0-2D: Who Rules Hell Harbor? - Anyone else having difficulties?

Pathfinder Adventure Card Society

Just posting to see if anyone else has had any success with this scenario yet.

Me and the girlfriend run a 4 character party (her with Merisiel and Velendron, me with Kyra and Tontelizi). We have run all of the scenarios in the Card Guild fine with absolutely no problems... then this one came along. We have tried this 3 times now without getting anywhere near beating it.

If anyone has completed this one yet, please post some pointers. We are stumped.

* Contributor

We were a little dismayed that our finely-tuned decks of weapons, monster-killing spells, and armors were rendered entirely useless by this scenario, in which you fight precisely one monster (the villain). By the rules, I think that even the monsters that a location summons--such as Hammerhead Sharks at Shark Island--would turn into random ships.

And those ain't easy ships; some of them have really high checks. (As a piece of trivia you may not know, all of those new ships are the ones featured in the recent release Ships of the Inner Sea.)

We won it our first time through, but only by realizing early on that weapons and most spells are just garbage in our hands. We discarded for blessings and useful allies, helped each other's checks much more than we usually do (Foxes were popular), and were more aggressive than usual about healing. Luck played a large role--when my Vika hit a ship, it often ended up being the Kraken's Spite, which allows Strength/Melee to beat (yay!).

FYI, our group is Vika, Tarlin, and Meliski.

Good luck!

Sovereign Court

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You are correct Ron, even summoned non-villain monsters become ships.

I did not know about them all being Ships of the Inner Sea, that's cool. I like seeing specific pieces of the RPG content make it to the game.

Personally, I like seeing a scenario like this. Not frequently, of course, but one scenario, very much so. It shows that your adventurers can't just run around punching everything and setting it fire, sometimes it takes more than that. Having one scenario that revolves around ships, especially in an adventure path all about pirates, I think is a good thing, and a welcome challenge. It benefits well-rounded characters, and gives a challenge to min-maxers (which includes myself)

* Contributor

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But punching everything and setting it on fire is our core competency! :-)

Sovereign Court

I know, it makes me sad to see things that my old Sajan can't drop a full hand of blessings on, or that my Damiel can't just throw bombs at. I'm just glad that they don't require Charisma... Damiel is horrible at talking to people, let alone a boat.

Pathfinder ACG Designer

I love everything about this thread (except unpleasant frustration that might be felt.) I am now considering the "Damiel the Boat-Whisperer" scenario.

The scenario is definitely intended to challenge the combat-heavy model of most ACG sessions, because it's fun to do something different every once in a while. I'm glad to see it's having that effect, anyway.

Sovereign Court

The problem is he tries to get the boat drunk before he talks to it. Drunk on Alchemists's Fire.

The Exchange

He rubs the extract on its deck, or it gets the... what the heck?

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

I beat this on my first try(solo Meliski), but it was close. I got the ship that gives you a haunt as my very first encounter. I also realized right away that combat was useless so was able to tune my hand through discards/recharges very early.

Meliski's reroll ability was a godsend against all these noncombat checks, and let me cycle combat cards back to the bottom of my deck.


My group recently completed this on our first try. It was a three person group with me on Zarlova, a player on Valeros, and a player on the female wizard whose name I forget.

Valeros and wizard struggled in this scenario, spending many turns traveling to the floating shipyard to fix their ships. Through a strong first few turns I managed to boost my deck size and close a location. From there I closed one or two more while my partners moved to temp close the remaining locations once we figured out where the villain was.

I think I cast cure five or six times throughout the scenario, and even then the final battle would have killed me if I didn't win.

Overall, I enjoyed the scenario, but I also had a lot of luck. It seemed much less fun for my party members. I liked what the scenario was trying to do, but I wonder if there is a slightly less polarizing way to do it.

Also, I had a ton of plunder that was useless to me that I wanted to share but couldn't, and that made me sad. Felt bad being unable to give Valeros the weapon 2 I got.

Grand Lodge 5/5 *

From the scenario:

"When you earn a deck upgrade from this scenario, you
may choose from either your own plunder or the party’s
acquired cards."

All plunder cards across each player can be used for deck upgrades.

ThreeEyedSloth wrote:

From the scenario:

"When you earn a deck upgrade from this scenario, you may choose from either your own plunder or the party’s acquired cards."

All plunder cards across each player can be used for deck upgrades.

I thought "the party's acquired cards" referred only to cards acquired from location decks, and that only the individual player could choose from their ship's plunder.

Sovereign Court

I don't believe plunder is considered acquired. As written, I don't believe that you can pull from other stacks of plunder. However, that may not be accurate.

