#05-07 Port Godless [Spoilers, I'm sure]


GM Discussion

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3/5

Jiggy wrote:
@Saint Caleth — Kinda sounds like maybe you got your idea of what paladins and lawfulness are all about from watching people (fail to?) roleplay them rather than from the source material on those concepts.

I am pretty sure I am getting my understanding of paladins from the same place you are. What do you think a paladin should do when faces with laws which proscribe a good or neutral religion.

Paladin Code wrote:

A paladin must be of lawful good alignment and loses all class features except proficiencies if she ever willingly commits an evil act.

Additionally, a paladin's code requires that she respect legitimate authority, act with honor (not lying, not cheating, not using poison, and so forth), help those in need (provided they do not use the help for evil or chaotic ends), and punish those who harm or threaten innocents.

I think that someone who is persecuted for their religions beliefs (as long as that belief is not in an evil deity) is a pretty clear cut case of an innocent who is being harmed or threatened. The authorities of Rahadoum are literally waging a genocidal slaughter of all divine-based characters. Why would a paladin respect the rules of an authority they are bound by their code to fight against? What am I missing here?

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Saint Caleth wrote:
literally waging a genocidal slaughter

You know, I haven't actually read up on Rahadoum, but playing this scenario gave me the impression that revealing my cleric's nature would just get me deported.

3/5

Jiggy wrote:
Saint Caleth wrote:
literally waging a genocidal slaughter
You know, I haven't actually read up on Rahadoum, but playing this scenario gave me the impression that revealing my cleric's nature would just get me deported.

As a foreigner and for purposes of individual PFS adventures, they might imply that the punishment is deportation. But the Pure Legion is far harsher with natives. I'm pretty sure that the iconic oracle's backstory is that she was about to be killed in Rahaoudm for the oracle powers that she mainfested, even though she did not choose to have them. That is what they do to the religious as well as divine spellcasters in Rahadoum. I would characterize it as genocidal.

They are literally at war with what paladins stand for and build their identities around, namely divine power. Rahadoum is also a weird example because while it is a perfectly functional nation and in many ways more advanced than lots of other countries on Golarion and in principle the idea of ridding the world of sectarian conflict is a laudable goal, a paladin has to oppose them on grounds of the suppression of religion.

Paizo Employee 5/5 Developer

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For those who have not already, I recommend reading the Pathfinder Tales novel Death's Heretic, which does a great job of portraying how a typical member of the Pure Legion thinks. Rahadoum is tough on divine spellcasting, but there are several distinctions that Paizo makes a very conscious effort to maintain; James Sutter is the authority in this regard, but I'll summarize as best I can.

1) Rahadoum doesn't say "nobody can worship deities anywhere ever." The country as a whole says that deities exist, but the price one pays by becoming beholden to a god is far higher and less enriching than the price one pays by eschewing divine worship altogether.

2) Rahadoum is not an "evil empire." It is quite happy with how its restrictions function, but it's not out there to proselytize or convert others to its way of thinking. It's not violently oppressing its citizens or visitors. It simply lays out what is acceptable and expects those who live within its borders to abide by that. So long as others can accept that Rahadoum operates differently, Rahadoum is content.

3) Execution of divine spellcasters is rare, even when the Pure Legion is involved. It is far more common for one to be fined, flogged, shamed, deported/exiled, or imprisoned for some length of time depending on the severity of the offense. Execution is reserved for serious, repeat offenders.

Think of Rahadoum like a family with children that the parents have decided to raise in a secular household. They kindly but firmly request that nobody bring in religious pamphlets, proselytize, or reference the divine when giving thanks. No matter one's thoughts on the religious aspect, these parents are otherwise very reasonable people who donate to charity, love their children, and promote good moral and civic virtues. They also have every right to be upset (and then show the guest to the door) when someone starts trying to convert their children.

If you'd prefer a non-religion example, replace religion above with high-fructose corn syrup. The parents are going to be disappointed and possibly angry if you keep trying to bring soft drinks to the play dates.

