The Half-Dead City (GM Reference)


Mummy's Mask

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Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

archmagi1 wrote:
The first dungeon runs very well. There are a few items of note that had no gp value given for looting (The cursed mirror, the tapestry of the Boneyard, the tapestry of Akentepi's family), but the gold that my N-E party looted will keep them quite motivated through the rest of this book.

I actually replied to your original mention of the loot as an omission but I deleted it. Those weren't so much omissions as deliberate exclusions. People are welcome to assign gp value to them of course.


Just a note - if your players are newer (or have never encountered vargouilles before - it can be a very fun moment.

After the battle using a K:P check I decided to fill in the detail about the 'kiss' - even though none of my PC's had this happen to them - the one that was bitten (and has a poisoned wound that can't be healed) now has the entire party paranoid that they are on a ticking clock to having their comrade transform.

Anyway the 2nd dungeon overall has thus far been alot of fun for my group - the centipede has been the only pushover for them so far really - and that due to a nice max rolled ray of enfeeblement - which made him unable to hit. One raging barbarian who crits with his earthbreaker later and that was the end of the bug - but the players were all very happy (which is what counts).


First @ Jim Groves, yes I was speaking of the Tomb of Akhentepi in the above post.

archmagi1 wrote:


I did lower the Hardness on the false sarcophagus to 3, with it still nearly dropping 2 party members. Keeping it at 5 would probably have put a nail in at least one coffin. I also changed the Iron Cobra to DR5/B, since 5/- is just as bad as Hardness 5 except that even adamantine would have to deal with it.

---

The first dungeon runs very well. There are a few items of note that had no gp value given for looting (The cursed mirror, the tapestry of the Boneyard, the tapestry of Akentepi's family), but the gold that my N-E party looted will keep them quite motivated through the rest of this book.

@Riggler: My party of 5 ran through it in only a day. They had 17, 16, 14, 12, 12, 10 arrays and started with 200gp, and drained nearly 100% of their resources, including consumable items. The only encounter they missed was the two beetles in the secret tunnel.

archmagil, yeah, your group is playing at a power level a bit higher than mine. Mine is 4 members (although a 5th may appear at times), 15 point buy, avg. starting wealth and for the most part Core + APG + some archetypes. Thanks for the feedback on how your group did and how you ran it. Good idea to change the Iron Corbra's DR. I may have to run it that way when they go back.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Yeah, that array is a 32 point buy, which is still much lower than my usual games (We generally run 2d6+6, re-rolling below 40pb). 15 point buy is a very difficult and different game early on than 32, but even at the group's level, the first dungeon proved challenging at times.


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archmagi1 wrote:
Yeah, that array is a 32 point buy, which is still much lower than my usual games (We generally run 2d6+6, re-rolling below 40pb). 15 point buy is a very difficult and different game early on than 32, but even at the group's level, the first dungeon proved challenging at times.

A lot of things are challenging when the party is first level.

Grand Lodge

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Jim Groves wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:
Small question: would pulling the gold leaf off of the tombs be considered desecration by the Church of Pharasma? Because I notice the module includes information on how much gold could be removed by doing this... but I'm not sure if that was considered desecrating the resting places.
That's a good question. I will give you my opinion, even though I wrote it and I deliberately made it vague. I don't think there is a correct answer, other than how the GM feels about. If confronted with it: I think the Church would cringe, make a face, and consider it a minor violation. I don't the Goddess herself would mete out any punishment or withhold spells over it—that doesn't mean she won't frown at the thought while sitting on her throne. I don't think the Ruby Prince would care at all.

How refreshing Jim Groves, to hear the response "I don't think there is a correct answer, other than how the GM feels about." One of the things lost in our more current/modern format of roleplaying is that there seems to be a rule for everything, and hence the arguments ensue.


Hey the

obvious trap:
trap in A4, it does 10 simultaneous attacks at +12 to hit, doing 1d8+1 damage with each hit, targeting everyone in the hallway. I have every reason the PCs will spot and disable this trap, but assuming they don't and activate it, it's basically game over at this point, right? None of the party is a rogue, and only one character has disable device as a ranger.

I don't want to end it prematurely, but these are guys I don't intend to softball either.

Sovereign Court

The Seldon Plan wrote:

Hey the ** spoiler omitted **

I don't want to end it prematurely, but these are guys I don't intend to softball either.

It doesn't do 10 simultaneous attacks, it can simply be triggered 10 times.

