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

Advice and Rules Questions

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Knowledges: I wish there was a list that told you where to reference if players start bombing out questions about Local, History, Religion, Nobility, etc. I like how in Chapter 1 all of the local intel is organized and that their is enough to sustain lots of checks over time. My players are big on research before they dive in.

This is where books like Stoneheart Valley and Rappan Athuk pay for themselves even if you don't run them; though, you need to read or skim over lots of material.

Tonight my group finished off chapter 4-8. They battled the demons, freed the beguiled hope and met the last Justicar. The demons of corruption gave them somewhat of a battle and used some resources. It was a fun having them come into the desecrated area only to be surprised one after another by an invisible demon! The lemurs in the iron jug took them by surprise but were too weak to be much of a challenge. However the Dun Pudding almost killed off the rogue and the cleric/monk found out there are some things you don't want to flurry! Rat-bait managed to get away after his demon minion was killed. The paladin seeing what looked like a demon in chains detected evil. Not detecting so they decided to investigate and the wizard cast break enchantment on her. This broke the power of the chain and the rogue managed to free the Hope.

The party will now rest and then head back to camp prior to heading to the western side of the road.

I did this area in Dwarven Forge and some of the new Dungeon Tiles. It made it a lot easier to see what was going on and got better visuals! I prefer it when I have the time to break out the Forge!

DF pics!

Grimmy, one of my players took a pic or two with his laptop but that is all the pics we got last night sorry. I will have to see how they turned out!

The pics didn't turn out real great, but here is one.


Caverns are resin and the rest is Dwarvenite?

The black is Dwarvenite, the grey is Master Maze which is most of what I used. Dwarvenite does not have the Advanced Builder pieces - yet! So the smaller rooms are about half and half.

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I ran the Saturday Night session at a gaming store during a Halloween party so we didn't get terribly far, though I did win best costume (executioner costume, looks evil) as I did my best Orcus cult member speech at the person dressed as Varsuvius (order of the stick). Also I don't like having a long OOC duration between introducing new characters so people get introduced very quickly.

Friday Night Game
After going around town for a bit and finding a note on Sammar's door that he was out in the Desolation with the Furious Fourteen as suggested to him by the party, they stocked up on rations and picked up a small quantity of diamond dust. At this point several of the players are nearly broke as they have been robbed, scammed, and overcharged for just about everything they need. A few of them had a treasure map for the infamous Tomb of Argos, a few others knew it as the Monument of Argos, but either ways some of them figured it would be good for some money and answers. They negotiated with Skeribar, the small price of 100 bits, for one of his rangers a young woman named Ygritte (GoT reference) to show them the safest route to where the Tomb is. Given that the rangers know the area she traveled on the paths with the easiest encounter table, the Road, and only crossed into the Ashen Waste when absolutely necessary. She mentioned the Sanctuary to them though they seemed mildly interested they only made a note. They were attacked by a Belker on the way, but otherwise made it safely. Once at the Tomb (A4) they examined the outside, but were not able to find a way in, so I gave them a small nudge that the heads of the statues were angled and after some engineering rolls they at least had the correct side of the structure. They started digging around and sent the ranger away as they found the entrance with the inevitable natural 20 perception. Not having knock, gaseous form, detect secret doors, or even a rogue the party (1 Dwarven Figher, 2 Paladins, 1 Oracle, 1 Magus) the party eventually pried the door open with a bunch of crowbars. They hesitantly walked in and shut the doors behind them, when the Azers attacked, one gathered the Rasts and came back. Notably the dwarven fighter started to flee the battle and caught some flak later, but the paladin stayed up front with the Magus and defended while the Magus and others eventually took the monsters down. The dwarf did come back and start fighting, but only after he and the paladin got drained of some constitution by the Rasts.

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I broke this into two posts because, two games and I'm at work taking calls. Saturday we went to the local gaming store (Macnarb's Gaming) to support our club and the awesome store. We were literally having to send tons of new players away. I hated to have a too full table, but I didn't want to run a 16 person game.

Saturday Night Game (the Halloween Game)
After the battle with the Azers and Rasts the party was pretty beaten down so even though it was 10 am in game they decided to rest and lick their wounds. There was a tense moment between the aasimir paladin and the dwarven fighter about him being a coward, but they settled it. Two club members showed up to learn how to play and two of our wives (a paladin and the magus) showed up as well so the game got pretty big at this point. Enter the dwarven sharpshooter (fighter) and his companion the Voidmage (CE, wizard). I introduced the sharpshooter as the aasimir's lost companion and the Voidmage as an adventurer from another destroyed party and somehow they had fallen in together and found the tomb as respite from the Wastes. After a short introduction and some dirty looks from the Aasimir to the Voidmage, ala detect evil, they still made camp. I rolled three encounters while they slept inside a group of Belkers who could not get into the tomb, some acid rain (again inside), and a pair of Shriekers. The dwarven fighter and dwarven sharpshooter were on watch the whole time and both failed their saves versus possession, I misread the tactics and had them start Coup de Gracing the sleeping party members. Round 1 the Voidmage and the Oracle bit the dust, which subsequently woke up the Magus and human paladin, they kicked the other paladin awake and started chain casting protection from evil against the possessed. They knew via religion that they were possessed (I guess). They eventually glitterdusted and knocked out the dwarves, but not before loosing two party members. They counted their losses, buried them in leu of burning them (no wood), and decided to finish their resting period. In a few hours, 11 pm they eventually pried open the bronze doors of the next room after taking very little damage from the trapped doors. Meanwhile Raiden (a previously dead and ressurected PC of the Oracle) and a Monk were teleported in from Maginmar, via the leftover funds from the sale of the Gem of Seeing. Incredibly the invisible buffed Aranae in the next room managed to cast confusion on the female paladin and as she began killing herself the party flew into action and killed the Aranea, whom they were terrified of. The monk ended up getting poisoned for 11 strength and was really down on his luck as no one could fix it. The party was questioning the sanity of continuing, but the aasimir paladin argued about the virtues of cleansing the taint of the region. Half the party went into the Hallway to mull his points, while he (club president) the sharpshooter (the cofounder of the club) and the dwarven fighter started prying at what he called "the nonsensical burial room", he ended up spilling the Black pudding all over himself and the dwarf snatched him out (yes, another nat 20) after he lost his shield to acid. The game ended as the rest of the party rushed into the room and reaffirmed its commitment to making the Desolation safe.

