The Fires of Creation (GM Reference)


Iron Gods

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Its actually been a bit of a low WBL game for my group. They've sold most of the tech loot which means they are really low on WBL. I typically don't let my players buy any item they want and I roll to see what items are available in different settlements. Also, as the GM you are in control of downtime and how much time a player has to craft things.

Maybe if the party spends a bunch of time crafting then the Technic League gets wind of it and begins imposing taxes, if the party doesn't pay then they get a visit from a Technic League enforcer etc.

Grand Lodge

Right, I figure things will work themselves out over time. Not gonna worry about it a whole lot. The first time they come to some place that sells grenades they will be all over that, and those things aren't cheap.

For now they best they can do is craft a few big 6 items and we move on. We are about to start book 2 here tonight.

Liberty's Edge

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Tormad wrote:

Has anyone else noticed how much gold is going out to the players? How has this effected your games?

I wasn't worried until one of my players took a craft feat and now I fear they'll funnel all of their gold into crafting big 6 items instead of paying for "overpriced" tech items.

I have six players, so I really haven't noticed as of yet. It's still early for my guys, they just found and cracked open the big cache on Level 2, so they are just riding high on their first influx of tech gear.

Liberty's Edge

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Here's my party going through Iron Gods:

Ukko: Android Psychic, he's emotionless, but he has the ability to read other people's emotions, so he's trying to learn by observation. He's a resident of Torch and was an apprentice (and a subject of) Khonnir Baine.

Dubhvina: human female druid. Also a ward of Baine, her parents were killed by the Technic League.

Flint Westwing: Taciturn strix techslinger, who is on the lookout for some technological gear. Has an unfortunate habit of saying things like "Do you feel lucky punk? Well do ya?" and "I know what you're thinking. 'Did he fire six shots or only five'? Well to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, i kind of lost track myself."

Salaud le Batard: ratfolk rogue/wizard/technomancer, Itinerant ratfolk who was rescued a few years ago by Dubhvina and looking to pay her back for the privilege. He's got an ungodly high Know(Eng) score, having learned from every tech researcher in Torch.

Kasatha: male Kasatha Paladin of Brigh, and opponent of the Technic League. Advocate for the ethical research, like most of that NOT done by the Technic League. After they entered the ruins of the Hab module, he feels like this is heaven on earth.

Mawuwo: dwarf fighter. He has a bit of a speech impediment, not unlike Kripke from Big Bang Theory. Has a tendency of a weak stomach as he continously throws up after climbing through the tainted water of the pond at the base of Black Hill.


We're using the Unleashed automatic bonus progression. The group's only level 2 so nothing has kicked in yet but I am hoping that curbs the Big 6 temptation.

Our group is a big one:
Dagrun - Android Empiricist-Investigator (Against the Technic League)
Aureth of the Black Horse - Human Hunter (Local Ties) with Storm, her wolf companion
Nydda - Human Fighter (Robot Slayer), Aureth's cousin
Talyn - Half-Elf Warpriest of Desna (Stargazer), Half-Varisian outsider getting strange dreams (ala Prince of Darkness, horacalcum-powered quantum communicated warnings)
Ildranthyth - Elf Metal Wizard (Numerian Archaeologist), scholar from Kyonin, heading for Technomancer, with his test subject/familiar Ratrap v0.2
Khodan - Human Unleashed Savage Technologist (Numerian Archaeologist), mercenary, hedonist, protagonist right out of a Conan story (Snow Tiger clan)
Khirani - Human Life Shaman and her dwarf piro spirit animal/familiar, the healbot support (NPC)

At level 2 things are still too swingy to properly calibrate encounters. They cake walked over the habitat dome but half of them dropped to the repair drone in the earlier corridor.

Sovereign Court

My party's nearing the end of FoC now, and I thought I'd share a bit.

I've got 5 players and I let them use 20pts. I used milestones for leveling: after some place in the dungeon has been reached up, level up next time you're in town. The milestones were crossing the gate into area B and clearing area C.

From the outset, the players were seized by the urgency of saving Khonnir. So they pushed through area A (including the murderblindheim) all the way into the desert of area B in one run, defeating 4x CR 1 and 3x CR 2 before they had to admit attrition and go back for rest. They negotiated with the Skulks. Can't complain about a 15-minute mindset here :)

Hethuath was hard of course; my dice were cold so he didn't kill anyone, but it took them quite a while to make a dent in him. He's immune to so many thing. Not having learned Androffan yet, they didn't reset the habitat systems.

Instead, they camped in those rooms before heading into the science deck (C). They ran into the cerebric fungus and got nervous when it kept talking about red stuff. They used Create Water to rehydrate the trail of dried blood and lured it into a room to feed, then locked the door behind it. Then they confronted the "bed of indignities" which will never be forgotten, and the medbots (Collector and Repair Drone). That was a tough fight for the L2 party, but they managed to get Khonnir and navigate back out.

Of course, by that time Hethuath had rejuvenated and was waiting for them. With that note, I ended the session. Players not very happy...

Due to RL it took a while before we could continue. Because the party was in terrible shape by then I decided to solve this with a chase scene through the desert, modelled after the excellent example of Kaava Quarry.

