Forge of the Giant God (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 3 of the Giantslayer Adventure Path. Links for the individual threads for each part are as follows:

Order of the Amber Die

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Giantslayer Fans:

Our group recently played an 82-hour marathon of Forge of the Giant God and was able to complete it. The players really enjoyed the size and scope of the adventure, especially being free to roam the Mindspins to their hearts’ content. The giants were heavy and hit hard, which meant more PC deaths than the previous two adventures. Our full report will continue to drop throughout this month; 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: Lokmorr the Betrayer. This enemy can be nasty when played properly, but be alert to his biggest weakness: a very slow movement speed. He may not be fast enough or might even struggle to outpace parties and stay undetected as the author intends, so GMs will probably want to spend some time imagining sample scenarios for what might occur after their players breach the tomb. The less that you have to keep checking behind the screen to see where Lokmorr currently is (so that he can get around them), the more at ease your unsuspecting PCs will be. I almost felt bad when they doubled back, found his fresh tracks by the door and were convinced that something bad had escaped up the stairs. The party split to follow him, and I was left with two characters on guard near the tomb entrance. From the Chamber of Prayers, Lokmorr tried to think of anything he was familiar with that might be able to draw the pair of adventurers into the tomb. He at least knew the sound of breaking items--and just where to get some. What Lokmorr didn't know out-of-game, was that the great majority of PCs get very antsy at the sound of potentially important items being destroyed. The more fragile sounding the better. A few minutes later, he had them locked in the sepulcher, laughing and making obscene gestures at them from above. While taking into account his limited INT and WIS, we also have to take into account that he has been trapped in this relatively small tomb for 700 years. He knows every inch of it, the attributes of every door, statue, and item within it—even the way sound travels in certain places. Enjoy this one everyone!

Part 2: This section is BIG. In fact, it had been a long time since our group had wandered through a sandbox this large. To better help the players understand the layout of the valley, I made an 8x10 version without tags and used pieces of cardstock to cover it, stopping to reveal new sections as the party explored. Looking back, a 20x30 version would have been nicer. If your party is on foot, they will likely take a good amount of time to move through the terrain, so you might want a system for tracking days, weather, travel events, etc. This area is also filled with plenty of encounters and opportunities to challenge your PCs' battle tactics and grid skills, as the author leaves things wide open for GMs to design the setup of each encounter. There are lots of great maps out there just waiting to be used; if you're looking for samples, I've provided photos of 12 different maps/encounters in part 2, and these can be found in the "Grid Gallery" section in The Giantslayer Endeavor PDF, which is located in our Dropbox.

Part 3: The Cathedral of Minderhal is begging to show itself off as one of the largest structures on Golarion. What better way to remind your PCs just how small they really are in this adventure path than by having them see their tiny miniatures inside the colossal nave? Get ready to draw—a lot. Alright, you probably don’t have to spend a weekend making this beast, but in the case that you are seriously considering drawing it out, I made a PDF of what the Cathedral looked like in stages as I made it. GMs have their own differing artistic styles for maps, so I thought maybe the best thing I could offer were tips about the process, and I included some that might be of use. This PDF can be found in our Dropbox. As our group described here, it did take me a full couple of days--I can promise that it will be a GM experience you won’t forget anytime soon. Feel free to reach out to me via PM or our Facebook as you go through it, and I’ll happily answer any questions about the process of creating it. So grab a brand new marker, clear some time, and don’t forget to make a sacrifice to Minderhal before you begin.

Final Note: You’ll need a copy of Ultimate Equipment for this module, and you'll want to be familiar with it, as there are no fewer than 23 items from UE in this adventure. Hitchcock is generous with the treasure, and our group definitely needed it to cope with the high body count. There were also many new names for items, and the players did their best to keep them separate from one another -- “What’s a creance again?”

Hope this helps some of you in your run of Forge of the Giant God, and good luck!

