The Slumbering Tsar - Starting, DM Set up, Questions, and Advice


Advice and Rules Questions

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Using the Firebase of the Damned as a base is kind of a double-edged sword. It is close enough to make a convenient base to attack Tsar, but that also means it is close enough for them to send nasties back at you!

Yeah, I have had my players call me on monster spell like abilities enough that I make them do concentration checks.

I am not sure my paladins would be conflicted at all. They don't consort with evil, especially when the summoner is summoning devils! If he refused to sleep in the tomb that would be the end of it.


brvheart - depends on the paladins' perspectives. He's summoning devils to be the first through the door and chopped up by undead or alien egg things. Is it really better that he impose that pain on good creatures?

As for being conflicted, they've been waiting for an opporunity for force him into the tomb - more interested in rehabilitation than judgment when the evil is an affliction and not a life style (some west coast flavour for you).


Did you house rule a lot of things in your fight?

Prismatic sphere is as prismatic wall, which fails when it is cast with a creature blocking the wall.

Also, the concealment from the cloudkill must have been almost as deadly as the spell!


I personally have an issue with a good character summoning anything to fight for you. Evil is a choice, not an affliction (some Texas flavor for you:))

Sovereign Court

I have a question for Slumbering Tsar GM's out there. Specifically, exactly what terrain does each quadrant fall under?

My personal take is that the Ashen Waste is Desert, the Dead Fields are Plains, the Chaos Rift is also Desert and the Boiling Lands are Swamp.

I'd appreciate both validation and other insights. Any thoughts on this?


Those terrain choices sound good to me.


Yeah that is about as close as you are going to get, but in the Desolation I am not sure any of it would qualify as a "favored terrain" for a ranger. The Ashen Waste isn't sand, it is powered bone.

Layout and Design, Frog God Games

Unless you allow "Desolate Wasteland" as a terrain choice. ;)


So this Saturday I'm finally going to be starting my Slumbering Tsar gestalt game. As I said earlier in this topic, I changed some assumptions about the Camp and the churches of Muir/Thyr in the civilized world. Since disappearance of the Army of Light, the empire that led the crusade has fallen into bickering city states, with real trade lines only taking shape again in the last 100 years. The road by Tsar has been supplanted by a newly discovered water route to the North, but now a naval war for this route has effectively stopped trade. Seeing an opportunity, the churches of Muir/Thyr (mostly one in the same now and heavily corrupt and more LE than anything) have called for a cleansing of the Desolation in order to create the only functioning trade line to the northern city of Parsantium (which PCs might visit; didn't buy that source book for nothing!).

Due to the newly called crusade, there is both an influx of profiteers and the "righteous" to traveling to the Camp. With events threatening to wrest control of the Camp from his clutches, the Usurer has decided to take a more active, though clandestine, role. The Camp will start much like it is by default, but as time goes by it will eventually become a full blown adventurer Boom Town, complete with rival adventuring parties. If you've seen Deadwood, picture that, with the Usurer as Al Sweargen.

Characters aren't finalized, but here's what I know so far:

1. LN Aasmiar Cleric/Dirge Bard. He's a straight up horde Necromancer who believes in not letting things go to waste and is drawn to Tsar to find new ways of mastering death. Besides minions, he's also taking mounted combat feats and plans on riding a zombie griffin into battle.

2. "CN" Tiefling Barbarian/Rage Chemist. He's taking pretty much all possible choices to make himself into a walking abomination. His story is that he was actually from the Abyss but summoned by foolhardy finger wigglers on our plane of existence. It did not end well for them. Since then he's been wondering the wastes, but now he has been receiving prophetic dreams from his true master in the abyss (can't remember which Demon Lord he serves), leading him to Tsar so that he may steal the remnants of Orcus's power for his own lord.

3. Kensai/Weapon Master Fighter. His motivation is essentially "to be the best like no one ever was." He travels around looking for new challenges to face and now he has found his greatest to date; the Desolation and Tsar. Build-wise, he's almost completely defensive. We're level 7 and he's sitting at around 30 regular/touch AC, but with piss poor saves.

4. Gunslinger/Myrmidarch. Don't know his story yet, but the build is pretty self explanatory. Shoot the hell out of things + Spell Strike.