Back in town Joram was in a beach chair near the lake waiting for them and helped them put Khonnir in bed. Again I dropped some hints that they should go seen Sanville Trent, but they avoided it. Whilst trying to show him off as a slightly shady merchant with many talents, apparently they got the idea he Was To Be Avoided At All Times.

Joram's been trying to cure Khonnir for a while now, but he needs to roll really high on that caster level check. Even with the PC cleric using Bit of Luck, he hasn't managed it yet. I told the players that while Lesser Restoration can make Khonnir lucid, it seems the nanites are getting more and more aggressive.

So they went down the rabbit hole again, now with advice from Joram on how to kill the juju zombie (like, how to get through its DR!). Using Magic Weapon spells, they slaughtered him. They ground his corpse into bits to bring outside into the sun (had tried this on a skeleton before) and then reactivated the habitat. Then back into the science deck.

Again they navigated the cerebric fungus. The party's pretty nervous about it; so far they've gone out of their way to prevent it from finding out that the Red Stuff comes out of people when wounded. They bathe/Prestidigitate whenever they need to come near it to make sure it can't smell any wounds. But its weird innocence is also endearing. After murderhoboing the vegepygmies (all except the leader who, after losing the hammer, barricaded himself) they took everything science-y that wasn't nailed down to show to Joram.

They met the skulks again, who negotiated for enough rope to return to the Darklands. Party much relieved, because they were kinda nervous every time they had to get past them while wounded from a foray. The players are really starting to like all the little mini side-stories and possibility of negotiating with such groups :)

Joram again mentioned Sanville as someone who might be able to help Khonnir, but the party clearly didn't want to so I gave up trying to push that angle. I figured I needed a different way to link up the warehouse plot. Meanwhile, although I gave Joram a bonus for all the recovered medical stuff, he still couldn't roll high enough to cure Khonnir. So, back down the rabbit hole again. But before that, a Lesser-Restored lucid Khonnir identified the tech loot for the party.

With the discovery of the e-pick, the party set out to open up the security locker they couldn't crack yet. And the Calistrian cleric decided to take the fungus out as a pet, negotiating with a local butcher to keep him in the basement and feed him enough blood to keep it sated. (When I told my players that other groups had managed to keep it as a cohort, the cleric jumped on that idea.)

After fixing the elevator, the party went to the engineering deck, just at level 3. One player was absent: the tank wizard (AC 26!) After brutalizing the thylacines they ran into ratfolk and orcs wich they handled easily. Then they stood around for a while sorting through the room and the warriors split off to loot the adjacent storeroom. And then the wizard and cleric got jumped by the patrol; they players were still expecting everyone to remain in their room. Cured them of that assumption *eg* Spicy fight due to outmaneuvered PCs.

They backtracked and went to the robot lab. Carefully avoided the repair drones (knew how dangerous they could be). The "robot slayer" barbarian instead decided to provoke the gearsman. They lured it away from the repair drones (not making that mistake again!) but still had a tough fight, when the thing showed enough tactical sense to avoid readied actions and flank/sneak attack situations. Blinding it with Burst of Radiance and then an Elven Curve Blade critical hit + sneak attack for over 30 damage finished it though, but with the party severely bloodied.

They debated going back, but on the other hand, knew the enemy was aware of them now (some ratfolk had escaped). But, good news: the tank wizard player was back. They carefully advanced and met Gruethur who ambushed them, getting a surprise + full attack on a surprised wizard (ouch). They got all set for a fight in the doorway when he refused to follow them out of the room. Then they took a look at the Claw-altar, and the cleric bluffed poor stoopid Gruethur that they were fellow cultists. Not sure what to think the gargoyle delayed to think things through and there was a bit of a standoff. The cleric convinced him that using cybernetics he could give the gargoyle his voice back. Quite confused now Gruethur sent them out of the room. They went too fetch a deactivated repair drone.

While they were away, Meyanda came out of the reactor room and gave him instructions. When they came back he lured the barbarian in the front of the doors. Because he was feeling kind of conflicted I let the party do a DC 10 Sense Motive check to see the ambush coming, and they made it through the opening salvo.

The PCs were lucky they'd deactivated the robot core because that took the collector out of the fight. The remaining ratfolk were in there as speedbumps, or so Meyanda thought, but the party gave them an escape route out of the fight and they took it. Gruethur first spent time securing and examining the repair drone, trying to see if it could restore his voice as promised. Bought the PCs some time.

One of the PC wizards (the evoker) tried to blind Meyanda with another Burst of Radiance. The used Nanite Surge to save and then tried to hit him with Blindness (I changed up her spell selection a bit to make things interesting) but he saved. No PC made the spellcraft check. Then she ordered Gruethur to take down the evoker, who was all alone with Gruethur in that room.

Gruethur charged the evoker, he then stepped back and nearly killed him with a 5d4 burning hands, and then Gruuthur full attacked him again, taking him down. The tanky wizard then got its attention to keep him from going for the kill, and got critted down.

Meanwhile, Meyanda was waving a Bestow Curse at the PCs but missed two touch attacks in a row, and got killed by a barbarian and unchained rogue with curve blade/dex to damage/power attack, moments before she could shoot the reactor.

The cleric then managed to intimidate Gruethur (at 3hp) into fleeing instead of killing the two unconscious wizards (the tanky one had attacked the Hellion shrine to get his attention). Cleric met the DC exactly.

