5-11 Library of the Lion GM Discussion


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The Exchange 5/5 Venture-Agent, Kentucky—Lexington

TriOmegaZero wrote:
A bad decision cost the party the mission.

The not finding the secret door decision?

The not talking to the Guardian decision?

The secret door issue is the bigger issue and would have cost them a lot of time that they probably didn't have to search every room for a door if they didn't correctly guess what room the door was located. Even with taking 10 on Perception for "out of combat" searching, they couldn't have found the secret doors (Tier 1-2.)

You might be right. I could run this for a bunch of tables and everyone is happy. But this table tried very hard to be good pathfinders, generally made good decisions, and still very nearly failed with 0 prestige and only 3 "chunks" of gold.

I'm not yet convince they even got 1 prestige but I gave it to them because of the ambiguity of how many Shining Crusade text exist. If there are only 3 and one is in B11, then they should have gotten 0 prestige.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

James Risner wrote:
The not talking to the Guardian decision?

That's the one.

4/5 Venture-Agent aka pianopraze

TriOmegaZero wrote:
James Risner wrote:
There is a difference.

I never said there wasn't.

pianopraze wrote:
I disagree as to the dice being deciding.
I agree after James clarified the results. A single mistake cost the party the mission.

Two mistakes explained in spoiler:

spoiler:

1. Not talking to the lion construct - we did not talk to it because we did not want to fight/break it as we were warned in the beginning of mod.

2. Not searching EVERY room for a secret door - this is just bad writing to force a party to search for a secret door in every room to actually get credit for a module. Capricious.

And we almost didn't break the door down in the main library to find the final area with more rooms because of warning in beginning.

But even if we HAD found the secret rooms we literally did not have enough time to complete the module and we really didn't waste much time. So we would have chosen to leave the rooms and get back to avoid triggering the guard fight.

Also I take issue with forcing perception checks every time the players cast a spell. That is ridiculous. Might as well force the guards to make a perception check every time the party says anything. This is ridiculous. We were lucky and never triggered the guards and never had to fight them.

So much of this module is just screw the party over. This is absolutely the worst module I've run into in Pathfinder Society. Which is sad considering it could have been a very good one if it didn't set out to screw the party so badly in the ways I've explained.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

pianopraze wrote:
Two mistakes explained in spoiler:

Spoilers aren't needed in the GM discussion.

The single mistake that cost you was not talking to the lion. Your diplomacy check would have gotten him to tell you exactly what you needed to know to go find that secret door and access what you needed to complete the scenario.

I'm also not sure what you mean by forcing Perception checks, as there is no mention of guards getting Perception checks due to PC spellcasting.

Liberty's Edge 2/5 5/5

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
TriOmegaZero wrote:
I'm also not sure what you mean by forcing Perception checks, as there is no mention of guards getting Perception checks due to PC spellcasting.

There is a note that spellcasting that makes a loud noise reduces the remaining clock by 1d6 minutes, but that's it. Unless you really like shatter I don't know what the fuss is about either.

4/5 Venture-Agent aka pianopraze

TriOmegaZero wrote:
pianopraze wrote:
Two mistakes explained in spoiler:

Spoilers aren't needed in the GM discussion.

The single mistake that cost you was not talking to the lion. Your diplomacy check would have gotten him to tell you exactly what you needed to know to go find that secret door and access what you needed to complete the scenario.

Agreed. And that makes this module capricious. If you don't think like the designer of the module you will likely fail the module.

Our logic was to avoid breaking things (as we were told to do) so we avoided engaging the security system construct. We figured engaging it would cause a fight leading to breakage.

To pass this module you have to do the exact opposite of what you are told to do several times. Break doors, open a bookcase your told not to and destroy the book swarm, and risk a fight/breaking the construct.

I highly disapprove of this mod. We followed orders and as a result were penalized to the extreme.

We could have gotten nearly full points had we decided to destroy everything, hide the bodies, and taken all the time we needed to fully search. Which is the exact opposite of what we were told to do.

4/5 Venture-Agent aka pianopraze

Shisumo wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
I'm also not sure what you mean by forcing Perception checks, as there is no mention of guards getting Perception checks due to PC spellcasting.
There is a note that spellcasting that makes a loud noise reduces the remaining clock by 1d6 minutes, but that's it. Unless you really like shatter I don't know what the fuss is about either.

I played, not GMed so I don't know the answer to this. The GM made checks every time we cast any spell to see if the guards heard.

edit to add:

The fuss is several of us are giving feedback that this module needs some revision and we find it to be a bad module.

