** spoiler omitted **
Thanks for the suggestions! Also, do you see any way to tie this in with Noticula? I'm also not too familiar with her role.
Eeks! You should read ahead :) Book 3 tries to tie together a lot of the PCs backgrounds with their mythic traits.
Tying her in with Nocticula could be interesting. I'm sure the answer is yes, but it would depend on your group and whether you ultimately want Janemine to be an enemy or an ally. Basically Nocticula wants to help out the PCs so she looks better and can possibly call in favors if ever needed from good higher powers.
Firstly, on Jerribeth:
Jerribeth is an agent of Baphomet. She's the background character for the Exposed to Awfulness campaign trait, and is the coordinator for most of the major foes in Demon's Heresy. Most see her as a green-haired elf woman, but she is in fact a mythic glabrezu.
The PCs are supposed to meet her in the Ivory Sanctum during the final leg of Demon's Heresy, but hints to her existence appear throughout Book 3 in various correspondence and such. So, you'll need to do some rewriting if you want to swap her around with Janeamine. I can help, though, if you want to go down that road.
Any questions? I can give more details as necessary.
The general whatnot.
If I'm reading this correctly, they haven't yet seen the "resurrected" Irabeth, correct? (I'm a little unclear on exactly where the group currently is and what they know...)
Where's Irabeth's body? It has to go for the deception to work. If you're feeling nice, let them find it after the deception is broken. Otherwise, it's true resurrection time. See below for developments from this...
Are you confident that they'll believe in her? If not, taking a different tack might be appropriate. If so, though, this places her neatly in line to be given the throne of Drezen by the Queen (via messenger, thankfully). The Sword of Valor will be a big problem for her, though. I don't expect her to be around long after that.
Even if Janeamine has to abandon this deception, there's another angle - Anevia. If she doesn't see through this, Janeamine can start corrupting her for a while. And if Irabeth can't be resurrected, maybe some of those seeds will blossom. Even if she doesn't fall herself, this could be a great character development moment for her.
Arueshalae is a great way to connect this to Nocticula. Set Janeamine up as an enemy of the rising succubus - first as close companions, then (after Arueshalae's revelation) rivals, then as Arueshalae's tormentor in the dungeons of Drezen, and finally (in Demon's Heresy) one of those who's hunting Arueshalae (especially once Janeamine's had to flee Drezen).
If Janeamine's somehow survived to Book 4, she might make trouble for them in the Midnight Isles - see Minagho's role in that Book for some idea. Having those two working together might be good.
That's all I have for now. :)
Also, seriously, start reading ahead. Seriously. :)
Phew! Replying to both.
So right now they're resting in the Inheritor's Chapel. They've accepted that at least for now Marcus is irrecoverably charmed by her.
They're resting there because Janeamine has informed Marcus that she'll keep it safe for them to do so. She's also given them some other information, about the cache of weapons in the armory (which they recovered), lastly she's told them about Jestak.
Irabeth's body is in on the altar in the Inheritor's Chapel, but getting rid of the body should be easy enough for now. I ended the session with her suddenly telling Marcus for them to flee, so in between sessions they're preparing to face Jestak. If I had to hazard a guess, they'll head out the west door and go down the southern hallway to where they know Jestak to be. That should give Janeamine some time to set up her ruse, and hopefully Irabeth's sudden return.
One other thing. A player (I won't name who), stupidly looked up the stats for Succubus during the game so I've informed all players that'll I'm going to be shuffling things around so they don't have exact details on how she mechanically works. (Not sure what the player was thinking, they've never done this before and they've assured the table that they'll never do that again). Anyways, on the bright side this gives me a bit of wiggle room. But any changes *must* stay within CR to CR + 1. Since I've got a 5th player, I'm okay with some slight power creep here and there.
About the specific problems with her disguising as Irabeth.
-She's got a +19 Disguise. +10 with Alter Self. And a +5 for only having to deal with minor details. (Am I applying this right?) Which gets her to +34, taking 10 that gets the DC to 44. Then I'd say they're a mix of friends to close friends with Irabeth, which brings the DC down to 38-36. Eb has the best Perception at +17 which means he just might be able to crack her disguise on their first meeting. After that she'll usually have time to work on it (meaning take 20) which should put the DC out of their range.
-Their highest Sense Motive is +12, so I'm not too worried about them catching her in a lie. At best they can get 32, assuming taking 10 from her she's at 37.
-Detect Evil and the army. I'm not sure how to handle this, though I think its safe to assume no one there is going to cast Detect Evil on the commander of their army. Even then between her Bluff and Charms she should be able to handle such a situation. And considering there are traps that turn you evil in Drezen, that she may be aware of. It isn't unreasonable for her to use that as an excuse.
-Sword of Valor. As far as I can tell she'll be barred from her greater teleport, but ethereal jaunt will still function. This gives her at least some comfort and an escape plan. Beyond that, she'll suffer a -4 AC and Saves, but neither of those impede her ability to deceive others that she's Irabeth. Unless I've missed something, it doesn't seem as though it'll be anything more than an annoyance.
-My players *might* buy this. Simply because they don't expect it. The Charm that'll be on Irabeth will probably convince a few of them, especially if they notice it before they've had time to question Irabeth.
They're obviously extremely suspicious now and I've even considered whether or not Janeamine might be able to convince Kiranda (acting as Janeamine) to take a one way ticket back to the abyss, but based on Kiranda's character and role that's a big pill to swallow.
I don't know, can you think of anything that might help make this seem more reasonable? Right now it rests on the fact that they think they have an untrustworthy ally in Janeamine.
