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

Advice and Rules Questions

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Game 33 Continued...

Assault on the Towers
Thinking quickly the Magus and Sorcerer both used Dimension Door to take them up the cliff (between H8 and H12) along with the rest of the party, but not directly towards the archer. This bought them a few rounds as the Stalker moved for a new position and searched for them (he moved to H8.) They moved quickly to the courtyard of the Crooked Tower (H12-1.) They saw the statue and gave the building a quick glance between the open wooden door (H12-2) and the uncovered stairwell wrapping the building they rushed to the open door. The golem activated and charged the rear of the party smashing into the druid. The cleric moved in the way fighting defensively and the party surrounded it only chipping away at it. The druid summoned a trio of stone giants who grappled the golem and eventually ran over the cliff edge with it destroying them all. Meanwhile the cleric was shot again and the party spotted the firing location at the top of the ruined towers. The sorcerer was invisible by this time and heavily contemplated throwing a spell back at the assassin, he decided not to (but it was a pretty tense moment). They ran into the stable and slammed the doors shut before hardly looking around and were finally surprised at the majestic horse. The tiefling assumed deception, though no one saw through the multiple illusion. The horse seemed good natured and though a speak with animals spell failed, it seemed to be intelligent enough to slightly understand them. After trying to ask it some questions (and some Mr. Edd jokes) the party moved on, hoping the door in the back led to the inner tower. The tiefling carefully opened the door (H12-3) after noticing the scurrying and squeaking from the other side. The rats weren't faster than the sorcerer and an overkill fireball spell, which as a side effect killed the troll they saw rise up. They weren't as much concerned that the rats would hurt them as the horse.

When Things Go Terribly Wrong
The party decided they had to get out of the dead end before the assassin pulled another trick on them so the Sorcerer quickly cast invisibility on them all. The invisible tiefling opened the door and was narrowly missed by an arrow that flew through the crack (just for tension). Though they were invisible they raced around the Tower to the stairs and the guardhouse (H12-4) with the tiefling leading. He commanded them to stop on the stairs while he peeked into the guardhouse, but he refused to push the door open so he only smelled fresh food and a hot fire. Thinking it a trap he instead headed further up the stairs and triggered the portcullis trap, which didn't pin him to the wall, but did separate him from the party. Precious spell time was being wasted while they discussed how to get out of the situation and the druid ended up Stone Shaping the wall to create a narrow (small) path so that the party could pass by. When she cast the spell on the tower the party could see the remains of old spell work fizzling like firecrackers on the stone surface (added for effect, trying to give them small hints). As they proceeded up the druid cast a pair of rats from a summon (dire I believe) and sent them ahead to clear the way. Finding no other trapped steps the party was standing outside of the exquisite doors at (H12-6). I gave them the description and the sorcerer wanted a closer examination and when he (asked to roll a knowledge check) did the symbol of fear coursed throughout the party. Everyone but the invisible Magus and Sorcerer were effected, this was determined by the screaming voice of the Magus being heard descending the cliff as she leaped off. Fortunately for the sorcerer he tried to rush past the tiefling who grabbed him when he tried to (bull rush). Unfortunately, when the tiefling grabbed the now visible sorcerer they both became visible to the dread ravens above who cast a grease spell at their feet. By this time the druid had shifted to an air elemental and was flying and trying to understand what she was hearing but not seeing. The half-elf had drank a potion of fly to try and deal with the ravens. The tiefling was doing a fair job of maintaining his hold on the panicked sorcerer. The cleric drank a potion as well and started his decent to help the Magus whom he recognized with his status spell had fallen. The Magus smashed into the ruins below the Crooked tower (G5. The Cliff Warrens) and landed close enough to a patrolling group of harpies to gain their attention (random Encounter, she was screaming after all). Upon hitting the ground the Magus was gravely injured and the noise she was making (as panicked) was loud enough for the harpies to locate her and start attacking her, she became visible when they tried to grab her and she fought back. Meanwhile the half-elf and druid were fighting and summoning a few creatures to deal with the ravens, and slowly withdrawing down the cliff to join the Magus. The tiefling released the sorcerer to drink a potion of fly, the sorcerer tried to rush past him and was grappled again. The invisible druid with her impressive fly speed was still the first to reach the Magus and she cast flamestrike on one of the Harpies after seeing their leader shoot the Magus in the head, killing her. The cleric joined next in time to cast breath of life on her, while invisible. Over the next two rounds the rest of the party joined just in time to see all three injured harpies retreating, but not before the half-elf nearly chopped the leader in half. Some quick and panicked talk of retreat is governed by the tiefling who pushes the party not to retreat.

That Damn Door
The party with little time remaining on their fly potions went back up the cliff to the stairs (H12-6). They spent several minutes sending summoned earth elementals to try and open the door. That failing they sent one through the tower's walls, it reported the strange statues. It was sent further in and did not return (courtesy of the Dire Worgs, H12-8.) Frustrated the sorcerer cast knock on the door (and rolled poorly) and then the druid cast Soften Earth and Stone on the wall, which made it simple for her next summon (a pony?) to bash down the clay-like exterior. With a few rounds remaining on the pony she had it stamp and swipe at the statues and doors of the foyer (H12-7) with no ill effects.

Game Ends.

Fatality: Gnome Magus 11
Fatalities to date: 20

Note: I was giving the druid some coaching on what she could do with her spells, she's a new player. For instance I told them they could use soften earth and stone on the stairwell trap and make a simple strength check to pull it out of the wall and throw it down the cliff. I assumed the Stalker would not interfere too much once they were at Belishan's Tower, plus I was trying to find a good time and place to drop King Kroma back in. I haven't read ahead yet, but my players were keeping a secret from me about why they were going to the tower. I'm sure it was one of the various rumors. In game time they are highly concerned about going over their 8 hour workday and having to fight at night, which is a good concern. I'm hoping they start making really good progress soon, especially with Fort Holy to fall back onto, fairly earned IMO. The big note from this game was that the Magus, who had up to game 33 never suffered a death finally had one, short as it was.


Did you leave out the doors' Con drain from the Dread Wraith on purpose? It sounds like they were in pretty deep with the multilple opponents.

@Geo Fix - Our new druid player was making some logical connections from my "use your summons, not your characters" statement. I believe after their Symbol of Fear incident she tried to get an earth elemental to open the door, it rumbled in pain, and they decided it was probably trapped somehow. Luckily they didn't have it keep attacking. Which leads to a question. They were having a tough time during the session, but it was meant to be going after Belishan. I believe he is known as the most powerful wizard in Tsar.

Negative Levels and Summons - Can a summoned creature killed by negative energy rise as an undead? For instance, an earth elemental gets his levels or constitution drained by a wraith, does it raise when it dies? My thought was no.

About the Golem at H12-1, I wasn't going easy on my players it was down in the single digits and my players told me their plan so I figured it would be more dramatic.

It is my understanding that summoned creatures "go away" (in whatever thematical sequence you feel like portraying) when they are "killed". As such, they are no longer present to rise as undead. If I also remember my mechanics correctly, being reduced to 0 in any of the six core stats is equal to being dead.