Some people obviously liked it. Some of us did not. I am trying to give constructive feedback as to exactly what we did not like and some suggestions as to possible fixes.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

pianopraze wrote:
To pass this module you have to do the exact opposite of what you are told to do several times. Break doors, open a bookcase your told not to and destroy the book swarm, and risk a fight/breaking the construct.

That's not correct. Breaking the door is not the only option. Even if it was, preparing mending would allow you to do so and then cover up your tracks. Fighting the book swarm is not required. There is no reason to fight the construct.

This scenario requires alternate methods to succeed. Obviously your party didn't have enough of those alternatives to succeed.

4/5 Venture-Agent aka pianopraze

TriOmegaZero wrote:
pianopraze wrote:
To pass this module you have to do the exact opposite of what you are told to do several times. Break doors, open a bookcase your told not to and destroy the book swarm, and risk a fight/breaking the construct.

That's not correct. Breaking the door is not the only option. Even if it was, preparing mending would allow you to do so and then cover up your tracks. Fighting the book swarm is not required. There is no reason to fight the construct.

This scenario requires alternate methods to succeed. Obviously your party didn't have enough of those alternatives to succeed.

A DC 30 disable device at tier 1-3 is extreme requiring low level party to break the door... some might not even be able to make a dc 25 strength check even on a 20 and won't get into the back section even if they try. Pathfinder Society is about NOT min maxing as they point out several places in the literature. So these checks are extreme and another example of poor writing.

That a module is not robust enough to require just the right skills/classes is in of itself an example of how it is poorly written as I believe another person pointed out earlier in the thread.

I have offered some possible adjustments previously that would make the module more robust and get around these short comings.

Edit to add... the bookcase with the swarm has one of the required books for getting a prestige point, if I remember right.


no, it doesn't.

it was also not a dc 30 to disable device to open the locked door either. The party which i played in, we scored every success and did not fight one combat. Basically you have to engage every player to do there part in the searching of the rooms. There are beneficial cards which add to the possibly of successes... there are spells which pc's can cast to improve the percentages of success as well.

I for one am happy that a cerebel scenario exists, and can't be solved by smashing everything to bits.

The Exchange 5/5 Venture-Agent, Kentucky—Lexington

Clearly this module has some fans.

I wouldn't ever play it after having ran it. I can't give it high marks.

It comes down to three suggestions to make it great:

  • Guardian should talk to a silent party X rounds after they notice him looking.
  • Have the VC say it is ok to break things just as long as no one detects it was us.
  • Suggest they might be good at detecting and everyone should take precautions like this potion of Pass Without Trace I'm giving you.

Talon89 wrote:
not a dc 30 to disable device to open the locked door either.

Someone ran it incorrectly. Maybe me. But page 13 says "Disable Device DC 30".

Talon89 wrote:
I for one am happy that a cerebel scenario exists

I agree

4/5 Venture-Agent aka pianopraze

Talon89 wrote:

no, it doesn't.

it was also not a dc 30 to disable device to open the locked door either. The party which i played in, we scored every success and did not fight one combat. Basically you have to engage every player to do there part in the searching of the rooms. There are beneficial cards which add to the possibly of successes... there are spells which pc's can cast to improve the percentages of success as well.

I for one am happy that a cerebel scenario exists, and can't be solved by smashing everything to bits.

I did not have mend or make whole as an oracle prepared. I had guidance, enhanced diplomacy and used them to good effect, but not other spells that would have aided as I am a healing/life oracle with healing focus.

There was a dc 30 disable device to get from big library to back set of rooms. The cards won't help that. I said we found all the texts in the main rooms, the problem is the hidden rooms at the end which we reach when we are already out of time, and making them hidden so that we wouldn't even expect their existence. Even if we would have found them we would not have had time to search them.

I have always applauded the concept of this cerebral module. I have problems with it's execution which make it the worst module I've every played and have made several suggests for its improvement. And technically we probably would have gotten more or all the reward had we instead smashed everything to bits instead of trying to maintain the time/stealth. Would be interesting to see how many points we would have scored that way as a thought exercise. I don't have the module to do this.


ohh it was dc 30 to disable the trap? no we just sprung it... i thought you were talking about picking the lock to the locked door... we never talked to the npc. We did not want to have anyone know we where even there.

the trap being sprung was the only object which we could not replace... if that's what your talking about?

Sovereign Court 5/5 RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

depending on the tier.. how much is a spell page of make whole or a wand of mending
I noticed that the scenario gives you items and clearly gives a day to prepare. Unles this is your very first scenario, it means that, unlike previous seasons, you can buy gear spefically for this scenario.

