Battle of Bloodmarch Hill (GM Reference)


Giantslayer

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

This thread is a GM Reference thread for Part 1 of the Giantslayer Adventure Path. Links for the individual threads for each part are as follows:


Why is Rodrik staying at the Ramblehouse instead of the Longhouse? Have I missed something?


Joana wrote:
Why is Rodrik staying at the Ramblehouse instead of the Longhouse? Have I missed something?

His father, Jagrin Grath, disaproves of his relationship with Brinya. As his father is both Patrol Leader and lives at the Longhouse, it is likely either Rodrik was kicked out, or left of his own accord after the falling out over his father's racism and disapproval, the adventure doesn't go into the specifics I believe. But this is the general reason.

Scarab Sages

Oh dear Lord I love that this is artifact city AP. Three specically called out in the last page summary, and probably another one or two in the giantslayer tomb. The few non artifact new items were quite cool as well, and I really like how they've got those snazzy sidebars instead of being dumped into a "mummys mask treasures"-esque appendix.

Dark Archive

Yeah I was happy to see the Artifact in the end of the adventure.

Dark Archive

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In event 3 should the assassins not coup de grace if they can? That could be a real TPK if they do. That would be 3d6 on the first attack and a fort save.


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brad2411 wrote:
In event 3 should the assassins not coup de grace if they can? That could be a real TPK if they do. That would be 3d6 on the first attack and a fort save.

You're not wrong, it would make sense. It's a really nasty encounter to do. A bit strange that it also assumes the PCs are all staying in the same room.

So, I've been reading through this. Generally looking good, I like the opening investigation bit. but I just finished reading through the Plague house and I'm starting to notice some issues.

First, following exp awards, assuming PCs do everything, they still aren't level 2 (I calculated max experience at 6000 for a party of four). If they've asked the right questions or made assumptions and headed there early, they are no where close possibly. This is a concern considering that it's a pretty dangerous little place, including a trap area that does 2d6+3 damage to potentially 3 characters (that could knock a lot of lvl 1s straight to dying)

At first I was a bit concerned with the story issue of the amount of dangers here (it's supposed to be the city's make-out point essentially), but then I realized clearly these vermin are all new arrivals from the rat tunnels the orcs dug into. Still, disappointed with no mention of webs from H5 and H6 room descriptions. Also, I was initially confused by the spider tactics in H6 saying that they attack from above, as the description seems to put them on ground floor with PCs and there is, very literally, no walls or ceilings in the area to gain a significant height advantage. Then I realized they're probably meant to jump down into H12 and join the shadow rat fight.

Actually, let's just take a moment to appreciate how much low level parties might hate those shadow rats. Consider the party could still be level 1. Consider that approaching through the open wall is a option the adventure easily allows. Consider the encounter also has the possibility for PCs to start the encounter prone and down 2d6 damage from falling from the H6 hazard....a lot could go wrong here. Hope the party has a cleric or a good amount of magic to hit incorporeals with a 50% miss chance, otherwise a hasty retreat from the str dmg monsters you can't hurt.

There also seems to be a surprising amount of secret doors in this place (it wasn't even rebuilds as a church really, just a plague house). I suppose the purpose of the H3 secret door is to encounter the spiders before they jump into the H12 battle? Overall it seems surprisingly intact for having burnt down so fast there were no survivors.

Then there is the retreat tactic for the goons inside. It's interesting and could make for a interesting fight. But at the same time, if they do escape, it could be very frustrating for Players, and I don't think most players will assume that they can just come back the next night (it's s pretty foolish move). I guess overall, for the lvl 1-2 transition point, this adventure has a lot of very mean things for players to face. Anyway, back to reading.

Grand Lodge Contributor

This does seem, on first reading, like a particularly tough initial adventure. I agree about the danger of the high trap damage in the plague house, and the assassins' nocturnal attack, but I was most concerned, however, by the fact that Parts 2 and 3 run with no possibility to rest overnight and regain per day abilities or learn new spells.

When the orc attack comes in Part 2, the PCs are still in 'investigation mode' since they haven't uncovered the murderer, and spellcasters are likely to have prepared spells that aid their investigations. Sure, those spells might still be useful when interrogating captives, but the massive amount of battles they are expected to survive will assuredly be their priority, and I foresee some very frustrated players who haven't been given the opportunity to prepare a full complement of combat spells.

As soon as the battle against the invaders is over, the PCs are expected to go straight into the tomb to start Part 3. Although it doesn't explicitly state that the PCs must go in immeditaely and cannot rest overnight and enter the tomb in the morning, that seems to be the implication. After all, if left in there overnight, Skreed is likely to have found what he is looking for.