With all enemies fled or dead, PCs reset the safety on the reactor and start heading out. Then they realize that they locked the door between habitat and science decks, so Gruethur can't get out. Standoff. After getting his promise that he won't attack, they let him through into the desert.

But they'd also locked the door between the caves and habitat, so he was hovering there when they got there. Ethical moment: sure, it's probably an evil monster, but it's also been beaten. Are you going to leave it here to starve?

They question it (y/n style, with him doing a lot of shrugging and "I don't understand" faces) to see if it serves another master as well. He doesn't really know for sure; he served Meyanda after she beat it, but he saw the PCs cut down Meyanda. When the cleric holds up the spiked gauntlet and offers it to let him outside if he'll follow him, he agrees.

Joram's waiting and makes some remarks about the growing menageries(cerebric fungus, junk-encrusted gargoyle) but is happy that the torch is back on. Says he'll meet them that evening at Council House.

Then Garmen Ulreth confronts the PCs; says they've got a common enemy. He does some twisting of the truth but what it comes down to is that Sanville broke into Garmen's warehouse and stole the Power Relay and is going to take it to the TL as proof that there's stuff below Torch. Garmen would appreciate the PCs doing his dirty work for him and shivving Sanville 37 times. The Calistrian cleric warns him that she doesn't like being manipulated...

---

So, the players know there's something going on with an evil techno-deity, but almost everyone who knows about it is dead. But they have a gargoyle who for the moment is willing to follow them, and a cerebric fungus. I'm looking forward to the moment they realize that the fungus could read Gruethur's mind to get his perspective on Hellion. However, the fungus is still young and innocent, and what ideas might it get from reading the gargoyle's savage mind?

I've read other people's reports where they adopted the fungus, Sanville or Meyanda. Has anyone else done that with Gruethur?


They rescued Khonnir this week, I had to downgrade the Collector Robot's hardness on the fly to 5 points, otherwise only 2 PCs had any chance of hurting it and both were wounded badly by the medical drone. And this was after they hit the vegepygmies, and their leader fled from the attack, opened the door to the telepathic fungus (that the PCs were spooked by the session before, fearing it was a brain collector like on the security cam footage), had it sicken and daze a handful, then abandoned and fled under the guise of surrendering (only to discover that the other half of the party who had been cleaning up the mold area didn't have message up, didn't speak a lick of undercommon and didn't know anything about the "let me go in peace" deal made with the first half of the party).

They've now hit level 3 and I think I'm getting a better handle on how to tweak the encounters to cope with numbers, higher stats, etc. This one was pretty challenging.


One more session left in FoC to go for me. They're just outside the reactor room now.

How did your guys PCs leave all the NPCs in town before they headed off to Scrapwall?

Garmen they knocked out and I think they're going to leave in the council's custody.

Sanvil they fought earlier and is with them in the dungeon wrapped in ion tape right now as they've been using him as an identifier. He's struck a deal with them that he'll help them in here and then they'll take him straight to Baine who he'll show them how to heal and then they say they will let him go before the council even sees him. He's specifically said he doesn't want Baine to see him and the group still seem to be trusting him for now, Technic League are definitely going to be brought down on Torch if he gets away so I'm going to be looking for advice on that soon. He'll certainly appear again in #5 anyway.

Joram helped the group a lot and they like him, he'll be sending them on a quest in Scrapwall.

Khonnir is still out from his disease but he'll have some yelling at them to do if they let Sanvil go and bring the League to Torch. He'll probably get involved again in the 5th AP or earlier if they have to save Torch in some way.

Val helped them out but hasn't been involved too much. She'll probably defend the PCs a bit if Khonnir gets mad.

Meyanda they have yet to meet but I really like the redemption angle on her and I'm giving them clues that it's possible. I think they'll likely fight her and keep her for interrogation and have to work through her emotional problems to get the information they need. I would love the PCs to come pick her up at the end of Lords of Rust and keep her as a cohort for the campaign but we'll see.

I also have introduced a barbarian character that I'll bring into a few of the adventures at different times to give them an alternative to Kevoth in the 5th adventure to be the Black Sovereign that they know and like.

How about you lot?


Khonnir was cured in the ruins. Val is doting on him due to his near untimely death, as well as growing more and more fond of the group who saved her dad.

The PCs were at the Foundry when Sanvil was snooping and trying to break in. Grit, the ghoran brawler, was hanging out outside since they others were all getting hammered in the taproom, and was able to grapple and subdue Sanvil on its own and took him to Khonnir and Gravy, the aasimar summoner, who were in the workshop. They interrogated him and he is now their identifier of tech items (if the summoner can't figure them out).

They handily defeated Meyanda since her collector robot was on the fritz due to the PCs love of button-pushing. She's hanging out in the town jail at the moment. I hope 07-CB (affectionately known as Constellation Bacon), the party's female android warpriest of Torag, gets a chance to chat with her about her religious convictions. Bacon is a recent convert to the worship of Torag due to an interesting meeting with a band of dwarven pilgrims of Torag on the road to Torch the day prior to the campaign's beginning.

Joram is their good friend now since he's been their Band-Aid station all adventure. They'll probably chat with him before heading out of town.