It is very heavy in Taldor Lore. This is a plus for a die hard Taldan like me, and the risk vs reward is much higher for a Taldan PC.

My biaes on reading are also influnced by having just read The Dagger of Trust and working my way through Mission Impossible* and Leverage on Netflix.

Is this one of the more complex low tier scenarios? Yes. Is it rewarding to run? looks so (I'll be running it Saturday). Is it rewarding to play? I'll ask my players when I'm done.

Seriously, if you have Netflix, watch Leverage's The Scheherazade Job for how this goes.

*

Spoiler:
The original TV show, not the Tom Cruise go-se

The Exchange 5/5 Venture-Agent, Kentucky—Lexington

Talon89 wrote:
ohh it was dc 30 to disable the trap? no we just sprung it...

Either your GM ran the scenario incorrectly, or I've been reading it wrong 6 times so far.

To move from B5 to B6 you have a locked door with a DC 30 "well made" lock flanking the Guardian lion head.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

pianopraze wrote:
A DC 30 disable device at tier 1-3 is extreme requiring low level party to break the door... some might not even be able to make a dc 25 strength check even on a 20 and won't get into the back section even if they try. Pathfinder Society is about NOT min maxing as they point out several places in the literature. So these checks are extreme and another example of poor writing.

That was not what I was referring to as the alternate method.

Both doors have a key.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Hey Piano and James

Thanks for giving the scenario a shot! Both in GMing and in playing.

First off let me apologize for letting you guys down. I'm glad to hear you support the concept of this scenario, and have constructive feedback on how to improve the next style of this scenario in the future for PFS. Truly, that is the most I could ask of anyone.

I would like to make a couple of recommendations to any other GM's who run this in the future. If there is a party that starts kicking down the door, I would have Glorymane engage the PC's in conversation. More like a teacher scolding a child for scuffing up their nice new doors.

As for the row of secret doors...that is a very valid point. I should of caught that.

I'll make the same offer to your group as I did to the previous posters. I'll gladly fly to your local region to run this for you. Not that this is saying you "ran it wrong", but just to see how your group did it and as a way to improve my adventure design from here on forward.

Thanks for the feedback, it is what drives writers to improve.

Keep on make believin'.


ToZ and others, I keep seeing the item about utilizing unlisted skills at the -2 to -5 penalty being brought up to help accommodate low-level players who may not have any of the applicable skills listed in the scenario.

What I haven't seen covered, however, is the limit on how many people can search a room of a certain size. In the case of small rooms, only 4 players can search. For medium rooms, only 5 can search. These two sizes account for most of the rooms in the scenario.

I had six players at my table.

One of my players was a really nice lady playing a level 1 fighter. Her character had basically no applicable skills to choose from. If I remember correctly, her three skills were Climb, Swim and Fly. So, guess who was almost immediately excluded by the group, every time they had to search a small or medium-sized room?

Did I do something wrong here?

I solved this by essentially having her make a number of Intelligence checks, where her role-played "ditzy" character would suddenly pipe up with a vital piece of information that the group as a whole had either forgotten or not thought of as important.

For example, I read the inscription on each portrait a number of times, letting the players copy each down to remember. Only...the player doing most of the writing excluded the word "first" from one of the descriptions...which basically made the clue useless.

Ms. "ditzy" fighter 'remembered' the correct line. Ms. "ditzy" fighter suddenly 'remembered' the instructions the Guardian had given for finding an appropriate item for him. Things like that. Not exactly run as written, but she got to be the hero a few times at vital spots, to make up for her basically having to sit aside while the rest of the group searched rooms and pieced together strategies for utilizing the texts.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

Lamontius wrote:
Did I do something wrong here?

Lamontius can do no wrong! :P

But no, I see nothing wrong with that. I should run this a few more times to get a wider experience of it. James and piano have valid points that I just didn't see on my run through due to party size and composition. A party of all 1st level fighters would find this a serious exercise in frustration, due to lack of skill and low bonuses all around.


Oh, I most certainly can and often do...

Spoiler:
Like uh...forgetting to mention the keys hanging in the waiting-room door lock to my players, during the very first part of the Disappeared...derp. You know, the keys that uh, open a number of other doors and uh...are the entire focal point of solving the secret-door-lock-in-the-painting in Zarta's bedroom...

Getting back to the Library of the Lion, though. Yeah, I don't think I've ever had an experience like this so far GMing in PFS, where I'm pretty frustrated with the scenario, yet my players had a blast and accomplished just about everything they needed to get done.

