NobodysHome's Wrath of the Righteous Campaign [Spoilers]


Wrath of the Righteous

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i dunno, maybe you should have a do-over, tell them "i know its been a few months and several levels, but i really feel like i missed a chance to kill you all, hows about giving me another go?" :-)

they probably won't go for it, but there is the "player's will do anything" cliche for a reason, it never hurts to ask:-p

:
unless they all take Foe-Biter after that;)

edit: and thats the give and take of Mythic,

:
its built to challenge a higher grade of hero, but if the GM pisses off the players too much, then they all take Foe-Biter and its GAME OVER!


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Detect Evil and similar spells have the following allowances of what it can and cannot penetrate: 1 foot of stone, 1 inch of common metal, a thin sheet of lead, or 3 feet of wood or dirt blocks it. This line also appears in other spells and effects, but I can't think of any examples at the moment.

As a general rule of thumb, I use those limitations on what magic can and cannot penetrate unless it is something that specifically allows for remote access, like scrying spells.


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egads! this place is getting dusty, well, only one thing to do..... wreck up the place and post the video on Facebook so the police know who did it:-)>


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*handwaves* I'm not saying it was aliens but.... it was aliens.

(said because of Cap's alien-appearing avatar)


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Are you saying you dont like my new haircut?

well, I guess I should've been suspicous when the hair salon was in the middle of the cornfield with odd circles:/
still sure beats trying to go to Sportsclips:)

cy fun fact: i've paid for one haircut, ever:)


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OK, OK, picky people! I'll get back to work!

Just so's you know how life has been, we played our first session in THREE WEEKS last night.

So it's been busy busy busy around the house.

On the bright side, my garage is now clean and has a ping-pong table in it.

On the down side, I haven't been writing, mainly because it's the epic battle with Soltengrebbe and I want to do it justice -- it was best fight in the first 3 books of the AP.

Ah, well, I'll get to work. Hopefully up by Thursday. (I like setting myself deadlines because I feel guilty if I don't make them.)


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i was just teasing, by all means take your time:-) i understand being busy and i also would've made that sacrifice for a clean garage and ping pong table.
i do like the Zen feeling this avatar conveys, even if it makes a mess of my face:-)>


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I agree with that fight, it was probably the most epic feeling of any fight in the first four books.


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Meh, nobody commented on my weekly entry, although the party wacked a demon lord. :p


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28-June-2014 Game

Just for complete clarity, I'm grouping events of a few sessions into slightly off-chronological telling, just to get the army combats out of the way. The combats with the ghouls, schirs, and tieflings took place over 3 separate sessions, but were uninteresting enough that I lumped them all together into a single writeup. So, if I'm slightly stretching things by saying, "The group prepared for battle to deal with Ahari Bridge," instead of, "The group prepared for battle to finish off the final army and then deal with Ahari Bridge," I think that's fair enough, and lets the story flow more smoothly. Anyway, probably more information than you needed, but I'm a talkative sort. (Typative?)

The high point of this session, and arguably of the AP so far (through Book 3), was the epic battle with Soltengrebbe on Ahari Bridge. It out-and-out felt mythic, with both PCs and NPCs diving for cover to save life and limb, the first death of the campaign (an NPC, not a PC), and Merissa using her final mythic surge to bring that NPC back from beyond the veil.

An awesome, awesome session. Now, let's return to Drezen and get to Soltengrebbe...

=====
03-Rova-4713

The party arose and prepared themselves for another day of battle. While they were eager for Merissa to finish cleansing the haunted vault, they felt that securing the only major bridge leading to Citadel Drezen was a higher priority, so they planned their assault on Ahari bridge.
The bridge itself seemed trivial enough; a handful of tieflings guarded the crossing and the armies behind them were so far back that the tieflings had no hope of holding out for reinforcements.
The party didn't trust such an arrangement; there HAD to be something else. They gathered up Anevia, Irabeth, and Aravashnial and moved forward as carefully and as stealthily as possible with two paladins and a cleric in the group. Knowing full well that they'd be spotted long before they arrived at the bridge, they had Kariss turn Invisible and Fly ahead to scout. She had little trouble spotting the four massive aurochs tied to the supports of the bridge. Obviously, at a moment's notice the tieflings could order the aurochs to collapse the bridge, and any attackers would plummet into the dry river gulch, there to be mowed down by bowfire from the waiting armies. Someone had to either disable the aurochs, defeat the tieflings before they could sound the alarm, or both. She reported back to the group while her Invisibility was still up.

They quickly decided on a plan of action: Kariss would disable aurochs as quickly as possible. As soon as her activities were noticed, the rest of the party would charge forward and engage the tieflings. At first, the plan went extremely well; Kariss managed to get Grease under two of the aurochs before anything else happened. (She was happily using her Silent Spell metamagic feat so those on the bridge really didn't have much to look/listen for.)

GM Note: It's been quite a while, but I know the first couple of aurochs made astonishing Reflex saves and then just stood around, so the lack of warning from the aurochs that they were being Greased is (in my mind) legitimate. And Kariss' player was VERY clear that she knew she'd lose her invisibility on greasing the targets, so she stuck to the very bottom of the bridge, where the aurochs weren't looking and the tieflings couldn't see.

Kariss' luck ran out on the third aurochs, which plummeted to the ground with a loud WHOOMP! as she Greased beneath it. The tieflings rushed to that side of the bridge to see what had happened, and the rest of the party took that as their cue to charge.
Unfortunately, no one had noticed little Barrid Isen, humble tiefling sorcerer, hiding among the other tieflings. He scurried up onto the raised walkway so that the group would have to get through ALL of the other tieflings to get to him, and his Fireball caught nearly the entire party (Jake and Merissa were saved because their heavy armor kept them slightly behind the rest, though Irabeth got hit). Even though Barrid rolled poorly for damage (something like 15 points), Aravashnial and Anevia were both hurt enough that they were forced to flee for cover while NoPrey fired at Barrid, Jake continued his slow advance, and Merissa channeled energy to heal her comrades, though she rolled rather poorly as well. Kariss got the fourth Grease spell off, but then things went downhill fast.

Barrid, irritated at NoPrey's arrow, dropped a fireball on him. The blast included Anevia, who had failed her first save and was near unconsciousness, as she hadn't leveled up when not with the party. (The party honestly had no idea she was so fragile, as she'd never been hit before.) Barrid rolled a whopping 32 points on 8d6, Anevia failed her save, and she died in a scream of burning agony, right before Irabeth's eyes. Melodramatic, much? Unfortunately, that's kind of in my mind's eye, because Irabeth failed her save as well and was lying there unconscious nearby. But I figure she saw Anevia die, THEN passed out. I'm a mean GM.

In retaliation, Merissa hit him and his minions with Holy Smite. Much to Kariss' chagrin, this prompted Barrid to scream the command to start the aurochs pulling down the bridge. Jake started cutting through the surviving tieflings like butter while NoPrey started healing people, starting with Irabeth.

GM Note: Even worse for the party, I had had Soltengrebbe (a mythic chimera for those of you unfamiliar with the AP) watching the city for an opportunity to attack the party, and he easily made his Perception roll to see Barrid's first fireball (those things are slightly noticeable, even at distance) and headed from the castle at full speed towards the fight. It was fun tracking his flight as the rounds ticked on.

The next round started the true epicness of this battle. Kariss was ecstatic when three of the four aurochs failed their Reflex saves. Unfortunately, the fourth succeeded and managed a good strong yank on the chain! No matter what was happening on the bridge above her, she had to break those chains!
Topside, Merissa had to channel to try to undo some of the damage Barrid had done while trying to keep up with Jake, who was making a beeline towards Barrid. Just as Jake arrived at Barrid, Barrid used a wand to Dimension Door away, leaving his tieflings to their fates. NoPrey healed Irabeth enough that she could stand, and Aravashnial's Lantern Archon finally entered the fray...

...just in time for Soltengrebbe to land on the bridge and breathe on everyone on it. Unfortunately, this included NoPrey and Irabeth, as Jake was on the walkway, Merissa was chasing him (she was in the cone but I gave her partial cover because of the wall), Kariss was still under the bridge trying to break the chains, Aravashnial was well-hidden, and Anevia was busy being dead. The little lantern archon managed to be outside the blast, saving its existence.

Jake jumped over the wall to engage Soltengrebbe, and in a strange, "I guess I'm done with my character now," moment, NoPrey moved in to give him a flank. Merissa hit Soltengrebbe with Holy Smite, but couldn't get through his SR. Kariss started burning mythic surges to Diamond Spray the chains into oblivion.

GM Note: Diamond Spray is one of those, "Not in core" area-effect damage spells, but I allowed Kariss to have it because so many demons are resistant to so many elements, and forcing her to take so many metamagic feats was really wearing on her patience. Diamond Spray avoids resistances, but does go up against DR, though it counts as adamantine for hardness/DR purposes. Yeah, it's great for cutting chains!

Aravashnial, showing that he'd earned that high INT, summoned an earth elemental to break the chains so that Kariss could get into the fight.