They didn't bite the hook for exploring the warehouse, so they have yet to trounce Garmen and his gang. I may have him skip town and run into the group later, leaving the tech item in the warehouse for Sanvil to find.

Sovereign Court

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Be sure to put Meyanda on the platform 10ft up from the ground, that buys her another few rounds in combat.

Anyway, is it me or does Joram Kyte tend to play a bigger role than anticipated by the writer? Between his tech savvy, healing, friendship with Khonnir, and not being all that sketchy, he's a natural person to turn to for the PCs.


I like Joram, and I'm planning on using him to better tie "Old Div" in part 2 to the overall plot. He's a nice old man with a bit of a surprising past compared to the role he plays in the community now.


So I have a slight issue with my game. Trett stole all the research material of one of my PC's after they took him down into the ruins with them. He then pointed the party in the direction of the warehouse, hoping that they'd do all the dirty work for him which they did. Party turned off the relay, and at this point Trett is planning on kidnapping an android girl the party rescued (a side quest) before running back to Starfall.

However I'm a little stumped on what Meyanda would do now. Obviously she'd send people to investigate, and was thinking of ending the game with her and her minions attacking the town rather than carrying on with the dungeon since I think the AP uses crawls a little too much. But she needs some minions to fill out her ranks. I was thinking of a Gutdragging Lurcher, which is what one of the Skulks turned into after the party just never bothered with them again and so one ate the others bc hunger. Maybe some stuff from the Darklands? Or I can use some Goblins I have "renting" out the junkyard.

Not sure though. Any idea's for creatures?

The Exchange

So I have a few map / direction questions that you can all help me with...

maps and stuff:
From the end of the map on Area B, after they kill Hetuath, they discover the black key card and go to the science area.

So where is the elevator that takes them to Engineering (area D)? Since Meyanda avoided the area, I'm just wondering if the PC's can find a way to do so...

Thanks!


Andros, High Priest of Sarenrae wrote:

So I have a few map / direction questions that you can all help me with...

** spoiler omitted **

Thanks!

The elevator takes the PC's to area D1 on the Engi Deck. They can avoid it by destroying the second door that can be found in the Gremlin caves. My party didn't bother trying this however, and if they had tried I'd probably say no simply because it is the hull of a spaceship.

Otherwise the second door can be opened from the engineering deck side. There is a tunnel that goes off to the North West, and its a disable device to remove the barricade there.


Also a bit of a maps question: How did everyone physically get the Desert Habitat onto a map/table? I'm counting it as 40" and I don't know any maps that go that big.

I'm starting the campaign in a few weeks, and fully expect my players to get to the habitat pretty quickly.


NerdOfTheYear wrote:

Also a bit of a maps question: How did everyone physically get the Desert Habitat onto a map/table? I'm counting it as 40" and I don't know any maps that go that big.

I'm starting the campaign in a few weeks, and fully expect my players to get to the habitat pretty quickly.

I ran that section this Sunday. I showed them the map out of the module, covering up the right half, and asked them which way the party would go. One newbie player asked what the X's mean, but the other players explained that only the GM knew that.

When they reached a skeleton, I put their miniatures on my small mat, 22 squares by 25 squares, with the skeleton in the center, and drew the only feature, a rock outcropping. That was enough room for the battle. Because that dome is in darkness, the limits of the PC's darkvision defined the area they could see clearly, and my small mat is almost that size.


I do all my campaigns online - Roll20 is a beautiful, beautiful thing.

If I ever get the chance to do a table-top game again, I'm gonna see if I can hook up a laptop (a player's one) to a TV to get roll20 displayed - had a player hook his up once before and it worked out real well. Need to do that more often..


Crustypeanut wrote:

I do all my campaigns online - Roll20 is a beautiful, beautiful thing.

If I ever get the chance to do a table-top game again, I'm gonna see if I can hook up a laptop (a player's one) to a TV to get roll20 displayed - had a player hook his up once before and it worked out real well. Need to do that more often..

That's a really good idea actually. I might try and run roll20 onto my Apple TV.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
NerdOfTheYear wrote:

Also a bit of a maps question: How did everyone physically get the Desert Habitat onto a map/table? I'm counting it as 40" and I don't know any maps that go that big.

I'm starting the campaign in a few weeks, and fully expect my players to get to the habitat pretty quickly.

I put the western half on a drawn map, and then just drew the eastern doorway on another. Since the skeletons will be drawn to the heroes when they encounter the first one, and my heroes weren't very stealthy, I knew I was going to have that fight right at the western entrance, which is exactly what happened.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Hey, I was hoping I could get a help. I'm running Fires of Creation right now and my party just defeated Hetuath. They only did a cursory examination of his room and didn't find the black access card that was in the room. Then they were unable to force open the door leading to the science deck. Any advice on how to proceed from there? Thank you.


Sarkile wrote:
Hey, I was hoping I could get a help. I'm running Fires of Creation right now and my party just defeated Hetuath. They only did a cursory examination of his room and didn't find the black access card that was in the room. Then they were unable to force open the door leading to the science deck. Any advice on how to proceed from there? Thank you.

Heh heh. I deliberately destroyed that black access card by having Hetuath tear it up and use the pieces in his mosaic on the wall of what my players dubbed a "Tasty Oaty Bar" (a Serenity movie reference). But they had already picked up the black e-pick in room B3 and had the expertise to use it.