And guys, I'm sorry, but I'm going to touch on it one more time, because it REALLY bothered me:

The amount of typos in this scenario was just brutal.

Now, I'm copping to being a bit more sensitive to this recently, as I was prepping this during the throes of RPG Superstar. But it's hard to be forgiving about things like that while I'm participating in a Paizo contest that has such a focus on proper formatting, writing, punctuation and editing.

Shadow Lodge 5/5

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Lamontius wrote:
The amount of typos in this scenario was just brutal.

Oh, don't even get me started...


2 people marked this as a favorite.

One other thing, though...

A number of people have mentioned the difficulty of the DC 30 locked doors...but if you're referring to the locked doors that flank the Guardian, doesn't it list that by sweet-talking the Guardian, he gives the players the key to successfully unlock the doors?

My players talked with the Guardian, searched the place, then discovered the locked doors.

Upon discovering the locks, they began to talk about methods for bypassing them...or breaking the doors...at which point, I piped up as the Guardian...

"Ohhh, well look at that, you all have discovered that the doors are locked, almost as if...(rather smugly) THEY ARE BEING GUARDED BY A GREAT AND NOBLE GUARDIAN..."

...at which point the players began to interact with him again, asking if he knew how to deal with the locks, and if he could help them. Some humorous role-playing occurred and after some nice social skill rolls, they had a helpful Guardian whose ego had been properly stroked, as well as a promise to help him escape and (rough) instructions on how to make this happen.

The Exchange 5/5 Venture-Agent, Kentucky—Lexington

Lamontius wrote:
DC 30 locked doors ... sweet-talking the Guardian

Which require the Guardian talk to you and there is no "out" for the GM to initiate talking other than them talking to it.

Lamontius wrote:
"Ohhh, well look at that, you all have discovered that the doors are locked, almost as if...(rather smugly) THEY ARE BEING GUARDED BY A GREAT AND NOBLE GUARDIAN..."

Which I would have loved to do, but I felt my hands were tied because that isn't listed in the scenario.

Kyle Elliott wrote:
If there is a party that starts kicking down the door, I would have Glorymane engage

Thanks! I've noted this for my second run of this, but it would be best to add a line to the scenario to confirm this is desired. Many GM"s will not add things like this for fear of going against campaign leadership's desire to not change scenarios.

TriOmegaZero wrote:
Both doors have a key.

Which requires talking to the Guardian, which my group was afraid to do for fear of having to destroy it and leaving "traces of the trespass".

I read and re-read many sections of this while running it, just looking for outs to the issues my party was having.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

James Risner wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Both doors have a key.
Which requires talking to the Guardian, which my group was afraid to do for fear of having to destroy it and leaving "traces of the trespass".

Precisely why I said that was the single mistake that cost them the mission. But hindsight is 20/20 after all.

If I find myself looking for outs in a scenario, I just make them. Especially with NPC interactions, as there are millions of different ways for that to go off script.

Grand Lodge

Lamontius wrote:

"Ohhh, well look at that, you all have discovered that the doors are locked, almost as if...(rather smugly) THEY ARE BEING GUARDED BY A GREAT AND NOBLE GUARDIAN..."

Stealing this for tonight.

I would like to say that I'm actually very excited to have a chance to run this scenario. I've read it and re-read it a few times now, maps printed, cards created and tons of notes and prep work created. These are the types of challenges that I like to throw into homebrew campaigns, so I have numerous tricks up my sleeves to keep players focused and to get them to RP their way through these challenges, so I'll give a full report of my session before the weekend.

I personally think PFS needs more of these types of scenarios. Please note, I've only been in PFS for about 4 or so months, but from what I've seen with our group, the majority of the scenarios are very hack and slash. It's gotten to the point that the vast majority of people in our society group have made very combat orientated characters, so I think this will be a good wake up call to make them realize that they are not solely the "brute squad", but pathfinders.

Final note, I'm trying to remain optimistic about this scenario, but with all the negative feedback so far in the forums, I'm becoming a little wary of it. I'm going to do my best and make this scenario enjoyable for everyone, so I'll be asking the table their thoughts and I'll share their thoughts with my review of the run through.

Silver Crusade

I really enjoyed playing this scenario. We ran 2 tables, a high and low subtier, at the same event. Everyone at these tables seemed to have a great time.

I played an evocation focused wizard. Since we had a day to prepare, I was able to alter my normal spell list and scribe new spells as appropriate. I can't tell you how much I appreciated this.

Our GM was a very experienced player. He had GM'd before, but never for PFS. He said he felt a little out of his depth with this scenario, but I and the rest of the table thought he did a great job.

