Valley of the Brain Collectors (GM Reference)


Iron Gods

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"Out of the window,
I saw how the planets gathered
Like the leaves themselves
Turning in the wind.
I saw how the night came,
Came striding like the color of the heavy hemlocks
I felt afraid.
And I remembered the cry of the peacocks."

Dark Archive

Anyone have Hellion from "Lords of Rust" show back up here? I'd be interested to know how you chose to integrate him into this leg of the adventure.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

Can someone explain how the void dragon's breath weapon works. Starting the Con x2 rounds it takes to suffocate would make the breath weapon useless. Should we assume the "out of breath" rules apply and one must make Con checks to avoid falling unconscious?

Silver Crusade

PRD wrote:


A character who has no air to breathe can hold her breath for 2 rounds per point of Constitution. If a character takes a standard or full-round action, the remaining duration that the character can hold her breath is reduced by 1 round. After this period of time, the character must make a DC 10 Constitution check in order to continue holding her breath. The check must be repeated each round, with the DC increasing by +1 for each previous success.

When the character fails one of these Constitution checks, she begins to suffocate. In the first round, she falls unconscious (0 hit points). In the following round, she drops to –1 hit points and is dying. In the third round, she suffocates.

The way I read is is that you'll need to make con saves for the number of rounds equal to the void dragon's age category (which is just 3 for young)

The DC for mauki(sp)? is 18 if I recall correctly (that's off the PRD young void dragon, I don't have my book with me right now).


The void dragon (Maukui's host) is missing his breath weapon entry, does anyone worked out it's stats?

Also what's the disable device DC to open the flesh doors in the dominion hive?


Leo1925, Maukui's host uses the breath weapon of a Young Adult Void Dragon, which is a 50ft cone of cold that does 10d8 damage and has a DC 21 Reflex save.

Speaking of Maukui, His natural armor bonus is missing. Does anyone know why?


I will be moving to this adventure next week as my players finished up TCT last session. I wonder how many groups have made it this far? And what advice, if any, the DMs of said groups have for running it?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

The missing breath weapon and missing natural armor bonus on Maukui and the dragon are errors; sorry about that. THAT SAID... Maukui's AC is still fine as-is for a CR 12 creature, so if you play him out without his +5 bonus... he'll still play out as a CR 12 foe should play out.

And there is no DC for disabling devices listed on the flesh doors because they're not locked. If they're vexing your PCs and you want to let them use Disable Device (or perhaps even Heal, since they're made of flesh) to open them, make it a DC 30 check. Alternately, a DC 30 Knowledge (arcana or dungeoneering) check is enough for a PC to deduce the actual ways to trick them to open with limbs or peppers.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

My players just finished the choking tower. Last game they traveled overland to the Scar of the Spider. During their journey, they fended off mutant two headed trolls (one with five arms), and a small flock of rift drakes.

Next week they enter the valley of the brain collectors. I am really looking forward to running this leg of the adventure path. It looks awesome.


moon glum wrote:
During their journey, they fended off mutant two headed trolls (one with five arms), and a small flock of rift drakes.

STOLEN for my game. Thank you :)


Was toying with the idea of making the Valley more of a sandbox. It's bit small to use the Kingmaker rules - any suggestions apart from a big random encounter table?


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My underleveled group took on Binox tonight. They entered the battle injured and with resources missing (spells in particular). They are a party of four level 8 characters vs a CR 12 Binox. I was thinking he was going to chew them up. First round the sorceress pulls out Xoud's spellbook and casts rebuke technology. Binox fails the save which means he is essentially paralysed for 8 rounds (though he gets a save every round). They managed to chew through him in one round.

Players continue to surprise me. My favourite adventure so far.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Poor Binox! He's my favorite NPC in the whole path other then Zirnebeth :-)

Grand Lodge

Howdy Mike Shel,

I don't know how familiar you are with the chronicle sheet system for Pathfinder Society Organised Play. I gave writing a chronicle sheet a crack for Valley of the Brain Collectors. Thought it'd be worthwhile seeking your feedback!

Chronicle sheet posted here.

It'd be awesome if you could have a read and offer some feedback, or some alternate PFS boons if you had any in mind while writing this adventure!

Many thanks,
-KG

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

Solomani wrote:

My underleveled group took on Binox tonight. They entered the battle injured and with resources missing (spells in particular). They are a party of four level 8 characters vs a CR 12 Binox. I was thinking he was going to chew them up. First round the sorceress pulls out Xoud's spellbook and casts rebuke technology. Binox fails the save which means he is essentially paralysed for 8 rounds (though he gets a save every round). They managed to chew through him in one round.

Players continue to surprise me. My favourite adventure so far.

My players also destroyed Binox fairly quickly.

Poor Binox. Its hard out there for a megalomaniacal A.I.


