Working on a 3 AP, 10 volume mash-up (RotRL, SS & CotCT spoilers)


Pathfinder Adventure Path General Discussion


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I've run Rise of the Runelords once pretty much all the way through. Now, with a new group, I'm attempting what really will be my most ambitious campaign ever - I'm going to use 10 volumes gathered from 3 AP's to tell one story. The story arc will actually be that of the Shattered Star, that of gathering the sihedron shards and reassembling them, but it will be told predominantly through Rise of the Runelords. I'm posting the rough draft of the campaign as it will unfold, and I'm looking for thoughts and advice as we move forward... I'm very cautious about trying to do too much - I don't want the PC's wandering off on what feels like a tangent for months - but I feel like every AP volume I've included is both relevant and builds on the story.

This is how I'm laying everything out:

Runelords #1 - Burnt Offerings:
The Rise of the Runelords begins as it was written, with the Swallowtail Festival and progressing as normal with the main exception being that the Shard of Wrath will be either in the possession of Elyrium or, more likely Nualia. The PC's will have no real knowledge of what they have found or what it signifies.

Runelords #2 - The Skinsaw Murders:
The Skinsaw Murders also progresses as written with no changes, except that the Shard of Envy will be in the possession of the Skinsaw Man. Finding a second shard should get the PC's curious, and I expect Brodert Quink to begin playing a much bigger role as an NPC as he aids the PC's in their research. The gist here is that the Sihedron, as a sort of sentient artifact a la the One Ring, wants to be found, wants to be reassembled, and has begun surfacing throughout Varisia in the hands of those whom its driving Sin most appeals to. During the volume the PC's will likely meet Sheila Heidmarch socially, and she will have long been a Sihedron scholar - her desire to see it reforged and in the hands of the PFS will have her both aid, illuminate and potentially mislead or manipulate the PC's as the AP unfolds. They will also encounter Vorel's Phage and discover Ironbriar's link to the Mantis Assassins and hints at what might be taking place in Korvosa.

Crimson Throne #2 - Seven Days to the Grave:
This is probably the most ambitious aspect of the campaign since I'm attempting to insert a single volume, but the lead-in seems potentially strong (Vorel's Phage from the Misgivings, Ironbriar and his journal linking to the Red Mantis assassins) and both the geography and the theme will be campaign-appropriate considering Sorshien's relationship with Korvosa, something I plan on playing up over time. Including this volume will probably involve the heaviest re-write, but I'm really hoping to keep as much of the original story as intact as possible. One thought is to have Xanesha escape the PC's in Mangimar and reappear here (I love recurring villains), once again manipulating events from behind the scenes before finally being dealt with. Its just such a great adventure I'd really like to include it as part of my players' experience.

Shattered Star #2 - Curse of the Lady's Light:
I'm going to tie this in to Seven Days From the Grave, perhaps by having he PC's tracking an escaped/renegade group of Grey Maidens and/or having Sheila point the PC's in its direction as a potential resting place for the Shard of Lust (which will be in the hands of the alu-demon Ashamintallu). Connections to Sorshein will abound, and I fully intend for one of my players to fall 'victim' to the Clone trap.

Runelords #3 - Hook Mountain Massacre:
The Rise of the Runelords will get back on track here and play out pretty much as normal. Mammy Graul will be in possession of the Shard of Sloth.

Runelords #4 - Fortress of the Stone Giants:
Again, this volume will play out pretty much as written, though I plan on having the Assault on Sandpoint be a much bigger affair, with a sort of 'gathering of heroes' from among the NPC's the group has befriended and allied with to this point. Mokmurian, as a servant of Karzoug (whom also wishes to see the Sihedron reforged but under his control) has come into possession of the Shard of Pride and is 'holding it' for his master while the others are sought.

Shattered Star #5 - Into the Nightmare Rift:
Given the geography up to this point, the involvement with Giants and the impending ties between Karzoug and Leng, this seems like a natural insert here with very little needing to be re-written. Nightmare Rift and Sins of the Saviors may end up being a bit of a mash-up though, depending on how events unfold. As written, the Shard of Sloth will be in possession of the Blue Dragon Cadrilkasta.

Runelords #5 - Sins of the Saviors:
Rise of the Runelords gets back fully on track here, with tons of clues and revelations tying everything together as the showdown with Karzoug begins to loom large.

Runelords #6 - Spires of Xin-Shalast:
Karzoug is in possession of the Shard of Greed and hopes to lure the PC's to him with as many of the other shards as possible, or failing that, exterminate its guardians and set his minions to the task of recovering them. Xin-Shalast really brings home for everyone the world that awaits them should he succeed.

Shattered Star #6 - The Dead Heart of Xin:
With the threat of Karzoug dealt with but the very real looming fear of the potential return of the other Runelords, Sheila pushes for the reforging of the Sihedron with all of Varisia looking on... and as foretold, disaster strikes.

The PC's will be leveling up at predetermined times with the understanding that they may spend more time at some levels than others to accommodate the adventures they are going to have, but there will still be a need for me to scale up or down certain parts of the various books - the goal would be for them to eventually reach 20th in the final act. The biggest potential problem I see here is the Skinsaw-Lady's Light-Seven Days stretch where three AP volumes cover roughly the same levels in difficulty. Scaling them up where needed will be a little tricky if I want to make sure they don't outlevel the Hook Mountain Massacre before the get to it.

I'm also thinking about introducing a rival party at some point, made up of a group of revolving villains (as some get killed and need to be replaced) - probably a group that first makes an appearance in Korvosa, maybe from Chelliax and also seeking the Shards for their own nefarious purposes. A renegade Red Mantis assassin seeking to avenge himself on the PC's would make for a nice member of the party, as would an ambitious Chellaxian noble with his Inquisitor of Asmodeous mentor and a couple of current/former Hellknights, perhaps?

At any rate, the campaign will begin this Friday, and will move at a pace that should allow for me to get tons of ideas and input from you guys along the way. I'm curious as to any thoughts or opinions, critiques or advice, particularly involving things to cut in order to streamline the campaign (I already know I'm dropping the Sanitarium from the Skinsaw Murders, for instance) or better ways to integrate the various AP volumes so as to keep the story connected and progressing naturally.


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As a GM that is just getting ready to run my first game I am amazed at your plans. Keep us updated, this sounds like it could be truly epic!


Of all the mashup APs I've read about, this looks like the most feasible. Your players will have a blast! Have fun and good luck!


Krathanos wrote:
Of all the mashup APs I've read about, this looks like the most feasible. Your players will have a blast! Have fun and good luck!

We're looking forward to it - this will be the first and likely only AP's my group ever runs, so I really wanted to make it memorable and epic. Its a new group but it feels like a really good one so I'm excited.

The thing is, I'm trying to tell the Shattered Star story, but I'm primarily using Rise of the Runelords to do it. I want to make the flow smooth and intuitive, including as much 'good stuff' in it as possible without having the campaign go off the rails or having them lose sight of the overall goals. I may work in a module or PFS scenario here or there but I'm going to try to keep it to a minimum unless it really enhances the story.

To that end, I'm really struggling over the inclusion of Seven Days to the Grave. I just read it in detail last night for the first time and even though the location and situation seems well suited to the circumstances I've got set up, its also really heavily reliant on a lot of relationships established in the first book... moreover, the story in CotCT doesn't advance as quickly in that volume as I had thought - the Grey Maidens are only introduced and the battle with the Queen doesn't even really begin. I'm very hesitant to add more volumes from that AP so I may end up dropping it altogether. We'll see. I'm trying to avoid doing any more re-writes than absolutely necessary but Korvosa is so ripe with potential I really want to include it.


I think I'm going to alter the way the Shards work. I'm going to eliminate the benefits they provide and instead cause each of them to grant an additional effective level/HD to any creature that wields them, so long as they satisfy the conditions of the curse. If they do not satisfy them (eating every hour, sex every 12 hours, killing every hour, etc.) then they do not gain the bonus level and are sickened. The Ioun Stones, once placed, eliminate both the curse and the benefit, 'subduing them', so to speak. Carrying multiple Shards does not increase the character level/HD beyond +1, but does stack the curses/requirements for the character to benefit.