What a dastardly tough pickle the PCs are going to find themselves in.

I was considering having a Trunau patrol spot the orc invaders and arrive in time to warn the town that an attack is imminent, probably by the following day. This should give PCs the chance to prepare new spells and stock up, but still allows for the surprise of when the orcs will actually attack. Obviously, in this scenario there would need to be some reason why the prepared town was caught with their pants down enough to let orcs inside at all. Thoughts?


Shaun Hocking wrote:

This does seem, on first reading, like a particularly tough initial adventure. I agree about the danger of the high trap damage in the plague house, and the assassins' nocturnal attack, but I was most concerned, however, by the fact that Parts 2 and 3 run with no possibility to rest overnight and regain per day abilities or learn new spells.

When the orc attack comes in Part 2, the PCs are still in 'investigation mode' since they haven't uncovered the murderer, and spellcasters are likely to have prepared spells that aid their investigations. Sure, those spells might still be useful when interrogating captives, but the massive amount of battles they are expected to survive will assuredly be their priority, and I foresee some very frustrated players who haven't been given the opportunity to prepare a full complement of combat spells.

As soon as the battle against the invaders is over, the PCs are expected to go straight into the tomb to start Part 3. Although it doesn't explicitly state that the PCs must go in immeditaely and cannot rest overnight and enter the tomb in the morning, that seems to be the implication. After all, if left in there overnight, Skreed is likely to have found what he is looking for.

What a dastardly tough pickle the PCs are going to find themselves in.

I was considering having a Trunau patrol spot the orc invaders and arrive in time to warn the town that an attack is imminent, probably by the following day. This should give PCs the chance to prepare new spells and stock up, but still allows for the surprise of when the orcs will actually attack. Obviously, in this scenario there would need to be some reason why the prepared town was caught with their pants down enough to let orcs inside at all. Thoughts?

Haven't finished reading yet, but I have some similar concerns. Honestly, I'm waiting to read how this happened even without a scout. Trunau is a really good defensive position. It's on top of a hill and has tall guard towers built up. Even assuming they did no scouting (possible, If. I get around to running I plan to play up how much Rodrik's death through things out of balance), there should have at least been a watch, and even if the orcs only moved at night and somehow get camps and siege equipment hidden during day approaches, there still should've been a pretty big margin from the time they'd be visible until the attack actually takes place. I'm gonna withhold judgement until I read the whole thing (crucial information has been hidden in weird spots for this adventure or has taken some deduction), but I think there needs to be some specific actions by the saboteurs spelled out to make this seem like more than just a plot event, and definitely some stretching of time spots in a few places to make sure there is spell and ability recovery. It's great that there are suggestions for placing extra healing, but HP isn't the only resource PCs need to deal with.

That being said, it's not entirely a bad thing that this adventure is a bit brutal and reproduce pressing. I just think it's s little bit of a shame that it happens in a starting adventure. Pushing level 4 or 5 PCs through rigours like this would be much more satisfying for all involved I think. More resources to stretch out. Less chance for unlucky rolls to cause unexpected deaths.


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Usually, beacons are meant to signal to allies to bring reinforcements, though I suppose Truneau doesn't have any allies nearer than Lastwall. Still, if the PCs are running into trouble, you could have a scouting force outside the walls at the time of the attack return and turn the tide of battle at a pivotal moment because they saw the beacons, maybe tell the PCs to get back to the Longhouse and rest while they mop up. Then, when they wake up, the party could be given the task of going into the tunnel after Skreed, who was spotted going in just before sunrise.

The party will definitely need to rest, heal, and refresh daily resources between parts 2 & 3. The adventure does offer the PC the option of resting while Kurst puts the tunnel entrance under guard, but it'd be hard to explain what Skreed's been doing in there for the last 8 hours.


Just popping in for *evil GM cackle* Shadow Rat Swarm!
Swarm + incorporeal + Shadow blend = 1/4 weapon damage with 50% miss chance. Assuming the weapons have or are given a magic enchantment.
Swarm, so immune to magic missile and ghostbane dirge, which require targets.
And a high will save, so even a cleric's channel isn't reliable damage dealer.
39 HP to wiggle through and a decent AC of 16. Hope the PCs still have those holy waters, and picked up a half dozen more.
Just going to say, if Brinya's Love wasn't specifically a gimme to counter some of the defences, this is a very cruel CR4.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

i still dont understand how the sentrys did not notice the aproaching horde beforehand


I have been reading this adventure, glad to see Paizo is bringing the threat back to some of there adventures. I enjoy how most of first level is eaten up by investigations cause 1st level combat sucks. I can't wait to get through it all and see all 6 books.