In a way, the "legitimate authority" and the "not a legitimate authority" camps are both right. They are both wrong in a way, too. In a discussion I just had with James Jacobs, we came to the conclusion that there's no one right answer here. One might choose to emphasize a paladin's respect for legitimate authority by suppressing her divine warrior aspect, which isn't a significant breach of code. One could also express rebellious tendencies by not recognizing that government as a legitimate authority (facing any repercussions), favoring divine warrior over the lawful aspect.

So long as this second approach doesn't result in evil behavior or wanton violence, I would not punish the paladin. In-character, going to Rahadoum for a paladin is a lose-lose situation that is punishment enough. Out-of-character, it's a unique roleplaying opportunity that a code-constrained class can still find several ways to experience. For those who don't particularly want to go to Rahadoum with a character, I would simply observe that the scenario does not hide its destination, so players can make an informed decision as to what they might enjoy most.

Scarab Sages

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Jiggy wrote:
Saint Caleth wrote:
Paladins follow divine LAW and not mortal laws.
Then what does "a paladin's code requires that she respect legitimate authority" mean?

Nothing according to most paladin players.

Liberty's Edge

What got me reading about all the Plagues that occur in Rahadoum (random outbreaks of disease) also is how effective a Druid might be in such a situation. Their spell list is very similar to the Clerics and whilst they arnt worshipping a named divine power per say, they are getting their divine mojo from something.

I Doubt they are as persecuted to any extent as Clerics/Oracles and so on.

Which makes me think that more often than not these Plagues that Rahadoum keeps getting are the works of nefarious powers who introduce them outta spite in the full knowledge that Rahadoum is particularly susceptible to them.

5/5

Thanks for clarifying, John - I think some people had a misconception of what Rahadoum actually does to divine characters. There is no genocidal slaughter, it's just against the law, like in some places slavery is against the law and in some place it isn't. I agree, both my paladins took it as a great roleplaying challenge - but then, I'm lucky player-wise.

(Side note: I *really* welcomed the sidebar in the scenario on the Laws of man -it provided a lot of guidance on what could/would happen, which helped frame our extended discussion about the paladin's code.)


Scott Young wrote:
terraleon wrote:
...then all jump to where they need to go, potentially in the invisibility sphere, depending on how you swing it. ...
Just found that creatures entering an invisibility sphere after it is cast do not become invisible, so this doesn't get as nasty as I thought it would...

No, they don't, but given they communicate telepathically, she could cast the sphere last, after the daemons arrive.

-Ben.

Dark Archive

Is there any description of VC Obo anywhere? e.g. race, age?

Other than he is male (from the mission briefing), I don't see anything.

5/5

From another scenario: "His beard is lustrous but dominated with gray, and his voice is cultured and deep, a pleasing baritone."

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Agent, Colorado—Denver aka roll4initiative

Does anyone have a suggestion for handling the arrival of the guards while the PCs are exploring the Fort?

The Exchange 2/5

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
John Compton wrote:
Also, be aware that for whatever reason, there are two notes about check boxes that advise checking box D. Please use check box C for the Qadira faction mission and box D for Sophini's escape.

Sorry for the slightly off topic post:

John - is there any chance of future scenarios that require the GM to use reporting checkboxes have the details in their own sub-section in the "Conclusion" section at the end of the scenario? I spent 10 minutes after this scenario last night with the GM going through the PDF to try to work out which boxes should be checked/not checked. It is very easy for less experienced GMs to miss this - especially at the end of a scenario in a public environment when they usually need to pack up fast and hand their reporting sheet over to an organiser. Thanks!

Dark Archive

roll4initiative wrote:
Does anyone have a suggestion for handling the arrival of the guards while the PCs are exploring the Fort?

That is covered by "Azir's Local Watch" on page 24. Its possible to effectively TPK this way.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

Couple of comments about the scenario after running it last night.