Give them time. They will search and find the black access card or the black e-pick. If not, let them buy one in town from a black market dealer, possibly Sanvil Trett. It costs only 10 gp. Clearly mark the card-reader slot with the access level required, so they know which one to buy.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Mathmuse wrote:


Heh heh. I deliberately destroyed that black access card by having Hetuath tear it up and use the pieces in his mosaic on the wall of what my players dubbed a "Tasty Oaty Bar" (a Serenity movie reference). But they had already picked up the black e-pick in room B3 and had the expertise to use it.

Give them time. They will search and find the black access card or the black e-pick. If not, let them buy one in town from a black market dealer, possibly Sanvil Trett. It costs only 10 gp. Clearly mark the card-reader slot with the access level required, so they know which one to buy.

Shiny!

They completely missed the e-pick in B3 as well. Sanvil might be a decent solution as they are still on good terms with him. Typically they're the kind of players that will investigate every nook and cranny, so it kind of threw me for a loop when they hit B14, then killed Hetuath, and gave up and returned to the Black Hill Caves.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Hi everyone,

The group I'm running through Iron Gods has an android whose player wants to have him have been a worshipper of Hellion, but doesn't remember doing so. She wants the character to have to struggle to overcome this aspect of himself when dealing with certain aspects of hellion (and I'd like to expand this to make him connected to Unity as a surprise). I'm thinking that a will save would be the appropriate way to deal with this, but I'm wondering what some appropriate DC's might be.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
kurohyou wrote:

Hi everyone,

The group I'm running through Iron Gods has an android whose player wants to have him have been a worshipper of Hellion, but doesn't remember doing so. She wants the character to have to struggle to overcome this aspect of himself when dealing with certain aspects of hellion (and I'd like to expand this to make him connected to Unity as a surprise). I'm thinking that a will save would be the appropriate way to deal with this, but I'm wondering what some appropriate DC's might be.

Did the player's android forget about Hellion because of the renewal process? Honestly I would base the will DC on what their class and will save is.

And how do you plan on the character being related to Unity? Maybe Unity sent the character's previous incarnation to track Hellion?

At the very least it should be interesting if Meyanda recognizes the character.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

As this is a story and character specific effect have a look at the Will save for the pc and decide how often you want them to fail, then set the DC so they fail as often as you want them to .
So assuming a Will save of +6 and you want them to fail 25% of the time set it as DC11, if you want them to save 75% of the time then DC 21


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Sarkile wrote:
kurohyou wrote:

Hi everyone,

The group I'm running through Iron Gods has an android whose player wants to have him have been a worshipper of Hellion, but doesn't remember doing so. She wants the character to have to struggle to overcome this aspect of himself when dealing with certain aspects of hellion (and I'd like to expand this to make him connected to Unity as a surprise). I'm thinking that a will save would be the appropriate way to deal with this, but I'm wondering what some appropriate DC's might be.

Did the player's android forget about Hellion because of the renewal process? Honestly I would base the will DC on what their class and will save is.

And how do you plan on the character being related to Unity? Maybe Unity sent the character's previous incarnation to track Hellion?

At the very least it should be interesting if Meyanda recognizes the character.

I was thinking that she had been with Unity since the Divinity crashed and then sided with Hellion (or was made to by him) when he rebelled. The way he becomes part of the party is that while assisting Meyanda with clearing the ship under Torch he was affected by nanites or a program in the ship that reset his software and erased the hateful programming of Unity and Hellion (or at least most of it) leaving him to be the android he would have been in the absence of their influence.

I think I'm going to go with basing the Save DC of of Hellion's and Unity's Spell DC's and off of 1/2 the Item's Craft DC + 10 if it is from interacting with a piece of tech related to Hellion.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber

Both Ghelarn ambushes pretty much wrecked my players, as they failed to notice either of them until they were right on top of the monsters. If I had it focus on attacking specific PCs and dropping them instead of having the Ghelarn overconfidently attack every one within reach with a single tentacle, I would have easily killed a PC in the first encounter, and possibly had a total party wipe in the second... or at least had only maybe one or two heroes limp out to try and get a whole new group. (my PCs were 2nd level and there were five of them, for perspective.) As is, they survived, but were pretty demoralized.

I recommend caution in using the Ghelarn. I think it's a bit nastier than its CR (2 for normal, 3 for advanced,) suggests. Grant you, the same could be said for Hetuath, the Juju Zombie Kasatha Fighter, who did kill a PC and needed to be fled from on the first encounter, but Juju Zombies are nasty and 4 attacks a round are nasty at that level.

Of course, your mileage may vary when it comes to monster difficulty and PC death at early levels. It's possible I'm a tad squeamish.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Hello there everyone. So, there is a good chance I am going to be running this AP for a group or two as a first time GM, so I'm just here looking for a little advice currently.

The first thing would be something of a GM choice. I was considering giving all of the PCs the Technologist Feat for free a little way into this adventure. I understand some of the campaign traits have the PCs already in Numeria and around Torch, but I do sort of enjoy the flavor of the PCs not knowing of how deep the technology goes until the adventure gets started. The way I'd flavor it is that after exploring the Black Hills for a while and coming in contact with some of the items, heading back and speaking with the citizens of Torch, as well as meeting with Sanvill, his description and explanation of how to identify the function of technological objects would be enough for them to build up to the feat.