If you want to be truly evil, drain and raise the dead of an animal friend or familiar. When a character that has one of those has to go through putting the animal/familiar down again, do they suffer the penalties once more?

Liberty's Edge

I would say no, as the creature is no longer directly connected to them. It would certainly be evil though.

Just keeping up with my totals. Maybe this will help some people.

+Game 32 – Roster +5205 XP
CR6 – RP with strangers – 400, CR7 – 2 babau – 535, CR6 – Stirges – 400, CR13 Custodians - 4270

+Game 33 – Roster +4530 XP, Ryan +1000 XP (Bribe)
Golem CR11 – 2130, Harpies CR11 ½ -1065, Rats CR6 – 400, Doors of Dolor CR 7 and CR5 – 935

Liz +4530 = 214,030/220k Level 11

Jody +9735 = 206,580/220k Level 11

Ryan +4530 +1000 = 190,975/220k Level 11

Hinkel +9735 = 179,005/220k Level 11

James +9735 = 172,580/220k Level 11

LEVEL 11! Brittney +9735 = 163,280/220k Level 11

Love the replay of the attack on the tower! I was out of town for the holidays so gaming resumes here this weekend.

Liberty's Edge

I've made a note to them about the usefulness of paladins, but since we are all playong multiclassed paladins in another game rin by the cleric's player, I doubt we'll see one for a while.

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Session 2 Summary

Cast: Elf alchemist/master chymist; dwarf monk; elf cleric; human paladin; elf rogue; half orc barbarian

An Eventful Evening

After dealing with the Bender brothers and the death of their cleric, the party secured the inn to rest and recoup. But their first night at The Camp was not quite over as the Midnight Peddler paid them a visit. Having heard a rumor about the peddler earlier in the day, the party was eager to see who or what he was. Their first encounter with him (it) went well, they paid for the codfish and received his first warning. The rogue did some stealthing while the group haggled with the peddler and entertained the idea of stealing from his cart, but the eeriness and mystery of the peddler's nature made him think twice and let it be.

The following day was spent around town interacting with some of the locals, hiring a caretaker for the inn, and equipping for the trip to the Desolation. During this time a caravan briefly stopped at the Camp where the deceased cleric's partner (and lover) arrived looking for his mate. He was a fellow cleric of Desna who joined the party after discovering his lover's fate, taking an instant dislike to Griswald when the undertaker came to collect the bodies and refused him the cleric's corpse. Griswald departed without incident, but claimed the Benders' corpses. (The remaining members of the caravan left for the Desolation, carrying members of the party that the PCs may eventually discover at area A1 of the Ashen Waste). Later, the grisly remains of Gurg was discovered on the outskirts of the Camp (in the previous session the party had made an uneasy truce with the hill giant after defeating him in combat), murdered by Clantock and his crew. I dropped the rumor of Clantock and Gurg's rivalry, but the players didn't seem overly interested in solving the murder of a chaotic evil hill giant and wanted to begin their trek into the Desolation. They enlisted one of Skeribar's rangers as a guide, who has dropped a few subtle suggestions that they can find refuge at A5, but the group's Sense Motive checks were enough to be suspicious of it (ugh...I hate dice rolls that replace role play).

A Feast of Fumbles

Two hours into their journey, the party comes across a small plateau that has broken old weapons, armor, helmets, etc. scattered across it, as though the remains of some long ago battle but no signs whatsoever of any fallen soldiers. Upon investigation, the scattered weapons are swooped up in a whirling, deadly vortex - the party has stumbled upon a searing wind random encounter. I was glad I rolled this because I've never run one before and wanted to try it out. Initially, the creature's AC was extremely difficult for the party to deal with and it spent the first few rounds wailing on everyone while taking very little damage. About three rounds in, I rolled a series of terrible rolls including three fumbles during its full attack. We use the fumble and crit decks, and I pulled one card that caused it to be flat-footed for a few rounds and another that blinded itself for a few rounds (the third card was fatigue and didn't apply). All of a sudden it was a lot easier to hit and the party went to town on it. Still, they didn't kill it during its blind/flat-footed rounds and it managed to put up a hell of a fight, including a critical hit to the barbarian while blinded. With the help of some summoned lantern archons (with range touch attacks that chew through any damage reduction) the party finally killed the thing. Fortunately for them, the extended battle did not attract more wandering monsters, as they were pretty beat up. Later on in the day, the party encountered a small pack of wandering ghoul wolves which they dealt with easily. By nightfall, they were halfway to A4 The Tomb of the Sleeping Knight (their destination) and set up camp. A single babau demon harassed the paladin / barbarian night watch, stealthing in for a sneak attack, but quickly teleported away after a couple of smite evil attacks and pounding from the barbarian. I will probably use the babau to stalk the party and use guerilla hit-and-run strikes while the party is engaged with other enemies. By early morning, an acid rain storm hit but the group's canvas tents held up and kept them sheltered. They should reach the tomb by nightfall tomorrow....

End of session.

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Love how this thread has taken on a life of it's own. I'm getting a lot of ideas for when I finally get to run this beast. Keep it coming all...

So after a two week hiatus, Session 2

-Beltin (Aasimar Dirge Bard/Cleric 7)
-Bol (Tiefling Vivisectionist Rage Chemist/Barbarian 7)
-Phil (player kept his sheet again so his character gets to keep his name; Oread Ranger/Empyreal Sorc 7)
-Glira Cross ( Human Gunslinger/Magus 7) - Absent Player
NEW - Bradley Weatherby (Dervish Dancer/Knife Master Rogue 7). The replacement for the deceased Desert Wind. He's a "problem solver" for a trade consortium in the south. One of their members skipped town with a sizable amount of gold and ran north, and now BW is looking to collect. Word is that his quarry who is using the pseudonym "Rupert Smitty" was attempting to join the Bard's Gate caravan to reach the city of Parsantium in the north. BW set off on his own after the caravan before the party arrived and killed Gurg, but he underestimated the dangers of the Desolation and got lost and sidetracked. He ended up in the Boiling Lands before he met a couple of Skeribar's rangers who found his trail and were planning on taking him to the Redeemers for a sacrifice.

The session started with the main party reaching the crossroads as night was falling on Day 2 of the adventure and it seemed a good place to camp. Meanwhile BW and his new ranger pals were approaching the crossroads from the Boiling Lands and met them. BW talked with the party and learned they were looking a supposedly destroyed caravan, the one that Rupert Smitty was supposed to be a part of. BW explained why he was there and asked to join in their search, much to the chagrin of the three rangers. BW noticed their annoyance and asked what the issue was, but the rangers replied it was fine and they were leaving. BW tried to pay them a small token amount, but they told him they were more expensive than that but were content to say he owed them for now. They cut off road toward the Dead Lands and were soon lost in the night. BW told the party about how those guys were creepy and he didn't trust them and the party bonded before heading to bed. That night the only possibly dangerous encounter was some Acid Rain which Phil spotted miles off, so adequate shelter was prepared well in advance.

