The Hill Giant's Pledge (GM Reference)


Giantslayer

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Upon seeing Redlake Fort, my players quickly tumbled to the notion of blowing the dam to flood the moat; sending an earth elemental in to do the deed from within the dam itself. There doesn't seem to be any mention of the size of the sluice gate or the rate at which the moat fills once it's opened. Anyone have a clue how long it might take before the entire moat is refilled?

I'm crunching some numbers, assuming that the sluice gate is maybe as big as 5 feet square, but it looks be a relatively slow process unless some major demolition work is done to the dam.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

In the encounter where Tark and his orcs attack the boat, are Tark's orcs meant to get onto the boat?

None of them have swim or climb and previous encounters have established its hard to climb up the side of the boat (DC15) and hard to swim in this river (DC15 - although maybe its easier here) - so is the intent ?

- only Tark boards and the others lob javelins from the bank
- the orcs get to cheat and no one sees their rolls (its only hazardous terrain for PCs... ;) )
- its really hard for them to get onboard and the party can laugh at their clumsy attems


JulianW wrote:

In the encounter where Tark and his orcs attack the boat, are Tark's orcs meant to get onto the boat?

None of them have swim or climb and previous encounters have established its hard to climb up the side of the boat (DC15) and hard to swim in this river (DC15 - although maybe its easier here) - so is the intent ?

- only Tark boards and the others lob javelins from the bank
- the orcs get to cheat and no one sees their rolls (its only hazardous terrain for PCs... ;) )
- its really hard for them to get onboard and the party can laugh at their clumsy attems

Yes, I felt that their performance, was a bit underwhelming as well. They are pretty useless from the the shore, since the PCs have at least partial cover, depending on how high you imagine the river bank will be in regards to the boat. Luckily, Melira was joined the battle in my round to keep it somewhat challenging. I finally made them come on board, after not hitting a single target on ship for 8 rounds, but the group had finished Melira and Tark already, so those poor fellas were no more than target practice.

If I would re-run this, I would probably make them more annoying by throwing tanglefoot bags or smoke or some other sort of obstacle on the boat, rather than trying to hit one of the PCs, which required a natural 20 in almost all cases (in my group, that is). Option B would be to have them set up something bigger, like, load a whole bunch of Alchemist's fires into a improvised siege weapon, so the PCs have to act fast if they don't want to lose their only safe means of transportation in enemy territory.

While I'm writing I'm wondering about Ingrahild. My group encountered her yesterday and as most of them got annoyed with her, our lawful good shaman, being a dwarf herself took a pity in her and tried to cure her, which she successfully did. I'm running this adventure with 5 PCs, two of which have animal companions. They plan on taking Ingrahild with them, so I wonder how the balance would be effected by the addition of her? Should I downgrade her to level 4, so she won't steal the spot light from the PCs in battles? How did the whole Ingrahild plot turn out for you other guys?

/K


Plot-wise, I had Ingrahild get dejected (after being cured by the party) about being alone and separated from her brother. So she left the marsh to wait for word from the PCs at the patrol landing downriver. I have a party of 6 PCs already, and didn't feel like running a DMPC. Good luck!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I thought ahead about Ingrahild. My PCs all wanted to play dwarves, so I strongly encouraged them to have blood relations. Incorporating the NPC dwarf siblings was a cinch, then, as they were extended family that everyone knew, so the party had built-in give-a-crap. I was running a party of 5 optimizers in the campaign, so she did not prove to be overbalancing. On the contrary, she served a wonderful role as ranged overwatch during the infiltration of Redlake.

I wish I had had Tark's orcs throw smoke on the boat to cover Tark's boarding, that is a great idea. Alchemist's fires would be out of the question if I stay true to the text, of course, since Tark would have forbidden the use of any fires being thrown too close to him.


Yossarin wrote:
Alchemist's fires would be out of the question if I stay true to the text, of course, since Tark would have forbidden the use of any fires being thrown too close to him.

You're absolutely right! Fire is out of the question, but maybe some acid or liquid ice would do the job.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Karankwan wrote:


Yes, I felt that their performance, was a bit underwhelming as well. They are pretty useless from the the shore

In the end, given I have 8 players, I scaled the encounter up by giving them each a level of rogue, including ranks in climb and swim and had them swim out to the boat after Tark attaches the token.

Of course the party spotted him and them, making the sneaky assault pretty weak, but they had fun firing the ballista at one, casting grease on the side of the ship and the like.

It was made more challenging by the fact the strongest characters are generally doing the rowing the players sensibly assume they wouldn't be wearing heavy armour for that, so when attacked tend to come rushing onto deck unarmoured.

They'd found Melira much earlier - she had proved to be a horrenduous fight with rapid shot and favoured enemey, killing Trunau's half-orc heart-throb the party's ranger, Locke. Ironically the rate she ran through arrows proved to be a huge factor in that fight, with her getting the chance to loot the quiver of an unconcious PC having a big effect.


Like some of the others, I had Ingrahild tag along with my 5 person party. I made her and her brother distant cousins of my one dwarf party member who'd been a Trunau native a not tied into the true Dwarven scene. It worked out well as a hook because now he's also interested in learning about his ancestor.

Mechanically, if you don't want to run a DMPC, just hand her off to a party member. I usually let someone run her (and eventually Umlo) only overriding when I want/need them do so something specific for plot reasons.