Where can I find a regional map to see where Trunau is in relation to Lastwall and the other settlements of Belkzen? (Wish APs had the "Where in Golarion?" box modules like Daughters of Fury do.)

There's not one in Towns of the Inner Sea. Is Trunau on the map in the Campaign Setting, or do I have to buy the new Belkzen book?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Off of the top of my head I think I recall rough distances and directions mentioned in the Player Guide.


Joana wrote:

Where can I find a regional map to see where Trunau is in relation to Lastwall and the other settlements of Belkzen? (Wish APs had the "Where in Golarion?" box modules like Daughters of Fury do.)

There's not one in Towns of the Inner Sea. Is Trunau on the map in the Campaign Setting, or do I have to buy the new Belkzen book?

Inner sea world guide has you covered with the Belkzen chapter. It's south of the Kestrel River, looking at the map, approximately 25 miles west of its eastern border and 50 miles north of south border (I think player guide gave more specific coordinates)


Carter Lockhart wrote:
Inner sea world guide has you covered with the Belkzen chapter. It's south of the Kestrel River, looking at the map, approximately 25 miles west of its eastern border and 50 miles north of south border (I think player guide gave more specific coordinates)

Thanks! That's what I was looking for. The old 'Inner Sea Reigon' map didn't even have the Kestrel River marked for reference.


I checked the Inner Sea Guide for the location of Freetown (I figured it would have to be pretty close to Trunau for Skreed to hire the mercenaries and for them to attack the party before they complete their investigation), but it doesn't seem to be there at all.

Grand Lodge Contributor

mikeawmids wrote:
I checked the Inner Sea Guide for the location of Freetown (I figured it would have to be pretty close to Trunau for Skreed to hire the mercenaries and for them to attack the party before they complete their investigation), but it doesn't seem to be there at all.

Freedom Town is due east of Urgir, just inside Belkzen near where the borders of Belkzen, Lastwall, and Ustalav meet.

Dark Archive

Shaun Hocking wrote:
mikeawmids wrote:
I checked the Inner Sea Guide for the location of Freetown (I figured it would have to be pretty close to Trunau for Skreed to hire the mercenaries and for them to attack the party before they complete their investigation), but it doesn't seem to be there at all.
Freedom Town is due east of Urgir, just inside Belkzen near where the borders of Belkzen, Lastwall, and Ustalav meet.

It is about 150 miles North East of Trunau.


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mikeawmids wrote:
I checked the Inner Sea Guide for the location of Freetown (I figured it would have to be pretty close to Trunau for Skreed to hire the mercenaries and for them to attack the party before they complete their investigation), but it doesn't seem to be there at all.

It is located on the map in the Belkzen article of Skeletons of Scarwall (Curse of Crimson Throne 5). As mentioned, straight east of Urgir, just within the borders.

I have to say, little disappointed that such a plot point location was missed in the publishing of the Inner Sea World Guide. Really interesting location and we don't even have a population size for it. But apparently enough to spare a few assassins.

Dark Archive

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Carter Lockhart wrote:
mikeawmids wrote:
I checked the Inner Sea Guide for the location of Freetown (I figured it would have to be pretty close to Trunau for Skreed to hire the mercenaries and for them to attack the party before they complete their investigation), but it doesn't seem to be there at all.

It is located on the map in the Belkzen article of Skeletons of Scarwall (Curse of Crimson Throne 5). As mentioned, straight east of Urgir, just within the borders.

I have to say, little disappointed that such a plot point location was missed in the publishing of the Inner Sea World Guide. Really interesting location and we don't even have a population size for it. But apparently enough to spare a few assassins.

They have a stat block for Freedom town and a map in Belkzen, Hold of the Orc Horde. The population is 402.


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Shaun Hocking wrote:

This does seem, on first reading, like a particularly tough initial adventure. I agree about the danger of the high trap damage in the plague house, and the assassins' nocturnal attack, but I was most concerned, however, by the fact that Parts 2 and 3 run with no possibility to rest overnight and regain per day abilities or learn new spells.

When the orc attack comes in Part 2, the PCs are still in 'investigation mode' since they haven't uncovered the murderer, and spellcasters are likely to have prepared spells that aid their investigations. Sure, those spells might still be useful when interrogating captives, but the massive amount of battles they are expected to survive will assuredly be their priority, and I foresee some very frustrated players who haven't been given the opportunity to prepare a full complement of combat spells.

As soon as the battle against the invaders is over, the PCs are expected to go straight into the tomb to start Part 3. Although it doesn't explicitly state that the PCs must go in immeditaely and cannot rest overnight and enter the tomb in the morning, that seems to be the implication. After all, if left in there overnight, Skreed is likely to have found what he is looking for.