Trap text:
Trigger touch; Reset automatic (immediate, maximum 10 times)

If your PCs are oblivious enough to keep stepping on the trigger plate, well they get what they deserve. :)

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Talon is correct. Each PC is not targeted 10 individually. It will reset however.

When I ran this I had a smart PC who spotted the trap but blew the Disable Device check. While the rest of the party ran back out of the room, she ran forward. She was then able to work on the pressure plate while not standing in the corridor.


Okay, that seems less IMMEDIATELY deadly, though the average HP for the group will be 10 so it could definitely put a hamper on tomb robbing from the get-go.


Jim Groves wrote:
She was then able to work on the pressure plate while not standing in the corridor.

So does this mean the actual person that sets the trap off isn't in the attack range?

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

The Seldon Plan wrote:
Jim Groves wrote:
She was then able to work on the pressure plate while not standing in the corridor.
So does this mean the actual person that sets the trap off isn't in the attack range?

No, they definitely are.

Check out the map. We're talking about the corridor marked A4. The pressure plate is described (in the text) as the 5 x 10 foot space at the western end of the corridor.

What my smart player did was run forward, pushing her way into the room at A5 (whereas her comrades ducked back to A3).

From A5 she was able to turn around and work on that pressure plate without actually stepping on the pressure plate again. So she definitely got shot at least once, but not a second time.

Understand this is not what I would expect most players to do. Players however, are clever.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

My players tried shooting it with a bow after detecting the arrow holes, but not the pressure plate itself (just figuring it was infront of the door). Arrow pecks not enough to set it off, the ranger retrieved her arrows and two of them got shot. Then the rogue crit failed the disable and got shot again. Thten they disabled the arrow hole end by doing severe damage to that end of the hallway and didn't worry about setting it off.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Starting this as DM with a 5-person party in the next couple weeks.. our crew got together last night to talk character creation and come up with a party! Very excited! Been jonesing (ha) to run this pretty much since it was announced.

Now, am I completely blind, or is there no thread for the listing of parties undertaking this AP yet? Went to go DM-glee and share, but couldn't find one. :)

Silver Crusade

OK in the estate of pentheru there is an encounter with beheaded. These creatures can have 1 special ability without changing their cr. Which would be appropriate?


@Talos
Personally, im a fan of the screaming variant, even if the will dc is only 11. It fits well with the description of how they were created.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

So...my players actually looted the cursed mirror from the first dungeon, along with one of the warrior dolls. Any amusing/evil ideas for this? They already made their Fort saves to avoid being branded as thieves.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
shadowkras wrote:

@Talos

Personally, im a fan of the screaming variant, even if the will dc is only 11. It fits well with the description of how they were created.

Only DC11 you say, no problem for the PC you say:) Ha! i once saw my wife's PC plummet 40 feet to her death all because she couldn't hit a few DC10 climb checks, and she had a strength of 16! also a decent Dexterity.

but yes screaming Beheaded Skulls is pretty bad-ass and the one i'd go with as well:)


Quote:
Only DC11 you say, no problem for the PC you say:) Ha! i once saw my wife's PC plummet 40 feet to her death all because she couldn't hit a few DC10 climb checks, and she had a strength of 16! also a decent Dexterity.

I had a paladin fail a DC 15 dominate person check against a vampire, i wont tell what his bonus was or what number he rolled, but you can easily guess that it was funny as hell in the table, specially because he was bragging about it.


I have a party of four just starting

Dwarf zen archer with trapfinding trait
Magus replacing barbarian who dropped
Alchemist (mindchemist)
Cleric with the ability to shoot fire as touch attack.

first encounter proved troublesome.

I have added a Knowledge Local DC10 check to let the party know they can take treasure to the market and get additional healing resources as it appears they may need them and still get back in time to finish the crypt in a day. Thoughts about this......

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I put it at about an hour to get to the tomb, and the necropolis opens at dawn, so completely feasible imo.

Silver Crusade

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What I've been doing is letting the PCs take rubbins and whatnot of the various places and turn these in to the church of pharasma for a line of credit on healing resources (mostly spells, occasionally wands and such). The other option is to take about half value in gold. They go for credit every time. Remove disease/curse, lesser restorations, etc. This helps since it doesn't immediately increase party wealth but helps to mitigate bad rolls. Plus I control how much I award them at completion to keep a rein on it. They're already on a second wand of CLW in book 1. The wand of lesser restoration from the sanctum was awarded by gasps of thank yous from the party as well, lol.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
GM Tribute wrote:

I have a party of four just starting

Dwarf zen archer with trapfinding trait
Magus replacing barbarian who dropped
Alchemist (mindchemist)
Cleric with the ability to shoot fire as touch attack.

first encounter proved troublesome.