Grand Lodge 5/5 *

Oof. I didn't catch that reading of it until now.

I think that's really, really terrible. I don't see the reason why acquired plunder cards shouldn't be shared among everyone at the end. That doesn't seem very cooperative, does it?

I hope Tanis or someone can come in here and give some clarification to the scenario reward.

Sovereign Court

It kinda makes sense in a way though. You each are on your own ship, with your own plunder. I can see it going either way, but thematically there wouldn't be a problem with individual plunder, especially for just one scenario.

Grand Lodge 5/5 *

If it was a competitive pirate-themed game, sure. But in a cooperative game where adventurers have been adventuring together through horrible dangers and fierce monstes, sharing everything they find along the way? This doesn't jive with the established theme of the game.

Pathfinder ACG Designer

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I definitely meant for you to be able to take cards from each other's plunder at the end. I'll fix that language -- thanks for catching the bug! The idea's that you have a Mad Max-y ship demo derby and then split the spoils. I would basically want to do that all the time if I lived in the Shackles.

Grand Lodge 5/5 *

Awesome, thanks! That makes much more sense to me (and that mental image is awesome.)


Excellent to hear! My other party members barely had any plunder at all, whereas I had tons. I'll let the group know about the intentions of the sharing.

Grand Lodge 5/5 *

I'm not sure who your local VO is, but I think it's okay to retcon and allow the other Valeros player to take that Weapon 2 upgrade afterall, considering it was simply a misunderstanding of the scenario rewards.

We also made it our first time, but I think this is the first time we were in real danger of dying.

I was the only person who could actually fight the ships (having both Perception and Wisdom +3), and even then I got 1 early Pirate Shade Haunt; Radillo got 2. Not having a way to get rid of PSHes and the villain being in the location where we could fix ships was a huge detriment to us. We stop fixing the ships after a while because we figured we'd try to rush through. I think we had 1 blessing in the deck by the time we were done.

Our dice decided to abandon us too, so we failed a lot of checks.

My VL hates this scenario now. Heh. It doesn't help that he's a Wizard who can only defeat like 1 of the ships. I can defeat all of them, but even I needed 1 blessing to fight most of them.

I had tons of loot, but none of them were 2s :( my VL who had 1 loot had the 2 ally...

Things that saved us: the 2 item that gave Swashbuckling to Survival checks. Cures (except they got stuck near the bottom of Meliski's deck!). Staves of Minor Healing (yeah, we're all like "that's the first thing we're gonna pick up")

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I've gotten through this one with one two-player, two-character group, our other one is stuck, and we are strongly considering skipping, since it isn't an official run.

I love this scenario in concept. It's great to have that 'get away from sword and stab' feel. I think the problem I have is with the boats themselves. When you think about it, the game is balanced around the fact that you have cards from the current adventure, but mixed in with the previous ones as well. However, in this scenario, effectively 90% of 'monsters' are latest-adventure level difficult. This means you are going to have a lot of high dc checks, even without considering the different types of checks involved. Further, the ship that gives a pirate haunt is just painful early. In one run we had, it was the first, 4th, and 6th boat we faced. At that point, we were effectively dead, with over 2/3 of the blessing deck left. I feel this scenario would've been a lot more fun if there'd been a few more boats that were in the range of Man's Promise or Merchantman, and less in the Devil's Pallor range.

I hope that made sense, I think I rambled again. Summary: Love the idea of this scenario, in execution it was just not fun.

Grand Lodge 5/5 *

I tried playing this solo with my Wu Shen that has been successful in solo play thus far.

I got the Impervious ("If you are alone at your location, the Impervious is instead undefeated") 4 times in a row. IN A ROW.

I almost table flipped.

Pathfinder ACG Designer

Love these feedback and discussion threads, folks.

Grand Lodge 5/5 *

Our group starts Adventure 3 on Monday, so I'll be continuing these threads next week. :)

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/5

We had trouble through this one. It was a two player group: I was playing Merisiel and my friend was playing Tarlin. This is not easy for some characters, but thankfully I had the tricorne and the Emerald of Dexterity.

We got through it, but it was by the skin of our teeth.

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With the break from scenario releases, I've been using the past two weeks to try to catch up a bit with my players, as only one other player in my group had a character who'd finished Adventure 1 before the break (Adventure 1 feels like a really big hump to get over for some characters). So after getting as many people through Adventure 1 last week, myself and two of my other player powered through all four Adventure 2 scenarios last Saturday and Who Rules Hell Harbor was definitely the most memorable.

