Empty Graves (GM Reference)


Mummy's Mask

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The purpose of this thread is to clarify questions arising in this adventure.

This thread is a GM Reference thread for Part 2 of the Mummy's Mask Adventure Path. Links for the individual threads for each part are as follows:

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Has anyone made a full list of the panic reductions / increases in this adventure? I have a nagging feeling that barring additional (GM Discretion) awards, the event requiring "panic < 15" will never "fire", blocking quite a bit of encounters.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I may try to do this today if I have time.

Contributor

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Here's what I found:

Starting level: 20
Increases daily by 1
Inaction for day increases by 1d4

Panic Events
Looters: –1-2/+1
Dogs of Death: –1
Corpse Wagon: –1
Shadow at the Gates: –1-2/+1
Mourning Period: –1-2
The Taker of Eyes: –2
F4. Slay the tekenu: –1
F8. Rescue Ptemenib: –1
F9. Defeat Ekram Iffek: –1
Right Hand of Death: –1/+2

End of adventure automatically decreases 1d4 daily

Total potential decreases: 14
Total potential increases: 4

Assuming they work every day, it's more than reasonable that they get below 15 panic. As long they complete two or three of the necessary encounters per day, they will see a decrease.

Liberty's Edge Digital Products Assistant

Also keep in mind that defeating random encounters can lower the panic level as well.


TerraNova wrote:
Has anyone made a full list of the panic reductions / increases in this adventure? I have a nagging feeling that barring additional (GM Discretion) awards, the event requiring "panic < 15" will never "fire", blocking quite a bit of encounters.

Speaking of Panic levels - I've raised my panic level twice - 1 for my player stealing from the auction house, and 1 for shooting a teenager. Sadly the teenager lived due to another player healing him so the Wight didn't get to rise. I was wondering if most agree with my reactions?

The Exchange

Crystal Frasier wrote:
Also keep in mind that defeating random encounters can lower the panic level as well.

I want to comment on that, actually. Random encounters are a fine game mechanic for certain groups, but they really don't work for others. In my games, as an example, I try to lower their number to zero when I can. I don't play with XP, so I just can't see the point in a combat that doesn't have anything to do with the story and doesn't advance the game in any meaningful way.

So I kind of think that if a major mechanic in an adventure (like those panic points) hings on random encounters for it's math to work, that's potentially creating a problematic solution for a GM that doesn't want to use them.

I didn't get to read the adventure yet, sadly, so of course I don't know if this is the case here. But in general, I believe random encounters should remain as optional a part of an adventure as possible.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Hey Crystal - what would you suggest in terms of panic level reduction - I see references to it for random encounters - but every reference I see - seems to refer to 'the rules you read elsewhere' As such I guess I'm just not finding it.

Would you say 1 point per encounter - more or less? (based on the other events I was thinking 1 point per encounter which gives the party a good chance to get things under control give or take pretty quickly).

Also... Kudos to the encounter with Neferekhu - I had to read through it several times but I think that has got to be one of the coolest things I've ever read up on - I'm very excited to get to that point with my group!

To Lord Snow - I'll agree with you I only pull out the random encounter table when my group decides to go exploring 180 degrees from my plot typically - however in this case considering the state of the city - they do play a major story role - at least for the first third of the adventure - I think once your group starts to track down the real source of the problem they go back to 'not needed' - But I can see where you are coming from and I think I plan to use 2-3 of the 'random' encounters as just 'picked' for the group.


Lord Snow wrote:
Crystal Frasier wrote:
Also keep in mind that defeating random encounters can lower the panic level as well.

I want to comment on that, actually. Random encounters are a fine game mechanic for certain groups, but they really don't work for others. In my games, as an example, I try to lower their number to zero when I can. I don't play with XP, so I just can't see the point in a combat that doesn't have anything to do with the story and doesn't advance the game in any meaningful way.

So I kind of think that if a major mechanic in an adventure (like those panic points) hings on random encounters for it's math to work, that's potentially creating a problematic solution for a GM that doesn't want to use them.

I didn't get to read the adventure yet, sadly, so of course I don't know if this is the case here. But in general, I believe random encounters should remain as optional a part of an adventure as possible.