I have added a Knowledge Local DC10 check to let the party know they can take treasure to the market and get additional healing resources as it appears they may need them and still get back in time to finish the crypt in a day. Thoughts about this......

By "first encounter", do you mean the hallway trap, or the first combat encounter? And in that case, did they find the wooden dolls first, or the giant solifugids?

The dolls are mostly harmless, but tougher than they look due to their hardness. The solifugids are troublesome because they strike from surprise and can potentially do a lot of damage to first level characters. Looking at that party construction, I'm guessing we're not looking at many high ACs, and the Magus probably has the highest hit die.


Now that you mentioned, i did notice that they have hardness, which makes them tough to beat down (similar to zombies/skeletons) for a lv1 party.
But does that mean they take damage as objects, or constructs as normal?

Because energy attacks will do only half damage otherwise, before applying hardness. And that would be too strong for that level.

If they take damage normally, why not make it 5/something?

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

shadowkras wrote:

Now that you mentioned, i did notice that they have hardness, which makes them tough to beat down (similar to zombies/skeletons) for a lv1 party.

But does that mean they take damage as objects, or constructs as normal?

As constructs. This is not a new design technique, they're animated objects, all of which have hardness.

shadowkras wrote:
Because energy attacks will do only half damage otherwise, before applying hardness. And that would be too strong for that level.

It certainly makes it challenging. Fortunately they're easy to trip, grapple, pin, etc. Even without an Improved X feat.

shadowkras wrote:
If they take damage normally, why not make it 5/something?

You can do that, if you wish. They are vulnerable to fire. You can either multiply fire damage by 1.5 and then divide it in half, or just treat fire as an exception that does full damage (to make things simple) before applying hardness.

I have read the complaints however I have playtested this encounter myself. It didn't take too long or was too difficult once the players got creative.


You are right, i just havent used many animated objects.
Being vulnerable to fire make their hardness be ignored against fire damage though, they are treated as parchment or cloth and take full damage, on top of the 50% due to the vulnerability rules themselves.

So kill it with fire is the clear answer.

The encounter doesnt look difficult, but if nobody in the group is a big fighter archetype or wields fire damage other than torches (nowdays, people replaced the torch by the light spell), i can see it being a tough encounter for first levels.

Im not saying its unbalanced, but it will surely scare the hell out of them (and i like it).

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

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My guys actually tripped, grappled, and pinned.

I regret if I was terse. Balance is always something I watch keenly. From previous APs, I've come to a conclusion that if an encounter leans towards being difficult, than 50% of the people will be upset. If its too easy, the 100% of the people will be upset. ;D

Personally, I would just make fire 100% effective, but not 150% effective. That lends some credence to the hardness rules. However, you know your group best and you're the most qualified person to make that call.


my guys don't have a proper fighter, only a fused idalon...so it was pretty hard for them.

they where lucky with the preparation room, throwing in a stone with light on it...

but ATM they are struggle ing with the Sandling, wearing it down by 1hp every other round...


By first encounter I meant the scorpion!

I also have ruled that grease won't trip a sand elemental rising out of sand. Any thoughts on that.


Quote:
I also have ruled that grease won't trip a sand elemental rising out of sand. Any thoughts on that.

It should, (i believe) sand works on friction, and grease eliminates that. I would say that while the elemental is in the pile-of-sand form (aka, burrow) it cant be tripped, but if he assumes a combat form it should trip.


In the first dungeon, my pbp players aren't sure that piton is "safe" and want to try to tie the rope to the big rolly door. IMHO there's not enough room to do that, but wanted to run it by you guys here first in case I'm being too harsh. What do you think?

Guy St-Amant wrote:

I thought of running this for an All Ghouls party, after reading, I realize this might be a bad idea.

Hey, ghouls just want to have fun.


Devastation Bob wrote:
Guy St-Amant wrote:

I thought of running this for an All Ghouls party, after reading, I realize this might be a bad idea.

Hey, ghouls just want to have fun.

1) getting that detail past the Pharasmins...

2) risks of facing Necromancers and undead slayers.

3) Circumvents too many things.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

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Devastation Bob wrote:
In the first dungeon, my pbp players aren't sure that piton is "safe" and want to try to tie the rope to the big rolly door. IMHO there's not enough room to do that, but wanted to run it by you guys here first in case I'm being too harsh. What do you think?

I am not sure what part of the rolling stone they would tie it to, but their suspicion is not completely unwarranted. Would you trust your life to some stranger who packed your parachute a hundred years ago?

