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


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Sovereign Court

We played on Roll20 because not all of my players are near me, and there was a minor issue but we had a really solid first session.

Session 1

The cast

Squire Simpson the Simple: Dwarven Armor Master with a penchant for headbutting and bull rushing.

Herbert, Son of Herbert: A human Unchained Rogue with a family history of grave robbing. Took Firearm Training and has a musket.

Kada Vare: Half-Elf Paladin (Holy Light) of Muir focusing on sword and board.

Tebede: Ratfolk Psychic with the Haunted discipline who likes to talk to people. Dead people.

Enkeli: Aasimar Oracle of Life from "Not Finland" who has become completely horrified by the Camp.

The Intro
I started off the adventure by introducing the characters to the contract they all held with the Raglin Group (a wealthy family of merchants. Because I don't believe in magic shops at every corner I have three major families crafting the majority of the magic items, to have access to these smithies and crafteries you have to have some kind of in. This is theirs.) The contract was for making the Desolation safe to travel through, and specifies cutting caravan casualties by at least 50% as well as some other quick and dirty specifics that get them off of the road and into the Desolation. I also plan on getting them holier quests later from the churches of Muir and Thyr for things like reduced cost resurrections and whatnot.

The wagon ride was long an uneventful, used as a roleplaying point for the group so they would know each other's characters when at the Camp. There's some racism from the scummy Rogue while the Oracle attempts to reign in the party as its leader. We have discovered the Chicken Metric, that the closer something tastes like chicken the more it's a Good Aligned act to eat it (we will be using this metric the rest of the game.)

A Rude Welcome
The wagon drops the group off before even coming to the Camp and I drop a rumor for them once they make their diplomacy check on the wagon's driver, giving them the Peddler rumor.

In town the group meets the rampaging Gurg. Of course, they go "Hill Giant bad" and immediately begin fighting it. Gurg almost knocks out the Paladin but the Psychic hits him with a Command that makes him drop his Greatclub and the Rogue takes time to stealth. In the end Gurg was really just a big pile of hit points for what he did to the group as a whole. He was at -1 when knocked out (which then translated to -7 with the Rage ending) and the Rogue took him out. Upon finding the Decanter of Endless Water on Gurg and properly Spellcrafting it, I had the Psychic use Knowledge Arcana to realize that soon the water it releases is going to begin being putrid thanks to the properties of the Desolation. One of the characters also has a Ring of Sustenance, but he hasn't picked it up yet (he still won't have to eat or drink, but I decided that wearing it and not eating is going to cause him to feel like he's starving and thirsty. I thought it fair for the setting.)

The Commons
The team gained some insight from some mercs outside of the Sip of Blood who watched the fight with Gurg, though neither of them seemed fazed by the death of the giant. The team was hesitant when they heard that Gurg was just the leader of a whole gang of mercenaries, but after the Psychic used Grave Words, I rolled favorably on the percentile and let slip that "They're all dead," which they took as his group.

The Paladin also detected evil on some of the people walking around and tagged the Hangman with it. I told them it came up Evil, and after a Detect Undead they figured out what kind of undead it was. The Oracle and Paladin were outraged that they were just letting an undead hang out here, but enough time passed as they discussed what possible reason there was to have an undead around when Griswald showed up. He was played very jovially, and the Rogue was all for the cleanup of Gurg. The Paladin and the Oracle were really not beginning to like this place, the Fighter still didn't care and the Rogue and Psychic felt at home. Everyone except the Rogue went into the Sip of Blood and saw Lucky, though he only had two barmaids working at the time and they were more interested in drinking.

The Oracle went to speak with the Usurer for beer money, taking gold from other members of the party, and managed to talk the Usurer (who was barely giving him the time of day) down to 4:1 with an absurdly high Diplo check.

The Rogue went out to look at the town, discovering the church and the apothecary before I rolled on the random Campie table and Skeribar approached. He went on about how his rangers were guides for those looking to go into the Desolation. The other party members were told about Iron Bits, but this was the first the Rogue had heard about it and was outraged about how it was essentially 250 gold a day for guidance, though Skeribar, being the totally nice guy he was, said he would halve the fee if their group wanted to go on the next trip to see the Druids, pointing at the only trees in the Camp. The Rogue said he would talk it over with his group.

The Rogue spoke of the church, which was identified by the holy symbol described as a Church of Nergal. The Oracle and Paladin are hating this place more and more by the moment. As night was falling, they decided to go to the Benders.

The Bender Bros.
They entered the inn to find the Gnome brothers bickering with each other loudly. Most of the party thought their brashness was rather charming, and they were taken in by the promise of a free meal for the first night. The rabbits reached a solid 65% on the Chicken Metric, which the party thought was pretty good for rabbits, and even though the Psychic used Detect Poison (he had in the tavern, too) there was no poison. I was glad this was on Roll20 because I was grinning pretty widely.