5. Unknown, player hasn't talked to me yet.

I'm thinking I may have to amp up the barbarian encounter coming into the Camp, probably by giving him the Beast Totem line. He also had some iffy feats, so those might have to change as well. I figure that once they kill him, the PCs will get a feel for the town and the prominent citizens (all of whom will be made as gestalts, most seriously the Usurer who will be a Wizard/Summoner 16) before making plans of where they will go in the Desolation. If it gets that far, I'll probably run them through a random encounter in the wastes to polish off the session.

I'm thinking the Bender Brothers have done a bit of renovation, increasing the size of their boarding house. Should the PCs decide to stay, the brothers will be busy taking care of a richer, weaker guest, so PCs will be unmolested... that will almost certainly change if they decide to stay after gathering new riches from the Desolation, especially if they're there to rest and recover from wounds.

There will also be talk around the town of the fate of the first official group of Muir/Thyr crusaders; it seems that their leader was none too impressed with the iron bits currency in the Camp, and was even less so when the Usurer offered him the special crusader rate of 7 gold per bit. The crusaders set up their own camp a few miles away from THE Camp, but it seems it didn't end up so well for them. Some sort of massive creature (almost like a level 16 Eidolon, wink wink) from the Desolation slaughtered most of them, leaving the survivors to limp back under the Usurer's protection. To show he had no hard feelings the new crusader rate was adjusted to 8 gold per bit... which was readily accepted.


Cool take on the adventure so far. Look forward to you posting updates if you are so inclined. :P


@Chaoseffect Sounds like an interesting take, but it is obvious your opinion of lawful good! Have fun with it! For myself with the Lost Lands starting to become canonized I am trying to run a more canon campaign. Yeah, for the new area map!


Sorry for the late replies, its been nuts lately. Been trying to learn the Warmachine RPG rules, so far they are pretty fun, might do a video review at some point.

Game 31 Notes: One of the major things I forgot to mention was during the fight with King Kroma when the succubus stole the Tiefling Paladin's sword, if you remember he had paid for it to be intelligent. The second round he was awake he yelled to his sword, "Where are you?" and the sword called back spoiling the succubus' stealth. Very clever on his part!

@DaveMage - About the Bloodmage, although Commune has been restricted in my group to "Things the followers of your god might know" and "If that follower is undead, you don't have access to it", I gave my players a sneak peak with one of their commune questions. I think they asked something like where is Kroma's Crown, "His master has it!" Which pretty much set them into a frenzy to go to Tsar, they want Kroma dead very badly.

Evil summons being evil: Typically if the spell doesn't have the evil descriptor we consider the spell not to be evil, unless you do something horrible with it. I think I read somewhere that summons are "idealogical representations" of the creatures summoned, not actually true devils or demons, etc. Animate dead however has the evil descriptor as well as a lot of spells that create permanent undead that potentially have the chance to become free willed murder-face-machines.

@GeoFix - here's the Paladin's spell that he used. Burst of Speed. I winged it during the combat since it was kind of sprung on me, but it is a 3rd level spell and all. We weren't sure whether it would let him run through three lines of enemies, but I ran with it.

@Brvheart - I'm going to allow them to make the Firebase of the Damned somewhat safe, but their first two objectives were to build a fortress and build a statue to a good god, plus consecrate the area.

@CWheezy - I would say I only house rule things that are in gray areas or when it comes to reinventing enemies. I don't like to spend a lot of time crafting npc stats, so I tend to throw appropriate level abilities, like I'm not sure if cleric's can cast cloudkill, but it seems like something Kroma would do. The Burst of Speed spell we just kind of went with what it did as best we could understand. The cleric tried to cast scry while out on the road the other day and I stopped him because he needed a 1,000 gp silver mirror, it doesn't explicitly say it in the book, but I told him that would be a large mirror, probably something he'd have to leave at the Inn. Basically, its not something you can pull out of a bag of holding, its too big, I interpreted it was like a "dress mirror" kind of like something from Cinderella. The short answer is sometimes I drop circumstance bonuses and penalties, but not much more than that so I might be bending, but not breaking the rules typically.

@Alexander Kilcoyne - I've ruled that the entirety of the Desolation is a desert, I've modified the Skeribar Rangers to be the Desert Ranger from the NPC codex, similar CR just more suited. The whole place has no potable water or real animal life and I'm sure there are sub classes of desert in real life (ie tundra, sahara, whatever the grand canyon is), but I don't think the core rules got into that kind of minutia. I could see the Boiling lands as a swamp, but the Tar pits around Tsar aren't really mud or water just a weird terrain feature.