Adam
GM

Order of the Amber Die Dropbox
Order of the Amber Die Facebook


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This module was the weakest in the path so far. I can't understand why the PCs would choose to light the forge. Resize magic items at a forge they can't hold? It's a powerful forge. Once the big villain finds out it is lit, why wouldn't he secure it? It would never be safe for the PCs to continuously use. Once word of it being reignited got out, every giant and their kin would descend to take control of it. Not to mention the orcs would probably want to control it. The PCs have no nearby kingdom to provide armies to hold it. Why would they light such a powerful forge so deep in enemy territory? It makes little sense.

I'm going to have write a better reason for seeking the forge. I'll probably have the PCs destroy the forge. I think I'll make it a matter of beating the giants to the means to ignite it. Perhaps using the materials to destroy the forge or at least kill the oracle who knows how to ignite. I think that would be a stronger motivation for entering Minderhal's Forge than lighting it and using to resize giant magic items.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

In general, I think you're right about the forge and for extra reasons. I was wondering why my PCs would relight something dedicated to an evil deity.

Please share some of your ideas if you would. Luckily I have a couple of months before my group gets that far.


I too am not seeing the relighting of the forge as a good idea. Like Piccolo and Seannoss I think I'm going to run this as a mission to destroy the forge. Does anyone have any ideas on how best to pursue this goal?


Is the map the party receives to the valley just to the valley or does it show the location of Minderhall?


found it. Just the valley.

Liberty's Edge

My players took the forge and relit it …

Now they want to make a series of small adamantine or mithril daggers and then make them large, melt them down and rinse and repeat to make themselves very rich. This seems to be a world breaking artifact. Could also make any weapon out of gold/silver/platinum in miniature and then make it large with a tap of the hammer …

Are we missing the point or are my players just abusing the system?

The character in question is a cleric of Torag and is in the process of rededicating the forge to Torag and brining his friends from Janderhoff in to secure and own the Forge. I see no reason why Janderhoff or the temple of Torag would refuse this being a very powerful artifact and something that could ruin the economy of the world in a few short months of work.

If a country owned this they would soon become a very powerful nation if they were not crushed by a more powerful country early on .. Any country that owned this would become a major powerhouse in military and economic might. Imagine an army outfitted with Adamantine weapons and armour at practically no cost bar the time to make them? They could have a treasury filled with gold, silver, platinum and all the fancy metals they wanted. This is a license to print money …

How are other people handling this? … bar the whole not relighting the forge part … I know the intention is to reduce the size of the weapons found but my players like to think outside of the box.

Regards

Sic


I suppose there is the issue of time that may slow down the mass production of high value weapons as you describe. Perhaps stress that there is a massive Giant Army not terribly far away. However I suppose with the Torag people taking control they too will be able to pick up where your crafting PC has left off.

I have plans to gear this up as an object for my PCs to destroy.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Lass wrote:

I too am not seeing the relighting of the forge as a good idea. Like Piccolo and Seannoss I think I'm going to run this as a mission to destroy the forge. Does anyone have any ideas on how best to pursue this goal?

Destruction of the Forge (as listed in the Chapter 3, page 59) is to "quench in the blood of the last follower of Minderhal".

This seems kind of evil (murdering worshippers, albeit of a Lawful Evil deity), and also redundant. If all the worshippers are dead, the artifact (and the deity) are pointless.

Here's my thoughts:

If a follower of a Lawful Good deity (such as Torag) uses Agrimmosh on the Forge, it is made dormant for a thousand years. Maybe require the PCs use some other dingus.

Problem #1: How will the PCs know what to do?
Solution - Have the dwarves rescued in Chapter 2 be "divinely inspired" by Torag with this knowledge (and ability). If those dwarves are unsuitable - have an NPC dwarf Paladin or cleric show up. By having the NPC have to be present for the Forge-Bashing, it adds a layer of challenge (escort mission: keep the semi-fragile NPC alive), without stealing the thunder from the PCs.

Problem #2: Artifacts are supposed to be hard to destroy:
Solution: This is not a 'destruction' per se, but rather a long-term shut down. Also, the PCs will need Agrimmosh (something that would normally be hard, if not for the fate of finding it at the end of Chapter 1). Maybe add in one other step (such as escort special dwarf of Torag to the location). Another scavenger hunt item might be something of extreme cold - such as a cube of frost, the breath of a silver dragon (perhaps another ally that must be convinced to help and escorted in), or a bunch of frost giant gear (need to add a couple frost giants to this chapter?).