Post game thoughts.
I don't have Xp totals yet, but everyone had a fun time, though we didn't make it very far. The party had a hard time finding the way into the tomb, so I nudged them a bit. I loved having the ranger escort the party it was a great way for me to add an NPC into the adventure. Had the magus not picked up Tiny Hut, I think the party might have wiped on the Friday game from a pair of consecutive Bone Storms. I'm really enjoying the pace of the adventure and contrary to what I though my players really enjoy the frequent encounters. They do alot of RP, but they also like doing combats, which have proven quite deadly even with lower CR critters. The Azer fight was suprisingly vicious because the party had begun gearing against evil creatures so they again have adapted their tactics. The fight with the Shriekers I did slightly wrong as the dwarves should have tried to kill themselves first, but I just went with it.

Character Deaths:
Voidmage 8 (Shriekers A4-1)
Oracle 7 (Shriekers A4-1)

Overall Kill Count: 4


Your group is progressing at a pretty good pace. We only get in a few hours a week and the group has spent most of their time in the chaos rift. The week before last was the Justicar's tomb (re-aligned to Saranrae) and last week was the bandits.

The party managed to take out Ratbait because the wizard tried a Glitterdust hail mary on the big demon and ratbait failed his save. They couldn't figure out what Ratbait was but nuked him as a reflex.

I'm giving out hero points, without the cheat death ability, as 'boons' from the Gods and our priest of Saranrae gained one from Saranrae for rescuing the Hope and then used one to stop himself dying of poison when dealing with the bandits by re-rolling his last (fatally) failed save.

That's brought us to 2 deaths and about a dozen "oh this is bad's" which I think is pretty ideal from a game enjoyment standpoint.

The group is holed up on the bandit caves and this week will include a visit from the Midnight Peddler whom I've yet to introduce them to.

@James Sometimes ya just gotta go with it and it makes the best encounters when you misread something! Love it, that they won't play a rogue and have to pry open the place.

@Geo Fix It is not wise try and cheat Death. He can get rather angry and vengeful! He is one of the horsemen after all!

Ashen Waste A4: Tomb of the Sleeping Knight - What I modified about this was that the four outer statues seemed to be looking at a certain point of the structure. Why? Because my party was resolved to get inside, but they didn't have a rogue. I let them roll knowledge engineering DC20 to get a general idea of where the statues were looking on the structure and drew them a rough map of the exterior with dotted lines. They ended up having this Indiana Jones moment when they saw the lines cross, but their rolls were off a bit and they ended up digging holes in the ground for a while, before a lucky perception showed them there was actually a door on the wall within a few feet.

As far as the encounters I handwaived away any encounters while they were inside, except incorporeal undead since they can move through objects. I figured the Belkers couldn't find the entrance. The party had two encounters with Bone Storms while they were outside, but they had a Tiny Hut up, lucky for them.

@Geo Fix - My group spent just a bit of time in the Chaos Rift rescueing the dwarven fighter, but I don't think they have any intentions of returning. The plot hook about the caravan seems to have died and as likeable as I tried to make Sammar I think they are scared of the place. Even the notice about Sammar leaving with the 14 didn't get much more than a "well if he thinks he can" sentiment from the group. I wouldn't mind trying to rekindle that, though it might be difficult. I'm not big on killing off npc's especially since the town has so few that are neutral to helpful. I'll hold off on Sammar the Ghost.

@Brvheart - Yep, I've made mention that the adventure says for the DM to recommend what they need for balance, but I leave it at that, a recommendation. As long as they are having fun its good for me, plus there's always another way to do things, even if its the hard way. The initial way it happened was the party had a fighter, but no healer or paladin so I recommended both, a rogue swapped for a paladin and a dead sorcerer swapped for the oracle. Though this last session the oracle was killed and the sorcerer has returned.

The most suprising thing about this adventure is that the players really like the frequent random encounters, it keeps them on their toes. I like the Wasteland feel, but I might have to add a passing caravan into town next time, need to have plenty of excuses for new replacement party members to show up.

That's ok, my group took forever trying to find a way in even with a rogue. They even tried the crack in the dome to no avail. The hut is only so useful against the storms as it only lasts so long, 2 hrs
level. The cleric/monk with the animal domain has become adept at burrowing into the ground to make a safe place for the party. They managed to free the Aasimar and he joined the group being played by a player for awhile until be was killed by a blue dragon! As he knew the location of the ooze they were able to avoid it. I believe they are at 4 dead thus far.