My thinking behind this 1) Having them unable to identify the technological items themselves at the start gives them a reason to seek out Sanvill, and also gives them a reason to exit the Black Hill Caves, in order to get the items identified. And 2) It ensures they don't have to, for lack of a better term, "waste" a feat slot, when this AP is so heavily tech based. It allows them to choose a better feat for whatever build they want to go. And as I said, it gives that extra layer of worry when you're facing monsters you can't Knowledge check immediately, only at low levels. I would of course give them basic construct traits, since that much should be obvious.

My other question is with regards to something that I've been debating for the entire AP. How have you dealt with Knowledge checks on all the alien races? The players that I'm going to be running for are the type that immediately want to make knowledge checks to know what they're facing (one of the reasons for the first addendum), and I want to be able to give them a chance to recognize them, and maybe get an idea of capabilities or special defenses. For example, Hetuath has some nasty immunities to Cold, Electricity, and Magic Missile, all things that can be found at low levels for caster damage. I know it's sort of counter to the first point, but I would like to give them some way of determining the alien race, even if it's at a very high check needed.

My thoughts were Knowledge (Local) for Monstrous Humanoids, Knowledge (Dungeoneering) for Aberrations, or even Knowledge (Planes), constituting that these beings were once seen as Outsiders and so there are some records regarding them.

All advice is welcome, but I wanted to pop in and see what others had to say.


You cant make knowledge checks on aliens unless you have Technologist feat. Then it's standard (Dungeoneering for Aberrations, local for humanoids, etc).

I made Technologist a trait myself (any trait that gives you Technologist with a Skill, such as stargazer with knowledge geogrqphy, gives you full Technologist instead). I also want them to use the tech, but just Technologist isbt enough.i suggest cut the tech price by half at least, so selling it is less vsluable.a tent that self-inflates and protects you is cool, but at 18.000gp a pop everybody will sell it for a big 6 item. I also made selling part if the adventure: I no longer use the standard assumption that you can sell any piece of junk at 50% the cost. If you are in a desert, maybe nobody will buy that scuba diving suit, and unless you find sn astronaut, selling astronaut suits will not be easy. Specially at that price tag.

Also, many tech items are simply atrocius. Each use of Trauma pack cost Like 6 potions of CLW. Unless you can consistently roll Heal DC 40+, it Heal less. Potions don't need Heal Skill and Technologist feat and don't glitch. Trauma pack might as well not exist, as written there's no point to use it. I made it work with Nanite cannister charges, so with Heal DC 15 it's like a potions of CLW, DC 20 it's worth it once you have used it long enough to pay the cost of Trauma pack itself.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
FantheFlames wrote:

The first thing would be something of a GM choice. I was considering giving all of the PCs the Technologist Feat for free a little way into this adventure. I understand some of the campaign traits have the PCs already in Numeria and around Torch, but I do sort of enjoy the flavor of the PCs not knowing of how deep the technology goes until the adventure gets started. The way I'd flavor it is that after exploring the Black Hills for a while and coming in contact with some of the items, heading back and speaking with the citizens of Torch, as well as meeting with Sanvill, his description and explanation of how to identify the function of technological objects would be enough for them to build up to the feat.

My thinking behind this 1) Having them unable to identify the technological items themselves at the start gives them a reason to seek out Sanvill, and also gives them a reason to exit the Black Hill Caves, in order to get the items identified. And 2) It ensures they don't have to, for lack of a better term, "waste" a feat slot, when this AP is so heavily tech based. It allows them to choose a better feat for whatever build they want to go. And as I said, it gives that extra layer of worry when you're facing monsters you can't Knowledge check immediately, only at low levels. I would of course give them basic construct traits, since that much should be obvious.

I think the idea of giving away the Technologist feat for free is fine. I wouldn't give it away until after book 2 though or around level 5. Giving it away earlier feels to me to soon, but it's your decision.

FantheFlames wrote:
My other question is with regards to something that I've been debating for the entire AP. How have you dealt with Knowledge checks on all the alien races? The players that I'm going to be running for are the type that immediately want to make knowledge checks to know what they're facing (one of the reasons for the first addendum), and I want to be able to give them a chance to recognize them, and maybe get an idea of capabilities or special defenses.

In my opinion, the strongest point of the AP are the exploration and surprises it presents, so not knowing what they are facing should be part of the equation for a while. That being said, I used knowledge Geography for alien humanoids, as it includes knowledge of the stars and for alien aberrations as you suggested knowledge Dungeoneering.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Thank you both for the information so far, it is definitely helpful for someone who is just starting to set up their first real campaign and run it.

@Gustavo. I didn't actually know that was the case regarding identifying alien races, but it makes things easier. And it will have some fun trial and error on some of the first creatures they run into, having to go in relatively blind. As for the technological aspect of it, I understand that worry, but I don't think that my party will be that eager to sell it off completely. One of the major things that they seemed excited about for this adventure was the technology. On top of that, I am probably going to make it clear that technology, while netting a good profit, is still dangerous to try and sell off to people you don't trust, given the Technic League and their background. Getting caught selling off a copious amount of tech is going to draw their attention.