In some written adventures, "random encounters" are what happen when the party travel from point A to point B (trips across the region/province/country/continent/world).

The Exchange

Guy St-Amant wrote:
Lord Snow wrote:
Crystal Frasier wrote:
Also keep in mind that defeating random encounters can lower the panic level as well.

I want to comment on that, actually. Random encounters are a fine game mechanic for certain groups, but they really don't work for others. In my games, as an example, I try to lower their number to zero when I can. I don't play with XP, so I just can't see the point in a combat that doesn't have anything to do with the story and doesn't advance the game in any meaningful way.

So I kind of think that if a major mechanic in an adventure (like those panic points) hings on random encounters for it's math to work, that's potentially creating a problematic solution for a GM that doesn't want to use them.

I didn't get to read the adventure yet, sadly, so of course I don't know if this is the case here. But in general, I believe random encounters should remain as optional a part of an adventure as possible.

In some written adventures, "random encounters" are what happen when the party travel from point A to point B (trips across the region/province/country/continent/world).

Well, sure, but if I want to skip a random encounter when the party travels, that doesn't disrupt the adventure in any way. I also have no problem with adventures that include random encounters. I simply think that when an adventure relies on random encounters to function, that could force some GMs to patch their own solutions (which is fine, I love brewing with published adventures, but it's also a weakness in the product).


Lord Snow wrote:
Guy St-Amant wrote:
Lord Snow wrote:
Crystal Frasier wrote:
Also keep in mind that defeating random encounters can lower the panic level as well.

I want to comment on that, actually. Random encounters are a fine game mechanic for certain groups, but they really don't work for others. In my games, as an example, I try to lower their number to zero when I can. I don't play with XP, so I just can't see the point in a combat that doesn't have anything to do with the story and doesn't advance the game in any meaningful way.

So I kind of think that if a major mechanic in an adventure (like those panic points) hings on random encounters for it's math to work, that's potentially creating a problematic solution for a GM that doesn't want to use them.

I didn't get to read the adventure yet, sadly, so of course I don't know if this is the case here. But in general, I believe random encounters should remain as optional a part of an adventure as possible.

In some written adventures, "random encounters" are what happen when the party travel from point A to point B (trips across the region/province/country/continent/world).

Well, sure, but if I want to skip a random encounter when the party travels, that doesn't disrupt the adventure in any way. I also have no problem with adventures that include random encounters. I simply think that when an adventure relies on random encounters to function, that could force some GMs to patch their own solutions (which is fine, I love brewing with published adventures, but it's also a weakness in the product).

Good points...

I haven't seen the book yet, but I'm thinking it could be like a "Real Time Strategy" game, the enemies/encounters aren't at fixed locations.

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Ckorik wrote:

Hey Crystal - what would you suggest in terms of panic level reduction - I see references to it for random encounters - but every reference I see - seems to refer to 'the rules you read elsewhere' As such I guess I'm just not finding it.

Would you say 1 point per encounter - more or less? (based on the other events I was thinking 1 point per encounter which gives the party a good chance to get things under control give or take pretty quickly).

Also... Kudos to the encounter with Neferekhu - I had to read through it several times but I think that has got to be one of the coolest things I've ever read up on - I'm very excited to get to that point with my group!

I feel like I could've explained the Panic Point system a little better than I did, and I'm sorry for falling short. Basically, the intention was to both provide a tangible reward as they moved towards saving the city, and give them a ticking clock so they wouldn't take a day's rest after every encounter. The fact that there aren't enough listed reductions to take the Panic level to 0 is intentional, because Panic reductions were also meant to be a reward for any actions PCs might want to take above and beyond the fights listed in the book. Do they organize and train people to defend themselves? Reduce the Panic by one. Inspiring speech on the temple steps? Reduce the Panic by one. Dipping into their own resources to pass out holy water or holy symbols or healing items? Reduce the Panic by one. It's intended to be the carrot half of the equation to encourage roleplaying and being heroic, and actually see some benefit from it.

Even if PCs don't manage to bring the Panic Level down to zero in the adventure, it's easy to get the city to a place where they can function (especially once they free Ptemenib and his divine casting). true, they might not be able to sell all their loot just yet or buy more potions at the best price, but the normal becoming abnormal and community hardship are the big themes of Empty Graves.