What a dastardly tough pickle the PCs are going to find themselves in.

I was considering having a Trunau patrol spot the orc invaders and arrive in time to warn the town that an attack is imminent, probably by the following day. This should give PCs the chance to prepare new spells and stock up, but still allows for the surprise of when the orcs will actually attack. Obviously, in this scenario there would need to be some reason why the prepared town was caught with their pants down enough to let orcs inside at all. Thoughts?

I am not too worried about the time frame. The party's only chance to find out what is going on is to capture the half orc in the Plague House and he is only there at night. If the PC's do a night adventure and finish up by morning then they rest all day and attend the funeral in the evening at which time the next event starts.

If they go during the day, they can't run into the half orc and the information can not be obtained meaning they will have to go back in the evening anyway there by having a night adventure as per above.

Grand Lodge Contributor

Golaryn wrote:
Shaun Hocking wrote:

This does seem, on first reading, like a particularly tough initial adventure. I agree about the danger of the high trap damage in the plague house, and the assassins' nocturnal attack, but I was most concerned, however, by the fact that Parts 2 and 3 run with no possibility to rest overnight and regain per day abilities or learn new spells.

When the orc attack comes in Part 2, the PCs are still in 'investigation mode' since they haven't uncovered the murderer, and spellcasters are likely to have prepared spells that aid their investigations. Sure, those spells might still be useful when interrogating captives, but the massive amount of battles they are expected to survive will assuredly be their priority, and I foresee some very frustrated players who haven't been given the opportunity to prepare a full complement of combat spells.

As soon as the battle against the invaders is over, the PCs are expected to go straight into the tomb to start Part 3. Although it doesn't explicitly state that the PCs must go in immeditaely and cannot rest overnight and enter the tomb in the morning, that seems to be the implication. After all, if left in there overnight, Skreed is likely to have found what he is looking for.

What a dastardly tough pickle the PCs are going to find themselves in.

I was considering having a Trunau patrol spot the orc invaders and arrive in time to warn the town that an attack is imminent, probably by the following day. This should give PCs the chance to prepare new spells and stock up, but still allows for the surprise of when the orcs will actually attack. Obviously, in this scenario there would need to be some reason why the prepared town was caught with their pants down enough to let orcs inside at all. Thoughts?

I am not too worried about the time frame. The party's only chance to find out what is going on is to capture the half orc in the Plague House and he is only there at night. If the PC's do a night adventure and finish up by morning...

Oh for sure. In that part of the adventure I was more worried that the PCs might still be provisioned with spells to help in an investigation (i.e. non-combat spells) when the orcs attack.


I finished reading the adventure yesterday, and I feel it is a mixed bag. The setup of Trunau and the quirks of this place are well done, and the investigative part is nice, even if I think that the "magical mystery murderer" is something of the easy way out.

But the siege part has, IMO, several problems. First and foremost, an attacking force closing to the city in the waning daylight, siege engine, giants and all, and nobody notices? I guess that the funeral accounts for the guards being less attentive than usual, but missing an entire attack force? Trunau wouldn´t have survived that long if guarding was that relaxed. Granted, the falling darkness helps the attackers, and I´d have no problem with an advance team infiltrating the city early on, and the siege train advancing under the cover of darkness, attacking more likely in the dead of the night, after the tower guards are already killed by infiltrators. Orcs (and giants and siege engines...) are not noted for their stealth, so even if the guards don´t see a thing, they will hear some odd noises out there. I would have infiltrators creep into town, using the funeral as a distraction, and kill the tower guards in advance, to make some sense of that. Now, this may be seen as nitpicking, but being surprised by a siege force would ruin suspense of disbelief to me.

The burning boulders irritated me, I would have liked some information on how they work. And a single boulder crushing the whole tower at L 13? That is too much, and negates any logic to the gate action at L 11, with the defenses effectively breached already. A boulder severely damaging the tower, leaving an opening where one enemy at a time can squeeze through would work better IMO. Could even generate an intense scene, if the defenders are suddenly attacked by a small number of enemies who crawled through that hole.

The exploding beacon (I almost wrote bacon there...) seems gratuitous to me. To be honest, I thought it is just in there to generate a few more xp.

How did the Gryphs get into the caves? Was there a opening big enough for them to enter before the cave was smashed in? These strange birds probably would not have gone unnoticed in the village.


