We finished - comments and opinion on the campaign [spoilers]


Shattered Star

51 to 100 of 114 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | next > last >>
Scarab Sages

Olwen wrote:


Melee 2 claws +24 (1d4+11/19-20/×2) and ...

Actually, thanks to Beastmorph Mutagen, Eternal Potion (Haste), and Heroism up during most fights, Laslo's attack routine was +28/+28/+28/+28 for 47 points of Sneak Attack on each hit (+24/+24/+24/+24 for 55/hit with Power Attack). Without Sneak Attack, the damage was still 27/hit. Being Dex-based gave him an over-the-top AC, and thanks to Beastmorph he spent pretty much the whole second half of the campaign flying. He could use Greater Invisibility on himself, and ¡SNEAK-A-POUNCE! people to death in the surprise round.

All in all, I consider the Beastmorph Vivisectionist Alchemist vastly superior to the Rogue, and probably overpowered. For all his mechanical strength, though, I also think Laslo was the most flavorful of my characters from a RP point of view. Take that, Stormwind Fallacy! ;o)

Scarab Sages

Olwen wrote:
2 clockwork dragons...

Didn't our single clockwork dragon almost kill us with his area damage output, though? Two of those might be very hard to survive indeed, especially for squishier party members.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

I don't think so. I remember that its explosion didn't deal a lot of damage because the DC was low and your saves high.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

How to create a compelling high-level boss fight is actually something I've been grappling with in my own GMing/adventure design. In Pathfinder, I'm personally coming to the conclusion that the most effective ones have huge defensive abilities and good but not overwhelming offensive ones.

The basic principles being:

Bosses that get taken down quickly aren't as much fun
Bosses that can take you down quickly are also aren't as much fun


@Brandon Hodge
Please do share the "get-the-hell-out-before-we-get crushed" encounter.

@Rogue Eidolon
It must be a really different game when you have players that want to talk and try to redeem, mine are all about kick the door down-righteous fury-(sparatacus voide)kill them all-loot everything kinda attitude.

Olwen wrote:

For the palace, I'd increase almost every encounter by 1 or 2 CR, often making sure to have more than one opponent (2 clockwork dragons, 8 to 10 Xin legionnaires instead of 6, added hit dice or advanced templates for the vault guardians, etc).

But it's a difficult balance. You wouldn't want to overwhelm your PCs for every encounter.

Part 1 I'd leave as is. My PCs steamrolled through the encounters, but that was good for them and gave them the feeling of being the big heroes.

Ok, noted.

I guess that you didn't play the combat encounters in Magnimar since Viv called the dark powers of the Prince of Lies... sorry sorry Prince of Law to protect Magnimar correct?

Scarab Sages

Viv saved the city from the tsunami, but the tide still swept a bunch of aggressive exotic creatures in that we had to keep from gobbling up townspeople. I guess those are the combat encounters you're talking about? That's where, among other things, Viv talked an angry scylla into just leaving by impersonating Sorshen.


I would have found the AP to be an incredibly tedious, endless dungeon crawl if we hadn't tried to talk as often as we tried to fight.

Groups we successfully talked-to-rather-than-fought included the Tower Girls, Brast the ghoul, a few devils, the smith from the plane of fire, the fire giants, the scylla, and the axiomites at the gate of Xin's palace.

Groups we tried to talk to but they attacked us anyway included Xin, the aboleths, and the Grey Maidens.

And sometimes, we were at first unsuccessful and got attacked and then brought them around (the troglodytes, Oriana), or were at first successful and then screwed up and got attacked (Gnaeus, the guard Marilith, Kandamereus the mummy).


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Kyrademon wrote:
And sometimes, we were at first unsuccessful and got attacked and then brought them around (the troglodytes, Oriana), or were at first successful and then screwed up and got attacked (Gnaeus, the guard Marilith, Kandamereus the mummy).

Hey, Kandamereus attacked you because he was provoked: you had just said he was incompetent and needed to be replaced. Okay, the fact that you toasted him in a round proved your point, but still! ;)

On a more serious note, I also would have found the campaign incredibly tedious if it had just been fights, fight, and more fights. The fact that the various authors and James Jacobs added so many potential social encounters in the dungeons is the very reason I found this campaign was so enjoyable.

Silver Crusade

Payin' attention to this thread. :)

Did the group have any trepidations about assembling the Sihedron once it got close to that point? How did they take the (potentially) disastrous side effects once it actually was assembled? And did that negatively affect their relationship with Sheidmarch and her Pathfinder branch?