And there we had it. Anevia lay dead. Irabeth lay unconscious but stable. Kariss, low on mythic surges already, flew topside and started hitting Soltengrebbe with everything she had. Jake went toe-to-toe with him as Merissa burned mythic surges healing Jake with mythic Cure Serious Wounds. NoPrey learned the error of his ways and helped heal Jake.

And they all ran out.

Jake was out of mythic surges entirely. Kariss was tapped of everything. Merissa had ONE surge left. NoPrey had all of his, but he doesn't have many mythic abilities that take them. Soltengrebbe's dual initiative let him pummel Jake with ridiculous amounts of damage, but the uber-buffing on Jake had Soltengrebbe hitting only around half the time, allowing Merissa to *almost* keep up with it, though Jake was down pretty far by the end. And Jake gave as good as he got. And the little lantern archon just couldn't miss a target that big, and was hilariously helpful.

When the fight was over, a sobbing Irabeth held the lifeless Anevia in her arms, and there wasn't even a discussion. The party handed their only scroll of Resurrection to Merissa and said, "Do it."
And of course Merissa blew the caster check to use the scroll. But I checked. And I checked again. And she had ONE surge left. And I rolled the surge in the open...
...and the table exploded as Merissa rolled *just* high enough to bring Anevia back.

Irabeth burst into tears again, but this time tears of joy. "How... how can I ever repay you?"
Kariss was the most eloquent: "Irabeth, no repayment is needed. We took Anevia into danger beyond her ability. It was our fault that she died. Of COURSE we had to bring her back. And we are so, SO sorry that we put her in danger in the first place."
Irabeth accepted Kariss' apology, but vowed she would find a way to repay the party anyway. Battle-scarred, weary, and exhausted, the party hurried back to their waiting army.
The army had no trouble at all healing everyone to full, and moved forward to encamp around the bridge. Ahari bridge was theirs!

The party ascended to 2nd tier mythic.

=====
04-Rova-4713

The morning brought much news. Jake's father's sword had "awoken" in some manner, and was now bound to Jake. Merissa was clearly distracted, and Kariss asked her what was wrong.
"Iomedae came to me in my dreams again last night. But this time, I was a woman."
"Uh, aren't you usually a woman?"
"No; no! In all of our dreams, I am a child. She takes me to the zoo. She takes me swimming. She takes me to museums. We go skinny dipping in the woods. One time at the beach she caught her swimsuit in a branch and I had to help extricate her. But I am always a child. In this dream I was an adult. And Iomedae came to me, and she said, 'Ah, Merissa. My dear, sweet Merissa. How proud I am of you! But sad as well. For this day you have truly become a warrior of the light, and I may no longer visit you until your destiny is fulfilled. Know that I love you, and I will miss you, but I can no longer visit you or guide your path except in very rare circumstances. I am sorry.'
And then she hugged me and faded into the light."

Kariss had no idea what to say. "Well, at least she said she was proud of you. That's something to be happy about. Don't think about it as losing Iomedae. Think about it as finally becoming a woman and making her proud."
Merissa plucked up slightly. "But I will miss the ice cream."
"Of course you'll miss the ice cream."

Kariss and Merissa gathered up NoPrey and Jake, this time choosing not to bring any NPCs along, and decided that their next course of action was to disable the catapults that prevented their army from approaching Castle Drezen any closer (without taking serious losses, that is). Kariss first put Invisibility Sphere on the group, then Dimension Doored them to the top of one of the towers. To my utter astonishment, their Stealth checks (they weren't Silenced) managed to beat the two brimorak's Perception checks, even with Merissa and Jake in the group!!
The group as a whole positioned itself, then Jake and Merissa charged forward to engage, and they got to open a can of whoop-goat on the first Brimorak, quickly learning of its nasty burny nature.
Unfortunately, they rolled hopelessly low on initiative, so in round 1 one of the brimoraks got off a fireball, alerting the brimoraks on the other towers.
Unfortunately for the brimoraks, Merissa dropped a Communal Resist Energy: Fire on everyone and they were suddenly goat meat. As more and more brimoraks from the other towers Dimension Doored in to help, summoned additional brimoraks, or tried a couple more fireballs on the party, NoPrey tried to utilize the catapult to hit those brimoraks who had remained on the other towers.
He was a bad shot.

Finally, the brimoraks guarding the catapults were dead, and the party set about destroying the catapults themselves. They destroyed the first one with alchemist's fire, then Kariss put a second Invisibility Sphere on the party as they ran along the fortress wall to reach the second tower. It was a fun little game of cat-and-mouse as the army below watched to see where they were, but they moved quickly and stealthily enough to destroy all the catapults. The most exciting bit was Merissa and NoPrey Air Walking across the vast opening in the front of the fortress walls.

Eventually, all the catapults were destroyed, and the paladin army marched in and mopped up the pinned armies.

All of Drezen save the citadel was theirs!

*** End of Session ***
Next planned session: Friday, 11-Jul-2014. Yep. A week in Disneyland'll slow down your gaming...


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awesome!
a couple notes, gonna bullet point it because they kids are being quiet, which is..... suspicious:/
pathfinder needs more incognito casters hiding amidst the underlings (really its system wide, since its inception, casters being the rock stars and all:)
as someone with thousands of hours using diamond tipped blades and seen first hand how they cut stone and metal like tissue i think you played that perfectly:-)

the ending with the mythic surge tension and the holy-f+@!-will-she-die! moment is pure gold! especially with the suspense of the final open roll, i can only imagine the reactions at the table:-)

also Neil Spicer deserves an award for SoltenGrebbe!

edit: turns out Poopy bear (what my son calls winnie the pooh) and kermit the frog were leading a rebellion against the kids and had to be made examples of! kermit is hog tied and gagged on the dresser drawer and poopy bear is "swinging from the gallows" (the closet) on the one hand i should ask why, on the other hand, i'm not sure i want to......

also yay for imagination!


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11-July-2014 Game

While I'd love to come up with some marvelous excuse as to why I haven't been writing so much lately, it really just boils down to, "It's more fun to run than write," and all three groups I'm running (Serpent's Skull, Wrath of the Righteous, Jade Regent) are in new areas, requiring much more prep time than usual.

On the other hand, I did promise four more RotR writeups before the end of the year, so I really need to start cracking things out.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this session was the very specific "well-hidden 1-inch-diameter ventilation shafts" (p. 33) that exactly match an arcane caster's Arcane Eye, which reads, "...it can pass through a hole or space as small as 1 inch in diameter."

So the citadel was pretty much designed for a scry-n-fry using Arcane Eye, and that's essentially what my group set about doing, though they're usually not the scry-n-fry types.

This also marked the first session where Jake's buffs, mythic Power Attack, and expanded critical on a scimitar started rendering most combats pointless. There were a couple of good fights on the top floor, but the Drezen dungeon was under-CR'ed and just really really WAAAAAY too easy with a cleric in the party. Jake's player is running a cleric-free group and they'll be getting to Drezen in a few weeks. I'm greatly looking forward to how they fare in the same area without "little miss buff-n-protect".

Anyway, on we go...

=====
04-Rova-4713 (Continued from last session)

With the remaining residents of Citadel Drezen hemmed in by over a hundred paladins, the party was in no hurry to rush the assault. As Jake put it, anyone who could teleport out would have done so already, and anyone left could certainly wait a day while they got ready.

Thus, they set up camp in a tent with the army, wandered over to the defiled vault in the graveyard and helped Merissa cleanse and Consecrate it, and then spent the afternoon and evening socializing with Sosiel, Aron, Aravashnial, Anevia, and Irabeth. Aron provided them with a map of the citadel as it had been before it fell, and Kariss used her Arcane Eye to scout around the outside of the citadel, spotting four brimoraks guarding the northeastern parapet, but no other external guards.

=====
05-Rova-4713

The party's plan of attack was very simple: They would Dimension Door to the brimoraks, do away with them quickly, and then Dimension Door across the entire citadel to the ruined wall on the west and sneak in. Hopefully, the diversion would send many (if not most) of the defenders to help the brimoraks, and they would be able to defeat the rest and locate the Sword of Valor before the demons learned of the deception.

The plan worked virtually flawlessly: They appeared amidst the brimoraks, quickly dispatched three of the four, and the wounded fourth one teleported away to parts unknown, hopefully to warn the other denizens of an attack from the northeast. They quickly Dimension Doored to the opening to the west and quietly crept in.

GM Note: As people who read the GM threads are aware, I asked whether that opening in the wall was passable. Unfortunately, it wasn't until after I ruled that it was that another GM said that it shouldn't be, and I think I have to concur. In any case, it gave them easy and quiet entry just north of Jestak's room.

While NoPrey's mythic powers had given him darkvision, and Jake used Terendelev's scale to turn into a half-orc and get the same, Merissa had to cast Light for herself and Kariss. After Irrid's fireballs, Kariss chose to have Rishi stay safe in the rubble. And yes, comments about rubble runners were made and quickly hushed by an indignant Rishi.

The group moved into the main hall, planning on traveling straight to the secret vault that had once housed the Sword of Valor. Unfortunately, before they had even settled in to the hallway there was a bellow from the south, a door flew open, and a raging barbarian woman charged out and assailed NoPrey, crying, "It's your fault! You killed them all!"
In our very first Wrath of the Righteous "oopsie" moment, she missed NoPrey, and Jake hit her. For over 140 points of damage. In his very first round. She dropped unconscious, her rage ended, and she expired. With no explanation as to what had caused her anger in the first place. The party was... perplexed.