For holes in that plan... do your PCs know that Prot from Evil will break the charm, or do you not like those rules? Would be very easy to break Marcus free from the charms that way.
I'll joke and say from what I've seen from PC paladins that the army would be filled with constant detect evil uses :)
Why would Janeamine leave and raise Irabeth? (from the if things go right angle) Unless she's planning on living a double life as both of them. For further penalties to disguise I don't believe the spell states that you ignore the penalties for different race. Anevia would also likely be able to get past the disguise do to their unusual background.
And because this is a forum, let me say that I like your ideas and how the plot is progressing. That stuff gets lost online at times.
Phew! Replying to both.
** spoiler omitted **...
Hitting some major points in both of your responses...
For Disguise, my ruling would be that the +5 for minor details wouldn't stack with the polymorph bonus. Seannoss has a valid point about the race penalty as well - the form is perfect, but she's still a "fake" half-orc, and some mannerisms or whatever might be off. However, see "A new Succubus" below.
Re: detect evil, I decided that the Worldwound itself creates enough interference that detect evil/chaos always picks up a positive result. This could act as her shield.
My thought on the Sword of Valor was that she would only be able to endure it for so long. I remembered the penalty as being the result of constant pain; looking again, that seems to not be the case. :/
Ethereal jaunt will work fine, btw; it's Transmutation.
Re: Kiranda, demons don't need a lot of excuse for infighting. To Janeamine, Kiranda is a sacrifice to her own glorification (god-complex). So, the moment she sees the demon duelist, Janeamine casually outs her. Kiranda might try to keep up the deception; in response, Janeamine might lay on more details until the duelist snaps and either starts the fight or 'ports away to prepare/warn others. Janeamine both takes down a rival and establishes her "trustworthiness". Win/win.
Re: Anevia, between detect thoughts and Bluff, Janeamine should be able to wrangle her pretty easily. If Anevia hasn't advanced since Book 1, she has a Sense Motive of +5 - Janeamine will run circles around her.
Re: protection from evil, see "A new Succubus" below - your call on how hard you want it to be for them.
Re: double life, there's a fairly easy way to do this. Have Janeamine claim that she's given Irabeth her gift as part of the resurrection; this allows her to communicate telepathically at any range. So as far as they know, Janeamine is elsewhere, feeding them info via Irabeth. Meanwhile, the real Irabeth has been fed to the nabasu Daiatan in area F11, and Janeamine is right alongside them.
PCs searching area F11 might find a clue to these ugly events, as might PCs who see her reaction to the true Sword of Valor.
As I said earlier, being able to bypass the "by-the-book" rule here is good news. No offense to your group, but that rule will be trouble, especially as Mythic matures.
Do you have a copy of 3.5's Fiendish Codex II: Hordes of the Abyss? There's a succubus-esque demon in there that specifically preys on faith and the faithful - the lilitu (not to be confused with Pathfinder's version). They're CR 12, but you could easily make some adjustments or something, or use that version for inspiration - I believe they were created by our own James Jacobs anyway.
Otherwise, I wouldn't change her basic chassis too much. The big thing here is that you can add abilities that do what you need for her persona - powers that aid her deception or feed her god complex. In her case, you could fluff it as powers granted her by Nocticula for some previous favor. I would have done something similar, but I didn't have to. :)
Some sort of aura of light power wouldn't be amiss; my version had something like that. Maybe something that buffs anyone she's charmed or gifted. Illusion spell-like abilities might be good, too.
I mentioned protection from evil earlier; you might give her an ability where such spells are harder to use on her charmed minions. Again, your call on how hard you want to make this for them.
Succubi have a big problem that comes up again and again in the APs - they can't copy specific individuals. Yet they keep doing it, the crafty minxes. Give her abilities that lets her perfectly copy someone - the doppelganger's Mimicry and Perfect Copy abilities from the Bestiary are perfect for this (and will let her use Irabeth's armor/shield/sword).
We can hammer out further details as necessary - I don't know what you're comfortable with.
Questions (either of you)? :)
** spoiler omitted **
And because this is a forum, let me say that I like your ideas and how the plot is progressing. That stuff gets lost online at times.
As for Anevia, as Kalindlara said, she doesn't have the Sense Motive or Perception to really catch on. Even with the -10 penalty to Disguise.
For now, Janeamine just wants to infiltrate the group. At the very least this will win her favor, and if she manages to gain leadership of Drezen, this will help her out immensely in book 4.
I should also mention that I've got a few hours to play with. The group started to rest in the Inheritor's Chapel, and about 3-4 hours later is when she told the group through Marcus to run. She's aware of the army, and could probably figure out a magical method to bypass the Detect Evil if absolutely needed. She can also use this time to take 20 on her Irabeth disguise now that I think about it.
I'm glad you're enjoying where things are heading! And I'll certainly keep this thread up to date as things progress.
Phew! Replying to both.
** spoiler omitted **...
Hitting some major points in both of your responses...
** spoiler omitted **...
-As I pointed out in my reply to Seannoss, she has the time to take 20 on her Disguise (which is what she is using to appear as Irabeth, not Alter Self).
--I think I can either rule that since she's using Disguise to look like Irabeth, she doesn't get the +10 from Alter Self, but gets only the +5 for Minor Details only. Taking 20 on that gets her to 44.
--Or I can rule like you both suggested, she gets the -2 for appearing as a different race, and doesn't get the +5 for Minor Details which gets her a 47 when taking 20.
---Which way would the two of you go on this?