(just making precautions for my groups if need be)

Silver Crusade

Oh, and how did they feel about Xin after all those flashbacks, confrontations, and eventual death?


We started making jokes about how assembling the Sihedron was going to trigger the apocalypse 'round about the second module, so it wasn't exactly a terrible shock ...

However, it did end up negatively affecting the relationship with Sheila Heidmarch in a somewhat roundabout way. After a busy day spent saving Magnimar from the tsunami and assorted monsters, an angry, torch bearing mob, led by my character's parents, came to Heidmarch Manor blaming Sheila, the Pathfinders, and us for causing the problems besetting the city. We managed to convince about half the crowd to disperse and go home, but the rest remained there, angered, and someone threw a lit torch onto the Manor.

At that point, my character incinerated the remainder of the mob, including her parents. (And turned from LN to LE at that moment.)

Sheila was horrified and her close, almost motherly relationship with my character was shattered.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Mikaze wrote:
Did the group have any trepidations about assembling the Sihedron once it got close to that point? How did they take the (potentially) disastrous side effects once it actually was assembled? And did that negatively affect their relationship with Sheidmarch and her Pathfinder branch?

I have good players who know when it becomes necessary to forget about metagaming. :)

If you look at the campaign, you've assembled all the shards and there's still a whole book left, so there's bound to be something going on during, or after, or as a consequence of, the reforging. But the PCs don't really know that. They were rightfully suspicious, like Sheila, but they went along without difficulty.

I think that, at some level, railroading is necessary in any written campaign. The PCs and the GM just have to come to an understanding that this is the necessary step forward to carry one with the story. My players are easy going with this (which doesn't mean we don't sometimes deviate from the written script).

Silver Crusade

Kyrademon wrote:

We started making jokes about how assembling the Sihedron was going to trigger the apocalypse 'round about the second module, so it wasn't exactly a terrible shock ...

However, it did end up negatively affecting the relationship with Sheila Heidmarch in a somewhat roundabout way. After a busy day spent saving Magnimar from the tsunami and assorted monsters, an angry, torch bearing mob, led by my character's parents, came to Heidmarch Manor blaming Sheila, the Pathfinders, and us for causing the problems besetting the city. We managed to convince about half the crowd to disperse and go home, but the rest remained there, angered, and someone threw a lit torch onto the Manor.

At that point, my character incinerated the remainder of the mob, including her parents. (And turned from LN to LE at that moment.)

Sheila was horrified and her close, almost motherly relationship with my character was shattered.

Damn!

Sounds like emotional investment was definitely in place. :)

Tangent:
And Viv sounds so similar to one of the Jade Regent-style supporting NPCs I'm adding that it's uncanny, especially the relationship with Heidmarch...

Getting more fuel for that fire here. :D


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Mikaze wrote:
Oh, and how did they feel about Xin after all those flashbacks, confrontations, and eventual death?

My impression from my side of the screen is that they mainly (only?) saw him as a threat that needed to be dealt with. But the PCs could probably say more.

Silver Crusade

Olwen wrote:
Mikaze wrote:
Did the group have any trepidations about assembling the Sihedron once it got close to that point? How did they take the (potentially) disastrous side effects once it actually was assembled? And did that negatively affect their relationship with Sheidmarch and her Pathfinder branch?

I have good players who know when it becomes necessary to forget about metagaming. :)

If you look at the campaign, you've assembled all the shards and there's still a whole book left, so there's bound to be something going on during, or after, or as a consequence of, the reforging. But the PCs don't really know that. They were rightfully suspicious, like Sheila, but they went along without difficulty.

I think that, at some level, railroading is necessary in any written campaign. The PCs and the GM just have to come to an understanding that this is the necessary step forward to carry one with the story. My players are easy going with this (which doesn't mean we don't sometimes deviate from the written script).

Think I'll try to build up the potential return of the Runelords as a clear and present danger then, to help nudge them along.

Really glad to finally see an end-campaign report for this AP. :)


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Mikaze wrote:
Sounds like emotional investment was definitely in place. :)

Go have a look at the campaign journal if you have time. It's quite long but there's some particularly juicy bits of roleplaying to overcome encounters that I think you'd like. My group was definitely more into the diplomatic approach when possible than the "let's bash first and ask questions later" approach. :)

Silver Crusade

Already bookmarking! That diplomatic approach is definitely something I'm eager to look at.