My characters cleared the dropship last night and the Shipmind almost killed them as I had his attacks inflict exhaustion (in 5e each level increases the penalties faced and six levels of it equals death) so they will (probably) rest for two to three days in Isumi's cave (it takes one day to recover a level of exhaustion).

I expect the hive won't really care the dropship has been attacked but I expect that they would note the loss of three nu-thalgaa. I was thinking of sending a punitive force to attack the characters while they rest, maybe some shadow flayers or similar to assassinate them. Do other DMs think that's an appropriate response for the Dominion or not?

I guess they being so alien anything makes sense (even when it doesn't).


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

It depends, do they need the rest? If so I might leave them alone, after a couple days I'd ramp up the Dominion presence in the valley maybe have a few more Neh-Thalguu lurking around, or even have the Mi-Go more active and curious about the goings on :-)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
captain yesterday wrote:
It depends, do they need the rest? If so I might leave them alone, after a couple days I'd ramp up the Dominion presence in the valley maybe have a few more Neh-Thalguu lurking around, or even have the Mi-Go more active and curious about the goings on :-)

My group is in a similar situation and for me this is the way to go, as the Dominion doesn't have any clues at the moment where the groups hideout is. I will ramp up Dominion presence and I will double the chance that a random encounter will happen, due to all the uproar in the Scar.


Thanks for advice. Yep they need the rest. Isumi is fine but rest of party is in single digit hit points.


I expect my players to meet Paajet the next session. My players have a penchant of striking bargains and I can imagine they may let her be if she doesn't attack. If so I expect she would just leave and head to the temple of rent flesh. I'm not seeing anything in her description that would indicate she would provoke a fight but would just leave if given the chance. But she also had a relationship with Maukai (who my party struck a deal with as well which I expect they won't keep). She could join up with him as well to fight the PCs.

Thoughts?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I think the first option you described sounds more reasonable, as it mentions somewhere in the text that her relationship with the Dominion is close to an end, as he/she/it exhausted their partnership pretty much.


Of course, something more interesting occurred last night. My players took on her bodyguards - I replaced the neh-thalgaa bodyguards with Dominion Soldiers, essentially converted Thoon Soldiers from the 3.5 edition monster manual V. Paajget didn't get involved then the sorceress, Charisma, purposely hit her with a cone of cold. The player made the decision but the character lied and said it was "by accident".

This drew Paajget into the fight and got into a brawl with the fighter who was determined to kill her even though the monk said to spare her since they had made a deal with Maukai. The fighter killed her, this lead to a huge argument at the table between the characters (and players) about keeping bargains etc.

To settle the issue the cleric manacled her to the operation table a cast revivify on her bringing her back to life, teleporting out to Chesed, and locking her up in a cell. He just wanted the other two to stop arguing - so the letter of the agreement was kept - but then potentially use Paajget as a bargaining chip against Maukai since they have no intention of trading up Casandalee to the dragon.

Dweller-In-Dark-Places is dead, party is hammered and they will have to face an angry dragon. Does Maukai actually care for Paagjet enough to trade her life for Casanadalee? I guess evil people have friends too. Something for me to think about before the next session.


Solomani wrote:
Dweller-In-Dark-Places is dead, party is hammered and they will have to face an angry dragon. Does Maukai actually care for Paagjet enough to trade her life for Casanadalee? I guess evil people have friends too. Something for me to think about before the next session.

OF COURSE, my players do something unexpected again. They take out the fossil golem and try and exit. They find that Maukui is waiting for them at the exit where they had parked their APC/war-rig. Maukui had flipped the vehicle on its side. The characters were so peeved they didn't even try and negotiate they just attacked the dragon in a "Dude, wheres my car?" moment of rage.

Onto Starfall :)

The Exchange

Would adding Mind Flayers to this book as Dominion Bad Guys work well, I know they are 3.5 DD but it wouldn't be too hard to add some in but I am just wondering what are some thoughts on this?

My group is going to be starting this book in a few weeks and I am just looking to start really prepping .

I was thinking of maybe some Mind Flayers with Psychic levels or something from the Occult books.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I am adding Mind Flayers to this adventure, it really is the best place for Mind Flayers.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Dreamscarred Press published what is effectively a conversion and reskin of the Mind Flayer, the Phrenic Scourge: http://www.d20pfsrd.com/bestiary/monster-listings/aberrations/phrenic-scour ge


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I replaced Dweller-in-Dark places with a mind-flayer, gave him four shadow-flayer bodyguards and also had a Thoon Hulk and two Thoon Soldiers. Worked perfectly. i kept the other creatures like the neh-thalga but there are so many of them its easy to swap them out for flayers or similar.

Speaking of Dweller-In-Dark-Places the module as written has a potential fail condition. M11 has a teleport that only works for a yah-thelgaa but the yah-thelgaa will teleport away if reduced to low hit-points. Though if a rogue is available you have the option of tricking the teleporter.