@Chaoseffect - Let me know if you drop in my extra NPC's, I'm just interested to see how they are received. I think your kensai is going to run into a lot of trouble, there are ridiculous amounts of Fortitude saves in the Desolation. Even if he has high armor enough ghoul swarms and too much bravado will get him into trouble.

Edit: I will say that some of my players are noticing the trend of the Magus and Sorcerer teleporting/Dimension Dooring out of tough combats only to arrive several rounds later when the combats are over and other characters are dead. Its been mentioned a few times IC and OOC, I definitely understand not wanting to sit in a cloudkill and duke it out, but you don't want the artillery to retreat out of every combat. I think the druid would have lived had the Magus and Sorcerer taken an active role, but that's something the players will have to work out.


@JamesBCline - You're lucky. My guys would be questioning the cut of the XP if this were really a trend.

Really digging the little snapshots of everyone's campaigns. It's getting me excited about the Frog god.

Speaking of which:
I'm thinking of coming aboard the Lost Lands with the Lost City of Barakus kick starter and getting my characters up to the right level to run Tsar.

But in all honesty, there is so much cool stuff they are releasing that I'm having trouble figuring out what I want to run! Truth be told, this campaign will last me all of 2015, so I want to be sure what I chose.

Razor Coast and Sword of Air could be prime candidates. Then there's whispers that the Ebon Shroud could bust out in the relatively near future. I also hear that Northland Saga stuff is good. I'm almost overwhelmed in a good way!

I did run Rappan Athuk back in 3.0 and TPKed 2 parties, lol. So that is out in favor of something more fresh for me.

Pathfinder Lead Developer, Frog God Games

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KaiserDM wrote:
Then there's whispers that the Ebon Shroud could bust out in the relatively near future. I also hear that Northland Saga stuff is good. I'm almost overwhelmed in a good way!

Hi KDM, just a quick update for you. Ebon Shroud is still on the table as a future project, but I don't think I'd call it anything like the relatively near future. Let's say it's on my wishlist and Nick and Rich have both expressed interest, but there are still a lot of ducks to line up in a row. I'll keep people posted for further developments, because I really want to release it but it's still in a "don't hold your breath" phase at the moment. I am committed to it though. Razor Coast establishes Ebon Shroud as part of the same game world, and Razor Coast is in our Lost Lands setting, so I have already created a place for Ebon Shroud there as well even though the book hasn't been written yet. So it's got an official placeholder as a future product and is a part of our long-term plan.

We should have an announcement about the Northlands Saga this fall after we've got some of this summer KS stuff off our plate, and I am currently actively working on it so it is not on the backburner or anything.

The product lineup that I'm personally working on right now in order is:

Sword of Air (specifically Lost Lands development of it)
Barakus (specifically Lost Lands development of it)
The Northlands Saga (still about 50-100k words to go with over 300k written--I think, going off the top of my head)
The Blight (Richard Pett is still hard at work on it)
The Lost Lands Campaign Setting (work in progress)

As for being overwhelmed in good way? Yay! That's what we like to hear!


Thank you for the info sir! Very helpful.

From everything I've seen so far, FGG looks like a tremendous gamer company. The passion is palpable.


KaiserDM-

I would persoanlly recommend the Stoenheart Valley collection of adventures for preparation of Tsar. I have used most of the material myself and I find it very well suited for the lower levels of my campaign.


@Thedmstrikes - I have thought about that too. I guess the reason I was leaning towards LCoB was because if I got in on the KS, maybe I got more of the goodies at the lower price/bonus stretch goals?

I am not familiar with any of these adventures from my 3.X days, so I was going to try and make an educated guess as to which one would work best for my group. Other than Rappan Athuk, this is all new to me.


I know the feeling about feeling overwhelmed! I have games now that will take another year or two to run now! Tsar, RA, Razor Coast, and Freeport. I can only run so many games:) At least I will have options!


I'm following Alexander Kilcoyne's Slumbering Tsar Discussion and they recently were passing around a very nice hand-drawn map with Tsar on it for anyone who is interested inbox me your email, I'll pass it on. Tsar is at the lower portion and I wasn't able to locate Rappan Athuk, I'm not really sure where it would be besides eastward somewhere?

Edit: If it's not copyrighted I'm sure we can find a hosting service with a semi-permanent link.


