Spoilers: Losing the ToTB

Carrion Crown

So. In the the Trial of the Beast, the party's goal is to prove the beast's innocense. However, the book is written in such a way that the events go on in the same way regardless of whether they succeed or not. That galls me somewhat.

Also, breaking free seems rather out of character for the beast, as I understand him.

Would it really be so terrible for the plot if I just let the beast get offed if the party fails to defend him? It seems a more natural course of events.

What consequences do the rest of you see in letting him get burned?

Well, they all die horribly in Schloss Carmarac... Without the Beast they will have a very hard time defeating the Promethean.

The Beast is slow and dim-witted, which led to his capture at the beginning of the book, having woken up from being controlled confused and disoriented. He doesn't understand the whole trial process and just keeps repeating his claims of innocence. But that being said, when push comes to shove, and it's him versus the burning man, he's going to look out for Number 1. The Beast has exceptionally strong survival instincts and knows that he can overpower any obstacle he's up against. I cannot see the Beast simply allowing himself to be led off and burned to death.

Meh, it's just rather dramatically unsastisfying to have him run off. Suddenly, *poof*, the whole investigation doesn't matter one iota to the overall plot. The only thing that'll change if the players just sit around in the courthouse for the duration of the trial, is the fact that they won't get xp.

That's pretty lame.


Ok, so I gather that the abberant promethean is one tough sob.

I could just tone him down - since I only have two players, cuttting out 1/3 of the xp and making a like reduction in difficulty could be entirely appropriate.

What you need to remember is that the Players don't know that their actions have no actual consequence in terms of the Beast's fate. They will either succeed or fail to defend him, he will either be set free or escape.

It is like when the players come to a room with 10 doors. You the GM have prepared exactly three encounters plus a boss fight. It doesn't matter which doors are opened by the PCs because the first three will be the canned encounters and the fourth one will be the boss. The PCs, however, don't know that. They will think they dodged some bullets because they got through the gauntlet after only three encounters and imagine how hard it would be to have picked badly and only encountered the boss on the last, 10th door!

With only two players, I'd actually ratchet up the drive for them to access the rooftop device and then buff up The Beast so he is more likely to not get destroyed by the Promethean. It really is a rough fight if the PCs aren't prepared.

As GM, you can draw a great difference in tone between a Beast who is set free by the court and can join the Twisted Kin on the road or live unmolested in the swamps, and a Beast who flees the scaffold and is hounded by the law and the inquisition for the rest of his life.

True. And if he doesn't die against the AP and he did escape, you could have an angry mob confront him and the party as you leave the castle. Your players will likely feel invested in him regardless of how the trial went, so you can tug that heartstring by making them either feel good that they saved his life and now he lives happily with the circus... or make them stand up for him against the town... or help the town murder him for simply being different (if you go this route, I'd say have the PCs pass the burned out husk of the Twisted Kin's wagon just to dig it in).

MurphysParadox wrote:
the Players don't know that their actions have no actual consequence in terms of the Beast's fate.

This robs the players of all agency they have and I would personally prefer to not play under a DM whose style was this.

The Promethean is very powerful against the expected APL. I instead had the beast appear at the end in a dramatic moment (my players won the trial) but from memory (it's been a few years now) I believe I ran a version of the Promethean that was toned down. Or I might have run the Promethean as written and let my players blast him to pieces. Either way the Beast didn't steal their thunder, but did appear at the appropriate time narratively.

So in my opinion I'd recommend not having the beast fight the PC's fight for them regardless of the trial's outcome. If you don't think the PC's can tackle the Promethean, scale him back.

My take on the beast was he'd found religion (after a Pharasmin priest came and had a word with him and left behind the Pharasman holy text) and so he was uncooperative the whole time (needing to be persuaded to provide the PCs with information) and was asking for his own death until the PC's stirred his heart and convinced him he wasn't some abomination. It was the easiest way I could think of to get the PC's to want to save him ;)

For what its worth, the agency of players is not the paramount goal of a pre-generated adventure path. It is also impossible for the players to distinguish true choice and consequence vs the way the GM wanted it to go. This is a purely philosophical argument though... and I am certain that short of reading your GM's notes, you have no way as a player of knowing your GM has or has not done such things even to a small degree.

As a hypothetical example - there is a quest giver in town that the GM needs the players to meet. One option is to make him the bartender and pray the players go to the Inn. The other is to make him whatever person the PCs meet on their second day in town; barkeep, armorer, town crier, guard captain... whatever; the PCs need to meet him for the story to continue but the PCs cannot be relied upon to go to a particular establishment in the town. This PC is a lynch pin to the next quest the GM has established.

However, the devil is always in the details.

The key point is the Beast getting to the Promethean. But as I said in my previous post, the GM can do all kinds of things with the Beast after that fight based on the actions of the PCs during the trial.

The Beast/AP fight is a lynch pin in the story as written. To ask why not just have the Beast executed is fine; it is the GMs prerogative to do whatever he wants to the story. However, the lynchpin events can still be maintained while also allowing the PCs to see action consequences if the GM but waits to deliver the payout.

The quality of the AP notwithstanding (And that really wasn't what I came to discuss, by the by), no-one has put forward any ways the AP would run into problems by letting the beast burn, beyond the fight against the promethean.

As such, I'll just let him burn if they fail.

The only story reason killing the beast could be a problem is his escape is the reason the PCs are tasked with going to Caromarc's castle. They need to go deal with him before the townsfolk do (in mob form). This puts pressure on the PCs to explore the castle with haste. The longer they take, the less reasonable it is for Caromarc to still be alive. Caromarc is the only person that knows the Whispering Way went into the Woods

But you could easily change these points to match the story as you see fit. And you need to tone down the AP a bit. Caromarc and the beast have (as written) no further influence in the story after Book 2.

Whether or not the PCs win the court battle, there is an issue with getting them to actually go to Caromarc and you'll want to address the motivation problem one way or another (I did it by having the Judge pay the PCs to go check on the castle and find the owner).

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