So I had Dweller teleport away and then the party panicked thinking they needed his hand to activate the teleporter (no realising I had changed it to any flayer). They don't have a rogue either. They ended up triggering a divine intervention special ability that only had a 11% chance of working - the cleric rolled a 1. Thor teleported Dweller back in a crash of thunderbolts.

(this is 5e if your thinking what the heck I am talking about).

The Exchange

Has anyone tried doing the scar as a hex exploration map? I wanted a way to add more mystery to exploring the scar of the spider. I think it would also add more feeling of alien ness as they explore deeper things get progressively more alien.


Yes, I made it into a hex crawl. Here is the map I used - DM and PC. Nothing fancy. In the end there are lots of breadcrumbs so the players ended up following those more directly than spending a lot of time exploring hex-by-hex. But thats just my players.

The Exchange

My players are enjoying the hex crawl, we started last week and have already played 2 sessions! They met Mad Paetyr and ate some Hairy apples and glowing carrots and have had a couple of exploration fights.

I'm using similar rules for the Hexploration as Kingmaker. I want this valley to feel almost like an Alien-Lost World so I'm throwing in mutant dinosaurs, titan centipedes, and trying to use huge and gargantuan creatures. Often applying the mutant template to them though.

While I loved book 2 and Scrapwall It felt too much like the party woke up each day and decided to explore areas M, P and Q today and I want their to be more mystery to it than that.


My players have finally hit this book, which I've been anticipating. I have a couple questions though.

Anybody know what the dominion(?) art on page 69 represents?

Any suggestions as to what Isuma should do if she's present for the fight with the Damaged Annihilator? I want her to be useful since she's already destroyed one of these things.


I don't think the artwork on page 69 is of any published creature.

As far as Isuma, she supposedly used lots of explosives the first time, but she doesn't have much left that can hurt it. The Arc and Inferno Grenades are going to have to roll unrealistically high to get through the hardness and energy resistance. The Gravity Grenade only has to beat the hardness of 5, but that's literally the only thing she has that can hurt it. Even her melee would barely scratch it for 1 point IF she rolled max damage and a crit. If you have any other kind of firearm (but why would you?) you could lend it to her, I suppose.


Thanks for the reply. If anybody has managed to make Isuma useful in the Annihilator fight I've probably got at least a month for suggestions. If nothing else I can use her to warn my PCs of it's more dangerous abilities.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

The art on page 69 is of a dominion spaceship.

And if you want Isuma to be able to give the PCs some pointers on how to fight the damaged annihilator, you can have her realize that it's damaged and suggest to the PCs to try to hit it with critical hits. If you want to give a full mechanical effect, feel free to have her advice work like a ranger's companion ability, granting a +2 bonus on attacks and damage for the fight.

Sovereign Court

Derek345 wrote:
Thanks for the reply. If anybody has managed to make Isuma useful in the Annihilator fight I've probably got at least a month for suggestions. If nothing else I can use her to warn my PCs of it's more dangerous abilities.

In my experience, it can be a very nice change of pace to plan a confrontation with an enemy, after you've gotten good intel on what it's capable of. It's the difference between "why can't we hurt it" and "everything going according to plan".

Example: after barely surviving Hethuath twice, the third time they came with Magic Weapon'd slashing weapons for two PCs and the others buffing/Aiding them, and he went down much more easily. (And they made sure that this time he stayed down.)

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Also, I'm apparently blind. Where is Cassandalee's neurocam? I couldn't find it listed anywhere in the book.


Page 55:

Quote:
Finally, you may note that the neurocam that Casandalee used to upload her mind into the AI core has not been placed in this adventure; this is by design as insurance. If the PCs lose the AI core, you should give them a chance to find her neurocam in the Dominion hive, and the device should still contain her personality within.
Page 5:
Quote:
Note in particular that while the use of locate object or a similar spell to track down the location of the neurocam mentioned by Casandalee might seem like an obvious tactic, Casandalee herself is no longer trapped within this device—in fact, you might decide that the neurocam isn’t even in the Scar, since Casandalee has long since been uploaded into a compact AI core.

The baseline assumption is that the neurocam is lost/destroyed, and the party should actually be chasing the AI core. You can put the neurocam in if the AI care gets blown up as a sort of backup, but then you're going to have to find a way for the players to actually access the personality, which is going to be a GM-created side adventure.

You could also put the neurocam in as treasure that is plot redundant so that the PCs can record one of their own minds for use in the final volume when they can access the medical bay on Divinity.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Man, how'd I miss that? Thanks!