Those curses/limitations will reflect the infuence of the various Runelords and their Sin Magic. Once re-forged, the Sihedron's power effectively elevates a creature's level/HD by 7 levels without any negative side-effects (making it a mighty artifact indeed).

The campaign is going to be played by 3 PC's - any thoughts as to potential problems making these changes?


You have shard of sloth under ROtRL 3 and SS 5, I assume mama Garul is Gluttony perhaps?

I do like your layout. I know I need to refine mine a little. Im near the end of skinsaw murders.

Have you considered trying to put in the Krune from the Waking Rune? What abou the Hollow Mountain dungeon and adding wrath?

Have you looked at incorporating the 7 Swords? im working on stating them out. I plan to take it to Mythic.

I would cut out the sanitarium, possibly even the farm stuff as well. Just go from sandpoint strait to Foxglove manor. Thats as far as I have gotten so I cant comment further.

I like your ideas on changing the shards. With 3 PC's it is going to be difficult. You may want to consider always giving max HP each level. They also will have more wealth than their level beginning fairly early and that may compensate for it.
What race/classes are they?

I like the idea of a rival party though I don't know where/how you will fill that in with all the AP stuff. How were you planning to do this?


Dynas wrote:

You have shard of sloth under ROtRL 3 and SS 5, I assume mama Garul is Gluttony perhaps?

Have you considered trying to put in the Krune from the Waking Rune? What abou the Hollow Mountain dungeon and adding wrath?Have you looked at incorporating the 7 Swords? im working on stating them out.

I like your ideas on changing the shards. With 3 PC's it is going to be difficult. You may want to consider always giving max HP each level. They also will have more wealth than their level beginning fairly early and that may compensate for it.
What race/classes are they?

I like the idea of a rival party though I don't know where/how you will fill that in with all the AP stuff. How were you planning to do this?

As a quick update, after chatting with someone in the CotCT forum, I've decided I'm going to do Lady's Light before Seven Days to the Grave - I've got a much smoother flow that way.

Mammy Graul is indeed supposed to be the Shard of Gluttony, thanks for pointing that out.

I haven't looked into Waking Rune (scenario or module?) nor Hollow Mountains. The group isn't a particularly trap-happy bunch so I'm not going to be doing Seven Swords either. With 10 AP volumes already I'm going to be giving anything I think to add in a very critical eye.

The party is made up of a Half-elven Spirit Summoner who's being built as a melee type, his eidolon almost like his mentor and trainer in the combat arts in addition to being his guardian, a reformed Sczarni thug (human) who now serves as a very non-traditional Paladin of Sarenrae and a teenaged girl (also human) living under a curse (Blackblooded Oracle, spellscar Curse with some reworks who draws her spells from the Sorcerer/Wizard list instead of the Cleric/Oracle). At any given time they will have between 0 and 2 NPC's adventuring with them, most notably in the early going Shalelu, Oriana and a rebuilt Brodert Quink (non-combatant Archivist Bard).

To compensate for just being three of them, I've given them a 25 point build and 2 extra skill ranks per level. As standard house rules, all characters gain Power Attack, Combat Expertise and Point Blank shot for free if they meet the pre-requisites. All casters gain the feats Eschew Materials and Heighten Spell for free as well. Plus, if I keep my changes to the Shards, once they get at least three of them they'll all have the opportunity to operate as if they were one level higher.

As far as the rival party goes, these are some of my thoughts on that:

The young Chelaxian Cavalier is seeking to increase his own power and influence by working in concert with a Sorshien-influenced Queen Ileosa (allies in his mind, a pawn in hers) to seek out these Shards which Sorshien in turn wants to use for the same reason as Karzoug, to reforge the Sihedron and hasten her return to power. The Inquisitor will be his mentor and advisor (kind of the Rasputin in his ear, and one who might have his own agreements with Ileosa or perhaps be seeking the artifacts for his own purposes). The two Hellknights were intended to be kind of nameless, as I want them to be replaceable from time to time by other hirelings or henchmen should the PC's slay them. The Red Mantis Assassin I figured would be the tracker of the group, seeking them out in revenge for foiling their plan in Korvosa and exposing their involvement - I'm also going to work in some personal angle so that the Assassin will want revenge on the PC's (or one specific PC) that will push him to go above and beyond even the Assassin's mandate. Driven by hate, that kind of thing.

The role of the group would be to sort of act as a foil for the PC's. Sometimes the knowledge that they might be on their heels will put a sense of urgency into their actions and keep them on track, while sometimes trying to catch up with them can serve as a hook to the next area/encounter. Ideally I'd like there to be at least 2-3 direct confrontations over the course of the campaign, enough that the PC's will be intimately familiar with their adversary.


All that extra will powers will make them high enough I imagine. I've been looking and I dont really see how to incorporate seven swords(at least the dungeon part) though you may be able to add the items. I've also tinkered with your plot line a little for my own story.

Waking Rune is a module. The hollow mountains in Dungeons of Golarion aka Wrath Runelord.


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Dynas wrote:

All that extra will powers will make them high enough I imagine. I've been looking and I dont really see how to incorporate seven swords(at least the dungeon part) though you may be able to add the items. I've also tinkered with your plot line a little for my own story.

Waking Rune is a module. The hollow mountains in Dungeons of Golarion aka Wrath Runelord.

I just found a number of Season 4 PFS scenarios (including Waking Rune) which may or may not make for nice inserts here and there:

4-01 Rise of the Goblin Guild
4-02 In Wrath's Shadow
4-03 The Golemworks Incident
4-04 King of the Storval Stairs
4-08 The Cultist's Kiss
4-10 Feast of Sigils
4-12 The Refuge of Time
4-26 The Waking Rune
(Special) The Rune-carved Key

As I said before, its already going to be a long campaign and I'm looking for things to cut - anything I add is going to be very carefully considered.

I expect both Shiela Heidmarch (who I'm going to run as a major Machiavellian NPC) and Magnimar to figure prominently in the campaign, and while I don't expect the PC's to become members of the PFS, they may be convinced to act on their behalf from time to time.

Shiela is going to be a driving force behind the reforging of the Star, almost to the point of obsessiveness, driven by the very real fear of the re-awakening of the Runelords as well as a powerful desire to see the PFS rise in influence and her along with it. She and Brodert Quink will be competing sources of information (and misinformation) which should make for some fun role-play. One thing I'm going to do is have her supply the PC's with a special chest for carrying the Shards, one that if opened appears to be normal, but if opened with a special command word will open an extra-dimensional space where the Shards can be safely stored - unbeknownst to them, she has a similar chest that allows her access to the same space, meaning that she can withdraw the Shards at any time as well. In her mind its a reasonable safety precaution with the PC's traipsing all over Varisia, facing death and destruction at every turn. I plan on having that 'deception' throw an interesting twist at the group later in the campaign.


This one might be helpful

Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Magnimar, City of Monuments

Im working on tweaking mine, ill post it up and would like your feedback. Ill take a look at some of these others.


I finally learned spoiler tags after about 2 weeks. :)

Runelords #1 - Burnt Offerings: (1st-4th Level):

The Rise of the Runelords begins as it was written, with the Swallowtail Festival and progressing as normal with the main exception being that the Nualia escapes. The PC's will have no real knowledge of what they have found or what it signifies.

Runelords #2 - The Skinsaw Murders: (5th-6th Level):

The Skinsaw Murders also progresses as written with no changes. Xanesha will have the Shard of Greed. Finding a first shard should get the PC's curious, and I expect Brodert Quink to begin playing a much bigger role as an NPC as he aids the PC's in their research. The gist here is that the Sihedron, as a sort of sentient artifact a la the One Ring, wants to be found, wants to be reassembled, and has begun surfacing throughout Varisia in the hands of those whom its driving Sin most appeals to. During the volume the PC's will likely meet Sheila Heidmarch socially, and she will have long been a Sihedron scholar - her desire to see it reforged and in the hands of the PFS will have her both aid, illuminate and potentially mislead or manipulate the PC's as the AP unfolds. They will also encounter Vorel's Phage and discover Ironbriar's link to the Mantis Assassins and hints at what might be taking place in Korvosa. PC’s go to a party to celebrate and one of them is kidnapped for ritual for Nualia.

