The Emerald Spire Superdungeon Discussion Thread


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Grand Lodge

taks wrote:
kevin_video wrote:
taks wrote:
Things will be different for CoCT (we start tomorrow at noon). I've modified it to medium XP, btw.
Wait, what? It's not? That's interesting, and makes little sense. What track does it use? Slow?
Fast. Basically one level per 4-6 hours of gaming. I don't like it.

Pretty sure the Anniversary edition uses Medium like all the other APs. It's also generally considered to be superior and has all the 3.5 things converted to Pathfinder.


Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Nope. I'm using that one. It's fast.

Grand Lodge

taks wrote:
Nope. I'm using that one. It's fast.

Weird, it does too. I had to double check the others that I'm running, but they all use medium track, but they're 100% Pathfinder pure.

Rise of the Runelords uses fast track too. I wonder if that's because they're doing a literal conversion from 3.5 to PF. Maybe the others will be the exact same when they get converted over too. Makes some sense due to fast track being pretty much equal to how 3.5 gave XP. Good to know.


Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

James Jacobs said he would have needed an additional chapter of material to stretch it out, and that's not what they wanted to do. The first few APs were apparently all fast track. None of the new ones are. It's mostly padding, btw,

Grand Lodge

taks wrote:
James Jacobs said he would have needed an additional chapter of material to stretch it out, and that's not what they wanted to do. The first few APs were apparently all fast track. None of the new ones are. It's mostly padding, btw,

I believe it. I’m running Mummy’s Mask and feel that way. A few encounters aren’t necessary.

It’s interesting that Shackled City was fast track too in 3.5, but they added a chapter to that when they released the hardcover version, but not these. Maybe they received poor feedback.


Kudaku wrote:
kevin_video wrote:
I'm going to assume the net trap.
Maybe, but the net traps are on level 2, and near as I can tell Hwalsh never made it past level 1. Also the net would only deal damage once, not 1D6/round. Maybe they triggered the rockfall and got the "buried alive" rules wrong?

Yeah, rockfall, which did 1d6 damage per round until a person was dug out, which takes multiple actions, while we were also in the middle of combat. Not. Fun.

Grand Lodge

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HWalsh wrote:
Kudaku wrote:
kevin_video wrote:
I'm going to assume the net trap.
Maybe, but the net traps are on level 2, and near as I can tell Hwalsh never made it past level 1. Also the net would only deal damage once, not 1D6/round. Maybe they triggered the rockfall and got the "buried alive" rules wrong?
Yeah, rockfall, which did 1d6 damage per round until a person was dug out, which takes multiple actions, while we were also in the middle of combat. Not. Fun.

Yeah, that was done wrong. It’s 1d6 nonlethal per minute (or 10 rounds).


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I've never played PFS games but I've had the impression that they are pretty strict about GMs running stuff by the book? It seems like whoever was running this game was just making up rules as he went.

Here's the full writeup for the rockfall:

Emerald Spire, p. 25 wrote:
If a goblin successfully triggers the collapse, falling rocks crash down on the squares marked on the map (3x3 grid). Anybody standing in those squares must succeed at a DC 12 Reflex save or become trapped under the stone, taking 1d6 points of damage in the process (see page 415 of the Core Rulebook for burial rules). After the rockfall, the entrance between areas A4 and A5 is blocked. It takes 20 hours of work to completely clear the passage of rubble.
CRB, p. 415 wrote:

Characters take 1d6 points of nonlethal damage per minute while buried. If such a character falls unconscious, he must make a DC 15 Constitution check each minute. If it fails, he takes 1d6 points of lethal damage each minute until freed or dead.

Characters who aren’t buried can dig out their friends. In 1 minute, using only her hands, a character can clear rocks and debris equal to five times her heavy load limit. The amount of loose stone that fills a 5-foot-by-5-foot area weighs 1 ton (2,000 pounds). Armed with an appropriate tool, such as a pick, crowbar, or shovel, a digger can clear loose stone twice as quickly as by hand. A buried character can attempt to free himself with a DC 25 Strength check.

The worst-case scenario in that encounter is that a PC is buried behind three 5-foot squares of rubble. That means the party would need to move 3 tons (6000 pounds) of rubble. Assuming 3 PCs with 10 strength and some kind of tool, they'd be moving 3000 pounds per minute. In that scenario, a buried PC would be unearthed after 2 minutes, sustaining 2D6 nonlethal damage before he is freed.

My best guess is that the GM in question couldn't be bothered to look up the burial rules and he misread the "1D6 damage in the process" to mean that PCs continue to take 1D6 damage each round. Either way it's an unfortunate call. :-/


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Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Given the GM's other "interpretations" of the module, I'm not surprised he missed this one, too.