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

The 'Inhabited Kasatha' on page 49 have;

Melee mwk short sword +8 (1d6+3/19-20), 2 mwk short swords +8 (1d6+1/19-20)

The +8 attack bonuses would seem to be calculated as;

Primary hand: +5 BAB + 3 Str bonus + 1 masterwork + 1 weapon focus - 6 MWF penalty + 2 penalty reduction for feat + 2 penalty reduction for all off-hand weapons being light = +8 total
Off hands : +5 BAB + 3 Str bonus + 1 masterwork + 1 weapon focus - 10 MWF penalty + 6 penalty reduction for feat + 2 penalty reduction for all off-hand weapons being light = +8 total

However, since they are using three swords (with a buckler in the 4th hand), shouldn't they have the Multiweapon Fighting feat rather than the listed Two-Weapon Fighting?


So my party seems hell bent on becoming robot overlords.

One character is a technologist Sorcerer with the Impossible bloodline.

On the whole it was pretty thematic, but it gives him the power to treat Constructs as if they were living creatures for spell targeting AND lets him target them with Compulsion spells.

Not a huge deal, though they did just waltz into the dominion hive two levels underleveled by Suggesting to the Annihilator that they belonged there and it should let them be. (Bad save roll)

They're planning on eventually Suggesting Binox to repair him or, eventually, hitting him with a Geas to repair and reprogram the Annihilator.

Should I fiat that a "repaired" Binox once again seeks to follow Unity?

It's still early, they haven't even found Cassandalee yet, but I have a feeling they'll be trying to get her past her fear of robots and get her installed in an Annihilator eventually.

I suppose it's the same sort of problem faced by any sort of magical compulsion and an NPC, but it seems like a lot of the balance depends on the PCs not really gaining unlimited access to Binox's abilities.

--fje

Sovereign Court

Well, the Technic League also thinks it's in control of their robots. Sure, they malfunction now and then and refuse orders for no reason or do something wacky like kill a nosy apprentice, but clearly the TL is in sole control.

The Exchange

So my group just finished this book, they were brutalized in the final fight, I'd added 4 ugothkra's to the fight as well, the ugothkra's all had 2 negative levels by that point however it made a significant difference in the fight and if it weren't for a house rule it would have been a TPK about twice over.

We use the rules from Skulls and Shackles to roll on the table to lose fingers, or suffer scars that stuff where anytime they'd take damage they can elect to fall to -1 hp, stable and roll on the table.

I think that fight between my party of 5 there were 3 scars, one massive wound, 2 lost fingers and lost arm.

Phew. Tough book and I learned a valuable lesson in overestimating the strength of my player's characters.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Going through this adventure I noticed something amiss with Isuma. While the aurumvorax +1 invulnerability hide armor is certainly a cool idea, it's not really a good choice for the character. Isuma has Dexterity 20, so a potential for a +5 Dexterity bonus to AC. The hide armor has a maximum Dexterity bonus to AC of +4, and with her armor training 1 class feature, she can increase this to +5. So far so good. Unfortunately though, Isuma only has Strength 8, and the armor's weight also makes her encumbered with a medium load, so the Maximum Dexterity bonus to AC is actually +3, costing her 2 points of AC. Furthermore, with a medium armor, she can't make use of her nimble class feature, costing her another 2 points of AC. So, in total, the armor gives her +5 armor bonus but costs her –4 in Dexterity and dodge bonuses, for a total bonus of +1 and the DR 5/magic. With a medium armor and carrying a medium load, her speed is also reduced to 20 ft.

The stat block blithely ignores all these penalties, granting +4 Dexterity to AC, and including the +2 dodge to AC from nimble, and it also lists a speed of 30 ft.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Zaister wrote:
The stat block blithely ignores all these penalties, granting +4 Dexterity to AC, and including the +2 dodge to AC from nimble, and it also lists a speed of 30 ft.

Maybe aurumvorax hide is light armor?


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
CBDunkerson wrote:
Maybe aurumvorax hide is light armor?

That would explain the statblock, but there is no real base for this assumption, especially considering the armor is simply listed as +1 invulnerability hide armor in the gear section of the statblock.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Zaister wrote:
CBDunkerson wrote:
Maybe aurumvorax hide is light armor?
That would explain the statblock, but there is no real base for this assumption, especially considering the armor is simply listed as +1 invulnerability hide armor in the gear section of the statblock.

Armor Training 1 also allows full movement in Medium Armor (PF Core, p 56).

But, that doesn't solve the problem with the horrible strength score. I think it is just an error that slipped through with this complicated stat block.


Isuma's biggest problem is that she can't actually do much damage to any robots. I guess she's supposed to have used lots of explosives to kill/damage those Annihilators, because her zero rifle and grenades can't even scratch one.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

She has the deadshot deed for that. With Rapid Shot and/or semi-automatic shooting she can generate enough damage even for robots.


How does Binox or any Reclamation Robot actually craft anything without any ranks in Craft(Mechanical)? Am I missing something?

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