Hiring the Rangers: The party hired the ranger from Skeribar, we named her Ygritte, and I was a bit suprised with the lack of equipment they come with so I added some basics like Winter Clothing, a scarf for dust storms, and a small shovel. I made mention that when the party made camp that the ranger literally digs a hole in the ground and covers up, like a foxhole with a lid. As they were being guided across the stony wastes they were suprised when I had the ranger yell, "Ok you're up!" as she ran from the front to the rear of the party, directly before a monster encounter. They were suprised, but quickly realized she was just a guide. I was sad when they sent her packing, hopefully they will hire another one.

Not having a rogue is one of those problems that fixes itself. No rogue, you don't find that, you die. Roll a rogue! I warned my players not to get terribly attatched to their characters, but a few have made it the whole game so far. I'm still disappointed no one braved a deal with the guy at the Crossroads.

Tiny Hut also cancels if the caster leaves it so it restricts their view a little if they are on watch. Yes, its transparent but they aren't exactly walking around camp making their rounds since its so small. At this point the group has resigned to let the fighters keep watch and paladin cure them of fatigue in the morning, though I don't think this actually qualifies them as rested.

Argos aka A4 - I don't think my group will have the opportunity to use him as a PC currently, but I will try and keep him around as they make bigger pushes into the city. I was actually relieved they stopped right before opening his door because I wanted a chance to work in some extra hooks into him, since he should be a virtual encyclopedia of the war. I'm wondering if there are any specific knowledges he knows besides the sidebar that he has access to from Chapter 3. I will probably try to dramatic up his reaction to his soldiers all being dead. Any suggestions on other sites he might know of? I believe he was entombed right after the city was taken, does he know about the 50 and One?

My group was without a rogue at the Tomb of the Sleeping Knight as well. They didn't find the secret door and went in through the roof instead, by widening the crack until they could rappel down in.

My group hired rangers from Skeribar and it didn't go well for them. The first one led them to the Brood Mother's Pit and abandoned them down there. He attempted to steal their wagon and was killed trying to flee with it. The second led them to The Reclaimers and fought against them with the druids. That was the first party death! They are now not very fond of rangers even the ranger that started with them!

Argos was interesting, but it was important that the player find his own character anyway.

@ James

I agree with you about the lack of equipment for NPC's and other groups you encounter. I added a fair bit of survival gear to the bandit's camp figuring that the bandits would have needed it to survive and knowing that the party would be able to make good use of it. Poof! up it went in a fireball.

I'm hoping that my group does some hiring next time they're back at camp but they are all really ticked with the gold to bits converstion and look at the guide rates as being excessive.

@ brvheart

I thought tiny hut was exceptionally helpful for the bone storms and acid rain. The first bonestorm would probably have killed most of my group if not for the wizard having it memorized.

@ Grimmy, I bet the Aranea had fun with that. I was suprised at how nasty it was, I can just imagine someone repelling down and getting turned to stone and slidding the rest of the way to shatter on the ground.

@Brvheart - That's funny! I feel bad because eventually my players will end up killing more than half of the camp. They've been grumbling about usurping the Usurer since they got there. The paladin met the Undertaker and he was literally twitching not to strike him down then and there. After the rumors about the Furious 14 they won't talk to them. About the only person they didn't hate was Bjork at the Tavern, but they won't go in because of all the flayleaf. I used flayleaf as the smoke coming out of the tavern or pesh, can't remember the pot one. I hate to alienate the party with the rangers further, the innkeepers tried, and succeeded to an extent, to murder them and all. We haven't had a chance to get to the grove yet, but hopefully soon.

@ Geo Fix - Careless use of fireball can get you into trouble. Kind of like firing a gun makes noise, a fireball is like shooting a maximized enlarged flare to everyone in the Desolation for miles around. It probably causes more problems than it fixes. Where is this Bandit's Camp, maybe I breezed over it unless you mean the Camp. Did your party not take the Inn? If not they may have saved themselves a tpk, but if they have they should get the "local" discount if they are running it. Hiring a guide for 50 gp a day isn't all that bad, my group diplomaced it down 10%.

@ James Besides the Hill Giant my group has only killed the gnomes and one of the players retired characters now runs the inn. They are kind of dependent on the camp as a base and for supplies so I don't think they want to just go around killing everyone, besides The Usurer is no pushover. And yeah, the death in the druid grove was friendly fire from a fireball! The wizard was like "acceptable losses!". The cleric went down on round 1 to the dire tigers. Were it not for her animal companion coming to save them in the pit they would have all died. Only the ranger from the other side was left standing at the time. Her animal companion cut the bonds on Aliana and she used a potion to heal the cleric. It would have been close to a TPK had not the witch flown for her life! It was down to Tony the Tiger a medium sized snow leopard vs a ranger! Tony hid until he could save his master. The ranger had thrown all the bodies into the pit intending on sacrificing them to the tree.

@ James
The bandit camp is a cave complex in the Chaos Rift (C7). It has some nice loot from a PC perspective.

Camp wise my group didn't go much beyond stabling horses for a night and meeting a few of the denizens. They were so ticked at the iron bits and the rate of exchange that they left the next morning but the Usurer is on their 'list'.