The Zarlova player was feeling pretty confident going into the scenario with a d10 +2 Wisdom. Probably a little too confident. He had been hogging the Besmara's Tricorne for the rest of the Adventure, but ended up letting our Wrathack player use it for this scenario. He was so cocky he even started at Shark Island to face a ship right away. He trusted luck a lot more often than he probably should have, barely ever using blessings on his ship combats (I think Wrathack and I may have played more blessing for him than he used on himself). He had a lot of bad luck, even when blessings were used. Lots of 1s and 2s on his d10s. He ended up letting his ship wreck twice because he took way too much structural damage and only cleared out two of the five monsters from Shark Island before the villain was found at the location.

Wrathack and my Lem had much better luck. I don't remember either of us losing any ship combat. I added my d4 and used a blessing on nearly everyone one of my ship combats and with a d6 +3 for Survival, Wrathack was usually in pretty good shape as long as a blessing was used. Sadly, the Tricorne never came up, so that was kind of lame. It is also worth noting that we had spread out, never being in the same location until the end, and I think IMPERVIOUS was encountered about four times. That was annoying. But luckily, MARK OF YUNNARIUS was only encountered twice, giving one haunt to Zarlova and one to Wrathack.

Again, I really liked the scenario and look forward to playing it again. It'll be interesting to see how different characters handle it.

Grand Lodge

We actually got very lucky on Saturday with this one. Four players: Harsk (me), Kyra, Olenjack, and Amaryllis. Harsk starts us off by encountering a Shipwreck and closing a location. Second round, I close another location after using my Spyglass to reorg the top two cards at my location before exploring (Shipwreck and close). We encountered only the Hu-Hazhong (twice), Ravishing Ruby (once) and the Kraken's Spite (a few). They liked the Kraken's Spite.

It was also luck they we encountered Gortus on an Augury so we positioned ourselves in a couple rounds for Harsk to do clean-up crew (Deathbane X-bow, Archer's Bracers, blessings ... ouchies).

We were very happy with the plunder we got. Quite a few 2's to choose from. Sadly, blessings have been the one type we haven't gotten any 1's or 2's yet.

Played this one this week with a party of Heggal, Flenta and Meliski. We were successful but primarily do to Heggal with Besmara's Tricorn. He was pretty much unstoppable against ships with the hat, a good Wisdom and his ally power. Flenta hammered the villian twice but spent most of the game with a damaged ship and Meliski ended the scenario wondering why he bothered to show up.

The scenario really turns the game on its head. Weapons, attack spells and armor become more or less useless except as a way to take Structural Damage. All of the scenario ships require a minimum of 7 to defeat. This means characters without a good Wisdom typically need a blessing to have a shot at defeating them. For Flenta and Meliski is was quite frustrating.

While I like the idea of a ship heavy scenario I might have prefered something like "When you would encounter a non-villian aquatic monster, roll a d8..." There might have been a bit more balance for the fighter/rouges whose decks are designed to kill monsters.

Shade325 wrote:

While I like the idea of a ship heavy scenario I might have prefered something like "When you would encounter a non-villian aquatic monster, roll a d8..." There might have been a bit more balance for the fighter/rouges whose decks are designed to kill monsters.

I don't know if that would really be enough ships to really get the right feel for the scenario, unless you're playing with Shark Island. In a thread in the VO boards, I suggested this addition to the scenario to help give a character's combat power more play:

"When you encounter a ship, you may recharge any number of weapons or spells with the Attack trait; for each such card recharged, add 1d4 to your check to defeat the ship."

Since you have your own ship, this can be seen as a show of your prowess and/or providing support to your crew when you encounter an enemy ship.

Not sure if it really would have helped your Meliski player, though.

We made it through this on the first try, but barely. Also, we didn't replace the summoned henchman with ships, so maybe we need to asterisk the victory.

Four players, Seoni, Bekah, Tarlin and Darago. It came down to the last turn. Two open locations, and we know where the villain is. The other location is covered. Five cards in the deck. A periscope has allowed us see that the villain is second from the bottom. Darago has 2 blessings, Tarlin has one. Bekah, who has the last turn, has two allies to explore again -- not enough to meet the villain. First explore turns up a monster, so we summon a ship, and Bekah purposefully fails. Ship is wrecked, deck is shuffled. Tarlin casts augury, names monster, one monster but no villain in top three cards. Monster goes to bottom, other cards get shuffled. Bekah uses ally to explore again, encounters villain! Darago uses leaf blessing (can't remember the name) to ensure temp close. Villain summons ship, which Bekah has to beat, or we have to discard from empty blessings deck and we lose. We use a blessing on the ship check, which ends up being ~60% to succeed. Check is successful. Seoni casts black spot on villain and Tarlin plays blessing. Again, check is about 60% to win, and Bekah succeeds. Phew, by the skin of our teeth! So much fun...