There's a nice regional map linked in update #5 on the Barakus kick starter page. I think its by Greg Vaughn and is pretty good for being hand drawn. Shows Tsar in relation to Stoneheart Valley and Bard's Gate. Rappan Athuk is not shown but is assumed to be further south IIRC.


Here's the Barakus Kick Starter look under the update section for the map. I didn't want to direct link it since that seems cheesy.


Just keeping my totals up to date.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Game 31 XP
Roster: +5,870

Liz 209,500/220k Level 11
Jody 196,845/220k Level 11
Ryan 185,445/220k Level 11
Hinkel 166,270/220k Level 11
James 162,845/220k Level 11
Brittney 153,545/155k Level 10

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Here's a good question, what are people doing to keep Tsar from becoming static? Random encounters do a lot for that and I supposed its going to be specific to a few NPC's. I expect my players to go after the Cobbler and be looking for the "Harrowed Lanes" after their Commune last game.

Building the Hillfort: My players have only stuck their toes in, but should be going back next game after they fix the druids 2 Negative Levels from getting reincarnated. Additionally, just to keep him in the story I'll probably have Argos and his men offer to man the Hillfort as well as have the Henchmen of the Tiefling go there as well. Other than Wall of Stone are there any other spells, crafts, etc. I might recommend to my players? They already used Stoneshape to fix one of the buildings, I'm looking for things to ease this along.


RA should be just to the south. 900 miles from the camp to Bard's Gate, whew!


James B. Cline wrote:


Here's a good question, what are people doing to keep Tsar from becoming static? Random encounters do a lot for that and I supposed its going to be specific to a few NPC's.

Basically this, it will have to depend on the what the PC's do

EDIT: Reading most of the NPCS, it seems like many of them were content to maintain the status quo, being that they are intensely self interested. That actually makes a lot of sense to me, considering how most of them are CE/NE. With orcus not pushing them, they just fall back into being hedonists


They may in general be content with the status quo, but if the players have shown they are dangerous I see no reason that the powers at be would be little compunction about wiping them out swiftly. The larger the threat grows,the more organized their resistance should be. I don't see them just sitting around waiting for the PCs to topple them off their perches so to speak. They have resources, and should used them. For instance several of the parties have knocked off General Myrac. I would think the rest of the leadership will take notice and action.


Trapazoids Greg? Makes it hell trying to even draw out level two of Kirash Durgath much less try and use Dwarven Forge!


Would they notice? And would they care? I forget if Myrac leaves his tower

I think most of these guys hate each other, and for a lot of them it seems like without an orcus like power behind them they would never work together, AND they are supremely arrogant.

I think something that is more likely is some sort of ambush to try and kill two threats at once, or even trying to use the pcs in their favor. I can see some specific NPCs banding together but not all of them


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My players talk a lot over emails during the off days and one of them just sent me this email. I'd like other DM's inputs about neat things I can do with it.

Player of the Tiefling, Ryan.
"Brandon, players, what do you think about this idea?

We fortify our hill fort and send in my army to secure it and improve it with buildings, walls, etc. They would need a safe place from bone and lightning storms. Lt. Dan can consecrate the grounds everyday and produce food and water.

Because supplies will still be need for building and other things they will need to make frequent supply trips to and from camp. I propose we use the PCs that have stop showing up be used as NPCs that help secure the caravan and even the fort? Those NPCs would be: George's cleric, J!#zella, Travis's character and that barbarian that stopped showing up. Plus, of course, Lt. Dan. This should be a strong enough force to handle random encounters so the normal soldiers don't get turned into chunky salsa.

Sound feasible? It may help us avoid having to always use teleport. Also, a secure fort will allow us to avoid random encounters at night that take up game time away from Tsar."

Edit: Would plant growth work in the Desolation? I know the Druids need the special sap/stuff from the Carnivorous Tree.

I found this really cool spell Grove of Respite and I'm thinking about letting them use it if they can get some of the sap from the Reclaimers.


Are you looking for ideas to help cultivate this idea into a real PC haven...or are you looking to put the hammer down and crush their spirits? I do love when my PC's actually strategize together and try to create stuff, so maybe it's worth giving them some help.

Plant growth requires existing brush or grass, etc, to work. If there is thistle and bushes and stuff around the fort, I'd say yes it would work. It'd be brown and ugly, but it would work. If it is just fine, granualted bone dust, then no.