Rolling the Fort save, all but the Fighter were afflicted. Although they all woke up at roughly the same time the Rogue made it into the privy first, while the Oracle opted to run to the kitchen for a bowl. The Fighter remained sleeping even with all of the rushing outside of his room.

The Rogue got hit in the back of the head for a few measly damage and made his Fort save. I ended the session there due to technical difficulties and they'll be starting the next session in initiative. The Rogue is pissed at the Gnomes and ready for blood.

And that was our first session!

How much farther do they have, DaveMage?


My players are currently exploring the caverns of the barrier.

Probably 2-3 sessions left.


Thanks for posting Rust. Very cool to see a new GM getting in on this.

Tell us how your players make out DaveMage! Interested to see how they handle the big bad.

Scarab Sages

Just finished running my 5th session.
Since my players are cheap (they did NOT like the iron bits), they avoided staying at the inn.
So I had another adventure group of pesky kids with their dog arrive at the camp and stay at the inn.
Their disappearance spurred the PCs to act. :)

Scarab Sages

Hmm, my players decided to head to Bard's Gate to sell their loot... then they want to do about 60 days worth crafting...
I may need to throw some encounters at them while they are in town... maybe something along the lines of Gurg's wife... :)


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
W. John Hare wrote:

Hmm, my players decided to head to Bard's Gate to sell their loot... then they want to do about 60 days worth crafting...

I may need to throw some encounters at them while they are in town... maybe something along the lines of Gurg's wife... :)

On the other hand, Tsar is a long haul and you might want to be cautious about making the rest of the world interesting and eventful. I definitely ran a couple side-modules to break up the all-undead-all-the-time festival, but did it sparingly. Whenever the players wanted down-time, they got it.

The best thing is when your players start getting efficient. When wind walk comes available, it's hugely helpful to let them just cruise around the map and do interesting things instead of random encounters for the 800th time.

For the record, we finished Tsar, and enjoyed it.

Sovereign Court

I don't have the excitement to do a full write up like before, but we had our third session last night.

The cast

Squire Simpson the Simple: Dwarven Armor Master with a penchant for headbutting and bull rushing.

Herbert, Son of Herbert: A human Unchained Rogue with a family history of grave robbing. Took Firearm Training and has a musket.

Kada Vare: Half-Elf Paladin (Holy Light) of Muir focusing on sword and board.

Tebede: Ratfolk Psychic with the Haunted discipline who likes to talk to people. Dead people.

Enkeli: Aasimar Oracle of Life from "Not Finland" who has become completely horrified by the Camp. Holds the affections of a certain Swamp Hag. Still horrified.

The second session had them taking out the Bender Brothers at the inn. Two good Fort saves stopped the coup de grace and death attack and the Benders were eventually overwhelmed by the group. Everyone was very happy to find out that they inherited the inn, although some of the more good party members and the dwarf didn't quite like the Usurer.

They grabbed one of the rangers who promised to take them to the "place where the Desolation will heal." 250 a day to any other place, half that if they wanted to tag along on a supply run (to help sweeten the deal and get the party there.) They decided to go see the Reclaimers. The first thing they came across was the Screamer Sign, and argued about what might have happened for long enough that the Ghoul Wolves showed up. They were easily dispatched by the Oracle of Life before anyone could get paralyzed, but they did learn that the ranger wasn't going to help them in any of the combats. They later ran into a couple of bonestorms which the ranger caught early (giving him a bonus to Survival to spot them), and a Vrock, where the Paladin shone. At night Screamers showed up and the ranger, in an attempt to escape being too close, failed his acrobatics check and took a crit Cha drain and a regular Cha drain and is currently in a coma upon reaching 0 Cha.

Deciding to continue onward, they decided to "wake" him from his coma every few hours with Eagle's Splender (giving him the unbridled charisma of a baked potato) and he did the best he could with what they had. Eight castings of ES later (all of the Oracle's second level spells) they arrived at the Reclaimers. As the ranger was technically with them even though he was being dragged by the dwarf the Tigers and the Quickwood didn't attack.

They met with Niva, who explained some of the areas around the Desolation. They seemed mighty keen on hearing about the giant spider to the south, all except for the real-life arachnophobe in the party. I think that might be their next destination.