But, from your perspective, tying a rope to a piton is a time honored tradition done by adventures since 1974 or something..? Let them bang in their very own piton to put their mind at ease. If they still don't trust that, offer a DC 5 Climb check as a modified special Knowledge check. If they succeed (which I am sure they will) you can then promise them that it will hold their weight safely.. and that they should worry about not failing that Climb check instead!


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I think they were trying to loop it around the door entirely. There don't seem to be any other fixed places to attach a rope to, barring another party member and I wouldn't want to split the group either. I took your advice about the climb check. Thank you!

Silver Crusade

Pan wrote:

Oh I don't know Dude, it takes a pretty long time to drown. Could be the source of much dramatic tension where its needed most. :)

Concious characters can hold their breath for a long time but the encounter can get deadly quickly if any characters are unconcious because they have been reduced below zero hit points. There are also the complications in the rules for fighting and spell casting underwater to consider. It has the potential to turn that encounter into a real killer.

Silver Crusade

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Am I the only one who made the malfunctioning deathtrap functional? Didn't end up drowning anyone, had a druid push in the door with a pretty crazy pony-charge along with strength assists when they were isolated from those inside. Where it not for that, the two inside would have drowned.

Scarab Sages

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

House of Pentheru - Imantesh the Div

After searching one of the apartments, the party proceeded to the Div's room. Combat started, he summoned his two vargouille lackeys, ect. The oracle successfully ID'd the div, and let the party know they had no way to really hurt it other than 1-4hp per round, give or take. Well, intuitive thinking came in, and the following occurred:

Round 6: Improvised weapon fighter drops his portable ram and whips out his chain, grappling the div with the chain. Ranger draws forth an iron pot.
Round 7: Div escapes grapple, flees down the open skylight. Ranger attempts to dive tackle it. Fails. Fighter jumps down, lands prone, then successfully CMB's from prone to regrapple the div in the chain.
Round 8: Div fails to escape grapple. Oracle fills iron pot with water. Fighter pins the div into the water filled pot. Ranger sits on the pot. Div begins drowning.
Rounds 9-15: Div gives a futile attempt to escape the iron pot, to no success as the group gives 2 aid anothers to CMD and 1 to CMB until the thing gives up the ghost.

Achievement Unlocked: Drown something in the desert!

It was a very creative way for the party to deal with the critter who's defenses were very challenging for the level 2 party.


Ayanzo wrote:
Am I the only one who made the malfunctioning deathtrap functional?

I'm thinking of making it more functional... more water, but maybe a slower flow rate Something about the drama of a flooding room is too good to pass up!


If you make it functional, keep in mind that it will flood the later rooms. Not that its a bad thing. :P

Silver Crusade

GM Lamplighter wrote:
Ayanzo wrote:
Am I the only one who made the malfunctioning deathtrap functional?
I'm thinking of making it more functional... more water, but maybe a slower flow rate Something about the drama of a flooding room is too good to pass up!

Took about 10 rounds for 6" of water to enter the room, but that's with a reduced flow rate, the druid summoned a pony and rolled a 25 strength check, 29 with two assists to push open one of the closed southern doors. The ranger and investigator kept trying to free the other from inside the sarcophagus when a pony rams though the door with a halfling oracle and druid washed prone at the out rush of water (the stairs lead down into the antechamber so it started to pool)

Necessity truly is the mother of all invention.

shadowkras wrote:
If you make it functional, keep in mind that it will flood the later rooms. Not that its a bad thing. :P

The auto drain mechanism kicks in after some point, I forget the exact round number.


Quote:
The auto drain mechanism kicks in after some point, I forget the exact round number.

Yeah, but it drains the fake sarcophagus room, not the others. The trap's description does mention that it removes all the water and then opens the doors for another victim.

The final chamber will be flooded (which can lead to some fun battles).

EDIT:
Here it is:

Quote:


. After 24 rounds, water starts to drain from the chamber through a “rubble drain” of loose gravel built around and underneath
the room. The water subsides at the rate of 6 inches per round, and once the water has completely drained away the locking bars inside the western and southern doors retract and the northern doors close. Although originally designed to reset automatically, the trap can be triggered only once, thanks to the malfunction.

Silver Crusade

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So far this has been a great adventure. I just started a PbP. And as I drew the map they would get I realized the first tomb is on the other side of the city and there are packs of some pretty nasty individuals around the center. Not to mention the lamias right next door. Is it assumed that they would have to fight their way through to the tomb? I made a map that kind of guided them around the dangerous parts and marked off the center as death.

first tomb map

I wasn't exactly clear what kind of guidance the priests gave. Of course adding all those skulls just made them want to explore more.