I'm looking for ideas to help them build a semi-safe point, but at the same time there needs to be some trade off. For instance, if they want to have Grove of Respite, I'm fine with it even casting permanency on it, but they need to negotiate with the druids in Sanctuary for some of their serum. This would be a great way for me to reintroduce the Ygritte character, one of Skeribar's Rangers they met a long time ago, since she's allied with them now.

I told them OOC that they might be able to cast it permanently if they pay the 10,000 gp and talk to the druids to find out how.

Edit: I've been pretty hard on them with the random encounters and nerfing teleport, but I like where this is going. Long term they are going to need a place fairly close to Tsar so they can make trips there.


It seems to me like they are getting tired of beating up on mooks and want to fight the real bad guys


Maybe, but my players also like building things. In Kingmaker they did a lot of micro managing their own projects. Hinkel tried to recreate the Night Watch and Wall from Game of Thrones. Daisy tried to become the goddess of a local primitive tribe. Ryan as king tried to have a horde of barbarian children, etc. In Rise of the Runelords they all had their own decorated homes and a community castle they had built on some land they had cleared and purchased. They spent a long time drawing up some plans for a bridge in Sandpoint.

They are pretty much done with the Desolation, but I'm not going to make it a safe zone and just go easy on them, this is supposed to be one of those bloody knuckles adventures. I'm trying to give them a way to explore Tsar, but not have them doing the 1 fight a day thing that ruins games for me, which means they've got to stay on foot (mostly). If they want to get to the bad guys they've got to get into the city, that's where the party is at.


Yeah, sounds like you have a small side mission there with the druids. Weren't most them killed by a Sorceror and Pally after a midnight peddler debacle? Good luck with that!

The Grove of Respite spell is pretty cool though.

Aside from the nature aspect, I would think a Hallow with a strategic spell tied to it would be critical.


Yep, the druids were almost all annihilated by Rogal the Paladin and the NPC sorceress, but at least one survived and Reincarnated the others, I'm sure they've had time to remove the negative levels. The carnivorous tree is still up and munching as well as all of Skeribar's Rangers. I'd be glad to see it resurface even if its under level.

I treated it like this. Rogal was trying to convince her the powers of good were strong enough to destroy the evil in Tsar. She was trying to convince him that the druids had already proved they could win by creating Sanctuary. They developed a short lived romance that was very conflicted. He got killed and it reaffirmed her faith in the Reclaimers, so now she's running the show. I think this would be an awesome opportunity to have some conflicting RP with the party and the Druids, each side has a valid viewpoint.

I'm really hoping they go with the Grove spell, I just think it would be cool, but bare minimum if they want a fort Hallow is their foundation.


@ brvheart

If Kirash Dirgaut is cleared out I could see one of the groups from G5 moving in. Most likely the hobgoblins or the Ogres. They might even send out invites to kin. How they will figure out that it is empty is another question.

The Blood Mage is the NPC that I would consider the most likely to move against the party. Although I would expect him to do it through intermediaries. After him I'd consider the Vrocks and the Harpies. Beyond the Stalker I don't see too many possibilities for alliance with the loners or the lesser denizens as they seem too squabble prone and focused on their immediate areas.

PS - just remembered the Gnolls. They don't seem very alliance friendly but I could certainly see them moving into Kirah Dirgaut.

Who were you thinking would group together?


Like I said, they don't necessarily have to ally to be an issue, but all of the above can cause problems. The Blood Mage, Vrocks and Harpies are now all aware of the PCs presence in my game and have been harassing them. Needless to say they don't fly much in the city! I just don't see the Blood Mage as one to sit back and wait to be picked off.

After problems with Skeribar's rangers and the Reclaimers my players are none too keen on having much to do with a druid or ranger at this point. They would rather burn the grove down than anything else. They reminded me of the evil druids from Druids of Doom in 3E days! A carnivorous tree? A lot of my players have dealt with those type of druids in the past and are none too keen on them.

Although my players are also using the hill fort as a base of operations, I don't see them vesting too much into it. They are more into clearing out Tsar than setting up keeps although one of the former PCs is running the inn at the camp.