-I absolutely love your ruling on Detect Evil. It completely makes sense, but I sadly I can't use it now (since I've already allowed them to cast Detect Evil in the worldwound). It wouldn't be fair to suddenly go back on that, and it would also raise warning flags for them.
-As for her double life, she's got a Charm on Marcus, and she's got her gift. So she can already communicate with him across any distance and toss a Suggestion on him if absolutely needed. She can probably talk whatever details Marcus knows about the two of them out of him without breaking a sweat.
-I'll try and look up that stuff on a new succubus, but I don't have any 3.0/3.5 stuff. I jumped from 2nd ed straight into Pathfinder. =p
-I'd toyed with adding the mythic caster template to her, and if she survives her encounter with the party allowing her to overcome a mythic trial, and thus gain a tier. But wasn't sure about this. Do either of you have thoughts?
--Lastly, because this might be relevant now. When the player of Marcus left and rejoined, I struggled to find a reason behind his mythic status. I knew that he'd been kidnapped and brought to Drezen for questioning (his history with the party suddenly became an interesting topic in Drezen), and eventually decided that they gave him one of the three Nyhandrian Elixir's. He survived, but never gained any mythic abilites from that. Later, he died fighting Dreadnu, and when the party raised him I informed the player that he could go ahead and take his first tier. I kind of botched all of this, and have absolutely no explanation about how that happened or why. Anyways, I mention this because the book said there were three elixirs, potentially the last one went to Janeamine instead of the other two "pets".
Hah! Sorry, Wrath has been on break since last session. All of our gaming in May was wrapped up into a weekend, in which we ran Mummy's Mask. Then I had to step out for a few sessions (which is why the group made the shift to Mummy's Mask), as the rest of May and the first half of June consist/ed of vacation, anniversery, and the kid's second birthday.
We're picking back up on June 20th, and I'll be sure to update here as soon as I can. =p
Alright, so two months since my last update, but we just had our next session on Saturday. It went well!
We picked up right where we left off, debating what to do with one of the unconscious crusaders of Janeamine. They decided that the two who were still living, and conscious could take care of that one, and pushed on to Jestak.
Eb, got caught peeking in on her pacing around the room, but managed to win initiative and backed up. I goofed here though, I didn't notice that the doors to this room were supposed to be locked since that text is buried in Jestak's Before Combat text (not the best place to put stuff like that).
Things could've gone really bad for them at this point. Everyone spent their surprise and first round moving into position and preparing. And after that she hit Eb for 30 damage (enough to kill him). However, Zack has Bodyguard + In Harm's Way on his Eidolon, and I allowed him to use it after the results were revealed. After that between fighting defensively and liberal use of cover Jestak couldn't find purchase on Eb for the rest of the encounter.
Afterwards "Irabeth" showed up (read above to find out why that's quoted), and they took that entirely at face value. No Sense Motives, no Detect Evils, no suspicion. Just the expectation that Janeamine has charmed Irabeth, which I'm okay with. =p
They quickly descended the citadel and regrouped with their army and got so much needed and deserved rest. At least so the rest of the party let Marcus and Irabeth think. The rest of them gathered with Sosiel and talked over recent events, eventually determining that "Irabeth" needed time with Anevia, and because of that Othriburo would accompany Sosiel and Aron on the next day's skirmishes. A lot of very tense roleplaying came out of this, and we easily lost 2 to 3 hours wrapped up in debate. It was a lot of fun. Highlights being Zack's character (a Summoner no less!) telling Sosiel that he was in an alliance with Janeamine (the demon). And Galvak bringing suspicion down upon Queen Galfry for not knowing Nurah's motives.
We ran three more encounters after this. The Nabasu on the south east parapet went over rather well. He did manage to hit Galvak with an Enervate (for 2 levels), and Death Stealing Gaze Eb for 1 level. But Galvak used two Arrows of Law on him, the first he surged to turn his ranged touch attack from a miss to hit, but failed to overcome SR. The second he managed to hit, and the Nabasu failed his save Dazing him for a round, which everyone used to move in for the kill.
The Stone Lord Dwarves in the Temple of Torag were reduced to a pile of gravel. Demitrius + Adamantine Greatsword = dead statues.
And the Brimorak's on the North Eastern parapet. Demitrius charged in at them but couldn't quite make it before they had a chance to hit him with 4 fireballs. He also charged out of range of Shield Other, which was a down moment, but overall the fight went really well. Demitrius took the brunt of the damage (probably close to 80)? While the rest took 10-20.
Everyone is pretty excited for the next session which will either be July 4th, or July 18th. I wouldn't be surprised if we miss a session for the 4th.
Oh and the night they were resting Janeamine dealt with Irabeth's body. Charmed Anevia, and got every morsel of information she could. And set her sights on Demitrius as her next "project".
Two sessions have passed since I last updated:
In that time we managed to clear the entire top floor. The first of those two sessions, was a bit uninteresting. They fought Kiranda, and the three Half-Fiend Minotaurs in the north court. The Kiranda fight was rough, as no one put up Protection From Evil, an oversight they continue to make even though it has been mentioned a few times. They tend to fight much more reactively rather than cautious. The interesting wrinkle, is that for the moment Marcus claims to have accepted Janeamine as a deity, whether that's the case or not we've had a bit of fun with this.
I had her show up for this fight, and there were a lot of competing charms thrown around, and for the first few rounds the party was essentially fighting itself. They took it to heart and had fun with it, claiming their charmie was clearly the superior one. While Kiranda could've escaped, I could see the that the group really wanted her dead so I fudged some specifics on her escape and let them catch her.