And while I'm not usually a big fan of random encounters, I like them for this adventure because they help drive home the idea of a city overrun by horrors. PCs shouldn't be able to move about zombie-choked streets without some kind of consequence.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Crystal Frasier wrote:


I feel like I could've explained the Panic Point system a little better than I did, and I'm sorry for falling short.

I don't think I'd feel that way - it's (at least to me) a great mechanic. I don't think I've ever seen anything like it before and (as such) being new it's not always obvious to wrap your GM hat around, that doesn't mean it isn't a great way to keep track of this type of event (which again I think it is - and as a super extra GM happy bonus - without taking up much bookeeping).

Quote:


Basically, the intention was to both provide a tangible reward as they moved towards saving the city, and give them a ticking clock so they wouldn't take a day's rest after every encounter. The fact that there aren't enough listed reductions to take the Panic level to 0 is intentional, because Panic reductions were also meant to be a reward for any actions PCs might want to take above and beyond the fights listed in the book. Do they organize and train people to defend themselves? Reduce the Panic by one. Inspiring speech on the temple steps? Reduce the Panic by one. Dipping into their own resources to pass out holy water or holy symbols or healing items? Reduce the Panic by one. It's intended to be the carrot half of the equation to encourage roleplaying and being heroic, and actually see some benefit from it.

This is super helpful - thank you - I hope in my game to use the panic level during the first part of the adventure to create 'waves' of panic that hopefully make my group feel like they have a noticeable effect on the city - once they move beyond part 1 (at least at the planning stage - I'll see how they behave and adjust during play) I plan to ease off on the pressure cooker in the city to let them play detective.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Crystal Frasier wrote:


I feel like I could've explained the Panic Point system a little better than I did, and I'm sorry for falling short. Basically, the intention was ....

Can you point out at what Panic level you think the city should be for the Chapter 3?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Crystal Frasier wrote:


I feel like I could've explained the Panic Point system a little better than I did, and I'm sorry for falling short. Basically, the intention was to both provide a tangible reward as they moved towards saving the city, and give them a ticking clock so they wouldn't take a day's rest after every encounter. The fact that there aren't enough listed reductions to take the Panic level to 0 is intentional, because Panic reductions were also meant to be a reward for any actions PCs might want to take above and beyond the fights listed in the book. Do they organize and train people to defend themselves? Reduce the Panic by one. Inspiring speech on the temple steps? Reduce the Panic by one. Dipping into their own resources to pass out holy water or holy symbols or healing items? Reduce the Panic by one. It's intended to be the carrot half of the equation to encourage roleplaying and being heroic, and actually see some benefit from it.

Even if PCs don't manage to bring the Panic Level down to zero in the adventure, it's easy to get the city to a place where they can function (especially once they free Ptemenib and his divine casting). true, they might not be able to sell all their loot just yet or buy more potions at the best price, but the normal becoming abnormal and community hardship are the big themes of Empty Graves....

I think the content, and your explaination is great. If anything, I think its just the page layout that spreads out the info.I know this is a graphic design issue and not completely up to you. Example: Right in the middle of the explanation for this new cool system they drop the Map of Wati. This is my first-read impression only, but thats the point, right? It feels like it will make more sense after a 2nd read.

Whats the general plan on sharing the Panic point system with the players? Does anyone plan on sharing the tiers and rewards with them? It takes a board game mentality at that point. You could make a counter showing the panic level and give out tokens to represent bringing it down?

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Windspirit wrote:
Can you point out at what Panic level you think the city should be for the Chapter 3?

There's no solid plan for where PCs should be with Panic at any point in the adventure; it depends on their approach to problem-solving and how faster they work (and how the dice play out). It's intended to show them that their actions are having a direct effect on the city.

If PCs are keeping up with encounter pretty well, and not resting on their laurels, then Wati will probably be in Unsettling Times. But if the dice are against them, it's still possible the Wati is Unsafe by Night.

Psyonis wrote:
Whats the general plan on sharing the Panic point system with the players? Does anyone plan on sharing the tiers and rewards with them? It takes a board game mentality at that point. You could make a counter showing the panic level and give out tokens to represent bringing it down?