Thanks for taking the time to give the wrap-up, to all of ya!


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Mikaze wrote:
Think I'll try to build up the potential return of the Runelords as a clear and present danger then, to help nudge them along.

Yes, I definitely did have Sheila remark on this quite often, always pushing them to get the new shards for fear of the runelords awakening, the Darklands attacking Varisia, and evil overcoming this fine country like it almost did in Korvosa.

Adding No Response from Deepmar to the campaign also helped since it resonated with the 1st volume of the campaign and also emphasized the threat from below. (I'm staying vague on purpose to avoid spoilers.)


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Mikaze wrote:

Already bookmarking! That diplomatic approach is definitely something I'm eager to look at.

Thanks for taking the time to give the wrap-up, to all of ya!

You're most welcome! It's always a pleasure to share thoughts on a campaign after it ended. And reading such summaries has helped me for my own games in the past.


Yeah, throughout the module, Olwen had Sheila taking the stance that the Sihedron would help Magnimar defend itself against the terrible threats facing Varisia in the post-return-of-Karzoug era. Some hints Olwen gave in the second module that Sorshen might still be alive out there somewhere helped to cement this.

As for Xin, I think we went to check out his palace with a relatively open mind about what he would be like, but our conversation with the axiomites at the gate, coupled with our first encounter with him right past the gates, had us firmly convinced that he was a card carrying member of that Raving Psycho Loony Party and had to be dealt with as a threat to Magnimar.

Scarab Sages

On dungeon crawling: I remember we had a "we have to talk" moment (on the out-of-game level) during the first book while exploring the Crow. Things were slowing to a slog, and we were getting bored with the dungeon. Olwen then started to remove a few non-story-related encounters here and there to speed things up and give the story more coherence and screen time. That, and the knowledge that we wouldn't fall behind the wealth-by-level curve if we didn't comb through every nook and cranny of the dungeons, improved the whole game a lot.


@Olwen
What did you do with Cadrilkasta and the fact that in her tactics it's written that she uses summon monster VII (to summon 1d3 lillend azatas to heal her)?
I was thinking of changing one of her feats for expanded arcana.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

Summoning lillends was instrumental to making this fight one of the most epic fights of the whole campaign. Once the PCs had somewhat hurt her, Cadrilkasta teleported inside the template, summoned a bunch of lillend, got healed, and came back with a vengeance, with added moral support from the lillend's bardic abilities. All along, the PCs had little idea as to where she was and what she was doing.

You can read the summary of this fight here.

EDIT: And to more specifically answer your question (I had forgotten there was this inconsistency between the stat block and the tactics), I replaced greater scrying with summon monster VII.


Olwen wrote:
Hey, Kandamereus attacked you because he was provoked: you had just said he was incompetent and needed to be replaced.

He was incompetent! He had exactly one job to do and he screwed it up!


Kyrademon wrote:
Olwen wrote:
Hey, Kandamereus attacked you because he was provoked: you had just said he was incompetent and needed to be replaced.
He was incompetent! He had exactly one job to do and he screwed it up!

I haven't read the books to that part yet, what was his job?

Olwen wrote:

Summoning lillends was instrumental to making this fight one of the most epic fights of the whole campaign. Once the PCs had somewhat hurt her, Cadrilkasta teleported inside the template, summoned a bunch of lillend, got healed, and came back with a vengeance, with added moral support from the lillend's bardic abilities. All along, the PCs had little idea as to where she was and what she was doing.

You can read the summary of this fight here.

EDIT: And to more specifically answer your question (I had forgotten there was this inconsistency between the stat block and the tactics), I replaced greater scrying with summon monster VII.

Thanks, i will go read it.

As i said above i haven't read to book 5 yet, doesn't her having greater scrying plays a part to the story?


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
leo1925 wrote:
Kyrademon wrote:
Olwen wrote:
Hey, Kandamereus attacked you because he was provoked: you had just said he was incompetent and needed to be replaced.
He was incompetent! He had exactly one job to do and he screwed it up!
I haven't read the books to that part yet, what was his job?

Guarding the doomsday door and preventing anyone open it, except to usher the End of Times. And then he gave the key to the wrong guy…

leo1925 wrote:
As i said above i haven't read to book 5 yet, doesn't her having greater scrying plays a part to the story?

I honestly can't remember. I guess it may have helped her find the first shard quite a while back. But if the spell was needed, she could also have had a couple of scrolls handy. I don't think greater scrying has any impact on this AP's story since Cadrilkasta spends all this time in a slumber produced by the shard of sloth.