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How much of the siege-as-written could be salvaged if the attack were changed from a sudden surprise to an anticipated gambit that Trunau could prepare for? It would solve the verisimilitude problem of the amazing invisible orcs and their stealthy siege engines, as well as allow the PCs to be healed and rested and kitted for battle rather than investigation, but what would have to be changed?

One could presume that Jagrin Grath might have led the toughest warriors out to harass the advancing forces, trusting in the B team and Trunau's natural advantages to protect the civilians within the palisade; that would still allow Omast Frum to ready his defenses as highest-ranking guard member left in town and permit the PCs to operate as local heroes without raising the question of what all the high-level NPCs are doing during the battle.

Rabus Clarenston could refuse to leave his property for the safety of the upper quarter, and Sara and/or Agrit might have been similarly stubbon/overconfident or returned to their home for keepsakes, which would allow their rescues to go off as intended.

Any other amendments that would need to be made? Lighting the beacons might be less necessary, but the PCs could easily be tasked with aiding the front-line defenses without the necessity of lighting them.

EDIT: Some more time between solving the mystery and the attack would allow for racial tension to percolate as well, as Trunau knows there are half-orc infiltrators among them but don't know who. You could even move the Baseil Sabask encounter to before the actual siege, in the uneasy waiting period.


That might work quite well. Trunauan scouts have noticed an army (or however they want to call it - actual numbers are not given at all for the enemy forces) advancing in the direction of the city, so all the while the PCs are investigating the murder (which is felt all the more sharply when an attack is coming), the threat of the impending attack is looming. The information about the impending attack might reach Trunau on the very morning Rodrik is found dead, explaining the more light-hearted festivities the night before.

Then, the scouts declare that the city has, say, three days before the enemy arrives - enough to prepare, but not quite enough to flee the town to safety, or at least making that a risky proposition (or having a law in place that fleeing the town after an attack is discovered to be treason, which is not unreasonable given the towns location). And surely not enough time to create magic items galore. But enough time for the PCs to unravel the murder.

The attack will probably happen in the dead of the night, to give the attackers the utmost advantage for their darkvision, and giving them time to prepare under nights cover. It might happen after Rodriks funeral, so the Trunauans hear the ominous noises of the advancing army slowly overshadowing the crackling funeral pyre.

So much for that.

The defenders will, of course, try and repel the invaders. The palisades won´t stop siege engines and giants for long, and getting besieged heightens the damage to the town. So, they decide to get out of the city. This in turn leaves openings for the attackers. Most of the siege scenario can probably played as written. The only thing that does not work right is the lighting of the beacons, which are supposed to help the defenders - the defenders would be either too far away or might as well have lit the beacons themselves on the way.

Sovereign Court Senior Developer

Joana wrote:
Carter Lockhart wrote:
Inner sea world guide has you covered with the Belkzen chapter. It's south of the Kestrel River, looking at the map, approximately 25 miles west of its eastern border and 50 miles north of south border (I think player guide gave more specific coordinates)
Thanks! That's what I was looking for. The old 'Inner Sea Reigon' map didn't even have the Kestrel River marked for reference.

There is also a map in the next adventure, "The Hill Giant's Pledge," that shows the area, including Trunau, Freedom Town, Vigil, and the borders (as well as the locations for that adventure). It'll be here in only a month!

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

A few points Stebehil.

The opening festivities are already clearly explained, the Hopeknife ceremony.

Fleeing the town, as in your second paragraph, or getting out of the town, as in your last, are described as being so alien to the Trunau mindest that they wouldn't even be considered.

Agree about the beacons though. Who are they meant to signal? Everyone in the town knows there's an attack under way. It's possible that they're to call in any scouting parties, but I don't see how they would be boosting the inhabitants' morale.


Darrell Impey UK: They do explain that beacons need to be lit to illuminate the town. Given orcs have dark vision, the defenders would want a way to illuminate the town in the event of a night attack so that they are not just stumbling in the dark>


kin's face tattoo wrote:

This intricate tattoo covers the bearer’s face in thousands

of hair-fine lines of ink and carefully incised scars. The
bearer can activate the tattoo to cause the marked design
to shift and the scars to open and pull the bearer’s face
into a different shape. The bearer then gains the benefits
of disguise self, save that he can take only the form of a
specific half-orc, human, or orc
, and the disguise lasts up
to 5 hours per day. This duration need not be continuous,
but it must be used in 1-hour increments.
The material components for the kin’s face tattoo include
rare pigments that are mixed with the bearer’s blood, then
worked into the bearer’s skin. To remove this tattoo the
tattooed portions must be erased and the scars healed.