We ran into 1 combat, and that's because we thought the magic books were hiding something, so we triggered combat.

My only issue with puzzle scenarios like this and the Disappeared, is that sometimes the characters are smarter than the players. I would like to see hints on puzzles (in the form of an Int check, or some other suitable skill) to be used if and only if the players are having trouble solving something like a cypher or a riddle. It's kind of jarring when Int 7 Barbarian solves a problem the Int 22 wizard can't because the Barbarian's player knows how to solve cyphers. Avatar-1 pointed out hints that he would give out, but I would like to see things like this actually written into the scenario. This way we don't feel that we're stepping outside the Run As Written rule.

Overall it was a fun evening and an enjoyable scenario.


Kyle Elliott wrote:

Hey Piano and James

Thanks for giving the scenario a shot! Both in GMing and in playing.

First off let me apologize for letting you guys down. I'm glad to hear you support the concept of this scenario, and have constructive feedback on how to improve the next style of this scenario in the future for PFS. Truly, that is the most I could ask of anyone.

I would like to make a couple of recommendations to any other GM's who run this in the future. If there is a party that starts kicking down the door, I would have Glorymane engage the PC's in conversation. More like a teacher scolding a child for scuffing up their nice new doors.

As for the row of secret doors...that is a very valid point. I should of caught that.

I'll make the same offer to your group as I did to the previous posters. I'll gladly fly to your local region to run this for you. Not that this is saying you "ran it wrong", but just to see how your group did it and as a way to improve my adventure design from here on forward.

Thanks for the feedback, it is what drives writers to improve.

Keep on make believin'.

This guy is awesome. I am a big fan

The Exchange 5/5 Venture-Agent, Kentucky—Lexington

Finlanderboy wrote:
Kyle Elliott wrote:
Thanks for the feedback, it is what drives writers to improve.
This guy is awesome. I am a big fan

+1

Grand Lodge

Warning, long post. Enjoy! (FULL OF SPOILERS, but this is GM Prep, you should expect as much.)

Full summary:
Party was 6 people, ran on low tier. Party consisted of Bard Archaeologist (3), Oracle (1), Oracle/Barbarian (5), Magus (1), Ranger (2) and Monk (2). Also, party consisted of 4 Grand Lodge, 1 Cheliax and 1 Osirian faction members.

Report from last night's game. After asking the party how they felt about it, they really liked the scenario and a few of them were really happy for the change in pace, even the fighter types.

For the intro to the scenario, I found a file that someone made in the GM Shared Prep area with the intro red-text in a printable format. To me, that made it a little easier for the players to follow along and to get all the nuances of the scenario. (Sometimes I find the red text drags on and this helped out by letting them read and hear what the PCs were saying, so they were able to ask better questions than a normal scenario.)

As they entered the library, I did explain to them that I will be keeping track of time on my side of the screen, so per the end of the book, they could ask for an estimate of time and I'd give it to them. I also explained the rules for searching, basically where everyone in the room rolls and the lower checks becomes Aid Another actions and that searching rooms did take some time.

On the first map, I quickly found out that my Ranger was the perception king, and he was going to be the main roller for the party the entire night. He quickly found the secret door and the statue, but the archaeologist figured out the first puzzle early. As soon as they hit the first hallway, the Monk pulled out a wand and cast mage armor on himself and asked me to let him know when it wears off, because he would re-cast it on the spot. (Built in time keeper right there, good thinking outside the box in my opinion.)

Once they opened the first room, one of them asked how big the room was and I gave them a intelligence check to determine that it might be "easier" to search the room with less people because it was a little crowded with 6 people. With that hint, half the party searched the classroom and half the party searched the recital hall.

Everyone searched the main library and noticed the lion staring at them, so one person went up and started looking at it, mocking it's movements, causing the lion to start interacting with the party. The Barbarian easily turned it to helpful with a great diplomacy check and he gave up the keys to get deeper into the library. They asked him about things they should know and the lion informed them about the blind keeper.

Party went to B10 first, unlocked the door using disable device and searched, found the secret door and tried to disarm the trap. Archaeologist then took all 6 round of venom due to failing to disarm the trap and having a terrible fort save. Half the party (Barbarian, Ranger, Monk) went down into B11 while the other half (Magus, Archaeologist and Oracle) went back to B9 to open up that door and see what else they could find.