About Kandamereus.
I just checked book 4, which i have started reading (my party is at the middle of book 3 now). So he is the undead cleric of Groetus who guards the doomsday door and you tell me that he GAVE the key to the elf ex-cleric of Pharasma (who name i can't remember)? I thought that he stole it.

About Cadrilkasta.
Ok good to know, maybe i will remove some of her trasure and add a crystal ball there to be sure.


leo1925 wrote:

@Olwen

What did you do with Cadrilkasta and the fact that in her tactics it's written that she uses summon monster VII (to summon 1d3 lillend azatas to heal her)?
I was thinking of changing one of her feats for expanded arcana.

Our group has a huge problem with Cadrilkasta (a she-was-too-easy problem, not a she-was-too-hard problem). The problem is, at that level of play, the sloth-shard-inspired tactic of "just sit there sleeping until the PCs start attacking" seems like a guaranteed mega-lose (though I guess that wasn't the case for Olwen's group).

Our group knew exactly where she was from the friendly ghouls, prebuffed (assuming she was also prebuffing since we knew with her Perception she could hear us doing it), hit her early with a dimensional anchor as a precaution and then proceeded to annihilate her. If she had prebuffed mage armor, shield, and other typical dragon prebuffs, it might have been an epic fight, but as it is, she got off one half-hearted action (I can't remember what it was, maybe a full attack or a breath weapon) before being KOed. You're not going to beat PCs who have round/level buffs up if you don't have anything.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Rogue Eidolon wrote:


Our group knew exactly where she was from the friendly ghouls, prebuffed (assuming she was also prebuffing since we knew with her Perception she could hear us doing it), hit her early with a dimensional anchor as a precaution and then proceeded to annihilate her.

Our fight looked exactly the same. I think it took two rounds, but Cadrilkasta never got an effective action.

Throughout the AP, there were combat instructions for major NPCs that wasted one or more rounds. With the fast pace of decision at high level we found these instructions to completely ruin the combats. I ignored most of them past module 2. Even with NPCs acting effectively as soon as they could, the PCs had high initiative and often had surprise, and many fights were over before the NPCs acted even once.

My experiences with this AP were blighted by a problem that I have had repeatedly, notably with Age of Worms and Rise of the Runelords. There were very hard parts early in the AP, and these signaled to my player that he'd better optimize his characters. Having done so, he cut through the rest of the AP without effort or challenge, and it wasn't much fun to run. I don't know how to fix this. When you have just handed someone a TPK you have no standing to say "Don't optimize." But it really ruins the later modules if almost every fight is "The PCs attack the enemy and it falls instantly." (It wasn't just high damage, but a combo of high damage, high initiative, and optimization for obtaining surprise. The entire party would often get a surprise round and a full-round action before the NPC acted, which is fatal at high level.)


The way I run fights and morale blocks is that I only go by the morale block if the PCs approach and approximate the encounter as the AP expects. If the PCs go "off script" then so do my encounters as appropriate. In the case of Cadrilkasta, if you teleported in and went all balls to the wall I'd expect her reaction to be different than if you walked up that hallway, let her do her speech, and so on. I might even have her drop the shard for a moment or cast it to a "safe" spot (for her, anyway) and engage the PCs in all her glory. Also, her contingency is pretty nice. It should limit the effectiveness of someone in the party.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

High level encounters are notably swingy and Into the Nightmare Rift was no different for my group. They had a hard time against Cadrilkasta because they kind of stumbled on her like this, unprepared. They had learned about opponents many times before and had started fights prepared, but just not this one. So I was lucky here since it made for a better story. They had minute/level buffs up, but they had to weigh the benefits of casting their round/level spells in-fight.

It was a completely different story against the demilich, for instance, which they atomized in less than a surprise round, or the flying polyp that wasn't much of a threat. I usually don't mind it so much since it's good for the players to feel that they have kick-ass characters. But I try to sometimes put pressure on the group so they are bound to make suboptimal choices and, at times, end up in front of a dangerous opponents without being entirely prepared. That's what happened with Cadrilkasta.

If I remember well, Mary, you play with only one player, don't you? I wonder how much this also makes it easier through more optimized tactics since you don't have multiple players taking disjoint decisions for their characters. My current group is quite good at thinking like a group but, every so often, they'll still make their own lives more difficult just because they disagree on the best course of action.