I had another quick question about the use of iron bits and how you guys handle them. It seems pretty straightforward for merchants selling in the Camp to charge the same number of bits as gold coins (i.e. that 2,000 gold dagger costs 2,000 bits, or that 1 gold bottle of wine costs 1 bit instead), but how does that work for merchants buying from the PCs? Thinking of that same 2,000 gold/bits dagger, if the merchant bought it for 1,000 bits, then the PCs could just go and change that out for 2,000 gold, the real cost of the item. I get that the bits are supposed to be price gouging to keep the Camp afloat economically, but it seems to get really strange when the buying and selling of high level items comes into play (not that the base economy could handle that, but there's always trading items for in-store credit from the merchants). What do you guys do?


GP Limit for transactions in the Camp is 200 gp. I see what you are saying though. Just remember that most of the prices in the Camp are higher than average, but pc's are still only going to get 50% of an item's value as normal.

Shouldn't be too big of a deal though and only if they are cashing out from the Camp. Plus you could always have the Usurer only give them 1 gp back for every 1 bit, which is what I would do. I think its probably a bit of an oversight. Also thus far my players have never cashed out. I did however allow them to sell over the GP limit straight to the Usurer, but he only gives them Credit, not hard cash. That allows him to modify and make items like it says he will, without messing up the local economy. Ie. They can't sell him a +2 weapon and turn around and use the money with Father Death.


Thanks for the input! Yeah I think you're right about it being a non-issue as long as they aren't cashing out, but I'm just trying to think up solutions to potential problems as a couple of my players will probably be inclined to do the math and put me on the spot at some point. I already messed around with how I was going to do bits concerning the local rate by changing it from a straight 1:1 to a 2:1 that works both ways (so those bits aren't suddenly worth half as much to those that settle down; the locals are supposed to be supportive of the bit standard after all and being screwed that way would be counter to that), so was trying to nail down other specifics... who would have thought that in a gigantic book like Slumbering Tsar the single paragraph on economics would trouble me the most? :p

As it will most likely come down to credit bartering as you mentioned due to the gold piece limit, maybe I should just keep credit on the gold standard and just gouge prices of high value commissioned items by say 10-25%. That seems like it would simplify it nicely.


Well here's my best example of the price gouging.

It takes 5 gold to buy 1 bit. It takes 5 bits to stay a night at the Inn, which is roughly 25 gold a night. Even the best inns typically only charge 5 gold per night. The lower the value the bigger the gouging because the Camp is all about supply meeting demand, what are they going to do walk 300 miles to get a climber's kit? Nope, they can just pay ridiculous mark up.

I treat it like the true locals have some kind of historic deal with the Usurer and probably do get that 2 gp for 1 bit, but why would they ever cash out? Also I'd take a look at Company Stores as a good example of what's going on, basically everyone works for the Usurer and they are likely all in debt to him.

Another more harsh way to settle the problem you were having is to allow the PC's to sell those big items, like +1 weapon at half then converted to local money so 1,000 gp divided by 5, so 200 bits. I'd highly suggest using my teleport nerf if you want to keep the economy working properly for everyone except the most powerful adventurers. You will also end up with the PC's probably making caravan contracts, which is pretty fun to rp out.

Food for thought Company Towns


You kind of have to judge your players tolerance for it though. My players were ok with paying 25 gp for a night at the inn for one night or 5 gp for an ale, but they balked at paying 500% markup on items so I kept it at 20% over book. I do keep them rather poor as compared to WBL at least to start so it balances out. I had one player quit over not being able to buy items for his character as he missed the sessions when they were at Bard's Gate.


Here's something my players have come up with, [edits]:

FIREBASE of the DAMNED [Crossed out]

FORTRESS HOLY

BUIDLING PLANS:

1. Repair the buildings for shelter from weather. 10x25 and 15x30

2. Repair wall defenses.

3. Build 3 new buildings where the catapults are. 20x40 (x3)

4. The middle new building will be fortified and will be the Sanctuary of Shelyn where there will be an altar and the area Concencrated everyday. This can double as the PCs sleeping quaters.

GARRISON: The Holy Army of Sheyln
Leader: Holy Templar Ataulf Tar'tatch the Scourge of the Unliving (PC)

1 Crusader Danforth the Hammer of Shelyn, CO (cleric 8th)
1 Seargent Major, XO (Fighter 3rd)
2 Seargents (Fighter 2nd)
20 Soldiers (Fighter 1st)

Arms: I will have to look at my notes and buy more but everyone is going to eventually have:

crossbows, polearms, scale mail, sheilds, one handed weapons

SUPPLIES:

Food and Water, Lt. Dan will cast produce food & water twice per day.