Firstly, length. This is a long scenario. There's a ton of opportunity for role-play, with all the investigating the trail of Maroc/Eando, the interactions with the bakers and at the bathhouse. It's great fun. Unfortunately, it also means this scenario is likely to run long, especially if the PCs decide to make two runs on the place, firstly to scope it out, and then to infiltrate. Also, the scenario doesn't contain an optional encounter? First time I've seen that, though there may be other scenarios I haven't encountered yet.

Secondly, my players were disappointed upon bluffing their way into the compound on the pretense of buying slaves (one of the PCs was wearing so much jewelry that he received a +20 on his bluff check against the guards for the bling alone!), to have the alarm raised just because Sophini scrys on them. She has to beat a DC20 Sense Motive to figure out she has a "hunch", and she has a +13 Sense Motive, so there's a greater than 50% chance that - no matter how guileful the PCs are - their infiltration will fail.

I explained this to them afterwards as they thought they'd done something wrong, and they were disappointed to find out that the success of their infiltration was entirely out of their hands.

Otherwise, this scenario is a ton of fun, and super flavourful.

Silver Crusade 5/5 ⦵⦵⦵ RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8 aka GreySector

I presume that the Greater Ceustodaemons are regular ceustodaemons with the advanced template, and Lesser Ceustodaemons are regular ceustodaemons with the young template? It would be nice if those template names were called out rather than simply referred to obliquely by their Bestiary page numbers (there are several templates on those pages).

Paizo Employee 5/5 Developer

Michael Eshleman wrote:
I presume that the Greater Ceustodaemons are regular ceustodaemons with the advanced template, and Lesser Ceustodaemons are regular ceustodaemons with the young template? It would be nice if those template names were called out rather than simply referred to obliquely by their Bestiary page numbers (there are several templates on those pages).

Please see the ceustodaemon creature entry. The descriptive text also includes several bolded headers that define exactly what greater and lesser ceustodaemons are.

Dark Archive

Note that Arcane Eye has a ten minute casting time so the PCs have ten minutes to make their move.

I found it jarring that anyone would use a 700gp scroll or spend ten minutes casting a spell just because they are suspicious and when that isn't even foolproof.

The scenario reminds me of The Cultist's Kiss, another detailed roleplay and investigation heavy scenario that will run long. If anything this one has more detail and depth.

There are 5 scenes before they even get to the first encounter, and a lot of groups of opponents in the final raid. It looks like you need to be starting the raid by half way through which doesn't give a lot of time for each of the 7 scenes up to that point.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

ZomB wrote:

Note that Arcane Eye has a ten minute casting time so the PCs have ten minutes to make their move.

I found it jarring that anyone would use a 700gp scroll or spend ten minutes casting a spell just because they are suspicious and when that isn't even foolproof.

Good catch there, I slipped up in that regard. Fortunately it saved us from running even further overtime, as they were forced to assault the compound right then and there as opposed to scouting it out and then attacking at night.

And yeah, it does seem like a waste of time and money for her.

Silver Crusade 5/5 ⦵⦵⦵ RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8 aka GreySector

John Compton wrote:
Michael Eshleman wrote:
I presume that the Greater Ceustodaemons are regular ceustodaemons with the advanced template, and Lesser Ceustodaemons are regular ceustodaemons with the young template? It would be nice if those template names were called out rather than simply referred to obliquely by their Bestiary page numbers (there are several templates on those pages).
Please see the ceustodaemon creature entry. The descriptive text also includes several bolded headers that define exactly what greater and lesser ceustodaemons are.

wipes egg off face

But John, that would require me to open a book! :)

Apologies. I usually don't have enough time to look at the actual Bestiary entry until I am running unless I need to apply a template in advance and due to my time crunch in preparing to run this (including creating some augmented summoned monster statblocks) I used the versions in the shared GM prep folder (which has the greater ceustodaemons using a fire breath weapon instead of an electricity breath weapon like I now see the Bestiary 2 entry says they should have).