The first level of Emerald Spire is great. The whole illumination issue takes what could be a boiler-plate level ("goblins led by a bug bear") and makes it dangerous and intriguing. Smart play, not brute force, set the tone for my group for the entire spire.

As for leaving the spire and coming back, my party had no trouble doing that. I just made it clear that random encounters would happen, so they were cautious about when and where they would rest.


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Kudaku wrote:

I've run Emerald Spire on Roll20 in the past and used the ambient lighting effect there so PCs without darkvision had literally no idea what was going on around them. We thought it was great fun since it meant they had to rely on PCs with darkvision to direct them: "There's a goblin 15 feet to your left! No, your other left!" Needless to say it made for some awesome roleplaying and was a good bonding experience - like a trust fall, but with horse choppers. :)

That's fantastic!

My group had three dwarves in it (five player group), so the two without dark vision were very reliant on other other players. It made scouting out the complex much more interesting.


Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

My players tend to be OK with plot device rules sleights if they are fun.


Brother Willi wrote:

That's fantastic!

My group had three dwarves in it (five player group), so the two without dark vision were very reliant on other other players. It made scouting out the complex much more interesting.

Thanks!

Dynamic Lighting is a great feature, I really enjoy it since it makes the players more in tune with their characters - they don't just plop their tokens down in the center of a room and say "we search it", instead they need to move their tokens around the room to get as good a view as possible, peek around corners etc. Level 1 of Emerald Spire is a good example of how dramatic that effect can be, but it does wonders on maps with normal lighting as well. It's a little bit of extra work for the GM, but I think it's well worth the effort. :)

Sovereign Court

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

Dot. I finally get to GM this!


Prepping this now.

Dot. Dot.


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I got the chance to complete the Temple of Elemental Evil during my first edition days, so I am excited to give Paizo's superdungeon some life!

I changed the goblins in level one to deep goblins to match the darkness. Really, it's just a flavor change, but I thought that Deep Goblins would be attracted to the area because of the darkness effect.

To give the deep goblins some flavor, I came up with some new songs.

1) "Tricksy, tricksy in the night
Deep goblins sneak and bite.
Look up high and you'll never know,
we'll bite your feet and bring you low!"

2) "Brambleclaw cousins by dawn's first light,
bite, claw, claw when all is right.
But if the tide turns, they'll run and go.
Leave the Deep Goblins to steal the show.
Deep Goblins, Deep Goblins,
Bathing in the night.
Emerald Spire's keepers, we'll bite. claw, claw, fight!"

3) "Nibble nabble, cut and dabble. Deep Goblins creep, crawl and grabble.
Take you down to Deep Goblin-town, tarred and feathered, a nonsense crown.
Longshanks make for tasty meat. Remember the horse for the Master's treat!
Deep Goblins eat! Deep Goblins meat! Deep Goblins run on smelly feet."


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

what's the emerald spire made of? green stone? green glass? actual emerald?


It's a misfired vault seed that created what became known as the Emerald Spire. I don't think it was given official stats, so you may stat it as best works for your table.


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Quoted from somewhere upthread:

1: The Emerald Spire is an ancient object of fantastic might. It's reasonable to give it at least Hardness 20 (which also gives it 40 HP per inch). The Hardness could theoretically be higher, as this is a magical substance; perhaps Hardness 30 (90 HP per inch). Or, if you're feeling more narrative, you could treat it as an artifact, and say that the best anybody can do is chip off tiny portions.

2: Doing enough damage to the Emerald Spire can theoretically have unforeseen consequences. Portals might begin popping up all over the place; or it may release a sudden blast of planar energy; or even warp the area around the crack; or drag the miner into another plane.

3: Any significant headway with the Emerald Spire is sure to attract the attention of one or more of the residents who are examining the structure. It's reasonable to say that significant tampering creates a resonance that others can detect. The undine, Jorqual, might notice something interfering with his studies - if he doesn't investigate directly, he'll probably just tell Klarkoth. Of course, Klarkoth himself might figure it out, and send some of his minions to deal with it.

The Mistress of Thorns, in the Spire Axis, spends a lot of time studying the Emerald Spire. She may notice, and start sending devils or other servants to go capture - or at least harry - anybody who is apparently trying to destroy the Spire.

Yoc, the xorn, may realize something is touching its precious Spire; enough interruptions may actually get Yoc to release the Spire, and earth glide around until it finds the interloper.

Nhur Athemon himself might realize somebody is toying with his Spire; and depending on the circumstances might already be aware of the PCs' movements. He has plenty of minions (including the succubi) to send to deal with people who attack the Spire itself.

The Vault Keeper, of course, will almost certainly realize that something is digging away at the Spire. It seems practically unfair that it would rise up to deal with these threats; and would likely send minions, or just wait and see if one of the other inhabitants of the dungeon deals with the issue.

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