They first checked her room, finding twelve decapitated bodies, their heads laid in the west, and their heads in the east. "Interesting choice of decorating," NoPrey quipped. They had no idea who she was, why she'd killed all these other people, or what she'd meant by claiming they killed them. With nothing left to do, they had Merissa say words over the deceased, looted the barbarian's body of a very nice adamantine greatsword and some magic armor, and moved on. (And if your question is, "Didn't Janeamine just down the hall hear all the ruckus?", the answer is, "No, Janeamine rolled a 2, and was obviously very busy doing... er... something else...")
The party carefully unlocked the doors to the southwestern parapet so they would have easy entry to the citadel if they needed to return, then headed east through two dining and storage halls to a long hallway leading north. To the north, a woman's voice was screeching orders in Abyssal, preparing the citadel's defenders for an onslaught from the party.

Having had enough of Jake's Stealth rolls, NoPrey Silenced him as the party moved up the hall cautiously. Fortunately, they couldn't be heard. Unfortunately, they were still carrying Merissa's Light with them so Konneshka the vrock had no trouble whatsoever noticing them approaching up the hall.
Her "surprise" round was to step into the hall and use her screech ability on the party. The party's surprise round was to point out that she was within the Silence field, so her shriek didn't amount to much of anything.

GM Note: Do other GMs play their creatures as non-omniscient? I figure the Silence spell isn't visible, she didn't hear it being cast, so there was no possible way for her to know about it before she moved into it. Is that fair, or do other GMs have creatures preternaturally know about such things?

So Kariss put Fly on Jake (guess who has the Silent metamagic feat?) and Jake one-rounded Konneshka as well. At this point we were beginning to question mythic...

The rest of the fight in Konneshka's area was mop-up. I had the brimorak from the parapet, the two brimoraks from the entrance, the four cultist archers, and Barrid Isen. The highlight of the fight was Kariss nailing Barrid with a Dimensional Anchor so he wouldn't leave before they could "talk" to him.

So they captured three of the archers, killed two of the three brimoraks (the third teleported away), decapitated Barrid, and brought the whole kit-and-caboodle out to Irabeth for questioning. (Well, Barrid's head was just a nice little present, but they figured the prisoners might be useful.)

Knowing we had another full day of gaming the next day, we stopped it there.

*** End of Session ***
Next planned session: Saturday, 12-Jul-2014


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I think it is fair to give smart opponents a chance to notice spells like silence. The vrock has like a +23 perception iirc. Seeing a man in full plate making no noise should give the vrock a clue that something is going on. Even seeing a light moving down the hall with no accompanying noise might be enough to function as a clue stick with which to beat your bad guys.

So, perhaps a perception check to notice the lack of noise, and then perhaps a spellcraft check to determine it is a silence spell. However, even success on such rolls may not indicate exactly where the edges of the spell are. The vrock has other reasons to screech - including alerting the rest of the Citadel - especially since the telepathy 100' is not going to be enough to alert most rooms.


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Nylarthotep wrote:

I think it is fair to give smart opponents a chance to notice spells like silence. The vrock has like a +23 perception iirc. Seeing a man in full plate making no noise should give the vrock a clue that something is going on. Even seeing a light moving down the hall with no accompanying noise might be enough to function as a clue stick with which to beat your bad guys.

So, perhaps a perception check to notice the lack of noise, and then perhaps a spellcraft check to determine it is a silence spell. However, even success on such rolls may not indicate exactly where the edges of the spell are. The vrock has other reasons to screech - including alerting the rest of the Citadel - especially since the telepathy 100' is not going to be enough to alert most rooms.

Not only that, the Vrock might notice when he himself croshes the threshold if only because suddenly everything fell silent. A quick Perception check to notice the silence, and maybe an intelligence check to guess it's a magical silence would be appropriate.

I don't play my enemies omniscient, at least, I try my best not to do so. But if I find it reasonable for them to know something, I absolutely roll with it.


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Yep. Both of those sound absolutely reasonable to me. Thanks!

(I have a tendency to take a "declared action" approach to combat because I hate the metagaming that goes on if you don't, but at the same time, 6 seconds is an eternity in a real fight, so being able to react is totally reasonable... it's just the usual difficulties of modeling "realistic" combat with a turn-based system that works well. Yeah I also hate the whole, "I can take a swing, wait to see if my opponent drops, then take a 5' step, then hit a second opponent twice, all within the domain of a single 6-second round," but it works, everybody abides by it, and I don't have a better system...)


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Right, I've spent the past 4 hours or so just reading this thread and I must say I absolutely love your party and the way you write. Very enjoyable :-)

captain yesterday wrote:


edit: turns out Poopy bear (what my son calls winnie the pooh) and kermit the frog were leading a rebellion against the kids and had to be made examples of! kermit is hog tied and gagged on the dresser drawer and poopy bear is "swinging from the gallows" (the closet) on the one hand i should ask why, on the other hand, i'm not sure i want to......

This had me laughing for a good few minutes - right until I realised that this is likely to be my daughter in a few years' time if we continue playing D&D at our place. The staff at the kindergarten will probably want to "talk" to me...


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I suspect a vivid imagination will have more of an impact then RPGs:)


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Hehe, aye, she is still only 18 months old so I have much to look forward to. I suspect she will have quite the imagination (we both read and "roleplay" quite the bit), but executing her toys for plotting to overthrow her is probably a few years off. Still, if she ever does something comparable to that I would consider myself quite a successful father :-D

(although I suppose this is slightly off topic... only slightly)


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Thrandr wrote:

Hehe, aye, she is still only 18 months old so I have much to look forward to. I suspect she will have quite the imagination (we both read and "roleplay" quite the bit), but executing her toys for plotting to overthrow her is probably a few years off. Still, if she ever does something comparable to that I would consider myself quite a successful father :-D

(although I suppose this is slightly off topic... only slightly)

Ya know, you read my threads, and you learn that "off topic is a way of life around here".

And yes. I had the whole family read about Poopy Bear's execution. They were appropriately delighted....


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I assure you I never go off topic:)
its coming sooner then you think, if its one thing I learned from my wife and daughter is girls dont tolerate sedition in the ranks:)
also as soon as she can walk she will slam doors! by 2 if not already:)


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I chose the internet handle "Tangent" for a reason.

(That being that my attempts to use Xellos in the past were thwarted on another forum, so I started with Tangent and have stuck with it since.)


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Captain Yesterday is Fry's super hero name in Futurama (i believe the episode is called "Less Then Heroes") however my avatar's d-bag smile is starting to annoy me....

Also my favorite was kermit, that guy wasn't going anywhere! I have it on my phone but i haven't figured out how to get it off of it. Also the coldness in which she said it was hilarious!
she has also always been a huge fan of pirates, not sure where that came from...


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captain yesterday wrote:

I assure you I never go off topic:)

its coming sooner then you think, if its one thing I learned from my wife and daughter is girls dont tolerate sedition in the ranks:)
also as soon as she can walk she will slam doors! by 2 if not already:)

Haha :-D No slamming doors yet, but she does tend to scold her toys if they don't do as she wants them to and especially has a tendency to quarrel with her mother if they disagree on what either of them should do!

Speaking of sedition in the ranks, it is 00:02 over here and my wife is threatening me with all kinds of stuff if I don't get to be right this instance, so I better go...


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well they sound delightful, family is the best:)
also the part above where things are jumping out and they're killing them before they know why, reminded me of an episode of Quickdraw (on Hulu) called "The Grasshopper Plague" super funny show


Wow just finished catching up with this journal and it was a delightful read as always. A quick question how much of aCR adjustment is made for the Mythic Tiers?


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Ghufufin wrote:
Wow just finished catching up with this journal and it was a delightful read as always. A quick question how much of aCR adjustment is made for the Mythic Tiers?

As I've mentioned in other threads, I've been trying to run it exactly as-written and report on it in the "Failed AP" thread, but Magnuskn's warnings were right -- starting in the second half of Book 2, you start hitting a lot of encounters with CR = PC level-2 or more. That's right; the CR's go DOWN instead of up, and the PCs get mythic tiers!

I've seen two theories:
(1) The authors wanted the PCs to feel like superheros.
(2) The authors had to balance XP and thus provided many more low-CR encounters.

In either case, the players have started getting bored about midway through Book 4. And this is a group that normally LOVES to roleplay for an entire session with no combats! Yet WotR doesn't have any cities the PCs can settle down and relax in for a while, and the NPCs are typically hundreds of miles away, if not in another plane entirely. So it's "all combat, all the time" and the combat is unfulfilling.

A good example was the first few encounters of Book 4 vs. the first few encounters of Book 2 of Jade Regent, which they're enjoying immensely.

WotR Book 4 (12th level PCs, 5 mythic tiers):
12, 12, 12, 11, 13, 14, 15 (boss)

You'll notice that the first 4 encounters would be easy, run-of-the-mill encounters for non-mythic PCs. Even at 1/2 level per mythic tier, this puts the boss fight as really the only fight worth playing out.