Side Note about the Rangers and future DM plans:
As a side note, the Rangers were planning on taking BW to the Redeemers, but with him joining up with so many heavily armed adventurers they reconsidered; Skeribar and the other 4 rangers and the Druids would be needed to get them down guaranteed, and they knew Skeribar was off investigating with the other 4 on Redeemer business east of the Desolation. Skeribar is investigating a Druid enemy of the Redeemers that I plan on introducing later. He's going to be a Desert Druid who acts as the alpha male for a Xenopterid nest; he has a grudge against the churches of Muir/Thyr as he was a survivor of one of their purges against the "savages" and instead of reclaiming the Desolation he is of the belief that it should grow encompass the South and destroy all sentient life that exists only to defile nature. Only then can it be redeemed. Needless to say the other Druids in the Ashen Wastes and Skeribar's Rangers don't see eye to eye with him. Eventually he and his "children" are going to move into the destroyed Crusader camp east of the Camp and become an active threat. I wonder if the PCs will be willing to negotiate with him.

BW took first watch and at around midnight things got weird. He felt a surge in the area, almost like static electricity and he was sure something was about to happen, but then it suddenly stopped. Instead he heard a squeaky cart from the North and encountered the Midnight Peddler; the Dweller at the Crossroads was about to manifest when the Peddler intervened. Next time they stop there they will meet him and get their Corrupt-a-Wish. BW didn't wake anyone, but bought the fish. He was told that the man he sought was in the Rift and that he would face many dangers he was not ready to face there. And then the Peddler wheeled away South. Confused and a bit troubled, BW threw away the fish carried out his watch. A bit later in the night a Bonestorm happened, but it was a weaker one and was not much of a threat because shelter had already been prepared. Next morning BW tells about the strange fishmonger who he assumed was some sort of Daemon. The party wonders if they had been sold a Red Herring, but as BW threw it away and the bone storm after, they had no way to check.

Dawn of day 3, party heads north along the road and Beltin catches first sight of the Chaos Rift from his airborne mount. They proceed for a few hours before eventually realizing something is flying toward them from the North. Eventually they realize it is a Chimera and they get ready for it to finish its approach. As they are waiting on the road, they suddenly hear movement and growling coming toward them from a dune on the side of the Chaos Ride; 9 Ghoul Wolves! The party has time to get ready for the dual onslaught and the wolves get mostly cut down before they can do anything. Three survive and rip into Bol, tripping him and dealing decent damage, but fortunately for him he rolls his fort way in the 20s for each check against paralysis. The Ghoul Wolves get finished without fanfare and now the Chimera is nearly upon them... and Beltin's undead archer horde, buffed with Haste and Bard Song, rip it nearly to pieces. With its final, and only act, the Chimera flies toward the largest cluster of enemies, all the undead and an invisible BW, and uses his cone of cold breathe weapon... which the undead are immune to and BW Evasions out of. The Chimera then gets killed, partially eaten raw by Bol, and then reanimated to join Beltin's growing menagerie. And the walk north continues.

Eventually the party comes to a gap in the road a few hundred feet across, but luckily it appears that though some old wooden structure was once here, someone recently decided screw that and used magic (several Wall of Stones) to create a more permanent and safer bridge across the gap. Yay magic! The party continues on the bridge and BW decides to look for traps. He sees nothing but what appears to be scorch marks all over the midpoint of the bridge. Beltin sends an undead over. Nothing. Must be safe says the party as they walk across the area, and that is when four heads rise from the hydra clinging to the underside of the bridge. 4 breathe weapons later the undead are in bad shape as is Phil. The hydra manages to kill one of the bloody skeletons and throws it into the Rift, but with his 80 speed mount Beltin saves it for another day. The heads go down quickly and eventually realizing its mistake, the last head pulls back under the bridge as if the enemy can't see you then obviously you are safe. Bol was having none of that and flew down to finish it, and then barely managed to avoid its falling corpse that would have hit him and taken him 300 feet down into the Rift.

Northward again. The party eventually finds the caravan in all its destroyed glory. They find a bit of gold and some bits as well as a dead wizard who still has his spellbook; looks like they found the Wall of Stone caster. They realize he died unprepared, so he must have been targeted first. The party finds no tracks of any kind, which they take to mean flying enemies must have done this. BW realizes Rupert Smitty isn't among the dead and when the party finds a manifest they realize two non-ogres/giants are missing. They also realize from it that valuable trade goods are gone as well as something marked "Magical Goods" on the list. Going with the logic that flying things would have a better time in the Rift than the Boiling Lands, plus the fishmonger told him so, they decide to explore the Rift for the two caravan survivors. This is reinforced when a Speak With Dead with one of the soldiers says that the attack involved fliers who came from the East. They also asked what was in the magical goods box, which the corpse replied "I dunno, magic?" The party decides that the tendril of the Rift that the bridge went over probably would be a good place to enter.

Southward! At the bridge they cut west following the fissure until they reach its genesis in the beginning of the Boiling Lands where the ground is only a bit marshy as opposed to a godforsaken poisoned swamp. It's dusk as they reach the high point of the fissure so they decide to camp above before heading down the next day. It is now the night of Day 3.

There's a bit more to the session, but will finish it later as my fingers are getting cramped.

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@chaoseffect - your segue to bring Bradley Weatherbee (love the name!) into the game is excellent. It really keeps with the sandbox feel of the campaign, I will probably steal this idea when I need to bring in another replacement PC - which will be before long...

Just out of curiosity, does Sammar know of Rupert Smitty? In other words, did Smitty actually join up with the Bard's Gate caravan? Could make for some interesting side plot developments.

BW came up with his entrance himself concerning his hunt so I can't take credit there. I was going to give his mission a bit of a broader scope, with him working as a mole for the consortium in Bard's Gate/The Crusade so that they could step in at just the right moment, either to ruin their efforts for their gain or to steal the fruits of their labor out from under them. Once he accomplishes his mission with the caravan and finds Rupert Smitty, maybe that will be his next objective. He will have earned the necessary street cred with Sammar if/when he returns with the party successful after all.

I was thinking that Smitty actually joined up at the Camp, paying his way on board as a passenger, but Samar didn't know anything about him besides he appeared to be a rich traveler. He was an odd fellow, but he had the gold (paid to Sammar) and he seemed like he could take care of himself, so they figured why not. I'm not sure what kind of actual character I'm going to make Smitty, but I'm thinking he's going to be more dangerous than he sounds and he escaped the ambush of the caravan on his own only to meet the bandit gang based in the Rift who he may or may not have some previous affiliation with: Maybe he was going to them the whole time. I need to get those details worked out. I'm beginning to think I might make him a major player of some kind that BW will find clues and traces of throughout their time in the Desolation, even Tsar itself; always one step ahead of them and with a mysterious agenda.