Ooooooor it would have been. In the dead of night I had the Rogue roll perception. Crit, +10. The DC I made up to hear Vilgara through the hedges and the sound of nature struggling against her bonds. He woke up the Psychic, who used Detect Thoughts (he had previously, but in the other direction.) Vilgara chose to take a natural one when she felt her mind being affected and sent out "help help help!" The Rogue went to investigate and met Scront. The others, having been awoken by the druid (the party discussing things were not very quiet) had cast some spells and were waiting in Wild Shape just in case. One of them went with the form of an eagle and summoned a flock of them, the other a Dire Tiger.

Well, the first sense motive roll was rolled. Yeah, everyone's been pretty trusting so far. They figured out Scront was lying and the Rogue stabbed him. We got through the first round of combat. Notable events being a wild shaped Dire Tiger attempted to attack the Armor Master dorf, but since its attacks didn't pierce his DR he got an immediate action Bull Rush on it, nat 20, + some huge number. Pushed it right into the hedge. The flock of eagles (cue "from the Plane of Murrica! jokes) +1 wild shaped druid flew into the sky, used half of his round to start Call Lightning. The Oracle was checking on the actual Dire Tigers outside, which seem reluctant to come in (well trained) and gets himself eaten and grabbed by the Quickwoods flanking either side. He's going to effectively be out of this fight unless he can somehow break free of both grapples, and is being pulled by both trees. Finally, the Scythe Falcon managed to roll two twenties in a row (then a 7, because we have a house rule where 3 twenties is an instakill). I had the player roll it, and it was a 2. The Rogue's right arm is now completely gone. He's taking it pretty well, his player is one of those Dark Soul nuts who love difficult games, and he's hoping his character survives the Druids long enough to regret this.

All in all they're having fun. They did ask me if they could survive this, and I was pretty vague about it. I believe they can, but they're going to lose people. They've started making back up characters just in case. I'm fairly confident they're going to try and make it back to The Camp after this should they survive. I'm going to throw the Midnight Peddler at them after this next time they make camp, as it's going to be their first big action in the Desolation.


I am loving this thread; it is a great resource, thank you. :D

And a special thanks to you greg; as I'm running this I keep encounting sections that I think "Oh that's poorly written, you should do xyz...", and then I run it as written and I'm floored at how perfectly the players play directly into scenario; far better than I could have ever drempt. Thank you so much for a fun and engaging game! :)

I'm starting to prep the crooked tower and I'm confused as to the golem at the gate. The book says it's a stone golem, and it opens with it's breath weapon. Iron golems have a breath weapon, but not stone. I'm confused! How did everyone else run it?


SudainNomanson wrote:

I am loving this thread; it is a great resource, thank you. :D

And a special thanks to you greg; as I'm running this I keep encounting sections that I think "Oh that's poorly written, you should do xyz...", and then I run it as written and I'm floored at how perfectly the players play directly into scenario; far better than I could have ever drempt. Thank you so much for a fun and engaging game! :)

I'm starting to prep the crooked tower and I'm confused as to the golem at the gate. The book says it's a stone golem, and it opens with it's breath weapon. Iron golems have a breath weapon, but not stone. I'm confused! How did everyone else run it?

Simply have it charge into the midst of the group and make sure it used its slow ability on as many characters as it could. Have it focus all attacks on one creature until it falls or moves out of reach.


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KaiserDM wrote:

Thanks for posting Rust. Very cool to see a new GM getting in on this.

Tell us how your players make out DaveMage! Interested to see how they handle the big bad.

Here's how it ended:
The players did not have the power to defeat the big bad, so one of the players sacrificed himself by putting a bag of holding into a portable hole while touching the dragon. Poof! Both were gone and that ended the adventure. :)

DaveMage wrote:
KaiserDM wrote:

Thanks for posting Rust. Very cool to see a new GM getting in on this.

Tell us how your players make out DaveMage! Interested to see how they handle the big bad.

** spoiler omitted **

Spoiler:
Very cool, I've ended campaigns on the old "retributive strike on the staff of the magi" trick because of the difficulty level.

Sacrificial ends go down in the annals of group history.

What are you working on/GMing now if I may ask?

I finally started my Tsar campaign last month and currently getting a low level party through Stoneheart Valley to level them up. I'll post here once they start getting into the book.


At the moment I'm actually playing rather than DMing!

We're going through the Kingmaker AP - just finished the second book.

Not sure what I'm going to DM next, but after years of running Tsar it's nice to be on the other side of the screen for a little while. (Although it was an absolute joy to run Tsar.)


Is the bleeding horror immune to all magic or just unbeatable spell resistance?


SudainNomanson wrote:
Is the bleeding horror immune to all magic or just unbeatable spell resistance?

Bleeding Horror is an acquired template that bestows spell resistance equal to 11 + CR.


>> Is the bleeding horror immune to all magic or just unbeatable spell resistance?
> Bleeding Horror is an acquired template that bestows spell resistance equal to 11 + CR.