Was thinking the same thing as most of you with respect to the forge. In fact, I had a particularly suspicious PC who would have never let the group re-light. Too bad Grenseldek just eviscerated him, haha.

In re-reading Forge of the Giant God for the umpteenth time, I really think that the lighting of the forge and whether they do it or not is immaterial. The PCs should likely be pursuing the captured Shinnerman's Fortune residents. Therefore, if they have any ability to track, they will end up exploring all areas except E-J and N-U. Most importantly, they will also end up doing V-Z including the Cathedral which is obviously where they discover the motivation for book 4, so I guess I am content to see where the PCs go with this.

If it's about exploring all the areas, you could have someone in each of the two other off shoots using slaves from Shinnerman's Fortune and off the PCs go.

I have two Janderhoff dwarves in the group, so after they finish Redlake Fort, likely this week, I see them going 1 of 3 ways:

1. Straight to Steelhand's tomb.
2. To Trunau to sell items.
3. To Janderhoff to sell items.

If they go off to Janderhoff, am toying with them having a meeting with a Sky Magistrate or the like. They would obviously be concerned of the Storm Tyrant's plans and would likely really push the PCs to carry on and foil what plans they can.

In terms of the forge, Dwarves are greedy. If they could get their hands on a weapon this powerful, they used to have mining interests in the area--what if they ask the PCs to re-light it and offer some sort of reward? Then Dwarven armies could descend and secure the valley once more while the PCs go off to Skirgald?

Just some thoughts, but on the surface, yeah re-lighting the forge seems unnecessary although the mission doesn't require it in the long-run anyways, unless something comes up in book 5/6 as I haven't read those yet.

Liberty's Edge

Piccolo Taphodarian wrote:

This module was the weakest in the path so far.

I am still digesting this volume of the AP after 4 read throughs; however, it is my favorite so far -- by a great margin. I also think it is Tim Hitchcok's best outing since Kingmaker Vol 1: Stolen Land.

The sandboxy nature and two set piece dungeons are wonderfully mixed in with a regional adventure hex crawl which has great promise, provides great opportunity to customize and to bring the setting -- and the villains -- to life. And it all hangs together, too.

As the nature of what the Giants are doing with the human tribute (Flash to indelible scene of Mom being eaten in Attack on Titan) the role of humans as food is underscored in this volume to a dark and pleasing degree. The politics here is outside of the borders of this Valley. Within it, with a few exceptions, you are Giants or you are food. That has a clarity and a singleness of moral purpose that I found refreshing. And finally, it was DARK and GRITTY.

An ogre is going nuts near tearing apart a Crofter's Cottage near Shinnerman's Fortune because she can't fit up the stairs to reach a crying human baby and the smell of it is driving her mad with hunger. LOVED IT.

Are we crystal clear on the motives of the party and the bad guys now?

Tim Hitchcock's signatures are contained throughout the module. The backstory to Stilgrit, the mother of Spiders, is classic Hitchcock. His villains always have reasons for what they do and who they are and his writing style has affected all the other Werecabbages when it comes to NPC backstories. Stilgrit's is a little over the top, but it's the effort he puts in that is noteworthy. Every GM and adventure author can learn something about NPC and story design by reading that.

The cracked femurs in the fire, the bodies stacked like cordwood, the cadavers hung from hooks in the butcher's lair, the nods to PCs that cast speak with dead and what they uncover from using it, the descriptions of useless gear or odd loot that has a value -- but also has a purpose -- all of this stuff is dark, well thought out, and fiendishly delightful.

If you can't roll 1d6 in Z11. Cathedral Chapter House after a successful Perception DC25 wondering with some excitement what the PC found and how you will describe these wonderful "garbage" non-garbage items in just the right way -- you aren't a gamer I want to play with.