EDIT: So I was brainstorming and now I'm thinking Smitty might be a major side-antagonist, but one who isn't actively against the PCs unless they push him. He an ancient Daemon worshiper given extremely long life by the powers of Charon and he was only with the consortium as a their top "problem solver" to use their resources to find an item of great value to him and his cause, The Music Box of the Song of Extinction. He knew that the box had lost most of its power, appearing to be little more than a minor magical trinket, but he kept his eyes and ears open for it and he finally heard of it; it seems that it has finally shown up from the extensive collection of a deceased merchant and now it has been sold off again and is to be part of a highly guarded and stocked initial caravan between Bard's Gate and Parsantium. So Smitty left his post and set off to recover the box; he joined up with the caravan in The Camp and has planned to steal the box when it was ambushed, giving him the perfect opportunity. Now he is seeking a way to restore the box to full power and is exploring the areas of power in the Desolation to do so... if all else fails he may pay a visit to his old friend Belishan the Bloodmage and call in a favor. He knows he is being followed so he went to visit his old associate Bartilus, thinking that whoever is on his trail will follow him there and meet their end. From there he plans on visiting the Pillars of Orcus to investigate their use in channeling power into the box.

The consortium doesn't know exactly what he intends to do, but they know he was a dangerous asset of theirs that has gone rogue. They manufactured the story of him being a white collar criminal who stole a large bounty in order to disguise his real, highly illegal work for them and to entice freelancers into hunting and terminating him; what self respecting murderer-for-hire wouldn't pursue an easy mark with a (non-existent) briefcase full of gold?

Friday Session

Players: Silver, Katrina, Achadeus, Female Sorceress, Male Monk/Rogue

Ogre Zombies and Flailing Dreadnaught

The party moved down the hall after clearing out the armory. After opening one door and discovering more Ogre Juju Zombies more moved around through the next room. During the combat Silver and Katrina moved into the map room and the Dreadnaught proceeded to flail hitting Katrina who was already unconscious with a critical. 50 points later, one dead dwarf. This, however, made it vulnerable to Silver's attacks and he brought it down. Meanwhile the monk, sorceress and Achedeus fought the Ogre Zombies in the hallway.

Back to the Camp.

With Katrina dead, they had no means to revive her so they headed back to camp and paid Father Death to cast Gentle Repose on her. They used Overland Flight to fly back to Bard's Gate over the next 10 days.

Bard's Gate and Time to Pay the Tax Man

Arriving in Bard's Gate the party had to add up all the treasure they had acquired since the last time they were there and pay their 10% tithe. It amounted to the neighborhood of 50,000 GP! Needless to say they were more than happy to raise Katrina as long as the party provided the diamond which they did. After dividing the balance of the treasure each ended up with around 8700 GP and they spent 10 days having items made. The temple provided each with 2 Cure Moderate Wounds potions and a teleport back to the camp.


Saturday Session

Players: RCD, Silver, Katrina, Achadeus, Female Sorceress, Male Monk/Rogue

Achadeus had gathered information at the end of the Friday game to head to the crossroads to locate someone there who might be able to provide them information of where the anvil is they seek. So after almost two hours of bookkeeping and more items making, the party finally headed to the crossroads.

Crossroads and Unhappy Player

The party ended up at the crossroads mid morning as they flew there so there was a lot of waiting. Well, in the Desolation waiting means lots of encounters. After a Bone Storm and a few ghoul wolves that were not really a challenge to the party I decided to throw some new desert monsters at them. One from the front and one from the rear. The creature from the front was a Akbadia which threw them a little for a loop so the sorceress decided to cast resilient sphere around the party and the Akbadia. The creature in the rear was a Spectral Rider and being a decent Sorcerer himself he made a 29 Spellcraft on the sphere. So I had him dimension door inside the sphere. First on one square and then after some consternation over how large it was I had to move him 5' further in. Well this allowed the Akbadia to flank Katrina and hit her multiple times for 8d6 sneak each time. Well, the player who did not understand the rules on spellcraft, claimed that it took a standard for him to identify the spell and the mistake of the square should have randomed where he went. To placate the player, I just undid the encounter. Some times it just doesn't pay to play with players that Gm other systems and are not that familiar with the one you are playing. Oh well, we need the players and is his a good player. After more complaining that the random encounters were not furthering the story line, I gave up and just forwarded time to midnight.

Dweller at the Crossroads

I am going to let Katrina tell this one:
"Then Finally we got the Crossroads demon (careful what you wish for: yes the DM is a fan of the Supernatural Series with Sam and Dean and often throws in NPC's from that TV Show on the WB network) and we asked to find the Anvil of the Gods (hammer too); next thing we knew, we were teleported right into the chamber for a Diablo 3 style boss fight (not much prep) and then after a couple rounds of fighting a Giant sized undead devourer of souls (negative level drain, 2 levels per hit); the Mithril Knight Paladin was crying "i want my cleric" or mommy. Just happens that the cleric is me, Katrina, Cleric of Freya - Goddess of Magic and Nature, Protector of Dwarves and Elves who trains all her clerics for war in a secret monastic battle style allowing them to become Druid Like, Shape-shifting, Elemental wielding monastic warriors called the Valkyries."

Mordecai’s Stair

"Katrina, Valkyrie of Freya decided to heal the party and then stop time and throw her hammer at this thing a few times for 90 points of damage in one round (neat huh; yes the hammer is returning), seeing that it can be hurt and suddenly embolden, the Sorceress decided to throw up a wall of force protecting the party and allowing us time to prepare and regroup; as arcane spells were not damaging it.
"We healed and regrouped and began the assault with the Inquisitor Preacher of Muir, Mithril Knight of Tier, Valkyrie of Freya, Monk/Rogue (Ninja) and Enchantress, just in time as the unnatural creature came flying over the wall at the party, so i continued to channel healing the party and damaging the creature with the holy power of Freya and giving the paladin time to beat it to a pulp, once he finally hit with his holy power and sword, the creature crumpled into dust and the party took stock that we had won and could retrieve that which we sought, the anvil of the gods. Now we can forge the weapon that will save the world. - The End."

Anyway, the player playing the sorceress is complaining about lack of storyline, yet between the six of them they have 1 rank in Knowledge (History), very few in Knowledge Religion and spend zero time doing any research when they were in Bard's Gate. His character was flying people around the city for fun and profit! There is a very rich story line for almost every encounter, but I can't just spoon feed it to them! They need to do some work for it, sheesh. The player had a bad week at work and his wife is sick in California so I am trying to cut him some slack.

chaoseffect wrote:

Two of the party are paladins, one is a LG Inquisitor and another is a LG Cleric out of six. It is not something they have an issue with. Besides for this they got a Writ of Attainder which allows them to be judge and jury north of the camp. My character in the opposite Friday game donates between 25-40% of his take in one form or another above taxes. There are whole towns and cities that are filled with refugees due to being overrun by undead.

With all the tornados and bad weather I haven't had time to post our Friday game yet. I'll have it up soon! Thanks for the replays guys! I'm just glad someone finally took the Dweller's Deal.

I am just glad no one died as some of my players are after my head as it is!

It amounted to the neighborhood of 50,000 GP!