@Gratz I agree wholeheartedly about the surprise and wonder being a part of it. The problem I could see is when they start getting into Areas C and D of the adventure, when entering an area with so much tech, and Disable Device Checks that would be treated as untrained without the proper gear. I'll definitely consider it though, maybe pushing it back to the end of Book 1.


Hardness 10... yikes.

My PCs had to pin the gearsmen down, tie it up, and coup de grace it repeatedly before it could break free in order to do any damage to it at all.

The samurai did forget to use his challenge, but that would have only been 3 damage at best. These metal men are deadly.


FantheFlames wrote:
. One of the major things that they seemed excited about for this adventure was the technology.

Sadly, as written most of it is crap.

Compare the Veemod that gives lowlight vision (1000gp the goggles, 6000 the Veemod, uses charges per hour, need to be activsted) with Eyes of the Owl (4000gp, always constant, no maintenance).

You coudl do the same with Trauma Packs and just potions of healing, and many other comparable items.

Technology in general is much more expensive, more limited, and require charges to do the same than regular magic. Which is a pity, because it should be the shinning star in this AP.

That's why I changed most of it, and ditched price and gold so you don't have a huge oportunity cost for each tech item

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32

The stat block for Torch lists 10 androids. There is no mention of where any of them may work or reside.
Has anyone got any ideas for inserting a few into the town?


Oh my god, we just started playing this campaign, had the second session saturday, and my party made it through the cave, we stopped at the metal doors.

The party consists of:
a half elven sorceress
a human monk
a half elven cleric
a dwarfen fighter
and a gnome druid with a bear pet.

I don't know how a party can be so not-creative :D

The room where the brown mold makes everything cold was a really tough challenge. But not because of the mold itself, the party was so stupid..

"You see a room, covered entirely in brown dust, as you come nearer, you feel that it gets really cold. At the east wall you see a human body"
"Hm..okay..I reach my hand out into the room, does it get colder?"
"Yes, much colder"
"I step into the room"
"[facepalm]..okay, you now feel it's really really cold, your whole body is shivering and you think you can't endure this for a minute longer"
"Hm..I go to the body on that wall and insoect it"
"Okay, you wanted this..3d6=13 non-lethal cold damage"
"What? I am at -4"
"You drop on the floor, unconcious and freezing to death"

After the rest of the party managed to get him out of there, nearly losing the cleric also, a little debate started on how unfair this was and what they were supposed to do.. I simply answered "maybe ask 'what is that brown dust'? After a relatively easy dungeoneering roll I would have said 'This is known as brown mold, it absorbs heat and emits cold, and if you get too close, you are freezing to death!'"

Then after a few more minutes of helplessness I suggested they could of course get back to the inn to recover, and that they are not supposed to explore the whole cave in one run. Such a thing as "go back, recover, come back later" was a fully new and innovative concept to them :D


MasterZelgadis wrote:

Oh my god, we just started playing this campaign, had the second session saturday, and my party made it through the cave, we stopped at the metal doors.

The party consists of:
a half elven sorceress
a human monk
a half elven cleric
a dwarfen fighter
and a gnome druid with a bear pet.

I don't know how a party can be so not-creative :D

The room where the brown mold makes everything cold was a really tough challenge. But not because of the mold itself, the party was so stupid..

"You see a room, covered entirely in brown dust, as you come nearer, you feel that it gets really cold. At the east wall you see a human body"
"Hm..okay..I reach my hand out into the room, does it get colder?"
"Yes, much colder"
"I step into the room"
"[facepalm]..okay, you now feel it's really really cold, your whole body is shivering and you think you can't endure this for a minute longer"
"Hm..I go to the body on that wall and insoect it"
"Okay, you wanted this..3d6=13 non-lethal cold damage"
"What? I am at -4"
"You drop on the floor, unconcious and freezing to death"

After the rest of the party managed to get him out of there, nearly losing the cleric also, a little debate started on how unfair this was and what they were supposed to do.. I simply answered "maybe ask 'what is that brown dust'? After a relatively easy dungeoneering roll I would have said 'This is known as brown mold, it absorbs heat and emits cold, and if you get too close, you are freezing to death!'"

Then after a few more minutes of helplessness I suggested they could of course get back to the inn to recover, and that they are not supposed to explore the whole cave in one run. Such a thing as "go back, recover, come back later" was a fully new and innovative concept to them :D

How new to RPGs are the players? If they're rookies, then it's kind of harsh to claim they are stupid or uncreative. Maybe they need some coaching on what kinds of things they can do.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32

I just GMed my first session this past weekend. They identified the brown mold and so far have just avoided that area.

They also seem to want to just camp in the cave instead of spending 10 minutes to get back to a comfy bed. I tried to call out that the caves are musty etc. I wonder if the urgency of rescuing Khonnir makes them not want to leave as they may be seen by townsfolk as lazy or not caring if they don't spend every moment focused on his rescue and instead goto a tavern or the gambling hall.


Grumpus wrote:

I just GMed my first session this past weekend. They identified the brown mold and so far have just avoided that area.

They also seem to want to just camp in the cave instead of spending 10 minutes to get back to a comfy bed. I tried to call out that the caves are musty etc. I wonder if the urgency of rescuing Khonnir makes them not want to leave as they may be seen by townsfolk as lazy or not caring if they don't spend every moment focused on his rescue and instead goto a tavern or the gambling hall.