Area N, "Abandoned Mines"? You have 8 or 9 months in the real world to build in motives, rumors, and backstory into your campaign to make finding the Abandoned Mines a highlight reel moment with connective tissue and real importance to your players and their PCs and your campaign. The Giants worked the mines until they couldn't reach farther; the Dwarves dug deeper until they abandoned the mines, too. What did they find when they dug too deeply? What lurks there and what treasures does it now guard? Why do your players care and how does this all fit in with their individual character's stories? You have more than HALF A YEAR to work this in and make it count. Don't drop the ball! Do your job, damn it.

If you can't use the Mines Map Packs and make that fit within your own Giantslayer AP and unspool all of that into one of the highlights of Vol 3 - turn in your GM card because you just aren't trying hard enough.

So, setting aside a discussion of the motives for reactivating the Forge to a separate thread/post, I loved this volume of the AP and I found it called back to the Kingmaker AP in a strong and functional way, while providing great hooks for GMs to customize and make this major installment in the AP the crown jewel of the Giantslayer AP.


Steel_Wind wrote:
Piccolo Taphodarian wrote:

This module was the weakest in the path so far.

I am still digesting this volume of the AP after 4 read throughs; however, it is my favorite so far -- by a great margin. I also think it is Tim Hitchcok's best outing since Kingmaker Vol 1: Stolen Land.

The sandboxy nature and two set piece dungeons are wonderfully mixed in with a regional adventure hex crawl which has great promise, provides great opportunity to customize and to bring the setting -- and the villains -- to life. And it all hangs together, too.

As the nature of what the Giants are doing with the human tribute (Flash to indelible scene of Mom being eaten in Attack on Titan) the role of humans as food is underscored in this volume to a dark and pleasing degree. The politics here is outside of the borders of this Valley. Within it, with a few exceptions, you are Giants or you are food. That has a clarity and a singleness of moral purpose that I found refreshing. And finally, it was DARK and GRITTY.

An ogre is going nuts near tearing apart a Crofter's Cottage near Shinnerman's Fortune because she can't fit up the stairs to reach a crying human baby and the smell of it is driving her mad with hunger. LOVED IT.

Are we crystal clear on the motives of the party and the bad guys now?

Tim Hitchcock's signatures are contained throughout the module. The backstory to Stilgrit, the mother of Spiders, is classic Hitchcock. His villains always have reasons for what they do and who they are and his writing style has affected all the other Werecabbages when it comes to NPC backstories. Stilgrit's is a little over the top, but it's the effort he puts in that is noteworthy. Every GM and adventure author can learn something about NPC and story design by reading that.

The cracked femurs in the fire, the bodies stacked like cordwood, the cadavers hung from hooks in the butcher's lair, the nods to PCs that cast speak with dead and what they...

I have read ahead. I will simply repeat that I think this is the weakest module in the series. You could not use this module and run the series fine. It's not very well connected to the story or internally.

Stolen Lands was a much better module with a hook that made a great deal of sense and launched the module in a fashion that left the players with a goal to achieve after they had cleared the land of many dangers setting up their ascension to the throne.

There are parts to like. That can be said of any module in an Adventure Path. Mostly it seems like it isn't necessary. I plan to make it necessary rather than a side trek to a tomb with a loose reason to go further.

I found modules 4 and 5 more interesting. The villains, tie ins, and goals. Lots to play with in modules 4 and 5.

Liberty's Edge Contributor

Steel_Wind wrote:


I am still digesting this volume of the AP after 4 read throughs; however, it is my favorite so far -- by a great margin. I also think it is Tim Hitchcok's best outing since Kingmaker Vol 1: Stolen Land.

Thanks SW.. Glad you liked FotGG. I had a really fun time writing it.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Rulebook Subscriber

Mechanical Question, can Lokmorr, when making a full round attack, include his touch attack as an off hand natural weapon?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Rulebook Subscriber

Oh, I hate that this has become my personal refrain of complaint, but WTF was with placing a battle in a vertical shaft with such a terrible map? I realize that cartography is only outlined / drafted by the author, but 3.5/Pathfinder already are hobbled when it comes to complex multi level combat, without a map that made sense I was left grappling for a layout that made sense.