Silver Crusade 5/5 ⦵⦵⦵ RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8 aka GreySector

Isaac White wrote:
ZomB wrote:

Note that Arcane Eye has a ten minute casting time so the PCs have ten minutes to make their move.

I found it jarring that anyone would use a 700gp scroll or spend ten minutes casting a spell just because they are suspicious and when that isn't even foolproof.

Good catch there, I slipped up in that regard. Fortunately it saved us from running even further overtime, as they were forced to assault the compound right then and there as opposed to scouting it out and then attacking at night.

And yeah, it does seem like a waste of time and money for her.

Except that they are planning on packing up and leaving in less than two days. IMO an evil character will always expect the worst of people, so when Sophini is informed of unexpected 'high rollers' who want to purchase some of her slaves just before she is about to make a clean exit from Azir she is probably justifiably paranoid.

Sovereign Court 5/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Michael Eshleman wrote:

I used the versions in the shared GM prep folder (which has the greater ceustodaemons using a fire breath weapon instead of an electricity breath weapon like I now see the Bestiary 2 entry says they should have).

*whistles innocently, quietly fixes the versions in the GM Shared Prep*

Hope the rest of the notes were useful!

Silver Crusade 5/5 ⦵⦵⦵ RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8 aka GreySector

James McTeague wrote:
Hope the rest of the notes were useful!

They were, thanks!

Dark Archive

Is there art anywhere for the other two Cuestodaemons? (the horned frog and horned ape)

Liberty's Edge

Thanks for all of the notes. I'm running this one tomorrow, and had a few minor questions and one major question.

1) At low tier, shouldn't Sophini have Black Tentacles in her spellbook? She seems to have made the Black Tentacles trap, so it was a little odd to see that she only knows the spell at high tier.

2) At high tier, shouldn't Sophini have Lesser Planar Binding in her spellbook? She seems to have used this spell (and the +2 HD bonus from being a Blackfire Adept) to call the Ceustodaemons. It appears a scroll would not suffice, as she needs the bonus from her Blackfire Pact to call the creature.

3) At low tier, how did Sophini call the Ceustodaemons? If she used scrolls, shouldn't the creatures not have the Blackfire Pact bonus?

4) I had a major question about the flow of the scenario. If the PCs have to fight the Pure Legion in the bathhouse, I am unsure of how they get one day to scout out the Blackfire Adept compound. It seems that the PCs will be observed fighting the Pure Legion by various bystanders in the bathhouse. This would then lead to the PCs being wanted criminals in town; wouldn't various bystanders and Pure Legion members now receive Perception checks to spot the PCs and call for backup? It seems that the PCs would be unable to wander the streets of Azir gathering information for a day if they attacked the Pure Legion.

The only thing that made sense to me was requiring the PCs to assault the compound without being able to gather information if they attacked the Pure Legion in the bathhouse. I figured Eando could sneak them outside through the undercity; they would then have to go to the compound and assault it immediately without any preparation, or risk arrest.

Does this make sense?

Dark Archive

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1) The scenario says the Blackfire adepts set the BT trap. So it could be one of the adepts that already left.

1+2) Possibly its in her main spellbook sent ahead with the others or hidden elsewhere. The one in the scenario is her core or travelling spellbook - it is very light on lower level spells for a main spellbook.

Alternately just assume one of the other adepts cast it and keyed it to her. Sophini is not the leader of the adepts. She is a trusted lieutenant. EDIT: and trusted lieutenant amongst an evil sect might mean patsy!

4) I too was surprised the scenario didn't call this out as an evil act, or at least an unlawful one. I agree they would be wanted criminals as described in the scenario at this point and leaving Azir later would be tricky. I planned to at least record it on their chronicles as per my suggestion in the "GM timeline" item I uploaded to the GM prep area.

They would have to lie low or go in disguise or use proxies while prepping the raid and flee quickly afterwards.

This is the scenario that puts the murder hobo approach to bed.