Every group is a little different. If you're group likes knowing all the mechanics they're working with up front, there's no harm in sharing it with them. I personally like things to be a bit of description and a bit of mechanics when I GM, because I tend to have a spread of player types. Initially I might say "The city is in a complete panic, and nearly every business has barricaded its doors," and describe the rules bits of each tier as they reach it. But I could also see how knowing the rules might ruin the immersion for some people. You know your group best.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

At the moment, I'm planning on having a "Panic Meter" on a whiteboard for the players to see the effect of their actions, but I might play it more subtly at first and see how they respond.


About the Exodus level, is it 5% of the starting population or 5% of the current population?

Paizo Employee Senior Developer

Guy St-Amant wrote:

About the Exodus level, is it 5% of the starting population or 5% of the current population?

With 5%, we're not talking about a huge difference in numbers between starting and current population, but I'd go with starting population. That means that the city would be completely depopulated in 20 days at that level, so I could see switching to current population at some point (maybe once the population is reduced by 50%) if you don't want the city to be completely abandoned.

Of course, it's the PCs' job to make sure that that doesn't happen!


Rob McCreary wrote:
Guy St-Amant wrote:

About the Exodus level, is it 5% of the starting population or 5% of the current population?

With 5%, we're not talking about a huge difference in numbers between starting and current population, but I'd go with starting population. That means that the city would be completely depopulated in 20 days at that level, so I could see switching to current population at some point (maybe once the population is reduced by 50%) if you don't want the city to be completely abandoned.

Of course, it's the PCs' job to make sure that that doesn't happen!

Thanks.

:) And after that, do the intelligent undeads leave too? :)

Liberty's Edge Digital Products Assistant

Guy St-Amant wrote:

Thanks.

:) And after that, do the intelligent undeads leave too? :)

Not at all. "Hey free city!"

Most of the intelligent undead would still hang around, partially because the undead have strong attachments to their lairs and the places that remind them of their lives and deaths, and partially because undead don't really need to eat or trade or otherwise depend on a thriving population. Most of them will simply mill around the city like they mill around in dungeons, being immortal and broody and waiting for lunch to deliver itself.


You know I was thinking, in the Exodus stage, if the Psychopomps get summoned, wouldn't the city empty itself faster?

Liberty's Edge

Is it revealed at some point how the Cult of the Forgotten Pharaoh came to learn of the Mask being located in Wati? We know Nebta-Khufre learned from his grandmother, and the cult "tracked the Mask to Wati", but how? Surely not coincidence, right? They must be connected.
Perhaps I missed it, or should just be patient and wait for the other books to come out, but I'm just wondering.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

my guess is its explained in Shifting Sands:)
I'm waiting until at least half is out before i run it:)

Liberty's Edge

captain yesterday wrote:

my guess is its explained in Shifting Sands:)

I'm waiting until at least half is out before i run it:)

Yes yes I will be patient. :)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
captain yesterday wrote:

my guess is its explained in Shifting Sands:)

I'm waiting until at least half is out before i run it:)

actually not. I can't remember reading it. The only way would be if the Cultist researched them self in the libraries, and there is nothing that suggest this.

if its not explained in the next volume..I will add a dead cultist to the dark library...which should explain it. Glossing over the fact that they had to get in....

Liberty's Edge

Windspirit wrote:
captain yesterday wrote:

my guess is its explained in Shifting Sands:)

I'm waiting until at least half is out before i run it:)

actually not. I can't remember reading it. The only way would be if the Cultist researched them self in the libraries, and there is nothing that suggest this.

if its not explained in the next volume..I will add a dead cultist to the dark library...which should explain it. Glossing over the fact that they had to get in....

Yeah, something like that makes sense. I just re-read the Adventure Background - not coincidence anyway - when Serethet found the heart and became possessed by Hakotep this appears to have instigated the prophecies of Neferekhu.