Otherwise the encounter in areas A1-A4 was quiet amusing, especially when the tree hugging gnome (who pretends he is a dwarf) went barrelling into the aspen glad to literally hug a tree, barring the necessity for any peaky % rolls to see if anyone triggers the trap, or perception to detect it :)

Localized problem, I have a party of almost entirely dwarves, so poison isn't highly effective, I gave all the Ettercaps and Stilgrit ability focus poison to compensate, and managed to poison 1 character for 2 rounds.

Stilgrit and her family history is pretty horrific. I'm thinking a haunt inside the tomb that has little mechanical effect but presents scenes from the grandmother and mothers lives just to share that.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

For Lokmorr that is an interesting question that I hadn't thought of. My first guess would be no. Neither his stat block or the example in Bestiary 4 (which has a weapon) have it included. He is also using a 2 handed weapon.

That battle was a challenge to represent but it has also been one of the most memorable in the AP due to its challenge.

As for poison; don't forget that the DC gets harder for each time a person gets hit by the poisoned attack.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Rulebook Subscriber

The spiders don't stack with the ettercaps, but still, the ettercaps had a hard time ganging up on a single foe because of the shape of the battle. To be able to attack the party they had to be above them, but the party was descending. They were very vulnerable to spell casters blasting down the pipe, while remaining aloof from melee.

As I understand poison, if a character is bitten once in a round, and makes that save, they are considered to have not been poisoned. It is only in the case of multiple doses of the same poison, or additional doses after the player has been poisoned that the DC increase happens.

The only character that did get poisoned was the dwarven barbarian, he did in fact get to a point where the poison was stacked, but on the initial save he only failed on a 1 or a 2 (high con, being a dwarf, good fort save, and drank an anti-toxin after the initial battle on the surface)

Overall it was a unique battle and I liked many aspects of it, but it created unique issues that were clunky.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I just ran this fight last week and for the most part I used the ranged web attacks to great effect to keep the party on the ground while the ones I hit climbed the trees to try and get to them.

An important thing to remember, at least for me, is that while in the trees I made it uneven ground requiring an acrobatics check... which made PC's without a climb speed flat footed.

Unfortunately two of them did have climb speeds (druid and ape) and one of them was a dwarven monk.

Next week I'm facing the Stilgrit fight as well. I've got a few ideas how to run it a 'little' smoothly.

1.) While stairwell is 25 x 25 ft I'm going to draw my map of the stairs 90' long to reflect how steep the stairs are and write a note above the map about the relative distance.

2.) I'm going to use numbered markers on the NPC's and pc's and make a separate 'elevation' map to represent characters climbing on walls with Stilgrit's landing as the 0 point.

3.) Another thing I did was make the stairwells 5ft wide with no railing to add further difficulty to non climb speed PC's.

4.) Also considering having the ettercap consorts climb up the wall behind the group and attack from behind while Stilgrit hits them with summon swarm and spells from the front.

Gave Lokmorr another level and full hp... still not sure about viability as a single target fight.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Rulebook Subscriber

We broke for the night at the door, and I think the party is planning on resting. So I was thinking about giving Lokmorr the Agile Mythic Template (he is cursed by the gods and the hand is practically artifact like so that is basically a mythic ascension). Given that our group is 6 skilled players, I agree a single target fight is unlikely to be a long fight without putting my thumb on the scale.


Does anybody know how far Janderhoff is from Minderhal's Valley? The only place I was able to locate the city on is the giant map that I got from the Inner Sea World Guide.

Also, how big is Janderhoff? Can the PC's sell items or buy magic items of a decent amount there?


Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

It's on the Mindspin Mountain map in the Giantslayer Map Folio. I don't have access to my materials at the moment, but I know it's a large city. IIRC, the base value is 11,800 GP.


I never bought the map folio. When you get the chance, could you please tell me the shortest distance from Minderhal's Forge and Janderhoff? I figure the party wizard will be using Overland Flight spells to get there.


Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

No problem. I believe it is about 2 days by foot from the valley. It is the closest big settlement. I may have just used the large city stats from the settlement rules, too. I can't be more certain till Monday, unfortunately.


Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Aha! There's a mini-map of the Mindspin Mountains in Forge of the Giant God, but it does not show Minderhal's Valley, which is roughly half way between Janderhoff and Shinnerman's Fortune.

Janderhoff is detailed in the campaign setting Varisia: Birthplace of Legends, which I picked up in anticipation of CotCT re-release in hardback.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Piccolo, the map pack is very useful for part 4 of this AP. It has a very nice map of the objectives and will make things much easier for you and your group.


Seannoss wrote:
Piccolo, the map pack is very useful for part 4 of this AP. It has a very nice map of the objectives and will make things much easier for you and your group.

Could you explain in greater detail?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Part 4's mission involves the party attempting to destabilize a frost giant village named Skirgaard high in the Mindspin Mountains. The module encourages some hit and run tactics, ideally without ever being directly observed, and the village is divided into multiple points of interest (almost all of them a different building or structure of some sort) that the PCs can visit at any time or under whatever conditions they create or you design.

The map in the Map Folio is a nice render of the village from the perspective of an elevated view, as though from a nearby cliffside. Which is exactly where I had my PCs camping to spy out the village during their tactics, so the view on the map became exactly what they could see every day, more or less. By spreading the map out on the table, the players can get a very good idea of how the village is laid out and see how long it may take them to get from point A to point B, what kind of threats and lookout towers they will need to concern themselves with along the way, and soforth. If you have a party of players that are very tactically minded, the map is damn near essential.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Heh. Yes, all of that and very well put.

The map pack also contains a 'GM' map of the Mindspin Mountains which is also useful at this stage.


I thought the map folios only contained blown up copies of the maps found originally in the adventure path.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Nope! The Map Folio for any individual Adventure Path is usually something unique and in my experience often seems more geared towards helping players immerse themselves in the world than for any mechanical gameplay purposes.


Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

The map folios are awesome, IMO. Laying out Trunau, as well as the Mindspins has been essential for my group.


Sigh. Against my previous stance (didn't buy the Carrion Crown maps), I am placing this on my sidecart to be delivered when my Strange Aeons book comes in August. You convinced me.

What do you think of the map folios for Mummy's Mask, Jade Regent, Shattered Star, Rise of the Runelords, and Reign of Winter?


Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

MM has 2 cities, Wati and Tephu, which are nice, but really only blown up versions of what the books already have, plus an un-annotated version of the Osirion map from People of the Sands. The GS folio is considerably more useful, IMO.

I don't have the others, just Hell's Rebels and any new ones when they come out.


Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

So my mondo-mat arrives Saturday, at which point I will begin the difficult task of drawing Minderhal's Cathedral. The cathedral's base is 47 10' squares (top to bottom on the page) by 41 10' squares (left to right on the page), for a total of 94x82 squares (not counting tents outside) and a mondo-mat is 100x50 squares. I can fit the top to bottom on the length of the mat, but will need 2 additional mega-mats (I have 3) to fit the rest of the cathedral into 1 drawing. Doing so leaves the 3rd mega-mat for the cathedral spires (they are 30 squares across) with a Plexiglas cover so I can draw 1 circle then modify the interiors as they climb the spire.

Unfortunately, our 3rd player (well, 3rd and 4th, but the 4th is gone for a while anyway), likely won't be here for all of this due to life getting in the way. I may intentionally delay progress (the sandboxy nature of this book allows it) so everyone gets to play in the cathedral.

Fun times.


What happened to Droja? She joins the PCs at the end of the last module, but seems to have been forgotten in this.


Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Droja? Do you mean Ingrahild? Droja is the Oracle from book 1.


Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Scratch that, Droja was at the end of the book, but she only helped out as a means to earn her freedom.


Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Finished the main level of Minderhal's Cathedral map tonight. It took a mondo-mat and 2 mega-mats as I said above. Overall I probably spent around 6 hours working on it. I still have to put in one of the tents, and I intend to do the spires on a single mega-mat with a Plexiglas cover for easy modification as they ascend (one big circle, change the contents each level).