A few questions about the kin's face tattoo:

  • Does the bolded portion mean that when the tattoo is activated, the character always looks like the same person, with a choice of half-orc, human, or orc made when the tattoo is inked? That is, anyone who sees Skreed while he's disguised will give the same description? Or can he change the details of the disguise every time it's activated?

  • Will detect magic make his face glow to the caster? And if so, only when the disguise is active or at all times?


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    On a separate note, the final dungeon has the PCs ostensibly chasing the BBEG through a dungeon ... but none of the stuff that attacks them in the dungeon attacked him as he passed through. :\

    I thought about having him go through the flooded part of the dungeon with the troll and then climb up to the tomb to avoid the hazards (looks like the flooded level is accessible from all the rooms, although both layers on one map makes it a bit difficult to be sure) ... but since this is Skreed's first time in the dungeon himself, how would he know what the hazards were or exactly where to climb up to?

    The alternative is the "Thank you for retrieving that item for me, Dr. Jones" ending, where he's actually skulking somewhere around the entrance and follows the party after they've cleared the way for him, confronting them in the tomb itself. Hm, I think I kind of like that idea better anyway.


    Joana wrote:

    On a separate note, the final dungeon has the PCs ostensibly chasing the BBEG through a dungeon ... but none of the stuff that attacks them in the dungeon attacked him as he passed through. :\

    I thought about having him go through the flooded part of the dungeon with the troll and then climb up to the tomb to avoid the hazards (looks like the flooded level is accessible from all the rooms, although both layers on one map makes it a bit difficult to be sure) ... but since this is Skreed's first time in the dungeon himself, how would he know what the hazards were or exactly where to climb up to?

    The alternative is the "Thank you for retrieving that item for me, Dr. Jones" ending, where he's actually skulking somewhere around the entrance and follows the party after they've cleared the way for him, confronting them in the tomb itself. Hm, I think I kind of like that idea better anyway.

    I think it takes only a few minor changes to show skreed's path ((assume he used flood troll and sacrificed an additional dog to push through the encounters. Troll went below to regenerate, add a dog corpse being builder by a spider web in the one encounter room))

    My thoughts to explain a potential delay between when Skreed enters and when PCs enter, will be that Skreed misses the stone in the skull and is looking through the massive amounts of treasure for the missing piece of the map. It wouldn't do to have the mission half-done.

    I think I realize though why, overall, I feel a bit dissatisfied with some of the logic leaps this adventure takes. Before reading this I had just finished reading part 1 of Iron Gods which does this beautiful job setting up a dungeon that has already had multiple parties venture into it and change the element of the dungeon, and also factors in many elements of town interactions and other things going on. To be honest, it kinda spoiled me for a plot that actually had everything figured out and nicely explained to the GM. This one tries to concentrate more on the action and skips over some of the logical steps in the explanation (how the orcs managed a surprise attack, why the majority of Orc forces mess up the middle quarter but barely touch the inner quarter, etc), and while there certainly aren't any flaws that a GM can't polish, it nevertheless is less satisfying for encounters and events to be happening 'because' instead of a well reasoned cause and reaction explanation.

    Grand Lodge

    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    But the beacons won't illuminate the town. The areas around them maybe, but once you get a building between your location and the fire they're useless.


    Darrell Impey UK wrote:

    A few points Stebehil.

    The opening festivities are already clearly explained, the Hopeknife ceremony.

    Er, yes. What I wanted to say was that the festivities would have been much more solemn and probably abbrevieated if the Trunauans already knew of the impending attack.

    Darrell Impey UK wrote:


    Fleeing the town, as in your second paragraph, or getting out of the town, as in your last, are described as being so alien to the Trunau mindest that they wouldn't even be considered.

    Yes, that is right. I thought about somebody fleeing the town in time regarding one merchant described in the fighting scene, who is described as being from elsewhere. It would be unthinkable for Trunauans to desert.

    Darrell Impey UK wrote:


    Agree about the beacons though. Who are they meant to signal? Everyone in the town knows there's an attack under way. It's possible that they're to call in any scouting parties, but I don't see how they would be boosting the inhabitants' morale.

    The beacons only make sense if they are meant to illuminate the fights - but then, beacons on top of the towers would probably make more sense for that. These in turn would show any creature for countless miles around that Trunau was under attack, so thats probably not that good either.


    Joana wrote:
    On a separate note, the final dungeon has the PCs ostensibly chasing the BBEG through a dungeon ... but none of the stuff that attacks them in the dungeon attacked him as he passed through. :\

    Ugh. That's the worst. That sort of thing would drive my players nuts if I didn't go through the pain and time-consuming effort to fix that awful error. (And I don't blame them.)