@ brvheart
I've looked through that grove a couple of times and it seems to me to have a good chance at producing a TPK. Do you have a druid in your group? I'm hoping my group can come up with a scheme to keep the grove's magic going without resorting to evil practises. (Perhaps using demons)

@Geo Fix No druid, but the Cleric is of Freya with the animal domain so she has an animal companion and can do some limited shape changing. She's sort of a druid wanna be, also 3 levels of monk. Very weird character, but its my wife's. Her RA character is wiz/druid. She just leveled so I don't have her new level, but this is her at level 8:

Katrina Wulfgard
Female Dwarf Valkyries Fist 5/Monk (Monk of the Four Winds) 3
LG Medium Humanoid (dwarf)
Init +3; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +11
Aura predator's grace (+15') (8/day)
AC 25, touch 22, flat-footed 21 (+1 armor, +3 Dex, +2 natural, +1 deflection, +1 dodge)
hp 71 (8d8+24)
Fort +12, Ref +10, Will +13; +2 vs. enchantment spells and effects
Defensive Abilities defensive training, evasion; SR 13
Speed 30 ft.
Melee +2 Warhammer +11 (1d8+5/x3) and
Masterwork Dagger +9 (1d4+4/19-20/x2) and
Masterwork Dwarven Waraxe +9 (1d10+3/x3) and
Masterwork Katana +9 (1d8+3/18-20/x2) and
Masterwork Throwing axe +9 (1d6+4/x2) and
Masterwork Wakizashi +9 (1d6+3/18-20/x2) and
Masterwork Warhammer +10 (1d8+3/x3) and
Wooden Fist +9 (1d8+8/x2)
Ranged Masterwork Composite longbow (Str +2) +10 (1d8+3/x3)
Special Attacks cleric channel positive energy 3d6 (3/day) (dc 12), flurry of blows +5/+5/+0, wooden fists (8 rounds/day)
Valkyries Fist Spells Prepared (CL 7):
3 (1/day) Magic Vestment, Beast Shape I
2 (2/day) Eagle's Splendor, Restoration, Lesser, Barkskin
1 (4/day) Moment of Greatness, Divine Favor, Liberating Command, Shield of Faith, Magic Fang
0 (at will) Mending, Create Water, Detect Magic
Str 16, Dex 16, Con 16, Int 12, Wis 21, Cha 10
Base Atk +5; CMB +12 (+14 Grappling); CMD 30 (30 vs. Bull Rush, 32 vs. Grapple, 30 vs. Trip)
Feats Crusader's Flurry, Dodge, Elemental Fist (2d6) (4/day), Extra Domain (Magic), Extra Domain (Plant), Improved Grapple, Improved Unarmed Strike, Monastic Legacy (+2), Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Weapon Focus (Warhammer)
Traits Magical Knack (Valkyries Fist), Resilient
Skills Acrobatics +15, Craft (weapons) -1, Diplomacy +4, Fly +7, Handle Animal +4, Heal +13, Knowledge (arcana) +6, Knowledge (history) +5 (+7 on checks that pertain to dwarves or their enemies), Knowledge (nature) +5, Knowledge (planes) +6, Knowledge (religion) +9, Linguistics +5, Perception +11 (+13 to notice unusual stonework, such as traps and hidden doors in stone walls or floors), Spellcraft +10, Survival +9 (+11 to track vs. humanoids of the Giant subtype); Racial Modifiers lorekeeper
Languages Abyssal, Common, Druidic, Dwarven, Giant
SQ ac bonus +7, animal companion link, aura, domains (fur, magic, plant), fast movement (+20'), giant hunter, grayflame, hand of the acolyte (8/day) (9/day), ki defense, ki pool, maneuver training, share spells with companion, slow and steady, spontaneous casting, stability, stonecunning +2, unarmed strike (1d8)
Combat Gear Potion of cure light wounds (4), Wand of cure light wounds, Wand of Mage Armor, Acid, Antiplague, Antitoxin, Caltrops, Healer's kit, Holy water (2), Oil (4); Other Gear +2 Warhammer, Masterwork Arrows (50), Masterwork Composite longbow (Str +2), Masterwork Dagger, Masterwork Dwarven Waraxe, Masterwork Katana, Masterwork Throwing axe, Masterwork Wakizashi, Masterwork Warhammer, Belt of giant strength +2, Boots of elvenkind, Bracers of armor +1, Grayflame Amulet of mighty fists +1, Handy haversack (94 @ 104.42 lbs), Ring of protection +1, Ale (per gallon), Artisan's tools (Craft [armor]), Bedroll, Belt pouch (3 @ 0 lbs), Cleric's vestments, Drug, opium, Flint and steel, Grappling hook, Holly and mistletoe, Holy symbol, silver (Freya), Marbles, Scroll case (empty), Silk rope, Trail rations (14), Waterskin, 312 GP, 9 SP
Acid - 0/1
Antiplague - 0/1
Antitoxin - 1/1
Cleric Channel Positive Energy 3d6 (3/day) (DC 12) (Su) - 0/3
Drug, opium - 0/1
Elemental Fist (2d6) (4/day) - 0/4
Hand of the Acolyte (8/day) (9/day) (Su) - 0/9
Healer's kit (10/10 uses remaining) - 0/10
Holy water - 0/2
Ki Pool (Su) - 0/0
Masterwork Arrows - 0/50
Masterwork Dagger - 0/1
Masterwork Throwing axe - 0/1
Potion of cure light wounds - 0/4
Predator's Grace (+15') (8/day) (Su) - 0/8
Trail rations - 8/14
Wand of cure light wounds - 16/50
Wooden Fists +2 (8 rounds/day) (Su) - 0/8
Special Abilities
AC Bonus +7 The Monk adds his Wisdom bonus to AC and CMD, more at higher levels.
Animal Companion Link (Ex) You have a link with your Animal Companion.
Antitoxin This substance counteracts a specific toxin. If you drink a vial of antitoxin, you gain a +5 alchemical bonus on Fortitude saving throws against poison for 1 hour.