They had 500k gold in loot? Damn that is a lot of dosh

That was about a 2 month take. Yeah, there were a lot of high ticket items.

Hey guys great thread! I enjoy reading it every week. I am gearing up to run this bad boy myself (and contribute to this great thread!) and I have some questions for you guys:

Encounter Distance- seeing as random encounters are a big part of this I want to nail the encounter distance down for each region and i'm curious what you guys used. All the outside terrains (ashen wastes, chaos rift, boiling lands and the dead fields) seem like desert to me so 6D6x10 feet or so to account for blowing windstorms and such is what I was thinking. IS this about right do you think? What do you think about encounter distance inside the city?

Encounter Frequency- The book says check every 3 hours but that sounds like a lot of grind to me so I was thinking of making it every 6 hours (4 checks per adventuring day) do you think this might make it too easy?

Any other advice or comments, just things to watch for or consider would be very welcome :)

My group is paladin, rogue, sorcerer, cleric and 1 unknown at this time. I suspect they will die horribly to Malerix lol. Such a scary looking encounter.

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@jahvul - Typically for encounters here's what I've been doing.
Player's Perception minus Monster's Stealth (+natural terrain cover). Generally that should yield like a 100 foot gap or less and gives the players a chance to fireball hordes. I use the Desolation as overcast at all times so the lighting conditions change from Bright to Normal, Normal to Dim, and Dim to Dark. In darkness (or with a torch) players are limited in their vision to probably 60', I double that distance in dim lighting, but with 20% concealment (negated by Low Light Vision). In addition I roll my weather table every time they make a foray and the general weather condition is strong winds so -2 Ranged/Perception, making encounter distances shorter.

Rules Question:
Language Dependent Attacks and underwater targets. I had a player get grappled and drug underwater last night. The tiefling paladin had some language dependent sound spell and tried to use it on the character who was grappled to free them. Problem was the target was 40' underwater in a grapple. I tried to knock a ruling out quickly and used the penalty to ranged attacks as my measure, -2 per five feet. I had the target make a Perception DC10, which failed so the spell failed. How would you do it?

(Currently typing up games 34 and 35.)

Game 34 04/25/14
Roster: Half-Orc Druid, Half-Elf Paladin, Tiefling Paladin, Dwarf Cleric, Suli Sorcerer

Walk Slowly in the Crooked Tower
They left off at roughly 1:00 pm in the hall with the petrified cockatrices (H12-7) where the druid had made a hole via Stoneshape to the outside (H12-6). Somewhat apprehensive the party was going through a few different strategies about how to proceed. (Plus quite a few jokes about defeating doors, munchkin anyone?) After thoroughly detecting magic and evil on the door to the Hall (H12-8) they decided just to break it down, quietly. The cleric stepped up with his adamantine hammer and decided to cast silence on a coin and slide it under the door. Then he told everyone his plan (then I corrected him saying he can’t talk. Much laughter later.) The cleric then made furious hand motions to explain what he was doing (we were having trouble getting started.) Anyways, he started bashing down the door, but by this time the wolves had already heard them and were on the other side sniffing at the door. By the time he had the door broken down the wolves were already jumping through its remains at them, a few of them took some bites, but it was easily won.

Deck the Halls!
The party is lightly examining the Feast Hall (H12-8), but doesn’t want to spend the time to thoroughly search for secrets. They lightly examined the contents of the room leaving everything alone including the glowing pots of green fire (I tried to hint to them that there were several substantial objects of interest). They break down the door to the northeast that leads in the hallway (outside of H12-9, 10, 12) and the druid summons for earth elementals, one at a time, to explore by earth-gliding through the walls and floors. The first two are killed by the petrification gaze of the medusa in the Fettering Armory (H12-10) and they take to calling that the “death room”. The other explorations end up netting them some information about the floor being pretty quiet with some stairs and ladders. At this point they are still standing around in the feast hall and see the balcony, but ignore it. The tiefling and dwarf get into a heated discussion about not wasting resources by going back to Fort Holy (D4. The Firebase of the Damned). The sorcerer interjects into the argument and they decide to vote on it, which ends up being that they should not rest in the city. Either ways they decide to push on (yep, there are some incorporeal undead above them, but they haven’t attacked) and they go down the hallway to the small unmarked room with the ladder to the ceiling (see H12-11. The map can be confusing.) They decide to leave the ladder alone for now and go back to the Hallway.

For Whom the Bell Tolls or Breaks…
They move on to the Major Domo’s Quarters (H12-13.) and by normal procedure the tiefling “is defeated by the door” and the cleric smashes it down with his hammer. (They can’t pick locks.) They explore around the room taking little notice of the bell jar with the swirling red clouds and take an inventory of what they see. While that is going on the cleric decides that the swirling upside down jar is evil (because it’s red?) and before they can decide what to do about it the half-elf decides it will be a good idea to shoot it with his bow. (Roll initiative!) Over the course of a round or two the Efreeti does a suprising amount of damage with his quickened scorching ray to the half-elf and the party is unable to identify it (due to poor rolling). Thinking it might be some king of greater demon the cleric casts dismissal on it and it (fails) disappears never to be seen again. (Some incredulous stares at the half-elf player later….) The party gives the paladin a warning to be careful and let them know before he “attacks” again. They find the keys in the cabinet, but miss the trapdoor. They use detect magic which gives off a faint glow from under the cabinet, which the tiefling pushes to the side. The druid finds the panel and they suspiciously pocket the loot. They go through the closet and empty it of the noble clothing inside when they notice a lever. The dwarf literally pushes everyone out of the way (he’s an obsessive lever puller, our group joke) and pulls the lever down. Not noticing any effects he flips it a half dozen more times and the druid finally hears the trapped portcullis outside, they see it going up and down. (they leave it in the down position, open.)

Late Bloomer
In the same fashion as before the tiefling is “defeated by the door” to the Grounds Keeper’s Quarters (H12-14) and the cleric busts it down. The druid gives them a warning not to approach due to the musk creeper and they leave it well enough alone. They walk away and go to the Storage Closet (H12-15) where they almost walk in to grab the sword, when they decide to detect magic. They notice the walls are magic (as the edges of the portable hole would be) and they decide to send in a druid summon, a dire ape. The description of the closet folding up confuses them for a moment as black tentacles appears on the floor around them. (Almost no one was caught, except the sorcerer.) The tiefling charges in but Creeg manages to get a lightning bolt off on the entire party who are lined up before the tiefling decapitates him. The Green Man took this time to flee down the stairs (to H12-24). They recognize the portable hole and are very happy to be getting some high gold value loot. (I did explain to them what would of happened if the cleric had walked in). The tiefling took a look at the ladder in H12, but doesn’t trigger the trap and they decide to go downstairs.