I like it; this AP continues to satisfy. I look forward to exposing the gradually quickening pace for the unfolding of the scale of horror gripping the city:

Spoiler:
1. It's normal/festive before going into the auction hall.
2. Nice, civilized auction.
3. Zombie rush! Normal-ish encounter for adventurers but a violation of the standard script: they're not in a dungeon, they're being attacked on home turf!
4. Ongoing local instability with crumbling awning. Collateral damage!
5. What, in the street too!?
6. Good gods, it's everywhere!

I appreciate the craft and care in the encounter design throughout the adventure. Good style - in just a few sentences I have a pretty good idea how individually each NPC acts. I like the meaningful interaction with random auction attendants at the beginning and the consequences for involvement with them that comes to fruition at the end. I like the liberal use of awarding Story Award xps for results rather than just leaning on a slain monster focus for xps. I like the potential for the PCs to grow from just-another-foreign-opportunist to vital-to-a-community-in-crisis type of party. The PCs don't have to bite all the hooks but there seems to be a lovely cadence of threat and payoff for helping.

I revel that it still feels fantasy-Ancient-Egyptianny, from adventure to new magic items, artifact, creatures and journal. Cool Names! Lovely art! I still have years left in the AP I'm currently running and look forward to doing so but I do believe I'll have to start another group this fall once I'm done reading this AP. Another good job!

Grand Lodge

I am looking for information on the raging shade on page 17. I understand that it is an advanced shadow, but not sure what raging has to do with it unless its just colorful descriptive text. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Liberty's Edge Digital Products Assistant

Mr. Gerbik wrote:

Is it revealed at some point how the Cult of the Forgotten Pharaoh came to learn of the Mask being located in Wati? We know Nebta-Khufre learned from his grandmother, and the cult "tracked the Mask to Wati", but how? Surely not coincidence, right? They must be connected.

Perhaps I missed it, or should just be patient and wait for the other books to come out, but I'm just wondering.

The Cult sent agents to a dozen cities and towns across Osirion to follow up on rumors and clues. Wati has a large trove of Ancient Osirion treasures, and so got a fairly large cut of the resources. When the local team recognized that the sudden surge of undeath was probably related to unleashed ka energy, they contacted the Cult to send more resources and retrieve what they strongly believed to be the mask.

Liberty's Edge Digital Products Assistant

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john wood wrote:
I am looking for information on the raging shade on page 17. I understand that it is an advanced shadow, but not sure what raging has to do with it unless its just colorful descriptive text. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

"Raging" is just a descriptive term; it's not a special class of monster.

Paizo Employee Senior Developer

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Crystal Frasier wrote:
john wood wrote:
I am looking for information on the raging shade on page 17. I understand that it is an advanced shadow, but not sure what raging has to do with it unless its just colorful descriptive text. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
"Raging" is just a descriptive term; it's not a special class of monster.

What Crystal said: "Raging Shade" is more exciting than just saying "Advanced Shadow," even if that's all it is.

Grand Lodge

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Rob McCreaCrystalOTE="Crystal Frasier wrote:
john wood wrote:
I am looking for information on the raging shade on page 17. I understand that it is an advanced shadow, but not sure what raging has to do with it unless its just colorful descriptive text. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
"Raging" is just a descriptive term; it's not a special class of monster.
What Crystal said: "Raging Shade" is more exciting than just saying "Advanced Shadow," even if that's all it is.

Thank-you so much Crystal and Rob, I often feel silly asking questions about things like this. Your quick responses are greatly appreciated, please don't ever think your work isn't significant to our community.


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Quote:

Is it revealed at some point how the Cult of the Forgotten Pharaoh came to learn of the Mask being located in Wati? We know Nebta-Khufre learned from his grandmother, and the cult "tracked the Mask to Wati", but how? Surely not coincidence, right? They must be connected.

Perhaps I missed it, or should just be patient and wait for the other books to come out, but I'm just wondering.

The introduction of Empty Graves does speak about some priestess of nethys and some cult that was created when said priestess was possesed by his ib.