Another questions about A4 in the first dungeon. Characters enter the hallway. Archaeologist says he's looking for traps. Is that one roll for the hallway (minus the distance penalties to the actual trap) or is it multiple rolls til they're at the actual trap?


You should make a roll in secret for the trap check. Otherwise your gonna waste a lot of time. What I do is figure their perception plus 10 if they spend 1 min per square searching. If they spend 2 min a square then give them percep plus 20. It is also a good way to pass game time as a 30 x 30 room (36 squares) would take 36 min if taking 10 andv1 hour and 12 min if taking20. Also make a bunch of rolls behind the screen to simulate wandering monster checks to keep them on their toes. Make time matter.


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I also had the priest suggest that all teams be out of the necropolis before dark or they could not be responsible for their safety in and out of the necropolis after dark. Again pressing the time issue.


chaiboy wrote:

So far this has been a great adventure. I just started a PbP. And as I drew the map they would get I realized the first tomb is on the other side of the city and there are packs of some pretty nasty individuals around the center. Not to mention the lamias right next door. Is it assumed that they would have to fight their way through to the tomb? I made a map that kind of guided them around the dangerous parts and marked off the center as death.

first tomb map

I wasn't exactly clear what kind of guidance the priests gave. Of course adding all those skulls just made them want to explore more.

love the map.

your right it looking at the next book there is a huge amount of problems they would to wade through, but being 1st level there is no way they would survive it. so in my view I applied a lot of gloss (gloss over). however still having at least one encounter each way, so they don't have the idea its easy.

on the way back I had my group meet the halflings....good way to introduce on of the other groups.

I also pointed out that the undead are mostly night active....(gloss)


Windspirit wrote:
I also pointed out that the undead are mostly night active....(gloss)

Mostly!


I have a question about an ability of a creature in the first adventure

(and just in case)

Spoiler:

Almost had a TPK with the Graven Guardian. Not a lot of room to maneuver, cold dice on the players end and super hot dice on my end. Rolled 3 natural 20's before finally rolling a 19 in order to use the keen ability.

Anyway, I had to make an adjustment and decided that the guardian would only stay on that level and not go up the stairs (or they really would have all died, and since it was mostly because of dice I wasn't going to do that). Now the guardian is downstairs and they escaped upstairs. The sorcerer, who is a worshiper of Nethys, wears a holy symbol and was therefor not attacked, is also a sculptor and has clay and other supplies with him. He is considering whipping up some holy symbols of Nethys for everyone to wear.

So, my question is what happens in regards to it's Faith Bound weakness? Everyone but the sorcerer already attacked the guardian, so does the guardian remember them and attack anyway because of the "they attacked first clause" or does it reset when they leave it's area immediately?

I don't think there's an official rule on this, just curious what other people think. I'm thinking of a once a day type of rule, that it essentially resets when it's haste spell resets.

Thanks!


TerraZephyr wrote:

I have a question about an ability of a creature in the first adventure

(and just in case)
** spoiler omitted **

Thanks!

Yeah, my group did end in a TPK with this critter. But that was because they lost one member to a trap that sprung in the middle of a fight just before-hand. And they decided to be-bop on down to where this guy was located with a party of 3. It was brutal.

That being said...this creature is not intelligent. And is programmed. I would rule that it evaluates creatures constantly. When it's weakness is present on a creature it will not consider that creature to be an enemy. It would re-evaluate whether or not that criteria was met on it's every turn, if not every second (free action).


Riggler wrote:
TerraZephyr wrote:

I have a question about an ability of a creature in the first adventure

(and just in case)
** spoiler omitted **

Thanks!

Yeah, my group did end in a TPK with this critter. But that was because they lost one member to a trap that sprung in the middle of a fight just before-hand. And they decided to be-bop on down to where this guy was located with a party of 3. It was brutal.

That being said...this creature is not intelligent. And is programmed. I would rule that it evaluates creatures constantly. When it's weakness is present on a creature it will not consider that creature to be an enemy. It would re-evaluate whether or not that criteria was met on it's every turn, if not every second (free action).

Yeah, I thought about that option but didn't think that made a lot of sense...and yes I know it's folly to apply logic to a role-playing game sometimes but the ability states that those that attack it become targets, not for 1 round, just now they are targets. If it were only for 1 round it would actually be really easy to exploit and terribly easy to defeat, not making it much of a guardian at all.

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