I'm referring to a specific creature listed inside the Saga itself, not the template (though they do look similar).


What page is the creature you are referring to found on?

The only reference I can find is page 553, which references the template (which has the 11+CR SR).


I'm looking at Page 714 of my Slumbering Tsar book - under the new monster appendix. Next to a Protocreature and Megaswarm.


I see now. The petrified horror has immunity to magic. This ability makes the creature immune to all spells and spell-like abilities that allow spell resistance.

Essentially it is unbeatable spell resistance. Although many conjuration spells such as acid arrow or web could affect it since they do not allow spell resistance.


Cool, that's good to know. Thank you for confirming! :)


What is the timeline for the Saga? I've been saying it's hundreds if not thousands of years between the great retreat and the start of the saga but now it's becoming important in my game to have this proper time.

Thank you in advance,


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Hi guys, I'm back. I've got a new group of intrepid adventurers wanting to take a trip to the Desolation. Right now I'm doing a revamp of my travel maps and randomized charts. Looks like I've got some catching up to do in this thread. :D


SudainNomanson wrote:

What is the timeline for the Saga? I've been saying it's hundreds if not thousands of years between the great retreat and the start of the saga but now it's becoming important in my game to have this proper time.

Thank you in advance,

The timeline from the great retreat is right at 300 years.

Yeah, I started off saying it was about a thousand years but had to retcon that in my game. There are a few references to things that are just over 300 years of age in the text. I also found that there are just situations where items or structures to be encountered could plausibly still exist or function at 300 years of disuse, but 1000 or so kind of stretched credulity.

Hope this helps you.


James B. Cline wrote:
Hi guys, I'm back. I've got a new group of intrepid adventurers wanting to take a trip to the Desolation. Right now I'm doing a revamp of my travel maps and randomized charts. Looks like I've got some catching up to do in this thread. :D

Glad to hear it! Missed your recaps James. After years of reading and periodically checking this thread, I finally have a group preparing to make the trek. Currently, they are level 5 and are slogging through the Tomb of Abysthor. Should be ready in a month or 2.


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Toxycycline -

Thank you very much, this does help a great deal. :)

Yes, I need to start writing short snippits of what the players are doing too; I've been making notes every session log for our own internal use but others might enjoy it too. They are nearing level ~13 and just finished exploring the hidden sewer system. I'm starting to prep book 3 and jeepers it looks to be a lot of fun.


It took a few days but some of my players wrote up detailed notes of game 1. You may notice a few changes I made and some player opinions and theories.

Here is the cast.
Fetching Summoner
Slyph Rogue
Dwarf Druid
Oread Cleric
Gnoll Fighter

I did a random encounter at the start to let them shake the rust off before throwing them against Gurg. I also do not own the Bard’s Gate book so all that was just off the cuff. If anyone is interested send me a message and I can send my versions of my gm map and player map, which is the Desolation map with a grid overlay. Obviously the gm map is keyed. But I find it easier to just keep that one map than all the page flipping.