After those two fights they decided to call it quits for the day and "rest up". Since it had been a few days after that, and because Nurah was with Staunton I used some inside knowledge against them. The remaining enemies in the Citadel (top floor) were 3 Thoxels, 2 Half-Fiend Minotaurs, 4 Babaus, Staunton, Joran, and Nurah. And since they all group up after a few days... I just put them all together. I know the Thoxels shouldn't have been there but they literally added nothing to the fight, except a few extra rounds waiting for them to die.
The tact I took, was upon entering the Citadel, the 4 Babaus would take 20 on their stealth (while everyone climbed up the Citadel walls, the front door is still arcane locked, see above). Once everyone was up, they hit the party with 4 Dispel Magics (Nurah knowing they like to prebuff offered up this tactic), and then teleport away again rehiding and hitting them, then fleeing. I managed to do this to the party 4 times, and they were starting to get frustrated. Exactly what I wanted. Since they'd been using choke points extensively while fighting with Nurah, the plan was to draw them into the open and surround them. That worked almost too well.
I had Stuanton waiting behind the far closet door in the officer's court. Along with Joran and Nurah. The Half Fiend Minortaurs were behind the west double doors. The Babau's were south in the east hallway. And the Thoxels remained to the north.
I had the Babaus teleport behind one of the far doors in the Officer's Court, and he made a bit a noise, hoping the party would hear him. That worked, so Commander Eb went off to investigate.
The battle quickly turned bad for them. Round 1 Joran successfully cast blindness on Eb. Staunton Smited Eb unconcious. Then Held Zack the next round. The Half-Fiends began to whittle away at Demitrius and Galvak, who were stacking Ablative Barrier and Shield Other. And about halfway through Marcus and Galvak both fell unconcious.
The party was saved by a Black Tentacles that managed to catch all 6 Babaus just long enough to take down Staunton. And soon they took Joran low enough to surrender, but the party helped the Babaus kill him, much to their delight.
Some takeaways, Staunton hits like a truck, and softening the party with Dispel Magic works wonders. Especially if they attempt to nova before the encounter.
I'll pop back in later with some more details.
And that's a wrap of Book 2!
But backing up a bit. I should note that the player of Marcus has decided that he wants to become a Paladin. To encourage the slow drift, I let him trade his Ranger's Favored Enemy Bonus to Smite Evil as a Paladin of his level. There are a number of reasons for this in character, and I'd be happy to cover these if anyone is curious. Mechanically this ended up being a poor trade by the numbers, Marcus is built to be an archer, but he's been sword and boarding it for a few sessions now. This helped that style, and made him feel capable so I consider that a win.
The players spent the beginning of the session resting, going over the information they found in Staunton's Journal. I revealed the bit about the Shadow Demon during this game, to keep the pressure up a bit. That way they didn't have weeks to deliberate on how to react.
Lastly, with the three effects in the dungeon.
-The Whispers of Madness had no impact on the party, as they were down there for 10 minutes of game time at most. They rolled their save as they entered, but everyone passed.
-Impeded effect, I ruled that spells cast outside have to save as they enter. This really didn't change much, but it did prevent the players from trying to pre-buff.
-Dimensional Anchor, this felt a bit unfair to the player of the Summoner. So this could be a gotcha to any other groups running with a Summoner.
Now on to the dungeon.
They entered the prison and almost immediately found the secret door. Rather than go deeper into the Prison they opted for the secret door. Eb moved in to scout the room and managed to avoid being seen, discovering the unnatural heat and the four salamander guardians.
They've been using Ablative Barrier and Shield Other on Demitrius. Between those two things and Unchained Barbarian Rage, he's hardly taking any damage. Because of this I think they only took a single point of damage the entire encounter. They also managed to discover how to disable the Corruption Forge, but didn't have the requisite spells handy, so they weren't able to shut it down.
After this they found the secret door leading to the fake Sword of Valor. They made it down into the chamber, spotted the trap and disabled it. Weren't terribly surprised that the banner was a fake, and then spotted the next secret door leading to the trapped room before Eustoryax.
Eb spotted all but one of the telekensis traps, and triggered it but managed to catch himself without falling. Sadly Demitrius decided to run up to him, triggering the trap again and discovering the colony of green slimes. He was only down there for a round before Zack used his Scale to levitate him back up. They decided that rather than dealing with the traps, they'd fly to other side and move on.
They flew by casting Eidolon Surge on Wiki, and taking the flight evolution. Eustoryax heard them at about this point and started summoning and casting Deeper Darkness. By the time the party opened the door there were 6 Shadows and 1 Shadow Demon.
The combat was a pitched one. The surprise round caught them totally off-guard, as they were being attacked through the walls unable to see their assailants due to the deeper darkness.
The Shadows hit Eb, Demitrius, and Marcus. Marcus actually took a critical hit for 12 Str damage. Eustoryax and the Shadow Demon also attempted a magic jar, with Eustoryax successfully controlling Demitrius. They spent the next few rounds trying to subdue him, whittling away at the Shadows, and figuring out new ways to get out of the Green Slimes (the other Shadow Demon kept using telekensis to push them in).
The turning point was Galvak using a Dispel Magic on the magic jar restoring Demitrius to his body. At that point I decided not to push the point and avoided magic jar, as they were really getting sick of mind controlling effects. Eustoryax eventually ended up in a rather great position getting cover from all attackers, and used up his Cause Fears, Shadow Conjuration, and Shadow Evocations. By the end they were brusied but not battered.