Quote:

Hidden away beneath the Sanctum of the Erudite Eye for

more than 6 millennia, the Mask of the Forgotten Pharaoh was
consigned to oblivion, until a priestess of Nethys recently
discovered yet another fragment of Hakotep’s soul—his ib,
or heart—and was possessed by the pharaoh’s spirit. After
thousands of years of existing between life and death, the
Forgotten Pharaoh could finally act, and began gathering
a cult of loyal followers to find the scattered remnants of
his soul and return him to life
. Meanwhile, the Cult of the
Forgotten Pharaoh, whose members wear gold funerary
masks modeled on Hakotep’s own, has scoured the ruins of
Osirion for its master’s ka, and the cultists’ search has now
brought them to Wati. Under the leadership of Meret-Hetef
and her lieutenant Ekram Iffek, the cult has infiltrated one
of Wati’s criminal gangs, the Silver Chain, while they comb
the city’s necropolis for the Mask of the Forgotten Pharaoh,
unaware that the mask has already been found.

Isnt that cult the very same Cult of the Forgotten Pharaoh ?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

is Yes the answer you're looking for?

because i believe the answer is Yes:)

Liberty's Edge

Crystal Frasier wrote:
The Cult sent agents to a dozen cities and towns across Osirion to follow up on rumors and clues. Wati has a large trove of Ancient Osirion treasures, and so got a fairly large cut of the resources. When the local team recognized that the sudden surge of undeath was probably related to unleashed ka energy, they contacted the Cult to send more resources and retrieve what they strongly believed to be the mask.

OK, yes, that totally makes sense. I guess it was all described there, I just wasn't connecting the dots...

Sorry, I can get bogged down in plot details, but it will help in running the adventure, for sure.
Thanks!

Dark Archive

I have some questions about the ghast barbarian, undead are immune to morale effects and rage bonuses are morale ones, however you have given him a +4 ST and a +4 Cha while raging, I wont be able to justify using these bonuses on the barbarian would it be a good idea to switch his class to something like fighter (which does not have morale bonuses?)


If undead are immune to morale bonuses, then there is a lot to explain about Horn of Valhalla.
The horn summons construct barbarians, which are also immune to morale effects.

Dark Archive

I noticed on page 26 the cultists there say that they have the weapon finess rogue talent. But they only have 1 level in rogue. How did they get it, or is it the im an npc who dosent follow the rules kinda enemy.

Paizo Employee Senior Developer

Moospuh wrote:
I noticed on page 26 the cultists there say that they have the weapon finess rogue talent. But they only have 1 level in rogue. How did they get it, or is it the im an npc who dosent follow the rules kinda enemy.

That's a mistake, unfortunately. They should keep Weapon Finesse, however, so I'd recommend removing either Deceitful or Arcane Strike.

Dark Archive

Rob McCreary wrote:
Moospuh wrote:
I noticed on page 26 the cultists there say that they have the weapon finess rogue talent. But they only have 1 level in rogue. How did they get it, or is it the im an npc who dosent follow the rules kinda enemy.
That's a mistake, unfortunately. They should keep Weapon Finesse, however, so I'd recommend removing either Deceitful or Arcane Strike.

thanks. removing arcane strike (easiest one to remove, without giving minuses on things)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

One of the few things that I think is annoying about the Mummy's Mask is that The Ancient Gods should have been part of the Half Dead city, so the players could build Clerics of that pantheon from the start, rather then in the second book, where the players can only retcon characters to the old-new deities.

Fortunately that isn't a real problem, in that I'm only beginning setting up the game now after getting the 4th book as an AP subscriber, so I can give the players the option from the start.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

you do know they had a blog post with all the relevant info about the old gods like right before it came out, also i'm not quite sure on how/why this annoying for you as you are just starting it, seems an odd place to air out such minor and irrelevant annoyances/concerns....


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Shain Edge wrote:

One of the few things that I think is annoying about the Mummy's Mask is that The Ancient Gods should have been part of the Half Dead city, so the players could build Clerics of that pantheon from the start, rather then in the second book, where the players can only retcon characters to the old-new deities.

Fortunately that isn't a real problem, in that I'm only beginning setting up the game now after getting the 4th book as an AP subscriber, so I can give the players the option from the start.

I believe it's a question of word count and page space available - in HDC, the main article/gazetteer is on Wati (page count: 10, including title page), a city that features in 3 of the 6 chapters of the Adventure Path and is a city that all PCs will interact with regardless of class, race, or deity worshipped. Whereas the article in EG on the 20 Ancient Osiriani deities (page count: 12, including title page), whilst a very interesting article and delivers the flavour of Old Osirion, is only going to impact a very small number of PCs (notably those who take the Devotee of the Old Gods trait, and others whose flavour/concept revolves around cleaving to the old ways).