Quote:
4) I had a major question about the flow of the scenario. If the PCs have to fight the Pure Legion in the bathhouse, I am unsure of how they get one day to scout out the Blackfire Adept compound. It seems that the PCs will be observed fighting the Pure Legion by various bystanders in the bathhouse. This would then lead to the PCs being wanted criminals in town; wouldn't various bystanders and Pure Legion members now receive Perception checks to spot the PCs and call for backup? It seems that the PCs would be unable to wander the streets of Azir gathering information for a day if they attacked the Pure Legion.

Well, my thinking was this-- if they let them get away alive, the Pure Legion's going to have a short delay if the guards don't want the embarrassment of being defeated in their town; they're going to delay reporting their defeat, or may not report it, if there's nothing really to report. (PL: "We wanted to question these guys about someone, and they beat us up." Senior officer: "Were any of them the guy you wanted?" PL: "Uh, no?" SO: "So you harmed our reputation here in a fight with foreigners where you didn't have overwhelming force?" PL: "Uh, yes." SO: "You're fired. Send them to the Watch, and let's go get these guys.") They're going to want to keep their jobs, so likely, they'll keep it quiet.

The civilians all flee the bathhouse as it starts, so there are (ideally) no witnesses. If the party kills them, then there's still at least a day spent tracking down witnesses who will identify the party. Then there's at least a day spent hunting down the party. By then, the party should be in the soup and it should be a non-issue. There's no TV, no cameras, so with limited precautions, the group should have a window of operation to complete things, but the tension should be increased based on that encounter. They certainly shouldn't want to be captured when the Legion shows up after the alarm goes off.

-Ben.


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An interesting twist on this came up in a session I ran last week-- the group subdued the legion, then took their cloaks and gear. They talked with their contact, then decided they wanted to use the Legion to raid the compound at a designated time. In exchange for returning part of the Legion's gear to the specific Legionnaires, they orchestrated the Legion's raid on the facility mere minutes after an invisible, delayed-fuse black-powder "distraction."

They would then leave the rest of the gear in the basement, near the sewer entrance, for the Legionnaires to grab as they completed their "raid." This would also serve to frame the compound's owners as those responsible for the raid in the bathhouse. I found it to be a very elegant solution to the timing aspect of the raid, by taking control of the timing.

-Ben.


I wanted to clarify something in my own mind: the scenario states that in Rahadoum, the cost for any spellcasting services not on the wizard/sorcerer spell list is increased. Does this only relate to spellcasting, or does it carry over to scrolls, wands, or potions? I was hoping to get some feedback to either validate my own thoughts or set me straight. Thanks!


I would imagine it carries over, too, but would defer to the PTB.

-Ben.

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

For the gather information checks to follow Kline,

I take it the party succeeds or fails as a group? Or do i need to track individuals screwing up.

Shadow Lodge

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I tracked individual attempts.

Of course, a member of our party (roleplaying), stepped into the city after going through the checkpoint and started shouting as loud as he could:

Eaaaaaaaannndddoooo!!! Where you at, buddy??!

Dark Archive Venture-Agent, Washington—Redmond

Running this tonite. My approach for the investigation phase will be to let the players know they can either make separate checks or aid each other; aiding represents tagging along as a group while a seperate check is a player(s) going off to ask their own questions with their own leads. Im hoping that will work as a balance of risk versus reward.

Since Im not one who frequently summons, I like stat blocks on summon focused caster enemies that give suggestions for what to summon. Sad that wasn't included. Luckily I know some summon-centric players I can tap for advice.

Sovereign Court 5/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

For Port Godless, you should summon the things that her stat block lets her summon as a standard action. That's a huge benefit that changes how they work.

As for statblocks, no need to replicate work that has already been done...

5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

This question is more out of curiosity than any in-game effect, but I can see what happened to all of the Riftwardens' arcane foci, but Jahani's. (Gerrard's staff is broken in C2, Imaga's parrot is partially dissected in C3, and Mikael's ring is a small lump of silver in C2.) Did I miss the weasel's location or is it not covered in the mod?

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