B9 was searched and they triggered the book swarm (the Archaeologist saw the pages and opened the door anyways), and then had to run out of the room, causing the keeper to come out of her room and ask why didn't they heed her warning and not open that cabinet. They tried to lie, failed, but was able to turn her into friendly with a good diplomacy check. With that, she helped them out by helping search. From a DM perspective, this was the most stressful part of the scenario. There was talks about killing her, knocking her out and finally the barbarian went with the diplomacy check.

From there, the PCs searched everywhere else and got the shield and found the last room with 15 minutes left on the clock, which they went through, closed all the doors, used spells, put Glorymane into his shield, collected the cards in the starting room and got out.

Overall, everything went great. Even the fighter types had fun because I told them if you don't have the skills, tell me what type of check you want to use to search and give me a good reason why I should allow it (thus, determining the penalty) and got everything they needed. Grand Lodge people figured out the code, Chelaxian Magus found her book and made the int check and they got Glorymane on their Chronicle Sheets. Overall, 13 deception points were awarded (trap made them miss the 15 mark) and I awarded them full gold for meeting the requirements.

Recommendations to judges. Be flexible with rolls, reward thinking outside the box with timekeeping, don't worry about tracking deception points during the scenario, just tally it up after everything is said and done. Also, remember to not send the guards in at the slightest disturbance, only after Tobias has told them to get their stuff and get out and they fail to do so, or if the blind librarian screams and gets the guards attention. If you have questions about how I ran certain areas, please ask or send me a PM, I'll be happy to help with this scenario since I prefer this type of scenario over a typical hack/slash.

Sovereign Court 5/5 RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

Ok, a couple of thoughts after the game.

I did not have a party of subtle characters. Resulting in assault on a blind old lady and choking her into unconsciousness, blown covers and other headaches.

1) Are the statues named? My party had a hard time associating a statue with a virtue. I just hope I didn't miss that they were named.

2) It seems a leap of logic to figure out the paintings = the keys to the vault. Is there a way to make it a bit clearer to players who aren't big Taldor/Golarion lore fans.

3) I STRONGLY recommend reading The Dagger of Trust if you have time, to get a handle on Lion Blades.

4) Continuing my 'something goes wrong with my prep curse' I lost one of the cypher cards. Guess which one? Fortunately i had it in my prep notes and gave the player the sheet.

5) Am I the only one who took a sadistic glee in watching a player furiously try to decypher the message, using the wrong cypher?

Dark Archive

Matthew Morris wrote:

Ok, a couple of thoughts after the game.

I did not have a party of subtle characters. Resulting in assault on a blind old lady and choking her into unconsciousness, blown covers and other headaches.

1) Are the statues named? My party had a hard time associating a statue with a virtue. I just hope I didn't miss that they were named.

2) It seems a leap of logic to figure out the paintings = the keys to the vault. Is there a way to make it a bit clearer to players who aren't big Taldor/Golarion lore fans.

3) I STRONGLY recommend reading The Dagger of Trust if you have time, to get a handle on Lion Blades.

4) Continuing my 'something goes wrong with my prep curse' I lost one of the cypher cards. Guess which one? Fortunately i had it in my prep notes and gave the player the sheet.

5) Am I the only one who took a sadistic glee in watching a player furiously try to decypher the message, using the wrong cypher?

Hey Matthew

The statues are not "named" in the scenario, but if they are confused I would consider giving them a knowledge or check of some sort to give them hints and clues to help them figure it out.

As for the paintings...it's a possible shortcut to avoid a fight. I wouldn't call it a "key". For my table I use crude drawings of each painting with the writing on them as props to show case that riddle.

Dagger of trust is awesome. :)

As for the sadistic glee...

...

...

...no, you are not alone. >:)

Grand Lodge

I gave my PCs an intel check as well to figure out the meaning of the statues for the last puzzle. Also, my party actually wrote down all the painting plaques.

I had four Grand Lodgers, so it was hilarious watching them try and solve it.

Dark Archive

The poison DC at lower subtier is a a challenge for first level PCs. I had an unlucky PC take 10 points of Dex from it. Should it be a different poison with a lower DC for 1-2?

Dark Archive 5/5 Venture-Agent, California—Riverside aka Bob miller-camp

Mending is a wonderful thing for this scenario but can take that PC out for a while. With only 2 hours to snoop it can hurt to take a PC out of the searches for 10 minutes for every 1d4 repaired.

Sovereign Court 3/5

Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber

Ran this last night, and the players said this is the best PFS module they've ever played. I really enjoyed it as a DM too. Perfect example of a great module that seeps players into Golarion lore. Whether you like it or not, anything related to Taldor seems to be great in general... ;)

Scarab Sages 4/5

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

I'm running this over the weekend at a Convention. One question on the Chelaxian mission - there's nothing that really calls it out (I didn't even notice it on my first read-through). Should I just remind Cheliax players to re-read their season 5 goal? Any thoughts on how to alert them to "be on the lookout" for faction points?