The battle actually ended after Sosiel picked up the Sword of Valor. Eb had it for a while, but since he wasn't Lawful Good and wasn't Good aligned Divine caster it didn't activate. Of course when Sosiel picked it up, it did. And he used it to summon the Planetar which ended the battle rather quickly. The Planetar also finished off the remaining encounters much to their happiness.
Now they sorting through everything that's happened, and getting ready to start the city-building section of Book 3.
As a group though we're rolling into an Iron Gods game. We alternate books, and had been running a Mummy's Mask game as the alternate. But the DM of that canned the game, so another player is going to start running Iron Gods on the 5th.
I know that was a long update, and there are plenty of things I missed. But if anyone has any questions, feel free to ask!
Picked the game back up after wrapping up the first book of Iron Gods. It was actually a split session where we played Iron Gods for a couple of hours before switching back to Demon's Heresy.
The transition would've been smooth, but we had a player who still hadn't added their 3rd mythic tier or spent any of their gold between sessions. Overall it took about an hour to switch games. I'd be open to the idea of a split session again, assuming all player's were ready for both games.
Anyways, we'd spent the out of game time since August going over downtime rules and reconstruction. I'd say this was a hit.
I gave them 65 days of downtime, as the book says that a couple of months can go by before things begin to escalate. The primary reason for this was, the player of Marcus had a few moments in Sword of Valor that cause him to take up a faith of sorts, that put him on a more righteous path. To illustrate that he retrained entirely out of Ranger and completely into Warpriest. I think giving this much downtime was a win/loss. It overwhelmed two of the players, but I think others rather enjoyed being able to fix a few quirks with their characters that otherwise weren't working too well.
The other thing is this allowed the player of Galvak to spend a bunch of downtime rebuilding Drezen. I can't stress how much he enjoyed this, though we found the rules a bit light here and there. Anyways, they've managed to rebuild Drezen into a Small City and remove the ruined condition before the game started which was nice.
Most of our game time was spent preparing for extended stints in the Wounded Lands, as I warned them how dangerous things can be. I'm using the Worldwound book as has been recommended here and as Demon's Heresy recommends. I'm a bit worried about some of the things in there, as weather will be a huge obstacle for them.
Anyways, we picked up with a huge list of things that they're aware of. I shared with them the map of the immediate area to be explored, and put the locations they knew. Since the investigation into Jesker Helton started right there in Drezen they picked that up first. They really enjoyed this section, and managed to track down most of the clues. Though instead of heading out to Delamere's tomb, they decided to stop off at the Lost Chapel first, as scouts have noted increased activity there.
We ended on the way to the Lost Chapel. They were ambushed by the Drake Rider who managed to surprise them. I'm actually terrified by how powerful this encounter is for CR 11. The rider alone hits for +21 3d8+66+2d6, which on the surprise round nearly killed Eb, and actually would've had we not made the mistake of allowing Zack's eidolon use In Harm's Way on the surprise round even though he was unaware. We actually made a few other goofs, all in the party's favor, that if we hadn't I'm questioning how they would've come out of that encounter alive. I would caution other DM's against using this guy as presented, if he gains surprise he can easily kill of two people before anyone's had a chance to act.
Forgot to update this after last session.
We started with the Rift Drake flying off with his unconscious rider, and the party deciding that pursuit wasn't worth it. Instead they quickly healed up and started back towards the Lost Chapel.
They're all on steeds of some sort, save for Demitrius who took Impossible Speed so his movement is now 70'. That means they were able to make it from Drezen to the Lost Chapel about a half hour before sunset.
I'm using the weather rules presented in The Worldwound softcover and also rolled ahead for the random encounters (out to 60 days and 60 hexes). I also went ahead and designed a few of those encounters so they don't feel as random to the players.
As for the Lost Chapel they never consecrated it, so I opted to populate it. I didn't quite like how the setup for Child of the Crusade was presented (as Marcus' parents are both dead), so I tied it to here.
Instead I used the Fallen's Curse of the Unburied to allow him to locate where to pick up those threads.
The mini-dungeon was fairly straight forward. I had two Fallen protecting the courtyard. They didn't ask the right questions to learn about Agent of Despair, so Zack, Wiki, and Galvak all failed that saving throw. Their incorporeal nature ended up mattering quite a bit, as they were able to reliably hit touch AC. They also managed to bypass quite a bit of the DR the party had, and I had a bit of fun knocking around the PCs with Shield Slam. They effectively had 186 HP as all the attacks leveled at them suffered a 50% penalty. Which caused the encounter to last a bit longer than I had expected.
The rest of the setup went a bit faster. They faced a pair of Drocha Swarms which were a bit more nasty. Suffering half damage from Swarm and half from Incorporeal made them rather sturdy. Also, Blood Drain put quite a bit of pressure on the party.
After that they faced a Broken Soul Ghast, which was only a CR 5, but penalties accrued from earlier gave the party pause. In all he had 28 HP and a couple of ranged attacks at worst would've killed him, but the party was much more wary than they needed to be. That allowed him to get off a couple of gaze attacks and seem a bit more intimidating than he really was.
Lastly they had to deal with a corrupted Juggernaut (previously devoted to Torag) he was now devoted to Kabriri. The Juggernaut Vicious Trampled Zack and Wiki, killing Wiki and knocking Zack down to -22. His Con is 16 or 18 though so not quite enough to kill him. We were running late so we wrapped up around here with an NPC coming to wrap things up. Not that they needed the help.
