5-23 Cairn of Shadows


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Scarab Sages Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Maglok

Alright then. We had fun last night. I set up the table with a black tablecloth and added two skulls to my GM seat. The players understood that one does not simply go into Nidal with a white table.

So I ended up with 6 players in subtier 5-6. The tavern scene really set the mood of Nidal, damp, grey, etc. My players managed to just buy the contact from the mercenary. Works as well right? :)

Then in the Cairn itself, it was quite creepy. The mood was really good. Unfortunately the inquisitor dwarf in the party rolled a high perception (38) and noticed the stonework trap. So they managed to bypass that. To their credit they looted the items in the pit with mage hand. Nice.

The Telendrak's thoroughly confused the players. They flew up instead of climbing, saving me from the hassle of climb checks. They actually cast fly on one PC and a pig (actually cat stats) animal companion. Then ant haul on said pig. Then 5 players managed to hold on to it's harness and fly up. Ridiculous! Fun though.

They beat the Shae no problem, a player got in a tangle with a torture table, but they quickly proceeded to the final encounter. It was nice, not at all hard though. And that is the main 'issue' I have with the scenario, it is very easy combat wise. At least in subtier 5-6. Of course one can argue that a good scenario doesn't have to be hard, and I hear ya. :)

Good stuff!

Grand Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Eastern Eurasia-Africa

Simon Kort wrote:
Good stuff!

Simon,

Mage hand doesn't work on magical items
Reskinning is not allowed (search the message board for the pig incident)

Cya after GenCon!

Scarab Sages Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Maglok

The loot in the pit was just coinage and non-magical things. :)

You can poke Ward for that, I don't have the heart to change his pig into a cat. :(

Scarab Sages

Just confirming, the kytons at the end can move through the chains normally, but still have a max vision range of 30 feet like everyone else due to the chains.

Dark Archive 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Minnesota—Minneapolis aka Silbeg

That is how I played it.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, California—Sacramento aka FLite

So, if a PC takes damage, they have to make a climb check. If they fail this climb check, one way or another, they take more damage. Does this trigger another climb check?

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

FLite wrote:
Does this trigger another climb check?

We did not run it that way when I played, and I do not read it as such. The scenario states the character is caught by the chains, and is not climbing at that point. So the clause about taking damage while climbing does not apply.

Dark Archive 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Minnesota—Minneapolis aka Silbeg

Agreed, TOZ.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

It was honestly the only thing that saved my oracle, as I ate three shadow evocations to the face and dropped to 0HP, failed my climb check, and fell. Even with my Boots of the Cat minimum falling damage would have killed him.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, California—Sacramento aka FLite

Well, That was interesting.

The party was two maguses, and a sourcerer. So the fourth player chose from several characters, and brought an inquisitor...

across the whole party, next to no stealth / bluff, only moderate diplomacy. They found rescuing golbreir intensely frustrating.

Not nearly as frustrating as exploring the lower level of the dungeoun, and finding absolutely nothing to fight. (At which point they realized that they needed to climb the chains, and that most of them had a climb score (adjusted for armor) of +0...)

The most damage dealt to the players all night was the 30 foot pit trap. On of the mages fell, took near max damage from the fall, go hit by the spiked net which rolled 5 spikes, which also rolled near max damage...

It was brutal.

One of the chain slaves stealthed to within 5 feet, tripped from stealth, and followed that up with a strike, free grab, and constrict. It was very nice. (Then the other chain slave tried it, only to find out that the he had botched his stealth and that he had tried this on the inquistor with the (invisible) magus right next to him. The resulting attacks of oppertunity just about killed him.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, California—Sacramento aka FLite

I chose to go with the interpretation that B4 is supposed to be referring to the unmarked area between b4 and b5 (b4 refers to two doors,) and that the area marked b4 is really supposed to be b3A, where the pit dumps people out. This was good, since they had no chance of finding the secret door to b5, and otherwise they would have more or less missed that whole part of the dungeoun.

Silver Crusade

For those of you who still plan to run this, I am dismayed by how many times I read reports of the party flying to the top of the climb instead of going through with the climb. Keep in mind that there is a Fly check required every move action nearly everywhere in the actual Cairn that is DC 30 to avoid being entangled in the chains that occupy nearly every square foot of this place, and once entangled it's a DC 25 Escape/Strength Check (as a standard action) to get loose from said chains. If players are using potions or wands of Fly, they only have good maneuverability, and cannot go straight up (I believe it's 5ft of altitude for every 10 feet forward), so traveling 150ft up will take a while. Not to mention that if the party released Telendrak, or they did not stealth up the chains, you should be checking to see if they are heard coming.