Click Click Bloom. (Puns!)
The tiefling decides to lead the way down the stairs and gets to the base before he sees anything disturbing. (I decided to modify this encounter to make it more dynamic.) He notices the plant, but it hasn’t moved until he starts walking back up when the tentacle vines shoot out at him and start dragging him into the room. A puff of spores goes out (modified) and the sorcerer and half-elf find themselves compelled to walk down the stairs. Between the cleric, tiefling, and druid they manage to take out the Musk Creeper (I forgot about the Green Man, oops!), but not before the tiefling had been pinned and had the vines boring into his brain. (See goblinscomic, seriously go check it out on google). About the time the party came back to their senses, they peeked through the destroyed door (H12-25) while the druid told them the plant wasn’t dead, they’d have to kill it at the root. (It was about time to call game.) They were fairly beaten up by this point and a magic mouth on the wall called out, “I am your death, breathe deeply” in Kroma’s voice and a cloudkill spell started flowing down the stairs. The druid cast gust of wind, shunting it back up for a round, but they could see Kroma and his legion coming. They decided to fight him another day and Word of Recalled/Dimension Doored out. Game Ends.

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Game 35 04/30/14 Short Game (aka Weekday Game)
Roster: Half-Orc Druid, Half-Elf Paladin, Tiefling Paladin, Dwarf Cleric, Suli Sorcerer, Gnome Magus

Note: I have to go out of town Friday so they pushed their schedules around so we could have our weekly game. Yep, they’re addicts, me too.

Hand Waiving
The party wanted to identify, sell, and distribute their loot, which should have involved quite a few teleports (with error) and some price haggling etc. We hand waived all the teleporting, small random encounters, and shopping so we could get back into game faster. Game starts back at Fort Holy several days after the end of the previous game.

Fort Holy and Beyond
They discuss a little strategy and ponder why Kroma is in the tower. They also spend a small amount of time discussing whether the tower fortress (H12. The Crooked Tower) should be their primary target. Over the last few days (emails) they had discussed a different tactic, rather than going in the same way over and over, they would just bore holes into the tower with Stone Shape. There had been some discussion about possibly trying to weaken the cliff edge and drop the tower down the cliff, but that was abandoned. (Thankfully, I’d hate to have all the encounters come out and attack them at once. Normally that could work, but most of the encounters fly and aren’t stupid.) The druid casts featherstep and while the weather is windy (strong -2) they reach the Broken Gate (B4) without much problem. So far the cleric has cast Hide from Undead twice to ignore encounters and he is wearing the Ring of Invisibility (from H12-15). (I made sure to tell them it’s not persistent, he has to activate it every three minutes, aka it’s not Frodo’s Ring.) They skip all of the random encounters up to the base of the cliff (The Grunge, Cliff Warrens G5.) and Dimension Door the party up and onto the base of the stairs (H12-5).

Pinpoint Accuracy and Failboating
While standing in the courtyard, the party discusses where to Stoneshape into the wall. The druid turns into a large earth elemental to activate her tremor-sense and she tries to find a good point of entry by earthgliding through to the edge. (I was trying to minimize the overuse of the effect; it’s not clairvoyance, just scouting with all its dangers and party splitting.) By this time I had the party make a stealth check, even though they were talking versus the perception check of the Stalker (H8. The Ruined Tower), who lairs not very far at all from the Crooked Tower. (The target of the Stalker has been the cleric, who rolls a natural 1.) While the druid is scouting inside the wall, the Stalker (modified with some level 1ranger spells, a mighty bow, and appropriate ranger feats; Seriously why doesn’t he have this?) lines up a shot and critically hits the dwarf (again?) for roughly 100 damage after all the shots are made. Dumbfounded the party springs into action, the dwarf wins initiative and casts Heal on himself. The druid pops out just in time for everyone to yell at her to make the tunnel, just as another volley of arrows hits the half-elf (for 25?). They start slowly backing into the hole (leading to H12-26) and they can’t quite see clearly what’s on the other end. The druid warns them that the Musk Creeper is on the other side of one of the walls (from her tremorsense). The Dwarf is the last one in, but not before the druid is hit (critical again! See Ranger Spell Aspect of the Falcon) with a few arrows and she takes quite a bit of damage (around 70). (Just a note, I modified him because as a CR15 event he should be scary and highly threatening to a level 11 party, as presented he’s a pushover they can ignore.) As soon as they gain the full cover from the tunnel the arrows stop and the tiefling tells them they are safe, the sniper would be an idiot to fight them close quarters (and he’s right).

The Wine Cellar
They finally take a good look at the room (H12-26) and see the bottles of Sangria, but they leave them be, thinking they might be poison. Notably several of the bottles look new and probably expensive, they make some guesses there might be someone alive. They prepare to bust through the north door, but the druid reminds them that is where the Musk Creeper (H12-24). The tiefling readies himself at the east door (the trapped one), but the druid wants to do a thorough search and easily finds the secret door on the south side of the room. They check it with Detect Magic and open it as well as the other secret door on the other side. There is some discussion about their good luck as they peer into the well room (The Root Cellar, H12-27).

Just Keep Swimming! Just keep… what?
So the party moves into the room (H12-27) and they look around a bit. The tiefling remarks that the well is odd because the cliff is 300 feet tall and it would be strange for it to have ground water (good thinking!). They can hear the water churning and are curious about the “sweating” iron door. The Magus is curious about the well (as I cackle “Don’t go down the Well” to some weird looks.) and casts light on a coin to throw in as she peers down. The Well Spirit grabs her and drags her in, but she manages to get her breath. (For Dramatic Flair I say they can see the light from the coin descending deeper into darkness, c’mon the Abyss references are fun.) The cleric jumps in and fails a swim check and the Tiefling casts a spell (the language dependant one from a post or two ago) that frees people from grapple. The spell fails because the Magus is unable to perceive its words through 40’ of water and…… then I remember the party has Hide from Undead up. (I secretly roll a will save as the party asks what kind of monster it is. I tell them it’s undead and they remind me about the Hide from Undead spell. We retcon the whole scene to the top of the Well, everyone was being good sports about it.) Seeing as the spirit could not see anything but a Light coin drop, the druid summoned a dolphin into the churning water and for some reason they saw it sink straight to the bottom. Unwilling to risk a party member they ignore the Well. However, the party is interested in the Cold Door and the Magus and sorcerer prepare some fireballs. The tiefling, cleric, and paladin go up to open the door, but the Sorcerer casts Knock seeing that it is locked and strange. An icy blast of wind rips through the party doing 46 damage to “team holy” (the three upfront). Before the casters can fireball the strange plants in the room the druid realizes it is Brown Mold and will grow tremendously dangerous if touched by fire, the cleric slams the door shut (he won intiative).

Up the Stairs and into the Crazy
The tiefling pulls out a bag of Takis and is blessed by his god (with extra experience, yes I take bribes). But they move up the rickety wooden stairs. (Followed by the Magus examining why I used the word Rickety, plus an exact description of what that word means, lol. Followed by the half-elf bouncing up and down on the stairs, followed by him falling through the stairs.) They go up and into the kitchens (H12-20, not marked well IMO). They thoroughly examine the room including the old food and move out of the unlocked door into the strange hallway with the chains (H12-19.) They look around a bit and the cleric decides to go over everything with Detect Magic, triggering the trap on the mask (H12-32). He fails and starts puking all over the floor, the tiefling tries to fix him with a mercy after the druid diagnoses he is cursed. He finally is able to break the effect with Break Enchantment. (Great Trap and good setup!) Game Ends.