As for the tactics of the NPCs, I try to loosely follow them until it's clear they are not applicable. Using summon monster on the first round of combat is a common tactic in APs that I never understood. If the NPC takes the PCs by surprise, fine. But if the PCs see a caster casting a full-round-action summon spell, the first thing they'll do it to jump on the caster to disrupt the spell. That's very rarely a good thing for said caster.

My main problem is that, at high level, there's so many options that I feel I can't do the NPCs justice. The PCs have a year to figure out all that their PCs can do but, in the heat of the action, it's really hard to take the right decision to react to the PCs' action. Sure I have prep time before the session, but that doesn't compensate for an intimate knowledge of an NPC's abilities. That's why Xin was actually nice, because he wasn't much of a spellcaster, so his options very usually limited and quite straightforward.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I almost think there should be an action economy factor into CR calculation. 1 enemy should be a CR - 1 adjustment almost every time. More enemies than PCs should probably be a CR + 1. 2x number of PCs CR + 2, 3x as + 3, etc.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Buri wrote:
I almost think there should be an action economy factor into CR calculation. 1 enemy should be a CR - 1 adjustment almost every time. More enemies than PCs should probably be a CR + 1. 2x number of PCs CR + 2, 3x as + 3, etc.

thats a good one I'm going to use it, i agree 100%


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Buri wrote:
I almost think there should be an action economy factor into CR calculation. 1 enemy should be a CR - 1 adjustment almost every time. More enemies than PCs should probably be a CR + 1. 2x number of PCs CR + 2, 3x as + 3, etc.

Not a bad idea, but what to you make if NPCs who have access to confusion? It's the one spell that's made quite a few Shattered Star fights *very* difficult. 4 PCs vs. 1 NPC quickly turn into 2 PCs vs. 1 NPC and 2 PCs…


Olwen wrote:
Buri wrote:
I almost think there should be an action economy factor into CR calculation. 1 enemy should be a CR - 1 adjustment almost every time. More enemies than PCs should probably be a CR + 1. 2x number of PCs CR + 2, 3x as + 3, etc.
Not a bad idea, but what to you make if NPCs who have access to confusion? It's the one spell that's made quite a few Shattered Star fights *very* difficult. 4 PCs vs. 1 NPC quickly turn into 2 PCs vs. 1 NPC and 2 PCs…

Ohhhhh three seugathi. Hardest fight in the world for its CR. That really should have been a TPK for us. We lucked out on some early saves. Once the barbarian went cuckoo, it went downhill from there, but fortunately by then he had killed one.

You guys wouldn't have done that fight though due to it being in Asylum Stone.


One factor is that in a fight against a single foe, a single lucky roll (like a critical hit, especially if playing with something like a crit deck) or a single unlucky roll (like a failed save) can sometimes really turn things around because they have no backup to heal them/step up/whatever. If such a thing happens early on, it can make fights pretty brief.

In some ways, that's a good thing, because it can turn the corner on fights that are otherwise lost causes. But it can reduce the tension a bit if it happens in round 1 or 2 ...

One thing that I've wondered a bit is why the "single giant monster" -- sometimes with assorted screening minions of much lower power -- seems to be the default end-of-module encounter. A fight against a party of 3-4 with assorted powers evens up the action economy and makes a single brutal takedown less likely to end things all at once. (I mean, there is a reason that's the standard for adventuring groups; it's what D&D is basically designed for.)

I realize that's harder for the GM, but we are talking about what would generally be one encounter in a book.


Kyrademon wrote:

One factor is that in a fight against a single foe, a single lucky roll (like a critical hit, especially if playing with something like a crit deck) or a single unlucky roll (like a failed save) can sometimes really turn things around because they have no backup to heal them/step up/whatever. If such a thing happens early on, it can make fights pretty brief.

In some ways, that's a good thing, because it can turn the corner on fights that are otherwise lost causes. But it can reduce the tension a bit if it happens in round 1 or 2 ...

One thing that I've wondered a bit is why the "single giant monster" -- sometimes with assorted screening minions of much lower power -- seems to be the default end-of-module encounter. A fight against a party of 3-4 with assorted powers evens up the action economy and makes a single brutal takedown less likely to end things all at once. (I mean, there is a reason that's the standard for adventuring groups; it's what D&D is basically designed for.)

I realize that's harder for the GM, but we are talking about what would generally be one encounter in a book.