If anyone wants I can post the story behind it, but I wanted to talk on using the Fallen's Curse of the Unburied as a method to tie into Child of the Crusade. I ran it so that the Fallen (Dwarven Clerics of Torag) mentioned Marcus' parents a couple times to which the player immediately caught on. They'd already learned a bit about the Curse from Kn(Religion) checks and gently reminded the player that they could willfully fail a save. And with that it was enough for the player to take the bait, so when it came time and he was targeted he purposefully failed the saving throw and learned a bit about his parent's final resting place. When he failed I shared with the player the final memories of these Fallen fighting alongside his parents, I also foreshadowed the Juggernaut they were about to face, and set up some hints about the Crypt. The player really loved it, and I can't stress how surprised he was when these hostile undead were calling for his parents as backup. He half expected to see them burst out of the Chapel to the Fallen's aid. Anyways, the whole thing left him with a few questions. Why are these Fallen here, so far from where they died? Why weren't his parents with them? Did they suffer the same fate? And more!
I should say I've been playing with this group for around two decades so I was fairly sure it'd play out like this, but I feel like he has a much stronger pull towards this than he otherwise would have. That all said, anyone else in a similar situation might want to consider this, it seems this player is rather enjoying it!
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We're 3 sessions into Book 3 and there is still definitely a challenge. As one player put it, he feels like every encounter is risking death. I'm running everything as presented, and haven't made any efforts to buff up the encounters or make things more difficult. I feel like everything is balanced in favor of the enemies, at least for the moment. We'll see as they level up and get more tiers how things go, but running things exactly as presented is a challenge for this group of 5 players.
Considering the restless Fallen, and the proximity of Sesker's Gully they opted to go there first, as that would only put them a day behind if they were to have gone straight after the cleric of Erastil.
The party settled down for their first night in the Worldwound when they were ambushed by a Dwiergeth. This encounter was extremely brutal. The were camped alongside a dried up riverbed with strong winds and rain when it attacked. Everyone except for Eb was surprised, but due to the Dwiergeth's taste for outsiders it leapt into camp, devoured Eb, and dashed off into the storm before anyone else even had a chance to draw their weapon.
The party horrified, only became more so as the storm tore down from the skies enveloping them in at tornado an instant later. Then to make matters worse, Demitrius, the ever sturdy Barbarian gets sucked into the funnel somehow disappearing faster than Eb. Leaving only Zack, Galvak, and Marcus, to trudge off and find the Dwiergeth.
From here everyone except for Demitrius gets eaten, some numerous times. And it isn't long before the thing manages to kill and eat Eb. Sensing the danger they're in the party starts to dig deep and use just about everything at their disposal. Zack tries to Dimension Door out of the Dwiergeth and actually manages to succeed. Though the game bogged down as the player chose a location that was still within the Tornado. After he failed his save, and was sucked up (and currently at 9 HP, so this was a death sentence) we took a group vote and allowed him to change his location to the max distance of Dimension Door. Which was saftely outside the tornado.
Zack gets some summons out, casts a few buffs, and Dimension Doors back to the Dweirgeth, finally managing to finish the thing. After a quick rest, they Raise Eb who is now down 1 negative level for the week.
The next day they arrive in Sesker's Gully, they speak with Arlys learning a bit about what awaits them. After some scouting and planning they manage to take out the Bodak, but not before Eb gets hit for 6 more negative levels, and Marcus gets hit for 1.
We ended here, as they know it is a Nabasu ahead Eb has already said that he's going to sit this one out.
I'm not so sure about allowing Zack to select a different location to Dimension Door to. The player of Zack and Marcus argued for it. The player of Galvak was mixed, and the player of Eb and Demitrius were in thought when we opted to change it. Had we not, Zack and Galvak would've likely died and its possible that Marcus wouldn't have found an unconscious Demitrius until morning if at all.
There were a few goofs on the party's end that led to this. Zack forgot to use In Harm's Way with his Eidolon to block the Swallow Whole attack. Demitrius forgot he could surge on his saving throw (though I'm not so sure he did as he was planning to Fleet Charge after his save which cost his swift action). Eb decided to full-attack rather than to be a bit more defensive, which means he caught three bite damages on his turn (two hits, and the act of swallowing). Also, they've prepared themselves to fight demons, not abberitions. They also stopped trying to figure out how to overcome this things' DR.
|Andrew Mullen Contributor|
I appreciate you writing up all of this! I'm going to be running Wrath of the Righteous in a couple months, and since I've heard it can be really tough to keep challenging and fun I wanted to start early.
Your characters sound like they're having a hard time. It seems like a lot of it is from failing Will saves. You also appear to be running the opposition very intelligently, effectively using all of the resources at their disposal, and that's probably the key to challenging mythic players. Lots of enemies with lots of well-used spells.
Does that line up with what you've experienced, and if not, what would you say is keeping the challenge level up for them?
My group will probably start out stronger - they're doing 25 point buy. We'll have Sorcerer, Cleric, Bloodrager, and probably Paladin. They'll have a big stat boost over a 15 point buy, but maybe making sure their foes use good tactics will be enough!
I appreciate your response!
I think there are a number of things that are keeping the challenge up for them, a lot of which you identified. Outside of that though, there have been a few tough decisions on the party's part, which isn't entirely their fault. For example, when they faced the Dweirgeth Demitrius (the party's barbarian and main source of damage) got sucked up into the tornado because he failed a Will save. That kept him out of the fight entirely, though that would've all changed had Zack (the summoner and main spellcaster) cast Dispel Magic on the tornado, but hindsight is 20-20.