Given the overall size, we may play this one on the floor in my basement using a bridge from the pool table to move figs/pawns around. It is impressive when all laying out as a whole map.


Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

We essentially finished the cathedral last Sunday, with only some minor bookkeeping to tend to (escape, resize one of the weapons that will be useful, rescue the prospectors, read all the info) that will mostly be done in narrative at the beginning of our session this weekend. Our crew did well, basically cleaning everything out without a hitch.

They started in the back with the tents (both fights were too easy, IMO, and the table in the one tent seriously hampered the giant in there) progressing into the side door and slowly moving around the cathedral killing everything in their path. They put up the iron spike of safe passage between the one spire and the main cathedral wall (there's a large nook area there) and used some blackfire clay to keep them warm the first night. Since the tents were empty, there was literally no chance anyone would see or hear them (the dragon is 600' up, -60 to perception is joyous).

It didn't take long to wipe everything else before dealing with Etena and heading up the central spire to take on Urathash and Jahlvorez. Urathash put up a fight, but a well-placed geyser and a failed saving throw ended his tenure as priest of the temple (or whatever). Our investigator realized that dragon's blood burns as hot as dragon breath, so Jahlvorez' fate was sealed. A critical from our ranger in the first round and first hit (manyshot, gravity bow, +4 favored enemy, 8d6+68 damage IIRC), followed by 2 more hits, dropped the dragon as he dove toward them. I think the investigator said (after rolling poorly on his identify check) "Look, up in the sky, it's a dragon!" then came a "thud" as the ranger noted "a dragon you say?"

I'm currently working up book 4, and it looks to be quite fun. My guys like the sandbox idea, too (they loved the valley).

I have to admit, I was a bit dismayed as I hung the 2 megamats I used for the bottom of the cathedral under the shower head yesterday. I haven't tackled the mondomat yet, but Skirkatla's Tomb looks like it will need some of that action as well.


My party is about to become Tomb Raiders and tackle Nargrym's Tomb! I have a quick question about the Greater Brand trap on the front disk-door of the tomb:

The door isn't locked, right? It's simply too heavy to move. So trying to pick a lock (= Disable Device) will be ineffective. And the DC for Disabling the magic trap is really high (too high for my party). So I think they're going to have to either (a) solve the rune-riddle (we have a dwarven cleric for the party so there's some hope for that, despite his low INT) or (b) bash the door down in a violent noisy manner.

Regarding option (b): the book states that the disk-door is warded by an Arcane Lock, Caster Level 10. I read the spell descriptions for Arcane Lock and Knock (our wizard knows the latter spell), and it looks like Knock will temporarily deactivate an Arcane Lock regardless of the CL of the person who cast it. So why is the author telling us that the CL of the lock = 10? What does the CL have to do with it? (It's relevant for use of Dispel Magic, maybe?)

Second question about this door: If our wizard casts Knock and deactivates the Arcane Lock for 10 minutes, does this mean that the door automatically slides open for 10 minutes? Or does it just mean that the spell is deactivated for 10 minutes, and it's still closed?

Happy Holidays All! This week will be our last session before the holidays and I'm trying to find a way to inject some Christmassy element into the Tomb but haven't come up with anything so far...
(maybe Krampus will appear, declare them all as 'naughy' and then attack them as they leave... and Santa will come, declare them as 'nice', rescue them? nah, that's too cheesy even for me...) ;-)

[PS Thanks Adam Smith for the general advice on this book. And well-done, Taks, for getting those maps done for Part 3! I'm not DM'ing part 3 of this book so I don't have to worry about that (but I'll pass on the tips about making details maps ahead of time, to my co-DM].]

Grand Lodge

I would highly recommend hitting the local print shop in your town and get a big map of any giant sized location you are fighting in. I got one for 20 dollars of red lake fort and another of the cathedral spires of Minderhal for about 10. I am getting another when I need to set up some large scale fights.


Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Sorry this has taken so long...

My guess is the CL matters for dispel, but I don't have access to my book right now and don't recall the details. I would not say unlocking via knock opens the door, they'd still need to do that themselves. My guys picked the lock then brute forced the door open, IIRC.