Game 1 Player Notes:
Game 1
​Established centuries ago as little more than a ferry for travelers between the ancient cities of Tsen in the north and Remenos and Curgantium in the west, over the years Bard’s Gate has grown from a small river crossing tended by a pig farmer into an important center of learning and trade. The city is famed far and wide as a bastion of the arts that welcomes bards, performers, writers, artists and crafters of all sorts. It is a beacon of civilization and a pillar of the western world. Yet this citadel of enlightenment is also threatened by dark forces — gnolls and orcs from the Stoneheart Mountains, cults of evil gods lurking within and without, and the machinations of rivals and allies alike threaten the city daily, for the very freedom that draws artists and musicians from around the world also allows evil to flourish. The party begins their journey here.
​The game opens at the Rusty Dragon Inn. The inn is crowded, filled with many patrons enjoying the lively atmosphere and fine music of the bar. The music in question comes from a small stage commanded by a petite half-elf girl demonstrating masterful use of her violin.
​Lissya, a Sylph rogue, is the first party member to arrive. she enters and finds a table near the stage. She is soon followed by Key, a Fetchling summoner, and Tyrus, a cleric in service to Key. The crowd is forced to part as the final members of the party enter: A Dwarven druid, Ingrid, alongside her dire wolf companion and Anya, an Oread cleric, with her imposing friend Bacchus, a Gnoll fighter.
​As the party finds their seats the music comes to an end and the performer gives her name, introducing herself as Lady Impas. She announces that she was done performing but that she would be hosting an auction later to benefit a local orphanage. The auction catches Lissaya who heads over to investigate. She watches the auction with interest and eventually the item comes onto the block that is announced to be an angel's feather. Lissaya is enamored by the trinket and pleads with the party to loan her some gold to bid on the item. Despite Ingrid’s complaints that it is simply a goose feather in a magic case Lissaya eventually gets enough gold to place the winning bid on the item. When Lady Impas takes the gold, and hands her prize Lissaya quickly picks the bard's pocket for the gold she paid. When Lissaya returns and gives the party their gold back, explaining what she had done, Key quickly becomes agitated. He begins reprimanding Lissaya on her actions eventually getting her to decide to later pay a visit to the orphanage in question to perhaps find a way to help them out and atone.
​The party sets about discussing plans to venture into the desolated wasteland, known as The Desolation, that surrounds the destroyed city of Tsar. Key explains that he wishes to take advantage of an offer put forth by the ruling party of Bard's Gate. He explains that they have agreed to grant status and right to rule as a vassal of Bard's Gate to any who could claim and conquer a sufficiently large tract of land within the wasteland. The rest of the party agree to help as they each have their own reasons for wishing to brave the dangerous land.
​Anya says that she was tasked by a friend to find any information on the lore and whereabouts of a man known as Lord Bisu. She knows he was a man of some religious implore in the area and that he was the leader of a group known as "The Fifty and One". Unfortunately reports of his ultimate fate are vague and conflicting so she and Bacchus set out to discover the truth.
​Lissya shows the party a map she chanced across that claims to lead to a great treasure secreted away in the ruins of the wasteland. She and Ingrid have studied the map and believe they have a general idea of where the map leads and are willing to split the treasure with any willing to help her seek it.
​With agreement, as to their course of action quickly reached they set a date to begin their expedition and set about gathering supplies.
​Before the party sets out Lissaya makes good on her promise to investigate the orphanage that was to benefit from her purchase. She ultimately decides to simply spend some time with the children and teach them some useful survival skills. While there she mentions the money they supposedly received from Lady Impas. The staff at the orphanage are confused as they have heard nothing of any fundraising benefiting them. Lissaya leaves and continues her preparation with a clear conscience knowing she only stole from another thief.​
On the third day after their meeting the set out on the long journey into The Desolation. A day into their journey while traveling on the road Anya spots 6 figures a little way down the path. As the party drew nearer she could distinguish them as bugbears. The bugbears initially seem weary of the approaching adventurers’ and begin to conceal themselves in foliage on the road's edge but quickly seem to become emboldened and begin moving towards the party. As the monsters begin advancing quicker and quicker the party get off their mounts and prepares for a fight. Lissaya hurls some magic missiles at the advancing group. Bacchus, Anya, Tyrus, and Ingrid move forward and draw their weapons. Ingrid casts entangle on the ground at the monsters' feet, catching one and slowing the others. Anya offers prayers to her god while Key envelops himself in his Eidolon, taking the form of a 6-legged winged shadow cat. He takes to the sky to survey the area and make sure there are no ambushes lying in wait. Believing he sees danger in the tall grass beside the road he flies in to investigate. Lissaya sneaks over to hide in the grass so she can surprise any bugbears that get too close. Ingrid casts flaming sphere and uses it to bowl for bugbears and hits two immediately immolating them. Anya casts searing light and reduces another to ash. Bacchus uses his bow to dispatch two more, leaving just one who attempts to run but is quickly felled by another arrow.
​The party treks on for ten more days, noticing that as they go the vegetation and wildlife become more and more sparse. Ingrid continues to guide us using Lissaya's map while Key keeps watch from the air. Eventually he spots a camp and flies down to announce his discovery to the rest of the party.
