Anvil of Fire (GM Reference)


Giantslayer


The purpose of this thread is to clarify questions arising in this adventure.

This thread is a GM Reference thread for Part 5 of the Giantslayer Adventure Path. Links for the individual threads for each part are as follows:

Dark Archive

TESHARAT p. 60

missing DR 10/magic

gained at Mature Adult so should have it at old too


For use in your game:

List of giants in the barracks (in giant):
Link

List of giants in the barracks (translated):
Link

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

One thing that caught me in this adventure is that it says that the Fire Giants attack from darkness. Given that every illustration in the book makes them look like they're on fire, and the bestiary illustration makes it look like it should glow lava-hot, and the description says "Its hair and beard seem to be made of fire." I wouldn't pull it on my players, and I think it advisable if you do, subtly or overtly establish to your players first that fire giants do not omit light.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

As a note for the printers or cartographers: try to refrain from making dark grey maps on a black background. The overview maps (the small ones that show how the rooms connect with each other) are very hard to see in my printed copy. I didn't even realize they were there on my first skim through and I will have to redraw them all.

Otherwise, thanks! I love your work.


Surprised no one's noticed this...

Found a problem on page 52 with Zareen's spells known. Restore Eidolon is listed as a 4th level spell in her block, but it's a 3rd level spell, which puts her 1 over on 3rd and 1 under on 4th.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Fire Giant Lieutenant (p.13) is a CR 12 and thus should be worth 19,200 XP.


A few spots in this one I found some rules stated that seem to conflict with the prd.

p. 34 in the description of the forge (D1) it says that "Although none of the Giants have Improved bull rush, they all have reach, so they can attempt a bull rush without provoking an attack of opportunity."

prd says, "initiating a bull rush provokes an attack of opportunity from the target of your maneuver." I don't see anything about reach preventing the Aoa.

Also, p. 40, West rookery (E1) it says, "Because all of these dragons are under the effects of dominate monster, the Storm Tyrant can see through their eyes, and at least once a day he concentrates fully on the effect to recieve full sensory input from any one of the dragons."

But the prd says, "You can't actually see through the subject's eyes, so it's not as good as being there yourself, but you still get a good idea of what's going on."

This would lead me to believe that the Storm tyrant could learn that the dragons are under attack by humans or other smaller than giant sized humanoids, but not be able to recognize faces, if you go with the prd, but that he could pick them out of a lineup if he could see them with the dragon's superior vision.

Any thoughts? Is these rules contradictions, or am I misreading the entries?

Order of the Amber Die

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Giantslayer Fans:

Our group played a marathon of Anvil of Fire last summer and was able to complete it. The players finally got the best room-clearing, giant-killing scrap of the whole AP so far. The big folk death toll was high at over 60 giants slain, along with a couple of PC deaths for good measure. Our full report will continue to drop on our Facebook and in our PDF of The Giantslayer Endeavor; until then, I did want to leave everyone with some supplemental aids and brief tips they could use during their playthrough of this adventure.

Part 1: Author Tito Leati mentions in Shadow of the Storm Tyrant (PF96, p. 63) that it might be interesting or useful to give your players a glimpse of the Storm Tyrant at some point before they face him. When first running this adventure, I had just read the stat block for Volstus and decided to take Leati up on his suggestion. I used the party’s initial view of Ashpeak and the forces around it to further awe the players with a flyover from Volstus. As the Storm Tyrant would likely be coming and going from Ironcloud Keep on occasion, this seemed a logical enough place to give my players a chance to see just what they would soon be up against. As you can read about in part 6 of The Giantslayer Endeavor, it didn’t matter what they had a chance to learn—Volstus was too strong for them.