Dark Archive

grandpoobah wrote:

I'm running this over the weekend at a Convention. One question on the Chelaxian mission - there's nothing that really calls it out (I didn't even notice it on my first read-through). Should I just remind Cheliax players to re-read their season 5 goal? Any thoughts on how to alert them to "be on the lookout" for faction points?

I would do as you suggest, and point out to them that a library of this nature may hold tomes valuable to Zarta.

Liberty's Edge 2/5

Ran this, main complaints were A. the cipher was to hard for the players (which has been echoed in this thread a few times now) even when i told them which one to use, and B lack of serious encounters. They managed to avoid them. Figured out the statues and just avoided the book swarm, which you can do and still get most of the scenario conditions.

Sovereign Court 5/5

neferphras wrote:
Ran this, main complaints were A. the cipher was to hard for the players (which has been echoed in this thread a few times now) even when i told them which one to use, and B lack of serious encounters. They managed to avoid them. Figured out the statues and just avoided the book swarm, which you can do and still get most of the scenario conditions.

I believe that B is working as intended. I think it is refreshing that there is a scenario that can be accomplished without any combats at all (though my group did not avoid the swarm and got impatient with the statues).

Silver Crusade

3 people marked this as a favorite.

So this is a good adventure, and leaves a lot more creativity to those whom may have had a bad taste in their mouths post-The Disappeared. But I come from a realm where too many puzzles can lead to a frustrated table. So it took a lick from that. But otherwise I am content with this adventure. It also would have made a great Silver Crusade mission more than Cheliax. But that's just me.

Well done Master Kyle, looking forward to another adventure from you soon.

Dark Archive

neferphras wrote:
Ran this, main complaints were A. the cipher was to hard for the players (which has been echoed in this thread a few times now) even when i told them which one to use, and B lack of serious encounters. They managed to avoid them. Figured out the statues and just avoided the book swarm, which you can do and still get most of the scenario conditions.

Hey Neferphras

Thanks for taking the time to write in this thread! I am always looking for specific feedback on this scenario, it is how we improve the shared campaign we all enjoy.

My hope was that there could be a scenario in which, if the PCs wanted to and prepared for their objective, they could avoid a fight entirely. With that objective in mind, what would you like to see done differently? The more specific you are the better :)

Thanks for GMing it Nef!

Dark Archive

Lady Ophelia wrote:

So this is a good adventure, and leaves a lot more creativity to those whom may have had a bad taste in their mouths post-The Disappeared. But I come from a realm where too many puzzles can lead to a frustrated table. So it took a lick from that. But otherwise I am content with this adventure. It also would have made a great Silver Crusade mission more than Cheliax. But that's just me.

Well done Master Kyle, looking forward to another adventure from you soon.

Thanks for the feedback Lady Ophelia!

First off let me say that The Disappeared was an awesome inspiration for me in this endeavor. Second, I must point out that Compton was a HUGE help in this endeavor, and his name is also on the scenario to reflect the amount of work he contributed to this scenario.

The puzzle thing is tricky...it is a tool to use in place of combats to "fill" that time of entertainment. Since puzzles rely upon player ingenuity, complimented by character ability to provide hints, it is an exact opposite expectation as combat...and therefore a MAJOR detour from what most people expect when they enter a PFS scenario. By creating a stealth style scenario that can be run with either fighting or skipping the fights, it was necessary to consider how to fill the players time should they successfully skip all the fights, but more so...make sure the scenario doesn't run long by including more fights and assuming the players will skip some, only to find out that they spent 7 hours slugging it out with all of the possible encounters.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't...unless...

You have some more insight for me to analyze? Perhaps, more feedback?!?!?!? MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...feedba ck...

And thank you :) Make sure to send some praise Compton's way as well ;p

Shadow Lodge 5/5

I ran this last night and had a great time! It went fairly smoothly despite some of the mechanical quirks. I did quite a bit of prep and used many if the GM aids from the shared prep drive, which helped out quite a bit. Especially the time tracker and summary of search rules for each room.

One player did complain that he didnt have any of the right skills and wasnt particularly creative about coming up with uses for the few skills he did have (appraise, kn: religion, and prof: midwife) despite a few suggestions from myself and the party. Oddly enough, he was playing one of TWO dwarven midwives at the table, the other being a fighter....neither being a worshipper of pharasma. That was fun.