Anyways, I've certainly been using the enemies effectively, and I think that as long as I continue to do that things will continue to be challenging. I try to be inventive where I can, my group still talks about the time the gargoyles tried to throw them off the cliff at the Lost Chapel. Or resourceful, having Janeamine summon a Babau so she could use Vampiric Touch on it. In fact I've had most luck with the encounters that seem the easiest, as there is often something I've missed which I can use.
I think with a group of 4 and 25 point-buy you can still present a challenging AP. And I look forward to seeing how it goes, especially if you start your own campaign journal!
Let me know if you have any other questions, as I'd be happy to answer!
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Whew, a few sessions have happened since I last reported. But things have certainly swung back in favor of the player's, but I suspect that's about to change.
I'm only going to cover what's stuck out in my mind, as a lot has happened.
I wanted to take a step back as Andrew's post got me thinking a bit, I was curious how things would run if I ran them exactly as presented. So starting with the Mythic Vrock encounter I ran(ish) the tactics as stated.
As I had thought the Dance of Ruin was entirely wasteful. It did manage to damage Jesker and Sosiel (Sosiel was their captured NPC, and Jesker was just along for the ride as they'd just rescued him) and brought them near unconsciousness, but the PCs shrugged it off. It wasted three creatures turns for paltry damage, I don't advise this.
I did have a bit of tension when Marcus and Grimwing (his Griffon mount from monstrous mount) nearly were entangled into the lava, but a few mythic surges righted that and the encounter proceeded from there. The Vrock managed to escape, so I'll be able to retry a few things later.
And so it was for Delamere's Tomb, Wintersun, and the other encounters I ran. They were much less of a slog than it could have been. The players for the most part enjoyed it, but are getting a sense that things might be a bit too easy.
At least for now, I can answer that I do indeed suspect that the vase majority of difficulty arises from tactics employed.
We ended last session after Wintersun Hall. The player's used stone shape to break in undetected. They killed most of the Barbarians there before they started to realize something was wrong. I'm not sure how they're going to handle that, but we'll be picking up there.
We should be getting to the Zanedra and the Woundwyrm next session (which is Saturday) and I'm looking forward to seeing how some of the things I switched up will run.
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Just to be clear by upgrading, I'm usually just altering tactics or changing memorized spells. I try to keep things the same as much as possible.
I ended up running the Fallen Fane this session. And I did make some alterations.
I changed the spells the antipaladins memorized from Command and Death Knell to Magic Weapon and Litany of Weakness. While it wasn't a change I spotted that the Unhallow's Magic Circle against Good wasn't included in the stat blocks so I tossed that in to my cheat sheet. The last change was rather than have the Antipaladins use their profane weapon for a +1, I used Magic Weapon to allow them to use Keen on their glaives.
With Zanedra, I added two rounds on to her before combat tactics; casting both Shield and Barkskin on her Eidolon. I also added in the Unhallow's Magic Circle against Evil.
For the Mihstu I made sure to adjust for the tentacle's weapon finesse on the grab rolls because of the FAQ that lets you use weapon finesse in applicable situations.
That's the extent of the changes I made.
Also, Galvak was absent this session and the party decided to leave him back in Drezen (their loss).
Anyways, the group while investigating the cave decided to buff up and scout as much as they could. However the sounds of casting and fully armored characters quickly alerted the occupants of the party's arrival. Sadly, the group took about 10 rounds to enter giving everyone ample time to prepare, and by the time they entered Zanedra had already hasted all 6 Templars.
Demitrius was the first to go in as he won initiative, and in a fit of Bravado strayed right into the thick of things. If you look at the map there really isn't a lot of room in there and with 8 pawns, no matter where he went he was surrounded. The player of Demitrius hesitated for a moment, but the player of Marcus assured him it'd be okay.
So he finishes moving in, provoking 4 AoOs (since both sides were buffing and acting before this, it was really the 2nd or 3rd round when Demitrius entered so no one was FF), and taking some minor damage. At this point they weren't smiting and I'd decided Power Attack was a dead feat so I wasn't using it. I think he got two hits, each was between 10 and 15, so his ablative barrier and DR soaked up most of it. That reassured him.
At this point 5 of the 6 templars go. They've all got haste and smite. One of them gets lucky and manages to Crit Demitrius for just over 60. And a bunch of others connect all doing d10+13, and quickly knock him out, before a templar manages to coup de grace him and he dies.
I had the wonderful plan of mixing Litany of Weakness and Touch of Corruption (Fatigue) to exhaust some players, but from here on out no one gets close enough for them to connect.
Every is worried at this point, and cautiously enters. Marcus closing with Zanedra, and Eb tosses a fireball in. Zanedra manages to summon 3 babaus though, and soon Eb and Wiki are bordering unconciousness/death. And the babaus start counterspelling the fireballs, but in a total screw up on my part Zack manages to end the encounter with Black Tentacles and Eidolon Surge(Breath Weapon).
I goofed because the Unhallow has a Freedom of Movement tied to it but in the heat of the moment I forgot that. Zack also rolled a 19 on his combat manuever check so everything was grappled, and quickly dead.
I actually didn't use Zanedra as effectively as I'd hoped. She got two Hold Monsters off, both were saved against. She also managed one summon, and then she teleported away.
Had I been thinking better, I would've used her Eidolon to block the path to her, but it wasn't until a player pointed out that Svennarobeth had wings on his pawn that I remembered he could fly.