Note: Sorry about the walls of text, I was a bit behind. It would have been longer, but during the week I can only run short games. This took us from about 6.30 to 10pm, not too bad. I always modify a little, but we did spend a lot of time looking up specific rules. I think the druid got out of a critical for being shapeshifted into the elemental. We were looking up that language based spell. I was trying to think of some good ways to deal with Tremorsense without nerfing it to bad, etc.

Edit: Here's my basic changes to the Stalker. I don't spend a lot of time meticulously checking monsters, CR IMO is highly group dependant. Anyways I gave him a mighty 5 bow, so he could use his full strength. I gave him the Aspect of the Falcon spell that gives him +1 to hit and a 19-20 x3 critical range. Any archer worth his CR15 needs Improved Precise Shot and Deadly Aim, which gave him a +9 Damage per hit. I reloaded his Slaying Arrows, he should get more otherwise he becomes easier. So his hits at range are doing about 1d8+5+2+9 19-20 x3, which seems more reasonable, plus poison, plus occasionally a slaying arrow.

Wow, I see some of the situations we discussed in the past have cropped up. Was the discussion on the portable hole even used with that encounter?

With the language dependent spells, (I do not know which spell specifically to look up) does the recipient have to hear the spell for it to take effect or does the caster need to hear it? If it is the recipient, which of the two underwater folks the target? If it were the character, I would say you handled it the same as me, if it were the undead creature, then maybe the same magic that animates the creature would allow it to have better than living hearing since undead biology would be magical in nature over living biology that is grounded in modern science. Make sense on where I am going with this line of reasoning? Anyway, that is my take so far, it would help if I knew which spell though (since none some to mind that I know to look up).

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

jahvul wrote:

Hey guys great thread! I enjoy reading it every week. I am gearing up to run this bad boy myself (and contribute to this great thread!) and I have some questions for you guys:

Encounter Distance- seeing as random encounters are a big part of this I want to nail the encounter distance down for each region and i'm curious what you guys used. All the outside terrains (ashen wastes, chaos rift, boiling lands and the dead fields) steem like desert to me so 6D6x10 feet or so to account for blowing windstorms and such is what I was thinking. IS this about right do you think? What do you think about encounter distance inside the city?

Encounter Frequency- The book says check every 3 hours but that sounds like a lot of grind to me so I was thinking of making it every 6 hours (4 checks per adventuring day) do you think this might make it too easy?

Any other advice or comments, just things to watch for or consider would be very welcome :)

My group is paladin, rogue, sorcerer, cleric and 1 unknown at this time. I suspect they will die horribly to Malerix lol. Such a scary looking encounter.

I think you're encounter distances should work just fine. I never really gave it too much thought; some encounters occur at a good distance while others may catch the party unaware depending on circumstances. But as a rule of thumb 6d6 x 10 sounds right.

As for frequency, I don't mind checks every 3 hours. Originally I thought it was too often, but random encounters help maintain the sandbox feel and also depletes party resources to keep the adventure tough. And you'd be surprised how often "No encounter" is rolled anyway. This will probably change at higher levels, of course. Either I will reduce the frequency or switch up the monsters, because after 11th level the party will probably have encountered most of them several times over and will provide next to no challenge.

Your party make up looks good, clerics and paladins will really help a party here. My only suggestion is ask your players to bring a few more along. I recommend a minimum of six characters. With fatalities so frequent in ST its very easy for a party to lose a couple members in an encounter and find themselves completely overmatched.

Good luck!

I don't worry too much about encounter distances. I usually put the monsters about one move away from the party. Yeah, it probably should be more outdoors.

@James not sure what to make of the sound based attack. Could you give some more detail on it?

My group has also been exploring The Crooked Tower with radically different results from James' group.

Last week they encountered a group of 20 gnolls while moving through the Grunge and the Witch started to talk at them with some existentialist babble. I was having trouble figuring out what he was getting at so the Gnoll's response was a confused 'Come again?' He responded with more talk about what do you do with your dead and should you be set on fire before you're dead stuff which the Gnolls interepreted as him casting a very complex spell so they let 20 arrows fly - I roll poorly and he's just nicked. (In his defence the Witch, in real life, works on projects with budgets in the many hundreds of millions so I think he was using his work appropriate intimidation methods.)

The Witch then metagames and asks me how many HD gnolls have. I tell him that gnolls have 2 HD and make no mention of the Gnolls 5 levels of ranger. Fireballs and things fly but not a single Gnoll drops. They respond with massed arrows on the Witch and drop him to 3 hp. A wall of wind goes up, illusionary flaming pits appear and the battle degenerates into a swirling melee in which multiple fireballs are loosed, both the casters are almost grappled, and everyone gains new found respect for those 2 HD gnoll critters.

They then manage to intimidate one of the surviving gnolls into telling them a fair bit about the lay of the land on the first plateau and decide that The Crooked Tower should be their next stop.

They dimension door up to The Crooked Tower and make it too the door witout too much difficulty. Ropes & pitons and good saves help.

Since doors are there to be gone through they go through the door - or rather try to. The Paladins and their auras prevent everyone except the Ranger (who as failed his save on every symbol of fear so far) and the group ends up having to grapple and bind him.

The Barbarian tries to open the door and is hit for Con damage so the new Paladin (formerly the Summoner) decides to use a holy weapon and bash it down. Two rounds later and the door is shattered and there is a newley freed dread wraith in front of them. The Paladin is a Warrior of the Holy Light type and knows he can take this thing with his nymbus of light ability and it's sunlight powerlessness. Unfortunately the initiative rolls mean it goes first and it takes him from 12th to 7th which is too low to be able to use his nymbus of light. The next round it hits the Paladin for 8 more levels and that's it.

The Witch, who has an amulet of protection and a wand of restoration goes toe to toe with the dread wraith while everyone else uses ranged weapons & spells or unties the bound Ranger. After 4 more rounds the dread wraith and the wraith that the Paladin turned into (after 2 rounds) are destroyed and the game ends.

This week's game picked up where last week's game left off. I'm not going to go into all of the details because with traps & things there were over 10 different encounters.

The Dire Worgs started things off well with their reasonable damage ability and a high rate of success on trip attacks. The were waiting when the doors where kicked down and took attacks of opportunity as the Barbarian jumped through, tripping her and disrupting the group's momentum. I kept the second pair up on the balcony and they also managed a good ambush where the grappled wizard escaped because of being greased.

The cramped warren like feel of the tower came through very well and the various ability drain attacks hit hard. One of the surviving paladins (We had 3 of them until the dread wraith) ended up with a charisma score of 2 from the archers while the Wizard was taken down to 2 strength by the undead elemental (He'd gone over to the fireplace to get away from the craziness that was going on elsewhere.)