Alchemical Power Component
Like antiplague, this substance can augment certain healing spells.
Neutralize Poison (M): Add +2 on your caster level check to neutralize poison on a target creature. Antitoxin has no effect when you cast the spell on an object.
Aura (Ex) The Cleric has an aura corresponding to his deity's alignment.
Cleric Channel Positive Energy 3d6 (3/day) (DC 12) (Su) Positive energy heals the living and harms the undead; negative has the reverse effect.
Crusader's Flurry May use flurry of blows with deity's favored melee weapon
Darkvision (60 feet) You can see in the dark (black and white vision only).
Defensive Training +4 Gain a dodge bonus to AC vs monsters of the Giant subtype.
Elemental Fist (2d6) (4/day) You can add 1d6 energy damage to an attack.
Evasion (Ex) If you succeed at a Reflex save for half damage, you take none instead.
Fast Movement (+20') The Monk adds 10 or more feet to his base speed.
Flurry of Blows +5/+5/+0 (Ex) Make Flurry of Blows attack as a full rd action.
Giant Hunter +1 to attack/+2 to tracking Gain a bonus to attack and tracking vs. Giants.
Grayflame Channel energy into weapon for +1 enh bonus and +1d6 damage, bypass some DR.
Hand of the Acolyte (8/day) (9/day) (Su) Throw the melee weapon you are holding 8/day.
Improved Grapple You don't provoke attacks of opportunity when grappling a foe.
Improved Unarmed Strike Unarmed strikes don't cause attacks of opportunity, and can be lethal.
Ki Defense (Su) A monk can spend 1 point from his ki pool to give himself a +4 dodge bonus to AC for 1 round.
Ki Pool (Su) You have a ki pool equal to 1/2 your monk level + your Wisdom modifier.
Lorekeeper +2 for Knowledge (History) checks relating to dwarves and their enemies. These checks can be made untrained.
Magical Knack (Valkyries Fist) +2 CL for a specific class, to a max of your HD.
Maneuver Training (Ex) CMB = other BABs + Monk level
Point Blank Shot +1 to attack and damage rolls with ranged weapons at up to 30 feet.
Precise Shot You don't get -4 to hit when shooting or throwing into melee.
Predator's Grace (+15') (8/day) (Su) Swift action: +10 speed, Low-light vision for 1 round.
Share Spells with Companion (Ex) Can cast spells with a target of "you" on animal companion, as touch spells.
Slow and Steady Your base speed is never modified by encumbrance.
Spell Resistance (13) You have Spell Resistance.
Spontaneous Casting The Cleric can convert stored spells into Cure or Inflict spells.
Stability +4 Gain bonus to CMD vs bull rush/trip while standing on ground.
Stonecunning +2 +2 bonus to Perception vs unusual stonework. Free check within 10 feet.
Unarmed Strike (1d8) The Monk does lethal damage with his unarmed strikes.
Valkyries Fist Domain (Fur) Associated Domain: Animal
Valkyries Fist Domain (Magic) Granted Powers: You are a true student of all things mystical, and see divinity in the purity of magic.
Valkyries Fist Domain (Plant) Granted Powers: You find solace in the green, can grow defensive thorns, and can communicate with plants.
Wooden Fists +2 (8 rounds/day) (Su) Unarmed attacks are lethal, do not provoke AoO, and gain +2 damage.
Grew Up in the Mountain Wilds, run out of the underground areas and mines through a war that left them abandoned on the surface. Her family learned to survive in wild becoming proficient mountaineers. The Giants that lived in the are were constantly raiding there surface camps. Her only friends during that time were the animals and every tree. Eventually, the pitch battles were fought to a stalemate with the Giants and her family took refuge in a small village nearby in a temple of Freya. She was so moved by the way they helped the refuges, she took up the calling and swore to learn to fight off the evil, learning the special techniques of the Monks of Monastery so she would be able to always defend herself amd the ways of the cleric to become one with Freya Nature and Magic. She has has been fighting those who seek to destroy what her god hath made.

Domains are Healing, Magic, Plant and Animal (Fur Subdomain).

Weapon Familiarity: Battleaxe, Heavy Pick, Warhammer, and any Dwarven weapon as martial weapons.

Diety favored Weapon; Warhammer, Longsword, Longbow, Shortbow, Shortsword.

Cure Light Wounds charges = 43
Mage Armore, charges = 47

012013: Died from Wereshark and Gug attack. Subsequently Raised by Castiel at the end of the battle in Rappan Athuk, Gained one negative level for my trouble.

020213 Caught the bad guys, threatened him and gained 2 points towards evil.

Made it to the town in my dream, fought the giant and got settled in, fought some assasins at the inn.