​The Camp is a sprawling cluster of crude shanties and dilapidated hovels. The standard materials for most of these broken building are pieces of plywood scavenged off crates and wagons, broken branches and sticks, thatch, some fieldstones, and copious amount of mud. Many of the structures are little more than lean-tos. All are in poor condition due to the laziness and apathy of their current occupants and are held together by little more than spit and good luck. A truly hard windstorm (thankfully rare south of the Desolation) could flatten most of the dwellings, and a heavy rain would cause many of them to simply melt. They see a hanged man in the center of the towns commons, a tavern named “A Sip of Blood”, a blacksmith, and a collection of tents where trade seems to take place. The party also notices the nicest building in town that has smoke coming from the chimney and immediately assumes that is probably the blacksmith. They are then interrupted in their sightseeing by a loud roar that echoes through the town causing nearby people to scatter from view. Rushing towards them is a huge hill giant wearing a chain shirt holding a huge spiked great club. They notice his face is covered in acid burns as he charges towards the party.
​The hill giant glares angrily at the party and raises his weapon. He smacks Bacchus with a powerful blow, badly injuring him. Anya moves forward to join her friend in combat and hits him with her nodachi. Bacchus takes his opportunity to get revenge on the hill giant and strikes him with his axe. Key flies behind the hill giant and descends on him clawing and biting. Lissaya lands a blow on the monster, continuing to whittle him down. The hill giant deals a devastating blow to Bacchus knocking him unconscious. Anya and Tyrus quickly use their healing magic on the Gnoll while Key finishes off the giant with a final barrage. The party receives a +1 chain shirt from the encounter.
​A man who was hiding behind a house, comes out from hiding when the giant lands with a heavy thud and says “Huh?”. The front the man’s shirt seems to be covered in fresh vomit and he stares at the party for a few moments, confused about what just happened. The man then hurries quickly back into his shack. Anya sees a man in a suit approaching that is dragging a dead body across the street and explains to the party that he is a ghast. Lissaya approaches him and suddenly feels like she is going to vomit, but she stops herself. “Hi.” she says reaching out to shake his hand. “Hi!” he replies reaching out to accept the hand shake. While he is distracted by her shaking his hand, she pick-pockets him. In his pocket, she finds something that resembles a tongue or a piece of a brain. “What are you doing?” she asks him. “My job.” he replies. “What is your job?” she asks. “Undertaker.” he explains. “I don’t eat them.” he says noticing her concerned look. “It seems like you do….” she says showing him the tongue and pieces of brains that she found in his pocket. Eventually realizing he would be no threat to the party she gives him the contents of his pockets back as well as the brains of the hill giant in exchange for his promise not to eat the group should any of them meet their end.
​The party hears the unmistakable sound of a blacksmith hammering away at his forge and decide to investigate. They discover a tall and lean man with watery blue eyes and very little hair, toned muscles showing with every hammer strike. “What are you making?” Lissaya asks him. “Traveler? Hmmm.....this is currency.” he replies. “What kind of currency?” “Bits,” he explains. Upon investigation, she learns that this is the only currency that The Camp deals in and that to get bits you must purchase them with gold with the exchange rate set at 5 gold for 1 bit. She attempts to sneak a handful of bits into her pocket while inspecting his work. He ends up noticing what she was trying to do and she quickly buys a bit from him, planning to attempt to replicate it later.
​From the Bazaar, the party can smell delicious food being cooked. They also see a stable, an old adobe house covered by furs, an artificial mound that looked like an old tomb, and a large number of hide tents inhabited mostly by orcs and half-orcs. The old adobe house was surrounded by six guys wearing dusty capes and light armor. Around the house, the party could see six wolves, one of them was big and reddish. Key decides to head back to the Usurer and asks him how would someone go about starting a business here and he tells him all he needs to do is open a business. He finds that town polices themselves and that the blacksmith makes all the bits. He inquires further regarding the bits and learns that locals get a much more favorable exchange rate of 2 gold per bit. He then tells Key about a powerful Lich that resides in the dead fields. Key then returns to the party and tells them what he learned.
​A gnome walks past the rest of the party carrying some pots heading towards the garden. “Yall new in town?” he asks them. “Yes.” Lissaya replies. “Well, the Inn is there.... the tavern is there......and you can get hot food over there.” he says pointing at various locations. He introduces himself as Gibbly and tells them he runs the Inn with his brother. She asks him if they have any jobs that they are seeking aid for, he initially tells them his concerns regarding a local vampire named Simon. She tries to inquire about the vampire and he quickly changes his mind, telling her he is fine. Gibbly instead leans close to Lissaya and tells her that he would be willing to give them a discount on rooms at the inn if we get rid of the owner of the tavern, Lucky.
​Lissaya decides to sell the +1 chain shirt to one of the vendor and receives 500 bits for it. Afterwards, the party talks Lissaya into trying to steal back the chain shirt she stole. She watches the vendor for the rest of the day, so that she wouldn’t lose track of it. At the end of the day, the shops start to close up and she sneaks inside his shop, but doesn’t see the chain shirt right away. She casts detect magic in an attempt to find it but the shirt is nowhere to be found. She then investigates the merchants tent but she finds nothing of great value. It gets darker and the party sees the people in the town hurry quickly into their tents. The rest of the party decides to set up camp. Anya and Ingrid work together to shape a structure for the party from nearby boulders and scrap wood.
​In the distance, Anya spots a shadowy figure down on all fours. It appears to be an undead, its head sideways with a noose around his neck and a sign on his chest that reads “Cheater”. Anya calls out to Lissaya but she doesn’t hear her. The shadowy figure comes up behind Ingrid and uses the noose to drag her away. Anya can tell that it is undead. Bacchus raises his bow and shoots it. Anya and Ingrid’s wolf chase after Ingrid. Anya catches up with them and the undead attacks her. She is told to let the DM know when it is two days from now. Bacchus shots it again and Anya finishes him off with two deadly blows.