Added Session: Nualia Half-Fiend Ritual: CREATE (6th Level):

The PC’s investigate the kidnapping of their friend (likely the Paladin) and eventually arrive at a Temple of Lamashtu beneath the Irespan. Nualia had planned to attack Xanesha and take her shard after the ritual but the PC’s ruined that. In an attempt to capture the shard as well as complete her ritual she kidnapped the PC. She makes a sacrifice by stabbing the Shard of Wrath into the PC becoming a half-feind. PC’s will win, she will escape via dimension door and the PC’s acquire the 2nd shard. Also Race for the Rune-carved Key?

Shattered Star #2 - Curse of the Lady's Light: (7th-8th Level):

I'm going to tie this in to Seven Days From the Grave, perhaps by having he PC's tracking an escaped/renegade group of Grey Maidens and/or having Sheila point the PC's in its direction as a potential resting place for the Shard of Lust (which will be in the hands of the alu-demon Ashamintallu). Connections to Sorshein will abound, and I fully intend for one of my players to fall 'victim' to the Clone trap. Rewrite and increase CR at beginning.

Crimson Throne #2 - Seven Days to the Grave: (8th-9th Level):

This is probably the most ambitious aspect of the campaign since I'm attempting to insert a single volume, but the lead-in seems potentially strong (Vorel's Phage from the Misgivings, Ironbriar and his journal linking to the Red Mantis assassins) and both the geography and the theme will be campaign-appropriate considering Sorshen's relationship with Korvosa, something I plan on playing up over time. Including this volume will probably involve the heaviest re-write, but I'm really hoping to keep as much of the original story as intact as possible. Xanesha sold the plague to the Red Mantis and also was the one who gave Aldern Foxglove the infected rats of Vorels Phage. Xanesha is also part of the Brotherhood of 7, which was originally started from Vorel Foxglove whom created the plague. Lady Andaisin has the Shard of Envy. Envys the Brotherhood. Rewrite and increase CR at beginning.

Runelords #3 - Hook Mountain Massacre: (9th-10th Level):

The Rise of the Runelords will get back on track here and play out pretty much as normal. Mammy Graul will be in possession of the Shard of Gluttony.

Runelords #4 - Fortress of the Stone Giants: (11th-12th Level):

Again, this volume will play out pretty much as written, though I plan on having the Assault on Sandpoint be a much bigger affair, with a sort of 'gathering of heroes' from among the NPC's the group has befriended and allied with to this point. Mokmurian, as a servant of Karzoug (whom also wishes to see the Sihedron reforged but under his control) has come into possession of the Shard of Pride and is 'holding it' for his master while the others are sought. The library will give them a large info dump on the Sihedron Shards, Swords of Sin, Runelords, and Emperor Xin.

Shattered Star #5 - Into the Nightmare Rift: (12th-13th Level):

Given the geography up to this point, the involvement with Giants and the impending ties between Karzoug and Leng, this seems like a natural insert here with very little needing to be re-written. Nightmare Rift and Sins of the Saviors may end up being a bit of a mash-up though, depending on how events unfold. As written, the Shard of Sloth will be in possession of the Blue Dragon Cadrilkasta.

Runelords #5 - Sins of the Saviors: (14th-15th Level):

Rise of the Runelords gets back fully on track here, with tons of clues and revelations tying everything together as the showdown with Xin begins to loom large. The Shard of Greed is in possession by Highlady Athroxis

Shattered Star #6 - The Dead Heart of Xin: (16th-17th Level) (End BOSS CR 21):

With the threat of Xin rising the very real looming fear of the potential return of the other Runelords, Sheila pushes for the reforging of the Sihedron with all of Varisia looking on... and as foretold, disaster strikes. Defeat the spirit of Xin, with his death he announces their mistake and his servants will rise. This is the final sacrifice needed to awaken the Runelords. Unknown to them, Xin binds his spirit essence to each when he is slain which gives them the power needed to rise. He uses them as a sort of Phylactery, as each successive Runelord is defeated his physical manifestation grows.

The Waking Rune Module S04-26 Module: (17th Level) (CR 18):

With the threat of Xin dealt with but the very real looming fear of the potential return of the other Runelords on the rise to save Golarion.

Runelords #6 - Spires of Xin-Shalast: (17th-18th Level) Increase CR?:

Karzoug hopes to exterminate the PC’s and he sets his guardians and set his minions to the task of recovering them. Xin-Shalast really brings home for everyone the world that awaits them should he succeed. (Obtain First Mythic Tier after beating Karzoug)

Here is where it gets a little chaotic as basically each session/dungeon is taking down a runelord.

Shimmering Sea-Promise-Envy(make) (19th Level):

Hermea-Gold Dragon Ruler Mengkare

Dungeons of Golarion-Hollow Mountain-Wrath-Azlantist (20th/Mythic 1st) (CR24) (10th-12th Level):

Pathfinder #64 has stats and info as well. PC’s hear rumors of Runelord of Wrath gathering an army at Hollow Mountain in preparation for conquest of Varisia.
Also, Pathfinder Society Scenario #4–02: In Wrath’s Shadow (PFRPG) PDF
Saturday Night Special 1: Hollow Mountain (PFRPG)
Wrath of Ritghtousness Has mythic

Curse of the Crimson Throne #6-PF 12-Lust Runelord Increase CR (Mythic 2nd):

The PC’s head to Korvosa to eliminate the threat of the Runelord of Lust.

Shadow in the Sky #1-PF 13-Pride ?(map only) (Mythic 3rd):

Riddleport, make & use a Pigpen Cypher

Xin Physical form-Planar/Oliphant of Jundlay (Mythic 4th):

Wrath of Righteousness


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Dynas wrote:
I finally learned spoiler tags after about 2 weeks. :)

:
it took me somewhere around 3 years before i learned how to do spoiler tags
:)

Yeah good stuff.


Ok, mister. I'm your Yithian
I longed tried to smash up the modules, and here i have many ideas of how to operate it.
Here my first suggestion: find your BG and difference them from "antagonizing factors"

Mixing many AP means A LOT of possible combinations, and you must be ready for the beginning to make all the connections. I would suggests as such

faction ideas:

1) False Runelords. One of the Ap's names is Rise of the Runelords. Your players will probably already know something, and even if not, it's clear that something call "runelords" will rise. So, give that to them ... in another way. The Runelords that will afflict Varisia in a first moment are not the thassilonian ones, but instead an "evil arcane guild" that operates in Kaer Maga that basically agglomerates any high level evil spellcaster in the entire region, the most powerful ones known as "runelords" of their school. In truth, this guild was created by Mormukain as a way to gain allies and spies all around the region while he works creating the army necessary to reclaim the ancient runelords domains. This "runelords" are a good level 7 to 11 enemies cause: 1) they may be active everywhere (riddleport ciphermages, magnimar's golemworks, korvosa acadamea) doing many things (recovering artifacts, spying, assassinate the right people). When the players go to magnimar and face them, they discover about mormukain and the real threat of an army of giants capable of conquering every major city. Obviously, the the true runelords will awake in a later moment, possibly with mythic repercussions.
This allows you to use: seven sword of sin, the asylum stone, the golemworks incident and riddleport related stuff.

2) Lissala church. Lissala is an interesting deity and the reappearance of her cult could, by itself, be a great campaign. you have to explore how it works, and why this cult cannot be accepted, while diabolism is. Also, i suggest you explore the relation between the cult and the runelords/mormukain. are they at odds with each other or helping each other?
Here a possible solution: the cult was reintroduce in Varisia by lamia agents from Xin Shalast. While originally they all worked for Cleopta (high priestess of wealth), one of those agents has been visited by the Herald of Lissala and prompted to find and awake "the high priest" (rune lord rune). This creates a distinction between krune-oriented lissalans (magical power and mortification) and Cleopta ones (wealth and corruption). Either side may have different aims, and might be at odds with each other. Either faction obviously work by infiltrating and taking away resources from lesser cults or powers: Xadesha could well be a Cleopta agent active in many leves in magnimar, not only by making the brothers do the killing for her, but also making the preparations for an ostile takeover of a city district. In Korvosa the same could be done by a lissalan from krune faction (there is a vampire priest) that offers the urgathoas an ancient, sin related plauge.

This allow you all the lissala content of season 3 and 4, and book 5 of shattered star.