They'd explored most of the 1st level and all the upper balcony before checking out the Major Domo's quarters. They tried to deal with the flames in the bell jar by sliding it off the table and into a chamber pot filled with water. POOF: steam & Efreet. Everyone except the Barbarian (who swung & missed) held back and tried diplomacy. It demanded that they sheath their weapons and they did so I figured they've freed it and been respectful so it's time for a wish. The Efreet explains that it will grant them one wish. It is leaving in 5 minutes - what do you want? There is a lot of fast talking and some good ideas and in the end they say "We wish you to join us in fighting the Blood Mage". This annoys the Efreet because they've include him being compelled to serve in their wish so I SNAP my fingers and tell them that they are all in a different room. This gets an "oh-Yeaahhh!" type of reaction and the game ends for the night.

My read of the group is that they are expecting the Blood Mage and only the Blood Mage. I'm curious to see if any of them have started having second thoughts.

Geo Fix wrote:
The Paladin is a Warrior of the Holy Light type and knows he can take this thing with his nymbus of light ability and it's sunlight powerlessness. Unfortunately the initiative rolls mean it goes first and it takes him from 12th to 7th which is too low to be able to use his nymbus of light. The next round it hits the Paladin for 8 more levels and that's it.

Can I ask how you rule here? I thought wraiths only did con drain if you fail your fort save

I am guessing he is not referring to the Dread Wraith.

CWheezy wrote:
Geo Fix wrote:
The Paladin is a Warrior of the Holy Light type and knows he can take this thing with his nymbus of light ability and it's sunlight powerlessness. Unfortunately the initiative rolls mean it goes first and it takes him from 12th to 7th which is too low to be able to use his nymbus of light. The next round it hits the Paladin for 8 more levels and that's it.
Can I ask how you rule here? I thought wraiths only did con drain if you fail your fort save

Hey CWheezy - That's how I thought it worked until I reviewed the universal monster rules.

The level drain is automatic with a successful hit. The DC occurs 24 hours later to determine whether or not it becomes permanent.

The Con damage only occurs if you fail your saving throw when hit.

(Dread Wraiths are shockingly nasty: automatic 2d6 level drain and 1d8 Con if you fail a DC 23 Fort save.)

It was the level drain that killed the Paladin

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Oy - I've been misreading wraiths for years.....2d6 HP not 2d6 levels.....oops

Lol, Geo Fix! I have done worse! That is usually when I give a free true res!

@Thedmstrikes - About the Portable Hole, my players were bashing the doors in, using detect magic, and perception and then going in. If they saw anything strange they sent in a Monster Summoning 1 earth elemental or dire rat to go "trigger the trap". Its a tactic I had told them about, mid-level adventurers should know this stuff. That's what ended up happening with the Portable Hole room, they sent in a summon that got trapped. My players did talk about using it as a weapon and against creatures without Plane Shift it will be very effective, though it takes a little time to set up the trap. Not to mention the loss of loot.

@Brvheart - This is the thread I was using to get a ruling on the Litany of Escape. Can you hear this Underwater?

@Geo Fix - Well every now and then we are allowed to drop overpowered monsters down. Its not like they will last more than a round anyways. That action economy with only one big bad is not so great, that's why I rarely spend much time on monster stats, generally they won't matter. The monsters get a swing or two, then they're done. Not to bring up edition wars, but that's one thing I liked about the Minion system from other games. Just drop a small horde of 1hp baddies on the field with regular stats to support your big bad. It gives the less combat oriented players a chance to slaughter the heck out of some bad guys.

I generally prefer my minions to have lesser stats. That bunch of 1 HP minions lead to a lot of player deaths while they where on the field. If the party does not kill them off in a hurry you can easily have a TPK. Having lower CR minions gives a similar affect of giving more targets without the danger of them overpowering the group. Just my preference. Besides that, I like my minions to have more than 1 HP!

Geo Fix wrote:
Oy - I've been misreading wraiths for years.....2d6 HP not 2d6 levels.....oops

If your party every catches that, tell them they've been fighting SUPER Dread Wraiths!

That's about the time I'd have to tell my players *while flipping unceremoniously through the back of ST* "yep oh, uh, this is a, Gregvaughnian Wraith... uh it's new! They're super deadly, no, no you can't look it up on the SRD." LOL

Dave Mage, you still out there? Curious to know how far your group has gotten in Tsar.

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James B. Cline wrote:
That's about the time I'd have to tell my players *while flipping unceremoniously through the back of ST* "yep oh, uh, this is a, Gregvaughnian Wraith... uh it's new! They're super deadly, no, no you can't look it up on the SRD." LOL

Your players cast Slash on your tires!

It's super effective!

I have really enjoyed reading some of the session reports in here. Just a random question that popped into my mind, are most of you playing theatre of the mind or using maps/minis etc? what set up do you guys run with.


huntersblades wrote:

I have really enjoyed reading some of the session reports in here. Just a random question that popped into my mind, are most of you playing theatre of the mind or using maps/minis etc? what set up do you guys run with.


I've only run two sessions so far (should be four... but stuff and then yay being sick) but I haven't bothered with maps and minis yet. It seems like a waste of time for random encounters or areas where terrain isn't important. Once I actually start getting into some designated "dungeons" that will change I think.

We generally use a battlemat and minis, but when the area fits it I bring out the Dwarven Forge for added realism.

@Huntersblades - I use Dwarvenforge and when I am pressed for time, a wipe mat. I find it solves the I was there or here arguments fairly well.

@ James B. Cline - interesting stuff...I remember a player once that thought he could use dimension door under bad guys to drop them into a volcano as a shortcut to fighting them. Too bad the spell description says vertical not horizontal for the placement of said doors...

@Huntersblades - I usually have about 10 of the paizo maps/dungeons and dragons vinyl maps laid out. Most of the time we use them, especially paizo's desert map. The last couple of indoor fights I haven't used any grids because drawing the room would probably be longer than the fight.

I'd use printouts from the adventure, but often the rooms are on a 10' scale rather than 5x5. Minis are great, but in the yellow musk creeper fight half the party was on the upper floor and sometimes you can run a scarier story by letting the players minds wander.

So in short, both! The minis we use are the old 3.5 dnd wargame, I forget what it was called. Sometimes I use warhammer 40k minis in a pinch.

KaiserDM wrote:
Geo Fix wrote:
Oy - I've been misreading wraiths for years.....2d6 HP not 2d6 levels.....oops
If your party every catches that, tell them they've been fighting SUPER Dread Wraiths!

Or blame it on the Pall of Tsar?

@ Huntersblades

We use a wipe mat and the Pathfinder Pawns plus some 'pawns' that I've made myself. I also found it useful to have some counters numbered from 1-50 in a couple of different colour for the mass encounters (like siege undead).

For my group the lethality of Tsar meains it is more important to use the pawns and grid to make the relative positions and dangers more clear.

KaiserDM wrote:
Dave Mage, you still out there? Curious to know how far your group has gotten in Tsar.

They are just moving on from the Crooked Tower. They basically played to a stale mate with Belishan (but recovered the artifacts they needed).

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