Have 62 iron bits from the town.
World Balance Lvl 7: 23,500 gp

A4: More. Ok so what about Argos, what would he know about the 50 and 1? It says that he was set to rest after the city fell to the Army of Light, before the Army of Light left to chase the hordes of Orcus. So he would know that the 50 and 1 were left to secure the city, but probably not that they failed. So he wouldn't know about Sir Martimus. Argos might know about C8 though some lore, one of the greatest heroes of the war was entombed within the area of the Chaos Rift, but why would that matter? Maybe there was a religious rumor that he would also return to bring justice should the forces of Orcus arise.... or something. I need some help with this one, otherwise why would the players bother with it, besides stumbling on it while randomly roaming a horribly dangerous place. C8 needs a plot hook.

A2. Martimus - It says he can't die, except in battle, but I can't imaging anything but battle happening to him out in the Desolation. Maybe he can't die in battle, but in an honorable duel with a paladin or some other good person. I'm assuming he cannot loose hp unless he is challenged and defeated in single combat. Is this too much? I will probably have him call out as he attacks trying to provoke a single person to attack him, something like the Green Knight (that ancient movie).

C8. Needs a plot hook.

I guess the plot of The Last Justicar isn't enough for you? It seemed to do the trick for our paladin, inquisitor and Katrina who thinks of herself as a type of paladin. As far as getting them there from the Rift I had the paladin be drawn there.

Martimus died a glorious death. He didn't last long against the party even at level 6.

I would say that Argos would not necessarily know about the 50 and 1 as he was entombed prior to that event. He might know about C8.

James B. Cline wrote:

@ Grimmy, I bet the Aranea had fun with that. I was suprised at how nasty it was, I can just imagine someone repelling down and getting turned to stone and slidding the rest of the way to shatter on the ground.

Yeah I didn't really run the aranea properly. It was one of those GM moments, you know. I just looked at his entry once they came down and didn't adapt the tactics to the fact they had come in noisily through the roof. I didn't really pre-buff him or anything, and I ruled that his magic items pinged on a detect magic cantrip so they were alerted that something was there, invisible. They stomped him pretty easily after that.

@ James
I'm trying to have the player's dieties take a more active role in this campaign so the cleric was visited by an angel while dreaming. It told him of the tomb's existance, that there were wrongs which needed to be set right and that it was in the Chaos Rift. I just tweaked the tomb and the Justicar to align with the Cleric's diety.

@ brvhrt
The above and other visitations is also where I introduce the boons to the various characters.

I like the monk/cleric combo - it's going to be interesting when she gets to higher levels and can outrun the cat. (A bit embarassing for Tony.)

I've had a few of those GM moments. I've started rolling the wandering monsters in advance so that I can properly sort out the tactics of the more intelligent ones. (My INT score tends to drop as the night progresses.)

That is just so wrong having a dwarf that can outrun her cat. I am going to increase her DC on Stay. We have a cat Sam whom Tony is modeled after. He doesn't stay - ever! Except on my wife's lap or shoulders. He acts like he is her familiar. Of course she picked him out because he did that. His name sake was the same, Samwise I. That is until he got to be 14 lbs! They both are dog lovers. Sam I used to go out and run with the big dogs in the neighborhood. Freaked a few people out. He had beds in 3 or 4 other people's houses, too! He was like, I was here first and I helped supervise them building this place. He slowed down a little after getting into a fight with a neighbor's car in Dallas and lost a front leg. Boy he could nurse that, too! "I am so helpless!" Then you see him treeing and catching a squirrel! Rabbits were his favorite though.

Ok I had to get around to posting my groups xp progress and some notes from last game, but we've got a game tonight. I think I'm going to borrow Geo Fix's idea about having a player having a celestial dream with some vague notion to go into the Rift, while balancing it out and having them get attacked by a demon. I need to find something of appropriate CR or just use an automatic random encounter with a Vrock or something. I do need to figure out how much info Argos has, he needs to be a plot hook for anything vague or interesting. Ideas?

Since I don't think my players are going to do much random wandering I think I'm going to just have Martimus confront them sometime tonight when they are traveling. I also need to make sure the peddler shows up again, so far he's shown up twice. The first time they ran him off, but it was right after they lost two people to the Benders. The second time he showed up to the dwarf who got separated from the party. The player was looking at me dumbfounded about how and why he showed up in the Chaos Rift at the top of a no exit Canyon.

Let me know if you have any suggestions/comments. I don't think the Celestial dream is to much. I probably won't have the player see anything but a fiery celestial with a burning sword pointing north to a chasm, that they might later recognize.

Party Location: Tomb of Argos
Last Encounters: Screamers, Kolscillisk (Aranea), Black Pudding
Notable Injuries: 11 Points of Strength Damage on the Monk, 1 Point of Con Drain on Paladin and Fighter
Notable Deaths: Crossbow bolt to the head Oracle, Waraxe through the sternum Voidmage


James +7,870
Jody +6,400 /+400 Oracle
Hinkel +7,870
Liz +6,800
Daisy: +6,800

CURRENT APL 8 (average of levels at players last game) Minimum Level 7

Level 8's don't forget your ability score increase, Level 7's don't forget your feat!

XP Totals:
James: 60,725/75,000 (Fighter 8)
Liz: 60,470/51,000 (Magus 8)
Carl: 58,870/75,000 (Fighter 8)
Hinkel: 53,810/75,000 (Paladin 8) REACHED LEVEL 8! Remember your ability score increase!