Hmm, the only AP I know of at the moment that has an "adventuring party" of BBEGs is Jade Regent, and reports from that are that the encounter is ridiculously easy.


Olwen wrote:
Not a bad idea, but what to you make if NPCs who have access to confusion? It's the one spell that's made quite a few Shattered Star fights *very* difficult. 4 PCs vs. 1 NPC quickly turn into 2 PCs vs. 1 NPC and 2 PCs…

Yeah, the seugathi should probably never be grouped up en masse. A horde of those things is like asking why a bunch of shadows haven't wiped out life on Golarion. It's just one of those situations the nature of the world has prevented for sheer sanity reasons (heh).

More to the point of lone wolf style BBEGs should probably be more left to intimidate and circumstantially bait the party to proceed/flee in a certain direction or give clues or to just generally mess with the party but not actually engage in full combat.


Buri wrote:
A horde of those things is like asking why a bunch of shadows haven't wiped out life on Golarion.

My explanation for this kind of thing is that there actually aren't that many monsters in the world higher than CR 3 or so. It's just that the PCs happen to run into every single one of them in a short time and limited area because they are Destined Heroes.

It's the same reason every village isn't run by a group of 20th level adventurers in an impregnable castle with their rule challenged by another group of 20th level adventurers from the next village over. 99.99999% of people who decide to go "adventuring" die at first level, killed by a goblin. You just happen to be playing the ridiculous outlier who isn't (well, most of the time, early TPKs aside.)


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Buri wrote:
Olwen wrote:
Not a bad idea, but what to you make if NPCs who have access to confusion? It's the one spell that's made quite a few Shattered Star fights *very* difficult. 4 PCs vs. 1 NPC quickly turn into 2 PCs vs. 1 NPC and 2 PCs…

Yeah, the seugathi should probably never be grouped up en masse. A horde of those things is like asking why a bunch of shadows haven't wiped out life on Golarion. It's just one of those situations the nature of the world has prevented for sheer sanity reasons (heh).

More to the point of lone wolf style BBEGs should probably be more left to intimidate and circumstantially bait the party to proceed/flee in a certain direction or give clues or to just generally mess with the party but not actually engage in full combat.

I skipped the seugathis, but Ashamintalu was really close to TPK the group... twice... In both cases because of confusion. It's a really swingy spell.

As for the shadows, yes, that's a good example of another very dangerous monster. My PCs had issues with them in volume 4, actually. Luckily for them, they killed the last shadow just before their former companion, killed by one, transformed and attacked them.

I guess all these is why the GM needs to be on top of things, especially at high level, to avoid dead easy and boring campaigns, or super difficult ones.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Kyrademon wrote:
Buri wrote:
A horde of those things is like asking why a bunch of shadows haven't wiped out life on Golarion.

My explanation for this kind of thing is that there actually aren't that many monsters in the world higher than CR 3 or so. It's just that the PCs happen to run into every single one of them in a short time and limited area because they are Destined Heroes.

It's the same reason every village isn't run by a group of 20th level adventurers in an impregnable castle with their rule challenged by another group of 20th level adventurers from the next village over. 99.99999% of people who decide to go "adventuring" die at first level, killed by a goblin. You just happen to be playing the ridiculous outlier who isn't (well, most of the time, early TPKs aside.)

Yep, that's also what I think PCs are.


Olwen wrote:
Buri wrote:
Olwen wrote:
Not a bad idea, but what to you make if NPCs who have access to confusion? It's the one spell that's made quite a few Shattered Star fights *very* difficult. 4 PCs vs. 1 NPC quickly turn into 2 PCs vs. 1 NPC and 2 PCs…

Yeah, the seugathi should probably never be grouped up en masse. A horde of those things is like asking why a bunch of shadows haven't wiped out life on Golarion. It's just one of those situations the nature of the world has prevented for sheer sanity reasons (heh).

More to the point of lone wolf style BBEGs should probably be more left to intimidate and circumstantially bait the party to proceed/flee in a certain direction or give clues or to just generally mess with the party but not actually engage in full combat.

I skipped the seugathis, but Ashamintalu was really close to TPK the group... twice... In both cases because of confusion. It's a really swingy spell.

As for the shadows, yes, that's a good example of another very dangerous monster. My PCs had issues with them in volume 4, actually. Luckily for them, they killed the last shadow just before their former companion, killed by one, transformed and attacked them.

I guess all these is why the GM needs to be on top of things, especially at high level, to avoid dead easy and boring campaigns, or super difficult ones.