I should post the map pics somewhere just so others can see the magnitude of these areas. I did not put as much into them as Adam did, but enough to make it worthwhile. I did do a big circle on a single mega-mat for the towers and overlaid the mat with Plexiglas for individual floorplans. We did end up playing the lower levels on the floor in the basement, too, using bridges from my billiards gear to move the figs around.

When I get back from a lengthy business trip (not till February) I'll start on Skirkatla's tomb. It is nearly as large, though I think easy to draw due to fewer circles. We managed 2 sessions in Skirgaard before I left and it is as fun as I had hoped.

Oh, I did some cursory searches at print shops based on Cinderfoot's recommendation. Print shops near me are much more expensive. I'll have to go in to a few to really see what they offer.


Does anyone else see Lokmorr as a bizarre and terrible waste of a complex and intriguing character? I say bizarre because I find the backstory of how he became "cursed" with immortality and trapped within the tomb rather hard to imagine. Dude grows jealous of his former friend, murders the guy and the gods figure that making him immortal is a reasonable response? Ookay. Then he gets trapped for seven centuries by some undetailed but evidently very skilled tomb builders who plied their trade on a remote mountain plateau in honour of the victim. Then his despondent mom starts worshipping some alien insect demon and she starts a multi-generational spider cult in Lokmorr's honor that endures for severn centuries...

I say terrible waste because all of this backstory amounts to an odd cat-and-mouse game with Lokmorr within the tomb in which he madly fights to the death against a group of strangers for... reasons. The most intriguing question about Lokmorr is never addressed in the module; what does he do if he outmaneuvres the party? What, after being trapped for 700 years, does he wish to do if he gets free of his prison? Lokmorr has the makings of a phenomenal reoccurring villain. He's immortal and he's had 700 years to scheme and formulate plans for when he escapes. Where might he go? What might he do? What's his goal? But instead, he's just a crazed dwarf made to kill or be killed by the party. How disappointing.


Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I put very little into this part. It was a neat encounter in general, but the story element was waaaay too involved for me to convey to the party I'm running and my ability to tell it.


Completed this module.

Changes:
1. The Oculus: Changed The Oculus into a spy that infiltrated the group encouraging them to track down all the components to relight the forging and tricking them into relighting the forge. Increased her Bluff skill substantially and had her infiltrate the party after several prominent giants were killed leading Urathash to realize that the small people had infiltrated.

2. Etena: Only a minor change. Made her a true ally of Urathash. She strongly desired to relight the Forge to provide the Storm Tyrant with a means to produce weapons to rival the Dwarves and other small people. She was more of a prominent member of the giant hierarchy at the Cathedral working in tandem with Urathash rather than an afterthought.

*****

The villains in this module were not formidable enough to challenge the PCs except for Urathash. Unfortunately, he had a very bad time with a displacement spell that didn't get dispelled. He fought for 8 rounds and must have missed 12 or more times. Most annoying displacement spell I've ever ran into.

PCs waited to relight Minderhal's Forge until the giant valley cleared. They made a deal with the dwarves of a local citadel to hold the forge and keep it secret from Volstus. Volstus would not let a forge as powerful as the Minderhal Forge alone if it wasn't guarded. He would bring his cloud fortress to take it. With the dwarves of a powerful battle citadel guarding it, he will be more wary.

Anyhow, glad to be done with this module. It was a tough one to run. Monsters were too reliant on brute force. That doesn't work well against PCs using magic. A brawler, magus, and summoner with optimized eidolon do a lot of damage and are hard to kill. I may have to design more magical support for the giants in the next few modules.


Yeah I plan on adding magical support for most of these adventures. As you are the third or forth person who has said they are lacking.


Too many APs and not enough time.

Just now getting around to this AP. Interesting. Overall, it has been fairly easy for the Dwarf heavy party.

The Cave Paintings gave them some fits. The CR for this seemed low to me. I know HD has a lot to do with CR, but the Cave Paintings had some abilities that truly made the encounter more potent.

I am curious how abilities affected the CR for this monster.

Any thoughts?

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