3) Demons. In the original runelords, Lamashtu had a background seat after book one. Her minions were present, but more as a background element, with the Black Maggda as only element of a great power. In shattered we have a book about the summoning of an Qlippoth lord strongly associated with the rune lord of wrath. I personally would like to explore more it, with more emphasis with the demons related to the sin magic. However, Nualia as a character allows to greater emphasize this aspect even without her knowledge. After all, she was xadesha instrument even thought she was completely ignorant of it. You should really emphasize how sin magic can "make power" from sin, and how demons are related to those. Maybe Nualia may be killed and later rise by sin magic thanks to the runewell power she had already absorbed. Make her steal-find one of the shard, free the brashest (if he's still there) and then ally with the one that wishes to bring Yamasoth in the world. the qlippoth lord may me attracted by the situation in Varisia since, thanks to all the rune wells (there must be a lot of them active, or in activation) the region is becoming way more impregnated by sin magic, and he, as a being that predates sin, may use that power to create new kind of beings. Maybe lamashtu and Yamasoth are working to take possession of as many rune wells possible to use them for their blasphemous needs.

This allows you to explore varisia in search of demon-sin rune wells. having Nualia and such around attacking place far from Sandpoint. It also remind your players they should shut off as many of those they can.

4) Queen Ileosa and sin magic. In the original Curse, Ileosa was just an evil woman that was influenced by a crown to do way more evil things she should have to gain power. Most of that comes from unkillability, devil allies and the creation of a stormtroopers squad and a plauge (for some reasons). Though the crown of fangs is an interesting artifact, it's also easily spotted. No one could cast detect magic? What could Ileosa have done is to being reached by an ancient servant of Sorshen (nosferatu alchemist?) and be educated to sin magic. With ancient knowledge, she may well cause the plague and later try to cut herself of her allies lash by exposing them, becoming for a while some kind of heroine while, in secret, working for her goal: the mastering of sin magic and, in particular, blood magic, by becoming some kind of alchemical vampire herself. Obviously, this led to a side effect that forces her to seek another solution, and you have book 6. After that, if could be argued that, by merely activating the sunken thing, a rune well inside the castle my transmit enough power to allow the awakening or real sorshen. This spin allows you to: 1) keep ileosa into the plot of sinedron artifacts and sin magic: she could want one of the shards for her uses, cause a sin-related plague to power up her little well and bath in it, she could be part of have one of the "false runelords" (togomor) work for her. Also, by having her broke off the plauge bringers and expose them, your characters will believe she's not part of them (would you believe without concrete proof that the queen actually helped urgathoas to strike her own city?).

5) True Runelords.
The runelords are fascinating enemies because, thought immensely evil, they are clearly from a civilization far advanced from many states in the inner sea region, and they clearly have political projects and infrastructures in mind. Each of them should be presented as an unique character and a peculiar menace for how the would change the world if the got chances. Krune may well force lissala as the main religion striking down any faith that openly oppose it, Sorshen may want to actually abolish things like marriage and such and force her prospective about love, sex and desire in anyone, changing many laws. Karzoug my negate freedom of possession not granted by his divine authority and impose slavery. Also, all the runelords are INT 30 or more, so each one should be able to develop a gigantic plan that already see them well put in the international chessboard. I well see a freed karzoug present himself to queen Galfrey proposing help against the worldwounds after having opened a trade-road via gate between Xin Shalast and Egorian, and maybe having proposed to queen Thrune herself.

In my view, any runelord can be made a way more interested character in many way
Taking karzoug for example, as he's the most documented.
1) Karzoug desider wealth: in his mind, Karzoug may want to reclaim all thassilonian strongholds and reign over Varisia, but such project may require centuries, and he knows well how much delay can come from direct opposition. What if he tries to gain consensus? Even if he cannot leave Xin Shalash, his servants can. He can present himself as a new Aroden, come to restore Azlant legacy and elevate anyone that serves him. He could well "be a nice guy" for all the years needed to overbuild his position as Vasirian benevolent protector, founding cities, creating school, and giving riches everywhere until everybody will beg him to "conquer" them and become their divine ruler.

2) Karzoug awakening may actually be a good thing: karzoug needs greed to awake and get free from his prison, and his minions get it by ... killing lots of greedy people, most of them actually evil. What if his servants starts to hunt down evil organizations or evil dragons (greediest creature on the place) and then share their treasurers?

3) Karzoug has many plans, and plans even for his defeat: with +30 int, Karzoug my have different way to bend in his favor any possible event except for his actual demise. For example, if Magnimar is endangered by the tsunami, he might pop up or send minions to help with the situation; Hell, Karzoug might well be behind a lot of more things. What if he awoke when aroden dieds, instead when Mormukain found him? What if, to not cause a awake-chain reaction with the others runelords he took his time to know this new world? What if he's the one that allowed the shard search in order to retrive the sihedron knowing that Xin will arise and be ready to "be there, helping", while secretly aiming at his army of clockworks (that can conveniently be controlled by a key). By another side, Karzoug could create an emergency in order to solve it and gain public recognition. What if Karzoug actually helps through agents the heroes to oppose Mormukain and later present himself as the "true" runelords, awaken by the evil deeds of the false one and ready to rectify what was done with a misusage of ancient VIRTUE magic ... characters would have really few way to know he's the BAD GUY.

4) Karzoug needs to be around, and he can! Though the 20 level wizard is inside his demiplane, nothing forbids he can have "lesser bodies" around. Throught proxies, use of transmutation created artificial bodies karzoug may well be have some soul-shard-bound mannequins, some lesser simulacrum and such. Maybe karzoug is a 5 level youngster that works in the cyphermages, maybe he's a 10 level magus traveling around on a phantom steed, or maybe he's one of the pcs friends or mentors or such. such awesomeness cannot be confined in just one place.

Obviously, each of those ideas may be translated to the others runelords. A sorshen possessed Ileosa (maybe Sorshen as become pure desire and can possess multiple people like a disease?), a Krune that, just awoken, sends all his bound angels to help at the Worldwound as a "homage" to the valiant crusaders, a legion of Alaznist-shard sinspawn awoken to free their creator,


This was my long contribution. If you are interested in other ideas, replay as you wish.


UPDATE: We had our first session this week. The PC's arrived in Sandpoint and attended the Festival with the following changes:

I ran a version of Daverin Hosk's 'Goblin Toss' just for fun and played up Hosk's teasing of local children that the jerky he was handing out as prizes was, in fact, goblin meat. I also added in a couple of contests including a challenge of strength tossing large stones (not unlike the one in the wedding scene of Braveheart). There were other events I alluded to, but none the PC's felt compelled to participate in.

I added some NPC's staying at the Rusty Dragon Inn for flavor, most notably a Dwarven toy maker down from Magnimar whom had brought some orphans with him for the festival.

When the Goblin Raid took place, I had the first goblin encounter play out as normal, while setting up the second immediately after with goblins menacing Father Zantus and the toy maker as they protected several of the children in the shelter of a doorway. The PC's interceded, dealing with those three while two more pelted them with sling stones from a nearby rooftop. When the encounter ended, I had Ameiko show up to usher the children away while Zantus healed up the PC's.

I added some additional encounters during the raid, one on Hosk's stables (since I had just introduced him), made up of three goblins attacking him while five more attempted to set fire to the stables with the horses inside. It played out as two back-to-back encounters as the second group was wholly distracted by their fun until the PC's engaged them.

I also added a second encounter - two goblins had Shayliss Vinder cornered in an alleyway while she attempted to fend them off with a stool. I wanted to introduce her and set up a more direct involvment between she and one of the PC's before her attempt at seduction later on.

Finally, the showdown at the gate with the mounted Goblin Commando and his gang went as written, with Shayliss and Aldern together to witness the PC's heroics. I wanted to introduce those two NPC's to one another in order to set up the Lust/Envy triangle I'm going to use in the Skinsaw Murders.

Once everything calmed down, there was a gathering at the Rusty Dragon, Sheriff Hemlock showed up to make sure everyone was alright (his guardsmen were doing a door-to-door sweep) and Ameiko and Aldern directed his attentions to the PC's for their heroics. He walked over to thank them when one of the guard rushed up to tell him Father Zantus was requesting his presence at the crypts. Hemlock invited the PC's along to get a measure of them.