Part 2: The main issue I had with this module was the size of the maps; put simply, I felt the overview level maps were too small to conveniently (and at times, effectively) work with. When drawing out a map for encounters, I always try to stay as close to the original map’s representation and scale as I can—here it was a challenge. As such, I made a PDF containing expanded maps, organized by level, for all future GMs to use as they try to draw or recreate the chambers. I printed these larger maps on cardstock and kept them handy during our marathon; a copy of this PDF can be found in our Dropbox. GMs might also find it useful to view photos of some of Ashpeak’s chambers that were created using Dungeon Tiles, and these can be found in the “Grid Gallery” section of the The Giantslayer Endeavor document, and also on our Facebook.

Part 3: Tesharat and a rookery of dragons GMed effectively have the potential to give a party an exciting brush with TPK. As many groups will be geared up to do one thing very well—kill giants—they might be completely deficient in regard to abilities or items that help cope with so many dragons (especially if they missed the Drakesbane Horn). Even if your party does come in with advance warning or preparation for the dragons in Ashpeak, resting can be problematic inside the volcano; therefore, it’s possible that by the time they get this far, many of their resources will have been spent elsewhere. For example, our party was so giant-dominant that they were forcing fire giants to cower in battles throughout Ashpeak, but the magic-strained heroes were still sent fleeing at full speed from the rookery.

Part 4: The Hell Gigas is the first gargantuan giant and a great opportunity for an epic contest. A creature like this deserves a good showing; however, the gigas can be significantly hindered by action economy and the fact that it technically counts as a giant. The author mentions in the descriptions for areas F3 and F4 that significant noise might draw the attention of the queen and temple priests, so using the gigas to pull in other foes might give it a better debut against your party. Plus, the more they fear the gigas, the more you can enjoy the looks on their faces when they meet Gatar-Nom in the next adventure!

Final Note: Reynolds encourages GMs to use the fire giants to intelligently respond to the PCs’ incursion (as noted on p. 10), and leaves things open to truly test your PCs' battle tactics by using ambushes and giant responses to create more dynamic combats, which should keep this module from feeling like a room-after-room slog through the volcano. Between Quivixia's divination and the assortment of ways fire giants can react in each individual level, it would be reasonable to assume that the giants are inventive enough to use nearby patrols as extra support in key fights. This means that if giants are aware that the party is about to enter a certain area, they might use any randomly generated patrols you've recently rolled up to add extra might to their defense. Intelligent patrols might help PCs stay on their toes by making them feel as if the whole volcano is crawling with giants, and that resting anywhere is foolish. As a GM, you can grind down your players' nerves by keeping them on edge throughout this entire adventure. If you are looking for samples of patrols that joined specific encounter areas, I've provided photos of different battles in the "Grid Gallery" section in The Giantslayer Endeavor PDF, which is located in our Dropbox.

Hope this helps some of you in your run of Anvil of Fire, and good luck!

Adam
GM
Order of the Amber Die Dropbox
Order of the Amber Die Facebook


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Two bits of advice for this one:

The temple priests have Magic Vestment as one of their third-level spells. This is practically useless to them as they already have +1 armor. Their other domain spell would be Magic Circle Vs. Good which might at least help them vs. summoned creatures.

They also have an incense of meditation each, meaning a total of six. If your party has any divine casters with damage spells, you are likely to regret this. (The temple priests get very little good from it themselves, but you should still have them use it up to improve their healing magic, if they have warning of the PCs' arrival.)

My player managed to "convince" the giants to make their last stand in Tesharak's cave. The king, princess, two priests, two lieutenants, three regular fire giants, the two frost giant emissaries, Tesharak and two red dragons--vs. three PCs and an NPC troll fighter. The fight was over in 2.5 rounds due to clerical damage magic, mostly Cone of Cold, and that blasted incense (which makes everything Maximized for a day). The player then said, "Let's get rid of the incense, that was a complete disappointment."

Tesharak dove under the lava, cast Greater Invisibility, poked her head up to see that everyone was dead, and wisely decided to swim away; the only survivor.

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8

bargleslayer wrote:

A few spots in this one I found some rules stated that seem to conflict with the prd.

p. 34 in the description of the forge (D1) it says that "Although none of the Giants have Improved bull rush, they all have reach, so they can attempt a bull rush without provoking an attack of opportunity."

prd says, "initiating a bull rush provokes an attack of opportunity from the target of your maneuver." I don't see anything about reach preventing the Aoa.