I ran this several times this last weekend at a Con, and for every party that attempted to fly, none of them made it more than 15ft before giving up and climbing instead. Only success that I saw was someone using Levitate, and even that wasn't a great option.

Silver Crusade

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So, I typed out an edit that was really long, and then lost all of it. So I'll just do another post.

First off, the DC for breaking free/escaping chains is 20, not 25.

Second, there is no light inside the Cairn, and all the enemies have darkvision. A character with Darkvision can see for 60ft, but the chains obscure everything heavily, resulting in that 50% miss chance. Light/Fire spells must succeed a DC20 concentration check or fail, and the light produced has it's range halved. The Light cantrip has a modified range of 10ft of good light, 10 ft of low-light. Humans can see 10 ft clearly, 10 more feet blurrily, and nothing after that. Low-light vision would grant an additional 10ft (the low light area would be doubled I believe).

The mechanics of the climb are as follows:
1) DC10->climb up at 1/4 speed.
2) DC15->Climb up at 1/2 speed.
3) DC10->Keep from falling after taking damage.
4) DC20->Catch yourself while falling.

If you fail climb checks 1 or 2 by 5 or more, you fall 1d6 x10ft.
If you fail climb check 3, you fall 1d6 x10ft.
If you fail climb check 4 at any point, You stop after the designated distance because you are caught by the hooks and spikes on the chains, but take double fall damage. Fall damage is 1d6 per 10ft of fall normally. A failed check number 4 is 2d6 per 10ft of fall distance.
The reading does not say that you must disentangle yourself though, so you are free to try climbing again next round.

Grand Lodge

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This was one of the worst Pathfinder mods I have ever played. We ended up only having one combat because we had no one able to climb the chains risking a huge fall so far up except for one character who once got blasted by the wizards knew he was outmatched and climbed back down before he became unconscious and fell. We didn't fall into the trap either so lost out on that gold as well. Very bad taste in my mouth.

Sovereign Court 5/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

You only had one person able to take 10 and make a DC 10 climb check? You can even reduce the DC by 5 for people with massive armor check penalties by climbing in the corners of the room. This sounds less like a problem with the module and more with the party.

The Exchange 5/5

James McTeague wrote:
You only had one person able to take 10 and make a DC 10 climb check? You can even reduce the DC by 5 for people with massive armor check penalties by climbing in the corners of the room. This sounds less like a problem with the module and more with the party.

depends on how many of the PCs could Fly.... Restricting this to one skill makes it quite possible that there will be PCs who are barred from doing it. What's the normal work around for needing to climb something? Fly or Dim Door or something like that....

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, California—Sacramento aka FLite

nosig, if they climbed in a corner, they would need to have a climb skill of -5 (heavy armor + no strength?) to be unable to make the climb...

Ignitite, a good fly skill can fly straight up, they need to make a dc 20 check to do it. The DC 30 fly check is (possibly) only applied to the first room, as it is listed along with what happens if the PCs head for the exit (It is not clear which way that is meant to work. But it isn't with the rest of the rules that apply everywhere.) Also, don't forget that they get +8 to their fly skill for having good flight.

At worst they can fly 30 feet forward and up (for 60 feet of movement, and then turn 180 degrees and move 30 feet backward and up on their next movement. (remember that the turn radius rules (wierdly) only apply to turns during a move action, not turns between move actions.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

FLite wrote:
nosig, if they climbed in a corner, they would need to have a climb skill of -5 (heavy armor + no strength?) to be unable to make the climb...

That's fine until they get near the top and initiate combat. My ifrit took 10 to get up there, got blasted with 3 shadow evocations and proceeded to fail every climb check from then until combat was over.

The Exchange 5/5

Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
FLite wrote:
nosig, if they climbed in a corner, they would need to have a climb skill of -5 (heavy armor + no strength?) to be unable to make the climb...
That's fine until they get near the top and initiate combat. My ifrit took 10 to get up there, got blasted with 3 shadow evocations and proceeded to fail every climb check from then until combat was over.

and you would need to be able to Take 10 on the climb check... some judges still do not allow Take 10 on climb. Then some others rule that the hooks on the changes give a "threat" outside of the climb check itself, and thus you can't Take 10 because you are distracted.

spider climb would seem to be the best way up this - if the PCs took potions of it rather than fly...