Naffer Vosk and Father Zantus were at the Crypts - the stone door to the Mausoleum had been moved and wedged back into place. There were goblin tracks (and one set of 'human') with the sounds of rustling coming from within. The PC's forced the door and faced four skeletons (animated from the remains of past priests of the town laid to rest in this communal crypt). They made sure it was safe before Father Zantus entered and noticed the removal of Father Tobyn's body - he also found something else which caused him to thank the PC's and politely but firmly send them on their way. They and the Sheriff were suspicious but acquiesced and along the way back to the Dragon, Hemlock filled the PC's in on the Late Unpleasantness, focusing more on Stoot and Lonjiku and leaving most of the Nualia story for Zantus to tell, should he wish to.

The next day Ameiko told the PC's they could stay as long as they liked, Aldern invited them on a Boar Hunt the following morning in Tickwood and Shayliss made her play for one of the PC's who was all too eager. I rebuilt Ven as a 3rd level Brawler (Fighter archetype) / 3rd level Commoner with a history of being an accomplished wrestler in his intemperate youth. He pretty much drug the PC in question up the stairs and physically threw him out of the house, banging the wall with his head a few times on the way for good measure. I skipped the Goblin the Closet encounter completely.

The following day the PC's went on the hunt (each having been bought horses and tack as a gift by Aldern), bagging a boar and rescuing the fop a second time in the process. Aldern was effuse in his appreciation but used the trip to subtly feel the PC out over his intentions toward Shayliss. That night Ameiko had the pig roasted as a sort of unofficial feast in the 'heroes' honor and her father Lonjiku showed up to cause his scene. The PC's thought to intercede but Ameiko would have none of it, whirling on the one in particular and asking loudly 'didn't he have enough Daddy issues already?' (his drubbing at Vinder's hands had become public knowledge by then).

The next morning they were summoned to the Cathedral by Father Zantus who wanted to apologize for his curtness the previous day and took the time to tell them Nualia's story in detail, finally revealing what had been left in the crypts for him to find - a long silver braid.

That's where we left off. The PC's are torn between thinking Nualia was behind the raid or has become the victim of foul play by someone wanting to harm the town. Visitors to Sandpoint for the festival have remained holed up while Hemlock's men scouted the roads to Magnimar and beyond to make certain it was safe to travel. The following morning Shalelu will arrive to give her report (reuniting with Ameiko and meeting the PC's in the process) and the day after Hemlock will ride in convoy, escorting a group back to Magnimar with the intention of asking for more troops while there; the PC's will be asked to 'keep a visible presence' in the meanwhile and it'll be after they depart that Ameiko will disappear and her letter be found. Aldern will leave with the convoy, Shayliss giving him a fond farewell with the obvious intent of making the PC she was interested in jealous - this will be the last hint of a relationship between the two NPC's while I try to lay a red herring for the Skinsaw Man's eventual infatuation.


I've definitely decided I'm going to change how the Shards function. When carried, each will grant +4 to saving throws against the school of magic they represent, and a -2 to saving throws to each of the two schools that their school of magic is opposed to (i.e. Shard of Wrath will grant +4 to saves vs. Evocation spells and a -2 to saves vs. Abjuration and Conjuration spells).

Additionally their curse will remain in effect as written. With the Shard of Wrath, for instance, the PC will be Sickened whenever he or she hasn't reduced a creature to -1 hit points in the past hour, and once they attack someone, it will take a Will 20 save to stop without killing them. However, when the circumstances of the curse have been fulfilled (if they have killed someone in the past hour, for instance), they will effectively gain 1 character level as they become flushed with power.

Theoretically, once re-forged, the Sihedron will grant +7 character levels to its wielder, +4 saves vs. all magic except Divination and none of the curses will be in effect as the re-forging sheds the shards of their individual sin magic influences. A potent artifact to be sure, though I doubt any of the PC's will ever get to wield it whole.

Ioun stones will either play no role in the Shards function, or they will completely (temporarily) nullify the Shard they are affixed to, and have their own abilities subdued as well. I haven't decided yet.

I'm going to play the Shards as semi-sentient, kind of like the One Ring. They want to be found, want to be re-forged, and with the awakening of the Runelords, each Shard has begun to resurface in the hands of someone who is particularly susceptible to their sin magic influences. They will in turn be driving many of the villains the PC's encounter - for instance the Shard of Wrath (gifted to her by Elyrium after she discovered it in the Catacombs of Wrath) will be fueling Nuali's hate towards the denizens of Sandpoint. Meanwhile the Shard of Lust (safeguarded within the Lady's Light) will be manipulating Ashamintallu's into believing herself to be Sorshen reborn, driving her indulgence in hedonistic pleasures and so on. It'll be up to the PC's to gather them, to navigate their hazards and to figure out which are best to use and which are best to keep hidden away.


Pnakotus Detsujin wrote:

Ok, mister. I'm your Yithian

I longed tried to smash up the modules, and here i have many ideas of how to operate it.
Here my first suggestion: find your BG and difference them from "antagonizing factors"

Mixing many AP means A LOT of possible combinations, and you must be ready for the beginning to make all the connections. I would suggests as such
** spoiler omitted **...

Pnakotus Detsujin- I like some of these. I was going for something between a mix of 2 and 3. Nualia escaped and will transform into a half fiend using the shard of wrath as a sacrifice while "consummating" herself to serve her goddess Lamashtu. The PC's will walk in on this ritual and see her transformation.

I was looking at a cult working behind the scenes and the Lissala religion will work well. Members seeking to raise Xin.

As for the tsunami I was planning on having that happen and thus the PC's will be forced to seek aid from neighboring city states like Riddleport of Krovosa (where they will encounter other runelords.)

My idea was that the PC's gather the shards and assemble the Sihderon then fight Xin. If they defeat Xin, his spiritual essence awakens the remaining runelords with his death and each Runelord will need to be beat.

Option 2: If Xin TPK them (possibly on purpose by me) then they all are "resurrected" and return with their first mythic levels. They are tasked by a deity (Caydan Cailean) as the heroes to eliminate the Rise of the Remaining Runelords which Xin will awaken to add to his power. He will have control over them (via the shards) and use them as his lieutenants. He will then get to work building the Irespan from Xin to Magnimar and invade with his Clock Army. The PC's fight the Runelords to slowly dwindle down his forces before rallying the 3 city states, (riddleport, magnimar, korvosa) for a grand epic mass battle.

Thoughts?

Any ideas on the non stated runelords. I have Kargoug, Krune and Soheshen.

Looking at Wrath, Gluttony, Pride, Envy. I like your wrath ideas, what sorts of evil would the others do? Toughts on each ones overall plan? Fight tactics? Would any of them work together? Build ideas. I've been working on Envy for 2 days.

I was toying with lots of Dragons for Envy as she Envy's their power.

I believe i read somewhere that Gluttony has a giant throne of bones carried by skeleton minions. I was going to make skeleton giants carry the throne. He would basically summon/animate dead from the bone throne. This thing would be massive, (like 6x6 squares) and spawn giant skeletons, dragons, and other nasty's.

For wrath an army of sinspawn, but what else? Sinspawn are pretty low on the CR and my PC's will be lvl 20 possible mythic by this point.

I plan on saving Pride for last (seeing as he is most powerful.


Story ARcher, I'm just reading over Shattered Star 2. I will cut all the stuff in the Mushfens. I will cut the meeting with the witch and the shipwreck. Probably just end up doing a "random encounter" against a tribe of trogdilytes and then they will go into the cave and fight the pyrohyrda. After that have them go through the cave with a trap or two and then get into the actual lady of light dungeon. The prelude of all this just seems unnecessary for the overall story. Thoughts?


Dynas wrote:

Story ARcher, I'm just reading over Shattered Star 2. I will cut all the stuff in the Mushfens. I will cut the meeting with the witch and the shipwreck. Probably just end up doing a "random encounter" against a tribe of trogdilytes and then they will go into the cave and fight the pyrohyrda. After that have them go through the cave with a trap or two and then get into the actual lady of light dungeon. The prelude of all this just seems unnecessary for the overall story. Thoughts?