Remind them that if they spend the night in the cave, the Water Breathing spell from Joram Kyte will wear off and they will have to hold their breaths for the swim back.

Actually, the swim back is not difficult, even while holding one's breath.

It is also polite to give the town council updates on the events in the cave, because they have little ideas what happened after most expeditions continued on and never returned. But let the party figure that out on their own by the town council being thankful and rewarding them with small gifts such as a potion of Cure Light Wounds.


Grumpus wrote:

I just GMed my first session this past weekend. They identified the brown mold and so far have just avoided that area.

They also seem to want to just camp in the cave instead of spending 10 minutes to get back to a comfy bed. I tried to call out that the caves are musty etc. I wonder if the urgency of rescuing Khonnir makes them not want to leave as they may be seen by townsfolk as lazy or not caring if they don't spend every moment focused on his rescue and instead goto a tavern or the gambling hall.

Keep in mind the Skulks in the area might not appreciate newcomers to the caves setting up camp. Perhaps play up how disturbing omnious that hole to the Darklands is. Under the Black Hill should feel like a dangerous area, and it's filled with the bones of adventurers who have come before them, and failed. Don't be afraid to ambush them during the night to get that feeling across.


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My party totally fell prey to the brown mold, and more than half of them have been at this gaming thing since AD&D.

The brawler was the only one who survived the cold damage and dutifully pulled the others out of the room to administer potions. Then she got smacked on the back of the head by a skulk in stealth that they'd failed to spot, and woke up bound and beside a very deep hole in the ground. They bargained their way out though.


RedRobe wrote:


How new to RPGs are the players? If they're rookies, then it's kind of harsh to claim they are stupid or uncreative. Maybe they need some coaching on what kinds of things they can do.

We play D&D for 5 years now.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Leveling Question.

Page 6 of Fires of Creation says "The PCs should be 2nd level while exploring the habitat module in Part 3."

When is the best time to do that?

Sovereign Court

I prefer to let levelling happen while the PCs are resting.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Ascalaphus wrote:
I prefer to let levelling happen while the PCs are resting.

That's my feeling too. And, while there is enough experience points for a party of four to level when they are back at Torch (after the gambling session), they need every single point available.

My intuition was to level them at that point anyway, but I wanted to know if there was a better time.

Sovereign Court

I don't actually track XP, I use the suggested level up points in the beginning of the AP volumes. It's worked pretty well actually - players level up when they should, no more fuss about people's levels diverging if someone can't make a session or whatnot. Not being able to see a countdown to levelup also focuses my players on beating challenged with the resources currently at hand, as opposed to the temptation to try to time boss fights until after they've just leveled up. I usually have levelups happen after a "miniboss" fight like Hethuath (who is a nasty beast), or obvious milestones like bringing back Khonnir.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Okay.

On to a different question: As a Lvl 6 NPC, how does Meyanda afford her +1 Inferno Pistol?

At that level an NPC should have no more then 4,650 gold in equipment (Her CR is not adjusted for "extraordinary resources").

However, her ranged weapon is

  • 5,000 for Inferno Pistol (it is not timeworn).
  • 300 for Masterwork
  • 2,000 for +1 enchantment.

    So at 7,300 gold, it is -by itself- almost twice what she should possess.

    Related to this, it is budget busting for the character who gets the weapon, as it is larger then a normal share of treasure at 4th Level (indeed it is larger then the total wealth they should have according to his/her wealth by level).

  • Sovereign Court

    So what?

    Look beyond the gold price at what the item actually does.

    Limited ammo, small damage, possible proficiency issues, short range. It's overpriced.

    ---

    Also, bumps in PCs' wealth curve are to be expected. That happens every time they find an expensive item. The first time a level 2 party finds a +1 weapon for example. It's no big deal.


    I believe treasure for an AP is (and I think should be) averaged out for what they expect a party of four PCs to need at their level, rather slavishly giving every single encounter the recommended treasure. Some will be low (or no) treasure, some will be higher, sometimes you just just find treasure lying around.

    RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

    Ascalaphus wrote:

    So what?

    Look beyond the gold price at what the item actually does.

    Limited ammo, small damage, possible proficiency issues, short range. It's overpriced.

    That is true of almost all Technological items. :(

    But, since they put the item in there at that price, I was wondering why they bothered.

    Ascalaphus wrote:


    Also, bumps in PCs' wealth curve are to be expected. That happens every time they find an expensive item. The first time a level 2 party finds a +1 weapon for example. It's no big deal.

    ... and ...

    Plausible Pseudonym wrote:
    I believe treasure for an AP is (and I think should be) averaged out for what they expect a party of four PCs to need at their level, rather slavishly giving every single encounter the recommended treasure. Some will be low (or no) treasure, some will be higher, sometimes you just just find treasure lying around.

    This I understand. I was mostly commenting on the grossly OVERPRICED item in the hands of a particular NPC that will almost certainly be defeated by the PC heroes.

    As written, this item is - by itself - greater then the normal wealth by level for a 4th Level character.

    Sovereign Court

    Yeah, but my point remains, "so what?"

    It's not like the other NPCs are going to be pounding on your door to complain that it isn't fair.

    The players are meant to get that gun. It's supposed to whet their appetite for tech.

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