    I think im going to go with Thank you Doctor Jones Approach he will sneak in turn invisible and sneak back out waiting for the players to go in and then while they are down there clearing it out for him, he clears out the guards with him the wolves and the flood troll and come upon them after they have found the treasure. While the players are looking for the orc that was down in the caves that the guards saw go in.


    Rob McCreary wrote:
    There is also a map in the next adventure, "The Hill Giant's Pledge," that shows the area, including Trunau, Freedom Town, Vigil, and the borders (as well as the locations for that adventure). It'll be here in only a month!

    Release date just bumped to April. :P


    Given the potential for PCs not being at high enough levels for some of the more brutal aspects of the Plague House, what about starting PCs at Level 2? That way, if they miss some parts of the investigation / XP available, they might still make it.

    Dark Archive

    GM 8574 wrote:
    Given the potential for PCs not being at high enough levels for some of the more brutal aspects of the Plague House, what about starting PCs at Level 2? That way, if they miss some parts of the investigation / XP available, they might still make it.

    I am just using the Advancement track that they have on pg. 6.


    brad2411 wrote:
    GM 8574 wrote:
    Given the potential for PCs not being at high enough levels for some of the more brutal aspects of the Plague House, what about starting PCs at Level 2? That way, if they miss some parts of the investigation / XP available, they might still make it.
    I am just using the Advancement track that they have on pg. 6.

    I think, all the same, there might be adequate concerns that the assassination attempt might be too much for level 1 party. It's 2 CRs above the party with a significant advantage.

    Dark Archive

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    Carter Lockhart wrote:
    brad2411 wrote:
    GM 8574 wrote:
    Given the potential for PCs not being at high enough levels for some of the more brutal aspects of the Plague House, what about starting PCs at Level 2? That way, if they miss some parts of the investigation / XP available, they might still make it.
    I am just using the Advancement track that they have on pg. 6.
    I think, all the same, there might be adequate concerns that the assassination attempt might be too much for level 1 party. It's 2 CRs above the party with a significant advantage.

    Oh I know. It will be interesting and I will be running our group through it as written to see how bad we do. When we get to that point I will post how everyone did and see how many new PC's we have lol.

    Liberty's Edge

    Starfinder Superscriber

    Question : does the time of year when the adventure starts matter at all here? I am about to start running it, and was thinking that for verisimilitude I'd keep track of what day on the Golarion calendar it is as the game progresses.

    (As an aside: sometimes when you do that, e.g. when I ran Dragon's Demand, it's a little alarming to see how much more powerful PCs get in mere days! 20-some-odd years of level 1, and BANG, a week later you're level 4.)

    I will make something up, but don't want to put myself in a bind where I'll regret it later.

    Sovereign Court Senior Developer

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    rknop wrote:

    Question : does the time of year when the adventure starts matter at all here? I am about to start running it, and was thinking that for verisimilitude I'd keep track of what day on the Golarion calendar it is as the game progresses.

    (As an aside: sometimes when you do that, e.g. when I ran Dragon's Demand, it's a little alarming to see how much more powerful PCs get in mere days! 20-some-odd years of level 1, and BANG, a week later you're level 4.)

    I will make something up, but don't want to put myself in a bind where I'll regret it later.

    Unless stated otherwise in an adventure, we generally assume that an adventure starts in the Golarion-equivalent of the month and year the adventure was released. Our year 2015 corresponds to the Golarion year 4715 AR. Since Battle of Bloodmarch Hill was released in February, that means the assumed start of the Giantslayer AP is Calistril 4715 AR.

    That's our in-house assumption, but there is no reason you cannot set an adventure or AP at whatever time works best for your campaign.


    From my reading of it weather doesn't really play a factor, so you could start it in whatever month you wanted. I'm still poking around in the Belkzen campaign setting book, so it might be that starting it in February could mean issues arise when you factor in travel between books due to winter weather.

    Mind you, the Proving Time (when orcs are most aggressive) lasts until spring, then comes the Flood Truce which lasts through the summer. Seeing a bunch of invading orcs during the Flood Truce might be a signal to the people of Trunau that something is amiss if you decide to place the events of the first book in the spring/summer. I kind of like that idea myself. Good luck!

    Order of the Amber Die

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    Giantslayer Fans:

    Last weekend, our group played a 3-day marathon session of Battle of Bloodmarch Hill and was able to complete it. All players agreed that the adventure was a great time, and the investigation was definitely a curveball in regard to the opening of the Giantslayer AP. The body count was high, and the overall difficulty they found delightfully challenging as well. Our full report, which addresses many of the issues on this discussion thread, is scheduled to drop in two weeks. Until then, I did want to leave everyone with some supplemental aids and brief tips they could use during their playthrough of this adventure.