I'm probably going to do something other than the shipwreck but I'm absolutely using the witch. Some great RP opportunities there and a good chance to advance my plot with unexpected insights. Brodert Quink will be accompanying the PC's on that trip and I'm already planning for some really neat interactions between she and him. I'll probably use the warring tribes as well, but then I'm not trying to pack in as much other stuff as you are.

We started last Friday night. Our campaign wiki is already up. :)


On obsidian portal? Do you have a link?


Dynas wrote:
On obsidian portal? Do you have a link?

Not on Obsidian Portal, just a regular wiki. We'll have individual journals for each of our players, a regularly updated compendium of people encountered, places visited and items discovered as well as a summary of each chapter as its completed. We're still getting it put together but its coming along nicely.

Let me know if you have any trouble accessing it.

RotRL Wiki


Ok, let's start with this

runelords idea:

1) not all the challenge should be big monster vs thing. many mythic foes are once that cannot be defeated by force, but only throughout planning and immense skill.
2) About the runelords. Each of the should be mythic, and for those reasons: they are the beacon of each sin that had like thousands of years to charge them and almost no one to give power with. The three you have should be six (karzoug), third (KRUNE, with hierophant) and eight tier (sorshen, dual path archmage and trickster).
about the others, i suggest
Wrath: no mythic, but let her be a Nascent demon lord of wrath, able to use high evocation magic (maybe absorb it) and magus abilities, and also command/make enrage other creatures/giants.
Envy: let's have her have lost her physical body and inhabit a warded demiplane that "eat" magic every time it connects with a region of varisia, causing many kind of damages. She basically wants to steal abiuration magic to recreate herself as a being of pure magic (demigoddess or herald of lissala?) but doing so causes lots of problems (weakening rovagug prison? freeing bonded outsiders? taking away divine power from faithfuls?)
Gluttony: i say do nothing except what the book of shattered star suggest. in my way, zutha is actually very happy right now cause i can "taste" the world throughout all the people that have received power by him (tar baphom, that giant necromancer), so let's not take him in the place. he should stay quiet in his book in a demiplane of food and experience, having team with urgathoa.
pride: he could be everyone and everybody. Aboleth? dragon? aboleth dragon? ancient gone? aroden? i think this guy should not be in the fight. if you want it, you could make that, in truth, he was a peacock-headed rakshasa mage that created the peacock spirit thing in order gain divinity, and after he gained he went away from golarion and that the reappearing of sin magic has called him back.

Now, about their weapons and objectives. each rune lord what to be emperor of everything thassilon was. the old barrier will not hold them.

1) karzoug work for me as a nice guy, one that (for now at least) says "if you are rich, i'm richer", and that your character have to fight alone cause everyone actually likes him! he would likely ally with any rune lord active in order to "recreate glorious thassilon" while working to stab them. i see him as the best ally pc can get. i can easily see some "holy marriage" with a certain mammon priestess in cheliax.

2) sorshes is a being of lust and wishes lust everywhere. she will eradicate any kind of moderation or law against her orgy filled mind. possibly use of some kind of love potion effect on mass. It seems stupid, but if you read Dune, book 5, you discover what kind of society could exist dominated by pure desire. also, succubi will form unions and work to solve overpopulations. also lots of vampire priests. she will propably marry every high power in nidal and gain help from there.

3) wrath: awake from slumber, built a legion of 30.000 sinspawn from every rune well in varisia, forge "giantspawn" from giants, then attack with "rage storm", basically waves of magic that infuriated the enemy while creating good conditions for sinspawn army. Totally hate against karzoug and will to become rune-empress.

4) others runelords: too many possibility. take way finder 8 for archetype of rune-dragons.


Very good ideas. I will definitely use a lot of this. I'm looking to make each one very unique. I don't want them to just fight another high level mage with a different school focus.

I will keep Greed, Sloth as is by paizo.

I like the Sorshen idea of a lot of vampires. I'm thinking of having her stuff slowly build up perhaps in the city of Korvasa. havn't thought about Nidal, i was wanting to keep everything within the boundries of Thassilon. Incubi and Succubi work good as well. I will probably bring Nualia back as a fully formed Demon Succubus for a recurring villian. (I have only read the original Dune)

Wrath: Basically i see a blitzkreig style army that pours out from the runewells which are controlled by a master runewell in hollow mountain where the only way to stop such overwhelming force is at the heart of it all. Simply killing the sinspawn creates more sinspawn and the army is basically a constant wave of queue minions. This will be like the journey to Mount Doom where they destroy the dark lord to save the world.

For Envy are you saying you would do some sort of Plane travelling adventure? How would you stat out the runelord?

For gluttony your saying he is content how he is and wouldnt even come back? why not?

Lastly are you implying that the illusionist runelord is so powerful he was actually a god/peacock spirit and portray the "runelord" as his physical manifestation on the material plane. As such by fighting him they would be fighting a demigod/god?


In my opinion, each of them should have something unique and different that forces your, then mythic players, to change their way to fight.

mythic runelords fight:

Karzoug: as written in the ap, expect he's mythic and when pcs reach him, he's either free from the demiplane or in a "battle body" made for the occasion. he's a master of transmutaton, after all. a battle body my be:
1) a mythic colossus (skymetals) that could we call Karzoug-Z, or MajinKarzoug (yes. it's mazinger. your players are mythic now and they can and will fight againt a giant robot). he's also an "armor" for karzoug, that allows him to use only transmutaton magic. playes have to took him out before the real fight begins
2) a rune giant body (or more than one), that he can possess as magic jar. it's up to your players to stop him to switch body every time (mythic protection from good, soul bind and such).

Krune: he has an army of thousands of beings in those pillars! let's make that, each round, as a free action, he can summon something from them as a summon monster IX spell while he buffs. after all, your players will already know who he is, how he fights and be prepared with banishment and such. let's have dozens of angels that politely ask pcs to not disturb the hierophant of Lissala.

sorshen: it has been suggestes to make her a MR 8 character dual path archmage trickster, with an "alchemical vampire" template. i think there is a sheet on the forum. obviously, fighting her means to fight everyone that loves and desires her before. also, killing might not be a possibility, since vampire. maybe to put her out some kind of divine - antisin weapon in needed (like the scepter of karzoug, after a visit in the rune forge?

Wrath: here fighting is the bad solution, cause for each sinspawn killed the rage is taken back in the rune well and a new, improved one, emerges. I also see tundra giants with class levels as strike forces and lots of qlippoth abominations. the solution here is to "absorb" said rage by eithere creating an anti-runewell (here the knowledge of other runelords by be useful) or by constantly engaging the half-fiend rune lady directly, forcing her to "feed on" her army to stay in the game. but we are talking about something difficult to represent in game, like a three day long stalemate battle. also, need an epic weapon

Envy: envy forces player to enter in the demiplane where magic is negated. if you want to use magic, use 1 mythic point each time. for each mythic point used, the plane absorbs it. in the center of the plane there the runelady cosciusness (use the ai rules from tecnology guide) that will be able to create a body (golem like, + magic and mythic) in relation of how much power the players have expended to reach there. also, need non magic here: give the non magical character the lead here.

gluttony: i don't think zutha works well as a villain. after the giant lich, possibly mythic, why another one? instead, he may work as an "ally", in the sense of a information giver character, in exchange to "feel the world" throught the players perception (a lesser form of soul jar that leave control but allows him from the book to taste their lives experiences). If i where zutha, after 10000 years in a book, i would have gone for quantity over quality. this is also risky cause we all know what happens to people that make pacts with him (tar baphon anyone?)

I think the illusion runelord could have been a dragon, an aboleth veiled master or a rakshasa. since the rakshasa is the only monster those campaigns do not cover well, let's say he was one of those. in this case:
1) the peacock spirit he worshipped was non other than himself. he created a religion in order to gain power from it. the greatest illusion: divinity.
2) after earthfall he became an overlord and leave the plane, sure to return when thassilon would rose again. since it did not happen soon, he got bored and started to do other things.
3) when xin awakes, he feel from the planes that time is right and returns. take place in his flying castle and waits to see how he can make everyone worship the god he is (i would start with the razmirian, then every evil faith) while awakening his simulacra army of all the dragons that served him! the question is: would the players be forced to fight him (as a CR 25 or more rakshasa lord) or they can simply convince him that the game is not worth it? i mean, what varisia can offer him except some kind of sentimental value? would you at 50 pick a fight with another family if the refuse to sell you the house you lived in at 20?