Compare this to Jade Regent Book 2, where the PCs are on the edge of their seats and having a hard time with every fight:
JR Book 2 (4th level PCs, no mythic tiers):
6, 6, 7, 7, 4, 6
These are one-a-day encounters, so the CRs are intentionally (and wisely) ratcheted up -- the PCs had their first CR7 encounter, and it was a really, REALLY close fight!

So looking at WotR and seeing CRs that match the PC's level with no consideration of mythic at all is just rather depressing. We're changing a few rules, and soon I may start dipping into Sc8rpion's stat blocks if my players remain disenchanted with the whole thing.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

The one thing this AP has revealed is the lie that "we can't design a level 1-20 AP because there aren't enough encounters to allow sufficient XPs" - if 2/3rds of the encounters in WotR are at or below party CR, then it is obvious you CAN have an AP go to level 20... even without Mythic.

One secret is to have more tougher encounters, and increase the amount of treasure (especially healing potions and the like) to compensate. Heck, even something as simple as a Wand of Cure Moderate or Cure Serious... or a Staff of Healing... those can help a party significantly, while letting them face tougher encounters.


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Tangent101 wrote:

The one thing this AP has revealed is the lie that "we can't design a level 1-20 AP because there aren't enough encounters to allow sufficient XPs" - if 2/3rds of the encounters in WotR are at or below party CR, then it is obvious you CAN have an AP go to level 20... even without Mythic.

One secret is to have more tougher encounters, and increase the amount of treasure (especially healing potions and the like) to compensate. Heck, even something as simple as a Wand of Cure Moderate or Cure Serious... or a Staff of Healing... those can help a party significantly, while letting them face tougher encounters.

Tangent's absolutely right -- I randomly threw in an encounter with SIX drake riders instead of the as-written ONE drake rider, and it was a nice hard fight.

Recommendations are rife throughout the other threads, so that's one tangent I don't want to go off on here (sorry, Tangent!), but the key seems to be to bunch the encounters together so that:
(1) They're more challenging to the PCs,
(2) There are fewer of them for the PCs to deal with, and
(3) The BBEGs in each section aren't left standing alone 1-on-4 against mythic PCs. Mooks are your friends!

Anyway, I'm merrily typing away so far this month, thanks to a particularly nasty cold that kept me from work for a couple of days, so a few more sessions should show up in the next couple of weeks and you'll see how things go...


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12-July-2014 Game

Our game on the 12th really describes our group so perfectly: We were all free for the day, so we had a good 11-12 hours of possible game time. Instead, we went out to breakfast. Then we decided to go by BevMo for some snacks and drinks. We played for a bit, then went out and got afternoon snacks. Etc. All in all, our entire "11 hour gaming day" involved maybe 4 hours of gaming and 7 hours of wandering around, shopping, dining out, and otherwise wasting time.

A good day!

I have to say, one of my absolute favorite aspects of the top floor of Citadel Drezen is the difference between the succubi Janeamine and Kiranda. Janeamine is portrayed as egotistical, a bit clueless, and she honestly tries to dupe the PCs into believing that she's Iomedae. I know the text says she's fairly sure it won't work, but then why try it? A nice portrayal of ego, conceit, and vanity that a GM can really sink his (or her) teeth into. Adding to the fun, we have Kiranda, a far more cunning specimen who disguises herself as a prisoner and then cheerfully attacks her own people in order to perpetuate the ruse! Now THAT'S my kind of succubus!
I love it because it shows that just because two beings share the same Bestiary entry doesn't mean they're the same person, nor that they will even act remotely the same. I loved the different approaches to the PCs, the different tactics, and the different goals.

Unfortunately, although I *loved* Kiranda in theory, my PCs were too canny to fall for her wiles after Janeamine went and made them suspicious. I missed getting to play her to her full psychotic potential, but she was still quite a treat to read. Honestly, I think she's my favorite "bad guy" so far just because she had such epic potential for some "psychotic ex" moments...

Ah, well, maybe Jake's player will have better luck when he sends his hapless group of PCs in to meet her in a few weeks...

And finally, we have an official Silver Tsuto Award winner this session! Congratulations, NoPrey! Taking TWO of your four party members out of the action in consecutive rounds is a rather impressive feat. Good on you for trying to make the fights more interesting! (I've been asked not to spoiler Tsuto awards in the headers, so you'll have to read on to enjoy his magnificence against the mighty mimics. Who really shouldn't have been even a speed bump if it weren't for NoPrey...)

=====
05-Rova-4713 (continued from last session)

Once the party was safely in camp they decided to question their half-orc prisoners. Not knowing whether or not the prisoners spoke Common, they let NoPrey start the proceedings. He promptly regurgitated at their feet and asked, "Want some?"
GM Note: Yes, another natural 1 on his Diplomacy roll. With the -5 house-ruled penalty and not many ranks in Diplomacy, he was a faaaaaaaaar cry from getting any cooperation out of them.

Irabeth cleared her throat and tried a bit more of an orcish approach, but got nothing but rude suggestions about what she could do for them in return. (Another horrific Diplomacy roll.) Jake, being a clever fighter (an oxymoron, I know), suggested in Common, "Why don't we just castrate them and present their bits as a gift to Staunton?"
A quick Sense Motive check was all he needed to recognize that they understood Common, so Kariss took over, describing in explicit detail what she and Jake were going to do to them once they got them out of sight of the paladins (complete with flaming props). Cue a massive Intimidate roll, and the half-orcs were more than happy to tell Jake anything he wanted to know, so long as he stayed between them and Kariss.

They told the party of at least three "pretty pretty lady demons" who frequented the top floor; a dark-haired one who favored black and red and seemed to always have a few human "pets" with her, a silver-haired one, and a silver-haired one with no wings. The half-orcs were most interested in waxing poetic about how beautiful the demonic women were, but the party had other interests.
The entryway was guarded by "flying statue men" (gargoyles, the party presumed), they were perplexed at the constant questions about their "female leader" until everyone finally figured out it was the vrock Jake had slain (that was a bit of hilariousness), they had no ideas of any "secret vaults" on the top floor, but they admitted that Staunton did not let them have the run of the place. They recognized the description of Jestak the barbarian, but were equally at a loss as to why she would kill her own troops. Cowardice, perhaps? The party figured that was as good an explanation as they were going to get. Finally, they described an "evil darkness" in the southeastern parapet that they were quite frightened of.

Once they had all of the information they thought they were going to get from the half-orcs, they turned them over to Irabeth. Irabeth pondered for only a moment. "We have limited resources, we are in enemy territory, and these creatures are known worshippers of a demon lord, and who also took up arms against us. As prisoners of war, I sentence them to a clean, painless death, from there to move on to Pharasma's judgement."
They Consecrated a patch of ground, executed the prisoners, said a few words over their bodies, and took them away for burial.

GM Note: I'm playing the Iomedaeans as far more militant and practical than Sarenites. They're in a war, they have limited supplies, and it just doesn't seem very practical to feed and care for known worshippers of one of your arch-enemies. I make the distinction between a well-supplied army able to transport prisoners back to maintainable camps (Galfrey's army) versus a small strike force deep in enemy territory with limited time and resources, and a real risk of annihilation should they be caught (Irabeth's army). So the paladins were a bit ruthless until they recovered the Sword of Valor.

It was still early in the day, and no one had used a great deal of resources, so the party decided to go back in. They re-entered at the rubble room, this time heading north instead of south.

The first room they came across was a well-stocked armory with quite a few magical weapons and suits of armor, so they helped themselves and moved on. The double doors in front of them were beautiful solid wood, with carvings of Iomedae's holy sword on each door. Through the door a voice called, "Come, my children, come in and receive my blessing in your quests!"
As the door opened, many confusing things happened at once.
- There, standing in a chapel of Iomedae, was Iomedae herself, surrounded by four kneeling crusaders.
- Having rolled a natural 1 on her Disguise roll, Jake managed to see flaws in the disguise; bits of cloth where armor should be, for example. (He rolled high enough that I think even a real Disguise roll would have gotten past him, but a 1 was out-and-out embarrassing.)
- Merissa exclaimed, "Godmother?"

Unfortunately, combat ensued without a heck of a lot of useful discussion. Janeamine's Sense Motive was plenty high enough to know that Jake could see through her disguise, and her Suggestion that he join her ran into his Protection from Evil, at which point she knew the jig was up. Unfortunately, the party was fast enough to close with her, and a poor succubus without access to her mind-controlling abilities isn't much of a fight. She fell, the charmed crusaders were defeated, and the party managed to stabilize 3 of the 4 of them.
I didn't mind. It was the poorer of the two ruses, and succubi are better at deception and mind games than hand-to-hand combat with mind-protected fighters. So we moved on...

While the party *really* didn't want to leave while so close to their goal, they also didn't want to force the poor crusaders to endure more than they already had (apparently Janeamine's idea of "worshipping" Iomedae was for her to shapeshift into her and do... er... succubus-like things with the crusaders). So Kariss spent another two precious Dimension Doors getting the crusaders safely handed over to Irabeth and getting back into the citadel.