But we are back to the fact ..."Restricting this to one skill makes it quite possible that there will be PCs who are barred from doing it." ... so yes, "a PC with a climb skill of -5" or more, who took the common way of "fixing" his shortage with a potion of fly will be barred from this part of the scenario.

How is this different from having a social encounter where the PCs each have to make a Diplomacy of 10 to go to the next part of the scenario?

Sovereign Court 5/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
nosig wrote:
and you would need to be able to Take 10 on the climb check... some judges still do not allow Take 10 on climb. Then some others rule that the hooks on the changes give a "threat" outside of the climb check itself, and thus you can't Take 10 because you are distracted.

I get that you're obsessed with judges who don't allow the Take 10 rules correctly, but that's a terrible assumption to work under when determining how well written an encounter is.

nosig wrote:

But we are back to the fact ..."Restricting this to one skill makes it quite possible that there will be PCs who are barred from doing it." ... so yes, "a PC with a climb skill of -5" or more, who took the common way of "fixing" his shortage with a potion of fly will be barred from this part of the scenario.

How is this different from having a social encounter where the PCs each have to make a Diplomacy of 10 to go to the next part of the scenario?

Except that Fly isn't restricted. The flying restriction in the first room isn't in the back room. There's nothing stopping the PCs from flying up the chains. Granted, they may not want to after seeing the penalty for flying in the first room, but it's still a possible answer.

TOZ wrote:
That's fine until they get near the top and initiate combat. My ifrit took 10 to get up there, got blasted with 3 shadow evocations and proceeded to fail every climb check from then until combat was over.

That sucks, but losing every coin flip just means that you had bad dice, not a problem with the scenario.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

James McTeague wrote:
That sucks, but losing every coin flip just means that you had bad dice, not a problem with the scenario.

Statistically, you are going to fail. My character had a +1 mod, but had to make a check every time he was damaged (which with at will shadow evocation magic missiles was every round), and for every 10ft he wanted to climb. In the end, he stood at the bottom of the shaft and waited while his allies took care of the fight.

Sovereign Court 5/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

If you climb a corner, that means that you'll make all the checks you need to 35% of the time, with another 39% additionally making it if you have a reroll available to you. Also, on half those rolls, failing means that you don't fall (since your climb checks only cause you to fall when you fail by 5 or more), and even if you do fail on the checks from the magic missiles, you don't fall all the way.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

No one at the table knew about that climb DC reduction rule at the time. It might have helped, but probably not. Getting taken to zero in the surprise round kind of sucked.

Good to know for my run of it however.

1/5

I've run this mod twice, and while I loved the setting, the mechanics weren't very well communicated. It wasn't entirely clear whether the fly check applied everywhere, or just in the room in which it was mentioned. I went with everywhere, but it would have been nice if that had been more explicit.

Sovereign Court

I came to this thread looking to see if a DC for that secret door had ever been posted. But I have to comment on the many comments about how deadly the climb is/was...

There shouldn't be a risk of TPK in climbing the chains. The max distance you can ever fall (no matter how high you climbed) is 60'. The scenario calls out that you only fall 1d6 x 10 feet, because if you haven't hit the floor by then you impale yourself on a hook (for an oddly small amount of damage, given the distance fallen onto a hook, but whatevs :) ) The only real danger in the climb is the risk of lengthening one's exposure to the infinite magic missiles raining down from above, which is still not inconsequential. But the point is, by the time you've gotten more than 60' off the ground your "falling damage" will never be worse than 2d6 in the low tier or 2d10 in the high tier.

Shadow Lodge 5/5 ⦵⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Indiana—Southern aka CanisDirus

Mike Bramnik wrote:

Just played this tonight, high subtier 4 player adjustment. Is there no four player adjustment for the final fight? If we hadn't had two paladins and a ranger with a keen katana, that one would have been a beast to take on...

and a seconding from above:

Tony Lindman wrote:
6. The treasure note in area B3 indicates that the party LOSES treasure if they successfully bypass the trap and don't end up in the pit. Why are we penalizing our players for using their skills to avoid a hazard?

Soo... it's been a good 3 years...but the questions above still remain. I ran this at the high tier (4 player adjustment) earlier tonight and almost had a TPK on my hands with the final fight. That has to be an oversight that there's no adjustment for that encounter...right?

5/5

We just finished this at high tier, four players. The only thing that prevented a TPK in the final fight was my character's wand of dominate person from a chronicle, which I used when I was the last one standing. We did ask the GM to check on the lack of scaling, since we were getting killed quite handily even before the magus engaged.

Sometimes scenarios are hard. I enjoyed it immensely.

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