Britney: 51,000/75,000 (Sorcerer 8)
Daisy: 46,600/51,000 (Paladin 7)
Jody: 43,200/51,000 (Sorcerer 7) [Other characters: Oracle 7 (dead @ 39,470)]
Travis: 35,000/51,000 (Soulknife 7) [Other characters: Soulknife 7 (Ressurected @36,800 xp)]

Once they crossed to the north the size of the Rift was rather hard to miss and the party decided to explore it, but I did use something similar to get them to the Last Justicar.

I don't have numbers on XP for them, but they are 4 at level 9 and 2 at level 8 at current. The party is going back to the Camp to re-equip and then cross to the west. Should be fun! They will be used to a dry barren area and then going to a huge bog. I have a 2'x2' swap terrain board that I will make some use out of for it. swamp

@ brvheart

Oy - you're prepared and then some.

@ James

Anything right up to and including the evacuation. Argos role seems to be a sort of rear guard in case things went sideways and that seems to me to be something that would have happened near the end.

Argos himself will probably have a lot of questions for the party and may start asking them questions before they start asking them of him.

About the 50 & 1 or does the temple of Orcus still stand (he can then describe it to them so that when they arrive in the city at a later date they realize.....)

I have about 8 of those boards. Need to fix some of them including my 4'x4' desolation board. Besides it is rather unwieldy to bring back and forth to the table!

Brvheart that is frrakin sweet!

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Nah, this one was sweet!

Ack! Posted the wrong pic. I have better. Oh well.

The group had so much fun running we had another game the night after. Here's how it went.

Friday Game
The group picked up Argos and I just gave them the dictation from Chapter 3 about the Army of Light, which mentions Lord Bishu so I alluded to the 50 and One being left to hold the city. It was a huge morale boost and the party was ecstatic about the backup troops at least until they found out it was a room full of ghasts. They got back to town and spent 5 days after the Magus made a deal with the Usurer to get credit for the arms and armor he would take in trade. The magus passed a knowledge arcana to recognize the Seeming spell he had cast, but didn't say anything about it. I know the town's gp limit is 100, but I figured the Usurer being what he is as well as his text saying he will make items, I figured he would take trades in credit from residents. The party dwarf ended up getting in a horse race with Finn the rancher after the elf made some drunk and terribly insulting comments about the dwarf and his kind. They wagered a dwarven waraxe and Finn's spear, because he was drunk, though he destroyed the dwarf in the race. Though now the stable hands are using the prized waraxe to clean up horse droppings. I took ya'lls advice and had the party make will saves one night to receive a vision about the tomb of the Justicar falling into a chasm, though the party believes it is a small fortress, possibly a weapons cache, in the Rift. The party specifically hired Ygritte from Skeribar again to take them there, the aasimir paladin of the party said he was impressed with her and was going to try and romance her. The party listened to her advice about leaving horses behind and staying on the roads, I gave them a +5 to their encounter % for listening to local advice, not much, but something. They got out to the Crossroads after weathering some ghouls as usual and the paladin was laying on it pretty thick, but rolling well on his diplomacies. He ended up dropping a natural 20 and she was stonewalling him, but she managed finally to eek out that it wouldn't work out between them because they are on opposite sides. She also ended up blurting out that he shouldn't hire any of the rangers, but wouldn't say why and not to go to Sanctuary ever. In the past, she had hinted a few times that it would be a good place to camp and marked it on their map. After a little dalliance, during which time the Dweller appeared again to the rest of the party to no effect other than creepiness, the paladin and ranger returned and the rest of the group were wondering where they had gone. Perception checks and sense motives gave them away and Ygritte started preparing to silence them, since the secret getting out will probably have Skeribar and the Reclaimers kill her. The rest of the party let up, but not before the Magus while on watch ended up seeing Ygritte talk to the Dweller. What I had happened was Ygritte wished she had never met the party, so she was teleported back to the camp and switched with Skeribar. The rangers have no knowledge, but the twist is the party knows so eventually its likely her secret will get out and she might get killed. Skeribar now suspects that Ygritte is getting to close to the party though since they were interrogating him about it, especially the paladin. The next morning they dismissed him and he goes back to town. I'm planning on having him send Ygritte to Sanctuary for interrogation and possible sacrifice. I think this will possibly be an interesting arch as the paladin tries to re-meet Ygritte, should lead to some great rp.

Saturday game.

The party was undeterred and was making out for the Rift, though the paladin is being grilled about his duty to his quest and his emotional distractions to the ranger. He decided duty to cleansing the land was most important for now. They decided to travel the east road and had more ghouls attack them and with an acid rainstorm on the horizon they spotted A7 and figured it might make a decent shelter. The basilisk had a natural 20 on its stealth and it was three rounds after the Sorcerer was turned to stone until they finally saw it. He was saved by a trick the Magus learned with a knowledge arcana roll and covered in blood. While he was washing up the Soul Knife was scouting a bit and discovered the collapsed tunnel, the dwarf shoveled it out and the Soul Knife went scouting, though he was nearly torn in two like a wishbone by the Barrow Worms. It was a great fight, but I misread the mandibles entry and only applied 2d8+9 to the paladin who ended up grappled for most of the 5 round combat, the party blasted away with everything they had fireballs and all and managed to have no fatalities. They were spent and rested and had two consecutive screamer attacks that didn't result in any casualties due to some decent rolling. The dwarf fighter was down to 3 charisma though and they decided they really needed to search for treasure so they sent the Soulknife down the wormholes and found all the loot. Pressing on the paladin mowed down the shadow bear and the magus then Reduced him so he could go down the tunnel with only cramped condition and a rope around his waist. His first reaction to the undead ooze, which I said looked like a transparent stone with a skull in it was to detect evil. It ended up not surprising him and he smitted it in a round solo. The party went down the hole and confronted Tark and his band, though lucky rolls caused the paladin to loose 2 levels, temporarily. After looting and trying to dispel the evil aura the party fled back to town only encountering a single manticore.