The biggest fight should be thought against the curse of the runelords let by sin! will your players, gaining mythic power fighting those guy, resist the temptation to became runelords themselves and unite Varisia as divine rulers?


All great stuff. GOing to use a lot of this. Thanks


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

As I'm reading Rise, I dont care for the transition between Skinsaw and Hook Mountain.

I've been keeping an eye on your threads about your expanded campaign plan, and see that you have two whole books+ in between those.

How are you planning managing that link across Skinsaw ->Hook Mountain?

I'd sort of half planned to make sure Lyrie escapes and run some of the ideas I've seen about using her in Magnimar, and that causing all sorts of legal problems that push the party out to Fort Rannick but I still dont like that either.


the Lorax wrote:

As I'm reading Rise, I dont care for the transition between Skinsaw and Hook Mountain.

I've been keeping an eye on your threads about your expanded campaign plan, and see that you have two whole books+ in between those.

How are you planning managing that link across Skinsaw ->Hook Mountain?

I'd sort of half planned to make sure Lyrie escapes and run some of the ideas I've seen about using her in Magnimar, and that causing all sorts of legal problems that push the party out to Fort Rannick but I still dont like that either.

Was this directed towards me, or..?


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Story Archer, Definately!

The transition between Skinsaw and Hook Mountain doesn't feel organic to me.

With you doing a lot in between I'm curious how you plan to get the characters to want to be headed up to Turtleback Ferry/Fort Rannick.


the Lorax wrote:

Story Archer, Definately!

The transition between Skinsaw and Hook Mountain doesn't feel organic to me.

With you doing a lot in between I'm curious how you plan to get the characters to want to be headed up to Turtleback Ferry/Fort Rannick.

Well, to be honest, I have a good, general plan to take me through all of the different volumes but i've also got two caveats: the first is that i tend to really detail how I lay things out based on what has come before... the various interactions with and potential deaths of a wide number of NPC's might change how I hook them from A to B, and the further out I get the less certain I can be as to how its going to unfold. Also, I'm blessed with PC's who really want to experience what I've put together for them, so they don't mind the occasional bit of railroading and aren't shy about taking a hook that is presented. Its payback for the subplots I write in for each character and the pains I go through to hint at things far down the road. While the flow might not always be perfect due to circumstances beyond my control, it never ever feels like a sudden 180 just to accommodate the campaign.

Having said all that, during the Skinsaw Murders the PC's are going to meet Shield Heidmarch socially and after Ironbriar is exposed and Xanesha escapes (which is what I intend), Shiela will be the one to reveal to them that they have come into possession of, by then, two of the Shards of the Shattered Star - it will be then that a quest for the remaining fragments will become sort of a background over-reaching plot and she will request that they explore the Lady's Light as a potential resting place for another (I'm doing away with the Ioun Stone roadmap thing). Brodert Quink will insist on coming with them to explore the ancient statue; I'm having he and Shiela be the PC's two primary sources of Thassilonian lore and often times the two will be in conflict, both in their priorities and in their theories.

While at the Lady's Light the PC's will encounter the Grey Maidens and also while they are there Brodert will break Ironbriar's cypher, revealing that the escaped Xanesha has terrible plans for the city of Korvosa... its those two tie-ins which I expect to lead the PC's into Seven Days to the Grave.

Once the plague and its aftermath has been dealt with and Xanesha finally defeated, Shiela will reach out to the PC's with what she believes to be another resting place for one of the Shard artifacts in and around Hook Mountain, and will have made arrangements with the Mayor of Magnimar who has had some trouble in the area (Ft. Rannick) and who, personally, would like to see the PC's and their growing influence out of the city. There will be multiple ties to what's going on of course because the group will be unknowingly in pursuit of Xanesha's sister and her machinations, all the while unwittingly interfering with Karzoug's plans. Meanwhile, their adventures in Korvosa will have drawn them to the attention of the Sorshen-possessed/influenced Illeosa (as well as the Red Mantis Assassins) and a rival party will be sent after them - Karzoug is not the only Runelord interested in reassembling the Star, and his clandestine efforts to undermine Sorshen through his agent Xanesha will need to be countered.

As you can see, its a pretty complicated web but everything works very neatly, especially as the group learns more and more and realizes all that's been going on in the background, tiring their seemingly disparate adventures together.

Did I answer your question? I hope I did, I can kind of ramble sometimes when it comes to this campaign.


I'm glad the story is evolving. If you wish, I've few suggestions in order to not make Fort Rannick or the trip at Korvosa a forced move. They regards story leads that can be easily planted in Korvosa. Text back if you are interested.

I'm curious thought, does the cult of Lissala plays any weight in your story?


Pnakotus Detsujin wrote:

I'm glad the story is evolving. If you wish, I've few suggestions in order to not make Fort Rannick or the trip at Korvosa a forced move. They regards story leads that can be easily planted in Korvosa. Text back if you are interested.

I'm curious thought, does the cult of Lissala plays any weight in your story?

I'm always interested in any input anyone might have. This is probably my most ambitious gaming undertaking and while I'm very pleased with how its developing it wouldn't have done so the way it has without inspiration from a lot of different sources. I'm not going in to very exhaustive detail, I know, so it may seem less well thought out than it actually is...

At present, apart from being some bit of obscure lore, I have no plans on working in the cult of Lissala in any particular role. There will be a lot of factions and moving parts as it is... however, I certainly haven't ruled it out - I expect the campaign to evolve depending on actions the PC's take, what things they express particular interest in, etc. Within the established framework, I'm open to a lot of different things happening.

As an aside, Seven Days to the Grave will be my most extensive re-write in order to make it fit into the story... the chief protagonist will be Xanesha, looking to harvest souls out from under (unknown to her) the stirring Sorshen through the plague spread among the greedy by tainted coins. The plague-bearers will be hers and the vampires will be replaced with a more expanded group of faceless stalkers. Vorel's Phage will have been cultivated by Ironbriar at her direction and the partnership with the Red Mantis Assassins will be hers. Illeosa's role will be as an agent, perhaps unwitting, of the stirring Sorshen deep beneath Castle Korvosa, and she and her Grey Maidens will play a much smaller direct role in things... in truth, I'm using her to represent the fact that more than one Runelord may be awakening and may be pulling strings in Varisia. On of the things I'm looking forward to most is the players allying themselves with the were-rats beneath the city, and a dramatic pitched battle in the sewers where a small army of were-rats rescue the party from an overwhelming force of faceless stalkers.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Yes, that answered my question, thanks.

As I'm not intending on using the Shattered Star (except perhaps as the NEXT campaign) my take-away is to use some method to get them up there that feels like a continuation of the plot.

Perhaps if Orik survives he gets sentenced to join the Black Arrows.
The PCs end up being asked to escort him up there when the Black Arrows contacts never show up to pick him up? I can live with that.


the Lorax wrote:

Yes, that answered my question, thanks.

As I'm not intending on using the Shattered Star (except perhaps as the NEXT campaign) my take-away is to use some method to get them up there that feels like a continuation of the plot.

Perhaps if Orik survives he gets sentenced to join the Black Arrows.
The PCs end up being asked to escort him up there when the Black Arrows contacts never show up to pick him up? I can live with that.

Well, you have to figure the PC's, by exposing Iron Briar and unravelling the Skinsaw Cult gain some notoriety in Magnimar... the Mayor isn't over-joyed at having these quite competent corruption-exposing adventurers loose in his city and sending them off to investigate the issues at Ft. Rannick seems like a convenient way to get rid of them, killing two birds with one stone.

Orik being sentenced to join the Black Arrows just gives them another reason to go and its a good idea I've seen suggested elsewhere. I'm planning on having the PC's run into his sister (from Shattered Star) in Magnimar and then having him turn up in Turtleback Ferry, down on his luck again after having blown his share of the treasure from Thistletop (he switched sides) aboard the Paradise Barge. Eventually I expect him to serve as one of the new members of the Black Arrows once the Hook Mountain Massacre is resolved.