Otherwise, it was fun scenario.

Dark Archive 5/5 5/55/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Upper Midwest aka Silbeg

I ran this in the final slot of Con of the North, with 4 players. As I recall, it was Bard 1, Ranger 4 (Grand Lodge), Fighter 1 (Cheliax), Cleric 3. So, we played 1-2, with the 4 player adjustment.

The players didn't have a lot of the needed skills, but they had enough. They were very close on the statue puzzle, but out-smarted themselves (they had it, but talked themselves out of the correct status for #2).

Perhaps this was 50 hours of gaming prior speaking, but even though I kept dropping hints, they almost never cleaned up after themselves... so earned almost no deception points. :( Goodbye secondary success.

It was priceless watching the faces of the table when the cleric said he was pulling and throwing an alchemists' fire at the books! (queue simultaneous "NOOOOOOO!")

Adding to that, they never found Taldor Cypher #2 (so the G.L. failed), and the Chelaxian was unable to make the roll to think that he needed the book, so he failed.

They all had fun, and commented about how different this style scenario was (and also commented that perhaps they needed a more "hack and slash" type for the final slot of the Con in the future).

Thanks, Kyle and John, for a fun scenario!

Silver Crusade 5/5 5/5

I ran it with 2 experienced players and 3 new players playing pregens.

When I noticed one of the new players grabbing Valeros I had an inspiration. I first read out the mission briefing and THEN had the players pick characters. I'm pretty sure he had more fun playing Merisiel than he would Valeros.

Everybody had a good time, avoiding all combats except the book swarm (death by a thousand paper cuts). I had an absolute blast.

My one regret is that I ran this before playing it. This is going to suffer far more than most scenarios from knowing what is coming.

Dark Archive

Thanks Silbeg and pauljathome!

It's always good to hear how these adventures turn out, and the cool things that players come up with for out of the box / off the rails solutions.

:)

3/5

Ran this today with 6 players, one pregen (monk). It was awesome. Two people had linguistics so they destroyed basically all the searching checks. They came really close to missing the secret door to rooms 11 and 12, but at the last minute went back and searched each room again.

Only combat was the book swarm. They actually made the perception to see the books moving, but then used a card catalog clue and saw they were missing a text in the room, so they opened the last shelf and wound up fighting the books.

The Guardian was a lot of fun because they immediately started touching and poking it while searching around it. They could not quite make the diplomacy to get the Guardian helpful even though I was really liberal with the RP bonuses to the checks, so they didn't get the intelligent item in the end, which is a shame, but they succeeded at everything else.

The cipher worked out well, after they figured out that you had to apply the rule backwards they got it really fast.

Lots of fun because they were willing to RP with the Guardian and caretaker. One of my new favorites to run.


Just ran this for the first time (second time ever GMing PFS), and my players had a blast. Went to the main library as the first room and promptly swept it clean, gaining all 3 Taldan Ciphers in one fell swoop. One PC then spent an hour poring over the message, trying every permutation possible - except applying the rule in reverse. In the post-game wrap up he realised his error, but took it in good humour (although he would have really liked the Codebreaker boon).
In fact, no-one got any boons - each missed out by the narrowest of narrow margins. Still, full gold and PP, and everyone had a good time.

Almost did it without a combat, but they ignored the positioning data on the portrait legends and released the foo dogs. And they were just removing their illusion cards when Tobias came back to tell them to pack up. Skin of their shiny white teeth!

Gotta say, the foo dog encounter was less than stellar. 8 hardness and DR 5 means people were doing 13 damage with nothing to show for it. Having both those qualities on a single creature means that 1-2s are in a fair amount of trouble, since no-one will have an adamantine mace handy. When savvy players crunch the numbers and find they can only contribute on a crit, it deflates the enjoyment of the combat somewhat.

All in all though, they had a great time, and I did to. There's far more here than your typical hack-and-slash.

Dark Archive

Stephen Drane wrote:
Gotta say, the foo dog encounter was less than stellar. 8 hardness and DR 5 means people were doing 13 damage with nothing to show for it. Having both those qualities on a single creature means that 1-2s are in a fair amount of trouble, since no-one will have an adamantine mace handy. When savvy players crunch the numbers and find they can only contribute on a crit, it deflates the enjoyment of the combat somewhat.

The hardness only lasts for 1 or 2 rounds.


Granted, but it was a frustrating couple of rounds for my table (especially as they didn't know how long it would go on for).

Once stony defense ran out the dog got creamed, so I'm not saying the encounter is broken. It was just the most noticeable low point in an otherwise thoroughly enjoyable day.

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