Knowing of the secret vault thanks to Aron's map, they easily found the secret door in Iomedae's temple, right behind the tapestry where it was supposed to be. The first vault was full of smashed and looted chests, along with two statues of Iomedae. Jake immediately searched for and discovered the second secret door. Opening that one revealed a fairly large room. Four statues in real metal armor lined the walls, while at the end of the room was an altar, behind which stood another statue of Iomedae holding what for all intents and purposes looked like the Sword of Valor.

Then the hilarity began in earnest. A quick Detect Magic revealed that the Sword of Valor was fake, but Jake wanted to search the room anyway. Both the altar in front of the statue and the statue itself turned out to be mimics, and attacked Jake with great gusto. NoPrey, for reasons beyond anyone's ken but his own (maybe he thought all treasure should be shiny?), decided to Glitterdust the whole mess. Cue Jake rolling a 1 on his save and becoming blinded. As Kariss and Merissa moved into the room to help, NoPrey decided to be even more helpful, pulled out his crossbow, got entangled in his own gear, and fell over. (Yes, he Glitterdusted the fighter and then entangled himself. We were ALL impressed, and that's definitely Tsuto-worthy.) Jake rolled another 1 on his save, apparently deciding that he liked being blind.

Merissa and Kariss sighed. It was up to the girls. Not feeling particularly helpful towards my poor mimics, Merissa Holy Smited them, and THEY both rolled 1's on their saves! It was downright contagious! I don't think I've ever seen so many different players roll so many 1's in just a couple of rounds before.
Unfortunately, between Merissa's Holy Smites, Jake managing to make every single necessary Reflex save to keep his weapon, NoPrey's inspired rolling around on the ground entangled in his own equipment, and Kariss' giggling, the party was victorious! (OK, I think Kariss shot off a Magic Missile to kill one of the mimics just to prove she could. But she did spend a lot of time giggling.)

Unfortunately, that little bit left the players themselves rather exhausted from laughing too much, and we called it a day.

*** End of Session ***
Next planned session: Thursday, 17-Jul-2014 (already played)


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Half the fun of any gaming group is doing stuff other than gaming. I know when my tabletop group comes to my place, often it's for the weekend and we go out to various stores before starting the game in the afternoon. It's the Skype players who mostly play without much tangenting... well, once everyone is online that is.

Rather funny actually - I've a "Summon Con" spell that works in real life (Con being the one player in the Runelords game most often to completely disrupt my plans and devastate the enemies, despite being a very sweet and nice girl) - all I have to do is finally decide "okay, can't wait for Con any further, time to start the game" and within 15 minutes of starting the Skype call, she appears. Last time, it was within 30 seconds. ^^)


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The beauty of Cell Phones is that, now when i'm expecting an important call all i gotta do is go to the John, they'll call every time:-p


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That part about the natural 1's reminds me of our Jade Regent party, we have a dwarven ranger with pumped up perception, rolls a 1 or 2 every time, and i mean every time! while everyone else is all "Oh my gosh did you see that!" "Wow!" etc. he's all like "Where? i don't see anything!" lol and yet when the party needs some lucky crazy f#!+ed up shot with a Bow he's Johnny-On-The-spot, despite being the muscle of the group with no Archery Feats at all :-p
Funny how the dice work out sometimes:-p

Anyway i just got off work and gotta be up in five hours to begin a new day:(


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jahvul wrote:
CN Tengu? Problem player alert! :P

LOL! I'm spoilering this just for people who want to read everything in order. (And yes, I have another writeup out for review, and it's been out for over a week now as my players deal with the holidays. Hopefully I can convince them to wrap it up today.)

Book 4 spoiler:
Now that they're in Alushinyrra, the CN tengu bard has shacked up with a succubus, developed an appetite for larvae (damned human souls), and happily accepted Nocticula's Profane Ascension.

Our CN bard is now CE.

Good call, jahvul!


Totally need more of this. It's awesome!


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laraqua wrote:
Totally need more of this. It's awesome!

Thank you! OK, I'll pull the old, "Sorry, we can't play today until GothBard approves the writeup!"

That should get that one posted either this evening or tomorrow morning, depending on how late we run.

I also declared that I was going back to my "one hour a day" of writing, so I should start accelerating again...

It's just hard -- you plan a single hour a day for a few things (writing, cooking, exercise) and you quickly run out of hours! :-P


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17-July-2014 Game

Some weeks, you just have to game on a Thursday! On the other hand, this marks the actual first scry-n-fry moment of any of our campaigns, so I guess it deserves special note. Otherwise the group just cleared out a couple more rooms of Citadel Drezen...

=====
05-Rova-4713 (continued from last session)

With the mimics defeated and Jake recovered, the party investigated the room. While the Sword of Valor had been a fake, three of the suits of plate mail were masterwork, and the fourth was Armor of the Pious. The party didn't bat an eye. "Yours, Merissa! Just as soon as you learn to wear it!"
Into the bag of holding went all four suits of armor, and the party decided it was time to reconvene with Aron and discuss where the demons might have moved the real Sword of Valor. Kariss Dimension Doored them back to the paladin encampment and they spent the evening poring over Aron's old maps of the citadel, trying to determine probably angles of attack for the morrow. While they were discussing the possibilities, Aravashnial returned from his explorations in the city, turning over a handful of potions and scrolls for the party's use.
GM Note: Yeah, I was a good little GM and rolled them all up (using the Gamemastery Guide and everything), but heck if I bothered to keep track of them for the last 5 months. Needless to say, none of them were particularly inspiring or important.

The party settled in for some well-deserved rest.

The party leveled to Level 8, Mythic Tier 2.
=====
06-Rova-4713

In the morning, once Merissa had completed her devotions and NoPrey had woken up, they approached the citadel once again. Kariss, taking ruthless advantage of her GM's generosity in letting her level up so she could cast 4th-level spells, cast Arcane Eye and sent it scouting ahead. Even more ruthlessly, she rolled a natural 20 on her Perception check to find the 1-inch ventilation shafts permeating the citadel. Moving her eye in, she learned that it was dark in the citadel, so she cast Darkvision on herself and had it continue its exploration.

Once she knew what to look for, she started the eye in the eastern parapet. Inside the guard tower there, she recognized a nabasu demon from their previous encounter with one, along with a pair of ghouls. This demon was larger than the previous nabasu they'd fought, but seemed content at the moment to sit in its darkened room, patiently awaiting intruders. The ghouls were arranged to ambush anyone opening either entry door, and the nabasu was across the hall, waiting to Enervate (or worse) anyone foolish enough to try to come in. Continuing her search, the next item of interest was the sole remaining brimorak standing in the entry hall, protectively clutching a key ring and watching the front door. She really wanted to scream, "Boo!" at it, but unfortunately the eye did not permit such shenanigans. As the time on the eye was running out, she moved it up the eastern side of the citadel and found the third item of note: A crusader was chained to the wall in a prison chamber, his sword tantalizingly just out of reach. He was slumped down, and Kariss could not tell whether he was dead or alive, but it was clear they had one more stop to make on their way through the citadel.

After a brief discussion, the party decided that their first order of business was to eliminate the nabasu demon. I have rarely seen such an ugly thing. NoPrey started performing. Kariss dropped the party dead center of the room. Merissa's Holy Smite filled the room and rendered the ghouls ash. Jake's first hit on the nabasu didn't drop it, so he burned a mythic surge to hit it a second time. It did not survive.
Kariss was a bit disappointed that she hadn't gotten to do anything, but she had to admit, the destruction was rather thorough and complete.
They found nothing of interest in the room, so they proceeded out to the parapet. They were a bit surprised to find it locked, but since they were coming out from the inside, they unlocked it.

GM Note: How do other people manage interior doors in castles? Do you think of them having a lock-and-key mechanism (easy to pick and/or peek through) or as a reinforced bar mechanism (very sturdy, but one-way)? I played the doors as one-way, which allowed the PCs fairly free movement through the castle once they realized which directions were "in" and which were "defensible". I just didn't feel like running an entire dungeon level as a door-opening exercise, but the lone surviving brimorak had dutifully teleported throughout the floor and locked all the doors. Anyway...

Examining Aron's map, they decided that the fastest way to get to the prisoner would be along the eastern wall, so they oh-so-carefully moved up that way, checking doors as they passed them. They found dining halls, staging rooms, massive amounts of stored food, and rubble leading onto the northeastern parapet. Not ones to let a bit of rubble hamper them, the party clambered over the rubble and down the stairs, finally arriving at the room with the prisoner.
Listening carefully, they heard nothing but the prisoner's labored breathing. They went in expecting trouble, but found the scene exactly as Kariss had described it: A human male crusader was chained to a bed, his sword tantalizingly out of reach. As they entered, he lunged for the sword, declaring that he would defend his mistress from the intruders. A quick Detect Magic revealed quite a few interesting things: Both his armor and the sword were magical, and he was indeed under the effects of a Charm Monster spell.

GM Note: Anyone else notice that Kiranda is supposed to "[use] her glamered armor to appear to be dressed in tattered plate mail," but her listed treasure is ordinary leather armor? No? I'm *really* glad my players didn't ask, because I was asking myself, "OK, she can change shape, but how can she look like she's in plate mail?" I recall putting her in leather armor instead, just for consistency, and wondered where I'd read "plate mail". Now I know.