A food & water stockpile will be kept under lock and key for emergencies.

Several wagons and draft animals.

Supply route, run by the NPCs that have left the game but continue on serving the mission in the absence of their players.


Looks like a nice big juicy target for the couple of dragons that remain in Tsar to me:) To say nothing of the Vrocks or the Harpies.


I tend to leave NPC's alone (also horses), but if the owning character dies permanently I will take freely rain down fire and destruction on the NPC's. This goes right along with my in game agreement that when "respected" people die you bury their belongings with them. Ie. Don't loot dead adventurers that you know, like your party. I figured there needed to be some reasoning behind leaving that +3 Greatsword behind.

Plus I think it will add a lot to the game as far as Plots the Camp is pretty well spent at this point. Except for "Simon the Vampire", who they still think is undead and the Usurer. I'll probably introduce some NPC's like clerics of Thyr or Muir to reinforce the original hooks and to drop more rumors about Tsar.

I'm also HIGHLY considering converting at least one pack of Gnolls or hobgoblins into "talking" npcs rather than a combat group or at least one or two individuals. I need someone in the city to give rumors to the players.


brvheart wrote:
I had one player quit over not being able to buy items for his character as he missed the sessions when they were at Bard's Gate.

Too be fair, not allowing him to shop because he wasn't at the game is pretty lame


We are talking about creating magical items, not getting supplies. He missed quite a few sessions, not just that one. I offered to let him buy from the Usurer also. The party created their own and were only at Bard's Gate for as long as it took to create the items. He only had a few thousand GP at the time anyway.

@James Everyone writes out a will as to what they want done with their gear. Most donate it to the party. There is a will in RA and I generally use that one so it is not as if they are looting dead members of their party.


I've been destroying loot when a reasonable chance arrives.

The first time it occurred was when a PC with a bag of holding and all of the loot from a recently killed PC was swallowed by Malerix (The PC took about 190 damage stomach damage before Malerix was killed.)

The second time was during our last game where the PC's corpse was flame struck (or is it striked?) fireballed and hit with a cone of cold. The PC had a lot of soft wonderous items that didn't fair too well.

@ James,

I'd hit the camp with a couple of random encounters, or let the party know that they'd been repulsed. The wandering monster table from the dead fields is pretty nasty.

If one of your clerics is of the appropriate alignment a lesser planar ally might be gifted to them to emphasize the good vs evil and add some more parrallels to the army of light.

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This is an awesome thread with some wonderful comments and suggestions. My group just started Slumbering Tsar and it was a blast. We use core and APG rules only (with a few exceptions for archtypes and weapons from the other books). Raise dead and resurrection spells are unavailable to PCs, as are item creation feats besides potions, scrolls, and wands (the same goes for buying magical gear - there are no magic marts). I've forewarned everyone about the high death count of ST, so they have all brought back-ups. The starting lineup is a half orc alchemist, a human paladin, a half elf rogue, an elven cleric, and a dwarven monk.

The game started with the party arriving in The Camp, where they were promptly attacked by a crazed Gurg. He roared at the party upon seeing them (intimidating everyone but the paladin) before closing into melee, using Cleave to good effect. He dropped two PCs below zero before they took him down, but instead of killing him they bound him with heavy ropes and chains then healed him up to 1 or 2 hp. With some RP and excellent Diplomacy checks they changed his attitude to indifferent and hired him as a guide / mercenary. Now the paladin is actively trying to convert Gurg to the cause of Saranrae, I'll give this some time to see how this develops but I like the interesting turn of events here. Until then, Gurg will do the job he's been paid for but, since he's chaotic evil, I might make him unpredictable when he rages and attack anyone near him. I'm also trying to figure out how this will affect the situation in The Camp with Clantock. Thoughts or suggestions?

After that the party explored some of The Camp. They met Bjorc, Father Death and the Usurer as well as picked up numerous rumors (I'm very liberal with them), before moving on to the Bender Brothers. This played out pretty much as written. There was some RP with the gnomes at dinner (the alchemist checked his meal for poison to no avail) before going to bed. Three PCs got sick and I rolled randomly to determine who woke up first, which ended up being the cleric. He banged on his companions' doors as he raced to the privy, where he failed his Perception check to notice Jebli lurking behind the illusory wall, then failed his Fortitude save against Jebli's assassination attempt three rounds later. One dead cleric, first casualty of the campaign.