​While the rest of the party battles the undead, Lissaya hears a creaky noise from nearby and goes to investigate it. Emerging from the darkness she sees a hooded boney jawed guy that’s appears to be undead pushing a cart. “Buy?” he asks. “What do you have?” she replies. He pulls out a dehydrated dead fish and offers it to her for fifty gold. She offers him a few bits but he ignores her offer and pushes his cart off into the darkness. She returns to the party and they inform her of what happened in her absence.
​Anya wakes up the next morning to find that she is feverish and worries that she is going to turn undead. Upon further inspection, the party tells her she only has filth fever. Lissaya decides to pay Lucky a visit and Ingrid goes with her. Smoke pours out over the town and they can hear the steady sound of the Usurer’s hammer. They arrive at The Sip of Blood Tavern and see that it is an old structure that appears to have been rebuilt several times. They walk into the tavern to find a few people sprawled out on the floor, a few bar maids are walking around and behind the bar stands Lucky. His head is hairless on the left side, he is missing an eye, he is missing an ear, and he has massive scarring. He left arm ends in a ragged stump just below the elbow and his right leg ends in an exposed bone. He smiles at them as they enter and they see he is also missing most of his teeth. Lissaya asks for a drink, Lucky makes some hand gestures at her and they notice that he is also missing his tongue. The bar maid walks up and translates his hand gestures “It’s best to be inside after dark and not to anger the ghosts. This whole place was a battleground once, and the dead rise at night and take anyone they find wandering around.”. Lissaya stares at him trying to figure out why Gibbly has a problem with him, when he doesn’t seem like he can do much harm. She asks why they call him Lucky and he explains that he has a magic rock that she can rub for 50 bits. They find out that actually touching the stone provides no benefits. Lucky signs something the bar maid translates “Um.....I think he’s saying, ‘Beware the black beast in the pit.’ Either that or ‘There’s blackened beef on the spit.’ I’m not sure which, I haven’t worked here long...” she explains. Lissaya can tell that he said, ‘Beware the black beast in the pit’. She asks if she can trade a performance instead of bits for a chance to hold the rock, but that doesn’t work.
The party finds out that the artificial mound they saw the previous day is a burrow from which an old swamp hag named Mama Grim sells potions. Her hair is a massive tangle of greasy black locks, in which she has tangled bits of feathers and bone. It has the look of an old tomb except for the garland of wildflowers that are hung around the door frame. However, whoever was buried there has been cleaned out. The party discusses whether or not to kill Lucky. Ingrid is all for it, but most of the rest of the party is unsure. Lissaya is on the fence about, Key doesn’t want to, Anya doesn’t see the point. Bacchus says he is confused as to why they are so hesitant and that he could go do it himself. Lissaya rolls her eyes and sarcastically says “Yeah you go do that”. Not really understanding that Lissaya was being sarcastic Bacchus heads toward the tavern. Key notices and Key sets out to follow him.
​Bacchus enters The Sip of Blood Tavern. Key follows him in and sits on the floor. A few people are sitting around in the tavern and Bacchus stares behind the bar, debating on whether or not he is going kill Lucky. Meanwhile, Lissaya goes to Inn to talk to Gibbly to figure out why he wants Lucky gone. She asks him why he wants Lucky gone and Gibbly clarifies that he wants him dead. She couldn’t get many answers from Gibbly, so she approaches his twin brother, Jashanah. She asks him about Lucky and he tells her that Lucky has his lucky rock. He tells her that the rock is only lucky if you are carrying it and it does nothing if you just touch it. She offers to get them the rock back in exchange for free room and board for her, but only a discount for the rest of the party.
​While that is going on Bacchus walks up to Lucky behind the bar and attacks him with his battle axe much to the horror of the barmaid and patronage. Lucky attempts to crawl to safety over the bar but is cut down by Bacchus. A guy sitting at the bar breaks for the door and Key blocks his way. Meanwhile, Lissaya heads back to tavern and notices the Usurer is headed to the bar. She sees Ingrid and Anya standing nearby and gets them to follow her. The Usurer tries to open the door to the tavern, but the door hits Key, who is still standing in front of it. “Hello.” Key said to him, moving out of the way. Bacchus delivers the final blow with his battle axe, killing Lucky. Ingrid, Anya, and Lissaya enter the tavern. Immediately seeing Lucky on the ground, Anya and Ingrid rush over to see if he is dead. “Business must not stop.” the Usurer says looking right at Bacchus. “He doesn’t really understand business.” Key explains to him. “Business must not stop.” the Usurer repeats, now staring at Key. Ingrid casts stabilize on Lucky and Anya starts to assess his wounds. The Usurer leaves the tavern and Lissaya hurries to The Apothecary to see Mama Grim to get Lucky reincarnated. When they leave Bacchus plods out tossing the lucky stone to Key as he passes. Key begins to study the rock and discovers it is a powerful item known as a Luckstone.
​When Lissaya gets to Mama Grim's shop, she leaves the body just outside the door and steps inside just to talk Mama Grim. Before she gets the chance to say anything, Ingrid sends her wolf to fetch Lucky’s body and drag it away. Lissaya runs after Ingrid’s wolf and manages to pull off Lucky’s finger. She reenters The Apothecary and asks Mama Grim to reincarnate. Lissaya offers her the angel feather and a future favor. Mama Grim agrees and asks her to kill one of her sisters. If she doesn’t complete the task within a year she will die painfully. (DM needs to give us the sisters’ names) The reincarnate potion brings Lucky back as kitsune. “My god favored you and brought you back.” Lissaya says handing him an iron one holy symbol. Bacchus then walks in the room covered in Lucky’s blood and holding his crutch. “By the laws of war, you lost the bar, but you were given a second chance by my god. Welcome to being in the service of the iron one.” Lissaya says to Lucky.