Grand Lodge

UGHH … ran this last night with another group (four players with me playing Jirelle). Failed.

The Shipwrecks were low in a couple locations which didn't help. Gortus was hanging out at the bottom of Shark Island. We managed to close every location except Shipwreck Graveyard. And that wasn't closed because of a failed closure check in an earlier round. Kyra was sitting there churning through the graveyard. We encounter Gortus with two more turns of blessings. Vyka encounters him. Kyra attempts her temp close and fails. Vyka's unable to defeat Devil's Pallor and wrecks her ship. Then fights Gortus and wins. He escapes to the graveyard. There are now three cards in the location. Lem comes over and flips a monster/random ship (fails and wrecks his ship). Jirelle comes over and … boon. I don't have any way of exploring again. A depressing failure after lots of plunder stashed (and lost!)

Silver Crusade 2/5

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Stomped through with 2 bards and a cleric. Most of our rolls had +1d4+1 and a reroll waiting in the wings just in case. We just took the group site to site and permanently closed each location, actually pretty quickly.

Dark Archive 5/5

Just played this last night.

I was playing Merisiel, and the two other people were Jirelle and... uh.... Arungarbernarberger the Ranger who has a name I don't remember.

Basically, I sat at Shark Island evading all the sharks and cherry-picking my way through the location deck until I got to a ship I could conceivably beat. Meanwhile, Jirelle and Ranger-dude sailed around and cleared almost all the other locations.

Managed to get the Hobgobby crushed under my boot with a single blessing to go!

The scenario was frustrating as all get out, but that also kind of made it a LOT more fun. No victory is as sweet as one seized from the jaws of failure...

FYI: I think pretty much every shark has a power that it can not be evaded.

Hawkmoon269 wrote:
FYI: I think pretty much every shark has a power that it can not be evaded.

Except that in this scenario, as far as I know, you don't actually encounter sharks. All of them are replaced by ships since Hammerhead Sharks are non-villain monsters. Therefore, Merisiel can evade away!

Ahhh... Well then, carry on.

Sovereign Court 1/5 *

So the other night there were so many folks visiting Hell Harbor that a few of them headed off to hunt that ever-elusive Brine Dragon instead of getting involved in the regatta! That left me with my good friends Agna, Flenta, and Zarlova.

Now, I wasn't too sure about entering this regatta. I'm not the best ship commander; everyone keeps yelling stuff at me like "Chelish Warship off the starboard bow!" and "What are your orders?" and "We need more grog, cap'n!" and you can't just freeze/burn/zap all those problems away.

But once we got going, we found out that Agna was the best ship Captain ever! With her ever-helpful collection of animal friends, she could take down multiple ships at a time. It's too bad her ship had such a small cargo hold; she spent most of the day watching ships sink instead of getting more plunder.

Meanwhile I was hanging out at the Floating Shipyard with Zarlova when I ran into a ship and scared it off! After that I met a new pirate friend who helped me find a "spell scroll" that I couldn't read so I threw it overboard.

Long story short, I lost my plunder when my ship got attacked but between Agna taking down ships and letting us know what was next, Zarlova healing everyone and beating up some ships, and Flenta doing an assortment of fun stuff we narrowed down Mr. Meanie's ship to one of two locations. We decided to team up on Sharkville and get through that as fast as possible.

That's when we ran into Svard...twice. :( It cost us a lot of prayers, items, and allies, but we defeated him and (finally!) closed the one location, leaving just the spooky fog.

One of the ships wrecked mine, costing me my hard-earned plunder. Everyone else worked their way though the bank. When it was my turn again, I asked my friend the Sage to work with Agna while I went and got my ship repaired. Agna was totally able to smush him, and we split up some fancy armor we'd found along with some very interesting new special items! Oooo....

Mike's Notes

This went much better than I thought; Agna's huge Survival bonus combined with a bunch of Animal Allies meant she could power through locations. Unfortunately, she got stuck with the ship that only holds three plunder cards so we didn't get much of anything out of all the ship defeats. (At the end we had a bunch of B cards and two Armor 2s.)

Amaryllis ended up hanging back and being not-very-good support, though she wasn't too shabby at handling Shipwrecks.

I think I'm going to take her hand size increase, which is likely to scare our healer. I just don't end up with enough Spells in the discard pile to need two chances to get them back every turn. (Famous last words.)

On to Adventure 3!


Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Sorry to necro this thread but I didn't want to create anther thread for a question about this scenario:

What happens to the monsters you would encounter but that get replaced by ships? One would assume they get banished if the ship is defeated or shuffled back into the location deck otherwise, but it doesn't actually say anywhere.

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