Our group did so many of the things listed in the AP volume to mess with her that Ashamintalu never stood a chance--she took the first round to revert to her original form as per the AP. Apparently, the author even thought of putting in penalties to her if you bring "Glassamintalu" up with you, which we had no idea how serious of a distress that was to her, we just wanted a glass golem.


*scribbling notes*
Cadrilkasta might need to be played not according to her tactics
*scribbling notes*

So you have told us about book 6, what would you change in books 4 and 5 in order to make things better? (both on encounters and maybe in the story)


The number of macguffins that give serious advantages in combat are numerous throughout the AP, indeed.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
leo1925 wrote:
So you have told us about book 6, what would you change in books 4 and 5 in order to make things better? (both on encounters and maybe in the story)

It's a little difficult for me to say much about book 4 since my PCs skipped the top floor, as well as the first two underground levels when they entered through the sea drake cave. That meant they were a level behind for the lower levels of the Groetus temple, but I liked it. I'd make sure to have the gongorinan qlippoths surprise the group at least once; that was fun for me to play. Otherwise I'd keep things as they are.

It's more or less the same thing in book 5. It worked very well as written. You should be aware that the PCs will likely never find the drows, or most of the encounters in the Core. It seems obvious that the thing to do is to follow the ruins of the bridge and, once in the ruins, to explore them, which leads to the discovery of the illusion-protected shaft that leads to the Embassy.

If I were to play the campaign again, the one thing I might develop in book 5 is the political strife between giants. As it stands, it's just General Stom sending the group to do her dirty work but it could add more tension to have some of the giants of the underground level turn against Chief Jubbek for one big massive, level-wide fight of giants against giants with the PCs in the middle.


Olwen wrote:


If I were to play the campaign again, the one thing I might develop in book 5 is the political strife between giants. As it stands, it's just General Stom sending the group to do her dirty work but it could add more tension to have some of the giants of the underground level turn against Chief Jubbek for one big massive, level-wide fight of giants against giants with the PCs in the middle.

When we played that one, we had the barbarian in the form of a fire giant riding on our pyrohydra friend Gegganalag (spelling?) from Part 2. When the giants saw "King Memory's Feasthall" (a magnificent mansion from the wizard with a fire theme), Stom decided to have her forces join his "clan". Also, the barbarian, who was from the Realm of the Mammoth Lords, had just bought a helm of the mammoth lords for fun, and he was shocked to see mammoths to befriend in the very next encounter!

Part 4, the medusa walked us down past the first bit until the first gongorinan fight (which decided to go for poetic justice and turned her to stone, stone salves, only party copy of the Doomsday Key, and all). So we were stuck on the other side of the Doomsday Door, and we had to solve the whole dungeon in one day, one level lower than expected (and I think eventually two levels lower). Good times!


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

Wow, that must have been fun with the giants. The barbarian's player must have had a blast!

What happened with the medusa? Did you charm her so she would bring you all the way down?


Olwen wrote:
Wow, that must have been fun with the giants. The barbarian's player must have had a blast!

Yes, as a friendly and peaceful barbarian of Sarenrae (Blade of Mercy trait to do nonlethal damage) and Desna, the "Sun and Moon Spirits", he believes in not killing any living creature (except he's been convinced evil outsiders aren't alive). He enjoyed becoming a new giant king.

Quote:
What happened with the medusa? Did you charm her so she would bring you all the way down?

The sorceress had recruited all of the redcaps and pretending to be a redcap (she convinced them that the qlippoth's blood gave a special boost when a cap is dipped with it, and Roy died in the fight between party+redcaps and qlippoths). She also recruited the ettins and such. Anyway, they told us a lot about the medusa. Enough to know she was a cleric of Mestama, demon lord of hags and revenge and stuff. The wizard rolled high and filled her in on Mestama. Realizing that demons and qlippoths hate each other about as much as possible, they decided first of all right on the spot that Ardathanathus was a brilliant recruiter and diplomat to be able to convince this many diverse creatures with different agendas to help him out, but that this too would be his downfall.

They went to the medusa, with an unholy symbol of Mestama prepared. The sorceress claimed Ardathanatus was going to betray her, according to a vision from Mestama. Through talking along with the medusa, agreeing in the right times and disagreeing when it was a trick, and with our own patchwork knowledge from the redcaps, we managed to enter the narrative enough to learn that there was a night hag down below (Gethuspia?) and that Ardathanatus was alone at the bottom, but he told the medusa and the night hag how long the ritual would take to finish. Of course, the Mestamans planned to backstab him and change the portal to a place of Mestama's choosing.