    1.) It is important the PCs get to know and care for Rodrik in the short time you have on day 1. Rodrik’s “Ballad of the Bloodmarch,” mentioned on p. 12, is the official anthem of Trunau. What better time to sing this than during the Hopeknife Ceremony? If once isn’t enough, it can always be performed again during Rodrik’s Funeral. One of our players (Oloch the iconic warpriest) wrote this and performed it on a drum during our session; a PDF of the lyrics, along with the rhythmic dictation, is also included in our dropbox.

    2.) As your players will be facing many orcs, it might be useful to have access to some of the alternative orcs that the author mentions on p. 38. In our dropbox is a PDF containing a variety of pre-built orcs that GMs can use, so that their precious time can be spent elsewhere while preparing to run the adventure. The orc stat blocks found therein utilize the options provided by the author.

    GM Tips:

    Part 1: I would have to recommend that the majority of your time as GM be spent detailing Part 1. Our players all felt that it was one of the best investigations we have seen to date. PCs will likely want to meet and talk to a lot more of Trunau than you may be ready for, so you will probably want to detail some additional personalities/residences/businesses.

    Part 2: When it comes to part 2, the average orc with falchion (even utilizing some alternative orcs) is common, and can be deadly to low-level characters. Ferocity means that for each orc there will usually be one final attack--even after dropping them below 0--and their ability to threaten/confirm criticals with relative ease had many of our PCs kissing the ground throughout. That being said, there is plenty of healing provided in the module; it’s the critical hits you can do nothing about, as there aren’t many 2nd level PCs who are able to suffer 4d4+8 and walk away.

    Part 3: Ample time should be spent on reading and knowing Skreed. Study the map of the final chamber, and practice tactics to run from PCs and throw bombs. Be ready for PCs to try and corner you on a ledge, and have a backup plan. Expeditious retreat is your friend.

    Hope all this helps some of you in your first run of Battle of Bloodmarch Hill, and good luck!

    GM

    Order of the Amber Die Dropbox

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    Rob McCreary wrote:
    Joana wrote:
    Carter Lockhart wrote:
    Inner sea world guide has you covered with the Belkzen chapter. It's south of the Kestrel River, looking at the map, approximately 25 miles west of its eastern border and 50 miles north of south border (I think player guide gave more specific coordinates)
    Thanks! That's what I was looking for. The old 'Inner Sea Reigon' map didn't even have the Kestrel River marked for reference.
    There is also a map in the next adventure, "The Hill Giant's Pledge," that shows the area, including Trunau, Freedom Town, Vigil, and the borders (as well as the locations for that adventure). It'll be here in only a month!

    Just going to point out that if you have Skeletons of Scarwall (CotCT #5), there's a quite detailed map of the Hold of Belkzen on page 60 to tide you over until the next book is released.

    The Player's Guide mentions the holiday of Holdfast. When is that celebrated? I couldn't find it on the Pathfinder Wiki.


    I'll be running this in a couple of months (I'm going to wait till the third module is out just for timing and anticipations), but I'm gleaning ideas.

    The visit of the assassins is one of the small pieces I'll need to tweak and while I have a solution I'm interested in alternatives. See, I already know at least one of my players plans to be a native of Trunau which means his own place in town. It's unlikely that all four or five players will be in the same room, and in fact it's likely they'll be in different buildings. The assassination is set up assuming our party is rooming/camping together.

    Because of the gang-up feat, what I'm working on right now is "one more clue" to pick up some of the missing XP, and set up an ambush in connection.

    But again I'm interested in alternatives.

    RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

    I hope to be running this in the next few weeks, but it seems that there's some issues with the siege parts, from what I gather here.

    I was wondering if a simple solution to the "surprise attack" wouldn't work and simply have it be a day of extremely foggy weather? The weather manipulation should be within the abilities of a Storm Giant (main bad guy), shouldn't it? And while it's too early for him to make an appearance, it would provide a bit of foreshadowing.

    Any thoughts?


    Curtisin wrote:

    I hope to be running this in the next few weeks, but it seems that there's some issues with the siege parts, from what I gather here.

    I was wondering if a simple solution to the "surprise attack" wouldn't work and simply have it be a day of extremely foggy weather? The weather manipulation should be within the abilities of a Storm Giant (main bad guy), shouldn't it? And while it's too early for him to make an appearance, it would provide a bit of foreshadowing.

    Any thoughts?

    That might work.

    Me, I'm leaning toward the attack starting 2 or 3 am. Start 12-15 miles away which makes an experienced Orc raid unlikely to be seen from Trunau. Start marching just after sundown.

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