Kariss easily dismissed the Charm Monster, and the man collapsed in tears. His name was Maranse Delaskru, a crusader who had been captured while on a mission to the Worldwound, and who had been the demon's experimental toy ever since.

GM Note: Sometimes I LOVE my players' dice. Everyone looked to NoPrey to find out whether he knew who the guy was. And of course he blew his Knowledge roll. Might as well have called himself Barney Rubble for all the party knew!

Maranse warned the party that he would detect as evil, as the demons had been performing some kind of demonic blood ritual on him that involved transfusing their blood into him. When the party asked whether he would be able to control himself if they released him, he sobbed and answered that he honestly didn't know.
The party debated for some time as to whether or not they could trust him, and then Kariss came up with a plan. A nasty, awful, evil, sadistic plan. She turned around and flicked an Acid Splash at him.

I figured Kiranda would be ready for something like that, so I gave her a Bluff check to act like it hurt (success!) and a Disguise check the hide the fact that the acid had just slid off her skin. Unfortunately, Jake's uber-Perception was well over her Disguise roll, and the jig was up. The party laid into her without so much as asking for an explanation.

Sometimes, you just miss having a paladin in the party. A paladin would have asked silly questions.

Unfortunately, in a small room with everyone within a 5' step of her and cutting loose with everything they had (Magic Missiles, Holy Smites, and a nasty scimitar buffed by a bard), Kiranda didn't last long enough to teleport away. One of my all-time favorite psychotic succubi, downed by her own resistance to acid!

The party relieved her of her magic items, and NoPrey was overjoyed to have his very own magical rapier!
They moved westwards through the citadel, looking for more clues as to where Staunton Vhane and the Sword of Valor might be.
In yet another, "Why is it always NoPrey?" moment, the party encountered a locked door. Thus, they had to change tactics from having Merissa open doors with Jake standing at the ready, to having NoPrey do it, confident as he was in his new rapier. This confidence was short-lived, as the first creatures they encountered were a pair of thoxel demons, who had no trouble whatsoever carving NoPrey within an inch of his life. Doors were apparently not his forte!
Even more entertainingly, NoPrey failed his Will save against the thoxel's Aura of Insolence and started making comments about everyone else being "featherless freaks" and other such improprieties.
Fortunately for NoPrey (but unfortunately for me), he made his Will saves to avoid attacking "his leader". This probably saved me quite the headache as Jake and Kariss' players would have argued about which of them was "the leader". In any case, Jake and Merissa took the door, Kariss provided spell support, NoPrey sat in the corner healing and muttering to himself, and the thoxels were a remarkably good fight for the group, but eventually fell. Shortly after they went down, NoPrey snapped out of his bitterness. No one seemed to have noticed his dilemma.

Moving on, they came to an enormous courtroom whose roof was supported by massive pillars, but which was partially collapsed in one corner. The courtroom was inhabited by two half-fiend minotaurs, but they hardly put up a fight. (I seem to recall Jake's armor class being 26 or so, so they needed a 17 to hit even with their best attacks).
Listening at all the doors leading out of the courtroom, they heard fervent praying to the west. They decided to take the diplomatic approach.

They learned that the person praying was none other than Joran Vhane, Staunton's brother. Joran had nothing against the PCs, but he told them that he would have to attack them if they came in. They grabbed onto that point, and heard the emphasis in his voice when he said, "No, if you come in, I and the others must attack you."

They figured that Joran was under duress, but where Joran was, Staunton was sure to be nearby, so they opened the door, with NoPrey standing well back this time...

*** End of Session ***
Next planned session: Friday, 25-Jul-2014 (already played)


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you gotta send more Thoxel Demons at NoPrey, turn him into Stephen Root's character from Office Space :)

edit: i honestly never ever think about doors, sorry:)


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So who do we have to pray to in order to get all the write ups along to wherever y'all up to at the moment? *cheeky grin*


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I rearranged things for an hour of writing a day again. That seems to get out 2 writeups a week, and we've slowed down immensely. So patience, my friend! We'll see how the new year goes...


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... Its cold! Really really cold! Its 10am and we're *up* to -6 hopefully we'll get *up* to zero today:)
i hope to have the car started by noon:)


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captain yesterday wrote:

... Its cold! Really really cold! Its 10am and we're *up* to -6 hopefully we'll get *up* to zero today:)

i hope to have the car started by noon:)

Brrr! Those of us in frigid California are dealing with lows in the mid-30's. Poor us!

On the other hand, having traveled the country for several years I learned that winter in the Bay Area is far colder than in most areas of the country because we don't bother to heat our buildings. Most buildings are somewhere in the 60's, while some get down to the 50's.

Compare that to my trips to the midwest in winter where sure it was -8 outside, but it was 80 inside. I got so broiled I stopped even bothering to bring a coat on my trips.

My favorite quote: I'd finished a day of teaching in Chicago and drove over to a restaurant the locals had recommended (always your best plan of action when on the road). I was in my shirt and tie, no coat, and it was 8 and snowing.

So I moseyed across the parking lot, enjoying the feeling of actually being COOL for the first time that day, stepped into the restaurant, brushed the snow off my shoulders, and looked up at the maitre d'.

His response?

In a thick Mediterranean accent: "What are you, a yeti or something?"

It was a good meal.


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Its a new year's bonus! i got the car started (frozen gas line) and its 1 degree.
As someone that has spent the last ten years working outside in the midwest (i shoveled snow in the winter) i completely agree, when its cold as hell outside, it better be toasty warm inside! then again i grew up in a family with a tightly regulated thermostat, my dad was a saint in most regards, but you did not mess with the thermostat! if it was set above 70 degrees s%$~ hit the fan:)

edit: of course that wasn't until i was a teenager and we upgraded to a house with a thermostat rather then the wood stoves we had to rely on up until then:) my favorite place to play was the top of the steps, because it was the warmest place in the house:)


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25-July-2014 Game

This session really marked Wrath of the Righteous' unfortunately precipitous leveling. If you go by "suggested leveling points" instead of XP as we do, you find that they're 6th level, mythic tier 1 for a good portion of the start of this book, up until they "start undertaking missions in Drezen". (All 3 of them.) Then Soltengrebbe attacks and they go to mythic tier 2. (That was fast!) Then they go to 8th level "soon after they start exploring Citadel Drezen" (wait! Didn't we just hit 7th? Didn't we just hit Tier 2?), and 9th level "soon after they start exploring the dungeon". Then 3rd tier at the end.

In short, one fairly short city-and-dungeon grants them 3 levels and 2 tiers. It was really silly. We had to keep stopping the game to level them up and re-print character sheets. This is the first AP book I've run where I'd say, "Ignore the suggested leveling points, and try to spread things out a bit more."

Anyway, the other major issue was Staunton's complete lack of being a threat. Bad die rolling contributed a lot to this, but I combined both Joran and Staunton's rooms and still didn't particularly threaten the PCs. This was the theme of the rest of Book 2: Once they defeated the throxels, nothing threatened them at all for the rest of the book. (And for most of the next books as well.)

There's been a lot of discussion about the cause of it over several threads, but if you're following my journal in the hopes for advice and suggestions, I'll just say: Starting in the dungeon at Drezen and continuing throughout the rest of the AP, you're going to see encounters whose CRs range from party level (PL) to PL - 2. The moment you ask, "Wait! Aren't mythic tiers supposed to count as half-levels?" you'll realize just how pointless this makes most combats. (By comparison, Jade Regent considers CR = PL fights to be 'routine', and regularly puts in CR = PL + 2 fights just to keep players on their toes. In short, even non-mythic PCs wouldn't have any trouble at all clearing Drezen's dungeon. That's an issue with design, not with mythic.)

I'd recommend adding at least enough templates to all encounters to get all fights to at least PL + 1/2 tier. Anything less than that isn't worth the time it takes to run it.

*FINALLY*, even my players noted my lack of emphasis on how hard they worked on keeping Joran alive. Their conversation with him through the door was magnificent; he kept saying, "If you come through the door, WE will attack you."
The PCs picked up on the emphasis on the "we" and the fact the Joran didn't particularly seem interested in the fight. So they went out of their way to try to draw out conversations with him, hit him with nonlethal damage, etc. I was rather proud of myself as a GM for conveying his non-complicity in the whole Drezen endeavor, and proud of my players for picking up on it and making sure he survived. I played it very carefully; Joran tried to stay out of it as much as possible, but at any sense of betrayal the babaus would kill him. It really played out beautifully, and it was hard to get this across all that well in the blow-by-blow writeup.
Needless to say, my players rescued him, redeemed the forge, and put him in charge of the purifying forge. Redemption at its best! But that's a few more sessions from now.

For now, let's return to poor Staunton Vhane...

=====
06-Rova-4713 (continued from last game)

Both sides knew the door was opening, so I didn't grant a surprise round to either group. The party saw 3 babau demons surrounding a dwarf in banded mail wielding a hammer. Merissa rolled highest on Initiative and didn't bat an eyelash as she dropped Holy Smite on the 3 babaus and Joran Vhane. She was somewhat saddened when Joran took full damage for an evil opponent; she had been hoping they were there to rescue him.
The babaus performed splendidly (from Jake's point of view) and teleported to surround Merissa, leaving Joran unguarded and the babaus right next to Jake. A fine thing! Joran turned to Jake. "I suggest you leave Drezen and return to Kenabres. They need you there."
Unfortunately, Jake made his save and proceeded to drop 2 of the 3 babaus in one full-round attack. The remaining babau was Unhappy with this Development.