For Tark & the orcs, I created a distraction on the shore to draw them into a better fight. I used an old-party member who'd left the group in book one and made him the source of information that told Melira where to go. So he strode out from the swamp with the little orcs hiding in the brush (which the PCs could see) and had the former PC launch into a monologue. Even telling some of the party they heard swimming on the back side of the boat kept them distracted and Tark was able to board after most of the party had disembarked to engage the orcs / former party members on the shore.


I created a couple sets of maps to hand out to the players for Red Lake Fort. However, I plan to add some background about the maps being worn and saved from fire. So I did some editing in Gimp, including invaluable help from the burnt-paper script from Patrick Stein...

Redlake Fort Burnt Maps.

For the files that include "burn me" in the name I plan to actual burn the paper to see how they turn out. Immersion is the key to an RPG! ...

Scarab Sages

Okay, so I'm having a few problems with the brambleblight.

When it animates brambles they can animate and attack or entangle as per the spell. No save dc is listed. Should I be applying the Brambleblight's charisma modifier to the save? It's Blight Aura is constitution based so maybe I should use Constitution instead.

Secondly in the Ecology section it indicates that the Brambleblight should only be able to animate one patch of brambles at a time. This is not indicated at all in the Animate Brambles ability in the stat block. I almost feel as if it's fair to allow it to animate one from each of the large mounds on the floorplan of the room and keep it hidden among the mounds of rotting brambles 'til the pc's manage to spot it. This way it can become quite a fun fight with them faced with masses of writhing brambles and trying to work out where the true danger lies.

Better than just revealing it straight away and saying "let's fight."


Hi guys, I came across a question yesterday when my group managed to claim Grenseldek's dowry.
It is mentioned that they find a map of Minderhal's Valley with Grenseldek's handwriting "My future with Volstus starts here!"

Did you give your players an actual map? If so which one did you use? Would the map from Book 3 (page 19) be too much of a help for them? (without the locations of course). Or would you go for some bigger map, like the one in the Mapfolio for the AP and just add a scribbled circle and her text on it?

/K


Hello, internet denizens. I'm GMing Giantslayer, and we're about to start Hill Giant's Pledge. I skimmed the whole thing, and noticed that the Vault of Thorns drops a +1 ironwood breastplate. Is this an item the pcs should be able to sell if they don't want it? If so, or if I want to replace it with a similar value of other loot, how much should it be worth?

If I assume this is a normal ironwood item and that the base wood is free, the minimum costs to hire druids to cast wood shape and ironwood are 2x3x10 and 6x11x10 gp, making for a value of 720gp and an item lifespan of 11 days at creation.

However, it seems clear from the module that this armor has been sitting in the vault for much longer than 11 days. There's an ironwood crown with a set gp value in the cache too, with no lifespan listed, so I think these items should be permanent.

My second guess is from a permanent enchanting of the ironwood spell as per the "estimating magic item gold value" table.
A continuous spell with a duration of 24hrs+ is spell level*caster level*1000gp, plus the 60gp from wood shape as before, comes to 66,060g for the armor, again assuming free wood. It's an armor, but the +1 is free from the ironwood spell and we didn't actually bother to get a craftsperson to make the armor, so I'm not sure if I should bring it up to 66,210gp to include the masterwork cost as per the table.

My third guess is to make a custom item, price it like darkwood or dragonhide or something, and make it like a normal enchanted armor... which is boring but probably the most realistic solution. (Or bronzewood, from 3.5.}

The first price seems unrealistically low and inappropriate for an item that's been sitting around in a loot cache for an unknown amount of time. The second method is a whole lot of money for players of this level. Every GM who didn't have a druid in their party or replaced the armor arbitrarily must have had to deal with this item. Any hot tips?


Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
themantheycallcris wrote:

I created a couple sets of maps to hand out to the players for Red Lake Fort. However, I plan to add some background about the maps being worn and saved from fire. So I did some editing in Gimp, including invaluable help from the burnt-paper script from Patrick Stein...

Redlake Fort Burnt Maps.

For the files that include "burn me" in the name I plan to actual burn the paper to see how they turn out. Immersion is the key to an RPG! ...

These are very cool. Thank you for sharing!!


JulianW wrote:

In the encounter where Tark and his orcs attack the boat, are Tark's orcs meant to get onto the boat?

None of them have swim or climb and previous encounters have established its hard to climb up the side of the boat (DC15) and hard to swim in this river (DC15 - although maybe its easier here) - so is the intent ?

- only Tark boards and the others lob javelins from the bank
- the orcs get to cheat and no one sees their rolls (its only hazardous terrain for PCs... ;) )
- its really hard for them to get onboard and the party can laugh at their clumsy attems

I know I'm replying to a thing from years ago, but...

I just ran this encounter as it's written, and the orcs on shore actually really worked. The PCs were preoccupied with Tark, Melira, and Chokehold, and the other orcs floundering on a lot of their rolls ensured that they didn't get to the ship immediately, and when they did, they arrived little by little, basically in waves.

They also gave me an answer to what the captain and crew were doing: operating the ballista. Bloodtusk and his folks took shots at the orcs approaching the ship and weakened them, and called for the PCs to finish off those who'd gotten on board.

Our Druid fell to Tark (but survived), and Melira managed to get our Barbarian into "Only alive thanks to rage" territory, but the party emerged victorious. The Ranger (an archer with orcs as a favoured enemy who had explicitly been spending all her time aboard the boat in the crow's nest, and thus got to start the battle up there) had a particularly good time of this encounter and was responsible for both Melira and Tark's defeats.

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