There's not enough room in the AP books to have both articles in the same volume along with the write up of 4 key NPCs, the setting specific magic items, fiction piece and bestiary entries, so a decision would have been made as to which article went into which volume. I think that the developers of Mummy's Mask made the right choice in putting the Wati article first, as it is an article that all DMs will find useful in their preparation of running HDC (especially given the events of EG taking the city into something of a sharp decline) - having the gazetteer for the main city in which the AP takes place be included in the second installment is just not good design, especially for those who run the APs right out of the blocks when they come out.

Silver Crusade

The tekenu is listed as having the distraction ability, as it is somewhat similar to a swarm. However, it seems that this creature is small and not swarm sized, so unable to do damage as a swarm and thus cause the distraction. Is this a typo, or am I incorrect in how this critter causes distraction?

Dark Archive

From Universal Monster rules "Distraction (Ex) A creature with this ability can nauseate the creatures that it damages. Any living creature that takes damage from a creature with the distraction ability is nauseated for 1 round; a Fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 creature's HD + creature's Con modifier) negates the effect.

Format: distraction (DC 14); Location: Special Attacks."

As you can see its pretty plain that distraction while normally limited to swarms can actually be triggered by any creature, and for a Tekenu would be triggered by its Slam attacks.

Silver Crusade

Some of the encounters might be a little lacking, I am afraid, and I wonder if others feel the same on this.

[Spoiler]* The taker of eyes encounter seems like it may be a little tame for my group. I am considering replacing 2 of the advanced exploding skeletons with 2 lvl 2 tetori monk skeletal champions. I have gone over the numbers, and it seems that each of these monk/champions should be cr 2 each (level 2 monk = cr 1, +1 for the skeletal champion template). I am giving these monks no gear to further keep their cr at 2 each. All of the research I do on skeletal champions puts their cr at 2 for 1 character level, but I as far as I can tell, the cr in my case should be 2. At any rate, this puts the overall cr at 6. *[Spoiler/]

[Spoiler]* the alchemist in the mumia lab is well and fine, but if feel him being a vivisectionist will not pay off. He has no one to flank with, so sneak attacking is pretty much out. Wouldnt he just be better off as a regular alchemist? *[spoiler/]

[Spoiler]* I really don't like the forgotten pharaoh cultists. As much as the stats seem right, they still seem to lack. I wonder if a different class combo or just single class would be better. The cr seems fine, but does anyone have any ideas for a different cultist? *[spoiler]

Well that's really the only nitpicks I have. I really like the adventure otherwise. Thoughts?

Silver Crusade

So did some more on book two today. Couple close calls. At this point a friend joined bringing my group up to 6. A vanara inquisitor with the black powder inquisition.

Spoilered for spoilers:

We started off going after the crystal dragon. I upped it to a young adult since I have 6 PCs, but kept it's spell resistance off of it. A grease spell and a toppling magic missile turned that from a very possible TPK to a very one-sided fight. A 1 on my reflex save combined with a 20 on the toppling kept the dragon down hard. I was impressed with the tactics on that one. Too bad they all failed to identify it as the c/g creature it was.

Since this was a continuation from last week and they hadn't rested for a bit, and the dragon burned a few resources they decided to camp down below in the sinkhole. This is when I had Velriana strike. This was quite nearly a very very bad thing.

So they have two characters with climb speeds (the vanara inquisitor and the catfolk ninja). So they had them go up and bring the rope down hoping to not alert anyone to the fact the dragon was dead. But Velriana had been tailing them in Revenant form. So she started off by throwing a couple rocks down the hole. After all, no rope up top right now.