So the bluff was simple at this point--"Ardathanatus is a canny manipulator," the sorceress explained, "And your plan is excellent, but he would have anticipated it. I now understand Mestama's vision. She was telling me that Ardathanatus lied about the day the ritual will end. He plans to finish early so that when you get down there, hoping it would be right at the end, it will be too late, and Yamasoth will be in Golarion."

The medusa decided to take us down to see the night hag and form a "coven" to deal with this, and most of the minions totally allowed it, but the gongorinans weren't having none of that!


Rogue Eidolon wrote:
Yes, as a friendly and peaceful barbarian of Sarenrae (Blade of Mercy trait to do nonlethal damage) and Desna, the "Sun and Moon Spirits", he believes in not killing any living creature ...

I had a paladin who operated on the same principle. One of my favorite characters ever.

Contributor

5 people marked this as a favorite.

As promised--the final heave-and-collapse of Xin's crystal palace from one of my drafts. Not official, of course, but might be a fun addendum.

One note, though. There's an important element in here that didn't make the final adventure that's potentially confusing. Originally, the PCs had to make "Control Checks" to open the palace's doors, close entrances, and make crystal stairways "grow" down so they could be used. In keeping with my established theme that Azlanti avoid *touching* things if they can help it, I liked the idea of no door knobs or anything--if Xin wanted to get somewhere, he'd just think about an entrance opening up in the appropriate section of the wall and the crystal would respond, or a stairway would grow up or down to get him where he wanted to go. Likewise, powerful PCs could try to exert their mental influence on the palace to get it to do what *they* wanted instead of Xin, and this could not only open/close passages and doorways, but even help them shut down some of the traps if they made a good Perception check and acted quickly, etc. Think of this as the same sort of control system used for the sphere of annihilation, and there were some circumstances where they could battle for control of the palace with Xin's ghost for key entrances he didn't want them in, though it was mostly a cool way to open doors and find staircases, though it could also get characters in trouble when things "regrew" to close behind them, etc. Part of that "Control Check" system is still in here, so this may have limited usefulness in absence of that system, becoming more of a "screw you guys" just-deal-damage party-pooper than an interactive we-can-save-ourselves-with-the-power-of-our-minds event:

The Dying Palace (CR 14)

With the destruction of the Clockwork Reliquary, the palace rings out in a mournful cry, and its crystal form—so intrinsically tied to the life of Xin, begins cracking and crumbling, threatening to bury all within.

The Clockwork Reliquary's defeat signals the last desperate measure of Xin's palace to destroy those that have laid its master low, and it strikes out violently in its death throes. Its crystal walls begin to crumble beneath the weary party's feet, threatening to crush them under its dying weight or bury them beneath its sharp shards.

One round after the Clockwork Reliquary's defeat, the palace begins disintegrating. Characters have only 5 rounds to escape the palace, though they do not have to reach the front entrance to do it, as the cracking palace will soon open an exit of its own. Tremors rock the palace, and PCs must make a DC 20 Reflex save each round or fall prone. Crystal shards and slivers lash out blindly as the party flees, and PCs take 4d6 points of damage each round from the jagged shards (Reflex DC 20 for half). But while the palace still lives, PCs can attempt a DC 35 Control Check [1d20 + character level + character Int modifier] as part of their move actions to stabilize it locally, and PCs who succeed avoid damage entirely, though this does not halt the quaking effects.

After 5 rounds, the light of the outside world appears through large cracks in the palace walls, offering PCs a chance to escape. At this level, the PCs are 170 feet high, and can either jump to the ground below (suffering 17d6 damage) or fly. PCs who fail to escape are caught in the collapsing palace 1 round later, and take 10d6 points of damage, or half that amount if they make a DC 25 Reflex save. They are subsequently buried (Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook 415) in the rubble of the dead palace, and the quakes continue as the island slowly sinks over the next 10 minutes into the stormy sea.

Treasure: As PCs recover from the disaster of the collapsing tower, allow them to make a DC 25 Perception check to spy a fist-sized chunk of the palace, glowing with the light of inner glyphs. This is the last living shard of Xin's palace, and functions as an instant fortress, though it make gain additional abilities and sentience over time.

51 to 100 of 114 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder Adventure Path / Shattered Star / We finished - comments and opinion on the campaign [spoilers] All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.