Notably the group realizes Sammar is probably dead now, they saw Finn with his horse and a group of squatters is occupying the embassy. The paladin ran them out and has claimed it as his new job. He checked around for Ygritte, but he knew Skeribar was lying to him, though he didn't call him out. The rest of the party is trying to convince him that his duty should be the most important thing, but he's not going to forget. So what do you think, this is just bullet points, I glazed over a lot of random encounters? Questions?

Very good replay! Those basilisks are nasty! I think 3 of my players have been turned to stone already by them at least. All were turned back by the blood though fortunately for the party. They made their check also.

brvheart wrote:
Ack! Posted the wrong pic. I have better. Oh well.

What's wrong with the pic? Colors a little off? Either way you can see the craftsmanship.

The pic I intended to post showed the entire piece is all and yeah the lighting is a little off on this one also.


Brvheart have you seen Terranscapes stuff? Unreal.

Yes, I have seen his stuff before. Some associates of ours talked us into trying to do it and sell it, but as you can see it is quite pricey. His waterfall is 1/4 the size and $300. Mine is 2'x2'x2'! I had it for sale for $400 and couldn't get a nibble. I am not crazy about that type of carving either and it is common among terrain stuff. It is easy to do, but not very realistic IMHO.

I much prefer the style, materials and layouts from Woodland Scenics to Terranscapes.

Woodland Scenics Waterfall.

On another question, could not locate an ISBN number on either Slumbering Tsar or Tome of Horrors Complete.

Slumbering Tsar ISBN-10: 1622831241

Tome of Horrors Complete ISBN-10: 1622831292

Thanks Grimmy, my wife has an inventory program that uses the ISBN number. She is using it for all of the books we have which is a lot!

Terrain: We use the d&d vinyl and flip-mats, we play warhammer 40k and have a ton of terrain for that, but if I got out a ruler during game they would look at me funny. I wouldn't mind ditching the grid and grabbing a ruler, is that what you do?

As an aside my group is having a blast with this game and they are trying to get me to run it twice a week for games that usually last 8 hours, Friday 6pm to Sat 2 am or later.

Argos: He told the players he was going to rally political support in the region instead of joining the already full party. I figure he will come and reoccupy the embassy and be the reason adventurers, aka replacements, start teleporting into the Camp. I'd also like to develop the Camp some, maybe have a detachment of soldiers be stationed there from Magnimar and have Korvosa send some mercenaries to clear them out of the contested territory. Starting a new small war sounds fun and players seeing ghouls in the livery of the two squabbling cities could be interesting.

Ygritte the Ranger: Since this pc is unique to my campaign now, I'm intending to have her sent to Sanctuary for interrogation and possible sacrifice. Need to read up on the Reclaimers.

Teleport: Well after next game my players are going to have access to teleport. Is there anything that would affect it or cause it to be dangerous? I don't want to move to far away from the script, but I'd like to maintain the isolation. I suppose it gives me a chance to run a whole different set of NPC's from whatever city they decide to base themselves from.

A5 the Reclaimers
Reading ahead for the game on Sunday more than likely the players are going to go to "Sanctuary" aka A5 The Reclaimers. How did other parties handle this? It seems like the hedge is extremely powerful, but not really dangerous while the druids inside are dangerous yet very weak. Seems more of a rp opportunity to me, though after they are eliminated wouldn't the Sanctuary shrink over time even if Twiggy isn't eliminated?

As for my home game I'm debating adding an extra non-combat druid just to have someone performing the sacrifice rites as the players enter the area. They will have the possibility to stop it or not.

A5-4 Is that supposed to be a Minor Crown of Blasting in Niva's loot or is that a Horn of Blasting, it's listed as a Minor Circlet of Blasting, can't find that anywhere.

Thanks for all the answers, I know this thread is getting long, but its probably better to have one long one than 50 small ones cluttering up the feed.

@ James Yes we break out the rulers when I get the terrain boards out. Better than trying to overlay a grid on nice terrain. My players weren't able to get much of their treasure so I am not sure on those questions. I do know that they have a lot of variant treasure so I would go with that as the base item. Ah, I found the 3.5 item:
Circlet of Blasting, Minor: On command, this simple golden headband projects a blast of searing light (3d8 points of damage) once per day.

Faint evocation; CL 6th; Craft Wondrous Item, searing light; Price 6,480 gp

My players should have access to teleport themselves also soon so that is a good question! Looking at the overview of Tsar in chapter three it states that even Bard's Gate is not out of the reach of teleport so I would say no, this would not be an issue.

We used to play 8 hour sessions, but as we have gotten older and work on the weekends has become more of an issue with players we have cut back to 4-4.5 hours a session. We play 5 games over 2 weeks with each game played every other week.

My group is hitting 11th level and still doesn't have teleport (sorc/dragon disciple and bard are the arcane casters), though they do have Word of Recall and Eagle Aerie. Neither can get the whole group home (though perhaps all three can). Getting *to* places will be a bit harder. That's going to cut a lot of the random encounters out whenever it does happen. On the plus side, that means the fixed encounters can be that much tougher and more consecutive.

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