My party (12th level) just entered Tsar proper last session (after clearing out Kirash Dirgaut in the prior sessions) - they took out the Bonewright, fought the blood golems in the arena, and got sniped for the first time by the Stalker. They decided to teleport back to Bard's Gate and sleep in a nice bed - I had the Midnight Peddler show up outside the inn there and give them his latest message - they loved the fact that he showed up even there.

Belishan has been watching them via the ravens, so he knows they have come into Tsar and will be planning some actions against them.


:) I'm having a heck of a time getting the party to actually make themselves available to the peddler. They absolutely refuse to even consider being inside tsar after dark. I'm having the peddler appear to them at midnight inside the city (as that's where the information and plot is) if the party decides to spend the night inside the city. And the peddler isn't going inside (for my game) their mage's mansion. Instead, they trust the dweller at the crossroads (because apparently, he gives information that they find trustworthy - even though he's trying to screw them). o.O And they decided that the blood mage (disguised as a scholar in bards gate) is trustworthy and quite loveable. Only after did he learn their secrets did he betray them. *facepalm*.


One modification I'm doing with my group that's working *wonders* for the over-arching ticking-time-bomb effect is I'm spreading the Pall across the world once the citadel returns. 5-7 days per global alignment shift. Just a few days in and all the pure good hearts in the world have been corrupted, and just a scant few hours all the neutral hearts will turn evil (further restricting which replacement heroes can enter the campaign). It's really making them stop and think, "Do we really need to rest? I mean, really?"

I also setup the Architect's area to be filled with an anti-magic field that could be turned off via lever so they would have to deal with a couple challenges in a mundane way (no +5 cloak of resistances for you!), and that was a quite fun and memorable (difficult in the moment) modification.

They have yet to find the method of stopping/reversing the pall, but building materials have been produced at exceptionally high velocities and infighting has begun already. This will be a campaign they will speak of in years to come.


Fantastic thread! I've just finished reading through it.

Once my weekly Deathwatch tabletop game is wrapped up in the next few months, I'll kick off Slumbering Tsar Saga, converted to 5E. I'm keen to start, and this thread has given me ideas of potential pitfalls and tips.


I hope you have as much fun with it as I did!


Cheers!

Is there a cohesive overview of the Lost Lands setting available anywhere? I have some of the pdfs via bundles but I'm not sure where to go beyond the Slumbering Tsar book itself.

Scarab Sages

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Decimus Observet wrote:

Cheers!

Is there a cohesive overview of the Lost Lands setting available anywhere? I have some of the pdfs via bundles but I'm not sure where to go beyond the Slumbering Tsar book itself.

The World of the Lost Lands Kickstarter successfully funded in April, and last update indicates a Dec/Jan timeline for when it will be ready, which you'd be able to order it.

If you click the Frog God Games underneath "Created By" on the main Kickstarter page, you can click the "26 created" projects link to see the other parts of the world that are in the works (Grand Duchy of Reme) or have been released (Sword of Air, Borderland Provinces, etc.)


@davrion, thanks for the pointer! I'm keeping an eye out for the Lost Lands book. My Deathwatch campaign is getting there but not yet done. So I'm spending some time thinking over monsters and spells. I've picked up Volo's and Mordenkainen's from wotc, as well as 5E Foes, Tome of Horrors, and Book of Lost Spells from Frog God.

For anything which doesn't match up smoothly, I have the option of building custom. A solid series from The Angry GM on that.

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