Yes, they'll still provoke an AoO, but unless the target of the bull rush can reach the giant it can't take one.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Just finished running this module. Sadly seems the weakest of the series so far.

The players felt the fights seemed very samey.

They did like doing a 'contest of champions' with the King and his toughest allies in the throne room as suggested, but most other encounters turned into either

- fighting waves of fire giants with greatswords
- allies of the fire giants who are all about doing fire damage

The first they are very used to dealing with by this stage in the AP, the second were all shut down by casting communal resist fire a couple of times (which is a pretty obvious spell to prep when fighting fire giants in a volcano)

I'd definitely advise anyone running this in future to look for ways to add in more encounters that are something different in style to those most common two types.


Yeah I’m trying to figure out ways to change this book up that’s for sure


Joey Virtue wrote:
Yeah I’m trying to figure out ways to change this book up that’s for sure

If you enforce the lighting rules the giants can attack from darkness, and with low light their range of vision will be much greater than the players, even those with dark vision.

Instead of hell hounds use low level casters. Maybe orcs who can cast light or dancing lights. This will light up the area the PC's are in. You can also use casters to split up the party by using Wall of ____ spells.

Of course this could be rather dangerous, but since fire giants are supposed to be very tactical it makes sense for them to do this.

Another idea is to have traps in the same rooms as the giants. It takes a move action to look for a trap, and most player's aren't going to be making perception checks for traps in the middle of combat.

I'd also trade out giants for the occasional non giant encounter.


Yeah I have some plans on changing up some of the encounters, I’m just beginning encounter prep for this book.
I readjust all encounters for a greater challenge and for 4 to 6 players.


Joey Virtue wrote:

Yeah I have some plans on changing up some of the encounters, I’m just beginning encounter prep for this book.

I readjust all encounters for a greater challenge and for 4 to 6 players.

hey, im currently running Giantslayer (i too have a group of 5 players) and i was wondering what you changed about Anvil of Fire. Im currently in the beginning of Ice Tomb of the Giant Queen and i already read that book 5 is just a bunch of uninteresting encounters/mega dungeon with fire giants instead of frost giants.

Since i knew about the problem i already changed a few thing.

1. i changed the encounter with Naximarra to be in book 3 Forge of the Giant god. My plan is, that there is a secret passage into the mountain within Skirgaard and that this Mountain actually is Ashpeak.
2. Since i mashed book 4 and 5 together i want to skip many of the encounter in book 5.

So what did you changed up?
Any suggestions what to skip?


You should just check the other threads here about replacing encounters. It's really well done!


I've got a document that changes the ashpeak encounter to be an extraplanar affair if you're interested.


Erpa wrote:
You should just check the other threads here about replacing encounters. It's really well done!

Will do.

I was a bit lazy and only found this thread via a google search i should have expected to find more if i directly search the forum, silly me.


Artofregicide wrote:
I've got a document that changes the ashpeak encounter to be an extraplanar affair if you're interested.

I am very interested, and i already found two threads from you about this subject.

this one about moving it to Hyrrfellhame and
this one about the generally replacing encounters

If you have a structured document i would appreciate it, otherwise i will first read the threads.


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Muhgen wrote:
Artofregicide wrote:
I've got a document that changes the ashpeak encounter to be an extraplanar affair if you're interested.

I am very interested, and i already found two threads from you about this subject.

this one about moving it to Hyrrfellhame and
this one about the generally replacing encounters

If you have a structured document i would appreciate it, otherwise i will first read the threads.

The threads are super, super disorganized and terrible. Read at your own risk.

Also all the good stuff in the first two threads are compiled in this doc.

To be fair, my document is also pretty unfinished so reader beware:

Ashpeak v3

Commentary is appreciated.


I've created a seperate thread on the topic. How fancy!

CLICK ME!

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