Story Archer wrote:
Pnakotus Detsujin wrote:

I'm glad the story is evolving. If you wish, I've few suggestions in order to not make Fort Rannick or the trip at Korvosa a forced move. They regards story leads that can be easily planted in Korvosa. Text back if you are interested.

I'm curious thought, does the cult of Lissala plays any weight in your story?

As an aside, Seven Days to the Grave will be my most extensive re-write in order to make it fit into the story... the chief protagonist will be Xanesha, looking to harvest souls out from under (unknown to her) the stirring Sorshen through the plague spread among the greedy by tainted coins. The plague-bearers will be hers and the vampires will be replaced with a more expanded group of faceless stalkers. Vorel's Phage will have been cultivated by Ironbriar at her direction and the partnership with the Red Mantis Assassins will be hers. Illeosa's role will be as an agent, perhaps unwitting, of the stirring Sorshen deep beneath Castle Korvosa, and she and her Grey Maidens will play a much smaller direct role in things... in truth, I'm using her to represent the fact that more than one Runelord may be awakening and may be pulling strings in Varisia. On of the things I'm...

My suggestion are the followings

1) Offer to your players a complete different route to take. For what i get, the pcs are gonna follow up Xadesha even thought the murders are being stopped it must be either for sense of justice or for revenge. By what you have written, it seems her and iron briar (and therefore a cult of norgober) are still working together ( i suppore ironbriar is against pcs cause still under xadesha control or because he's got revenge issues), so let's split them! One is going somewhere towards korvosa (but not in the city itself, let your players assume such), while the other is directed to riddleport. this gives the pcs an opportunity to choose which trial followand grants them a more open world feel.
2) the riddleport plot: basically, we got a riddleport the same situation at the gamehouse near fort rannik, but you have actually maps of the place thanks to the first module of second darkness. xadesha may pilote things to organize a great night of gambling and then burn the palace down, thereby fueling a near greed rune well located in the mountains near the city (illustrated in 3.26 of the pathfinder society modules). that allows you to present another faction, the cyphermages, and gives pcs a chance to interact with more experts on the thassilonina magic
3) the plauge at korvosa. if you wish ironbriar is the one causing it, it's ok. but i suggest the following twist: the plauge is not of daemonic origin, but is a bioweapon for the thassilonian times forged to attack a certain group etnics (originally worked only on kellid people, but after 10.000 years can affect almost any human or half elf in varisia). the weapon is being unleashed not to harvest sin energy, but as an experiment to comprehend how deadly this kind of weapon can be, in order to use it at a later point or simply present it as a menace. alternatively, such bioweapon could have a curse-zombie effect that, after the zombies are killed, fuels a modified gluttony well present under the city of korvosa (a gift from zutha to sorshen that she used to fuel some necromantic experiments she was unable to do herself).
Now, in this endeavour ironbriar is assisted in this by the nosferatu vampire, which is an alchemist recently awaken by the activation of a lust rune well under the city of palin's cove (detailed in "the cultist kiss". Tthis runewell was one of the many queen ileosa is secretly working on in the region. the queen should act discretely and seem the mother of the people right now. she's an actress, after all. ironbriar should either use norgober cultist or alchemical vampire spawn. Also the pcs should fight ironbriar as a vampire (i suggest you to retrain him as a monk-inquisitor character. that is a true final boss). If you want to put there one of the shards, maybe the shard of gluttony is required to fortify the illness, making it resistant to remove disease.

Now, after korvosa or riddleport, your characters should get the following choices.
1) look for the higher up of xadesha cult, either something related to lissala or to the "runelords". both paths lead to Kaer Maga, possibly going throught impressive places like the storval stairs or the ferry village.
2) search for the shards and other thassilonian artifacts in a logic of prevention, gaining knowledge on the thassilonian magic for prevent the dreadful effects that an unchecked use of it may cause on the country of varisia. this path leads them in many places, like hollow mountain or, again, kaer maga, to culminate a jorgenfist and with the codex anathema. the sihedron should be talked about only if we have some "rune lord" around, may them be the false runelords i proposed or the true ones.
3) make research on the cult of lissala, that may have popped out during their last adventures.

a good start for book 3 could be, after pcs return to magnimar or sandpoint, a version of the golemworks incident that sees them attacked by nowhere while someone tries to steal the artifacts founded by the pcs. after that, the identity of the thief and the place to go is up to you.

Now, the mayor of magnimar and fort rannik stuff ... i don't get it!
How the hell he can send them anywhere? throught which power? why?! if they are not his citizen, he can do nothing, and should be grateful (he's just a corrupted politician, not an evil cultist). Also, about the half ogres, please do not send the pcs in that hellish ripoff of the movie wrong turn. the only thing worth of note in that place is the occupied fort and the damp. the only think worth i can thing on that is if the black lamashtu monster does pop up to "eat" the greed energy from the runewell that lamia was filling. that is a way better event for pcs a level 13 when they can teleport around easily. also, make good use of the pit fiend. he could have worked with karzoug as a dread vassal for centuries before being humbled in such position and give them lots of info about thassilon for the right price.


I just wanna say, I had caught wind of this idea a while back, and dropped the Shard of Wrath into the hands of the players via Erylium (obviously, in hindsight, it should have been Nualia, but whatever), and they have no clue what it is aside from it's powerful magic. They left it with Quink, who locked it away. I had originally given them this plot hook mostly as a way to give myself a lead if I ever found the group going dry or wanted to add some interest to the ongoing plot, but the group has mostly forgotten about it by now.

Currently, my Runelords game is just out of the first book where I slipped in the Chopper's Isle sidequest, and I currently have them sidetracked in Magnimar between books 1 and 2 doing the one-shot module Dawn of the Scarlet Son because I have a Sarenrae priestess who wanted some backstory and DotSS is a Sarenrae murder-mystery one-shot that fit perfectly, plus they've got 2 new players they need time to get used to.

When they get back to Sandpoint, I had made Aldern focus on Ameiko rather than a player, since there were no female characters for him, and I didn't think the jealousy/envy thing had as much impact.

I do like this mashup, and certainly am going to crib lots of ideas from it, though some may need editing obviously. Besides Nualia being dead, the most important one I see is that while I would love to do a remixed Seven Days to the Grave (I love CoCT, it's my favorite AP), one of my players has already done it and I don't know if I can get him to run it again, especially since some events of it freaked him out and he has vowed not to play that game again.


Askren wrote:

I just wanna say, I had caught wind of this idea a while back, and dropped the Shard of Wrath into the hands of the players via Erylium (obviously, in hindsight, it should have been Nualia, but whatever), and they have no clue what it is aside from it's powerful magic. They left it with Quink, who locked it away. I had originally given them this plot hook mostly as a way to give myself a lead if I ever found the group going dry or wanted to add some interest to the ongoing plot, but the group has mostly forgotten about it by now.

Currently, my Runelords game is just out of the first book where I slipped in the Chopper's Isle sidequest, and I currently have them sidetracked in Magnimar between books 1 and 2 doing the one-shot module Dawn of the Scarlet Son because I have a Sarenrae priestess who wanted some backstory and DotSS is a Sarenrae murder-mystery one-shot that fit perfectly, plus they've got 2 new players they need time to get used to.

When they get back to Sandpoint, I had made Aldern focus on Ameiko rather than a player, since there were no female characters for him, and I didn't think the jealousy/envy thing had as much impact.

I do like this mashup, and certainly am going to crib lots of ideas from it, though some may need editing obviously. Besides Nualia being dead, the most important one I see is that while I would love to do a remixed Seven Days to the Grave (I love CoCT, it's my favorite AP), one of my players has already done it and I don't know if I can get him to run it again, especially since some events of it freaked him out and he has vowed not to play that game again.

Since the original post, I've done lots refinement on the overall story arc, particularly with the Seven Days to the Grave volume. If you ever want to chat up ideas, feel free to drop me the line - and check out the wiki.

;)


So, how things are doing. Does this veteran DM have to offer suggestions?


I was planning to build a Rise of Runelord variant with more horror theme that included a few things from other AP/modules, and I'm going to rip so much of this


Just stumbled onto this thread. I'm also considering doing a modified Rise of the Runelords, with the potential threat of multiple Runelords. My party has just hit Magnimar, so there's still plenty of time to add some bigger ideas.

Story Archer, how did your campaign go?

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