The fight looked like it was reduced to mop-up duty. NoPrey started his performance, Kariss hit the babau with a Magic Missile, and Merissa just walked up and started hitting it with her sword. (You know it's bad when Merissa has nothing better to do than hit something with her sword.) The babau added to the sense of victory by utterly failing in its attempt to summon help.
Joran bravely fought on, attempting to Blind Jake but failing miserably.

Then, the tide turned. Well, almost. Well, not really.

Staunton, his 2 half-fiend minotaurs, and his pet babau charged into the room. Staunton used Smite Good to target Merissa, the babau summoned a babau behind NoPrey and Kariss, and the half-fiends charged forth into battle! Victory would be theirs!
...Except Staunton managed to miss Merissa twice even while burning mythic surges, the half-fiends did nothing that even made my notebook, and Merissa took offense and put a Holy Smite on the whole roomful-o-evil. The "lucky" babau behind the party got Greased by NoPrey and Magic Missiled by Kariss. This is luck?

The rest of the fight was pretty pathetic. Staunton managed a second full round of misses. Seriously, Staunton?
GM Note: I think that might be another aspect of WotR that is generating all the complaints that mythic is broken. The vast amount of available loot means that at this point in the campaign, most PCs are going to have a good Cloak of Resistance, and those in plate are going to have an armor class at least in the high 20's. Staunton's +17/+12 even when smiting just isn't that impressive. Yeah, a crit would be awesome, but my Staunton spent the fight rolling in the single digits, and couldn't hit anyone. And it's a theme I've noticed through books 3 and 4. Every single one of my players sports an armor class in the mid-to-high 30's durign combat, even the sorceress, and the enemies are written to be extremely dangerous to those "AC 21 tank" fighters who have no DEX and no magic. It's just weird just how bad the enemy to-hit bonuses are.

So Jake dropped Staunton, Merissa Dispelled the summoned babau (I'm SURE he was relieved to be out of there), and Kariss and NoPrey first shot the half-fiends, then Kariss used Admonishing Ray to ensure Joran had some non-lethal damage on him. (What a great spell when you want to capture someone alive!)
The fight was pretty much over by the time Jake rolled a massive Sense Motive to recognize that Joran wasn't trying very hard, and he dropped some nonlethal pain Joran's way as well.

Have I failed to mention the half-fiends all that often? Yes, they were THAT pointless in the fight.

In perhaps the final exclamation point on what was otherwise little more than a mop-up exercise, Merissa picked up Soulshear, rolled a natural 20 on her Will save, rolled her eyes at its telepathic threats and raving, and threw it into the Bag of Holding along with all the other loot. Soulshear would meet an army of paladins soon enough, and Merissa was sure it wouldn't be the better for it.

All that was left was to loot the corpses and finish searching the top level of Drezen. In Joran's room they found maps of planned invasion routes of Mendev, Numeria, and Ustalav, so they rolled those up and packed them away. In Staunton's room they found 20 bottles of fine dwarven ale, much treasure in a locked chest (coins, jewelry, wands, scrolls, a Rod of metal and mineral detection, and an oil of life), and Staunton's journal.

Feeling they had plenty of material to turn over to the paladins, they stuffed Staunon's corpse, along with the cut-up half-fiends, into the Bag of Holding and Dimension Doored back to Irabeth's camp.

Both Irabeth and Anevia were waiting for them in Irabeth's tent, eager for news. Kariss smiled coyly. "We brought you a present, Irabeth!"
They produced Staunton's corpse, much to the delight of both Irabeth and Anevia, and informed her that they had also captured Joran. What luck! After receiving appropriate thanks and chatting with Irabeth for a while, the party decided to get themselves cleaned up, then pored over Staunton's journal while waiting for Joran to wake up.

Staunton's journal was a full history of his life, from his early days growing up in the Five Kings Mountains, to his joining of the First Mendevian Crusade, and all the way to his disillusionment and Jerribeth's final deception in convincing him to remove the Sword of Valor from Drezen and bring it to her, ensuring Drezen's downfall. This event turned Staunton to a path of cruelty and evil. He rejoiced in forcing his brother Joran to corrupt sacred and holy weapons to Staunton's demonic cause. He described his role in playing the betrayer to many crusaders, eventually managing to compromise the defenses of the Kite in Kenabres, allowing the Storm King to attack the city. However, he was discovered and chased off by Irabeth.
His journal described in detail the tortures he wanted to inflict on Irabeth, his frustration at not being allowed by Aponavicius to attempt to corrupt the Sword of Valor, and many other depradations.

Fortunately, as expected, the journal contained useful information. Apparently, the Sword of Valor was currently in the dungeons beneath Drezen, an underground lair dug out by the demons after they had driven out the last of the crusaders. Its guardian was a mythic shadow demon named Eustoyriax, who enjoyed possessing crusaders and bringing their bodies to Drezen. Eustoyriax also brought elixirs of power distilled from Nahyndrian crystal as gifts from a place known as "The Ivory Sanctum". Both Staunton and Aponavicius used the elixir to gain mythic power. (At this point the party scoffed, and became less worried about Aponavicius.)

The Ivory Sanctum was apparently a central stronghold for followers of Baphoment in the Worldwound, run by a man named Xanthir Vang, who also led a group known as the Blackfire Adepts.

Finally, and most interestingly, the journal mentioned a prisoner named Arueshalae, a succubus, but an "Abyssal heretic", whatever that was. Aponavicius had captured her and wanted her held until a special place in the Abyss was prepared for her, but she somehow managed to escape, and Staunton had been extremely worried about Aponavicius finding out. She had escaped into the Worldwound, but could not teleport or become ethereal, so Staunton had sent hunters after her, including an annis hag. He had not heard back.

The party decided they needed to finish cleaning out Drezen, and then they might look into this "heretical succubus"...

The party leveled to level 9.(Staying at Mythic Tier 2 for the moment.)

*** End of session ***
Next planned session: Saturday, 26-Jul-2014 (already played)


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Wow. Your fight with Vahne went completely opposite from mine. Of course my PCs had the added difficulties of two traitors in their mix. And I had already started to rework the APs NPCs due to errors and being poorly crafted.

Did you like Staunton's craft magic arms/weapons feat? How do you suppose he used it? How do you think he even crafted Soulshear. My mind wonders...


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Seannoss wrote:

Wow. Your fight with Vahne went completely opposite from mine. Of course my PCs had the added difficulties of two traitors in their mix. And I had already started to rework the APs NPCs due to errors and being poorly crafted.

Did you like Staunton's craft magic arms/weapons feat? How do you suppose he used it? How do you think he even crafted Soulshear. My mind wonders...

Yeah, normally I don't mind such "flavor" stuff, but "Craft Magic Arms and Armor" with no Spellcraft and no Crafting skills? If he were a player in my game, I'd suggest he choose a different feat.

And Skill Focus (Bluff) is nice flavor, but a paladin feat on Bluffing? Really?

I was *really* hoping to have Kiranda in this fight, but as you saw, she went by the waysides way too early for my tastes...


My party found Staunton Vhane a pretty good threat, as well, enough that I'm planning on using two sets of the stat sheets for when they front up to Xanthir Vang's fortress.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

Staunton Vhane has been hugely effective in my campaign (twice so far, headed for a third fight), partially due to a restatting to make him more of a solo threat, and partially due to things going just right. I don't want to derail someone else's thread without permission, but if you're interested, I can tell my tale...


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Oh absolutely have at! Thread derailment is where it's at!

And yeah, if he could have HIT anyone near him he might have been OK, but I think the two front-liners were AC 32. It just wasn't right...

(And don't quote me on that, but I recall they had enough loot for +1 full plate, +1 shields, and Protection from Evil to get them to 25, then Amulets of Natural Armor, Haste, and DEX bonuses for a few more... Looks like around 29 for Merissa and 32 for Jake...)