The ninja comes up to take a look, sees her and actually manages to hide. Velriana tosses a few more rocks, then gets close to the edge where the ninja tries to pull her down, failing the check. This ends up with the ninja and the inquisitor up top trying to fight Velriana off while a rope is tossed down. The suli fighter and oread druid are on the rope when Velriana ends up cutting it, dropping them back down. Fight some more, ninja goes down. Inquisitor drops another rope and heals the ninja. Once again rope is cut and the fighter and druid drop. The suli oracle and ifrit sorcerer can't do much as Velriana is at least keeping away from the edge of the sinkhole to prevent them attacking her as well. Fight is going very badly for the ninja (down to -11) and inquisitor (at like 6?) when I 'slipped up' and reminded them that the wand of scorching ray was Velriana's bonded item. The sorcerer taunted Velriana close enough to the edge to try making her helpless by confronting her with it, which enabled the oracle to use his force bolt to drop her (she had been at 5 for awhile). I seriously though this was going to lose me two PCs right here.

So they finally finished resting and moved to the next compass with the snakes, finally finding the other end of the tunnel. Not much there, easy kill. Then to the ghoul market. Oh boy.

First off they kill the ghouls. When the last one was nearly dead, I had Worm come out and try helping, attempting to make friendy-friend with them. The PCs were quite suspicious, but NO ONE ROLLED SENSE MOTIVE!! In fact, the only thing anyone did was use the inquisitor's Discern Lies ability, where I nat 20'd the roll on it. They still didn't trust them much, and after some back and forth demanded they find the missing components of the compass. I ended up having worm stay outside while the others went back inside to 'get there gear' (or talk to Bheg). An ambush was setup. I had added two additional rogues, and a pair of ghouls with Bheg so he could maybe get one flank in. They ended up fighting it all at once.

So by the end the Oread druid was at -11, nearly dead. Really bad luck tbh. I paralyzed the ninja and the oracle at times. The inquisitor spent more time dragging people back than fighting (a credit to his usual behavior). In the end, seeing how the fight would've went, I had the rogues try to convince Bheg to stop fighting. It would've been a TPK otherwise likely, and this seemed a logical way to play it out given the circumstances. The best part was having Worm try to backstab Bheg when he was down to 3 hit points (he was at 50 something, then the dice turned in the PCs favor finally).

So now the group's convinced the Fading members to join up with the Silver Chain members they had recruited to form a new gang in the city to sell Pesh. All things considered, not the worst thing that could've happened I suppose.

Be interesting to see how it plays out next week.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

So my party burned Vel's corpse. Does anybody have a good template to add to the revenant to account for a burned up corpse? I was thinking Elemental Infused.

Scarab Sages

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

We ran the auction last night. For having only 1 character get anywhere near a 10 on a diplomacy check, the party still had pretty good fun. In fact, the ranger's 1 and subsequent -1 diplomacy rolls gave opportunities for hilarity.

I had to increase pacing on the entry of each additional entrant into the combat, though. The zombies just weren't lasting long enough to make it to round 6 for the hands, and the hands would have been all but forgotten by round 10. Anyway, mods were as follows:

Party Coposition: Ranged Ranger, Melee Fighter, Melee Vivisectionist, Caster Oracle. The Ranger came to the event wearing only a tuxedo, and was utterly unprepared for combat.
Round 1: Clerk (I only realized later they had names and there were 2 of them), gets smashed in by zombie knocks. Gets killed. Some of the party notices an evil flowing in from the outside.
Round 2: Crowd is circling through the wings to get behind the zombies to escape. The Aristocrat fresh back from Taldor gets killed.
Round 3: 2 corpses raise as zombies. One PC goes to the doors and sees the chaos outside and notices the thieves' hands are flopping up on the post.
Round 4: Awning collapse when an uncontrolled wagon team slams into the post with the hands, causing it to fall.
Round 5: Enter the hands.
Round 7: Perception checks to hear the mummy break free.
Round 8: Mummy enters the battle right next to the Ranger's cat who was well away from the rest of combat...

Bumping some of the events up a round or two really gave a long cinematic feel to the fight where keeping things on 5/6/10 might have put a round or two of rest on the party. In the end, two PC's were now infected with Mummy Rot, and the ranger's animal companion died of hp loss when it took max CON and CHA damage after failing its disease save. (-1 hp, lost 3hp/hd = lost 6hp from CON, dropped CON to 7, dropped hp to -7, dead kitty [also had 0 CHA from the disease as well]).

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