All in all I think those adjustments worked out really well. I was quite bummed that antipaladins don't have a Divine Favor esque spell, but thought the use of Magic Weapon for Keen was handy. I really wanted to exhaust a player, but never had the chance. Though I did get to use Litany of Weakness to block a charge on Zanedra. The look on Marcus' face when I reminded him it was 3 rounds to cast Lesser Restoration was classic.
I'm not sure if they'll go for the Woundwyrm next or what. But we've got a cabin trip planned and 4 days to play, so I expect next time I update we'll have wrapped up Book 3.
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So we've had a few sessions since I last updated. They've completed the redoubt, and rescued Arushale, killed the Woundwyrm, and are nearing their confrontation with Vang.
The redoubt took a long time to run. They scouted it and were able to discover the location of the two Drake Riders. And decided that they were going to Dimension Door right next to one.
Initially this worked well. They were able to quickly kill the Rider before anyone else could act, but soon the entire redoubt was on high alert. The surprising thing was even with Invisibility Purge up those Will o' Wisps were absolute nightmares. Zack left himself exposed during their ambush to a direct charge from the other Drake Rider, who was more than happy to take advantage of the opportunity. That knocked him down to 8 HP. That caused every Will o' Wisp to dart over his direction and start zapping him, which quickly killed him. Galvak doesn't quite see the threat yet and Breath of Lifes him, but doesn't get him enought HP to go above that 10 HP threshold, so the Will o' Wisps quickly kill him again.
Other than that Marcus decided to tangle directly with the Hag. He flew up to her, got grappled provoking an AoO, and eventually was tossed back down to the ground. I'm not sure why he didn't remount his Griffon, but that took him out of the combat as he was busy with left over grimslakes.
Eventually through attrition they had the Hag nearly dead, and I went for the heal scroll. But Eb actually managed to Sunder the thing, only hitting because he had the higher ground bonus. And honestly at this point had he not, I'm pretty sure they would've been done for. After that they quickly finish the Hag, and most of what's left decides to head its own way.
The Woundwyrm encounter was okay. As usual any all on one fight that they have some prior information for ends up being one sided. They did manage to prebuff Resist Energy acid, so the Woundwyrm's Acid Fog didn't eat through their gear. I got lucky and managed to roll only 1s on the recharge for her breath. I ended up having her fight from inside her fog. That certainly kept damage to her down to a minimum, but eventually Zack summoned something that had Gust of Wind, and they slowly ate away at her fog.
I'll update with the rest later.
I was a player in a group that finished it.
Something somewhat similar to your Jhainemaine happenend, although in a completely opposite way.
1: Party had a very very prankish Chaotic Neutral Bloodrager (me), who however was no idiot.
2: Party found "rescuable swashbuckler bro" before encountering "Iomedae".
3: Very prankish BR makes his releigion knowledge check, and goes on on how this "Iomedae" looks like after act 34 of the "unofficial and illustrated 66 acts of Iomedae". "Rescued swashbuckler" interjects and begins an expert level discsussion with the Bloodrager of which act is "objectively best." Both clearly have good knowledge of this "sacred tome".
4: Lawful good Paladin of Iomedae is like "STOP THIS HERESY" (to the Bloodrager and the swashbuckler. "Iomedae" is mostly making surprised Piakachu faces).
5: Bloodrager: "Dude, if that is Iomedae then I am f*!@ing Nocticula. Have you noticed that this "Iomedae" has not smited us out of existence yet?"
6: "Swashbuckler:"F%!!ing Nocticula in front of "Iomeadae"? Risk affine, shameless and ambitious, I like :) "
7: Bloodrager makes an int check to figure out that the swashbuckler was not talking about the very PG18 Calistrian version of the 66 acts, but of a darker version originating from either Nocticula or Socothbenoth, and is relatively certain the the swashbuckler is not what he seems.
8: Bloodragers relatively easily accepts swashbucklers invitations to have some alone time with "him".
9: Bloodrager diplomatizes the "swashbuckler" into disrobing first, then threatens him with death if he/she/it doesnt bugger the f$#& off because he/she/it is clearly a succubus/shapechanging cultist/whatever.
10: Kiandrah her true shape, blows him a kiss and does bugger off.
11: Kiandrah reappears in Staunton fight, Bloodrager bluffs a Minotaur into beliefing that Kiandrah is a sleeper agent for Nocticula rather then Baphomet, Minotaur attacks her, she retailiates, Staunton now also believes this.
12: Kiandrah drops to an attack with soulshear, but is healed at the bloodragers insistence. He then reminds her how dumb her current boss is/was, how easily trolled and bluffed they were and if there arent better lords for her a f$#+ing disgusting bug or Goaty Mc. Goatface. She buggers off to the Abyss (shows up semi supportive in chapter 4 again), with the bloodrager being really happy about not having to explain a murderous succubus cohort to f.e. Galfrey.
13: Bloodrager gets a dream vision from Nocticula, stating that "A mortal who does not actually worship me brings back one of my lost daughters into my gentle embrace? What a delightfull inversion, worthy of attention, worthy of reward in case of a repeat performance...". Bloodrager wakes, figures out who that was, sweats heavily, facepalms and is like "oh holy shit f*@! me."
14:Nocticulas voice which is still there "chuckles, no, not yet :) ".
15:Bloodrager decisively not overjoyed at the Aru plotline when they find her cell.
Made the whole Aru redemption arc interesting because one party member had incentives for not playing along.
Bloodrager later decided to find out any other non Nocticulan Succubus and convert them instead, but the effing Paladin who was in love with Aru kept smiting them out of existence, to protect the "less strong willed".