Meanwhile, the other brothers sprung their trap. Because the party had been roused by the cleric, none were caught sleeping but were unarmored and unbuffed. The ensuing battle was difficult, especially with Joshiah's blur/mirror image combo, but the party defeated them with no further deaths. This is where we ended the first session.


@Geo Fix - I think I'm going to blend the Planar ally with the Cleric of Thyr and Muir from out of town. I'll let ya'll know how it goes tonight, might not come up yet though.

@Luz - Depending on how hard you enforce the encounter rules and how powerful your players are the dead characters stack might be quite high. My players love the challenge and banter quite a bit about who's going to die next.

I seem to remember a play by post game somewhere where Gurg was saved. Although the pcs in that game were very kind to him he was still highly aggressive and independent, I think he ended up going back out into the Desolation for some revenge and told the PC's they could come or "shove it". I'd think Clantock would take the opportunity to try and provoke him and kill him if possible, especially knowing he has a magic water decanter plus right now he's weak. He might even send in one or two of his guys to hit him while he's down. That's his direct competition after all. I'd definitely treat any Diplomacy rolls with Gurg as temporary at best, he's not exactly a scholar, but he's definitely one of the more reliable mercenaries in the Camp. I'd also make it harder (+5 to 10) to convince Gurg that "good" was a winning team to be on, obviously in the Desolation "evil won".

I'd definitely go liberal with the rumors, remember to occasionally seed in some Tsar rumors as well. Later in the book there are Citadel rumors as well, but I'd leave those for the rare denizens of Tsar and negotiations and RP in the city, as rare as it will be.

Where you are at I'd be quick to introduce Griswald, creepy and menacing looking as he is, he's benign. I thought the camp needed some extra npcs, a few pages back I posted some, let me know how it turns out if you use them. Just make sure that if you players take the bait from Sammar that they drift into the Boiling Lands just enough to at least glimpse the Last Outpost, otherwise they won't have much reason to go into the Boiling Lands (IMO).

The Benders are nasty, but between them and Gurg if your players can take that on the chin they should be fine. Don't forget the Peddler, its easy to skip over him. The Dweller seemed to be my players favorite NPC besides the Usurer. Anyways let me know, I'll post that link about Gurg if I can find it.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

James B. Cline wrote:
@Luz - Depending on how hard you enforce the encounter rules and how powerful your players are the dead characters stack might be quite high. My players love the challenge and banter quite a bit about who's going to die next.

Yeah, that pretty well sums up our mindset with this. We've done some Paizo APs in the past where PC death means a lot more and has more impact, I pushed to play ST to get away from all that.

James B. Cline wrote:
I seem to remember a play by post game somewhere where Gurg was saved. Although the PCs in that game were very kind to him he was still highly aggressive and independent, I think he ended up going back out into the Desolation for some revenge and told the PC's they could come or "shove it". I'd think Clantock would take the opportunity to try and provoke him and kill him if possible, especially knowing he has a magic water decanter plus right now he's weak. He might even send in one or two of his guys to hit him while he's down. That's his direct competition after all. I'd definitely treat any Diplomacy rolls with Gurg as temporary at best, he's not exactly a scholar, but he's definitely one of the more reliable mercenaries in the Camp. I'd also make it harder (+5 to 10) to convince Gurg that "good" was a winning team to be on, obviously in the Desolation "evil won".

Thanks, that's an excellent suggestion. I wanted to give the players some sort of reward for roleplaying with Gurg (otherwise it gives them no incentive to do anything but kill everything in their path); a temporary and unpredictable ally should fit the bill. Clantock and his men should serve to complicate things further. And I'd be interested in that post if you can track it down.

James B. Cline wrote:
Where you are at I'd be quick to introduce Griswald, creepy and menacing looking as he is, he's benign. I thought the camp needed some extra npcs, a few pages back I posted some, let me know how it turns out if you use them. Just make sure that if you players take the bait from Sammar that they drift into the Boiling Lands just enough to at least glimpse the Last Outpost, otherwise they won't have much reason to go into the Boiling Lands (IMO).

Good point. I had planned on using your idea of the PCs seeing the dragon bones in the distance once they head out into the Desolation, I'll do the same in the Boiling Lands. Also, the party actually did see Griswald but decided to avoid him. He creeped them out without saying a word.

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