on.

I'm tempted to change the maguffin to some other item to prevent this, but it is a cool item. The PCs would be disappointed if a single-use one-shot didn't work (especially if saving it for a critical moment). I could replace it with a Philospher's stone (they'll probably need another one at some point).

Any thoughts?

Being able to use that item on her is cool, and kind of the point of the item, frankly.

That said... if a PC does use the item on her...

Spoiler:
... that shouldn't mess up Baphomet being able to use her defeat to manifest. I'd describe Hepzamirah's fate, in this case, as her falling into a crack in the ground, but then the crack stays open and Baphomet climbs out of it to do his thing.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Now that sounds utterly cool! ^_^

Scarab Sages

I can just see it. She falls down, and the ground wrenches closed. Then the ground seems to explode from inside and climbing out is Baph, looking very irritated and flicking off a bit of dirt and gore.


5 people marked this as a favorite.

Something like this?

Quote:

With a mighty kick of his armored sabatons Sir Antonin Drayke shattered the door leading into a finely appointed room. Maps of what appeared to be a realm of mazes lined the walls, watched over by the unholy visage of a goat-faced Demon with a crimson pentagram glowing brightly on his forehead. Drayke was a man of few words, preferring to let his actions talk for him and as a Paladin he was compelled to destroy what he knew lay beyond this door.

"FOOLS!" Screamed the rooms only occupant. "You know not what you have interrupted! You cannot possibly fathom the work that goes into the refinement of pure Nahyndrian! You will pay for your insolence a thousand times over in pain!" Hepzamirah was a terrifying sight to behold; a female Minotaur towering near to the ceiling and cradling an enormous pick in powerful clawed hands. Clad head to toe in black plate and mail, her bestial features were amplified by her obvious rage. She stepped forward on thundering hooves, hefting her weapon but before the mighty Demon could bring the pick to bear, Drayke felt warmth and light wash over him.

Rashim stepped past the heavily armored Paladin and brandished a gleaming talisman. The words he spoke were in an ancient and unkowable language, though Drayke somehow understood them. "You shall pay for your crimes, daughter of Baphomet. Your black soul shall be flensed by the Light and you shall know what it is to be truly judged!" Rashim's voice was low, but the Warpriest's every word rang with holy purpose.

Moments later the ground began to tremble and Hepzamirah's face was split by a silent scream of terror and pain. The floor beneath her hooves was torn asunder and though she thrashed against invisible bonds, she was drawn into an ever growing pit filled with radiant golden light; a light so bright it made the sun seem black by comparison, yet Drayke somehow found it easy and comforting to look upon.

The comfort Drayke took from the light lasted only moments. No sooner had the towering woman disappeared when the pure radiance flashed a deep crimson as it was swiftly corrupted into abyssal flames. A booming voice seemed to echo from nowhere and everywhere at once. As a Paladin Drayke had not known fear in some time, but that voice reminded him what true terror felt like.

"THAT WAS A MISTAKE. THE TIME FOR YOUR ACTS OF REBELLION IS AT AN END. YOU FACE NOT THE DAUGHTER OF BAPHOMET NOW, BUT THE LORD OF MINOTAURS HIMSELF. NOW YOU SHALL KNOW WHAT IT IS TO BE TRULY JUDGED AND FOUND LACKING." Even as he spoke Bephomet rose from the pit his daughter had been dragged into mere moments before. Black flames danced around his cloven hooves and from beneath a goats primal brow shone intelligent, almost human eyes.

"YOU SHALL NOT BE THE ONLY VICTIMS OF MY WRATH TODAY. YOU JOIN THE HERALD OF THAT JUMPED-UP MORTAL IOMEDAE IN ETERNAL AGONY AND SERVITUDE TO THE IVORY LABYRINTH. LET THIS BE A REMINDER TO THE SO-CALLED CRUSADERS THAT MY REACH IS BEYOND MEASURE. I CAN STRIKE ANYWHERE, I CAN TAKE ANYTHING YOU HOLD DEAR AND I CAN CRUSH THOSE YOU CONSIDER GREAT HEROES WITH A MERE THOUGHT!"

"Ahh but it is my realm you invade 'Lord of Slain Daughters.'"

Drayke's head whipped around at the familiar voice that seemed to caress him in uncomfortable places. Nocticula's form was beautiful and seductive even when irritation and anger clearly stained her otherwise perfect face. "Let this be a reminder that your reach is not without measure, and the only mistake made today was showing yourself where you are not welcome."

Nocticula flicked her delicate fingers almost casually and the abyssal fire engulfing Baphomet began to sear his twisted flesh. His guttural screams and curses faded and his corporeal form shattered with a thunderous roar, leaving broken stones and scorch marks were once a Demon Lord had dominated the room. Nocticula's intoxicating, musical laughter filled Drayke's ears and his skin crawled with a desire he did not want. It made him feel filthy and shameful, but he could not help it when she was near; he had a feeling few could.

"You kept your end of the bargain, so I shall keep mine." Nocticula wove her way through the transfixed occupants of the room to where Baphomet had stood.

"Rest assured that from now on none of your enemies shall siphon the blood of my realm, though I fear you can count Baphomet personally among those enemies now. It shall take him some time to recover from the lashing I just gave him, but he will return with a vengeance. Still, your business here is now complete......unless you wish to stay and keep me company?" Her coy smile and smokey eyes left no doubt in Drayke's mind what she meant to do should any of them accept her offer. With another casual waive of the hand she disappeared and was replaced by a curtain of black flame.

"Your way home lies through the fire." Nocticula's final words echoed in Drayke's head and he eagerly stepped forward, and back into the realm he knew.


Aldarionn wrote:

Something like this?

Quote:
Awesomeness!
...

Bravo sir!

I will keep this in mind should my players do exactly this, I hope you don't mind.

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