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

All right... it's been a few months, so I can't quite do a play-by-play. First, the man (dwarf), the myth, the legend:

Staunton Vhane:

Male dwarf antipaladin 9/Champion 3
CE Medium humanoid (dwarf)
Init +4; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +9
--------------------
Defense
--------------------
AC 25, touch 11, flat-footed 24 (+12 armor, +1 Dex, +2 natural)
hp 141 (9d10+51)
Fort +14, Ref +8, Will +10; +2 vs. poison, spells, and spell-like abilities
Defensive Abilities hard to kill; Immune disease
--------------------
Offense
--------------------
Speed 50 ft.
Melee +1 armor spikes +14/+9 (1d6+4) or
soulshear +15/+10 (1d10+8/×3) or
Ranged +1 returning throwing axe +11 (1d6+5)
Antipaladin Spell-Like Abilities (CL 6th; concentration +10)
At will—detect good
Antipaladin Spells Prepared (CL 6th; concentration +10)
2nd—litany of defense[UC], litany of eloquence[UC]
1st—death knell (DC 15), litany of sloth[UC], protection from good
Smite Good (+4 attack, +9 damage)
Cruelty (Diseased, Poisoned, Sickened)
Fiendish Boon (Summon Monster V, giant wasp)
--------------------
Statistics
--------------------
Str 18, Dex 12, Con 19, Int 12, Wis 10, Cha 18
Base Atk +9; CMB +13; CMD 24 (28 vs. bull rush, 28 vs. trip)
Feats Combat Reflexes[M], Desperate Battler[ISWG], Diehard, Endurance, Power Attack[M]
Skills Acrobatics -4 (+4 to jump), Appraise +1 (+3 to assess nonmagical metals or gemstones), Bluff +16 (+20 to lie or conceal your feelings or true motives), Disguise +8, Intimidate +16, Linguistics +2, Perception +9 (+11 vs. flying creatures), Ride +0, Sense Motive +9; Racial Modifiers +2 Appraise to assess nonmagical metals or gemstones
Languages Abyssal, Common, Dwarven, Giant
Combat Gear wand of corruption resistance (8 charges); Other Gear +3 armor spikes full plate, +1 returning throwing axe, soulshear, amulet of natural armor +2, belt of mighty constitution +4, headband of alluring charisma +2

I had to reassemble his stats, since his current stat block is a bit more mounted and a LOT more undead. Should be about right.

And the party (no stat blocks):

The Heroes of Kenabres:

Xemna du'Courcel, female pitborn tiefling paladin of Iomedae, oathbound against fiends, and mythic champion: A former human noblewoman from southern Taldor, she was kidnapped by cultists and put through a ritual called the Azverindus Rite, presided over by a sinister emerald-haired elven woman. Though the rite was disrupted at the last moment by a force of heroic knights, the rite had already corrupted Xemna's body, giving her black skin, crimson eyes, and a number of curving horns (in the image of a shadow demon). Her family and fiance quickly shunned her, causing her to seek out the knights who had saved her and petition for training. She is generally merciful, except for bursts of howling rage when the fury takes her (rage SLA). Her pining after her lost Taldan lifestyle caused her to easily trust Maranse Delaskru (see below). She has since become a goddess of redemption.

Helkrix, female pitborn tiefling rogue/not-yet-paladin (Xemna's cohort): Just another tiefling looter in the ruins of Kenabres, she stabbed one party member brutally in the throat before fleeing the random encounter. That party member later disguised himself, tracked her down, and was caught making out with her when the party caught up. This is typical of her succubus-born personality. She experienced the vision of Iomedae along with the heroes after the Grey Garrison, and the fight with Staunton Vhane represented the final step in her journey to redemption - until the end of the fight, she essentially had ex-paladin levels. (At the current point in-story, in Book 3, she is now Xemna's wife and high priestess.)

Raziel, male aasimar inquisitor of Iomedae, cold iron warden, and mythic hierophant: Found on the church's doorstep with only a beautiful longsword to know his parents by, the party's inquisitor and primary caster is an extremely harsh moralist, in the image of Lord Hulrun. He frequently berates the tieflings for their demonic heritage. In combat, he focuses on Channel Smite and bane to pile d6s onto his longsword strikes.

Ty-ryl Bluestone, male destined bloodrager, mythic trickster, and alleged dwarf: Ty-ryl woke up behind enemy lines, with amnesia, two weeks before the fall of Kenabres. A beautiful dark-haired woman saved him and guided him to safety, giving him a holy symbol of Desna, but that's all he remembers before a fellow dwarf found him and took him to Kenabres. He insists that he is not a spellcaster, makes frequent use of mythic enlarge person, and refuses to at any point don any armor. (Unknown to him at the time, he is actually half-elf/half-duergar. The player wrote a brilliant story and I'm rolling with it. As to how that happened, there's a reason, although it's my own. He doesn't know everything yet.)

Annabeth Harnaste, female half-elf ranger and mythic marshal: The most generic of the group. Archer, distributor of favored enemy, and Vital Strike specialist. Has since left the group.

Sosiel Vaenic: That guy. Looking for Aron Kir in Citadel Drezen and providing healing.

I wrote the next one before remembering that she wasn't with them until the Dungeon. Oops.
Talathal Harnaste, female elf ex-paladin of Erastil: The party encountered this lone elvish archer among the ruins while taking out the brimoraks on the watchtowers. Upon recogniing her as a cousin of Annabeth, they welcomed her to join and aid them, despite allegedly having Sense Motive. She aided in all four while carefully "conserving" her paladin abilities, and when the group returned to camp, eagerly joined Ty-ryl and his future cohort (female cowgirl ex-cleric of Baphomet) for a lusty celebration in his tent. At least, until the shadow demon ran out of time. While it was slain and absorbed by Xemna, the damage was done - the paladin's faith was broken by the ordeal of possession and being so used. Needless to say, Ty-ryl was guilt-wracked, and gave up drinking while trying to find a way to make things right. Her accompanying them against the basement, including Eustoyriax, was her first step toward recovering. (She is now a paladin of Xemna instead.)

Maranse Delaskru, female succubus duelist: The party fell for every deception in the book. Literally. There was poor Talathal. They didn't suspect Nurah of a thing despite running her as a bossy control freak; in fact, the inquisitor usually backed her up. (He is now her Designated Redeemer.) The party was suspicious of "Iomedae's" blessing, and some debated, but all took it. Yes. THAT blessing. And when a Protection from Evil "freed" the captured swashbuckler, he immediately went full Taldan gentleman on Lady du'Courcel, who blushed like a milkmaid and brought him along. In many fights, he was at her side, parrying blows against her and quickly seducing her. He was aiding in several fights, including this one, and even took an action which ended up blowing his cover... eventually. (Interestingly, Xemna went out of her way to find the body of the real Maranse, still here in the torture chamber where she slew Kiranda, and resurrect him at her own expense. So he's now in Drezen too...)

As you can see, the party tends to accrue NPCs at a truly impressive rate. Nurah was with them until the False Vault. She was in the encounter backing up Vhane. I forgot/disregarded the minotaurs though...

WHEW. The stage is set.

The party had just finished slaying babaus and accepting Joran's surrender. They rocked into Staunton's chamber without a thought to find the lord of Drezen and a traitorous halfling awaiting them. As you can see up there, there were a LOT of participants. My build for SV focused on mobility. He would Fleet Charge into position, full attack, then use Fleet Warrior to retreat, using Combat Reflexes to punish heroes for closing. It was a knock-down, drag-out fight, with the lines of battle constantly shifting. Despite everything I've seen telling me to drop Mythic, battles like that wouldn't have existed without it. That was only Tier 2, though. Also, my party has lower AC due to a lot of Dex-dumping, what with 15 point-buy. The unarmored bloodrager usually has the highest AC. Highlights include:

Ty-ryl getting hit with a suggestion from Nurah, rendering him useless - at which point Maranse whispered something in his ear that got him back in the fight. Kiranda essentially used her own suggestion to override Nurah's. While she played it off as merely "inspiring words", the seeds of doubt were there planted. I liked the idea of the demon getting so caught up in the thrill of battle and her persona that her tactics suffered... plus, as a GM, I wanted the player back in the game.

Staunton Vhane darting into the thick, pounding Xemna with smite-fueled attacks while dropping a litany of sloth on Raziel, and then moving to threaten both Raziel and Annabeth while dropping quips and shrugging off attacks of opportunity.

Helkrix charging in to strike the final blow against Staunton Vhane (Diehard and Mythic go well together) and spontaneously earning full paladinhood as she looked down in surprise. She then leapt into Xemna's arms - drawing nods of, uh, male approval from the swashbuckler, bloodrager, and even the inquisitor...

The party looted the area with Maranse's help, failing to notice the inconspicuous oil he pocketed from Vhane's private treasure. Later on, after dragging the body back and celebrating, Kiranda lured Sosiel off alone, seducing and draining the lonely cleric. She hid the body and then returned to camp, stealing Staunton's corpse (still armored) and spiriting it away to the Citadel basement, where she used the oil of life to raise him. I replaced Chorussina's ritual with a second fight with Vhane in the basement. He was weaker without most of his items, but had acquired a mysterious axe with a blue stone. The demonic wizard hung about nearby, invisibly casting silent spells, including a Deathless that kept Staunton alive deep into the negatives - until Xemna realied what was up and had Raziel dispel it. All that was left were chunks of meat and the armor... and when they passed through again after retrieving the Sword of Valor, nobody thought to notice that that, too, had vanished. He is now known to be truly dead and gone...

That... was longer than I expected. Any and all questions welcome! :)


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That's awesome! I think the switch to Fleet Charge and the extra CHA to give him that needed "to hit" oomph was brilliant, and the remarkable lack of full casters in your group made it pay off handsomely.

In our game between a fighter with buffs from both a cleric *and* a bard, Holy Smite, and mythic Magic Missile, he just didn't have enough hit points to last long enough to USE any mobility. And his as-written block doesn't give him any.

Beautiful job on Kiranda, by the way. I really missed getting to run amok with her. But a 1 on a Bluff check is bad enough for even a fighter to have a chance of seeing what you're doing. *SIGH*

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